The road of dance, music, a mixture of styles and cultures: what awaits the audience at the premiere in Astana Ballet

On June 18 and 19, the premiere of “The Silk Road” ballet choreographed by Mukaram Avakhri will take place at the Astana Ballet Theatre. The famous Kazakhstani poet and screenwriter Bakhyt Kairbekov is the author of the libretto.

Nowadays the preparation has reached the finish line. The dancers have a demanding rehearsal schedule: they have changed the ballet hall to the stage. Undoubtedly, the last days before the premiere are the most crucial, the dancers will rehearse the scenes from the new ballet again and again being carefully managed by their mentors. Very soon, the curtain of the Astana Ballet Theatre will throw open, and to the fascinating music by Armand Amar and Renat Gaissin, the spectators will see an amazing story about the creation of silk and its great road, embodied in a delightful dance. The idea of creating this ballet belongs to the art manager of the theatre Assel Issabayeva.

“While working on the Silk Road project, I learned a lot about silk itself. In this regard, I am always attracted to the topic of a new project, because I know myself and foresee immersion in new images, as well as look for new information that would surprise, delight, and inspire me. I cannot imagine this fascinating process without a tandem with a choreographer. I do not believe that you can just write a libretto, as if it was a story or a parable. Only knowing Mukaram’s creative works, her perseverance in finding expressive means, and loyalty to her creative nature, it cheers me up and communicates the necessary faith to me that the project will definitely be successful, because she knows what she wants and foresees the future of the project. This is creativity, speaking more precisely, co-creation. It is precisely this variability that distinguishes it from everyday craft, in which stamp and circulation prevail. After all, the dream is still to create a timeless classic.” said Bakhyt Kairbekov, the author of the libretto.

The original scenography by Askar Iskakov and the extraordinarily beautiful costumes by artists Assel Shalabayeva and Dina Buksikova are realized by the artistic production workshops of the theatre. Visual effects by video artist Nurlan Kerei are also aimed at conveying the artistic idea of the director.

The work on creating costumes takes place in an unusual direction, and a little more unconventional than it is customary in a dance ballet costume, with more experiment and simplicity. That is probably why Mukaram invited Dina and me, film artists, to the project. In turn, it is a little difficult for us, because the task is “to create a costume without creating a costume”, without unnecessary details, difficulties, and heaviness, which is customary in a historical large-scale film. I will not say that it is minimalism, but rather less descriptiveness in clothes, because the main information is conveyed by the movement and the body of the dancer. We looked for metaphors to create costumes. It seems to us that this is about the delicate mood of Silk, its travels from one country to another, and these silk threads are connected into a common canvas, somewhere into knots, somewhere into transparency. Here we experienced the difficulty of conveying ethnic diversity without resorting to an abundance of details, through a subtle nuance of shapes and colours. We plan to create 220 sets of costumes, which is about 750 items. The project is large-scale and interesting!”, Assel Shalabayeva, costume designer, shared.

The idea of staging the ballet is implemented by the Foundation for the Development and Support of Ballet and National Dance with the support of the General Partner – “Samruk-Kazyna” JSC.

The premiere will be held with the assistance of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan.