HOUGHTON - Some of the world's best dancers will be on full display at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts Friday and Saturday.
The Russian National Ballet Theatre will perform the full-length ballets "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty" with its 50 dancers at 7:30 p.m. each night.
"People can expect to see a fantasy in dance," Rozsa Marketing Manager Bethany Jones said. "People will see true artistry of ballet, and they will be treated to some beautiful staging. There will be 50 of the finest Russian ballet dancers on stage each night."
The Russian National Ballet Theatre has roots in the former Soviet Union, as it began as the Soviet National Ballet. Its founder, Bolshoi principal dancer Elena Radchenko, remains the director and has kept the company moving forward while preserving tradition.
"She's been the driving force in maintaining the focus of the company in keeping the national tradition of classic ballet works and bringing together all the best dancers across the region, whether it be Riga, Kiev or Warsaw," Jones said.
Friday's performance will feature "Cinderella," choreographed by Rostislav Zakharov and composed by Sergei Prokofiev. Its theme is love and good triumphing over evil - it was first performed as the Soviets had just beaten back the Germans at the end of World War II - but the musical score exhibits the scars incurred in the process.
"The musical score is dark in term of musical themes," Jones said.
"Sleeping Beauty," composed by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and choreographed by Marius Petipa, is viewed as one of the greatest of the Russian ballets. Lavish and grandiose, it provides a complement to the darker "Cinderella."
"Tchaikovsky was more of a romantic," Jones said. "Petipa was considered to be one of the greatest masters of ballet, and this piece is considered to be his best work."
There will also be bonus material for those that arrive early both nights. Friday, there will be a reception and gallery opening at 6 p.m. for "The People Respond: Paintings by Miguel Levy" in the Rozsa Gallery. At 6 p.m. Saturday, patrons will be treated to a "Ballet 101" workshop prior to "Sleeping Beauty." Tickets are not necessary for either event, and both are free and open to the public.
To purchase tickets, call 487-2073, go online at rozsa.mtu.edu or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech's Student Development Complex at 600 MacInnes Drive in Houghton. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours, and will only open two hours prior to showtimes.