Im­pe­rial Rus­sian Bal­let’s Sleep­ing Beauty

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE 'N' LOUD - – MAREA DONNELLY

LEAD­ING a com­pany that spends most of its time away from home, Im­pe­rial Rus­sian Bal­let chore­og­ra­pher and founder Ged­im­i­nas Taranda sees his 30 dancers as fam­ily.

‘‘It is es­sen­tial for the good at­mos­phere of the com­pany that I treat my dancers like a big fam­ily,’’ Taranda says. ‘‘My artists work so much in other coun­tries that they are like my chil­dren, my broth­ers and my sis­ters. We’re like a big fam­ily as we tour around.’’ Be­fore head­ing to Aus­tralia for a tour of Tchaikovsky’s

Sleep­ing Beauty, Taranda had a Lon­don stopover work­ing as mo­ti­va­tional coach for Rus­sian gym­nasts at the Olympics.

His itin­er­ant life­style is a stark con­trast to his fi­nal years as a lead dancer with Rus­sia’s Bol­shoi Bal­let, when suc­cess­ful Soviet dancers were all viewed as po­ten­tial de­fec­tors and kept on a tight rein.

In 1984, the KGB pre­vented Taranda from danc­ing the lead role in the Bol­shoi’s per­for­mances in Paris, Lon­don and New York. A critic of the Soviet regime, Taranda says the KGB threat­ened that if he con­tin­ued to talk about re­form he would be pre­vented from leav­ing the coun­try, dis­qual­i­fy­ing him from the Bol­shoi, which toured abroad.

Like other dancers, Taranda was also for­bid­den from go­ing out af­ter 10pm, from watch­ing po­lit­i­cal movies, or from gath­er­ing in groups of five or more.

In 1993, he es­tab­lished the Im­pe­rial Rus­sian Bal­let – and the per­fec­tion­ist ad­mits his dancers work ‘‘very, very hard’’.

‘‘I have 25 dancers who have been with me for many years, as well as about six on shorter con­tracts,’’ he says. ‘‘When they join they un­der­stand it will be very hard, phys­i­cally and psy­cho­log­i­cally. To keep up our good qual­ity we must work to­gether ev­ery day.’’

The Im­pe­rial Rus­sian Bal­let Com­pany per­forms Sleep­ing Beauty at The Arts Cen­tre Gold Coast on Satur­day at 8pm and Sun­day at 2pm.

The Im­pe­rial Rus­sian Bal­let Com­pany brings Sleep­ing Beauty to the Coast this week­end.

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