Long-expected return of Boris Eifman’s company to high-performance stage

16 October 2020

On the 9th of November St. Petersburg Eifman Ballet will act out performance The Pygmalion Effect – a premiere of 2019 – on Alexandrinsky Theater’s stage. This performance will be the first one by the world-famous company since the forced long interruption aroused by COVID-19 pandemic. The following ballet show is planned for the 21st of October (on the same stage). The performances begin at 8 p.m.

In October of the previous year The Pygmalion Effect was nominated for the Golden Mask Awards in 4 nominations: “The Best Ballet Performance”, “The Best Ballet-master/Choreographer” (Boris Eifman), “The Best Actress in Ballet-Contemporary Dance” (leading female soloist of the theater Lyubov Andreeva playing Gala’s role), “The Best Actor in Ballet-Contemporary Dance” (leading male soloist of the theater Oleg Gabyshev playing Lion’s role).

In January of the current year the filming of a screen version of the performance took place in Saint Petersburg. Boris Eifman was the director-producer of the film. The cinema director was acted as by famous filmmaker Fyodor Ordovsky.

For this moment, the last performance of the theater took place on the 12th of March in Tallinn (where Anna Karenina was performed). On the contrast, ballet lovers in Saint Petersburg have not enjoyed watching Boris Eifman’s art since the beginning of February. At the same time, the post-quarantine months happened to be creatively-fertile for the company even without live performances. In July the artists started the rehearsals of ballet Don Juan, or Moliere Passions. The premiere of the performance dedicated to the great French comedian will happen on the 2nd and the 3rd of February 2021. Parallely, the theater is working on a new version of Boris Eifman’s legendary ballet The Seagull. It will be issued on the occasion of the choreographer’s 75th anniversary which is going to be in July of the next year.

Information about the spectacle:

The Pygmalion Effect is Boris Eifman’s first experience of appealing to comedy (or, to be more precise, tragicomedy) genre which recognised master the choreographer is. Continuing to be inspired by keeping in touch with the world cultural heritage, Eifman offers his spectators a ballet interpretation of an archetypic storyline of a sculptor fallen in love with a beautiful lady statue created by him. The role of the frantic creator in the dramaturgic construction of the performance is assigned to a thriving ball-room dance artist who decides to “sculpt out” a spectacular dancer of a female representative of urban lower classes. The inner and outer transformation of the heroine happens to Johann Strauss the Son and, what is more, it is the first time in the choreographer’s intensive art career that he is working with compositions by the “Waltz King”.

A tireless explorer of soul, Boris Eifman got the name for the new ballet from works in psychology where the term “Pygmalion effect” means the phenomenon of influences of expectations on reality. Thus, a person accepted by someone else as a talented one will feel self-confident and achieve success.

The surprising flexibility of personality which is capable of changing in accordance with attitudes and dreams finds a comprehensive artistic and philosophic revelation in Eifman’s performance. “Ballet The Pygmalion Effect is a choreographic interpretation of a myth about artist and his creation, a new view on the subject of the complicated perplexity and everlasting non-identity”, Boris Eifman remarked.

The world premiere of the performance took place on the 6th of February 2019 in Saint Petersburg. Then in May and June the performance was enthusiastically accepted by USA’s spectators (it happened in Chicago, Costa Mesa, Berkeley and New York). Serious newspaper Chicago Tribune characterized the dance represented in The Pygmalion Effect as brilliant and exceptional. In July of the previous year the Moscow premiere of the ballet took place on Historic Stage of Bolshoi Theater as a part of Open Festival of Art Chereshnevy Les. The performance was also watched by Berlin and Riga publics.