Bolshoi Ballet

Bolshoi Ballet

[bohl-shoi, bol-]
Bolshoi Ballet, one of the principal ballet companies of Russia; part of the Bolshoi Theater, which also includes Russia's premier opera company. The Bolshoi Ballet began as a dancing school for the Moscow Orphanage in 1773. The Bolshoi Theatre, which opened permanently in 1856, in its early decades competed for preeminence with the Maryinsky Theatre of St. Petersburg (see Kirov Ballet). Aleksandr Gorsky revitalized the dance company in the early 20th cent. and introduced a new dramatic realism to the classical ballets. Igor Moiseyev experimented with folk-dance ballets at the Bolshoi in the 1930s. The company is internationally acclaimed for its superb ensemble skills and for the spectacular realism of its scenery and costumes. During the 1960s, Maya Plisetskaya was the company's prima ballerina. In 1964, Yuri Grigorovich became chief choreographer and later, artistic director, serving until 1995. His productions included a very successful version of Khachaturian's Spartacus. Aleksei Fadeyechev was the ballet's artistic director from 1998 to 2000, when Boris Akimov was named to the post. The company is internationally acclaimed and regularly tours with such classics as Giselle and Swan Lake.

See study by Y. Grigorovich and V. Vaslov (1984).

The Little Humpbacked Horse, or The Tsar Maiden (aka Konyok Gorbunok ili Tsar-Devitsa, or Le Petit cheval bossu, ou La Tsar-Demoiselle) Magic Ballet in 4 Acts-8 Scenes with apotheosis. Choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon, and music by Cesare Pugni. Libretto by Arthur Saint-Léon, based on the fairy tale The Little Humpbacked Horse by Pyotr Yershov. First presented by the Imperial Ballet on December 3/15 (Julian/Gregorian calendar dates), 1864 at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. Principal Dancers - Marfa Muravieva (as the Tsar Maiden) and Timofei Stukolkin (as Ivanushka).

Revivals/Restagings/Alternate versions


  • In an effort to appeal to the tastes of his Imperial Russian audience, Saint-Léon concluded the ballet with a Grand divertissement celebrating all the different nations of Russia, beginning with a Grand cortège to a march by the composer titled The Peoples of Russia. The Grand divertissement included the choreographer's own balletic version of Russian national dance.
  • Petipa's 1895 revival included a new prologue and apotheosis, as well as additional variations for the Ballerina Legnani written by Riccardo Drigo.
  • Alexander Radunsky choreographed his own version to a score by Rodion Shchedrin for the Bolshoi Ballet, Moscow, in 1960. The choregrapher Igor Belsky utilized Schedrin's score in his staging for the Maly Theatre in Leningrad in 1963. The Radunsky—Shchedrin version was filmed in 1961 with Maya Plisetskaya as the Tsar Maiden and Vladimir Vasiliev as Ivanushka.

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