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Culture

The Enduring Allure of Ballet in St Petersburg

The spiritual home of ballet, St Petersburg has had a centuries-long love affair with this poised and elegant dance. It was on St Petersburg’s grand stages that iconic ballets like Swan Lake first debuted, and today, the Russian city showcases the finest performances in the world.

Whilst originating in Italy during the Renaissance period, ballet took off in France during the 17th century. Arriving in Russia in the early 18th century, the graceful dance quickly captivated the Tsars. By Imperial decree of Empress Anna, the Imperial Theatre School of ballet was founded, occupying rooms in St Petersburg’s Winter Palace. The prestigious school produced some of the most renowned names in the world, from Anna Pavlova to Vaslav Nijinsky. Its alumni formed the Mariinsky Ballet group, who grace the stage at the baroque Mariinsky Theatre to this day.

In the following centuries, St Petersburg’s relationship with ballet continued to flourish.  It was in 1909 that St Petersburg impresario, Sergei Diaghilev, founded ballet’s most influential company, Ballet Russes. Despite Diaghilev’s Russian roots, Ballets Russes never performed in Russia due to the Revolution, but had international fame touring the world. Regardless, St Petersburg’s status as being the world epicentre for ballet was cemented. It’s where choreographer, Marius Petipa created beloved shows like Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake in collaboration with Tchaikovsky – ballets that are still the cornerstone of many company’s repertoire in the 21st century.

When visiting St Petersburg, enjoy a graceful ballet performance at one of the city’s historic opera houses. Bask in the grandeur of the Mikhailovsky Theatre while watching classic ballet LeCorsaire or contemporary masterpiece, In The Woods.  Or visit the palatial Mariinsky Theatre to witness a spellbinding performance of Giselle or Don Quixote.

Stay at Hotel Astoria, an illustrious St. Petersburg landmark, sitting directly across from St Isaac’s Cathedral, a short walk from leading attractions such as Nevsky Prospect, Palace Square and the Mariinsky Theatre. Enjoy the finest Afternoon Tea in St Petersburg in the Rotonda Lounge, unwind in the tranquil spa, and sink into the comfort of your room or suite. To make the most of your stay book one of our special promotions.

To enquire contact +7 812 494 5757 or email reservations.astoria@roccofortehotels.com