The ballet in Russia is a real miracle; it deserve spe-cial attention and is must-sees for anyone who con-siders him or herself an art connoisseur or simply a lover of beauty.
The ballet in Russia is a real miracle; it deserves spe-cial attention and is a must-sees for anyone who con-siders him or herself an art connoisseur or simply a lover of beauty.
The ballet was brought to Russia from France, quickly took root in Russia, and started to develop actively. Ballet has managed to grow into a fully in-dependent genre from its start as an accessorial el-ement in theatrical productions.
There are substantial differences between the Mos-cow and Saint Petersburg schools of ballet. The lat-ter is famous for its refined pas, arm position, and natural head carriage. Put simply, it is famous for its technical component. The Moscow school is pure and exuberant energy: a bodily and physical energy, blended with emotion and temperament. But this doesn’t mean that in order to enjoy a performance by the disciples of the Saint Petersburg school you need to travel there. The route from Saint Peters-burg to Moscow is well travelled by ballet artists, es-pecially the road from the Mariinsky Theatre to the Bolshoi.
Today, Russian classical ballet is something so infi-nitely beautiful that it is impossible to describe with words. In this case, hearing about the ballet a hun-dred times is not nearly as good as seeing it once, live from an armchair upholstered in velvet in a dark auditorium. Letting your soul be moved by the sound of the sweet music of Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Chopin. Letting yourself wonder at the illusory ease of movement, the different pas and the pattern of the dance as a whole.
So, in which theaters should you go to search for this beauty?
The State Kremlin Palace
Situated in the heart of the capital in the Kremlin; the Palace has naturally become one of the main con-cert and theatre halls of Russia.
The Kremlin Ballet Theatre that performs on that stage will definitely catch your eye with the classics from the 19th century, Diaghilev’s heritage, and many other exceptionally produced performances. Its repertoire includes Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Figaro, Don Quixote, Coppelia, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Esmeralda, La Bayadere, The Snow Maiden, and Polovtsian Dances…
The Theatre will satisfy even young spectators; be-sides well-known Cinderella and The Nutcracker, traditionally offered both to grown-ups and kids, the repertoire includes the ballet The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a very cheerful and dynamic production.
Address: the Kremlin, The State Kremlin Palace
The State Kremlin Palace box office is open 7 days a week from 12:00 to 20:00, without lunch breaks.
Address: Vozdvizhenka street, 1
The State Academic Bolshoi Theatre
The Bolshoi Theatre doesn’t need an introduction. It’s difficult to find someone who hasn’t heard about it at least once. To travel to Moscow without going to the Bolshoi Theatre is a mistake more inexcusable than the Cruciatus Curse. A wide repertoire, incredible cast with the stars of the Russian ballet… La Baya-dere, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, La Dame aux ca-mellias, Pharaoh's Daughter, Jewels by Balachine, Giselle in the interpretations of Vasiliev and Grigo-rovich, Ivan the Terrible… the list is very long. Along with classical performances you can watch Apart-ment by Mats Ek, Short Time Together by Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, Nuriev... but here is a piece of sincere advice – to feel all the beauty and ele-gance of the Russian ballet, choose the classics.
Are you going with small kids? If so, pay close atten-tion to the productions of Cipollino and Moidodyr.
The date of the Theatre’s founding is considered to be 1776. In the early 21th century the building on Teatralnaya Square underwent a vast reconstruc-tion, and in October 2011 performances resumed on this historical stage. The historical building of the Theatre is one of the most technologically advanced in the world. The symphonic orchestra of the Thea-tre is the oldest musical group in the country. When buying your tickets don’t forget to find out on which stage of the theatre your performance will take place. Some of the performances are on the New Stage, situated on Bolshaya Dmitrovka street, with the others on the Historical Stage, the one on Teatralnaya Square.
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays guided tours are organized in the Historical Building.
The Historical Stage: Teatralnaya Square, 1
The New Stage: Bolshaya Dmitrovka street, 4/2
The box offices:
Inside the Historical Building are open 7 days a week from 11:00 to 20:00 (break from 16:00 to 18:00)
Inside the New Building – 7 days a week from 11:00 to 20:00 (break from 14:00 to 15:00)
Inside the GUM (the Main Department Store of Moscow) – 7 days a week from 11:00 to 20:00 with-out breaks
The Moscow Academic Musical Theatre
The Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Mos-cow Academic Music Theatre is among the leading ballet and musical theatres in the country. The Thea-tre was also reconstructed in the early 2000s and now combines intimacy and coziness with modern technology. The more than 90-year history of the theatre is rich in fabulous ballet productions. Among its principal dancers were Natalia Krapivina, Erica Mikirticheva, Dmitry Sobolevsky, Georgi Smilevski (not only the principal dancer, but also a repetiteur). What to watch? Again, we recommend the classics: La Bayadere, La Sylphide, Don Quixote, La Es-meralda, and others.
