Russia ballet stars put in the legwork
Culture: Dance troupe on north-east tour aim to ‘bring people together’
Performers from the Russian State Ballet have toured the north-east to strengthen links with Scotland.
Last night the dancers put on a show in Speyside to mark the 20th anniversary of the connection between Moscow and the region.
The bond was forged when shortbread giants Walkers funded the first Highland games to be held in the Russian capital.
Since then, diplomatic relations between the leaders of the countries have become more strained. This week Prime Minister Theresa May accused Vladimir Putin of trying to “sow discord”.
However, Vitaly Mironov, president of Moscow’s Caledonian Club, which has organised the visit, believes dance can help to “bring people together”.
Mr Mironov, who is making his 90th visit to Scotland, said: “I could shout in the street about it but people might think I’m mad. But we have the Russian State Ballet, quite famous, and they can inspire children all over Scotland to believe they can also become ballerinas.
“Scotland has excellent folk music but not as much classical art – ballet is one of the purest forms. Seeing the Russian State Ballet will create memories for children they will never forget.”
Yesterday, five soloists from the troupe, which include Japanese and American dancers, performed a gala showcase to a packed audience at Speyside High School in Aberlour.
Earlier this week the ballet performers were joined on stage by 50 youngsters, some as young as five years old, at Aberdeen’s Tivoli Theatre. Jim Walker, managing director of Walkers shortbread, helped fund the first Highland games in Moscow in 1997 and is backing the group’s current trip, which also includes Portree, Dundee, West Lothian, Fife and Northern Ireland.