14 / 11 / 2023

The Soffit’s Golden Glow

    Cheeky Chastushki are now officially the best ballet of the 2022/23 season. The Golden Soffit award ceremony took place at the Youth Theatre on 13 November. The expert judges on the panel of St. Petersburg’s most prestigious theatre award decided to grant the Best Ballet title to two productions: Cheeky Chastushki will be sharing this honour with Mariinsky Theatre’s The Twelve.

    The Cheeky Chastushki show was added to the Leonid Yacobson Theatre’s playbill in December 2022. Its public première took place at the festival in honour of composer Rodion Shchedrin’s 90th birthday. It was his instrumental concerto that had inspired Vyacheslav Samodurov, the production’s choreographer, to create this witty and vibrant spectacle, brimming over with Russian spirit. During the première, ballet critics admired how ‘the eye-catching, daring, up-with-the-times, street-wise characters are delicately attuned to the nature of the Russian character and mentality, as well as to the street rhythms and fashion’ (Pavel Yaschenkov, Moskovskiy Komsomolets); and noted the ‘heady, reckless divertissement’, and the ‘mix of acrobatics and noble refinement, lyrical circle dancing and stenka brawling’ (Maya Krylova, ClassicalMusikNews.ru). The show’s creators particularly cherish the comparisons with Agon, a ballet by two other great creators from St. Petersburg, Stravinsky and Balanchine. ‘As the troupe partakes in this endless whirlwind of dancing, none of them grow tired, or lose their drive, or let their spirits drop. Everything is ramped up to the max, full throttle ahead. The sky is the limit. With each new leap, the bar for what is possible is raised ever higher: just like Shchedrin, Samodurov is inexhaustible in his creative enthusiasm. The themes, the tempo changes, the dancers, the musicians — everything and everyone tries to outdo each other.’ (Svetlana Naborshchikova, Izvestia).