Boris Eifman (Борис Яковлевич Эйфман) (born 22 July 1946) is one of the few, if not the only Russian choreographer who’s energetic life in art has been going on for several decades. He has done more than fifty ballet performances.
Eifman was born in Siberia and graduated from the Leningrad Conservatory. In 1977 he founded the Leningrad Ballet Ensemble at the age of 30 and he remained there for over 35 years.
Saint Petersburg Eifman Ballet
St. Petersburg Eifman Ballet was established by Boris Eifman in 1977 (the original name of the company was the Leningrad New Ballet). The concept of the New Ballet was more than innovative for its time: from the first days of its work it was conceived and developed as an experimental laboratory, a ballet theatre for one choreographer.
The company’s first performances such as "Two-Voice" and "Boomerang" brought success and stirred intense interest of the audience; ballet critics began arguing about new tendencies in the Russian ballet. Advocates of the traditional ballet school, however, were rather reluctant to acknowledge the young choreographer’s authority. Eifman’s novelty in how he chose literary basis and music for his ballets, the audacity of the body movement vocabulary secured for him the reputation of “a choreographic dissident”.
In late 70s – early 80s Eifman’s theatre is working out its own individual approach to repertoire formation. More and more new ballets based on the world classical literature appear on the playbill. The choreographer and his company, characterized by an outstanding dance intellect, explore new genres. Boris Eifman creates performances whose distinguishing feature is the strikingly sharp choreographic patterns, intended to express the fiery passions of ballets’ characters: "The Duel", "The Idiot", "The Mad March Day, or the Marriage of Figaro", "The Legend", "The Twelfth Night", "Master and Margarita", "Murderers" etc.
Today St. Petersburg Eifman Ballet is renowned among ballet lovers in Asia, Europe, the Americas and in Australia for such ballets as "Tchaikovsky"; "I, Don Quixote"; "Red Giselle", "Russian Hamlet", "Anna Karenina", "The Seagull", "Onegin", "Rodin", "Beyond Sin", "Requiem". These works were generally recognized. Not only they represent the highest artistic level of achievements of the contemporary Russian ballet, but also turn the audience to the immortal spiritual heritage of Russian and world culture that inspired the choreographer and his dancers.
Boris Eifman’s endeavor to engage his spectators in the infinite world of human passions, to form a spiritual liaison with the audience, to amaze viewers by the brilliance and dynamism of his plastique – all this has ensured a decades-long success of Eifman Ballet’s performances at leading venues around the globe.
Boris Eifman is a philosopher choreographer. He is earnestly concerned with the problems of today, with the secrets of creativity. The choreographer speaks openly with his audience about the complicated and dramatic aspects of human life; he defines his genre as “psychological ballet”. The New York Times calls Boris Eifman the leader among living choreographers: “The ballet world in search of a major choreographer need search no more. He is Boris Eifman.”
The company is distinguished by its brilliant technique, unique dedication and high onstage intelligence. Today excellent dancers, winners of international ballet contests and laureates of the Russian Government prizes in the field of culture, holders of the prestigious Golden Mask and Golden Soffit awards, implement Boris Eifman’s ideas: Oleg Gabyshev, Dmitry Fisher, Nina Zmievets, Lyubov Andreyeva, Anastasia Sitnikova, Sergey Volobuev and others.
An important period in the company’s life began in 2011, when the Government of St. Petersburg took a decision to launch the construction of the Boris Eifman Dance Academy – a project originally initiated by the choreographer himself. In September 2013 the Academy announced the start of its first academic year.
Another Eifman-initiated ballet institution is to be built and opened in St. Petersburg in the near future. It is the Boris Eifman Dance Palace envisioned by Boris Eifman as a new world center of dance arts.
Forming an original ballet repertoire of modern Russia based upon the rich traditions of Russian psychological theatre, along with searching for and developing new forms of choreography of the XXI century are among the key priorities within the artistic mission of Boris Eifman and his company.
Honours and awards
- People’s Artist of Russia (Russia, 1995)
- Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 2nd (2012) class
- Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (France, 1999)
- Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2003)
- State Prize of the Russian Federation - 1998
- Theatre Award of Saint Petersburg "Golden Soffit" (1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2012)
- "Golden Mask" (Theatre Union of Russia, 1996 and 1999)
- Award "Triumph "(1996)
- Prix Benois de la Danse for "Best choreographer of 2005" (2006)
- Order of "Peace and Harmony" (Russia, 1998)