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Vakhtang Chabukiani (Choreography)

Vakhtang Chabukiani was a Georgian ballet dancer, choreographer and teacher highly regarded in his native country as well as abroad. He is considered to be one of the most influential male ballet dancers in history, and is noted for creating the majority of the choreography of the male variations which comprise the classical ballet repertory. This includes such famous ballets as Le Corsaire and La Bayadère.

He is also noted for his and Vladimir Ponomaryov's 1941 revival of the ballet La Bayadère for the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet, which is still retained in the company's repertory (often referred to as the "Soviet version"). This version of the ballet has served as the basis for nearly every production staged outside of Russia, including Rudolf Nureyev and Natalia Makarova's versions.

Magnificent and legendary ballet dancer and choreographer who was a star of Mariinsky (Kirov) Theater of Saint Petersburg. He is considered to be one of the most influential male ballet dancers in history, and is noted for creating the majority of the choreography of the male variations which comprise the classical ballet repertory. Vakhtang Chabukiani embodied the new Soviet hero in the ballet of the 1930's, combining virtuosic ballet technique with athleticism and a stunningly powerful, vivid stage presence. He originated lead roles in several signature Soviet ballets, among them Vasily Vainonen's "Flames of Paris" in 1932 and Rostislav Zakharov's "Fountain of the Bakhchisarai" in 1934. Also in 1934, he and Tatyana Vecheslova became the first Soviet dancers to tour in the United States. His another name was "Wizard of Dancing"

Laurencia is a ballet made by Vakhtang Chabukiani to music by Alexander Crain, based on Lope de Vega's Fuente Ovejuna. Created at a time when “choreodrama” was considered in the Soviet Union the only acceptable form of contemporary ballet, it harks back to a genuine drama, wherein movement was a vehicle for meaning, and dance could serve as divertissement as well as dramatic purpose. At the same time, the story of a peasant revolution was obviously the ideal subject for a Soviet ballet. Vakhtang Chabukiani was one of the first to create a new choreographic language by means of his own particular blend of folk dance and classical dance. He asserted once and for all the importance of male dance, furthering in particular the notion of "heroic" male dance.




La Bayadere

Today, La Bayadere is presented primarily in one of two different versions—those productions derived from Vakhtang Chabukiani and Vladimir Ponomaryov's 1941 revival for the Kirov Ballet, and those productions derived from Natalia Makarova's 1980 version for American Ballet Theatre; which is itself derived from Chabukiani and Ponomarev's version.

Grand pas d'action

For Chabukiani variation in the Grand pas d'action Legat chose a Variation added by Minkus to Petipa's 1874 revival of the Taglioni/Offenbach Le Papillon. In 1941 Vakhtang Chabukiani re-choreographed this variation for himself, which is still performed today by all male dancers who perform the role of Solor in La Bayadere.


Le corsaire

Pas d'esclave

Today the variation is performed with choreography created by Vakhtang Chabukiani in 1931.

The Le corsaire pas de deux

It was the noted Premier danseur of the Kirov Ballet Vakhtang Chabukiani who had the most influential hand in refashioning the male dancing of the Le corsaire pas de deux. During his performances in the pas during the 1930s he gave the male role more athletic and virtuoso choreographic elements. His interpretation of the male role became, in essence, the standard, and it has remained so to the present day.

By the time the Kirov Ballet's Premier danseur Vakhtang Chabukiani danced the role in the 1930s, the character wore a costume which consisted of baggy pants and chains strapped around a shirt-less torso. When Pyotr Gusev staged his revival of Le corsaire for the Maly Theatre in 1955, the Rhab character was named Ali, and was given a more prevalent part in the ballet's action. This change in the character from a mere suitor to a slave also gave rise to revisions in the choreography of the Le corsaire pas de deux, with many of the dancers who performed in the role adding in more athletic and exotic elements of choreography.

In 1936 another revival of Le corsaire was given by the Kirov Ballet, with Natalia Dudinskaya as Medora, Mikhail Mikhailov as Conrad, and Vakhtang Chabukiani as the Slave (or Rhab, as the character was known in Russia). This was the first production of the full-length work to include Vaganova's 1931 revision of the Le corsaire pas de deux as staged for Dudinskaya's graduation performance.


Swan Lake

Grand Pas d'action

Prince Siegfried's famous variation has been historically credited to the great Danseur of the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet Vakhtang Chabukiani, who it has been said was the first to dance the solo in the 1930s at the Kirov, though most likely he had learned the variation from Gorsky. Today the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet's score for Swan Lake has this variation titled with a rubric that says Variation of Chabukiani, and this same solo is used by nearly every company when they perform The Black Swan Pas de Deux, though there are often differences in the music regarding orchestration from production to production (for example, the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet's version of this music is orchestrated for solo oboe at the start, whereas in the west it is usually the full violin section that plays throughout).


La Esmeralda

Agrippina Vaganova for the Kirov Ballet in 3 acts. Kirov Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Leningrad, 3 April 1935. Revived especially for the Ballerina Tatiana Vecheslova. Vaganova added a "new" Pas d'action for the Ballerina Galina Ulanova and the Danseur Vakhtang Chabukiani, which she arranged from the Pas de Diane from Petipa's 1868 ballet Tsar Kandavl (a.k.a. Le Roi Candaule) to music by Pugni and Drigo, which is known today as the Diane and Actéon Pas de Deux.

The La Esmeralda Pas de deux

When the danseur of the Kirov Ballet Vakhtang Chabukiani performed in the La Esmeralda Pas de deux in the 1930s, he added music from Pugni's original score as a variation for himself. Today the variation is retained in the piece and remains popular with danseurs.

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