The Kremlin Ballet was born in 1990 on the initiative of its founder and present artistic director, Andrei Petrov, and thanks to his energy, persistence and undoubted organizational abilities. He knew this huge stage well- he had danced on it as a Bolshoi Ballet soloist since 1965, when joined the country’s first ballet company after graduating from the Moscow Academy of Choreography (the former Moscow Ballet School).
At that time, the Kremlin Palace was the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Russia’s second stage and its productions were shown here on a regular basis. Later on, when the Bolshoi stopped using the Kremlin Palace, Petrov had the idea of creating an independent company, based on this theatre. The idea won the active support of Russian ballet people. The outstanding dancers Ekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vasiliev began to collaborate with the new Company, Vasiliev transferring to the Kremlin stage his ballet Macbeth ( music by Kyril Molchanov), premiered at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1980. And so the young Kremlin Ballet Company opened with Macbeth.
Their second production was Evening of Old Ballet – fragments from The Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, La Sylphide, and also the virtually unknown in Moscow Marius Petipa masterpiece Dance of the Hours from Amilcare Ponchielli’s opera La Gioconda and Petipa’s one act ballet Halte de Cavalerie (music Johann Armsheimer).
Anderi Petrov, the new theatre’s artistic director, gave a clear definition of the Company’s future course – its repertoire would be based on masterpieces from the classical legacy and modern dance of various trends. The Company, which was still in the process of formation, was made up of graduates from various ballet schools. Heading the Kremlin Ballet’s group was Ekaterina Maximova. Working alongside Maximova as teachers were Ekaterina Aksyonova, Erik Volodin, Nataliya Voskresenskaya, Alevtina Korzenkova, Vladimir Koshelev, Vadim Tedeev, Lyudmila Charskaya.
Kremlin Ballet actively set about drawing up an original repertoire. In 1991, Vladimir Vasiliev did a new version of Prokofiev’s Cinderella.. Next came a ballet based on Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila. Choreographer Andrei Petrov arranged a colorful pageant where, in the crowd scenes, solo episodes, duets and ensembles, academic classical dance was combined with the riotous fantasy of the Russian folk dance.
Contemporary music, which occupies a major place in the Kremlin Ballet repertoire, acts as a spur to the creative imagination of the Company’s artistic director. Take, for instance, Andrei Petrov’s work in giving stage form to the Gogol theme. For the Bolshoi Theatre, he created Sketches, a ballet to music by Alfred Schnitke, in which Gogol’s personages from Dead Souls, The Inspector General, The Great Coat, The Nose, The Diary of a Madman were brought to life on stage.
The Kremlin Ballet Company’s repertoire is closely linked to the ballet classics: Halte de Cavalerie, Don Quixote, Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, The Sleeping beauty, Esmeralda.
Yuri Grigorovich has collaborated three times with Kremlin Ballet. He mounted for it Romeo and Juliet (1999), Ivan the Terrible (2001) and Le Corsaire (2007). These were new versions of his previous productions, created specially for the Company. Grigorovich has always had a flair for combining original choreography with restoration of the classical legacy, and it was this same quality he demonstrated in his collaboration with the Company.
Kremlin Ballet has begun to collaborate with the Maris Liepa Foundation, headed by Andris and Ilze Liepa, and with the SAV Entertainment production company. The Following masterpieces from the famous Diaghilev enterprise have been revived: The Blue God, Tamar, Scheherazade, Firebird, Bolero, L’Apres-midi d’un faune, Le Pavillon d’Armide.
Taking part in the Russian Seasons 21st century project were the following ballet stars: Nikolai Tsiskaridze, Ilze Liepa, Irma Nioradze, Ilya Kuznetsov. Contemporary foreign choreographers participated in the project: Wayne Eagling ( The Blue Bird) and Jurijus Smoriginas ( Tamar and Le Pavillon d’Armide).
The following Russian and foreign ballet stars have taken part as guest artists in Kremlin Ballet productions: Anastasiya Volochkova, Yuri Klevtsov and Alexander Volchkov (Bolshoi Theatre of Russia). Karl Paquette, Matilde Froustey and Stephane Bullion (Paris Opera National), Igor Iebra (Spain), Michael Shannon (USA), Sergei Sidorsky (National Opera of Ukraine).
The Company tours extensively in Russia and abroad – 26 countries and many Russian cities have had the opportunity of becoming acquainted with its repertory. Kremlin Ballet, which will soon be celebrating its twentieth anniversary, is a mobile Company with original repertoire and a distinctive artistic signature of its own.