Ballet legend Vladimir Malakhov’s first connection with Japan was more than 20 years ago, when he danced in the World Ballet Festival in Osaka opposite Alessandra Ferri in a piece from Marius Petipa’s 1850 revival of “Giselle.”

Now, as the Tokyo Ballet’s artistic adviser since August 2014, 47-year-old Malakhov is overseeing its current production of that classic work, this time featuring two of the world’s top dancers — Svetlana Zakharova from the Bolshoi Ballet, as the ill-fated peasant girl Giselle, and Roberto Bolle from the American Ballet Theatre as her romantic nemesis, Prince Albrecht. These roles will be taken on March 14 by the company’s solo artist Rie Watanabe and principal Dan Tsukamoto, respectively.

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