The atmosphere at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, must have been electric on Feb. 4, 1877. That was the day Austrian composer Ludwig Minkus premiered “La Bayadere” — the latest masterpiece of classical ballet by French choreographer Marius Petipa — to some of Europe’s cultural elite.
Fast-forward almost 140 years to another grand premiere of the production, this time in Niigata, where Jo Kanamori, artistic director for dance at the city’s Performing Arts Center, will stage “La Bayadere — Nation of Illusion,” his revolutionary reworking focusing on modern themes.
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