It’s in the Winter Palace of Saint-Petersburg that the Russian ballet begins its story. The first school was founded in 1738 by the empress Anna Ivanovna, where the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Lande was the first director.
The small ballet grew while being influenced by professors and masters of foreign ballets, especially French ones. It became the “Imperial School of Ballet”, and then the “Imperial Russian Ballet” the first dance company of Russia.
Finally, it gives birth to the theatre “Mariinsky”, the theatre “Bolchoï Kamenny” and the Academy Vaganova.
The initiated collaboration in the Winter Palace, which lies on the banks of the Neva, marks the beginning of an artistic alliance that reaches its height on the banks of the Seine, where the treasures of the ballets were created at the beginning of the XXth century, the “Russian Ballets” by the Diaghilev Company.
The collaboration of Russian and French dancers, choreographs, compositors and cartoonists during this era shook the artistic world.
Later, the Ukrainian Serge Lifar, the big reformer of the technique of dance and the creator of “the neoclassical style”, became the master of ballet in the Opera of Paris where he restored the technical level of this ballet to make it one of the best in the world.
Once again a Russian man, Rudolf Noureev, one of the greatest classical dancers of the XXth century, marks the ballet with the influence from the Russian school in France with his capacity as director of the Paris Opera from 1983 to 1989.
The Winter Palace- St Petersburg Ballet honors the heritage of the two most emblematic schools in the world, the Russian and French schools, which traced their destiny together, in an independent yet intertwined manner.
The artistic collusion and creation of those who at the beginning of last century imagined the “classical” and “neoclassical” dance between St Petersburg and Paris, revive today.
The richness of these two great universes of the French and Russian ballets is shared with the public at each and every performance, by soloists, principal dancers and the corps de ballet of the international company “Winter Palace -St Petersburg Ballet”.