Why you must catch The Russian State Ballet of Siberia at the Ipswich Regent

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia stage Swan Lake

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia stage Swan Lake - Credit: Archant

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia returns to Ipswich next week with Coppélia, La Fille mal gardée and Swan Lake. Artistic director Sergei Bobrov tells entertainment writer Wayne Savage why ballet is for everyone - especially youngsters.

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia stage Coppelia

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia stage Coppelia - Credit: Archant

If you come to any one of the RSBOS’ ballets thinking you won’t understand the music or are unwilling to let your emotions out to float with the music, the words and the movements, then you won’t enjoy the performance warns Bobrov.

“Composers compose their music based on stories of well-known writers or stories from their life. The stronger the plot, the more expressive and moving the music is. The spectator needs to know what the story is about and indulge in the music and dance, letting it (find) some way (in) to their imagination. I think ballet is for everyone and movements sometimes express more than words and help you look inside of yourself.”

With most classical ballet productions produced for families and most stories based on well-known fairy-tales, he feels children need to see more ballet to enrich their inner world.

“It’s important in their early lives they get as many positive emotions and knowledge as possible. I know many children (are) becoming ballet dancers after developing an appetite for dance. In any case, dance helps children broaden their vision and knowledge and understand better other forms of art,” adds Brobrov, who’s been artistic director of the RSBOS since 2002.

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia, La Fille Mal Gardee

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia, La Fille Mal Gardee - Credit: Archant


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Formed in 1981, it’s one of Russia’s leading ballet companies and comprises more than 40 dancers and 30 musicians.

It takes approximately one-and-a-half years from initial planning to opening night. For example, his conversation with promoter Raymond Gubbay about ballet The Snow Maiden started last year, with the show premiering in the UK this December.

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Brobrov is used to putting in long hours though. When based at his HQ in Krasnoyarsk, in central Siberia, a typical day sees him working with the team from 10am until the end of the evening performance or rehearsal.

“There is a ballet daytime rest and I need to work at this time with art workshops, because each performance requires very spectacular costumes and scenery. So my workload is from morning until late evening,” says the former Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer, whose favorite role was Swan Lake’s evil genius Rothbart.

“During a tour all is clear and calm, we come completely ready and my task is only to maintain the quality. However, the amount of performances is very big for the tour compared to Krasnoyarsk and it’s not easy. This will be our 13th year (touring the UK) so we are strongly attached to the tastes of the British audience.”

Swan Lake is regarded as the greatest romantic ballet of all time. Set to a score by Tchaikovsky, black tulle temptress Odile seduces the Prince to swan queen’s Odette’s regret. Coppélia, perfect for first-time ballet goers and families, is a light-hearted tale of mistaken identity and confused lovers set in a doll maker’s workshop. La Fille Mal Gardée, one of the oldest ballets still regularly performed, is a comedic yet gentle tale of love thwarted, unrequited and found.

“Swan Lake (is) a human dream of unearthly beauty and a desire to be reunited with it. (In) Coppélia young Franz, falls in love with a doll, Coppélia, much to the exasperation of his sweetheart Swanilda but true love is always very close in this comic ballet. La Fille Mal Gardée is a comic ballet in which true love crushes all obstacles, even a mother’s wish to marry her daughter to a rich fiancé,” Bobrov says of the three productions coming to Ipswich.

Does he have any advice for young ballerinas coming along, interested in a career as a dancer?

“Be totally focused on the profession; work hard and try to meet and work with masters. Most importantly, dance well, dance as much as possible on stage and don’t think about the material benefits in the first step of work.”

The RSBOS brings Coppélia to the Ipswich Regent on March 5, La Fille Mal Gardée on March 6 and Swan Lake on March 7. The latter is also at Southend’s Cliffs Pavilion on March 1.

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