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Russian Ballet to Bring ‘Swan Lake’ to Hattiesburg

The magnificent Russian Ballet Theatre will grace the Hub City on Friday, March 11 with the “ballet of all ballets,” the exquisite Swan Lake.

The performance will be at the historic Saenger Theater in downtown Hattiesburg at 7:30 p.m. CST and you can expect to see a unique touch on this timeless classic from the Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. 

“If you see only one ballet in your life, this is definitely the ballet to see,” Gulya Hartwick, who is producing this classical production along with Sasha Horskaya, said.

Choreographer Nadezhda Kalinina has retouched the oldest edition of this St. Petersburg version, bringing her magnificent vision to a production that’s bound to impress anyone who is fortunate enough to see it.

The cast of 50 talented dancers of the Russian Ballet Theater will bring Kalinina’s choreography to an exquisite new life with beauty and grace in every part of the production. This talented cast is a multinational cast with dancers from over 10 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Italy, Japan, Poland, Armenia, and Slovenia.

“There are over 150 new hand-sewn costumes that are simply stunning, sparkling, and magnificent,” Hartwick said. “The costumes are so delicate and beautiful and were created with such loving hands by our staff. The costumes are a thing of beauty as they come to life on the stage.”

Along with the dazzling costumes, Kalinina has brought even more to the production that will delight the crowd.

“We have made a few changes to the production, but we have not touched the sacred parts of the ballet,” Hartwick explained. “There are more dazzling swans added to the production and more black swans added for more intrigue. More jesters and a few other surprises have also been added to the production.”

Hartwick said the sets are “vibrant masterpieces” in themselves as they are hand-painted using a method that is over 100 years old. The very talented and accomplished Sergei Novikov helped to bring a new brilliance to the sets while giving respect and honor to the classical works of master artists before. Novikov also designed the costumes, keeping them true to the traditions of the great masters.

“One new aspect that we are bringing to the production is a prologue that sets the stage for the production, bringing a deeper understanding of the story to the audience,” Hartwick said. “Our additions are subtle but brilliant to this classical masterpiece while staying true to the sacred, classical moments of this production.”

After being away from dancing and live performances for so long due to the pandemic, these dancers, cast, and crew members are eager to finally get back on stage,

“It has been so very hard for all of us, especially the dancers,” Hartwick said. “The dancers, like all of us, were in isolation and they need that energy from the crowd to perform just as we need energy to bring these performances to life.”

Hartwick said when they entered the theater for the first practice, it was a heartwarming moment.

“Oh, it was so emotional when we walked out onto the stage and looked out at the empty seats that would be filled will ballet lovers, we were all in tears,” Hartwick said. It was such an emotional, moving moment as we were finally able to do what we love. It is so very good to finally bring live performances back. It is truly an emotional and heartfelt feeling. It is such a blessing.”

Hartwick’s also quite glad to be performing in Mississippi for the first time ever.

“We have never performed in your beautiful state before and when the Saenger Theater invited us to come, we were thrilled,” Hartwick said. “The Seanger Theater is a thing of beauty itself, and we have heard how warm and welcoming the audiences here. We are so very proud to bring our performance to Hattiesburg.”

As the world has faced so many tragedies in recent times, this is a grand opportunity to forget about the worries that surround us and gain a greater appreciation for this timeless classic that has not lost any of its wonder and enchantment throughout the centuries.

“I think now more than ever, we need live performances such as this and especially one so beautiful and timeless,” Hartwick said. “For a moment, all nationalities of the world can come together in a wonder-filled time of magic, beauty, and mystique. We dance for peace, not destruction.”

If you were uncertain about the play beforehand, that quote surely changed your mind. Come on out to the Saenger Theater this Friday and enjoy the show. For tickets, click here.


Written by Judy Smith

Judy Smith has been a freelance writer and photographer for several magazines and publications around the South, including Social South Magazine, Our Mississippi Magazine, DeSoto Magazine, Deep South Magazine, Country Roads Magazine, among others. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Paralegal Studies, Master’s of Science in Mass Communications, and PhD in Communications at the University of Southern Mississippi. And Judy Smith is proud to forever be a Mississippi Girl.


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