28 / 05 / 2024

Leonid Yacobson’s Masterpieces at the Nureyev Festival in Kazan

The Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre will be performing in Kazan on 28 and 29 May. During this time, the capital of Tatarstan will be hosting its traditional festival honouring the memory of Rudolf Nureyev. The 2024 iteration of the festival is the 37th since its inception: it got its name all the way back in 1993, with the world-renowned escapee’s personal blessing. There is also another Nureyev Festival in Ufa, which took place in March this year; the difference between the two events is the Cyrillic spelling of the legendary danseur’s last name. Нуриев (Nuriev) vs Нуреев (Nureyev) is an endless debate between Russian-speaking ballet experts, but this time it was settled peacefully: Ufa chose the latter version, and Kazan, the former.

Regardless of the festival’s Russian title, Leonid Yacobson’s choreography complements it perfectly. The names of the two ballet greats, Nureyev and Yacobson, have long been mentioned side by side in the annals of 20th century ballet history; and this link might very well remain until the end of time. Quite notably, Kazan is where the première of Yacobson’s Shurale took place. The ballet was presented to the public in the spring of 1945, and it is still part of the local repertoire to this day. In the subsequent years, Shurale was also put on stage at the Kirov (now Mariinsky) and Bolshoi Theatres, cementing its reputation is the most successful Soviet ballet with ethnic roots. In this production, elements of the traditional Tatar culture get seamlessly integrated into the traditions of Russian ballet that were structured into a holistic aesthetic system by Marius Petipa.

Leonid Yacobson’s masterpieces will be showcased at the Musa Cälil Tatar Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. The programme will include choreographic hits like the Classicism-Romanticism and Rodin cycles and the Brilliant Divertissement and The Wedding Cortège one-act ballets.

Shortly before the show, the Moscow-based ballet expert and theatre critic Leila Guchmazova will contribute to the festival’s educational programme with a lecture titled ‘Yacobson, the Weird Genius’. Lecture venue: Maxim Gorky and Feodor Chaliapin Museum.