Russian prima ballerina’s Californian triumph

Diana Vishneva’s “On the Edge” ballet received a standing ovation at the California theater, with the audience unwilling to let the principal dancer leave the stage.

The “On the Edge” performance consists of two ballets –“Switch” and “Woman in a Room,” both of which were created for Vishneva, a principal dancer with the Mariinsky Theatre and American Ballet Theatre.

“Switch” was set by Jean Christophe Maillot, a Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo supervisor, to the music of Danny Elfman, an American composer who has written soundtracks for “Mission Impossible,” “Men in Black,” and “Chicago.” Vishneva dances “Switch” together with Bernice Coppieters and Gaetan Morlotti, Les Ballets deMonte-Carlo soloists. The heroine becomes a puppet in this couple's hand and then plays a game with them herself. According to Vishneva, the performance is based on "a history of a woman, her alter-ego and relations with men." It's alsoballet about ballet. In the final scene, Vishneva carries a bulky ballet bar and ties point slippers to it – an image of a ballerina's career finale.

“Woman in a Room,” the second part of the show, was created by Carolyn Carlson, a French dancer, choreographer, and the director of Centre Roubaix Nord-Pas de Calais and the Atelier de Paris. According to Carlson, she was inspired to “Woman in a Room” creation by Nostalgia, a film by Andrei Tarkovsky. Vishneva is alone on the stage for 35 minutes. She dances to the music of Giovanni Sollima, an Italian minimalist composer, showing a woman giving herself totally to the self-analysis and recollections. Replicating motions convey a meditative mood, but it evaporates suddenly, and Vishneva starts a high heel dance. The ballet transits to performance gradually. At the very end, the ballet dancer distributes lemons among spectators, a very unexpected and expressive move.

After the U.S. première, “On the Edge” ballet will be shown in Monte Carlo and French Roubaix.

The Moscow première in Stanislavsky Theatre in Moscow is scheduled for March 2014.

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