This discipline is unique to the Russian Classical Ballet syllabus where it is taught as a separate system of dance. In the great companies, such as the Bolshoi or Mariinsky, Character Principals have great status and are renowned for their virtuosity. Character Dance has evolved over many years. It incorporates elements of different national and traditional folk and court dances. It is found in many of the major classical works. Don Quixote, for example, is based on the Spanish traditions adapted for the classical stage and is famous for its exciting bravura moments which are the result of many years of training.
LRBS considers Character Dance to be an essential part of the classical ballet student’s training. It is vital for co-ordination, musicality and an ever more expressive upper body. Students develop a great sense of rhythm and learn to identify the different styles and traditions of music from different parts of the world, ranging from Oriental, to Georgian and European. The style of each dance is absolutely different. It is, also, enormous fun for those taking class.
During the Soviet period Character Dance or Scenic Theatre Dance as it is sometimes referred to, developed ever more powerful roles and technically skilled dancers. The Fountains of Bakhchisarai, Gayaneh and Laurencia are are wonderful examples of how exciting and demanding this type of dance is. Most of the famous Russian Classical Ballet dancers have incorporated their character training which has enriched their classical roles greatly for the enjoyment of the audience. LRBS students are very fortunate to train in the complete repertoire of Scenic Theatre and Character Dance under the instruction of Teona Charkviani, Honoured Artist of Georgia.
Students at LRBS study contemporary dance both in class and through performance work by engaging with famous and experienced choreographers, such as Vladimir Varnava of the Mariinsky Theatre. In the Russian syllabus contemporary dance classes are taken by students in the final years of training. LRBS believes classical training is the best base for all forms of dance and the classical foundations must be formed and secure in the body before embarking on the contemporary style and method which use a different dynamic and other muscles. The classical foundation allows the student to fly in their chosen sphere.
Contemporary ballet is considered to be an important part of the training of the young student at LRBS. It is required by all major companies at the highest level, which is why LRBS works with the best teachers and choreographers. It is an entirely different way of using and showing the dancer’s body and the student must be competent in their own physique to work effectively.
LRBS students perform regularly throughout the year and all repertoire for performances contains different and demanding contemporary choreography usually choreographed especially for the school.
LRBS students are fortunate to take class with Dmitry Antipov the recipient of many awards who is Head of Contemporary Dance.