Nina Ananiashivili came to Beijing on Aug. 2 with her small group called ¡°Nina Ananiashvili and International Stars¡± (including Tatiana Terekhova from Kirov, Inna Petrova, Maria Alexandrova, Sergei Filin, Andrei Uvarov and Yury Klevtsov from Bolshoi, Johan Kobborg from Danish Royal Ballet and Samantha Diniz from France). They gave two performances at the Beijing Exhibition Center Theater on Aug. 3 and 4. I attended both and the rehearsal right before the first show.
The show began with ¡°Charms of Mannerism¡±, a piece choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, originally for four dancers: Nina, Terekhova, Alexei Fadeyechev and Sergei Filin. Since Fadeyechev was no longer Nina¡¯s partner, Andrei Uvarov did his part. It was an interesting piece with warm humour in Neo- Classical form. The four dancers did it very well in a pretty stylish way. We liked it very much and I do think Uvarov must be more suitable for this piece than Nina¡¯s old partner Alexei Fadeyechev.
The second piece in Part I was Flower Festival in Genzano, perform by Johan Kobborg and Samantha Diniz. It was the first time I have ever seen Kobborg. When I saw their bar lesson that afternoon, I didn¡¯t know Kobborg was a very good dancer. Actually I didn¡¯t even knew he was Kobborg, the new Royal Ballet Principal, whose name I had known for a long time. But when they started the rehearsal, suddenly I realized he was an excellent dancer. The audience enjoyed his light leaps and jumps and turns very much and sent them huge applause and bravi. Of course, he was not very hansom and not tall enough, but his smile was lovely.
Romeo and Juliet (Bedroom PDD, Lavrovsky¡¯s version) was performed by Inna Petrova and Andrei Uvarov. It was fine but not very appealing for me. The last piece in Part I was Le Corsaire PDD, performed by Maria Alexandrova and Yury Klevtsov. I found Alexandrova was a very good young dancer with excellent body/technical ability. Her powerful, light leaps and steady Pointe skill impressed us a lot. But I didn¡¯t think Klevtsov was on the same level, though he showed us some powerful jumps.
Part II began with Swan Lake act II PDD, performed by Nina and Klevtsov. It must be an easy piece for Nina but I don¡¯t think she was in a very good condition. Then, it was a wonderful ¡°Flames of Paris¡± PDD performed by Johan Kobborg and Samantha Diniz. Giselle PDD was danced by Inna Petrova and Sergei Filin. Inna was much better than 3 year ago when she did the same piece on the same stage (her hair was dark then but blonde now). But the real star was her husband Sergei Filin. It was his third appearance in Beijing and the best one (He was invited to Beijing by China Central Ballet after the first tour of Nina¡¯s group in 1997 and danced Giselle with our young dancer Zhu Yan, gold medallist of Verna Competition 1998). I really think Filin has made great progress in these few years.
The last piece was Don Quixote grand PDD. Adagio was danced byNina and Uvarov. Then, each dancer did a variation, and again Sergei Filin showed us a very great one. He was just like a flying man (He was very great even in the rehearsal, I bravoed him at that time as well). Uvarov was also very hansom and wonderful (especially in the second night) as Basil. But unfortunately, Nina¡¯s Fouette was not as speedy as usual (only 30 turns). I think she must be very tired after 2 tours (ABT to Japan and Bolshoi to UK). I hope she¡¯ll take a good holiday after her China tour, because she is one of my most favorite girls and I really want to see her more (Her Swan Lake with Collins /ABT at the Met, NY in May 1996 was so great that I can never forget).
Tickets were very expensive for this kind of performance and Chinese Income level: the most expensive one was 800RMB (about $100).