Features September 2002
How good is the Kirov?
On the Kirov Ballet, occasioned by performances at the Met this summer.
The Kirov Ballet is the company that the choreographer George Balanchine left behind when he sailed from Russia in 1924. It is the company from which Rudolf Nureyev defected in 1961, followed by Natalia Makarova in 1970, and Mikhail Baryshnikov in 1974. Formerly known as the Imperial Ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre (named after Czar Alexander IIs wife Marie), the Kirov is the great Russian mother company, a matryoshka doll hatching dancer after danceran infinity of dancersfrom its Imperial School on Theatre Street, a continuum of star pupils that includes the legendary names Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina, Vaslav Nijinsky. The company that is today called The Kirov Ballet of the Mariinsky Theatrestill Dickensian in its selection standards; still trained within the meticulous, luminous rounds of Vaganova technique; still a constellation of coaches pushing, pulling, their protegés to the ...
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