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Russia's Mariinsky Ballet coming to Toronto

Members of the Mariinsky Ballet, formerly the Kirov, perform Sleeping Beauty in London on Aug. 14, 2009. They'll be in Toronto next year. (Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

The Mariinsky Ballet, the famous Russian ballet troupe once known as the Kirov, is to perform in Toronto in March 2011.

The Mariinsky Ballet is scheduled to perform at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, now under construction but scheduled to reopen in October 2010.

The Sony, formerly named the O'Keefe Centre, is being renovated to restore the original theatre and improve backstage areas with the support of the City of Toronto.

The full ballet corps, with stars such as Diana Vishneva and Igor Kolb, is believed to be coming to Toronto. However, no details of what program they will present are yet available, a Sony spokeswoman said.

Based in St. Petersburg, the Mariinsky Ballet is considered one of the world's top classical ballet companies.

National Ballet season reorganized

The Mariinsky's promised appearance in Toronto forced the National Ballet of Canada to reorganize its season, as it had programmed a week of dance highlighting Russian music and choreography the same week in March 2011 the Russian troupe is to be in the city.

National Ballet artistic director Karen Kain said she had to push her program of Russian dance back two weeks so dance fans would have a chance to see both.

"We found out two days before our program went to print, so we had to reorganize our whole season in order not to be playing right against the Kirov," she told CBC News Monday at a news conference to announce the 2010-11 season.

"We are absolutely delighted that the Kirov is coming, we just don't want to be playing directly in the same week. So we changed our season in order to make it work."

 

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