Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of La Bayadère. It was last on stage 5 April—22 May 2013 as part of the Spring 2012/13 season.
Nikiya, a temple dancer, has secretly sworn her eternal love to the warrior Solor. When she rejects the High Brahmin, he determines to take revenge on Solor. But his actions have terrible consequences.
The High Brahmin reveals the secret affair to Princess Gamzatti, Solor's fiancée. To his horror, she arranges Nikiya's murder. Solor is haunted by Nikiya's shade at his wedding to Gamzatti. The angry gods tear down the temple, killing all. Solor and Nikiya are united in death.
Marius Petipa’s exotic La Bayadère was given its premiere at the Bolshoi Theatre in St Petersburg in 1877. It was regularly performed within the former Soviet Union throughout the 20th century but was almost unknown in the West until 1961, when the touring Kirov Ballet performed the famous Kingdom of the Shades scene. Natalia Makarova saw the ballet as a child in Leningrad and created this version for American Ballet Theatre in 1980.
Legendary India provides the setting for a tale of love, murder and vengeful judgement by the gods, set to a lyrical score by Ludwig Minkus. The choreography provides powerful moments for the two opposing ballerinas – the beautiful temple dancer, Nikiya, and her jealous rival, Gamzatti – while a bronze idol comes vividly to life in a stunning solo. La Bayadère’s most frequently performed sequence is the dream-like Kingdom of the Shades, when a mesmerizing procession of ballerinas dance in unison across a moonlit stage. Opulent designs by Yolanda Sonnabend perfectly fit the ballet’s fevered exoticism.
News and features
24 August 2015
A number of recent Royal Opera and Royal Ballet productions will be shown on Sky Arts over the coming months.
27 March 2015
Composers and choreographers have long explored the difference in cultures between East and West.
25 November 2014
Much more than just a bit of local colour, national dances were key to the development of ballet throughout the 19th century.
20 November 2014
How and where choreographers find stories has changed throughout the art form's history.
9 April 2013
The American Royal Ballet Principal on the challenges of the role, and working with Natalia Makarova.
6 April 2013
Audience tweets from the opening night of Natalia Makarova's exotic ballet.
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.