Moscow Festival Ballet tells familiar tale

Dancers take the stage in Moscow Festival Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty.”
Dancers take the stage in Moscow Festival Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty.” Photo provided

The grand majesty of European ballet will be on display at Eisenhower Auditorium on March 31 when the Moscow Festival Ballet performs “The Sleeping Beauty.” Inspired by the familiar fairy tale about a cursed princess, this ballet will give audiences the chance to see the story through an enhanced and different medium.

“Classic Russian ballet is very beautiful and the grace and smoothness help to tell the story of this classic fairy tale,” Alexander Daev, the company’s ballet master and assistant artistic director, said through a translator. “The preciseness of each move captures the eye and the imagination fills in the story line from there.”

Daev is also one of the Moscow Festival Ballet’s principal dancers and has dedicated his life to the art form. His years of practicing and performing have taken him all over the world and he prides himself on the accomplishments that he has achieved throughout his tenure on the stage.

“I started dancing with the Moscow Festival Ballet 14 years ago. Throughout that time, I progressed to principal dancers, ballet master and eventually assistant artistic director,” Daev said. “To be able to come to the United States and perform is very special and something I really enjoy doing. It is such a privilege to dance with Moscow Festival Ballet.”

This three-act ballet first premiered at the Marinski Theatre in Saint Petersburg in 1890. Over the years, this Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky ballet has become a music hall mainstay and helped solidify the composer’s status as one of the most influential in history. The innovative and thoughtful approach he applied to “The Sleeping Beauty” still resonates today and inspires contemporary audiences with every performance.

“This is just an iconic fairy tale that never seems to grow old. From the beautiful princess to the handsome prince and the villain, these characters remain timeless in the story telling,” Daev said. “I think that the audience will see the story unfurl in each dance and it will be unlike anything they have seen before. This show is very elegant and beautiful. I hope that each person will take something home with them to remember for a long time.”

The Moscow Festival Ballet has gone to great lengths to ensure that their production of “The Sleeping Beauty” meets the highest levels of quality that have come to define the company since its founding in 1989 by Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer Sergei Radchenko. Everything in this show from the lighting and costumes to the music and dancing are designed to complement each other and further strengthen the story.

“The dancing of classical Russian ballet in ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ brings out all of the long hours of training and dedication of the principal dancers,” Daev said. “It is a very difficult ballet in that it has those principal dancers on stage for great lengths of time in each movement. The dancers and choreography, as well as the staging, in this show are magnificent. It all adds to the tale we are telling.”

On March 31 evening, the Moscow Festival Ballet will get to share its body of work with Centre County. Performing is always a thrill for Daev and he couldn’t be any more thrilled or grateful to be on stage with his colleagues in front of an audience exhibiting what he has tirelessly devoted himself to.

“There is a real beauty and discipline in the art of ballet,” Daev said. “It is not an easy thing to do and all of our dancers have spent their whole lives perfecting their craft. For someone to appreciate all of our hard work and dedication by purchasing a ticket is a testament that people still love the arts in the classical form and we are humbled to be able to perform for them.

“I truly love seeing people in the audience enjoy and appreciate the art of ballet,” Daev added. “To hear their applause always makes me feel happy because I know then I have made them happy. This show is classic Russian ballet at its best.”


  • What: Moscow Festival Ballet’s “The Sleeping Beauty”
  • When: 7:30 p.m. March 31
  • Where: Eisenhower Audtorium, University Park
  • Info: www.cpa.psu.edu