St Petersburg, Mariinsky Theatre

 Le Spectre de la rose
 The Swan

ballet set to music by Frédéric Chopin

an evening of ballets by Michel Fokine


World premiere: 8 March 1908, Mariinsky Theatre

Running time 35 minutes

Age category 6+


Music by Frédéric Chopin
Scenario by Michel Fokine
Choreography by Michel Fokine (1908)

Revised version by Agrippina Vaganova (1931)
Set design based on original sketches by Orest Allegri

Fokine’s Chopiniana is an homage to the Romantic era with its white ballet, fleeting arabesques, airy dances of ethereal sylphides and perpetual longing for perfection. Fokine, inspired by antique engravings depicting the legendary Marie Taglioni and her contemporaries and weary of ballet virtuosity and technique show offs, created a storyless ballet sketch at the beginning of the 20th century. The sketch was “in the style of that long-forgotten time when ballet was governed by poetry, when a dancer rose en pointe not to demonstrate the steel-like arch of her foot but in order to create the impression of lightness, barely touching the ground, something ethereal and fantastical.” The choreographer wrote: “I have tried not to surprise people with the newness, but rather to restore conventional ballet dancing to the point of its greatest advances. I don’t know if this is how our ballet predecessors danced. And no-one else knows that. But in my dreams this is precisely how they did dance.”

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