Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Russian Ballet Enthusiast's Thoughts on Boris Eifman [guest post]

Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg "Don Quixote, or Fantasies of a Madman"

Chicago audiences are very lucky to be able to see the work of visionary Russian choreographer Boris Eifman when he brings his ballet to perform Don Quixote, or Fantasies of a Madman at the Auditorium Theatre on April 21 and 23.

Often, Russian dance companies are known for their virtuosic productions of classical pieces, such as Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. Mr. Eifman’s company, however, gives Americans a different taste of Russian ballet ― he puts a contemporary spin on well-known stories, giving his ballets a fresh, modern appeal.

Boris Eifman
Mr. Eifman pushes boundaries by using minimalist sets that perfectly compliment the choreography to communicate just what he’s trying to say. The works are avante garde, but they are also elegant and sophisticated, which keeps them accessible to a wide audience.
Just because Eifman’s ballets are modern doesn’t mean they’re not masterfully performed. All of the dancers in his company are stunningly beautiful and have impeccable technique, making this company a joy to watch.

It is also personally gratifying to me to have Mr. Eifman visit the United States because he is from my hometown of St. Petersburg. Although I never had the opportunity to see his company perform when I was a child growing up there, I have seen the Eifman Ballet several times when I have made trips back home, and their works are always moving and memorable.

Two years ago, the last time the Eifman Ballet performed at the Auditorium Theatre, I had the pleasure of hosting a pre-performance reception for Mr. Eifman at the Russian Pointe Dance Boutique. As he laughed and chatted with the guests, I was so impressed by his humility, grace, and sense of calm. Although he is famous and well-respected in Russia and throughout the world, he was down to earth, and it was evident he derives great joy from ballet and from sharing the arts with others.

I hope you all will join me in seeing more of this brilliant choreographer’s work this year!

Aleksandra_Efimova_2011Aleksandra Efimova was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and moved to the United States in 1993. As president and owner of Russian Pointe Dance Boutique, Ms. Efimova has been a prominent and vocal supporter of Chicago's growing dance community. In addition to her interest in the arts, Ms. Efimova is a member of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, the American-Russian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and is an alumna of the Harvard Business School.

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