The Bolshoi Ballet’s movie of their production of The Golden Age, choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich, the company’s artistic director to music by Dimitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) showed at the Rosebank Cinema Nouveau recently.
The history of this ballet is that it was first performed in 1930 in what was then Leningrad, at the Kirov Ballet (Marinsky Theatre). When Shostakovich fell into disfavour in 1936 all his ballets dropped out of the repertoire until it was revived in 1982 after his death at the instance of his widow.
Set in the 1920’s it is a ballet which depicts excellent communist values in a delightfully satirical manner. The hero is a clean cut communist and the antiheroes are decadent gang members who hang out at a decadent club very reminiscent of Cabaret’s The Kit Kat Club.
The dancing is magnificent, the jazzy music which includes the famous “Tea for Two” piece is fabulous, the abstract art sets reminiscent of the era and costumes wonderful. Without the political overlay it is a love story. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought that the dancers were mostly wonderful actors. The ballet stars Nina Kaptsova as Rita and Ruslan Skvortsov as Boris, with Mikhail Lobukhin (Yashka) and Ekaterina Krysanova (Lyushka). I thought the character of Lyushka should have been far more slutty (like the story of Elsie in Cabaret), but that might just be because I admire them so much.
These ballet movies are definitely worth seeing if one is a ballet lover.