Boris Eifman

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Boris Eifman (Борис Яковлевич Эйфман)

Boris Eifman (Борис Яковлевич Эйфман) (born 22 July 1946, in Rubtsovsk) is a Russian choreographer and artistic director. He has done more than fifty ballet productions.

Eifman was born in Siberia, where his engineer father had been assigned to work in a tank factory.[1] In 1953, the family moved to Kishinev, Moldavia. Eifman graduated from the Kishinev Ballet School in 1964.[2] He performed as a dancer with the Kishinev Opera and Ballet Theatre; and went on to study choreography at the Leningrad Conservatory, where his teacher was choreographer Georgi Aleksidze. Eifman graduated from the Leningrad Conservatory in 1972. He then became a ballet master at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, from 1972-1977. In 1977, he received permission to found his own company, originally known as Leningrad Theatre of Contemporary Ballet. The troupe was known by various names, but today its official title is St. Petersburg State Ballet Theatre of Boris Eifman, or simply Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg when on tour. In addition to choreographing for his own company, Eifman has created ballets for the Maly Theatre of Opera and Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, and New York City Ballet, among others. He has also made dances for film and television.[2]

Eifman's family was required to move from Kharkov to Siberia during World War II. Though conditions in Siberia were hard, the move saved their lives. The Eifmans are Jewish; and the Nazis killed his father's family in Kharkov and Kiev.[3] In Siberia, they lived in a "pit" with six rooms that housed six-ten families. "If the Government did not build real housing it was not because of money, but because people were not treated like people, but like cattle," Eifman says.[3] After the family moved to Moldavia, Eifman began studying ballet and folk dance, from the age of seven, with the Young Pioneers.[3] His parents initially opposed his desire for a dance career, but he began to experiment with choreography as a teenager.

Eifman's interest in dramatic subjects for his choreography places his work in a long-standing Russian tradition. This tradition dates back to the 18th century, and the foundation of the Russian school of ballet by disciples of Jean-Georges Noverre. Eifman has said, "the type of philosophical theater that I am working to create was not born in the Soviet Union...That's an idea that belongs to Noverre."[4]

The choreographer has stated that his work for his own company can be divided into three periods: "the Soviet period, the perestroika era, and the last 10 years."[5] During the first period, he worked mostly without government subsidy and was subject to strict censorship. In spite of these restrictions, however, he won a popular following by choreographing to rock 'n roll music (Pink Floyd) and dared to address controversial themes. The authorities suggested that he emigrate, but he did not wish to leave St. Petersburg.[5] During the second period, which began with his 1987 ballet The Master and Margarita and overlapped with perestroika, Eifman enjoyed more artistic freedom. His company made its first international tour, to Paris, in 1989.[6] The third period began in 1996, when impresario Sergei Danilian approached him leading to the Eifman Ballet's US debut in 1998.[5]


  • Gayané (1972)
  • Firebird (1975)
  • Towards Life
  • The Meetings
  • The Beautiful Impulses of the Soul
  • Only Love (1977)
  • The Song Broken (1977)
  • Double Voice (1977)
  • Firebird (1978)
  • Movement Eternal (1979)
  • Boomerang (1979)
  • The Idiot (1980)[7]
  • Autographs (1981)
  • Day of Madness, or, The Marriage of Figaro (1982)
  • The Legend (1982)
  • Metamorphoses (1983)
  • Twelfth Night (1984)
  • Second Lieutenant Romashov (1985)
  • Intrigues of Love (1986)
  • The Master and Margarita (1987)
  • Adagio (1987)
  • Pinocchio (1989)[8]
  • Les Intrigues de l'Amour (1989)[9]
  • The Passions of Man (1990)
  • Thérèse Raquin, aka The Murderers (1991)[10]
  • Tchaikovsky: the Mystery of Life and Death (1993)[11][12][13][14][15]
  • The Karamazovs (1995)[16][17]
  • Red Giselle (1997)[18][19][20][21][22][23]
  • My Jerusalem (1998)[24][25][26]
  • Requiem (1998)[27][28]
  • Russian Hamlet: the Son of Catherine the Great (1999)[29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38]
  • Don Juan and Molière (2000)[39][40]
  • Don Quixote or Fantasies of a Madman[41]
  • Who's Who (2003)[42][43][44][45][46]
  • Musagète (2004)[47]
  • Anna Karenina (2005)[48][49][50][51]
  • The Seagull (2007)[52][53][54][55][56][57]
  • Onegin (2009)[58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65]
  • Rodin
  • Up and Down
  • The Pygmalion Effect (2019)[66]

