The new soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre ballet company, American David Hallberg, has started rehearsals in Russia. His début on the Bolshoi stage will be in Giselle on November 4.
Sergei Filin, the head of the Bolshoi Ballet, who invited the 29-year-old American to Moscow, said in an interview for The Voice of Russia:
I'd like to underline his strong wish to fit in with the Bolshoi Theatre company, to work in our traditions and imitate our style. This is just the reason why he decided to become a principal dancer at the Bolshoi.
He is facing great challenges and has changed a lot in his life style after he took this decision. All this makes us treat David with great respect. Undoubtedly, as a world ballet star, he will bring something new to the Bolshoi ballet. At the same time, he will receive just as much, if not more, in the way of knowledge, experience and a repertoire which is absolutely new to him.”
David Hallberg commented:
Well I haven't spent too much time at the Bolshoi Theatre yet, so I'm not a different dancer; but Sergei has always given me amazing opportunities to dance repertoire that I wouldn't dance anywhere else in the world.”
There has not been a foreign principal dancer in the Bolshoi theatre ballet company for over 100 years, with the exception of Japanese dancer Morihiro Iwata who came to Russia in 1990, was trained there and admitted to the Bolshoi Theatre as a soloist. However, if we remember the history of Russian ballet from its very beginning at the turn of the 18th and 19th century, French and Italian dancers played the main parts both at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The founder of classical Russian ballet so highly praised in the world was Frenchman Marius Petipa for whom Russia became a second motherland, said The Voice of Russia.
The 20th century marked the reverse of traditions when Russian dancers, such as Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Makarova, joined the companies of the best foreign theatres and served as the standard of skills there. David Hallberg's arrival at the Bolshoi Theatre and Nacho Duato joining the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg last year may become a turning point. After football and hockey players, outstanding singers and dancers may start coming to Russia on a contract.
Photo: David Hallberg – RIA Novosti
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.