London will see the ballet “Giselle” staged by Alexei Ratmansky

In September, the United Ukrainian Ballet will come to London for a tour. The newly formed troupe will perform at the London Coliseum with the ballet Giselle, staged by Alexei Ratmansky. Afisha.London magazine tells more about the Russian and Ukrainian choreographer, whose performances are always eagerly awaited by both the audience and critics from all over the world.


Born in St Petersburg, Alexei Ratmansky spent his childhood in Kyiv. He started as a ballet dancer, being the lead dancer of several ballet companies. First of all, he was a soloist of the National Opera of Ukraine, where he performed leading roles in ballets of the classical repertoire. Then he worked at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, his repertoire included ballets by G. Balanchine, F. Ashton and other choreographers. Later, Alexei was accepted into the Royal Danish Ballet, where he performed parts in the ballets of August Bournonville and other ballets of the classical and modern repertoire. Here he worked with choreographers Mats Ek, Jiří Kylián and others.

Later Alexei became artistic director at Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet. He was choreographing at the Bolshoi when war broke out, but left immediately and has been outspoken about the invasion ever since. People he considered friends have not condemned the war.

“I’m heartbroken. <…> How can a sane person support the war? It’s just beyond me,” he says of them to The Guardian. For Ratmansky, it is not only a national tragedy but also a personal crisis. “My identity is really broken,” he says, “and I need to find a way to glue it all back together.” Even remembering happy times at the Bolshoi is painful. “The people I loved working with so much, they have betrayed the humanity of our art.”



According to New York Times critics, Ratmansky is “the most gifted choreographer specialising in classical ballet today.” He has staged ballets for the Mariinsky and Bolshoi Theaters (The Little Humpbacked Horse and Jeu de Cartes), the Royal Swedish Ballet (The Firebird), the Dutch National Ballet (Don Quixote), the Australian Ballet (Cinderella), the American Ballet Theater (Shostakovich Trilogy) and other troupes from around the world. Alexei also collaborated with such legends of modern ballet of different generations as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Nina Ananiashvili and Diana Vishneva.

Ratmansky breathed new life into classical ballet. Dancers under his guidance note that he is always attentive to details, strives for ideal and perfection, which helps them to reveal their talents.

In September, the United Ukrainian Ballet and Alexei Ratmansky will present in London an interpretation of one of the greatest works of the classical repertoire — the ballet Giselle. This Giselle is based on Ratmansky’s 2019 staging, made after an in-depth study of early historical sources.

The personal stories of each member of Сompany as they escaped the ongoing war in their homeland resonate Giselle’s timeless themes of love, betrayal, death and mercy.


In the interview with The Telegraph, Ratmansky said, “Dancers are strong people. Disciplined. <…> They don’t allow themselves to be weak. That’s what we learn in ballet school: to tolerate pain, and deliver.”


Alina Cojocaru and Katja Khaniukova, soloists of the English National Ballet, familiar to Londoners from the roles of Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and Clara in The Nutcracker, will also take part in the performances.

The sets and costumes are loaned by Birmingham Royal Ballet and the dancers will be accompanied by the full orchestra of the English National Opera, under the baton of Viktor Oliynyk, conductor of the National Opera of Ukraine.

All profits from ticket sales will be given to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and the United Ukrainian Ballet Foundation, which has been set up to protect, support and spread Ukrainian culture.

Performances will take place from 13 to 17 September at the London Coliseum. Specially for the readers of Afisha.London magazine, there is a special offer for the best tickets — 25%. Enter the code afishalondon on the theatre website when you check out. More information and tickets.



Cover photo: Karsten Moran/The New York Times



Read more:

Expressions of Emotional Experience in the Works of Contemporary Artists

A patriot in exile, or the star and the death of Boris Berezovsky

A short guide to being a happy parent of a happily multilingual child

error: Content is protected !!