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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Mathias

Ballet celebrates fashion

The human form is truly celebrated in ballet. Dancers elegantly twist and turn in ways that can take one's imagination on a dream sequence.


We were treated to watch the rehearsals at Dubai Opera. Internationally renowned ballerina Svetlana Zakharova – the Bolshoi’s prima and the first and only Russian Etoile at Teatro alla Scala – were readying for their performance on February 27 and 28. Speaking about her upcoming Dubai performances, Svetlana said: “I am very excited to be performing at the Dubai Opera for the first time and really look forward to meeting my fans in the United Arab Emirates. These are going to be amazing shows.”


A towering figure in the 21st century ballet, Zakharova comes to the Dubai Opera with MODANSE, a thrilling double bill that brings together the world of fashion and the art of the dance. It was produced by MuzArts specifically for Svetlana Zakharova who will be joined onstage by a star-studded cast of dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet including Mikhail Lobukhin, Denis Savin, Artemy Belyakov, Anastasia Stashkevich, Elizaveta Kokoreva and also by a modern dance star Ildar Gainutdinov.

The night will open with a ballet Come Un Respiro (Like a Breath) set to the 18th century Baroque music by George Frideric Handel. Incidentally, the Baroque period is present not only in the music, but also in the intricate choreography by a famous Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti and the fanciful costumes designed by a Portuguese artist Helena de Medeiros exclusively for this ballet.

The second part of the performance will feature a tribute to Gabrielle Chanel, the legendary couturier and the founder of The House of CHANEL. The ballet Gabrielle Chanel created by a renowned Russian choreographer Yury Possokhov narrates Chanel’s journey from an obscure provincial singer to the head of one of the world’s most influential Fashion Houses – a journey that has forever overturned the world of the 20th century fashion. CHANEL's Fashion studio under the impetus of Virginie Viard's Artistic Direction has designed more than 80 costumes specifically for Gabrielle Chanel ballet.




Elegant dancers in rehearsal

Costumes prepared by the house of Chanel

Svetlana Zakharova on her role as the great Coco Chanel:


“The first transformation took place before the photo session when I had my makeup and hair done like hers and I put on her costume and saw ‘Chanel’ in the mirror. I had already done a lot of research, reading biographies, watching films about Chanel’s life, even visited her apartment in Paris where her collections of jewellery, costumes, shoes and perfumes are kept. My task now is to inhabit her character and to dance her image with all her emotions and experiences as I feel it.”


Composer Ilya Demutsky:


“As soon as I learned that the ballet was being created for Svetlana Zakharova and was going to be choreographed by Yury Possokhov, I immediately agreed to a proposal by MuzArts. I have worked with Yury Possokhov before – on ballets ‘A Hero of Our Time’ and ‘Nureyev’, and Svetlana brilliantly implemented my musical score on stage, but those were different images and absolutely different intonations. This time we were united by the story of life and creative work of the magnificent Gabrielle Chanel.


During our work on this performance, I was present at rehearsals and saw the way Svetlana and Yury worked – their persistent search and all-consuming labour, which then gradually transformed into the very essence of naturalness when choreography is literally absorbed into the body. And then comes the moment when I “hear” my music through my eyes, I no longer need the orchestra because I can literally see my music.


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