Exhibition “Impresario. The Trajectory of Dance”.

The Sheremetev Palace
Exhibition “Impresario. The Trajectory of Dance”.

The grand opening of the exhibition “Impresario. The Trajectory of Dance” took place in the Sheremetev Palace – the Museum of Music on November 25. A year ago, the New York Times reinterpreted the old term “impresario” in the article dedicated to the anniversary of the Ardani Artists company founders, Sergei and Gaiane Danilian. The impresario is more than a producer, this is no longer a profession, but the title that belonged 100 years ago to Sergei Diaghilev, and now it belongs to Sergei Danilian. The exhibition in honor of the greatest ballet impresario, who changed completely the notion of modern dance and classical dancers, proves this American theory. The famous projects of Sergei Danilian made for Diana Vishneva “Beauty in Motion”, “On the Edge”, “Dialogues”, the original programs “Kings of the Dance”, “Reflections”, “Solo for Two” and others are presented in photos, costumes, sketches and posters in the Sheremetev Palace. The exhibition features a documentary “Impresario” by Charles Evans-Jr., who won the Golden Globe and the British Academy Film Awards or BAFTA.

Дезмонд Ричардсон, Мария Кочеткова, Иван Васильев, Сергей Данилян, Гая Данилян, Полина Семионова, Марсело Гомес, Диана Вишнева, Зерман Корнехо, Гийом Котэ Нью-Йорк, 2014 Фото: Патрик Демаршелье для Vogue, Russia
Desmond Richardson, Maria Kochetkova, Ivan Vasilyev, Sergei Danilian, Gaya Danilian, Polina Semionova, Marcelo Gomes, Dina Vishneva, German Cornejo, Guillaume Côté
New York 2014 Photo: Patrick Demarchelier for Vogue, Russia

The role Sergei Danilian played in the fate of Russian ballet stars, entire theatres and modern choreography as such can hardly be overestimated. Once a graduate of the St. Petersburg Theatre Academy with a diploma in theatre history and “art management” was inspired by the ‘Ballets Russes’ project by Diaghilev, and managed within 20 years to determine the development of the ballet for a century ahead. In 1990, the Ardani Artists company was founded in Moscow, the company was involved in organizing Russian-American tours of ballet companies and principal dancers. In 1995, Danilian personally invented the “Divine” award and presented it to 18-year-old Diana Vishneva, and the following year – to Ulyana Lopatkina. In 1997, he organized the ballet gala “In Memory of Sergei Diaghilev” in New York, introduced the Dance Theatre of Boris Eifman to the American audience and got involved in the contracts of leading Russian solo performers, then he was engaged with the Mariinsky Theatre tours and the ballet policy of the Mikhailovsky Theatre (in particular, Nacho Duato’s invitation to the position of the chief choreographer is his work). On top of it, since the middle of the 2000s Sergei Danilian has been creating author’s projects, where classical ballet premieres are produced and primas from all over the world dance modern choreography specially set for them. The combination of star charisma and intellectual dance, commercial success and creative intransigence is also a distinguishing characteristic of the male quartet “Kings of the Dance”, which has already seen five incarnation programs, and its female version “Reflections”, and the program “Solo for Two” by Osipova and Vasiliev. The projects made for Diana Vishneva “Beauty in Motion”, “Dialogues” and “On the Edge” have undoubtedly made a whole chapter not only in the ballet dancer’s biography, but also in the recent history of the ballet.

Диана Вишнева, Марсело Гомес Вертиго Хореография Мауро Бигонцетти Гоголь-Центр, Москва, 2013 Фото: Данил Головкин
Diana Vishneva, Marcelo Gomez Vertigo. Choreography Mauro Biogonzetti Gogol Center, Moscow, 2013 Photo: Danil Golovkin

Now Sergei Danilian is a teacher at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet delivering the course “Innovative Programs in Dance Art”. Moreover, he makes a new, logical step for the impresario, bringing to the spotlights not dancers, but stage directors. On the posters of the recent project “Dreamers” there are names of young choreographers Maxim Petrov, Vladimir Varnava and Ilya Zhivoy in large print. The plans are to support the experiments of Marcelo Gomez, Guillaume Cote and Ivan Vasiliev.

Comparison of Sergei Danilian with Sergei Diaghilev may seem either banality, or cheap flattery. However, even the most demanding ballet professionals, for example, Irina Kolpakova, the teacher of the American Ballet Theatre, can see this parallel:

“I do not mean to compare anyone, but this may be the same way that Sergei Diaghilev once outlined. It’s the same work”.

Йохан Кобборг, Николай Цискаридзе, Итан Стифел, Анхел Корейя
Johan Kobborg, Angel Corella, Ethan Stiefel, and Nikolai Tsiskaridze
A Balletic Royal Flash, The Los Angeles Times
Costa Mesa, 2006 Photo: Robert Lachman

Exhibition guests will see rare photos of cult figures – Diana Vishneva, Natalia Osipova, Polina Semenova, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, Marcelo Gomes, Ivan Vasiliev and other brilliant classical dancers – shown in life, while dancing and rehearsing. The exhibition “Impresario. The Trajectory of Dance” presents the materials from Sergei Danilian’s records of the Ardani Artists, donated to the Museum of Theatre and Music, as well as costumes from the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky theatres.

The sponsor of the exhibition is Ashot Khachaturyants.

Media contacts: Olga Komok, Press Service of the Museum of Theatre and Music, +7 951 685 1431, olga.komok@mail.ru