Ratmansky Fever

Is Alexei Ratmansky the busiest ballet choreographer in the world? ABT has just announced he is undertaking a new version of The Firebird, while the Paris Opera Ballet has also confirmed a brand new Ratmansky of its own: Psyché, with music by Cesar Franck (well-known to ballet lovers from his Symphonic Variations). This short work opens POB’s 2011/2012 season in September, together with Lifar’s Phèdre. Let us not forget that his new full-length ballet Lost Illusions (based on Balzac) is now just weeks away from its world premiere at the Bolshoi. As Haglund’s Heel rightly notes, the man has a creative outpour to rival Apple’s.

Ratmansky’s back catalogue is also doing very well. Dutch National Ballet recently staged On The Dnieper (originally choreographed for ABT) and this summer the Mariinsky will be touring both Anna Karenina (US and UK) and the utterly brilliant The Little Humpbacked Horse (US only).  For us one question remains… when will the Royal Ballet finally commission a piece from him? Until then we continue to chase his works around the globe:

Alexei Ratmansky. Photo: MIRA / ABT ©

Chase Your Ratmansky


Lost Illusions (World Premiere). Bolshoi Ballet 24-29 April, Moscow

…the Bolshoi will show its second world premiere of the season – the three-act ballet Lost Illusions. The Bolshoi Theatre commissioned the score from composer Leonid Desyatnikov. The ballet will be choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, the ex-artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet and resident choreographer of American Ballet Theater. Today Ratmansky is in great demand worldwide. In producing Lost Illusions, the Bolshoi Theatre continues the Russian tradition of creating full-length ballet-dramas (the production team will work from a libretto, written in the 1930’s after the novel by Honoré de Balzac). The music director of the production will be Alexander Vedernikov (via Bolshoi website).


Anna Karenina & The Little Humpbacked Horse. Mariinsky Ballet 11-16 July, Lincoln Center, New York.

The Mariinsky will present two works receiving their first United States performances, “Anna Karenina” and “The Little Humpbacked Horse,” full-length ballets choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky and set to the music of the contemporary Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin. (via NY Times Arts Beat)

The Little Humpbacked Horse. Photo: Natasha Razina / Mariinsky Theatre ©


Anna Karenina. Mariinsky Ballet 9 – 10 August. Royal Opera House, London

The Mariinsky Ballet’s acclaimed staging of Tolstoy’s epic novel Anna Karenina receives its British premiere. Choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky to Rodion Shchedrin’s powerful score, the ballet’s extraordinary heroine breaks all moral and social conventions with devastating consequences. Tolstoy’s magnificent portrayal of a tormented woman brought to ruin by the abandonment of her passionless marriage for the dashing Count Vrovsky, gives an opportunity for two great ballerinas… (via the Hochhauser Mariinsky Tour Website)


Psych̩ (World Premiere). Paris Opera Ballet. 21 September Р06 October, Palais Garnier, Paris

The ballet season holds just as many surprises in store: Brigitte Lefèvre, Director of Dance, strives to balance the legendary company’s tradition with its natural thirst for creation. The opening production will perfectly symbolise this two-fold quest, bringing together Phèdre by Serge Lifar, Georges Auric and Jean Cocteau, and a new work by Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. (via Paris Opera Ballet Official Website)


Romeo and Juliet (World Premiere). National Ballet of Canada. 16-27 November,  Toronto.

Created by the internationally celebrated choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, this world premiere is a totally fresh, brilliantly imagined interpretation of Shakespeare’s play. Building on and finding wonderfully inventive possibilities in Prokofiev’s inimitable and touching score, Ratmansky blends the elegance and stateliness of a classical vocabulary with the intense emotional edge of the modern to create an unforgettable version of one of the greatest dance dramas ever. (via the National Ballet of Canada website)

and also:

The Firebird (World Premiere). American Ballet Theatre. 29 March – 1 April 2012, California

…it seems that we will see a new Firebird by Alexei Ratmansky in 2012.  At least, that’s what the local paper is reporting.  This is all assuming that Mr. Ratmansky doesn’t burn out by then.  He has set an unimaginable pace for himself in choreographing new full length ballets… (via Haglund’s Heel)

Don Quixote – Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle (date TBA). This production will also be out of DVD soon (Dutch National Ballet with Anna Tsygankova & Matthew Golding)

From the first time he [Ratmansky] breathlessly watched the ballet, danced by Vasiliev and Maximova, as a young ballet student, to recently watching one performance after another as Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet, he has never tired of “Don Quichotte”! And that fact alone makes working on his own version of this ballet a very special and challenging experience. (via Dutch National Ballet Don Quixote Mini Website)

Further Information:

Do you have a favorite Ratmansky ballet? Are you planning to see any of his works soon? Leave a comment below and tell us!

We started The Ballet Bag in April 2009 with the mission to prove that ballet is not stuffy, old fashioned and inaccessible; that it is quite the opposite: relevant, fresh and topical. With the aim to Give Ballet a New Spin we try to show it under a different light. When writing our capsule biographies, ballet fact cards, review roundups and commentary on social media, we cross it over with other art forms and cultural references (pop culture, cinema, rock music – ie. other things we love!).