The dissemination of ballet in Russia and its deep rooted appeal to all Russians can be traced back to those nobles who, often living so far away from the capital, commanded their own entertainment, setting up ballet troupes often composed of serfs who had been trained at the Imperial School. The Russian ballet remained a mystery to the West, but as the European dancers returned from their Russian tours with stories of the beautiful theaters and the tremendous salaries, many of the great dancers and teachers began to flood the Russian market. By the late 19th century, ballet in Russia became stagnant and it was Frenchman, Marius Petipa (1818-1910), who decisively refashioned this failing art form, introducing the strict proportions between mime and dance, and establishing the ensembles of the corps de ballet and the precise rules for the order of dancing in a pas de deux. During the 1880s, Petipa restaged “Giselle” and as the chief ballet master, many more Russian born and trained ballerinas danced on the imperial stages at this time than did at the beginning of Russian ballet. Thanks to Petipa, Russian ballet dancers are known all the world over as being “la crème de la crème”.
Russian ballet has been regarded as the barometer for classical dance for many decades, leading the way and enchanting audiences along its path. The founder of the Great Russian Ballet, comes from a family of very distinguished and talented ballet dancers. This beautiful art form has been in the family for 4 generations, and continues to run strong as the Prima Ballerina, Natalia Balan, leads the way in this year’s “Romantika Tour 2016”. Natalia is regarded as one of the best ballet dancers in the world, dazzling audiences with her Classical style and perfect execution. The success of the Great Russian Ballet is due to the Vaganova ballet method, named after the ballet master at the Leningrad dance school, in 1921. The ballet is “art par excellence”, where movement expresses itself in all its flexibility. Natalia and her dance partners propel themselves with strength and grace, achieving absolute perfection on stage. The contribution of Russian ballet to the world of classical dance cannot be underestimated and neither can the passion and spirit of the Balan family as they mesmerize audiences across Canada and the rest of the world.