Six Reasons Why Ratmansky Rocks…

Alina Somova and Denis Matvienko in Ratmansky's The Little Hunchbacked Horse. Photo: Natasha Razina / Mariinsky Theatre ©

…Other than the fact that he is – as revealed today – among the recipients of a “genius” grant? Well, if you need more reasons, take a look at our new guest blog for Behind Ballet (The Australian Ballet’s official blog), originally published ahead of Ratmansky’s brand new Cinderella for the company and reproduced below with plenty of photos from the recent premiere in Melbourne:

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“Now one of the world’s most sought-after choreographers, Alexei Ratmansky started experimenting with choreography at a young age, during his school days in Russia. He began as a ballet dancer with Ukraine’s Kiev Ballet, but dancing soon took him out of Eastern Europe to various companies in the West, where he was exposed to different choreographers and styles. Absorbing all these works, he started developing his own choreographic language, a personal mix of influences such as Petipa, Bournonville, Ashton, Balanchine and Tudor, woven into narrative or abstract choreography.”

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“Ratmansky’s ballets keep pulling you back for more. They are so creative and unique you end up wanting to “collect them all”. They are also a joy for audiences and dancers, who long for individual characters and ballets rooted in the classical language. Besides, how many choreographers can you find whose works are so colorful that they deserve their own Wes Anderson-style art print?”

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“We’re always wondering what Ratmansky will do next* and where (just in case we can make the trip!), so we were really thrilled when The Australian Ballet asked us to write this guest blog ahead of the premiere of a new Cinderella for the company. With big chookas to everyone out there, here are six reasons why we think Ratmansky rocks:”

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1. He is great at storytelling …

“He put a fresh spin on the nonsensical Don Quixote (Dutch National Ballet), created a Romeo and Juliet that is full of style yet remains loyal to Shakespeare (National Ballet of Canada), went beyond fairytale formula in his 2002 Cinderella for the Mariinsky, added a dash of screwball comedy (think Billy Wilder) to Russian classics like The Bright Stream and The Little Humpbacked Horse and fleshed out big emotions and sumptuous sets in adaptations of Lost Illusions, The Golden Cockerel and Anna Karenina.”

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2. …but he also knows his “abstract”:

“Even though Ratmansky has been celebrated for helping revive narrative ballet, he has choreographed a range of very successful abstract or short works. Russian Seasons (created on New York City Ballet in 2007) is one of our desert-island ballets, a folk masterpiece to watch again and again, while works like Seven Sonatas, Concerto DSCH and his recent Shostakovich Trilogy for American Ballet Theatre have been celebrated as major achievements by critics and audiences (…)” Read sections 3 to 6 in our original blog for Behind Ballet.

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All Photos: © The Australian Ballet – see captions for credits

*Here’s where to catch your next Ratmansky:

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!).

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