World Ballet Stars to Gather in St Pete for Mariinsky Festival

On February 21 through March 2, St Petersburg will be hosting a third international ballet festival, Mariinsky.

Russia's sole classical dance event will traditionally involve leading ballet dancers from the world's major companies. St Petersburg will admire the art of dancers from Russia, France, Britain and the US, said the press service of the Mariinsky Opera and Ballet Theatre.

To perform the leading parts along with Diana Vishneva, Svetlana Zakharova, Andrian Fadeyev and Danila Korsuntsev, Mariinsky soloists, are the festival regulars, Vladimir Malakhov of the American Ballet Theatre and Nikolai Tsiskaridze of the Bolshoi. Also to take part in the ballet event are Paris' Grand Opera stars Agnes Letestu, Jose Martinez, Jean-Guillaume Bart, and Manuel Legri.

It will be the first time the New York City Ballet's crowd pullers Damian Woetzel, Wendy Whelan and Maria Kowroski will take part in the Mariinsky festival. Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg of the London Royal Ballet will also perform at the Mariinski for the first time.

The ballet festival will premiere Princess Pirlipat, or Worthiness Punished, a one-act ballet to Sergei Slonimsky's music, with libretto, sets and costumes by the famed artist Mikhail Shemyakin. The ballet is a prologue of a sort to The Nutcracker, which was first staged at the Mariinsky in February 2001 and which will follow the premiere.

The festival will round off on March 2 with a gala dedicated to Rudolf Nuriyev, world famed ballet dancer who had started his career at the Mariinski theatre.

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