Honours and awards[edit]


  1. ^ Gold, Sylviane (January 17, 1999). "Dance of the Dissident". Newsday.
  2. ^ a b Alovert, Nina (1993). International Dictionary of Ballet. Detroit: St. James Press. pp. 440–442. ISBN 1-55862-157-1.
  3. ^ a b c Kisselgoff, Anna (January 17, 1999). "Smoldering Emotion Kindled by Motion". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Johnson, Robert (April 5, 1998). "A Traditionalist Who Seeks to Update the Russian Soul". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b c Goodwin, Joy (April 15, 2007). "No Rest for a Russian Renegade". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Singer, Thea (March 19, 2000). "Boris Eifman makes dances from turmoil". The Boston Sunday Globe.
  7. ^ Whyte, Sally (August 1992). "St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre: Prague Spring Festival". Dance and Dancers: 31.
  8. ^ Schulman, Jennie (May 3, 2002). "Dance Diary:Eifman Ballet's 'Pinocchio'". Back Stage.
  9. ^ Koegler, Horst (February 1990). "One From Russia". Dance and Dancers: 14–15.
  10. ^ Uralskaya, Valeria (November 1991). "Boris Eifman Warns of Passion's Consequences". Dance Magazine: 24 and 26.
  11. ^ Barnes, Clive (April 13, 1998). "Russian to good thing at ballet". New York Post.
  12. ^ Barnes, Clive (July 1998). "Attitudes: The Eifman Cometh". Dance Magazine.
  13. ^ Alovert, Nina (April 1998). "Fantasies of a Dreamer: The Theater of Boris Eifman". Dance Magazine: 62–66.
  14. ^ Smith, Sid (March 15, 2002). "Founder's masterful touches put Eifman Ballet in a special class". Chicago Tribune.
  15. ^ Weiss, Hedy (March 15, 2002). "Risk-taking 'Tchaikovsky' thrills". Chicago Sun-Times.
  16. ^ Jowitt, Deborah (February 2, 1999). "Oh Brothers!". The Village Voice.
  17. ^ Tobias, Tobi (February 8, 1999). "Northern Light". New York: 67–68.
  18. ^ Kisselgoff, Anna (April 10, 1998). "A Psychological Biography of a Dancer Gone Mad". The New York Times.
  19. ^ Barnes, Clive (April 10, 1998). "Dancer's Descent into Madness". New York Post.
  20. ^ Gold, Sylviane (April 10, 1998). "A Dance of History: Eifman Ballet captures the sadness of Mother Russia". Newsday.
  21. ^ Johnson, Robert (April 10, 1998). "Eifman Ballet Embodies Russian Artistic Revolution". The Star-Ledger.
  22. ^ Felciano, Rita (April 30, 2000). "Stirring Up Russian Ballet's Soul". Los Angeles Times.
  23. ^ Greskovic, Robert (February 24, 1999). "Dance: Eifman Ballet". The Wall Street Journal.
  24. ^ Kisselgoff, Anna (January 28, 1999). "Passion Prevails in Russians' Premieres". The New York Times.
  25. ^ Josephs, Susan (January 15, 1999). "Leaps of Faith: St. Petersburg choreographer Boris Eifman creates ballets with 'Jewish soul". The New York Jewish Week.
  26. ^ Abrahami, Naomi (January 15, 1999). "A Russian Ballet Master Finds Inspiration in Jerusalem: Boris Eifman's Choreography Unites Divergent Religions and Musical Styles". Forward.
  27. ^ Gold, Sylviane (January 28, 1999). "Body Language: Eifman needs no story to tell one". Newsday.
  28. ^ Barnes, Clive (January 28, 1999). "Exciting Eifman Simply Too Good To Be Missed". New York Post.
  29. ^ Kisselgoff, Anna (March 26, 2000). "Dancing an Ode to a Fallen Prince". The New York Times.
  30. ^ Johnson, Robert (March 24, 2000). "Turns Out Catherine's Not So Great in Russian Ballet About Her Son". The Star-Ledger.
  31. ^ Kourlas, Gia (March 23–30, 2000). "Love Hurts: Boris Eifman Brings Some Good Old-Fashioned Russian Angst to City Center". Time Out New York.
  32. ^ Jowitt, Deborah (April 11, 2000). "Ballet by Any Other Name...KILL MAMA". The Village Voice.
  33. ^ Аловерт, Нина (6–12 April 2011). "РУССКИЙ ГАМЛЕТ". Русский Базар.
  34. ^ Weiss, Hedy (April 1, 2001). "Brilliant Eifman Ballet puts a Russian spin on 'Hamlet'". Chicago Sun-Times.
