The Russians Are Coming

July 3, 2017

The Lincoln Center Festival always includes a spectacular, if brief, display of international dance. This July, two programs involving the Bolshoi Ballet arrive at the Koch Theater.

The first one brings together three superb ballet companies to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Balanchine’s Jewels. Paris Opera Ballet will do “Emeralds,” the serene opening section, to the music of French composer Gabriel Fauré. The Bolshoi Ballet and New York City Ballet will alternate in “Rubies” (Stravinsky) and “Diamonds” (Tchaikovsky). It makes sense that the Bolshoi and NYCB will switch off in these two sections because the Russians and Americans both know how to devour space and move fast. It could be pretty exciting.

Ekaterina Krysanova and Vladislav Lantratov in Taming of the Shrew, photo by Mikhail Logvinov/Bolshoi Theatre

But you can’t lose with Jewels. Each section shines and shimmers in its own way, celebrating the pure response of dance to beautiful music with no need of narrative.

The single non-Russian offering in the festival provides a tie-in with Paris Opera Ballet: Choreographer/filmmaker Saburo Teshigawara brings the French company’s former étoile and current director Aurélie Dupont as a guest star in his new Sleeping Water. Although she is now leading POB, her extracurricular activities include dancing in contemporary works, as when she teamed up with Diana Vishneva in a duet by Ohad Naharin last fall.

Note: Lincoln Center Festival artistic director Nigel Redden will be stepping down after this year. Let’s hope that incoming director will have an equal commitment to dance.