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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Satisfy your appetite for ballet this weekend with the Imperial Ballet's three-in-one show. The six-year-old company, founded with the help of one of Russia's most prominent prima ballerinas, Maya Plisetskaya, will perform Maurice Ravel's "Bolero," Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" and the "Polovtsian Dances" from Alexander Borodin's opera "Prince Igor." The Novaya Opera orchestra and chorus will accompany.

It is true that Ravel's repetitive "Bolero" was described in a 1997 article in the British journal Psychiatric Bulletin as "the work of a pathological mind," one affected by "the early signs of Alzheimer's disease," but don't be discouraged by the prospect of sitting through 18 identical renderings of the same melody - the show is actually quite worthwhile.

Imperial Ballet founder and choreographer Gedeminas Taranda has brought new life to both Mikhail Fokine's original version of the sensual "Scheherazade" and the awesome "Polovtsian Dances."

In just 45 minutes, Taranda totally immerses spectators in the richly colored medieval Middle East of Scheherazade, a sultan's wife and the hero of the "One Thousand and One Nights" tale. That this short ballet was a part of the 1909-1914 repertoire of renowned dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky adds extra appeal.

The "Polovtsian Dances," with its wild rhythms, quick pace and almost macabre vocals and drums, will propel viewers into the turbulent world of the Tatar tribes of Asiatic Russia. The dance, completed by Rimsky-Korsakov after Borodin died before finishing it, was written as a metaphor for the willful, untamed nature of Russia.

The Imperial Ballet performs at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Novaya Opera Theater, located at 3 Karetny Ryad. Metro Mayakovskaya, Chekhovskaya. Tel: 200-0868/1830.

- Florence Gallez