Bolshoi and Mariinsky Unite for the Closing Ceremony

November 28, 2001

Sochi’s glittery closing ceremony last night celebrated Russian culture, and no such celebration would be complete without ballet, of course. But leave it to the Olympics to bring Russia’s two great—and very competitive—ballet houses together.

How beautiful it was to see dancers from the Mariinsky and the Bolshoi performing in a tribute to the Ballet Russes era. Honoring both companies, the set included a proscenium arch for each—red and gold for the Bolshoi, blue and gold for the Mariinsky. Soloists portrayed famous figures from the period, including Sergei Diaghilev and Anna Pavlova, and the corps de ballet’s sashed white dresses evoked Degas’ paintings.

During the London Olympics, we were disappointed that NBC chose not to air major dance segments in both the opening and closing ceremonies. What a difference two years (and a move to Russia) makes: This time around, Americans saw serious ballet during both. Bravo!