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Ballet with no limits > Kypria 2006 Festival September 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus.
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A striking performance of dance for the 21st century is brought to Cyprus by Boris Eifman

A man with a tale to tell brings his story to Cyprus to give audiences a taste of ballet with no limits. Known as ‘the man who dared’, Boris Eifman is acknowledged as a legend in the dance world and soon arrives with his ballet company of St Petersburg to put on a show in Nicosia and Limassol.

The performance, based on Mozart’s Requiem, brings trademark stunning choreographies to life that show remarkable grace and energy on stage. Highly acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, his work has come to be hailed as the ‘Ballet of the 21st Century’.

Born in 1946, Eifman didn’t have an easy start in life. He spent his early childhood in an underground building, where his family shared living space with other engineers summoned by the Stalin government to help Soviet war efforts. He began his artistic journey at the age of seven, when, after Stalin’s death, the family was able to move to Kishinev in Moldavia and the young Eifman began to study dance. When he was only 13 he wrote in his diary that he wanted to be a choreographer. It was a dream he was determined would one day become reality.

He went on to study at the famous choreography school of the Leningrad Conservatory in 1972 and a few years later, founded his very own ballet company. Having neither stage nor permanent rehearsal space and with only a small group of dancers, the theatre group managed to produce the strongest impressions with its very first programme. His work received recognition in the West as early as 1978, when The New York Times reviewed one of his company’s Moscow recitals. Using the music of Pink Floyd, Mc Laflin and Wakeman caused a riot, and combining this music with strikingly emotional and overwhelmingly free choreography brought Eifman the reputation of a revolutionary dance genius.

Today, he is one of the most successful Russian choreographers, praised worldwide for his talent and vision. He has so far created more than 40 original theme ballets. Works include The Red Giselle, Russian Hamlet, Karamazov brothers, Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, Mozart’s Requiem, Mousaget composed by Bach, Tchaikovsky, and Anna Karenina. Eifman has also been honoured with the highest Russian distinctions for his great contribution to art and culture, as well as receiving the Knight of Art medal in France.

All of his shows are extremely theatrical as he mixes interesting elements of reality and fantasy. “My theatre is a theatre of open emotional experience,” says Eifman. “Creating my mystery where the characters live by my rules, I’m creating my own world with its catastrophes. This is my own cardiogram, the rhythm of my pulse, its eruptions, shocks, culminations, ups and downs”.

Not just a simple choreographer, Eifman contemplates life through his works, deeply worried by the problems of our time. His shows touch the human soul, human passions and weaknesses, as well as their inner desires. Deeply concerned about the subject matter of his ballets, he uses performances to explore philosophical issues through emotionalism and theatricality by fusing the expressiveness of modern dance with the language of classical ballet.

In the upcoming show, Eifman builds a performance in three parts with no break, where the subject of death is continuous and repetitive through various forms. “Listening to Mozart’s Requiem you can feel eternity. All worries disappear and man is filled with the unconscious feeling of the divine secret,” Eifman says. “Where do I come from? Why do I exist? What am I? How do we come to the world, what awaits for us, how do we leave the world?”

Expect figures to appear on stage in white sacks, a rather dramatic image representing tilted tombstones in a cemetery. They preface the beautiful image through which the serene mother figure of Requiem dies and then reappears in an illuminated doorway, beckoning her son into a consoling afterworld.

Eifman explains that through this ballet he expresses his innermost thoughts as he tells his own story in a sober stage vision of light and dark. “For me, it’s the past, the present and a feeling about my future. It is my memory of a helpless, young man entering the world, reviving the ordeals of maturity, the memory of the wisdom and weakness of old age. So much malice, so many lies, so much hatred and violence in my memory but also so many moments of love and happiness… everything is inside me and inside each one of us”.

Eifman has said that after his mother died when he was 26, he thought he could be reunited with her in a spiritual sphere. It may be that this very personalised vision rules the performance. “I have never been this sincere or able to express my innermost feelings as much as in Mozart’s Requiem. A ballet you can either accept or reject”.

Boris Eifman Ballet
Dance based on Mozart’s Requiem. Within the framework of Kypria 2006 Festival.
September 20.
Strovolos Municipal Theatre, Nicosia. Tel: 22-442226
September 21. Rialto Theatre, Limassol. Tel: 22-442226

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