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Russian Ballet Companies Go Head To Head This Summer

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Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet returns to London this summer with a three-week, six-programme visit to the Opera house (19 July-7 August). Its season overlaps with the St Petersburg Mikhailovsky Ballet, formerly known as the Maly, whose two-week visit features five programmes at the London Coliseum (13-25 July).

Last seen in London in 2008, the Mikhailovsky Ballet opens its season with Swan Lake, followed by Giselle, then the children’s ballet Cipollino, and then a revival of Laurencia, a little-known ballet last seen in the former Soviet Union 50 years ago. The season concludes with a mixed bill including Le Halte de cavalerie (Cavalry Halt), a new work Viacheslav Samodurov, and a string of Divertissements that bring the total number of ballets in its visit to eight.

That’s only one less than the Bolshoi, which begins its season with its famous production of Spartacus, followed by Coppelia, and then a double bill of Serenade and Giselle (the last is the only ballet both companies perform). Next is a triple bill of short ballets (Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons, Fokine’s Petruskha, and the Grand Pas from Petipa’s Paquita), followed by Le Corsaire and Don Quixote.

The arrival of two Russian companies in London in little under a month could be seen as a sign of over supply, although dance fans will welcome the chance to pick and choose between 16 different ballets at a traditionally quiet time for dance.


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