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Exhibition on Shostakovich’s ballet The Bolt

Posted on November 24, 2014

tatiana bruni olga the bolt

tatiana-bruni-olga-the-boltLondon’s Gallery for Russian Arts and Design (GRAD) will explore Shostakovich’s 1931 ballet The Bolt in a new exhibition.









the boltWritten in 1931, the ballet was based on a true story, a satirical tale of sabotage, skulduggery and drunken consipiracy. Dmitri Shostakovich’s experimental score evoked the factory with swishing and hammering sounds, while Fedor Lopukhov’s choreography was daringly acrobatic. Commissioned by the Moscow Art Theatre to create a ballet that would support the goals of communism and socialism, Shostakovich drew on circus music, waltzes, marches, tangos and popular tunes in a celebration of the proletariat. The ballet’s satirical edge roused the suspicion of the Soviet authorities, and it was quickly banned. It was not until 2005, when Alexei Ratmansky created a new version, that The Bolt returned to the stage. 


GRAD’s display features the extravagant costume designs by Tatiana Bruni, showing characters such as the Sportsman, the Textile Worker, the Komsomol Girl, the Drunkard, the Loafer and the Bureaucrat. It also features set designs and period photographs.

bolt 2


The exhibition has been curated by GRAD’s Elena Sudakova and Alexandra Chiriac, and organised in collaboration with the St Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music.








Bolt is at GRAD from December 6, 2014 until February 28, 2015. See the gallery’s website for further details.












Top: Tatiana Bruni, Olga (costume design for The Bolt), courtesy of GRAD and St Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music

Archive photographs from The Bolt, courtesy of GRAD and St Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music


Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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