Ratmansky’s Big-Theme Thinking

“The great thing about Russian writers of the late nineteenth century was their willingness to address, directly, the hardest questions of human life. That tradition was inherited by Russian choreographers. Nijinsky in ‘The Rite of Spring’; his sister, Bronislava Nijinska, in ‘Les Noces’; Balanchine in most of what he did—at times, you almost turn away from what they’re saying. It’s too much. With Alexei Ratmansky, you don’t have to turn away, or not yet, but the instinct is the same. Unlike most ballet choreographers working in this country right now, he takes on the great themes—love, grief, marriage, death—and looks them straight in the face.”