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BALLET'S TOP 10 - LA BAYADERE

Updated: Mar 15

La Bayadère is a four-act classical ballet that premiered on February 4, 1877 at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theater in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was choreographed by Marius Petipa, with music by Ludwig Minkus.


La Bayadère

La Bayadère is a four-act classical ballet that premiered on February 4, 1877 at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theater in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was choreographed by Marius Petipa, with music by Ludwig Minkus.


The story of La Bayadère takes place in India, in an exotic context. The ballet tells the tragic love story between Nikiya, a sacred dancer (bayadere) of a Hindu temple, and the warrior Solor. However, their love is tested by the intrigues of Gamzatti, the Rajah's daughter, who is also in love with Solor.


In the first act, the Rajah throws a party to celebrate his daughter Gamzatti's engagement to Solor. During the party, Nikiya and Solor secretly meet and express their love for each other. However, their meeting is discovered by Gamzatti, who becomes enraged and seeks revenge.


In the second act, Nikiya dances in the temple with other bayaderes during a sacred ceremony. Gamzatti, knowing of Nikiya's presence, presents her with a basket of poisoned flowers. Nikiya, unaware of the poison, accepts the flowers and puts them on her chest. Later, she discovers the poison and is overcome with despair.


The third act is often called the "Realm of Shadows". Solor, devastated by Nikiya's death, is transported to a mystical realm where he sees the appearance of Nikiya among the shadows of the other deceased bayaderes. They dance together, symbolizing their eternal love.


The fourth act is a grand entertainment which takes place in the palace of the Rajah. Gamzatti and Solor celebrate their wedding, but Solor is haunted by the memory of Nikiya. Eventually, the gods become angry and destroy the palace, killing everyone in it, including Solor and Gamzatti. Nikiya and Solor are reunited in death and find eternal peace.


La Bayadère is considered one of the most important classical ballets in the repertoire. It highlights the technical skills of the dancers, in particular with the famous dances of the bayadères and the "Kingdom of Shadows". The ballet is also known for its lively and colorful music, as well as its lavish sets and costumes that capture the essence of India.


Since its creation, La Bayadère has undergone several adaptations and revisions, but Marius Petipa's choreography has remained the most influential. The ballet continues to be performed by many ballet companies around the world and remains a favorite with audiences.




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