To the mellifluous rhythms of Frédéric Chopin, the Abay Kazakh State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre is set to showcase a recital in Mumbai as part of the National Centre for Performing Arts' (NCPA) ADD ART Festival, bringing a nearly 85-year-old tradition of Kazakhstan's ballet to the Indian stage.
A choreographic school was opened in the central Asian country in 1934, says Aya Kaliyeva, director of Abay State Opera and Ballet Theatre, which laid the foundation for ballet in the country. While ballet, as an art form, finds its origins in the Italian Renaissance of the 15th century, it was only later that it was adopted by France and Russia as a concert dance replete with its own movement vocabulary. Kazakhstan, formerly a part of the Soviet region, carries in large part the influences of the Russian school in its performance of the ballet. Practiced and performed widely in the country, while simultaneously making a mark on the world stage, Kaliyeva notes, "Undoubtedly, today Kazakh ballet has its own 'face', recognisable and recognised throughout the world."
According to the director, the Abay Kazakh theatre, which greatly promotes the art of opera and ballet is a cultural centre of the country and for years has continued to attract spectators in large numbers. She attributes this enduring vivacity of the Kazakh ballet to the host of national programmes that were formulated following the country's independence in 1991 in a bid to promote art and culture. As well, the opening of new theatres such as the Astana Opera and Astana Ballet, and the Kazakh National Academy of Choreography, an educational institution for the training of ballet and dance artists, are immersed in producing sought after artists of the Kazakh school.
Elaborating on the theatre's rich history and ballet as a high art of performance in Kazakhstan, Kaliyeva says that the ballet troupe of Abay Kazakh State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre was organised in 1938 and through the years, the stage in Kazakhstan's cultural city of Almaty has witnessed productions of almost every one of the world's masterpieces such as Giselle and Le Corsair, two excellent works composed by Adolphe Adam as well as Ludwig Minkus' La Bayadère. The first performance at the Kazakh theatre was that of PI Tchaikovsky Swan Lake, adds the director, which celebrated the 80th anniversary of its premiere in 2018.
"The theatre's repertoire," Kaliyeva explains, "is based on world classics" coupled with a representation of Kazakh arts and follows a strict artistic direction that is attentive to the choice of new performances, directors, choreographers and soloists.
Along with the classical heritage, the theatre is also engaged in working with choreographers from Italy, Australia and Brazil has also staged Russian choreographies such as Romeo and Juliet by S Prokofiev, The Legend of Love by A Melikov, and Boris Eifman's Anna Karenina. In 2019, the theatre also premiered the contemporary works Discovering Bach and Bolero, choreographed by M Ravel Ricardo Amarante, taking ballet into a modern space.
Kazakhstan, a culturally rich nation, literally means 'land of wanderers;' its people, belonging to a Turkic ethnic group which for generations thrived in a nomadic existence. Along with the Kazakh ballet, the theatre also celebrate the national Kazakh dances which emerge from this heritage and symbolise this wandering lifestyle in their art through choreographies that depicts patterns such as the shanyrak, the circular opening atop a yurt (the portable home of the pastoral nomadic people).
Kazakh ballet troupes have represented the country's ballet and national dances at several destinations across the globe including France, China and Cyprus and in October 2019, the Abay Kazakh State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre staged its UK debut at the London Coliseum with the productions, Chopiniana and Scheherazade (a story plucked from The Arabian Nights). At the NCPA, this school will be performing for the first time in India and along with its recital on 30 November, will also be a part of the gala concert on the opening night (28 November) of the ADD ART Festival.
In what promises to be an enthralling recital, the Kazakh school will stage Mikhail Fokine's masterpiece, Chopiniana, also known as ballet blanc, the 110-year-old performance danced to Chopin's music that continues to be widely performed to this day. Earlier in 2019, this was staged at the Kazakh theatre in a choreography amended by choreographer Gulzhan Tutkibaeva. The latter part of the recital will comprise of a colourful mix of programs including Kaliyeva notes, a few pas de deux (duets) and variations from classical ballets such as Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, Ludwig Minkus' Don Quixote, an excerpt from J Bizet-R Shchedrin's Carmen Suite accompanied by the national dances of Kazakhstan.
The Abay Kazakh State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre will showcase a recital at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai on 30 November as part of its ADD ART Festival
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Updated Date: Nov 29, 2019 11:23:33 IST