The guided tours were organized by Vladimir Zenzinov, curator of the theatre's museum and member of Leonid Yacobson's original Choreographic Miniatures company, and Aleksey Petrov, the theatre's chief administrator. The guests were greeted by the theatre's art director, Andrian Fadeev.
The theatre offered tours by appointment, meaning that interested guests could make a call a few days prior, and name their preferred time of visit. In all, the event attracted as many as 176 people. Each group of visitors took a fascinating hour-and-a-half tour of the theatre.
They learned incredible facts about the theatre's history; studied the life story of the company's founder, the remarkable 20th-century choreographer Leonid Yacobson; admired the memorabilia displayed in the theatre's lobby and rehearsal halls (including photos, booklets, posters, books, and costumes); attended classes in the rehearsal hall and the rotunda (i.e. daily classical ballet class); watched this season's premières (i.e. parts of the Faces of Modern Choreography one-act ballet recital: Iberia and In the Rhythm of Dreams by Anton Pimonov, and Confrontation by Konstantin Keikhel) being rehearsed in the rotunda; and found out more about the specific features of classical ballet classes and dance rehearsals, and about unique rehearsal equipment.
Throughout the day, one-of-a-kind videos of Leonid Yacobson's ballet performances over the years were being played back on the plasma display panel in the lobby.
Those who wanted to go inside rehearsal halls were given free disposable shoe covers. The theatre was forced to take these measures not only due to the rainy weather outside, but also (and mostly) because keeping the halls clean is an absolute must, since while rehearsing, dancers wear special clothes and shoes, or sometimes even go barefoot.
The tours were covered by media representatives from Saint-Petersburg and elsewhere. Several journalists made video footage especially for an episode of the First Channel's Dobroye Utro (Good Morning) show, dedicated to the Theatre for Everyone event.
The theatre's guests that day included preschoolers and schoolchildren, students, the elderly, tourists... The theatre was also honoured to welcome L.P.Zotova, who used to live in a communal apartment in the same building from 1954 till 1975. She left a touching entry in the comment book: 'Many thanks for the wonderful tour of your theatre. I am immensely grateful for your hospitality and respect towards ballet-lovers'.
Other event participants who took a peek behind the scenes of the Leonid Yacobson Theatre also left excited feedback and expressions of gratitude. Here are some of their comments:
'We would like to let the theatre's administration know that we truly appreciate the effort behind this fantastic tour on the city's birthday. We hope to meet the company again during future performances. Our warmest regards — and the best of luck to you! May Terpsichore keep favouring your star dancers in the future!'
'Thank you for this chance to see what makes modern ballet "tick". Everything was incredibly interesting!'
'This mom and her eight-year-old girl were overjoyed to get in touch with real art from the backstage. We are in awe of the young dancers and their teachers, and the way they master their art. Thank you for your hard work and your love for the world's beauty!'
'Many thanks for this chance to witness the actors' work routine'.
'Thank you so much for the tour and the rehearsal. I loved it all to bits'.
'What a delight! Positive emotions for the rest of the day!!!'
'This is the best experience I've had in a long time! Thank you so much!'
'Thank you! The tour was very interesting! We were given a truly rare opportunity to see how a ballet comes to life during rehearsals'.
'A breathtaking range of emotions! I can feel a chill running up my spine! A thousand thanks for this chance to see the backstage of a ballet theatre! I wish you great success and well-being!'
'Many thanks to the guide and the actors. You guys are incredible! It is no mean feat — conveying all these emotions through dance, sincerely, without a false note. We are truly impressed. Keep up the great work!'
'Many, many thanks to the tour managers and dancers! You gave us the honour of witnessing your creative process, and let us see just how hard you toil. This was an opportunity of a lifetime! Best of luck in your creative work!'