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Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg - Rodin
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Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg - Rodin

- Onstage with the Dancers

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Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg
(Eifman Ballet/Ardani Artists Website)
Boris Eifman, Artistic Director
Sergei Danilian and
Ardani Artists Management, Inc., Producer

At New York City Center
(New York City Center Website)

Boris Eifman’s
Rodin
(Rodin Bio)

Press: Ardani Artists


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 9, 2012


Some Eifman Ballet Program Notes:

Boris Eifman, Artistic Director, Choreographer, and Director, has created over 40 ballets. He has won all the highest awards in the arts in Russia and was inducted into France’s Order of Arts and Letters. Eifman is known to fuse classic ballet with contemporary choreography and is fascinated with the magic of genius and the realm of the human psyche. Eifman stresses the theatrical impact of his productions, one ruled by emotions.

The Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg has been geared for a continuous, creative process. Eifman has produced ballets to rock music, and he has also created ballets about Tchaikovsky and Moliere. He emphasizes psychoanalysis through movement and the energy of mass action scenes. Eifman has also designed ballets around Shakespearean theater, such as “Russian Hamlet” and “The Twelfth Night”, plus many ballets have been presented in recent years at City Center, such as “Who’s Who”. “Anna Karenina?”, “The Seagull”, “Onegin”, and “Red Giselle”.


Boris Eifman’s Rodin (New York Premiere): Choreography by Boris Eifman, Music by M. Ravel, C. Saint-Saëns, J. Massenet, Scenery by Zinoviy Margolin, Costume Design by Olga Schaishmelaschvili, Lighting Design by Gleb Filschtinsky and Boris Eifman, Performed by Oleg Gabyshev as Rodin, Lyubov Andreyeva as Camille, Nina Zmievets as Rose Beuret, and the Company.

Eifman’s new ballet, about August Rodin, passionately explores Rodin’s relationships with two women, his long-time lover, whom he married late in life, Rose Beuret, and his model, muse, apprentice, and lover, Camille Claudel, who lived 30 years in an asylum, until she died. The psychological ballet takes place in France, at Rodin’s studio and at Camille’s, in Rodin’s mental flashbacks and obsessions, and in the asylum. The ballet in two acts unfolds seamlessly, back and forth, present to past and so forth. I have always found Eifman’s ballets to be gripping and memorable. They deal with the trials of existence. They explicitly depict ballet characters, whose bodies and contortions are metaphors for twisted mental states that haunt the personas, drawn from actual artists or characters in novels or plays. The taped music is loud and fragmented, with this production’s score taken from Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Debussy, and Satie. The French artistic ambiance of late 19th century-early 20th century emanates throughout. Eifman creates ballets about renowned figures, famous for wildly tormented lives that resulted in impressive, creative legacies.

A circle of asylum patients with smoke and a blue backdrop greets the audience, as it’s introduced to Lyubov Andreyeva as Camille Claudel. Her angst and agony are immediately evoked. Visual shapes are significant in this ballet, with a steel climbing apparatus, conceived by Zinoviy Margolin, that allows Oleg Gabyshev, as Rodin, to show grief and turmoil in odd limb twists amidst the rungs. Nina Zmievets, as Rose, is ever present, with arms and torso stretched out, feeding Rodin soup. She nurtures him back to her, as he strays with gyrations and gestures of conflict. The elongation of each character’s lament is reminiscent of the Martha Graham genre, of forward-stretched pelvises and abdominal contractions. Camille chips away at her marble sculptures, and the vision of her arms’ fast flailing is compelling. Rodin has a magnetic drive toward and against both women in his life, and the Company serves as a Greek chorus to accentuate his oppositional urges. When Rodin is in flashback, like meeting Rose at a grape festival, he exudes charm and humanity. When he is in recent flashback or semi-present mode, he is as cold as the steel apparatus that he climbs.

Eifman directs to achieve maximum emotional impact and synthesis of psychological states. His choreography is never dull or one-dimensional, but rather expansive and charged. The lighting design, as usual, adds smoke and dim shadows, and the sets add largesse and jagged sharpness. But it’s the psychological exploration of the artist, Rodin, that propels the ballet. Eifman’s ballets leave no confusion. Their statement is clear. Historical details may be merged or shifted to make a point, but that’s artistic license, like a painter elongating a limb. The import of Eifman’s new ballet is traveling through the artist’s mind and appreciating his oeuvres in light of his life’s discontent. Kudos to Boris Eifman.



The Cast of Eifman's "Rodin"
Starring Oleg Gabyshev,
Lyubov Andreyeva, Nina Zmievets
Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg
Courtesy of Michael Khowry



Oleg Gabyshev and Lyubov Andreyeva
in Eifman's "Rodin"
Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg
Courtesy of Michael Khowry



The Cast of Eifman's "Rodin"
Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg
Courtesy of Michael Khowry



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net