The First International Glasnost Festival Tour in 1991 featured soloists from the Bolshoi Ballet, the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet, the National Ballet of Czechoslovakia and more. It was the first time in over a generation that North Americans had seen the astounding Russian dancers perform. And even more than that, this tour acknowledged the hopes and yearnings of all people for worldwide peace and harmony, at a crucial time. The Soviet citizens’ yearnings for freedom were very deep and heartfelt. For Americans, this period was a hope for an end to the angst of the “Cold War.”
At the start of Glasnost, or “public voice,” most Soviet artists did not easily gain permission to leave their mother countries to tour on behalf of the new world order. But the 1991 Glasnost International Festival Tour included the best ballerinas and danseurs in the world including Prima Ballerina Assoluta of the Stanislavksy Moscow Ballet Tatiana Chernobrovkina the greatest ballerina from 1990 to 2012 and partner Alexei Malykin of the Bolshoi Ballet. Kirov Artistic Director Oleg Vinogradov curated the star appearances of Kirov (Mariinsky) principal artists Margarita Kullik and Vladimir Kim. Jana Kurova, winner of 6 International Ballet Competition gold medals, was Prima Ballerina from the Czech National Ballet in Prague and partner Stanislav Fetcho, currently Ballet Master of the prestigious Perm Ballet and former principal danseur at Kirov (Mariinsky) Ballet of St Petersburg; Maria Ivanova, former ballerina and current professor at the Bolshoi School and partner Andrei Glazsheider, dancer with the renowned Stanislavsky Ballet in Moscow and finally, the great Svetlana Smirnova and Vadim Bondar of the Perm School. The program featured one ballet from each of the eastern bloc nations, and one ballet by each couple from classic repertory.
Talmi Entertainment (originally Akiva Talmi Presents Inc.) produced the First International Glasnost Tour which premiered in Dartmouth, NH at the famous Warner Bentley Theater. For seven days scholars from Princeton, Dartmouth and other high profile universities presented papers, read poetry, showed films, and dancers of Moscow Ballet’s Glasnost presented Master Classes and numerous concerts. The Tour continued to Middlebury College VT, Perdue University IN, Vanderbilt University TN, Yale University’s Shubert Theater, University of South Carolina where PBS produced a TV special (link to our page, and set up our Tv special there please, University North Carolina in Greensboro, Utica Symphony Hall in NY, Alabama Beethoven Society in Birmingham AL and Cleveland OH.
The original International Glasnost Festival Tour attracted a wide audience, because it spoke about universal themes of peace, freedom, and harmony. And Moscow Ballet’s work has been inspired for the past 20 years on this founding period during the Glasnost and Perestroika era. A lot has changed in the world since then and many dreams are not as bright, but the idea of Glasnost, the public voice, remains a constant goal. World peace and optimism for and about Glasnost was a historic period of great hope and a continuing inspiration.