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 New Ballet was more than innovative for its time: from the first days of its work, it was conceived and developed as 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 was working out its own individual approach to repertoire formation. More and more new ballets based on classical literature from around the world appeared on the playbill. The choreographer and his company, characterized by an outstanding dance intellect, explored new genres. Boris Eifman created 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 Australia for such ballets as I, Don Quixote; Red Giselle, Russian Hamlet, Anna Karenina, The Seagull, Eugene Onegin, Rodin, Beyond Sin, Requiem, Up & Down, Tchaikovsky, PRO et CONTRA. These works were widely well received. Not only did they represent the highest artistic level of achievement of the contemporary Russian ballet, but they also turned 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 President of Russia’s Prize for Young Cultural Professionals and the Russian Government prize in the field of culture, holders of the prestigious Golden Mask and Golden Soffit awards, implement Boris Eifman’s ideas: Maria Abashova, Lyubov Andreyeva, Dmitry Fisher, Oleg Gabyshev, 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. By 2018 the St. Petersburg Children's Dance Theatre, the city venue for arranging dance festivals, contests and performances, that is currently under construction, will become a part of Academy complex.
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 XXIst century, are among the key priorities within the artistic mission of Boris Eifman and his brilliant company.