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Summing up a crime-free Bolshoi year

Tough on foreigners, but new deal calms Bolshoi performers

Filin’s way: talks on Osipova

"Natasha said that she would love to dance on the Bolshoi stage again. The Bolshoi Theatre, for its part, is very much open to that"

11 SEP 14     The Bolshoi is reported to be in active talks with Alexei Ratmansky about a return to create a new ballet for Moscow. The move would be a significant act of reconciliation between today’s somewhat frosty and inward-looking Russia and the choreographer and artistic director whom it effectively repelled after five splendid years in the mid-2000s for being too broad-minded, too non-Soviet.

However, a key negotiator can be expected to be the present ballet director Sergei Filin, who was one of Ratmansky’s star performers, and who remains a representative of pro-Western openness against the new nationalistic introversion of a Russia which finds itself under attack for its actions in seizing parts of Ukraine for supposedly historic reasons.

This news agency report is unclear how much Ratmansky has assented to the present wooing, but makes clear how hard the Bolshoi is trying.

It also mentions a possibility - again unconfirmed - of former Ratmansky fast-trackers Natalia Osipova (now the Royal Ballet’s star) and Ivan Vasiliev reappearing in their old theatre.

Tomorrow the Bolshoi will announced its new season, in which presumably some of this will be fleshed out. Here is a translation.

Filin: ‘We are in contact with Alexei’

ITAR-TASS, 11 September 2014

Bolshoi Theatre general director Vladimir Urin is in talks with former ballet artistic director Alexei Ratmansky about the possibility of creating a new ballet for the Bolshoi. This was announced on Thursday by current ballet artistic director Sergei Filin.

“We are in contact with Alexei,” Filin said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta, to be published Friday 12 September. “Vladimir Urin is in talks with him about a production, about his return to the Bolshoi stage. But it all depends on Alexei himself. As soon as he can find an opportunity, he may come straightaway to work at the Bolshoi. So in any case, there will be a new creation by Alexei for the Bolshoi.”

The choreographer Alexei Ratmansky was artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet from 2004 to 2008, and in 2009 became American Ballet Theatre’s choreographer.

Apart from this, according to Filin, the Bolshoi Theatre may also field in its new season appearances by former soloists Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasilev, who left the company in 2011.

"We looked for a chance to have Natasha Osipova in a Bolshoi production, but she is actively engaged in England’s Royal Ballet,” said Filin. “Her free time does not  coincide with the Bolshoi Theatre schedule; at the season end, when she might dance with us, the Bolshoi is putting on a new creation on Hero of Our Time. Natasha said that she would love to dance on the Bolshoi stage again. The Bolshoi Theatre, for its part, is very much open to that possibility.”

As regards Ivan Vasiliev, Filin said that he will dance in Bolshoi productions fairly frequently. “It may be that in December he will appear in The Nutcracker," said the artistic director.

Speaking about himself, Sergei Filin said that he had long since ceased to dance, and he missed dancing, he missed ballet. “But despite the fact that I don’t dance any more, and in spite of recent events, despite the fact that I cannot allow myself too much physical exertion, I continue an active life. I am among great artists who come to us to work, outstanding choreographers, directors, tutors - Pierre Lacotte, John Neumeier, Jean-Christophe Maillot and others. It is this living work that makes me stay in shape, feel full of strength and energy.”

After the attack on him on 17 January 2013, Sergei Filin underwent a long course of treatment in Russia and Germany. In September 2013, he resumed his artistic position at the Bolshoi Theatre.

Bolshoi woos Ratmansky and Osipova

Former Bolshoi ballet director, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky