News and events
26 July
Cherry Forest Festival: Boris Eifman’s The Pygmalion Effect Premieres at the Bolshoi

The Historical Stage of the Bolshoi hosted the premiere of a new production by the Saint Petersburg Eifman Ballet on July 25.

Artyom and Nadezhda Mikhalkov, Svetlana Bondarchuk, Aliona Doletskaya, Darya Veledyeva, Irada Zeinalova, Yekaterina Shipulina, Svetlana Zhurova, Ilia Averbukh, Yuri Ovchinnikov, Gor Nakhapetyan, Victor Shkulev, Eteri Levieva were spotted in the audience. Guests were welcomed in the grand hall by the organizer of the Cherry Forest Festival Mikhail Kusnirovich and his wife, Yekaterina Moiseeva.

For the seventh consecutive year, the Cherry Forest Festival presents a production by Eifman in Moscow. The new ballet proved to be a most innovative work: first of all, it is a comedy centered on social conflict; secondly, the choreography is based on ballroom dances. The ballet is notable for its high emotionality, dramatic irony, and distinct scenic design.

The Pygmalion Effect is an adaptation of the familiar ancient Greek myth relating to the story of how a sculptor fell in love with his creation. The production is set in modern times: a famous dancer and member of high society, Lyon (Oleg Gabyshev), stands in for Pygmalion. He encounters the headstrong but talented Gala (Lyubov Andreyeva) and begins transforming this “child of the gutters” into a “diamond.”

“I’ve chosen a subject that is centered on the idea of changes and transformations. This story was originally a myth that was later adapted by Bernard Shaw. I’ve decided to adapt the story with ballroom dances rather than phonetics as the focal point. The technique of ballroom dances is difficult to learn, as it requires particular dynamism and passion which seem foreign to ballet dancers”, – underlines Boris Eifman.

“Gala finds herself in between two worlds: the rich and the poor. She loses touch with both of these extremes”, – confesses Lyubov Andreyeva.

The curious experiment with transformations is set to music by Johann Strauss II and Mozart. Ultimately Gala’s lover reciprocates her feelings. However, the happy ending is relegated to the heroine’s dreams.

“I usually essay dramatic roles, and Lyon is a completely new part for me. It was important to underline the self-centered, narcissistic nature of this character. The hero does not change in the course of the play. Still, I did my best to romanticize and humanize him”, – notes dancer Oleg Gabyshev.

“Dance helps us overcome social and psychological barriers; it unites people, brings them closer. It is life and society that separate us. The characters of my ballet experience harmony only in dance. They lose that harmony when they come back to reality”, – states Eifman.

Audience members at the premiere were more than happy to share their impressions:

Marina Zudina: Boris transforms the familiar story by Shaw into a completely new drama. This production reminds one of Broadways musicals, high drama, tragicomedies.

Ilia Averbukh: The production flow is smooth; one does not notice the passing of time. I noted the expressive choreography and breathtaking suspensions. Every move seemed to be original.

Nadezhda Mikhalkova: I do support the mixing of genres: this is the time for experiments and unusual combinations in art.

Svetlana Bondarchuk: Everyone must see The Pygmalion Effect. It is difficult to go to the Bolshoi to see it, but one should see the broadcast. This is a beautiful production.

Aliona Doletskaya: The familiar Eifman aesthetic, classical ballet, elegant movement – it is all here. The cast is talented and well-rehearsed.

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