Boris Eifman is one of the few, if not the only Russian choreographer who’s energetic and brilliant life in art has been going on for several decades. It seems that none of his contemporaries could boast similar achievement. He has done more than forty ballet performances. He bears such honorary titles as the People’s Artist of Russia, the Laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation, the laureate of such prominent theatrical awards as the Golden Mask and the Golden Soffit, he is also the holder of the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 2nd class, and of many international prizes and titles.
The choreographer was born in Siberia; his ballet degree he got at the department of choreography of the Leningrad Conservatory. Already in 1977 he set up his own company – the Leningrad New Ballet today known to millions of art lovers as St. Petersburg Eifman Ballet. The concept of the New Ballet was more than innovative for its time: from the first days of its work it was designed and developed as an experimental laboratory, a ballet theater for one choreographer.
The company’s first performances such as Two-Voice and Boomerang brought success and stirred intense interest of the audience; ballet critics began arguing about new tendencies in the Russian ballet. Advocates of the traditional ballet school, however, were rather reluctant to acknowledge the young choreographer’s authority. Eifman’s novelty in how he chose literary basis and music for his ballets, the audacity of the body movement vocabulary secured for him the reputation of «a choreographic dissident».
In late 70s – early 80s Eifman’s theater is working out its own individual approach to repertoire formation. More and more new ballets based on the world classical literature appear on the company’s playbill. Boris Eifman both addresses classical plots and explores new genres. He creates performances whose distinguishing feature is the strikingly sharp choreographic patterns, intended to express the fiery passions of ballets’ characters: The Duel, The Idiot, The Mad March Day, or the Marriage of Figaro, The Legend, The Twelfth Night, Murderers, Master and Margarita etc.
The company demonstrating an outstanding dance intellect, brilliant technique and a particular gift for transformation fascinates western audiences. Anna Kisselgoff, one of the leading ballet critics in the USA, names Boris Eifman the leader among contemporary choreographers: «The ballet world in search of a major choreographer need search no more. He is Boris Eifman».
Today the St. Petersburg Eifman Ballet is renowned among ballet lovers in Asia, Europe, the Americas and in Australia for such ballets as Tchaikovsky; I, Don Quixote; Red Giselle, Russian Hamlet, Anna Karenina, The Seagull, Onegin, Rodin, Beyond Sin, Requiem. Boris Eifman’s endeavor to engage his spectators in the infinite world of human passions, to form a spiritual liaison with the audience, to amaze viewers by the brilliance and dynamism of his plastic language – all this has ensured a decades-long success of Eifman Ballet’s performances at leading venues around the globe.
Boris Eifman is a philosopher choreographer. He is earnestly concerned with the problems of today, with the secrets of creativity. The choreographer speaks openly with his audience about the complicated and dramatic aspects of human life; he defines his genre as «psychological ballet». «Throughout my creative life I’ve been expanding the boundaries of the ballet theatre and, first and foremost, searching for a body language capable of expressing the life of human spirit. Dance isn’t a physical process for me, but a spiritual one», - says Boris Eifman.
An important period in the company’s life began in 2011, when the Government of St. Petersburg took a decision to launch the construction of the Boris Eifman Dance Academy – a project originally initiated by the choreographer himself. In September 2013 the Academy announced the start of its first academic year.
Another Eifman-initiated ballet institution is to be built and opened in St. Petersburg in the near future. It is the Boris Eifman Dance Palace envisioned by Boris Eifman as a new world center of the ballet art.
Forming a special and innovative repertoire for today’s Russian ballet based upon the rich traditions of Russian psychological theater, along with searching for and developing new forms of choreography of the XXI century are among the key priorities within the artistic mission of Boris Eifman and his brilliant company.