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Choreographer Alexei Ratmansky: "It Will Be a Graceful, Gentle and Elegant Ballet"

Choreographer Alexei Ratmansky: "It Will Be a Graceful, Gentle and Elegant Ballet"

Already this weekend, the first performances of "Harlequin’s Millions" shall be unveiled at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. The creative team of the production said that they were carrying out an important mission – they wanted to give Lithuanians at least a drop of joy in exchange for their phenomenal support of Ukraine.

"The show we staged here is full of lightness, joy and harmony. However, after the rehearsal, we see terrible images from Ukraine on all screens, every single day. All this is reminiscent of a biblical tragedy. On the other hand, every morning when we come to LNOBT, we see nets woven for the warfront, we see Ukrainian flags displayed in the theatre, and also in the whole of Vilnius. And we want to thank you for supporting those moments with a bit of joy and harmony that “Harlequin’s Millions” can offer. It seems to me that this is an important mission," – said choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, whose roots happen to be in Ukraine.

The honourable guest called his work a silent manifesto of protest against the "ballet circus", where the most important thing is how high above the head the dancer can raise one’s leg or how many times one can turn in the air.

"But all these effects that we often see in modern productions have no internal charge. I believe that ballet can still be graceful, gentle, elegant, as it was in the past. We are starting to forget pantomime in ballet, and after all, it educates the dancer as an artist. Therefore, "Harlequin’s Millions" has become an excellent professional school for the entire company," – said A. Ratmansky.

Martynas Rimeikis, artistic director of LNOBT’s ballet company emphasized, that three dozen pupils of the Ballet Department of the National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Arts will take part in this production, so "Harlequin’s Millions" will help the new generation of ballet to grow up as well. In addition, Vilnius will host the first European premiere of "Harlequin’s Millions" staged by choreographer A. Ratmansky, because previously only the American Ballet Theatre and the Australian Ballet presented such a production.

"Riccardo Drigo was an extremely talented Italian composer, although not very well known to us. But he wrote brilliantly for dance, and the score of “Harlequin’s Millions” is simply wonderful. And I must admit, I simply fell in love with Vilnius. I came here for the first time a year ago with a three-month-old baby in my arms, but when I took a stroll in the old town, I was overwhelmed with a wonderful feeling of kindness and safety. Vilnius became my second home. I am honoured that this time LNOBT entrusted me to conduct not individual performances, but an entire new ballet production", – said the music director of "Harlequin’s Millions", Ukrainian conductor Margaryta Grynyvetska.

Robert Perdziola, the production’s set and costume designer from the USA, also liked the capital of Lithuania, although he regrets that other commitments will not allow him to see the premiere in Vilnius with his own eyes. "While creating “Harlequin’s Millions”, I visited Lithuania for the first time, so I had all sorts of doubts. But the team of the LNOBT production workshops dispersed them all. These days, hand-painted scenery in theatres is becoming a real challenge, however, I like challenges. Presenting a production based on 1900 choreography created and recorded by Marius Petipa in a different way would probably be unfair and immoral", – said R. Perdziola.

The premiere performances of "Harlequin’s Millions" will be presented on the stage of the LNOBT on 24, 25, 29, 30 and 31 March. Since it will be difficult to get tickets for these evenings, we invite you to buy tickets for the "Harlequin’s Millions" performances scheduled for 13-16 December of this year.