In today's blog post I had the pleasure of sitting down with Artistic Director Katerina Fedotova in regards to her favorite ballets. These ballets have all held a special place in not only her life, but Russian Ballet Orlando's life as well! You may actually be surprised as to her #1 ballet, but below we feature her top three and why these were chosen! We are so excited to share this with you, and would love to hear your favorites as well!
#3 Swan Lake
Swan Lake is one of the most classical and popular ballets to date. Composed by Tchaikovsky in 1875, and premiered on March 4, 1877 at the Bolshoi, this story tells the tale of a princess who turned into a swan. Our company performed Swan Lake as our 2016 Summer Intensive showcase. I myself had the pleasure of playing the Black Swan, a role I'll truly treasure. What made this ballet special for the company was how it was restaged by Katerina Fedotova through her eyes and artistic view. Swan Lake is long, 4 acts to be in fact, and a challenge for any teacher to put on stage in only 5 weeks of a Summer. Summers entail new students, challenges, and time constrictions!
When I sat down and asked why this is her #3, she gave me her insight about how she felt this ballet could be redone for her summer students in 2016.
“I respect all of the classical original versions, and keep the classics to my best ability. I do believe the audience and dancers change over time. When I think of Swan Lake, the first impression (of the ballet) is a lake with Swans. In my version I cut act 1 out and started with act 2. The 2nd and 4th act are the core of the ballet for me, and the 3rd act unites the 2. Without the third act we have no story! That is where the excitement and drama lie! I also like a happy ending where Odette turns human and the spell is broken!”
Carmen Ballet was originally created by Roland Petit featuring famous ballerina Zizi Jeanmaire, also Petits Fiance, as the spicy, seductive role of Carmen. The whole ballet follows a love triangle between Jose the police officer and the Toreador. Eventually leading up to the death of Carmen.
When I sat down with Katerina, she told me how this ballet was inspired by an old VHS video found in her parents (Irina Depler & Vadim Fedotov) storage. This video had footage of original choreography dated back to the 1980’s when Vadim staged his version of Carmen back in Ukraine. Nostalgia hit, and memories came back when she used to watch the video as a young girl in Ukraine dancing and inspired by what she saw on tape! When she had the chance to re-stage the ballet she added in features like "Castanets , Flamenco dancing, and her own artistic style, while still preserving one of the iconic Pas De Deux and keeping the ending as originally done in 1980. Here Ive also posted a video from 2015 of this adagio being performed with RBO!
“Carmen was my ultimate favorite ballet until I restaged La Bayadere. Everything from the first entrance to the very last note of the ballet, I can listen to the music all day everyday. With my headphones in bed, car and work I can listen non stop. Carmen's vibrance, power, and strength make her character very fun and exciting to watch, eventually though her vulnerability is exposed to love, and we see a side that is relatable to how we feel in life.”
# 1 La Bayadere
And Finally, we make it to our number 1 ballet for Katerina which is La Bayadere. I asked our director why this ballet fell as her top pick. Personally this is my favorite ballet as well, and having the opportunity to perform “Nikiya” in La Bayadere was a memory I can treasure forever. She noted specifically how the movements and music made this ballet her favorite and was very eager to bring this ballet to the Orlando community for the first time!
“I had the opportunity to re-stage La Bayadere back in 2017 for the RBO summer intensive. I was always familiar with the music, but it did not become a part of my heart and soul until I actually sat down and really listened and got familiar with the whole ballet. The music sets the ambiance, and has a sort of passion and mysterious tone leaving you to want more. The storyline is also so unique and not traditionally done in a company's repertoire as well. Culturally, we do not see many ballets that are set in India. Making the costumes, props and culture so much special”
Read the synopsis and check out the video from our 2017 Performance!
Set in legendary India, La Bayadere tells the story of the doomed love between the noble warrior, Solor, and the beautiful temple dancer, Nikiya, who is murdered by her jealous rival Gamzatti. Solor under the influence of opium goes into the kingdom of the shades where he is reunited with his love, Nikiya. As he awakes, he must prepare and face the reality of marrying the Princess Gamzatti, whom he does not love. The last scene features The Temple where he is to wed Gamzatti. As they take their vows, the gods release their vengeance and destroy the temple with everyone inside. Nikiya and Solor are reunited once again with eternal love. Originally choreographed by Natalia Makarove and Music composed by Ludwig Minkus.