Ballet Calendar: November

Ballet Calendar: November

Many outstanding artists were born in the last month of autumn Moreover, November turned out to be fruitful for famous choreographers, in particular for George Balanchine.

On November 5, 1945, the ballet Symphonie Concertante, a one-act production by George Balanchine, premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York. Initially, this performance to the music by Mozart was called "Adventure in Ballet". According to the choreographer’s idea, the action was structured as a competition between two soloists: one ballerina danced to the sounds of a violin, the other - of a viola. 

On November 6, 1991, Olga Smirnova, a prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theater, was born. The artist graduated from the Vaganova Academy.  During her first season on the main ballet stage of the country, she was dancing the part of Nikiya in La Bayadere. Smirnova became the youngest dancer to perform this part at the Bolshoi. 

On November 9, 1776, the ballerina Nastasya Berilova was born. Her talent was applauded by Emperor Paul I. This artist sprang from peasant stock, she graduated from the St. Petersburg Theater School and became a soloist in the imperial troupe. Her career was bright but short: at the age of 28, the ballerina died of tuberculosis. 

On November 11, 1952, premiered another production by George Balanchine. He staged the one-act performance Scotch Symphony for the New York City Ballet. As a basis, the choreographer took the musical work of the same name by Mendelssohn. This production was distinguished by its plotlessness, marching and virtuoso steps.

On November 14, 1876, a Soviet ballet star of the 1920s, Ekaterina Geltser, was born. Her career started at the Bolshoi Theater, then the ballerina worked with Petipa and Christian Johansson at the Mariinsky, after which she returned to the Moscow stage. She danced with Diaghilev’s company but after the 1917 revolution became the major ballet star of the country. Geltser's stage career lasted until the age of 70. 

On November 20, 1925, Maya Plisetskaya was born. She was a prima ballerina and a teacher, a choreographer and an actress, and became a legend during her lifetime. Ballet came into Plisetskaya's life at the age of 7; decades later, the status of the Bolshoi prima ballerina didn’t become a limit for her. Maya Plisetskaya worked with foreign choreographers, staged performances herself and didn’t part with the stage until she was 70 years old. 

Also on November 20, 1920, Igor Stravinsky's ballet Petrushka premiered on the Russian stage. The audience of the State Opera and Ballet Theater saw the production by Leonid Leontiev. The choreographer tried to acquaint the spectators with Mikhail Fokine's "original artwork", presenting it virtually unchanged. 

Moreover, on November 20, 1984, the prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theater Anastasia Stashkevich was born. When the young artist graduated from college, she had a choice: to dance in Berlin under a contract or to start a career with the Bolshoi. Anastasia stayed in Moscow and her first major role was the part of Esmeralda in Yuri Burlaka's ballet. 

On November 21, 1945, the first performance of the Cinderella ballet took place on stage of the Bolshoi Theater. The choreographer Rostislav Zakharov gave the main parts to Olga Lepeshinskaya and Mikhail Gabovich. The premiere of the ballet, in which good triumphs over evil, turned out to be symbolic for the country that had recently defeated Nazi Germany. 

On November 22, 1963, a Bolshoi Theater soloist, choreographer and teacher, Ilze Liepa was born. Her ballet story began at the age of 5: learning, dancing, touring, filming, staging and teaching, as well as organizing her own ballet festival, Ilze Liepa's talent and energy allowed her to become one of the stars of contemporary ballet. 

On November 24, 1902, the production of Esmeralda (Gudula's Daughter) premiered at the Bolshoi Theater. The "mimodrama with dances" based on the novel by Victor Hugo was choreographed by Alexander Gorsky. The picturesque scenery of the Middle Ages in the ballet was recreated by the artist Konstantin Korovin. 

On November 26, 1947, another ballet by George Balanchine premiered in New York. He staged Theme and Variations to Tchaikovsky's Orchestral Suite No. 3. for the City Center of Music and Drama. Like the other two November premieres by the choreographer, this production was plotless. The two lead parts were danced by Alicia Alonso and Igor Youskevitch. 

On November 27, 1949, New Yorkers saw George Balanchine's Firebird for the first time. The performance was set to the music of Igor Stravinsky's orchestral suite, the costumes for the dancers were created by Marc Chagall, and the ballerina Maria Tallchief appeared on stage as the Firebird. This role became a happy one for her, bringing the status of a prima ballerina. 

On November 30, 1935, the choreographer Fyodor Lopukhov presented his production of The Bright Stream to the music by Dmitry Shostakovich for the first time at the Bolshoi Theater. They added socialist realism elements to the libretto, many scenes were cut out - the production didn’t benefit from this. As a result, Lopukhov's version of the ballet received negative reviews from critics.