Ballet Gains a Toehold in the Middle East
"The world-renowned Mariinsky Ballet was performing the risqu piece, choreographed by Michel Fokine to music by Rimsky-Korsakov, not at its home theater in St. Petersburg or in one of its regular touring venues in Vienna, Washington or Tokyo, but in conservative, strait-laced Abu Dhabi. In its first visit to the United Arab Emirates, the dance company performed on March 14 and 15 as the highlight of the Abu Dhabi Culture Festival, selling out the Emirates Palace auditorium, a sumptuously gilded hall in a luxury hotel with seating for 1,100 spectators. The Mariinsky's only previous exposure to a Middle Eastern audience had been a performance at the Royal Opera House in Oman two years ago. But visits by touring dance companies are becoming increasingly frequent, helping to popularize classical ballet in the Gulf region."
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