The primary source of inspiration for the creators of the project and showrunner Alexei Kiselev was the famous dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch. It was when he saw her performances that Kiselev decided to turn to the nature of dance and reveal the history of the relationship between dancers and stage directors.
Almost five years have passed from the very idea to the implementation and premiere of the project. The “Ballet” project was also one of the first ideas of the young film company “Video Rental Studio” – but it goes online now, when the studio has already established itself with hits “Psych”, happy end and “Actresses”.
CThe filming period of the project took several seasons (since both summer and autumn locations were filmed) and two blocks. A total of 81 shifts of “Ballet” were filmed over the course of a year and a half.
The main drama theater in which the events in the series unfold is a collective invented image, “made up” of film blocks from several theaters of the country at once: the Bolshoi Theater, the Stanislavsky Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater, the Mikhailovsky Theater and others. The troupes of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre, the Mikhailovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Moscow ballet, soloists of the Bolshoi Theatre, soloists of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Mariinsky Theatre, the Eifman Theatre, and the choreographic ensemble Beryozka also took part in the filming of the series.
The production, which screen Ruta Myers is preparing for a big premiere, during the filming turned into a real play “On Nature”, which can now be seen in the repertoire of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater. According to director Yevgeny Sangadzhiev, “it just became clear at some point that otherwise we would not shoot this story.” There has never been anything like it in the history of Russian cinema.
In total, in the Ballet series, the viewer will see seven productions, some of which were specially created for the project: for example, the choreographer of the project, Vladimir Varnava, developed the main performance of the series. Other productions – “Paquita”, “Giselle” and “Swan Lake” – were filmed in different theaters of the country.
Along with the dramatic actors, many specialists from the field of ballet took part in the “Ballet”. The main character Ruta Myers is played by the famous choreographer, director, head of the Department of Modern Choreography and Stage Dance at the Russian Institute of Theater Arts (GITIS) (since 2013) Alla Sigalova. Soloist of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater Ksenia Shevtsova became a consultant and one of the main characters of the project. In addition to her, dancers Maria Abashova, Evgenia Obraztsova, Evgenia Dolmatova, Zhanna Gubanova, Maria Khoreva, Pyotr Raikov, German Borsay, Natalya Somova, Polina Zayarnaya, Daria Yurchenko, Georgi Smilevsky and others also shot in the Ballet.
The casting of dancers for the series took about six months, during which the project team watched more than 1,000 people. Most of the scenes were filmed during the ballet dancers’ holidays: during the season, the film crew did not have the opportunity to film the dancers due to their heavy workload and rare days off.
The main events in the series develop in three cities – Moscow, St. Petersburg and New York – and two time periods: 1984 and 2021. 1984 is the time of young Ruta’s departure from the country and her romantic relationship with Pronin. 2021 is her return to a changed country and theater.
The plot of the project focuses on the Pronin family, which regulates the work of the Main Drama Theater, where Ruta Myers comes. Andrei Pronin (Igor Gordin) is the artistic director of the theatre, his wife Alla (Irina Apeksimova) is responsible for the shadow side of the theatre’s work, and also teaches ballet to young dancers. Pronin’s daughter Kira (Elizaveta Yankovskaya) – PR-director of the Main Drama Theatre, and son Ilya (Pyotr Raikov) – the premiere of the ballet troupe. Behind the scenes, the continuity of generations is also present: for example, Alla Pronina in her youth is played by the daughter of Irina Apeksimova Daria Avratinskaya.
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