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Abay Kazakh State Ballet Theatre makes UK debut

Posted on October 23, 2019

Saule Rakhmedova and Farhad Buriev in Scheherazade. Photo by the press office of the Abay KSTOB

The oldest theatre in Kazakhstan, the Abay Kazakh State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, makes its UK debut at the London Coliseum for one night only on Sunday, November 17 with performances of two one-act ballets, Chopiniana and Scheherazade.

Chopiniana was created by Mikhail Fokine, the celebrated dancer turned choreographer, in his search for new balletic forms of expression; he poured his ideas into a work he set to the music of the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. When the piece premiered in 1907, it was considered revolutionary. The piece was later renamed Les Sylphides by Serge Diaghilev for his Ballets Russes.

Fokine later went on to create Scheherazade to music by Rimsky-Korsakov, which embraces erotic and non-classical ballet movement in a story taken from One Thousand and One Nights, the ancient Persian book of folk tales. Scheherazade will be presented to Coliseum audiences with some new choreography by Tony Candeloro, a former soloist who has appeared with the Zurich Opera and National Ballet of Cuba.

Abay Kazakh State Ballet’s artistic director Gulzhan Tutkibaeva says: “The principal roles in Chopiniana and Scheherazade will be performed by our leading ballet soloists: Zhanel Tukeyeva, Malika Elchibaeva, Arisa Hashimoto, Rakhim Dairov, Dinara Yesentaeva and Azamat Askarov. These dancers are mostly graduates of the Almaty Choreographic School, although we do have wonderful dancers from other countries such as one of our soloists, Arisa Hashimoto, who is from Japan. We can’t wait to come to London and perform on the stage at the Coliseum – and, if we have time, we’ll take a stroll in one of the city’s many lovely parks.”

To book tickets, visit

Main image: Saule Rakhmedova and Farhad Buriev in Scheherazade. Photographs: Courtesy of Abay KSTOB.

Simon Oliver has been production editor of Dancing Times since 2010 and is highly experienced in design across print and online magazine production. Throughout his career, Simon has worked on a diverse range of subjects including music, family history, book collecting and poker.

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