Monday, March 29, 2010

From Russia to Delaware, with Love

People in Wilmington are always talking about the city’s small-town feel. Take that small community, and divide it many times over, and you have the dimensions of a very dense, interconnected Arts community thriving in Delaware and Greater Philadelphia.

Fellow blogger Margaret Darby and I were recently at the Exchange on Market after our performance at the Wilmington Library. We struck up a conversation with two dashingly handsome and personable waiters, Jake Allison and Nukri Mamistvalov, who turned out to be dancers from First State Ballet Theatre. They encouraged us to attend their upcoming performance of Swan Lake.

Graciously, the company’s artistic director, Pasha Kambalov invited me to attend a dress rehearsal of the famous ballet, choreographed to Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky’s glorious music. This vibrant young company has its roots in the Donetsk Ballet. Originally the Russian Ballet of Delaware, the company celebrates its tenth anniversary this season. Pasha Kambalov and his wife Kristina, ballet school director, are co-founders of the growing company, which is based at the Grand Opera House.

Swan Lake is the epitome of true classic ballet: graceful lines and delicate beauty based on a tragic fairy tale. Angela Zintchenko was lovely as the ill-fated Odette-Odile, paired with Justin Estelle, a convincing Prince Siegfried. Outstanding was Mamistvalov as the villain Von Rothbart as he cut an evil swath through the stage with his mysterious black-feathered costume. During a dress rehearsal, one often gets to see a director’s vision in its final stages of realization. Because it was the company’s first rehearsal for the production on the main stage, Pasha Kambalov was tweaking the spacing and overall look of the production. His gentle, yet firm direction to the dancers resulted in refined and beautifully spaced tableaus.

Next year, the company’s production of The Nutcracker will include a live performance by The Delaware Symphony Orchestra, since last year’s collaboration on the selections from the work was so successful.


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