The Saint-Petersburg State Academic Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre is a one-of-a-kind artistic company, which is considered a true gem not only of Saint-Petersburg and Russia but also of the entire international culture scene. With 50 years of history behind us, we are proud to carry the name of the company's founder, Leonid Veniaminovich Yacobson (1904–1975), a truly outstanding 20th century Russian choreographer.
The ballet company, initially named Choreographic Miniatures, was established on November 12, 1966, by a special decree of the Soviet Ministry of Culture. In 1969, when Leonid Yacobson took his place at the helm, the theatre's life began anew.
Leonid Veniaminovich Yacobson was born in Saint-Petersburg. After graduating from the Leningrad State Choreographic Institute (currently the Vaganova Russian Ballet Academy), he successfully performed as a dancer at the Kirov (currently Mariinsky) and Bolshoi ballet theatres, but became truly famous thanks to his remarkable, inimitable talent as a choreographer, embodied in a constant search for new means and forms of creative expression. Supporting the concept introduced by Michel Fokine, Yacobson believed that every production should have its own unique character, and that classical dance is but one of the many facets of ballet art. His extraordinary ability for creative thinking and boundless imagination allowed him to develop a truly unprecedented body language, by expanding the stylistic and genre capabilities of classical choreography. Leonid Yacobson's creations were brought to life by the most famous stars of Russian ballet, including Natalia Makarova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Alla Osipenko, and Maya Plisetskaya.
After Yacobson's death in 1976, the post of the theatre's art director was passed on to his faithful student Askold Makarov, a principal at the Kirov Theatre. It was during this period that the theatre's repertoire was expanded to include the creations of foreign choreographers and large-scale classical productions. The ballet company's fame kept growing, reaching beyond the borders of the USSR.
Today, the Saint-Petersburg State Academic Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre ranks among Russia's topmost ballet companies. Its amazingly diverse repertoire comprises both the founder's creative heritage (the legendary Spartacus; the Rodin, Classicism-Romanticism, and Genre Scenes choreographic miniatures; and The Wedding Cortège one-act ballet), classical ballets (Giselle, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Chopiniana, The Sleeping Beauty), and the latest productions by young choreographers (such as the Faces of Modern Choreography recital or various ballets: Romeo and Juliet, Stony Bank, and Rehearsal).
Since 2011, the theatre's activity has been managed by art director Andrian Fadeev, Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation. He sees his main mission in restoring, nurturing, and building upon the traditions that have been developed throughout the theatre's history. The company currently employs the alumni of the world's best choreographic schools and highly experienced tutors, who have all been brought together by their desire to preserve the artistic treasures of the past and to work on new creations. We have an active tour programme and are continually experimenting with our plays' stage design. Today, audiences around the world get a chance to enjoy the classical renditions of Russia's best ballets that are complemented by incredible costumes and scenery, courtesy of modern Russian theatre designers. The Leonid Yacobson Company has been honoured with such prestigious awards as the Golden Soffit Saint-Petersburg Theatre Award, the Golden Mask National Theatre Award, and the Taglioni Award, a prize coveted by many ballet theatres in Europe.