During my one-month long stay in Moscow this September, I was lucky enough to see Don Quixote at the Bolshoi Theatre with my two favourite dancers starring in it: Svetlana Zakharova and Denis Rodkin. It was an evening that changed my life forever and that I will never forget!
The first monumental moment was definitely entering the majestic building of the Bolshoi Theatre. After an early dinner at the famous Vogue Cafe in Moscow, my friends and I set off on our way. I could barely breathe and couldn't utter a word. I was simply taking in every single one of the corners, every one of the walls, every one of the doors and people in the theatre. It was an emotion that I can't explain.
After getting our programs and showing our tickets, we entered into the auditorium. This was the most incredible moment of all. One that has never visited the theatre cannot understand the beauty and energy of this room. The golden decorations and the breathtaking architecture astounded me immediately. The Bolshoi is the temple of ballet, and you can feel this royal energy in every detail of the theatre.
Eyes wide, I waited impatiently for the performance to start. Once it did, I fell into the magical world of Don Quixote and my eyes were glued to the stage.
It was, by far, the most beautiful and most well-executed performance I have ever seen. When Svetlana entered as Kitri, smile on her face and fan in the air, my eyes welled up with tears.
Zakharova gave a brilliant, outstanding performance as usual. There are no words to describe her. This is a woman that was created to dance, and born for the stage. Not only is her technique impeccable (her jumps were simple magnificent!), but every move she makes and every step she takes is that of her character and that of a ballerina. She shone like a star and was perfect in the role of Kitri. I often hear from people that they dislike Zakharova because she is "too focused on the technique" and "not emotional enough". This, however, is a complete misconception. Zakharova's every aspect is ideal, and the emotions and attitude that she brings through in her movements are as expressive as those of Maya Plisetskaya's.
Denis Rodkin was no less of a star than the beautiful Svetlana. His jumps made the audience hold their breath as he flew through the air. It seemed as if he would never return to earth, defying the laws of gravity. I never paid much attention to Rodkin, but this performance highlighted his brilliance and placed him in my mind as a magnificent male dancer, one of my definite favourites.
What I loved most about his performance was definitely his attitude and the unique flair that he brought to the role. At the end of each variation he shook his head explicitly to show the explosion of his flouncy hair. This was a lovely detail and made him even more fun to watch.
Apart from the two stars of the show, every single other dancer was unbelievable - this is no exaggeration. Kitri's two friends were charming, the Toreador and his partner flowed like water, and every single one of the corps de ballet dancers and soloists shone through as well.
Highlights of the show:
My two lovely Moscow friends who were kind enough to bring me with them had not ever been massive fans of ballet, and one of them was going to the Bolshoi for the very first time. They specifically told me after the performance that they fell in love with this art after seeing Don Quixote with me. Two weeks later, after I left, they came back to see Giselle at the Bolshoi - something they would have never thought of before seeing this magnificent show.
Don Quixote at the Bolshoi was the most special evening of my life, and something I will never forget. It showed me how Russian ballet is truly supreme to all other art forms.
Any performance at the Bolshoi is guaranteed to be fantastic. Please, please, please visit it and bring anyone who dislikes ballet - believe me, it will change their minds.
Alexia Dochnal, 15 years old.