Grigorovich Ballet of Moscow | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Grigorovich Ballet of Moscow

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There are no safe harbors in the stormy world of dance. But those who survive are plenty tough. Yuri Grigorovich, now 75, was head of the world's most famous ballet company, the Bolshoi, from 1964 until he was ousted in 1995. By all accounts dictatorial and artistically conservative, he inspired this observation from British critic Judith Mackrel in a 1999 Guardian review of the Bolshoi: "The long rule of Yuri Grigorovich has divided the ranks into bloody factions." Perhaps hedging his bets, in 1990 he began the Grigorovich Ballet, a troupe of dancers between the ages of 19 and 25. Disbanded the same year he left the Bolshoi and re-formed in 1997, the company now includes some 90 dancers and 40 musicians and is dedicated to Grigorovich ballets; in an ironic twist, it was invited to perform his Swan Lake at the Bolshoi in 2001--where it received a thunderous welcome, including an ovation of 40 minutes. Now the troupe comes to Chicago for the first time to stage his version of the work, which Grigorovich describes on-line (at russianobserver.com) as differing from his original 1969 production: "The role of the hero has been largely increased. He fails to endure his struggle with the fate, betrays his romantic ideal of love, and inevitably comes to a tragic end." Critic Clive Barnes writes that Grigorovich "has a particular ability to create huge, flowing ensemble movements, with his principals emerging from the rest like concertante soloists." The sets for this production are based on the original designs of Grigorovich's longtime collaborator, Simon Virsaladze, whose "diagrammatic and symbolic" work, Barnes says, had a profound influence on the choreographer. Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, 312-902-1500, or 312-922-2110, ext. 4, for groups of ten or more. Friday, January 18, 8 PM. $20.50-$44.50.

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