Ballet is a national pride of Russia and a "visiting card" of Russian culture. Originating in France and Italy, it was here that he found a "second home". It was in Russia that the classical ballet traditions were preserved and developed, so that they could be presented to the whole world again.
The first ballet school in Russia was opened in St. Petersburg in 1738. A few decades later the school opened in Moscow. Thus began the rivalry between the two ballet traditions - Petersburg and Moscow, two theaters - the Mariinsky and the Bolshoi, which continues to this day. You can see this even by simply studying the posters in both cities.
The St. Petersburg school is true to the classical traditions and emphasizes the perfection of each movement, the superprofessionalism of the performers. On the Petersburg stage and to this day you can see the most "classical" versions of the great ballet performances. But to someone, the St. Petersburg manner seems cold.
Moscow is more inclined to express vivid emotions, bold experiments and a variety of genres. But often experiments are kitsch or just bad taste. However, unlike the stiff Petersburg, in Moscow it is forgiven.
The repertoire of Russian ballet theaters is, first of all, the best performances of the XIX and XX centuries, to which in recent years many experimental performances of modern dance have been added.
In the 19th century, many masterpieces of classical ballet were created in Russia: Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Raymonda, La Bayadere, Don Quixote. To the first three of them music was written by P.I. Tchaikovsky, which also became a breakthrough: nowhere in the world before that, "big" composers did not work for the ballet. Thanks to the remarkable music and filigree choreography, all these performances are still successfully taking place on the Russian and world stage.
The beginning of the 20th century was a time of new breakthroughs for the Russian ballet. It was the tours of Russian "stars" at the beginning of the 20th century (the famous "Russian Seasons" by Diaghilev) that aroused the interest of the foreign public to the ballet that had died down and gave it a "second wind". There was a genre of one-act ballet, and decorations and costumes began to be paid much more attention. Music for productions was chosen by a complex, at times "non-dance", but still excellent composers. From the ballets of the beginning of the century the most interesting are Zhar-Ptitsa, Chopiniana, Scheherazade, and Vesna Svyatnaya (the latter are usually ruthlessly experimented with).
In the USSR, ballet remained the subject of national pride. The choreographers continued to follow classical traditions (though at the expense of all new trends), and the best composers worked for the theater: Prokofiev, D.D. Shostakovich, A.I. Khachaturian. The ballets were created on historical subjects or on literary works and sought to imbue with deep meaning. Of the Soviet-era productions, Romeo and Juliet, Spartacus, Stone Flower, Bakhchisarai Fountain, Cinderella, Anyuta, Anna Karenina still do not descend from the theater stage (and deservedly). The latter two are more modern and are distinguished by an even more subtle psychology of images.
After the destruction of the Soviet Union, the flow of everything that was prohibited before: the impromptu ballet, free and modern dance, flowed into the Russian scene ... While not all experiments can be called successful, the fact that the Russian ballet world has become more diverse is undoubted.
Stars of the ballet
And in tsarist, and in Soviet times, and now to the ballet stars in Russia are very reverent. The theater often comes "at someone". In the Soviet era, tickets for "Ulanova", "Plisetskaya" and "Maximova" flew instantly.
The most successful ballerinas of our time are Ulyana Lopatkina (Mariinsky Theater, St. Petersburg), Svetlana Zakharova (Bolshoi Theater, Moscow) Diana Vishneva (Mariinsky Theater, St. Petersburg), Natalia Osipova (Mikhailovsky Theater, St. Petersburg) and Ekaterina Kondaurova ( Mariinskii Opera House). Each of them has its own way of dancing, but all of them are amazing performers and great professionals.
The best theaters
The best ballet theater of the country is traditionally considered the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg. Tickets in it are bought up for several months in advance. The Bolshoi Theater in Moscow seeks to amaze with experimental productions, but the classical ones are still better in it. Excellent repertoire and troupe in the Moscow Musical Theater. K.S. Stanislavsky and Vl. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko. Very good performances in the Mikhailovsky Theater of St. Petersburg.
In the regions there are theaters of opera and ballet in Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Perm, actively competing with recognized ballet capitals for theater awards. In the last two cities also it is worth to go for modern dance. In particular, the theater "Provincial Dances" in Yekaterinburg has attracted attention in recent years.