From Russia to the rest of the world

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Amande Concerts bring the Russian State Ballet and Opera House to the UK for dates in Worthing, Portsmouth and Guildford.

Chief executive Alexej Ignatow points out that just the name itself is a guarantee of quality. “We are based in the UK,” he says. “It’s a family business. We started off in Germany and then moved to the UK, but we work with Russian state theatres, established institutions that have the corps and that started out in the Soviet Union.

“I know that there are many companies that come together just to tour the UK or Germany, but we wanted to ensure that the quality was consistent. That’s why we work with Russian state theatres. We wanted to bring something from Russia to the rest of the world.”

With Russian ballet, you get passion: “But I think the real difference is that it goes back so many years. That’s why the Russian ballet schools are so strong and so respected around the world.

“With the whole globalisation of the world, you can find good ballet schools pretty much anywhere, but you can go back with this. It is all embedded.

“You get the classic forms and dance that make it Russian,” Alexej says, but he cautions against speaking too much about a Russian style. As he says, artistic directors will bring their own elements to the show, their own touches, their own adaptations.

“It’s very hard now to say that something is pure Russian. Artistic directors might deviate from the traditions, but you have still got that quality.

“I am not a ballet dancer myself. We were in Germany with my parents and started to bring various Russian artists over, and then we moved to the UK.

“I just came to study here. We are based in Canterbury. We came in 2001.

“I can compare with mainland Europe, but I think the English public love their corps traditions and Russian ballet.

“They are used to coming and appreciating and seeing Russian ballet.

“It is lovely to see the grandmas with their granddaughters. It is lovely to see whole families. It gives you the whole spirit of it all. We aim to bring a different artist to the UK every year, which means that although you may have seen Swan Lake one year, next time the set, costumes, artists and choreography will be different. It will feel like a different show, still with the same high level of quality.

“The tours span from six to ten weeks. This one is six or seven weeks. The whole troop including everyone is 50, and then you have got the orchestra as well.”

Alexej’s job is to keep them all on the road and happy, with everything running smoothly: “But it’s just about preparation really. We are now already thinking about tours for 2015. It’s a step-by-step process.

“You just have to think about things in advance, and I always say that we are all in the same boat and that everyone is a winner.

“The audience are always pleased to see them coming back, and the artists are pleased to be coming to England and performing and showing their art to English audiences, and the theatres get the exposure. Everybody is in a win-win situation. It works all round for everybody all the time. That’s what I mean that everyone is in the same boat.”

Dates on the tour include Worthing, Connaught Theatre: Swan Lake, November 16; Portsmouth Guildhall: The Nutcracker, November 26; and Guildford, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre: Swan Lake, November 27; The Nutcracker, November 28; Romeo and Juliet, November 29.