Dancing through love and tragedy with Anna Karenina

April 29, 2015

Anna Karenina is a story of passion, sacrifice, longing and tragedy. The emotions that are transcended through the pages of Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel were recently brought to life on stage by the St. Petersburg Eifman Ballet (created by Boris Eifman in 1977) at the Place des arts in Montréal.

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Based on a Leo Tolstoy novel, Anna Karenina explores the tragic choices made by the famous lead character.

Aside from the featherweight dancers who seemed to breathe and live for the ballet, the costumes were perfectly selected by Vyacheslav Okunev. They were the epitome of “less is more”. Without extensive intricacies, Okunev was able to project meaning and feeling behind each scene through a single medium: colour. He opted for the classics: white to portray love and happiness, and black for the inevitable demise of Anna’s life and relationships.

Karenina’s dance moves (performed by Maria Abasohva) were perfectly paired with her flowing, elegant and sometimes backless gowns. She also wore fiery red during the scene where she was in the midst of making important life decisions.

Female dancers had their bodies adorned in silk that seemed to weigh almost nothing, while the men’s perfectly sculpted bodies were enwrapped in structured, classically coloured trousers and suits.

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The detailed costumes echoed the emotions of dancers throughout the entire show.

At the end of the performance, Karenina takes a vile of opium and, therefore, starts her delirium. This is portrayed through body tight, naked-like pieces that grace the dancers’ bodies. The most significant “accessory” during the scene is Karenina’s long and thrashing hair, which aside from that part of the show, remained perfectly upheld with a sparkling clip throughout the entire performance.

To upkeep with the elegance of the event, guests were greeted with a Red Carpet at the event and beautifully dressed models in the hallways and the entrance. The title sponsor of the event was Chanel.

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By Ada Yakobi
Photography by / courtesy of Les Grands Ballets

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