BALLET British Columbia

Moscow Classical Ballet's Nutcracker

Dates and Venue 28 – 31 December 2007@ 7.30 pm with three matinee performances on 29, 30, and 31 December @ 1.30 pm | Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Reviewer Ross Michael Pink

Not since 1998 has the Moscow Classical Ballet performed in Vancouver and the absence has been felt. Yet the time away melted in an instant when the coveted and acclaimed company returned to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre last Friday (28 December) for an enchanting and technically superior performance of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker.

The Moscow Classical Ballet was founded in 1966 as a Russian touring company. The MCB is one of only three state-supported Russian ballet troupes, the others being the Bolshoi and the Kirov.

In 1977, Vladimir Vasilyov and Natalia Kasatkina assumed the roles of artistic directors. Since that time, the creative and dedicated duo have produced more than 55 of their librettos in the USSR and abroad including 30 countries.

There are many versions of the Nutcracker yet the MCB has a focus more on the dancing rather than the costuming and an ambiance geared toward children.

Notwithstanding, the scenery was elaborate and rich, creating a stage environment in full harmony with the illustrious ballet. Yet it is in the mastery of dance and technical brilliance where the MCB shines in comparison to other companies.

As Aristotle noted many centuries ago, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.” The art of excellence is a fitting description for this shining ballet company.

There are several major talents in the company. Lioudmila Doxomova in the role of Mary was outstanding. She graduated from the Moscow School of Choreography in 1998 and was a gold medal winner in 1999 at the International Young Ballet Dancers Competition in Yalta. Artem Khoroshilov in the role of the Prince was eloquent and strong.

Artem graduated from the Saratov School of Choreography in 2003. He appears in such leading roles as Benno and Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake and the Prince of Chukotka in Cinderella.

Alena Podavolova in the role of Myshilda is captivating. She is considered to be one of the top dancers with MCB. Podavolova is a prize winner at the acclaimed International Moscow Ballet competition.

Ivan Zviagintsev performed in the role of Drosselmeyer. He is a promising dancer with excellent technique. Special merit goes to E. Dvorkina for the beautiful set and costume design.

The sellout crowd at the QET was truly impressed and the beneficiary of an evening of ballet by one of the world’s stellar companies.

© 2007 Ross Michael Pink