A One-Time Review of Soviet Ballet in Bishkek

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to be so bad.  I thought that it would be quaint and soviet, but still graceful and artful (like the majestic soviet-era building that houses the national theater with its peeling pale pink walls and chandeliers reflectent in floor-to-ceiling mirrors).  Wrong.

We chose today’s ballet simply because…I wanted to go to the theater, and it was this or a Kyrgyz play whose cast seemed to compromise older women in traditional gowns and their humorous, luckless, browbeaten husbands as they argue and cause the audience to laugh through the struggles of life.  That play that’s been done a thousand times under a thousand names. So “Yunana and Antov” (I think that’s the name) it was.

To cut my review short: two or three of the dancers (out of two dozen) possessed grace and made the ballet art.  But overall they seemed stiff, cogs in a factory machine. Few of the dances were anywhere near synchronized.  The choreography was lackluster and the dances lacked expression (by the end of the ballet E and I still couldn’t really figure out the story line).  Apparently Russia’s famed ballet legacy does not live on in all the former Soviet republics.

But they were selling shot glasses of Kyrgyz cognac and vodka during the intermission, if that’s any consolation… (no, we did not partake, but I was sad they were out of tea.

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