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Eifman Ballet of St Petersburg returns to HK in September

The world-renowned Eifman Ballet of St Petersburg will bring its theatrical brand of dance melodrama to Hong Kong in September. This will be the ballet troupe's second visit to Hong Kong. Its first was in 1990.

Featuring "Red Giselle" at 8pm on September 2 and 3 (Thursday and Friday) and "Tchaikovsky" at 8pm on September 4 (Saturday) and 3pm on September 5 (Sunday), the performances will take place at the Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

Based on the tragic life of ballerina Olga Spessivtseva and set against the brutal backdrop of Soviet revolutionary artistic oppression, "Red Giselle" tells the story of the rise and fall of the ill-fated ballerina forced into exile and eventual madness by her art and by the society around her. The San Francisco Chronicle described the piece as "one of the great dramatic ballets of the 20th century".

The second programme, "Tchaikovsky", explores the great dilemma of the Russian composer, who craved acceptance and regard, yet was irresistibly drawn to inner desires that both appalled and enthralled him. He was ashamed of his secret life. This production is not a biographical interpretation of Tchaikovsky's life, but rather portrays the symphony of his passions conveyed through movement.

Founded by Boris Eifman in 1977 as the New Ballet of Lenigrad, Eifman Ballet has revolutionised the concept of classical dance in Russia by taking the art of ballet to its highest level of expressiveness. Eifman created a new type of dance artist who uses classical ballet training as a launching pad for innovative, modern choreography. The company's unique style fuses ballet with the methods of contemporary theatre and film, using all aspects of a theatrical production to create a rich and multi-dimensional theatre experience.

Unable to tour internationally during the first 10 years of its existence for political reasons, Eifman Ballet instantly became known internationally after its first performance abroad at the Champs Elysees Theatre in Paris in 1988. Since then, the company has toured widely around Europe, America and Asia to much critical and popular acclaim.

In 1998, Eifman Ballet was awarded the title of "Academic Theatre" - the highest level of distinction for a Russian theatre company, an honour shared by such world-renowned companies as the Kirov Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet.

Noted as today's "most successful Russian choreographer" by "The New York Times", Boris Eifman is an unusual figure in the history of Russian ballet and one of the major artists in modern ballet. Born in the Siberian town of Rubtsovsk in 1946, Eifman began his artistic journey at the age of seven. He enrolled in the newly formed choreography department of the Leningrad Conservatory in 1966 and then became the official choreographer of the Vaganova Academy, the Kirov Ballet's school. In 1975 Eifman choreographed his widely acclaimed ballet, "Firebird", for the Kirov Ballet.

Tickets priced at $340, $260, $180 and $120 are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. A 10% discount applies to Friends of LCSD performing venues. There will also be group booking discounts: 10% for four to nine tickets, 15% for 10 to 19 tickets and 20% for 20 tickets or more. A 5% discount will be available for a single purchase of tickets for both performances.

For programme enquiries and details of associated events - a master class and a post-performance talk (conducted in English) - call 2268 7323 or visit . Ticketing enquiries and reservations can be made on 2734 9009 and credit card telephone bookings on 2111 5999. Tickets can also be booked online at .

Ends/Wednesday, July 21, 2004
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