Russian State Ballet of Siberia boss reveals planning UK tour was like a ‘military operation’

La Fille mal gardée

La Fille mal gardée - Credit: Archant

Romantic, enchanting, passionate and charismatic, Russian ballet holds a special magic that continues to captivate.

Sergei Selivanov

Sergei Selivanov - Credit: Archant

Formed in 1981, The Russian State Ballet of Siberia, the international name for the ballet company of Krasnoyarsk state opera and ballet theatre, has become established as one of Russia's leading touring ballet companies, one that always enthrals loyal audiences across Britain, and they are about to return with their biggest tour yet.

Under the artistic directorship of Sergei Bobrov, dancers from across Russia, soloists and corps de ballet, have forged their skills and artistry performing an expanding repertoire of new works and productions of timeless classics to the live accompaniment of the Russian State Ballet Orchestra of Siberia.

Their repertoire at the Norwich Theatre Royal will consist of three of the most popular ballets of all time – La Fille mal gardée on January 14, Giselle on January 15 and Cinderella on January 16 - all danced to music from the live ballet symphony orchestra.

The Ipswich Regent show will also feature Cinderella on February 28 and fan favourites The Nutcracker (March 1) and Swan Lake (March 2).

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The tour makes big demands of the 45 dancers who, for the first time, include guest performers and soloists from across Europe as well as Russia.

Sergei Selivanov, head of international touring, said: 'The main core of the company is still Russian but this time there will be dancers from Spain, Italy, France, Hungary and the UK.

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'We are very happy that they will be joining us and we are keen to see how they do. Obviously it will be new for them too to be performing with Russian dancers, but the artistic director Sergei Bobrov assures me they look really great.'

The European dancers travelled to the company's home in Krasnoyarsk to learn the repertoire, which was 'a daunting task for them, but that's what they had to do to join the company'.

La Fille mal gardée. Picture: Courtesy of Norwich Theatre Royal

La Fille mal gardée. Picture: Courtesy of Norwich Theatre Royal - Credit: Archant

But once on tour they will go through the same gruelling training schedule.

'The team trains almost like a sports team,' Sergei revealed. 'There is a ballet class every morning. After breakfast they go to class between 10am and noon, then they will have rehearsals in the auditorium. Then they will go back to the hotel to relax. Then after three or four hours they will go back to the venue and go on stage.

'It is so important they are in a routine and rehearse all the time.

'Sometimes they are also releasing for roles and scenes in productions that we may not even be performing at that particular theatre, but particular couples will take the time to rehearse for a couple of hours until they are ready for the evening performance.

'They are constantly preparing for other productions and other performances coming later in the tour.'

The logistics of putting together a tour with six different productions, which also includes The Snow Maiden, dozens of performers, musicians and backstage personnel aren't to be underestimated and Sergei is the man charged with making sure everything runs will military precision.

'It is like planning a military operation but one that is at least on the same battlefield,' he laughs.

'After so many tours we have become so familiar with what is needed to bring things together, the dancers, the productions, the tour planning, that it is usual now.


Giselle - Credit: Archant

'Yes, it's a lot of work, but the teams all know what needs to be done, that it feels easy to organise.'

The variety of productions for 2019 UK tour also reflect a desire to expand people's tastes and broaden what their perceptions are when they think of classical ballet.

Sergei explained: 'As a company we want to broaden the repertoire and bring the people different productions, maybe at the expense of it not being completely sold out.

It's an educational process, but if you bring very good quality productions I think that people will appreciate seeing something new.'

You can purchase tickets on the Norwich Theatre Royal website, by phone on 01603 630000 or in person at the box office.

You can book Ipswich Regent tickets online, by phone on 01473 433100 or in person.

Cinderella Credit: IGOR ZAKHARKIN

Cinderella Credit: IGOR ZAKHARKIN - Credit: Archant

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