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Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg Returns to New York City Center with "Anna Karenina," a Spectacular New York Premiere

by ExploreDance staff
May 2, 2005


New York City Center ( May 24-29, 2005 ( Tickets: $35-$100, call CityTix(r) 212.581.1212 or visit www.nycitycenter.org

Russia's leading contemporary choreographer, Boris Eifman, returns to New York City Center on May 24-29, 2005 with his version of Leo Tolstoy's novel, Anna Karenina, set to the music of Peter Tchaikovsky on the electrifying EIFMAN BALLET OF ST. PETERSBURG. The New York premiere of Anna Karenina comes after the work's world premiere at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and will conclude the company's six-city U.S. Tour. Tickets for $35-$100 are available by calling CityTix(r) at 212.581.1212, online at www.nycitycenter.org or at the NY City Center Box Office located at 131 West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.

In his choreographic rendition of Tolstoy's 1877 masterpiece, Eifman probes into the fundamental questions raised by the author in his timeless novel by following the tumultuous currents of the heroine's mind and her subconscious. "What is more important," he asks, "To preserve the widely accepted illusion of harmony between duty and emotion, or to allow sincere passion to take over? Do we have the right to destroy our family and to rid a child of a mother for the sake of carnal pleasure?" Like in a werewolf, two people live in Eifman's Anna: one is the outwardly known lady of high society; the other is a woman drowning in a sea of passion who is desperately dependent on her emotional attachment to the man she loves.

Eifman uses the love triangle between Anna, her husband Karenin, and her lover Vronsky as a vehicle through which he investigates the intoxicating role of sensuality and passion in human behavior. He re-masters the familiar techniques of dramatic metaphor, using black and white costumes to highlight the holy and demonic aspects of a human mind; a masquerade to draw attention to the hypocrisy of today's society - both as a group and as a collection of individuals; and, finally, a recurring metaphoric theme of a locomotive to suggest a cruelly transient quality of our lives. Inspired by the theater techniques of the early 20th Century, Eifman collaborated with Set Designer Zinovy Margolin, long-time EIFMAN BALLET Costume Designer Slava Okunev, and Lighting Designer Gleb Filshtinsky to construct a grandiose finale, in which an immense human locomotive made up of members of the corps de ballet crushes Anna both physically and spiritually.

The cast of EIFMAN BALLET's Anna Karenina is as follows:
May 24, 26, 28: 8pm, May 29: 3pm

May 25, 27: 8pm, May 28: 2pm
Vera Arbuzova

Maria Abashova
Oleg Markov

Albert Galichanin
Alexei Turko

Yuri Smekalov
Anastassia Sitnikova

Natalia Povorozniuk

- continued on page two of two -
EIFMAN BALLET OF ST. PETERSBURG Returns to New York City Center
With the New York Premiere of "Anna Karenina," May 24-29, 2005
Press Release, page two of two

Hailed by critics worldwide as Russia's most innovative contemporary ballet company, EIFMAN BALLET OF ST. PETERSBURG is the only foreign dance company to earn the status of a resident company at New York City Center. Created by Boris Eifman in St. Petersburg in 1977, it revolutionized contemporary ballet by taking the art form to its highest level of expressiveness.

Unable to tour internationally during the first 10 years of its existence because of Soviet censorship, EIFMAN BALLET performed to sold-out houses in Russia, receiving no government subsidies and existing solely on Box Office returns. Eifman's combination of starkly relevant themes and deep psychological perception, philosophical ideas and fiery passions, audacity of movement vocabulary and clarity of dramatic intent were highly unusual at the time and were received by the hungry Russian audiences as a breath of fresh air. Such works as the "Boomerang," "The Idiot," "The Metamorphoses," "Sub-Lieutenant Romashov," and "Master and Margarita" challenged the stagnant artistic atmosphere of Communist Russia in the 70s and caused the authorities to threaten to shut down Eifman's theater more than once.

In 1988, EIFMAN BALLET's first performance abroad at the Champs Elysees Theatre in Paris launched the troupe into instant international recognition. The company has since gone on to tour in Western and Eastern Europe, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Israel, and Latin America. In 1998, a New York-based artistic management company, Ardani Artists, introduced U.S. audiences to the unique world of Boris Eifman's daring choreography and propelled the troupe to instant success in the United States, beginning its annual U.S. tours in 2000. Sharply contrasted against the strict conventions of classical ballet, EIFMAN BALLET continues to constantly reinvent the art form, electrifying American and international audiences with its vibrant, often shocking, and always original style.

Fascinated by the ability of ballet to permeate into the mystical world of the subconscious, Boris Eifman has created over 40 ballets for his own company and dance companies around the world, including Kirov and Maly Theaters in Russia and the New York City Ballet in the United States. His ballet "Tchaikovsky" has received the prestigious Russian "Golden Mask" award, and the choreographer himself has received the "Golden Mask" award for his lifetime achievement in contemporary choreography. Eifman is a four-time recipient of the St. Petersburg theater award, "The Golden Sofit." His other awards and distinctions include the "Triumph" award; the Russian state award for lifetime achievement in the performing arts; induction into France's Order of Arts and Letters; the distinguished title of "The People's Artist of Russia;" and a professorship at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, where he has received his dance training.

With his company, Eifman introduced a new type of dance artists - dancer/actors, who use the solid foundation of impeccable ballet technique as a launching pad for innovative modern choreography and thus are capable of transformations and theatrical effects never before seen on stage. In Eifman ballets, all production elements - the sets, imaginative costumes, unpredictable lighting, unusual sound effects, inventive choreography, epic corps-de-ballet scenes, and the dance artists themselves - equally participate in what becomes for the audience a visceral theater experience of unprecedented impact.

EIFMAN BALLET's 2005 appearance at New York City Center marks the company's 7th New York Season.

# # #

Press Contact ( Sergei Danilian ( tel 212.399.0002 ( fax 212.399.9889 ( sdanilian@aol.com

Albert Galichanin as Karenin; Maria Abashova as Anna
Photo courtesy of Valentin Baranovsky

Yuri Smekalov as Vronsky; Maria Abashova as Anna
Photo courtesy of Valentin Baranovsky

Alexey Turko as Vronsky; Vera Arbuzova as Anna
Photo courtesy of Valentin Baranovsky

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