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Friday, December 4, 2009


Comments on Nu Metro’s screening of St Petersburg Ballet performance.

Nu Metro are showcasing the world’s most prestigious contemporary performing arts companies in Opera and Ballet Circle, an ongoing series of spectacular operas and ballets.

The following are comments from members of the Live Wires team on the screening of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, a performance by the St Petersburg ballet company starring Olga Balinskaya and Irina Golub

Dawn Haynes: The film starts with a panoramic shot of the interior of the ballet theatre and one immediately feels transported to the seats in the gallery so that when the ballet begins, it feels as though you are one of the audience at this live performance. I had to restrain myself from applauding as the conductor entered the orchestra pit, so “real” is the experience!
Seeing ballet on a large screen is, however, a very different thing from being in a theatre. One is looking at the ballet through the eyes of the movie director. It is remarkable to see such vivid, close up shots of the performers so that the details of their costumes, facial expression and even the makeup were so clear. This made the ballet take on a new dimension. It was not just watching the performance of large group of dancers, but rather noticing the intensity of each individual performance.
The incredible set and costumes were even more vivid in close up. The fantasy became almost sinister as we were taken through the first act. The grotesque “Commedia Delle Arte” masks and the larger than life set gave the impression of being trapped in a surreal nightmare. This is certainly not something usually experienced while watching The Nutcracker.
The second act concentrated more on the staging and the cinematography became more inclusive of the group performances, rather than the individuals. The drama of the first act was still there, but the focus now was on the dancing. The beautiful music of Tchaikovsky which is translated into intricate and varied choreography brought us back to the reality that this was a ballet we were watching, and not a movie.
The St Petersburg Ballet performance of 2007 was certainly something we would not experience in Durban. We simply do not have the facilities to house such an elaborate production. But now, we can get as close as possible to the real thing. A number of people in the audience were transported to the theatre and spontaneously applauded the amazing solos and pas des deux performed by the principles. I will certainly be back for more and eagerly await the next Ballet Movie – Swan Lake on January 1 at Cinema Nouveau, Gateway

Di Matthews: There are not enough superlatives to describe this outstanding performance of superb dancing, beautiful music, stunning costumes and scenery and anyone who enjoys ballet is in for a treat of a lifetime. The most professional and perfect performance of this timeless ballet classic. First rate performances by the principals, Irina Golub as Masha, Leonid Sarafanov as the Prince and a fabolous Anton Adasinsky as Drosselmeyer. Not to be missed!

For a complete list of forthcoming shows, visit