Imperial Russian Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty
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.