Recreating the Legendary Laurencia Ballet

27 June 2010

The Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation supported the revival of the Laurencia ballet, initiated by the Mikhailovsky Theatre in honour of the 100th anniversary of its creator, the great dancer and choreographer, Vakhtang Chabukiani.

The ballet was first staged at the Kirov Theatre in pre-war 1939. The plot is based on The Sheep Well, a play by Lope de Vega, set to the music of Alexander Krein. In this original production, the title role was danced by Natalia Dudinskaya, the male protagonist Frondoso was inimitably performed by Vakhtang Chabukiani. This ballet was the perfect springboard for showcasing the explosive temper of this remarkable artist, who always danced in his own special style, combining classical purity and the expressive power of folk dance.

Chabukiani’s masterpiece was revisited by the chief choreographer of the Mikhailovsky Theatre Mikhail Messerer. A connoisseur of ballet history, he endowed Laurencia with the tempo and dynamism of today’s life. “This ballet belongs to a specific part of the Russian choreographic heritage — luxurious, spectacular, theatrical in the most sublime and the most simple sense of the word. This is our common cultural heritage. The Mikhailovsky Theatre took upon itself the mission to recreate this unique ballet and give today’s audiences an idea of an entire period in the development of the art of dance”.

The ballet premiered on June 5 and 6, 2010 at the St. Petersburg Mikhailovsky Theatre.

As a dancer and choreographer, Vakhtang Chabukiani (1910-1992) was People’s Artist of the USSR, bearer of the Lenin Prize and Hero of Socialist Labour. He worked at the Leningrad S.M. Kirov Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre (1929-1941) and at the Tbilisi Z.P. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet Theatre (1941-1973). Among many other pieces, he choreographed the famous ballets Heart of the Hills, Laurencia, Othello and Demon.

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