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Monday, June 8, 2009

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Visitors from Moscow might complain about the ongoing long term renovation of the Bolshoi Theatre all they want, but lucky SF Bay Area residents had to look no farther than Berkeley to catch the famous grand Russian troupe in La Bayadere. One of the timeless gems of Minkus/Petipa genius collaboration, brought in by Cal Peformances, packed a full house for each show last weekend. On Saturday evening, Svetlana Zakharova’s hands and feet movements seemed beyond human plasticity in the role of Nikiya; Ekaterina Krysanova (Gamzatti) charmed the audience with her endless fouette, and Nikolay Tsiskaridze (Solor) with his weightless grand jete. A small tempest of admiration was created by lightning-like moves of Ivan Vasiliev in the role of Golden Idol. It was hard to fathom how a spectacularly built and rather muscular dancer could visibly hang in the air at the apex of his dazzling jumps. Another tornado of applause was stirred by the high-voltage performance of unstoppable Anna Antropova in the Dance with a Drum. To crown it all, in the all-the-way-through anticipated classic finale, the 32 unearthly apparitions in gauzy white appeared one by one from the abyss of time and space, and crossed the stage in their breathtakingly synchronized serpentine Dance of the Shades. The glorious Russian company once again won the hearts of the Bay Area balletomanes, and left them waiting for another tour, perhaps more probable while the home of the troupe is going through the reconstruction. To find out about Cal Performances programs, and to order tickets or subscription, call 510-642-9988 or visit


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