It's become an annual event in Rome – after the Christmas holidays and the last bite of panettone, comes the Daniele Cipriani Entertainment dance gala with some of the best and biggest names in ballet today.
This year, in Renzo Piano's beautiful Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, the dates to jot in your dairy are 20 and 21 January. Cipriani says,
I always choose dancers at the top of their game to come together, so that on the same stage the most exciting stars from around the world can be seen together. It's a brilliant opportunity to see the best that dance has to offer:
Vladislav Lantratov and Maria Alexandrova from the Bolshoi; Leonid Sarafanov from the Mikhailovsky in Saint Petersburg and Olesya Novikova from the Mariinsky; Polina Semionova from the Berlin State Ballet; Bakhtiyar Adamzhan from the Astana Opera Ballet (Kazakhstan) and Tatiana Melnik Hungarian National Ballet; Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov of The Royal Ballet; Sergio Bernal from the National Ballet of Spain.
In each edition of Les Étoiles there has always been a surprise guest. Last year it was Bernal, this year it has been revealed that it's a male dance and he will be dancing with Semionova…
One of the most intriguing pieces on the programme is a pas de deux from the Bolshoi's ballet Nureyev which caused such a scandal when it was cancelled a couple of days before it's opening, and then was allowed back on stage not long after, apparently with only minor changes, after an international outcry. It is thought that officials objected to Nureyev's homosexuality being depicted on stage. It finally opened just over a year ago in Moscow.
Real life couple Lantratov and Alexandrova played Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn, and they will reprise their duet. This edition of the gala is dedicated to Fonteyn who was born one hundred years ago this year.
The truly winning card of Les étoiles, given the internationality of its interpreters, the companies from which they come, the music and its choreographers, is “The World”. In this time of deep division, Les étoiles is an international army representing great art, triumphing by bringing a message of harmony to the world, where dance offers the view of an ideal society.
Programme Les étoiles 2019
Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov
Pas de deux from Sylvia (Ashton) and Le Corsaire (Petipa)
Polina Semionova and ‘surprise guest'
Black Swan pas de deux (Petipa) and Jeunehomme (Uwe Scholz)
Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov
Pas de deux “Nureyev and Fonteyn” from Nureyev (Possokhov) and La Fille du Pharaon (Lacotte)
Olesya Novikova and Leonid Sarafanov
Pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet (Lavrovsky) and Grand Pas Classique (Gsovsky)
Tatiana Melnik and Bakhtiyar Adamzhan
Pas de deux from Diana and Actaeon and Don Quixote (Petipa)
The Swan (Bernal) and Zapateado de Sarasate (Soler)
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.