Rus­sian bal­let leg­end re­turns to Herod At­ti­cus, as guest of honor

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY CHRISTINA SANOUDOU

In the early 1970s, the Bol­shoi Bal­let came to Athens, with a star danc­ing the ti­tle role of Spar­ta­cus at a packed Herod At­ti­cus The­ater. Mikhail Lavrovsky was at the apogee of his fame at the time and this par­tic­u­lar role, which earned him the Lenin Prize, was to be­come a ca­reer mile­stone. It was a per­for­mance he has never for­got­ten and the dancer’s dream to re­turn to the Ro­man-era the­ater is about to come true in Septem­ber, just a month shy of his 76th birth­day.

The trib­ute to Lavrovsky by the Bol­shoi that pre­miered in Moscow on May 4 is trav­el­ing out­side Rus­sia for the first time for three shows in Greece and fea­tures the com­pany’s most fa­mous young soloists, Ivan Vasiliev, as well as other stars such as Nina Kaptsova, Igor Tsvirko and Maria Vino­gradova, along with the corps de bal­let. In­deed, prac­ti­cally ev­ery im­por­tant Rus­sian dancer to­day was at one point or an­other a stu­dent of Lavrovsky’s.

At a press con­fer­ence on Tues­day ahead of the Septem­ber shows in Thes­sa­loniki and Athens, the vet­eran dancer spoke of his bond with Greece. “My par­ents taught me to love the Greek civ­i­liza­tion and to live in a Spar­tan manner. I was not al­lowed to make mis­takes, only to move for­wards,” he told re­porters in Athens.

The son of cel­e­brated Bol­shoi chore- og­ra­pher Leonid Lavrovsky and dancer Elena Chik­vaidze, Mikhail was born in Tbil­isi in 1941 and at­tended the Moscow State Academy of Chore­og­ra­phy. In the years that fol­lowed he per­formed ev­ery lead­ing male role in the clas­si­cal reper­tory, earn­ing the nick­name “Su­per­man of dance.” He also served for years as artis­tic di­rec­tor of the Stanislavsky The­ater and his alma mater. He has been a dance teacher at the Bol­shoi since 1987 and has ded­i­cated a great part of his en­ergy to chore­og­ra­phy.

“The artist must al­ways main­tain his pres­ence in dance be­cause while the body may aban­don him, the spirit is al­ways present,” Lavrovsky said.

There doesn’t seem to be much wrong with his body, how­ever, and he in­tends to per­form in the show or­ga­nized in his honor by the Bol­shoi, di­rected by his son, Leonid.

The pro­gram com­prises dances from his ca­reer high­lights such as “Spar­ta­cus” and “Don Quixote,” but also Lavrovsky’s own his­toric chore­ogra­phies, among them “Casanova,” “Ni­jin­sky” and “The Rus­sian Bal­le­rina,” as well as a small pre­view of Lavrovsky’s lat­est piece, “Amok,” which pre­mieres at the Bol­shoi next year.

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