La Bayadere, one of the world’s greatest ballets, will be staged at the Mediterranean Conference Centre on Saturday 26th January 2013.  This 3 Act ballet has its own particular and unique style and will take the audience on a journey to ancient India with its traditions, culture, religion and rich colours – elements which all contribute to a visual spectacle not to be missed.  The ballet is being produced and directed by Johane Casabene, and will be staged under the Patronage of His Excellency the President of Malta, in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund.

The leading roles of the ballet will be interpreted by French Etoiles Danseurs Anne-Laure Gosselin trained at the Paris Opera, who will dance the role of Nikiya, the bayadere, and Donatien Ravet trained at the Opera de Marseille, who will be dancing the role of Solor, the warrior.  The role of the Rajah’s daughter, Gamzatti, will be danced by a talented novelty on the Maltese dance scene, Cassandra Galea, who is currently following a full-time Diploma in Professional Dance with the Malta Youth Ballet Foundation.

Other artists involved in the production are Janet Vella – Magdaveya; Charles Duca – the High Brahmin; Donald Mallia – the Rajah; Dorian Mallia – the Golden Idol; and Robert Scicluna – Solor’s companion.  All these dancers are well known in the local theatre scene.  The Corps de ballet will be composed of students from the Johane Casabene Dance Conservatoire.  

La Bayadère (The Temple Dancer) is a ballet originally staged by the renowned French choreographer Marius Petipa, also known as the Premier maitre de ballet of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres, where it was first staged on February 4th 1877. The music of this ballet was written by Ludwig Minkus, chief collaborator of Petipa, who from 1871 until 1886 held the official post of Ballet Composer to the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres.

A scene from the ballet, known as The Kingdom of the Shades, is one of the most celebrated excerpts in all of classical ballet, and is considered to be one of the first examples of abstract ballet. La Bayadère has been restaged and revived many times throughout its long performance history.

Petipa’s La Bayadère is a typical production of the period in which it was produced: extravagant tableaux interspersed with episodes on an active, melodramatic scenario, which take place in an exotic and ancient locale—the ideal vehicle for dances and mimed scenes -in a setting of lavish décor and sumptuous costumes, helping to create an atmosphere of opulence and grandeur.  During the 1860s until the mid-1880s Petipa favored the romantic ballet tradition, i.e. ballets which were typically melodramas involving a love triangle of some sort, and usually consisting of a supernatural female creature who would embody the feminine ideal.  The rather tragic scenario of La Bayadère is certainly a work that conforms to these elements.