  35. ^ Mauro, Lucia (April 8, 2001). "Boris Eifman spins a 'Russian Hamlet': Lush commentary on human urges unfolds in twist of Shakespeare tragedy". Chicago Tribune.
  36. ^ Roca, Octavio (March 31, 2001). "Eifman's 'Hamlet' Outrageous, Sexy: Over-the-top ballet dazzles at Palace". San Francisco Chronicle.
  37. ^ Kiraly, Philippa (March 24, 2001). "Eifman's Seattle debut is splendid". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  38. ^ Segal, Lewis (March 19, 2001). "The Romanovs' 'Russian Hamlet'". Los Angeles Times.
  39. ^ Campbell, Karen (March 9, 2002). "'Don Juan' is a comic delight". The Boston Globe.
  40. ^ Johnson, Robert (May 11, 2001). "Love, Death and Irony". The Star-Ledger.
  41. ^ Gold, Sylviane (April 1, 2002). "'Don' Turns a Young Man's Fantasy". Newsday.
  42. ^ Gottlieb, Robert (April 21, 2003). "The Inevitable, Awful Eifman Drags Us Back to the 1920s". The New York Observer.
  43. ^ Weiss, Hedy (March 13, 2003). "A 'Who's Who' of great Russian talent". The Chicago Sun-Times.
  44. ^ Smith, Sid (March 14, 2003). "Inspired by the Jazz Age, Eifman Ballet gets happy". The Chicago Tribune.
  45. ^ Weiss, Hedy (March 21, 2003). "Russian Ballet Holds Mirror to American Dream". The Chicago Sun-Times.
  46. ^ Kisselgoff, Anna (April 7, 2003). "Russians Discover America, the Myth". The New York Times.
  47. ^ Reiter, Susan (June 22, 2004). "'Musagète': a tamer, unfaithful 'ode' to Balanchine". Newsday.
  48. ^ Segal, Lewis (June 25, 2005). "Eifman presents another bold act: The daring Russian ballet company gives 'Anna Karenina' a post-feminist reinterpretation". Los Angeles Times.
  49. ^ Weiss, Hedy (June 19, 2005). "Eifman's 'Anna Karenina' ballet is sizzling". Chicago Sun-Times.
  50. ^ Johnson, Robert (May 26, 2005). "Eifman serves up undiluted 'Anna Karenina'". The Star-Ledger.
  51. ^ Barnes, Clive (May 27, 2005). "Novel Approach". New York Post.
  52. ^ Mauro, Lucia (March 26, 2007). "Eifman's 'Seagull' a Cubist painting come to life". Chicago Tribune.
  53. ^ Segal, Lewis (March 19, 2007). "Boris Eifman's 'The Seagull' brings inspired ballet solos and duets. Production soars with brilliant dancing and stagecraft. Still, there are flaws". Los Angeles Times.
  54. ^ Weiss, Hedy (March 16, 2007). "Soaring 'Seagull': Eifman uses contemporary setting to adapt Chekhov classic for ballet". Chicago Sun-Times.
  55. ^ Weiss, Hedy (March 26, 2007). "Eifman's contemporary vision takes off in 'Seagull'". Chicago Sun-Times.
  56. ^ Johnson, Robert (April 13, 2007). "Chekhov with a modern twist". The Star-Ledger.
  57. ^ Johnson, Robert (March 20, 2007). "Boris Eifman Brings The Seagull to New York". Playbill.
  58. ^ Bleiberg, Laura (May 22, 2009). "Pushkin comes to shove". Los Angeles Times.
  59. ^ Diamond, Pam (May 22, 2009). "Eifman Ballet delivers an intense and dramatic 'Onegin' in O.C.". The Orange County Register.
  60. ^ Ulrich, Allan (May 5, 2009). "Eifman Ballet: Onegin, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley CA". The Financial Times.
  61. ^ Hunt, Mary Ellen (May 6, 2009). "Eifman Ballet's 'Onegin'". San Francisco Chronicle.
  62. ^ Gantz, Jeffrey (May 8, 2009). "Dark Night of the Soul". The Boston Phoenix.
  63. ^ Smith, Sid (May 16, 2009). "Striking moments, and a few strange ones in Eifman Ballet's 'Onegin'". Chicago Tribune.
  64. ^ Weiss, Hedy (May 16, 2009). "Eifman displays mastery of dance and theater with inspired 'Onegin'". Chicago Sun-Times.
  65. ^ Johnson, Robert (May 28, 2009). "'Eugene Onegin' updated". The Star-Ledger.
  66. ^ Johnson, Robert (June 7, 2019). "The Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg Brings The Pygmalion Effect to New York City Center". Playbill.


