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602 S. Gay Street
Knoxville, TN 37902
On Sunday, April 21, 2013, my wife and I attended a performance of Esmeralda, a classical ballet based upon Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. We attended the Moscow-based Bolshoi ballet’s outreach in approximately 1,000 worldwide theaters as a Fandango Event at the Carmike 16 Wynnsong off North Peters Road.
Originally staged in London in 1844, Russian choreographers have recharged the original with added emphasis on the athleticism of the male dancers. It was a beautiful experience.
However, there was one little problem. We were the only attendees. It seems that with all of the promotions for events i.e. symphony, opera, country and other musical genres in the area, there would be more interest in ballet, one of the most physically strenuous and beautiful arts. Of course there are always numerous performances of The Nutcracker during the Holidays. But this is only one ballet within the large dance repertoire.
The Bolshoi and Kirov ballets are primarily state-sponsored and have large budgets to support hundreds of employees, musicians, dancers, librettists, choreographers, costume/stage set designers, lighting, sound et al. American ballet companies are not as fortunate and require funding primarily through grants, subscriptions, and donations. There is even concern from Peter Martens (executive director of the NYC Ballet) that current funding is a problem. The event idea to present close-up performances world/nationwide through movie theater outlets is excellent, but requires participation.
A few years ago, the actress Natalie Portman starred as the Black Swan in Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” ballet. Black Swan portrayed some of the mental strain, acting abilities, competitiveness, and absolute physicality encountered by the dancers and the ballet staff.
So, hopefully, other area patrons may also support this activity as they have with other cultural activities. We do have the Appalachian Ballet in the area. Unfortunately, its cost limitations most likely effect its production possibilities.