Russia’s Eifman Ballet cancels Chicago performances

The troupe, scheduled for the Auditorium Theatre in May, says it is unable to dance in the U.S. “in light of COVID-19 restrictions for international travel and the current geopolitical climate.”

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Yelena Kuzmina performs with the Eifman Ballet in “Russian Hamlet” in 2001.

Sun-Times file

The Eifman Ballet has canceled its upcoming Chicago performances, acknowledging the time isn’t right for a visit by one of Russia’s foremost dance companies.

“In light of COVID-19 restrictions for international travel and the current geopolitical climate, the Eifman Ballet is unable to perform in the United States,” said a statement from the Auditorium Theatre, where the troupe was to perform its “Russian Hamlet” May 20-22.

The St. Petersburg-based company was founded by choreographer Boris Eifman in 1977. Among his fans: Russian President Vladimir Putin, who in 2012 presented Eifman with the country’s highest honor, the Order for the Merit to the Fatherland.

Hostility toward Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine has led to shakeups at several arts organizations. The chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic, Putin supporter Valery Gergiev, was fired because the Russian refused to criticize the invasion. The Rotterdam Philharmonic in the Netherlands also cut ties with Gergiev.

At New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Russian soprano Anna Netrebko withdrew from two upcoming operas rather than comply with the opera’s insistence that she repudiate her support for Putin.

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