Astana Ballet Unveils Spectacular Lineup for Freedom Ballet Festival Celebrating 30 Years of Tenge

ASTANA – Astana Ballet set the scene for the Freedom Ballet art festival taking place for the second time in Astana with a program of contemporary and classic ballet performances by revered artists from around the world dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the national currency tenge on Nov. 21.

Antonio Vivaldi’s “Kairos” performed by principal ballerina of Bayerisches Staatsballett Laurretta Summerscales and principal Yonah Acosta. Photo credit: Astana Ballet press service.

Sponsored by Freedom Holding Corp, the festival comprised outstanding performances starring the creme de la creme of the ballet world from the Vienna State Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, the Bayerisches Staatsballett (Berlin State Ballet), Teatro di San Carlo, Astana Ballet and Kazakh National Opera and Ballet Theater named after Abai.

Since its inception in March, Freedom Ballet has maintained its great ambition to advance ballet culture and offer a platform where prominent artists from Kazakhstan and abroad come together as equals to exchange knowledge while showing respect and appreciation.

“For us, but also for me personally, it is a great pride and honor to represent our school, our country, at such an international festival, where world-class ballet dancers have gathered,” said Astana Ballet’s leading soloist Ainur Abilgazina, who performed adagio from ballet “Spartacus” together with Sundet Sultanov.

“And, of course, it is very reverent and exciting. You gain huge experience upon communication with other artists, where you learn through watching, observing. You take something for yourself while also showing yourself, showing that our level of classical ballet is not in last place but growing and developing. I would say that our school is very strong, and I think that today the audience will be able to see and appreciate us on par with world ballet dancers.” she added.

Camille Saint-Saëns’s “Shelter” performed by the Dutch National Ballet soloist Elisabeth Tonev and the principal Victor Caixeta. Photo credit: Astana Ballet press service.

An eclectic program featured a large production of both classic and modern choreographies by Hans van Manen, David Dawson, Wayne McGregor, Renato Zanella and William Forsythe.

Some of the big names in ballet included premier Victor Caixeta and a leading soloist Elisabeth Tonev of the Dutch National Ballet, prima ballerina of the Berlin State Ballet Iana Salenko and guest soloist Marian Walter.

Featuring many contemporary pieces, the event is not so much a showcase of the classical ballet talent but a project that could pave the way forward for a contemporary ballet industry in Kazakhstan, largely underrated.

“We wanted to show our audience that there are best productions of modern ballet and modern choreographies that take place, let’s say, abroad. Because sometimes showing modern ballet does not, so to say, suit all the audience and not everyone understands, so we wanted to show the right side of modern choreographies,” said Producer Daniyar Shmanov.

“And we want our viewers to get used to it. A classic [ballet] is good, but we have to show and develop, so to speak, to keep up with the times,” he added.

Ahead of the event, contemporary and performance artist Adil Aubekerov, New-Media artist Anvar Musrepov, music producer and sound designer Gustavo Costa and musician Kanat Kydyrbayev presented a mono-installation curated by Baurzhan Sagiyev on the theme of the visual code of the national currency tenge.

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