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Thursday February 15, 2001

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Moscow Festival Ballet to perform at Centennial Hall

Headline Photo

Photo courtesy of Columbia Artists Management.

The Moscow Festival Ballet performs "Don Quixote," originally written by 16th century author Miguel de Cervantes. The company will continue touring until early May, stopping at Centennial Hall tonight.

By Aaron Cowman

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Russian company offers 'dramatic' performance of of classic tale

The Moscow Festival Ballet, led by Sergei Radchenko, has performed all over the world for the past 11 years, and Tucson is the next stop on the map.

"In our tour, we have several performances, including 'Don Quixote' and 'Swan Lake,'" said Radchenko, the founder and artistic director of the company.

The group will perform "Don Quixote" tonight at 7:30 at Centennial Hall. This version of Cervantes' classic tale is tailored toward a more spirited American audience.

"If you compare our version, it is very light and dramatic," Radchenko said. "Americans like dramatic."

Originally a member of the renowned Bolshoi ballet, Radchenko said he appreciates America's love for ballet.

"I like America much more than other parts of the world," Radchenko said. "There is a much better reception. Americans are very enthusiastic. It's very good for the soul."

The troupe has had the opportunity to travel around the world due to the outpouring of enthusiasm from its audiences.

"We give thanks to America and England for such great contracts," Radchenko said.

Uri Vetrov will perform as Don Quixote, the man of la Mancha, along with Alexander Rubdishev as his sidekick, Sancho Panza. Radchenko said the audience can expect a good time during the two-and-a-half-hour performance.

"[There are] very good sets," Radchenko said. "And the dancers are very good."

The Moscow Festival Ballet began in 1989 as a way of combining the classical elements of the Bolshoi and Kirov ballet companies and allowing a wider audience to see the productions.

"Before, it was a privilege to see Bolshoi and Kirov in New York or London," Radchenko said. "We go to small towns. It develops the taste of a nation."

The current company is comprised of 50 members, but at times, more performers join the show.

"We had 56 performers in England," Radchenko said. "We performed 'Swan Lake,' 'Sleeping Beauty' and 'The Nutcracker.'"

Because of its size and desire to continue touring, the Moscow Festival Ballet is able to perform more pieces than the larger companies.

"Bolshoi only gives three or four 'Sleeping Beauty' performances a year," Radchenko said. "I can give 35 or 36 performances."

Radchenko said he believes that the company has improved greatly since its inception more than a decade ago, and that the future looks bright for the dancers.

"It's a good time to be progressive," Radchenko said.

The tour ends with a May 7 performance in Alaska, but the company will have visited New York, Michigan, New Mexico and others along the way. Of all these stops, Radchenko said he has found Arizona to be quite enjoyable.

"With great pleasure I should stay in Arizona," Radchenko said.