Jennifer Hall

The well-known St. Petersburg Classic Ballet is making San Luis Obispo one of the stops on its third U.S. tour this Sunday. The matinee performance will take place at the Christopher Cohan Center at 3 p.m.

The ballet was formed in 1996 under the direction of Marina Medvertskaya who studied from Vakhtang Ghabukiani, a world-famous ballet choreographer and dancer. She was the prima ballerina of the Tbilisi State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre in Russia.

“The troupe has only been around for 10 years but they’ve got some of the best dancers from the St. Petersburg area,” said Curtis Reinhardt, vice president of the SLO Community Concert Association.

The SLO Community Concert Association is a non-profit organization that presents five shows per year. The ballet is their dance selection for the Gala 68th season. They also have two classical performances, one pop or folk performance and a more family-oriented performance.

Medvertskaya formed the 12-dancer chamber ballet company with the goal of making ballet available to a wider audience. The company has traveled throughout Russia, Scandinavia, Europe and the U.S. since its formation.

“The beauty of their dance takes over and lifts the audience to new heights,” said Tatiana Zelenina, a Russian ballet critic.

The company won the gold medal in the “Amber Necklace” International Ballet Competition in Kaliningrad, Russia in 1999.

The lead dancers of the troupe were taught at the Kirov Ballet’s Vaganova Ballet Academy and have performed with some of the most famous ballet companies in St. Petersburg, including the Kirov, the Maly and the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre.

“We’ve got all the stars here,” Reinhardt said.

The performance will consist of dances from “The Nutcracker,” “Swan Lake,” “Coppelia,” and “Carnival of the Animals,” and features all new costumes and set designs built by the legendary Maryinsky Theatre Shops.

“It’s good for students because it’s not one extended ballet,” Reinhardt said. “It’s snippets from some of the most famous ballets.”

The SLO Community Concert Association chose the ballet because of the growing respect it has earned across the world in the art community.

“It’s one of the better Russian ballet troupes,” Reinhardt said.

Tickets can be purchased through the Performing Arts Center box office. General tickets are $25, students are $15, and student rush tickets can be purchased after 2 p.m. Sunday for $7.50.

“It’s a quality act,” Reinhardt said. “We’re looking forward to it.”

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