x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Moscow City Ballet brings the love to the UAE

One of Russia's most in-demand ballet companies comes to the UAE this month. We speak to the director of The Sleeping Beauty about the production.

Moscow City Ballet will perform Tchaikovsky's famous ballet The Sleeping Beauty in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Courtesy Ductac
Moscow City Ballet will perform Tchaikovsky's famous ballet The Sleeping Beauty in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Courtesy Ductac

Creating love for the ballet

The prestigious Moscow City Ballet (MCB) is bringing its production of Tchaikovsky's classic ballet The Sleeping Beauty to Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi this weekend for two performances. It will then move on to Ductac in the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai for another six shows.

The company's founder and the director of the show, the Russian choreographer Victor Smirnov-Golovanov, says he hopes audiences will walk away with a new-found love for classical ballet.

Founded in 1988 by Golovanov, the MCB has become one of Russia's most frequently touring ballet companies. This production brings a cast of 36, including the leads Talgat Khozabaev as The Prince and the principal ballerina Lillia Oryekhova as Princess Aurora, the title character.

Awoken by a kiss

Known as the "jewel" in their repertoire, The Sleeping Beauty follows the story of Aurora who is cursed by an evil fairy to sleep for 100 years. Only once she is kissed by a handsome prince will she awaken.

The show comes to the UAE following performances in Spain and Korea as part of its world tour and will next travel to the UK, Belgium, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania before ending back in the UK in March.

The UK is a favourite destination for the company - since its inception it has played there more than 800 times, performing classic ballets such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet.

True to yourself

The main theme of the story is love, not lust, says Golovanov. It also explores the notion of keeping your word as you wish it to be and staying true to yourself and your dreams.

"The prince goes to his Aurora through the hurdles, defeating all enemies on his way. Courage alone is not enough, you also need determination," says Golovanov. "The costumes and sets are beautiful. The choreography is our language."

One of the elements that contributes to the timelessness of the story, says Golovanov, is the "magic" of Tchaikovsky's music, and the "genius" way in which he knew how to express love through music.

"All girls will always dream of their princes. The fairy tale lives on in the next generations. It's immortal," he says.

A challenging role

Oryekhova says she found the role of Aurora a challenging one. "It's very difficult role, as the main emphasis is on choreographic rather than dramatic performance," she says. "The only way to express yourself is through feeling the music and understanding its internal content."

The ballerina, who has also played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Odette in Swan Lake since joining the company in 2008, says the story is about awaiting the dream, being ready for miracles and, of course, the anticipation of love.

• The Sleeping Beautyplays at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, on Saturday at 7.30pm. Tickets cost between Dh95 and Dh395. It transfers to Centrepoint Theatre, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, on November 15 to show at 4pm and 8pm. On November 16 and 17 it will show at 3pm and 7.30pm. Tickets cost between Dh180 and Dh300 and are available at Virgin Megastores and at www.timeouttickets.com. Call 04 341 4777 or email box.office@ductac.org.