Why this Perm will never go out of fashion
This is a company on a roll; among its members are many nominees and recipients of the coveted Golden Mask for theatre arts and dance performances in Russia.
The versions of the ballets are important for Miroshnichenko’s conservation mission. There are many versions of The Nutcracker but Irish audiences will be treated to that recreated for the Kirov by Vasili Vainonen, a choreographer of some note during the Soviet years.
Nutcracker nerds might like to note that this version does not include a Sugar Plum Fairy, is strong on the dream elements of the ballet, and creates stronger dance roles for the two principals, Masha (the young girl, sometimes known as Clara) and the nutcracker/prince. For Swan Lake aficionados, this is the version staged by Natalia Makarova, with additional choreography by Frederick Ashton. And that is because Makarova is synonymous with that great Mariinsky/Kirov tradition, even though she defected to the west in 1970 and subsequently danced with the Royal Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre.
But while Miroshnichenko seems steeped in the classic tradition, he has also been alert to developments in modern ballet. He acknowledges that performing the works of Ashton or Kenneth MacMillan, Royal Ballet signature dance makers to the Mariinsky and Perm, offers a fresh perspective and opportunities for dancers. He was also for a period at the helm of Australian choreographer William Forsythe’s productions at the Mariinsky.
Forsythe, a radical modernist, is credited with having breathed new life into the classical lines and style of ballet and Miroshnichenko is a fan. “I find him challenging but so satisfying and want to do more,” he says.
His own moves into dance-making have drawn on literature, as often happens with the narrative form of ballet; his successful Du Côté de Chez Swann was performed internationally, although he rather disarmingly says The Lady with the Little Dog, his take on a Chekhov short story, “wasn’t quite right”.
Most recently, his recovery of Chout by Prokofiev, with new choreography, was shown at the Diaghilev festival of arts, which takes place in Perm every two years.
He is keen to nurture the talent of young Russian choreographers and next year he intends to give them a platform for their work at the festival, which has adopted the motto of “See the music, hear the dance”.
Will Irish audiences get to see the Perm company perform any modern ballet? “Unfortunately, and understandably, the impresarios want us, the classic Russians, to bring the classics,” he says. “That is our forte and what audiences, of course, want to see. But yes, I would like us to bring more.”
The Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet performs The Nutcracker tonight and Sunday and Swan Lake on Friday and Saturday at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin
Ballet Ireland is also currently touring a production of The Nutcracker, including the Civic Theatre, Tallaght, until Saturday. See balletireland.ie