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La Bayadère

1–17 November 2018
Main Stage

Natalia Makarova's production of this 19th-century classic ballet brings an exotic world of temple dancers and noble warriors to life.

When to see it

The Story

Nikiya, a temple dancer, is in love with the warrior Solor. The High Brahmin pursues Nikiya, and when she rejects him, he plans to take revenge on Solor.

The High Brahmin tells the Princess Gamzatti, Solor's fiancée, about Solor's secret affair with Nikiya. But Gamzatti does not want revenge on Solor, and instead arranges for Nikiya to be killed. As he celebrates his wedding to Gamzatti, Solor is haunted by Nikiya's shade. The gods are angered, and destroy the temple, killing everyone at the wedding. Finally, Solor and Nikiya are united in death.


An iconic 19th-century Russian ballet, La Bayadère was originally performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in St Petersburg in 1877, and was regularly performed within the former Soviet Union throughout the 20th century. It remained unknown in the West until the Kirov Ballet toured with the Kingdom of the Shades scene in 1961. Natalia Makarova saw La Bayadère as a child in Leningrad and created this production in 1980. It was first performed by The Royal Ballet in 1989.

The Kingdom of the Shades scene in Act III is one of the ballet's highlights, in which a difficult series of arabesques across the moonlit stage demonstrates the strength of the corps de ballet and the beauty of Marius Petipa's choreography. The ballet also contains roles of very different styles for two ballerinas in Nikiya and Gamzatti, a spectacular virtuoso solo for the Bronze Idol, and stunning pas de deux for Solor with both Nikiya and Gamzatti.

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On Wikipedia

La Bayadère

La Bayadère (en. The Temple Dancer) (ru. «Баядерка», Bayaderka) is a ballet, originally staged in four acts and seven tableaux by French choreographer Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus. The ballet was staged especially for the benefit performance of the Prima ballerina Ekaterina Vazem, who created the principal role of Nikiya. La Bayadère was first presented by the Imperial Ballet at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, on 4 February [O.S. 23 January] 1877. A scene from the ballet, known as The Kingdom of the Shades, is one of the most celebrated excerpts in all of classical ballet. Nearly all modern versions of La Bayadère are derived from the Mariinsky Ballet's production, which was originally staged in 1941 by Vakhtang Chabukiani and Vladimir Ponomarev. Natalia Makarova's 1980 production for American Ballet Theatre has also been staged by several theatres throughout the world and is itself derived from Chabukiani and Ponomarev's version.

Read the complete La Bayadère article on Wikipedia, available under a Creative Commons license.