Moscow Classical Ballet Troupe Perform in the Bronx
25 November 2009 | Eugene Boyko
Some of the most vital and athletic ballet dancers are those trained in Russia. The Moscow Classical Ballet started off as the «Young Ballet», USSR State Choreographic Company. This ballet troupe was established by the USSR Ministry of Culture and toured the Soviet Union as well as various countries performing classical ballet in its traditional form throughout the world.
The holder of 15 gold medals in international competition and the winners of 3 prizes at the Paris Academy of Dance, the Moscow Classical Ballet earned the distinction of being one of the few Russian ballet companies still supported by the Russian government. Recently the troupe was granted the title «Academic Theatre», a prestigious titled granted to only a few top Russian ballet companies by the Russian government. Presently on tour in Brazil, the Moscow Classical Ballet is due to appear in the United States at the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY, on Sunday, November 29 at 6:00 p.m.
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, under the directorship of Eva Bornstein, is a little known rare jewel nestled on the campus of Lehman College, wherein theatre goers can see outstanding entertainers and performances for less than what they would pay at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and other Manhattan performance venues. In fact, for the Sunday, November 29, 6:00 p.m., Moscow Classical Ballet Nutcracker performance, of children can get tickets for $10.00 wherein they can sit anywhere within the theatre. This is the best bargain in town for parents seeking to introduce their children 12 years of age and under, to culture and ballet. The Nutcracker ballet is very kid friendly and is a beautiful ballet for the entire family.
Moscow Classical Ballet Performer
I had the opportunity to speak with the producer of the Moscow Classical Ballet, Robert Friedman, president of Robert Friedman Presents, a company that has worked with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Madrigal Antiqua, The Black Light Theatre of Praque and other musical ensembles, theatre and dance companies. He co-produced the long-running romantic comedy «Talley’s Foley», as well as Caryl Churchill’s comedy «Cloud Nine», Neil Simon’s «Biloxi Blues», A.R. Gurney’s «Love Letters», and Garath Armstrong’s «Shylock».
Bringing international troupes to the United States can occasionally be difficult. «The American government is not very conducive to foreign exchange. The IRS is now charging 30% off the top of any foreign artists’ fee. A thirty percent fee is pretty onerous because it does not reflect at all the profit, since ballet troupes performing in the United States are lucky to break even. With the dollar being so weak, foreign artists performing in the United States are already getting paid almost half the fee they would earn in their own country. Now people are reluctant to even come to America to perform which is very sad», remarked Friedman. «Nancy Pelosi helped get the Moscow Classical Ballet into the country. If it weren’t for her, the tour may not have even happened. She was able to help us cut through the bureaucracy. Bringing the costumes and sets into the country is also another problem. However, to see the audience reaction makes it all worthwhile», chuckled the producer who seems to love the business he is in.
«Ballet requires a lot of strength and endurance. It’s a young person’s profession. Generally the troupe members start around 18 years old. Women can stay in the profession into their 40s but the men usually retire in their 30s, although, Mikhail Baryshnikov danced up until his 50s. All the lifting and leaps and bounds take their toll on the body», stated the classical producer.
The Nutcracker is generally seen around the Christmas holidays in America. «The Nutcracker Suite is the tale of a young girl who gets a nutcracker from her uncle as a gift. The nutcracker is a prince. The young girl has a dream about the nutcracker and falls in love with the prince in the beautiful land of sugar plums», said Friedman. «The Nutcracker is one of the best ballets to take a child to. It has the rat king, mouse, gun powder, soldiers, swans, and is just beautiful. This ballet has caught on all over the world. These Moscow Classical Ballet dancers are beautiful young strong dancers with a great deal of vitality since the Russian training is the best in the world. The dancers attend dance class everyday because dance is a very demanding profession. It’s a profession you must love», remarked Mr. Friedman of the troupe of 40 dancers.
The Moscow Classical Ballet will appear in New Jersey and then at the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx, New York. I encourage parents to take their children to this delightful performance of the Nutcracker since children 12 and under, can see it for $10.00. For adults ticket prices run $35.00, $30.00, and $25.00. Tickets can be purchased on line at www.LehmanCenter.org or by calling the Lehman Center box office at 718-960-8833 (Mon. through Fri. 10am-5pm; Tues 10am-7pm and beginning at 12 noon on the day of the concert). Lehman Center is accessible by #4 or D train to Bedford Park Blvd. Parking is free.