Russia's two great ballet companies, the Bolshoi Ballet and the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky) undertook their first major post-war tours in the early 1960s, exposing the West to the bravura and discipline of the Russian dancers for the first time. This DVD brings together performances by members of both companies, providing rare footage of some of the most brilliant dancers of their time.
The Stone Flower features Yuri Soloviev, a dancer of great renown despite his tragically short life.
Famed for his extraordinary elevation, he was often compared to Nijinsky. Soloviev was celebrated for his role of Danila in The Stone Flower, a ballet in which he and Alla Sizova, who danced the role of Katerina, enjoyed immense success at Covent Garden during the tour of 1960. This BBC recording of Act 1 was a result of the enthusiastic response to the production.
The Pas de deux from Act II of Swan Lake comes from the Bolshoi's famous 1956 debut tour to London. Specially shot for the BBC and produced by Margaret Dale, a renowned dancer and ballet producer, the broadcast drew 12 million viewers and became the first of many films for television that Dale made with the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet companies.
The remaining four Bolshoi Ballet extracts – Cinderella, Giselle, Gayaneh and Don Quixote – comprise shorter selections, specially filmed for the BBC in 1963, once again produced by Margaret Dale. Each of the Bolshoi selections displays the immense versatility and virtuosity of the company's principal dancers, a line-up usually reserved for gala occasions.
This is the first DVD released of this material.
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