The Russians have returned and there’s only thing to do — pirouette with glee. After their successful and sold-out shows at the Siri Fort auditorium in New Delhi last September, the Royal Russian Ballet has landed in Mumbai this weekend to perform Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s spectacular ballet, Swan Lake, at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA). There will be 15 shows in Mumbai alone, before they set out on a multi-city tour including three dates in March and April in Delhi and Ahmedabad, and two shows in Kolkata next month.
Presented by Navrasa Duende, a Gurgaon-based production house, the ballet is choreographed by Vladmir Troschenko, and directed by Anatoliy Kazatskiy. “The shows in New Delhi received a tremendous response, drawing over 10,000 people over two days. Several people came to the capital from cities like Mumbai and Kolkata. So, within only a few weeks of concluding the show in Delhi, we decided to bring this classic ballet back to India this year. Thanks to the NCPA and several other organisations, Mumbai has lot of Western classical music enthusiasts, so we decided to keep 15 days for this leg of the tour, to make sure that the maximum number of people get a chance to attend the shows,” said Dinesh Singh, founder, Navrasa Duende.
Tickets for the shows at the NCPA are priced between Rs 2,360 and Rs 14,750. “We sincerely believe that for good art to evolve and flourish, it has to stand on its own legs. Art lovers should learn to pay, otherwise, the whole process will be sponsor-driven and more brand-support centric. And, most of the time, they are associated with unrelated brands,” Singh said. While the ballet is for adults only, provisions have been made for children above the age of six to attend a number of shows in every city – in Mumbai on March 14, 15 and 21, for matinee shows only.
Kazatskiy, the director and producer of the Royal Russian Ballet, is perhaps the person most excited about its return to India. “Performing in India was an exciting experience for each member of the troupe, including myself. The essence of the ballet is in its imagery, which is created through a combination of story, music, dance and choreography. You should understand that Swan Lake was the first ballet for which music composition was done ahead of dance choreography. In a way, Tchaikovsky chose the music to drive the drama, story, narrative and expected dance choreography to follow the same. The challenge is to choreograph the dance to such complex music,” he said.
The Royal Russian Ballet and Navrasa Duende will be partners for future endeavours as well, said Kazatskiy. “We are co-producing three other ballets together — Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. We expect to bring these to India in the next two years,” he said. Navrasa Duende and the Royal Russian Ballet present Swan Lake at the NCPA from March 13-25.