Music by: Ludwig Minkus
Costumes by: Mike Gonzales
Lighting by: Kip Marsh
Staged by: Elena Kunikova after Petipa
Paquita is a superb example of the French style as it was exported to Saint Petersburg in the late 19th Century.
Premiering at the Paris Opera in 1846, the ballet was produced a year later in Russia by Marius Petipa. Paquita was originally a ballet-pantomime in 2 acts, choreographed by Ballet Master, Joseph Mazillier, to music by Ernest Deldevez.
The story had a Spanish theme, with Carlotta Grisi (creator of Giselle) as a young woman kidnapped by gypsies, who saves a young and handsome officer form certain death. In Russia, newly appointed Ballet Master Petipa commissioned Ludwig Minkus, the composer of his two most recent successes (Don Quixote and La Bayadere) to write additional music, in order to add a brilliant “divertissement” to Mazillier’s Paquita.
For this, Petipa choreographed a Pas de Trois and a Grand Pas de Deux in his characteristic style. These soon became the bravura highlights of the evening-to the point that they are the only fragments of Paquita that have been preserved.
The dancers display a range of choreographic fireworks, which exploit the virtuoso possibilities of academic classical dance, enriched by the unexpected combinations of steps.