Major ball at Bolshoi Theatre

Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre hosts grand ball to celebrate arrival of ‘Old Calendar’ New Year

Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre hosts grand ball to celebrate arrival of ‘Old Calendar’ New Year

The tradition of celebrating the New Year according to the old calendar at the Bolshoi Theatre (on January 13th-14th night) began several years ago. Stage managers, directors, artistes and dancers commence preparations well in advance, with couples required to attend classes at the theatre’s dancing school prior to the event.

New Year ball at Bolshoi Theatre
New Year ball at Bolshoi Theatre
Photo: BELTA

Producer and ballet master Olga Kostel explains that people of all ages and professions learn to dance the waltz, polonaise and petronella, often becoming true fans of old-style dancing: coming to the traditional ball and attending all premieres at the theatre. Ms. Kostel believes dancing helps us gain in empathy.

The recent ‘Old New Year’ ball gathered debutants and coryphées, with the hall full of people; it was truly a challenge to pass through ladies’ full skirts. Of course, all women enjoy the chance to ‘dress up’ and receive compliments, so it was no surprise to see elaborate outfits on show, decorated with feathers, fans, and long trains, with low cut décolleté and long gloves. No fashion week could have shown such a wide range of styles.

New Year ball at Bolshoi Theatre
New Year ball at Bolshoi Theatre
Photo: BELTA

At 11pm, there was a festive concert-surprise, led by stage director Andrey Galanov. Centred around a romantic fairy-tale, New Year Express imagined a train hurrying forward, leaving all that is negative behind, in the past year. The train brings only happiness, love and joy.

Guests were then invited to an elegant Viennese ball of light and romantic waltzes, to the music of Strauss and Lehar. The Elemental Theatre of Fire and Light provided entertainment, while Irdorat folk group presented highly unusual medieval folk compositions, using rare musical instruments — such as the bouzouki and didgeridoo.

Stylised cafés served refreshments through the night, including the Parisian Mysteries café, which broadcast masterpieces of silent cinema: old black-and-white films made by the Lumière brothers and famous City Lights, featuring Charlie Chaplin. Meanwhile, the Manhattan Lights café was filled with posters of Hollywood stars, next to which many took photographs.

By Olga Kolesnikova
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