Segerstrom Center presents Natalia Osipova in world premiere of ‘Isadora’

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Segerstrom Center for the Arts is proud to present the world premiere of “Isadora,” a new full-length work created specifically for brilliant Russian ballerina Natalia Osipova, principal dancer of the Royal Ballet, former principal dancer with both the Bolshoi and Mikhailovsky ballets and a guest artist with American Ballet Theatre (ABT). She has appeared many times at the Center, creating new works choreographed for her and performing classics with visiting companies such as the Bolshoi, Mikhailovsky and ABT. To create this work of dance-theater that will bring the immortal Isadora to life, Osipova selected the award-winning Mariinsky Theatre choreographer, Vladimir Varnava. Veronika Part will perform the featured role of The Ballerina in the cast of 20 international dancers.

Duncan has been called the Mother of Modern Dance. She was beautiful and glamorous, but also one of the most controversial figures in dance history. As dancer, choreographer and teacher, she more than brought dance to a whole new level: she revolutionized the art form. Duncan is one of those extraordinary artists who dedicate their lives to their art. Yet in her journey, she also found herself surrounded by pain and tragedy.

“Isadora,” a co-production with Ardani Artists, follows this fascinating genius from her early career in the United States, through her loves, passions and ultimately, her sudden and untimely death.

Of this new project with the Center, Osipova said, “I am very happy to return to Segerstrom Center, where I have been so warmly welcomed since the very beginning of my career. I have long wanted to bring the fascinating story and incredible artistry of Isadora Duncan to the stage, and I am excited and grateful to be able to star in a new ballet that will bring her to life once again and honor her remarkable legacy.”

Osipova selected her choreographer, Vladimir Varnava, to create a work that would respect Duncan’s own choreographic style while being inspired by her creative spirit and exploring new ideas and expressions.

Varnava and Konstantin Fedorov created the libretto for “Isadora.” It is being set to Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet “Cinderella,” which will be performed live by the Mikhailovsky Orchestra. Osipova selected “Cinderella” for the music. Prokofiev is one of her favorite composers and “Cinderella” a favorite score. She has not yet performed the role, but Osipova finds the music compelling and the Cinderella theme of transformation not unlike that of Duncan and magic she performed. The conductor will be Pavel Sorokin. Sets and costume design are by Galya Solodnikova with lighting design by Konstantin Binkin.

Performances of “Isadora” will be Aug. 10-12 in Segerstrom Hall. Tickets start at $29, and are on sale now. They may be purchased online at SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Dr. in Costa Mesa, or by calling 714-556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket sales for ten or more, please call the Group Services office at 714-556-0236.

Free Preview Talks by writer, dancer, choreographer and educator Matthew Shaffer will be conducted one hour prior to each performance. Shaffer is a graduate of the Orange County School of the Arts, and has been a principal dancer with Giordano Dance Chicago.

Isadora Duncan (1877-1927) revolutionized the world of dance, rejecting the formal language of ballet to forge a new art form of modern movement with an emphasis on natural expression. Her life was a constant study in contrast. On the stage, she created elegant beauty. But off stage, sadness and tragedy followed her wherever she went. It is little wonder she sought to escape in dance.

A California native, she left America in the late 1890s to find great acclaim in Europe as her radically new dance vocabulary enraptured audiences. Her international fame led her to the emerging Soviet Union, where she founded a successful dance school and began her most prolific and successful period. She married the young Russian poet Sergei Yesenin.

Duncan’s life is a riveting study in contrasts: on the stage, she created elegant beauty; off stage, she suffered great tragedy. It is said she was happy only when she danced. Though her life may have been cut tragically short, her legacy lives on, continuing to inspire artists.

Natalia Osipova recently starred as Giselle, and she is a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet in London, trained at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography and upon graduating, entered the corps de ballet of the Bolshoi Ballet, where she was promoted to principal in 2010. In 2011, she left the Bolshoi to join the Mikhailovsky Ballet as a principal. Osipova has appeared as a guest artist with companies around the world. Her awards include Golden Masks, Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards and a Benois de la Danse Award.

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