Moscow Stanislavsky Theatre Ballet

The Ballet Company of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre can trace its roots back to an infamous meeting held just over a century ago. In 1897, Konstantin Stanislavsky and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko met at the Slavyansky Bazaar restaurant in Moscow for a lunch that began on June 22 and ended 18 hours later at the Stanislavsky family estate of Lyubimovka near the capital. Both visionaries shared a common goal: to create a modern performing arts center within which they could merge their active organizations and ultimately meld their contacts of amateur performers and students. A year and four months later, they inaugurated the Moscow Art Theatre bringing together some of Russia's finest artists. This year marks the 100th anniversary of this successful drama theatre.

Stanislavsky formed another center in 1926, the Opera Studio, an offspring of the famous Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. There, he directed several operas, including Carmen, which were considered to be exemplar productions.

In 1929, former Bolshoi ballet star Victorina Krieger (b. 1896) formed the Moscow Art Ballet and joined with the Moscow Art Theatre. In a remarkable move, Krieger melded Stanislavsky's system of acting with her ballet productions, encouraging the dancers in her company to be not only superlative dancers but actors as well. Instead of relying on traditional interpretations of their roles, dancers explored the motivation behind their characters, bringing a greater depth and drama to their performances while remaining true to the stylistic and physical demands of classical dance.

What is known today as the Music Theatre named after Stansislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko was created in 1941 as a result of the merger between their two respective theatres and included Krieger's dance troupe. The company immediately gained recognition for breaking with classical European theatre tradition, bringing together Stanislavsky's "method-acting" with Danchenko's muscial expertise. They began staging radical new plays by Anton Chekov and paved the way for a new freedom of expression and emotion to be expressed on the stage. Danchenko was the company's first musical director and continued until his death in 1943.

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