Russia's renowned Mariinsky Ballet company will open Segerstrom dance season

Segerstrom Center for the Arts will open its 2017-18 dance season Oct. 12 to 15 with the Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra.

The Russian ballet company, which was founded in the 18th century, will return for its ninth center visit and perform a special program with four ballets choreographed by Michel Fokine, a groundbreaking Russian choreographer who died in 1942.

The pieces are “Chopiniana” (Les Sylphides), “The Swan,” “Schéhérazade” and “Le Spectre de la Rose,” the latter making its center premiere.

Yuri Fateev, the company’s acting ballet director, said Mariinsky is approaching each ballet specifically, having to fit each piece in a specifc time and remain precise in choreographic language.

A short, “Le Spectre de la Rose” is about a girl who dreams of dancing with the spirit of a souvenir rose from her first ball.

“ ‘Le Spectre de la Rose’ is a romantic ballet, and one must be very careful because it has a spirit of decadence,” Fateev said. “It looks simple but it’s actually difficult — not only for the male dancer but also for the female dancer. The romantic landscape of today is different from the romantic feel of 100 years ago and that creates a unique and interesting challenge.”

The one-act “Chopiniana” will open the set. The piece, set to music by Frédéric Chopin, is considered Fokine’s masterwork.

The evening will continue with “Le Spectre de la Rose,” “The Swan,” originally choreographed for the late prima ballerina Anna Pavlova, and “Schéhérazade,” danced to a Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov score.

Talent makes a great ballet, Fateev said.

“They devote their time every day rehearsing behind-the-scenes and performing onstage,” Fateev said of the Mariinsky dancers, choreographers and teachers. “And of course, every ballet has a flair of mystery and magic and that makes the world of dance so special.”

If You Go

What: Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra

When: Oct. 12 to 15; 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Cost: Tickets start at $29

Information: (714) 556-2787 or visit

Twitter: @KathleenLuppi

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