It takes a pair to frame a tango

Eternally present in the relationship between shoes and dance is artistic expression.
Solomon Golding. (Photo by Brandon Hinton)

Addressing the audience during a dance concert at Suvretta House in St. Moritz in 1919, Kiev-born Vaslav Nijinsky said: “Now I will dance you the war… The war which you did not prevent.” Albeit bordering on insanity at this point in his life – his last performance of note could re-enter the consciousness of the Ukrainian people.

But for the beginning of ballet in Eastern Europe, its emergence is down to Peter the Great, the former Emperor of Russia. Fast-forward to the romantic era – leading dancers became globally recognised for the first time. And this escalated to another level at the turn of the 20th century when the new age of Russian ballet was coined. Since then Eastern Europe has been the unrivalled breeding ground for the greatest ballet figures. Historic institutions and theatres have naturally fostered such artistry and technical genius. The Marjinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg and the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow head up the list in Russia. And in Europe’s second largest country by area, the National Opera of Ukraine is the principal venue for the expansive Kyiv National Ballet.

Video by Marcus Ebanks

Contributor

Freddie Anderson

Published

February 2022

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