  • Аловерт, Нина. "Балетний Театр Бориса Эйфмана." (16 Сентября 1994 Года) Новое Русское Слово.
  • Johnson, Robert. "A Traditionalist Who Seeks To Update the Russian Soul." (April 5, 1998) The New York Times.
  • Alovert, Nina. "Fantasies of a Dreamer." (April 1998) Dance Magazine, pp. 62–66.
  • Barnes, Clive. "The Eifman Cometh." (July 1998) Dance Magazine.
  • Gold, Sylviane. "Dance of the Dissident." (January 17, 1999). Newsday.
  • Kisselgoff, Anna. "Smoldering Emotion Kindled by Motion." (January 17, 1999) The New York Times.
  • Singer, Thea. "Boris Eifman Makes Dances from Turmoil." (March 19, 2000) The Boston Globe.
  • Bayley, Mary Murfin. "Russian Dance Star Stayed True to Vision." (March 22, 2001). The Seattle Times.
  • Alovert, Nina. "Eifman's Jubilee: Russia's Only Modern Ballet Company Celebrates 25 Years of Innovation." (January 2002). Dance Magazine, pp. 68–73.
  • Bohlen, Celestine. "An Escape Artist Trained During the Soviet Circus." (March 24, 2002) The New York Times.
  • Goodwin, Joy. "No Rest for a Russian Renegade." (April 15, 2007). The New York Times.
  • Bachko, Katia. "The Eifman Experience: Boris Eifman Celebrates 30 Years with His Company." (April–May 2007). Pointe.
  • Johnson, Robert. "Boris Eifman Comes to America" in Choreographer Boris Eifman: the Man Who Dared. Ardani. New York: 2018.

External links[edit]