Bolshaya Dmitrovka, 17
The box office is open 7 days a week without a break from 11:30 to 19:00 (inside the building of the Theatre).
Likewise you can watch ballet in The New Opera Theatre named after Evgeni Kolobov, the Theatre Center of Meyerhold (TCM), the Moscow Academic Children Musical Theatre named after Natalia Sats. But if you want a really fascinating, exciting, and un-forgettable performance, the choice is obvious - ei-ther the Bolshoi or the Kremlin Palace.
In Saint Petersburg
The State Academic Mariinsky Theatre
The Mariinsky Theatre was designed by Antonio Rinaldi, and has changed in appearance a few times, but preserved the most important thing – its soul.
Its ballet troupe was led at different times by Jules Perrot, Arthur Saint-Leon, and Marius Petipa. The Theatre gave the world such ballet stars as Matilda Kshesinskaya, Ekaterina Vaganova, Vakhtang Chabu-kiani, Rudolf Nuriev. The highest degree of profes-sionalism and technicality, and the mesmerizing beauty of the performers’ movements are still the distinctive features of the Mariinsky Theatre today. One of the principal dancers is Uliana Lopatkina, who has been there since 1995. The rich repertoire and the unfail-ing grandeur of the Mariinsky’s productions are sure to fascinate you. Its performances are run on differ-ent stages, pay attention when you buy your ticket.
The Mariinsky Theatre - Theatre Square, 1
The Mariinsky-2 – Dekabristov street, 34
The Concert Halls of the Mariinsky-2
The Concert Hall – Pisarev street, 20
Inside the Mariinsky Theatre - from 11:00 to 19:00 (open 7 days a week)
Inside the Mariinsky-2 - from 11:00 to 19:00 (open 7 days a week)
Inside the Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall - from 11:00 to 19:00, a break from 14:00 to 15:00 (open 7 days a week)
It is also possible to buy tickets inside the Central Railway ticket office buildings, and at the Big Gosti-ny Dvor.
The Saint Petersburg State Academic Ballet Theatre named after Leonid Yakobson
The Ballet Theatre named after Yakobson is an out-standing group with a 50-year history and is rightly considered one of the leading theatres in Russia. The Theatre has a rich repertoire, which includes classic productions from Russian ballet, as well as modern choreography. The troupe is a repeat winner of various prestigious prizes.
Address: Mayakovsky street, 15
Theatre performances are run on the stage of the Big Dramatic Theatre named after Tovstonogov, the Hermitage Theatre, the Palace of Culture of Lenso-vet, and the Alexandrinsky Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at the box office of those theaters or online.
The Hermitage Theatre is the oldest theater in Saint Petersburg; it was built as a theater for the imperial family and the court, and the atmosphere of luxury and splendor felt in a court theater is still in the air. Another distinctive feature of the theater is the lack of seat assignments. Seats are filled freely. Different artists perform on the stage, and there are frequent opportunities to attend a ballet performance.
Address: Palace Embankment, 34
We also recommend a visit to the Astrakhan and Samara Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre (locat-ed in Astrakhan, Samara, respectively).
The ballet troupe of the theater in Astrakhan is young; it started to master classical ballet in 2012, but it is a pleasure to watch them.
The Samara Opera and Ballet Theatre dates back to 1931 and is one of the largest Russian musical thea-ters. The ballet troupe is made up of experienced and fantastically talented artists, and the theatre’s repertoire includes a variety of classic productions.
Tickets can be purchased not only in the theater’s box office, but also through theater’s ticket sales ki-osks and related sites. Remember that the cheapest tickets are at the box office and on the theater web-sites, and buying in advance (sometimes a month or two before the performance) is always cheaper.
Of course, for the full experience we recommend visiting the country's leading theaters. The State Ac-ademic Bolshoi Theatre, the Kremlin Palace, and the State Academic Mariinsky Theatre are waiting for you.
The unique atmosphere, with artists as weightless as fairies, and charming music – this is what Russian ballet is. Do not miss the chance to connect with this beauty. The memories you have will stay with you for a lifetime! Go to the ballet and give yourself a fairy tale.