BalletMet's Artistic Director, Gerard Charles, and fourteen of our professional dancers are currently in Russia. The company will be performing in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Both cities are huge centers of dance in Russia and have festivals that celebrate the arts in early June.
Two years ago, BalletMet Columbus was honored with the invitation to perform at the Russian festival, Moscow International Contemporary Dance Festival, or Moscow Footlights. Since January of this year, Gerard and BalletMet staff have been intensely preparing for the trip. Planning time abroad can be difficult, especially when you don't speak the language. Russia has also had some fairly recent political changes which added a little more confusion to the preparation process. Luckily, Gerard and BalletMet staffers have risen to the occasion and done an amazing job in hashing out the details of the trip.
Gerard took time away from planning a couple weeks ago to discuss some of the differences and difficulties he has encountered in getting ready for BalletMet's time in Russia.
The company costumes cannot be shipped ahead of time to Russia. Therefore, they will be taken on the flight. A few BalletMet dancers will take extra suitcases in order to transport the costumes. Russia does not have Laundromats and their theaters do not have washing machines like theaters do in the United States. That will make laundering the costumes very interesting, especially because certain detergents must be used due to the allergies of the dancers. Gerard is determined to find a solution. He jokingly mentioned paying the hotel staff to wash the costumes at the hotel or at home if need be. I cannot wait to hear how that turns out!
During a typical BalletMet performance, the music used has been recorded to a CD. In Russia, the music used is taken from mini-disks. These disks can skip from song to song like a CD, but the mini-disks allow for editing of the songs as well. Therefore, BalletMet recorded the performance music on a mini-disk instead of a CD for the trip. Gerard has decided to bring his iPod as a backup for the music that will be heard during the show. I think that was a smart move - better to be safe than sorry!
The dancers and Gerard will be in St. Petersburg for the White Nights Festival. This festival is in honor of the time of year when the sun never sets in Russia. That will not only be something to get used to, but something for the visiting BalletMet staff to enjoy in Russia!
Interested in learning how to greet someone in Russian? Click on this link to learn how!
COMING SOON: Stories and pictures from the trip!