It was Marius Petipa who created the ballet La Bayadère in 1877 with a staggering cast and fanciful scenic ideas to impress the St. Petersburg audience. To this day classical dance owes him a huge debt. The choreographer Alexei Ratmansky is interested in how Petipa’s works might have looked like. Based on Petipa’s notations that have survived almost intact and lend themselves to study and interpretation, his intentions are immediately comprehensible. In addition to the original ideas of movement and step sequences, this insightful connoisseur also reveals Petipa's equally brilliant scenic ideas and their effective connection to the music of Ludwig Minkus. In order to get as close as possible to the original, Alexei Ratmansky not only reconstructs La Bayadère, but also painstakingly examines Petipa's taste and instinct. This approach is taken up in the stage design and costumes being newly developed by Jérôme Kaplan.
The story, set in a fantastical India of lush splendour, revolves around Nikiya, one of the sacred temple dancers known as bayadères. She is loved by Solor, but he, however, is pledged to the Rajah’s daughter. Betrayed by intrigues and subjected to the strict laws of tradition, the love between Nikiya and Solor cannot end happily. Their unlucky relationship finds a celestial expression in one of the most beautiful white acts in the history of ballet: The Kingdom of Shades. In this ravishing scene the corps de ballet appear one by one to perform a hypnotic chain of ethereal movements, celebrating the clear precision of classical dancing and an overwhelming lyrical calm. This dream image is embedded in the beguiling world of Indian locations, colors and decorations, yet there is a hint of sandalwood in the air. The love drama develops with almost menacing sensuality.
»Fascinating and impressive« (New York Times)
»If a brand-new dance management is setting the benchmark of quality with its very first world premiere, then Berlin can gear itself for some top-drawer classical fare.« (Süddeutsche Zeitung)
»This opulent production meets all the expectations of a ›grand ballet‹. At the same time, this back-to-the-roots version with its attention to detail is so unfamiliar to audiences in 2018 that it could well be termed brave.« (RBB Inforadio)