RUSSIAN DREAM: Karen LeFrak had an “OMG moment” at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg seeing ballet “Tour les Jours” performed last Saturday. “Wasn’t it Tchaikovsky who said it was a dream of his to have something performed at the Mariinsky? I had to pinch myself,” she said.
“Tous les Jours,” which took part in the International Stars Gala that closed the XIII Ballet Festival Mariinsky, was the second time LeFrak had heard her music played at the theater. For the American Ballet Theater dancer and choreographer Marcelo Gomes, the ballet was his debut as a choreographer at the Mariinsky.
Gomes, who was sitting next to LeFrak squeezing her hand the whole time, has known Chase Finlay, who performed the piece, since Finlay was only eight years old. “I think anyone that you see that young and then see that they’ve arrived at this place … have evolved as a person and an artist, that’s something to really applaud. I like people who are busy, who are go-getters, and that really inspires me.”
The experience was a dream come true for Finlay — one of the newest principal dancers at the New York City Ballet. “I’ve been sitting in the audience for the past three nights in a row kind of laughing to myself how beautiful the theater is … After the curtain went down I just stood there for a few minutes and took it all in,” he said.
Finlay related to the ballet’s story, which deals with the everyday drudgery of going to rehearsal. “It was pretty easy to make the comedic aspect of the dance real,” he said. “I didn’t have to try so hard because it’s so easy to relate to.”
Yuri Fateyev, the Mariisnky Theater’s Ballet Masters, said, “Chase is incredibly talented, a fabulous performer. … The dance worked out well. It was highly amusing.”
Larisa Salaviev of the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) paired Gomes and LeFrak for the ballet, which makes its American debut as part of the YAGP closing night gala on April 18 in Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater. “Russia is home, so for me it was special to see ‘Tous les Jours’ make its debut here,” she said.
LeFrak stopped first in Moscow to catch “Jewels” at the Bolshoi Theater, where Saleviev was once a dancer, before heading to St. Petersburg for “Swan Lake” and the International Stars Gala that closed the XIII Ballet Festival Mariinsky. “I’m not overdosed on ballet. I could go every single night of the week,” she said.