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Kirov Ballet to Stun Beijing's Audiences
Renowned Kirov Ballet of Mariinsky Theatre returns to Beijing from October 1-3 with Swan Lake and Jewels.

The ballet will perform at Beizhan Theatre.

The Kirov Ballet of St Petersburg and the Kirov Academy of Ballet date back to 1738, when the original St Petersburg School was founded by ballet master Jean Baptiste Lande.

Several decades later, Empress Catherine the Great established a ballet company, which subsequently became known as "The Mariinsky," and later "The Kirov Ballet."

Throughout the 19th century, a succession of influential ballet masters guided the company -- including the most influential of all, Marius Petipa, and later Agrippina Vaganova.

These masters developed dancers and techniques, and staged a wealth of precedent-breaking productions.

Impeccable precision, emotion-provoking grace, individual creativity and the very special Kirov Ballet vigor marked each performance then, and does more so, today.

Its current director, Makharbek Vasiev, has an eye for talent. Vasiev is bringing his most wonderful dancers on the China tour.

Svetlana Zakharova stars as Odette in Swan Lake. Zakharova sets the standard for Odette.

Compared with Swan Lake, Chinese audiences might not be familiar with Jewels.

Balanchine in 1967 choreographed Jewels. It consisted of three sections: Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds.

The Kirov debuted Jewels in 1999 in Russia, took it to London in 2000, and first performed it in the United States last February at the Kennedy Center.

As the company moved through its permanent repertoire of Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty towards the floating castle of Jewels, its greatest glory was revealed: The ballerinas.

There isn't another company in the world as rich -- Diana Vishneva, Veronika Part, Daria Pavlenko, Zhanna Ayupova, Sofia Gumerova and Irina Golub are rising like cream.

The Kirov splendor in Jewels is intoxicating. The dancers would have left Balanchine beaming.

Part, the company's Ava Gardner look-alike, is like a milkmaid princess in "Emeralds."

Vishneva in "Rubies" is a sound technical dancer. "Rubies" is about will, and Vishneva is impressive.

The men excelled in their specific talents -- Fadeyev's aristocratic dispatch; Samodurov's compact landings, swiftly torqued; and Danila Korsuntsev's rangy grace.

(China Daily September 27, 2002)

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