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13 Jan 2012

Finnish National Ballet 90th anniversary launched with gala performances in January

Cross-section of past triumphs and current repertoire


Finnish National Ballet 90th anniversary launched with gala performances in January

Cross-section of past triumphs and current repertoire


The Finnish National Ballet dates its history from the first performance of Swan Lake in Finland on 17 January 1922 - incidentally becoming the first Western ballet company ever to perform the work - and accordingly is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2012. The Finnish National Ballet forms part of the Finnish National Opera, and its principal performance venue is the Opera House in Helsinki, completed in 1993. The current Artistic Director of the FNB, Kenneth Greve, has held the post since 2008.

The 90th anniversary celebrations of the FNB will be launched with two gala performances on 27 and 28 January, featuring a cross-section of past triumphs and current repertoire: scenes from classic ballets such as Swan Lake and Don Quixote and from contemporary works such as Anna Karenina by Alexey Ratmansky and Scheherazade by Kenneth Greve. Featured works from contemporary top choreographers will include Ohad Naharin (Minus 7), Johan Inger (Walking Mad) and Jorma Elo (Suite Murder).

Tribute will be paid to Finnish dance history with a scene from the 1950s full-length ballet Pessi and Illusia, Swan of Tuonela from the 1970s ballet Lemminkäinen, a scene from Seven Brothers and a solo number from the 1980s work Ballet Pathétique. Some of these historical scenes were rehearsed with the current members of the FNB by dancers who originally appeared in the premieres of these productions.

The Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) will be televising highlights of the FNB anniversary gala on TV 1 on Sunday 29 January at 19.00.


Finnish National Ballet on Senate Square and on summer tour


To celebrate its anniversary year, the FNB is holding a free public performance on Senate Square in central Helsinki on Friday 25 May at 19.00. The programme will be an interesting mix of classical ballet and contemporary dance.

In the summer, a group of dancers from the FNB will be going on tour in Finland, visiting several cities and towns for free public performances in market squares and similar venues. The performance times and places of the summer tour will be published during the spring. The Senate Square performance and the summer tour are kindly sponsored by Sampo Bank.

At the beginning of the autumn, on 7 September, members of the FNB will visit the Culture Tram; during the afternoon, passengers on the 7A tram line will be treated to ballet performances for the price of a normal public transport ticket.


Foyer exhibition and anniversary publication


The FNB is maintaining a presence in the foyer of the Opera House for the duration of the year 2012, with an exhibition of images and lovely costumes from recent productions. Photos from the past 90 years will be projected over the staircase in the ticket office foyer.

In January, the FNB will be releasing an anniversary publication with a compilation of texts and images showcasing the everyday work and special moments of the FNB, yesterday and today. This publication and other ballet-themed products such as the FNB calendar are available at the Opera Shop and the FNO ticket office.