Dubai: Russia’s sweeping creative economy introduced us to literary excellence through novelist Leo Tolstoy, the art of film editing through director Sergei Eisenstein, to the creatives in the realm of performing arts such as ballet. It is no wonder that Russia is participating in Expo 2020 Dubai, which kicks off on October 1, under the theme of ‘Creative mind: Driving the future.’
With every pavilion set to regale visitors with a calendar of cultural and business events, Russia will host its own panoply of musical festivals and theatre performances spread over the course of six months. “It is important to point out that the programmed events will take place not just in the Expo Park, but across Dubai; at Dubai Opera, at Agenda, at Ain Dubai and many other of the city’s most eye-catching locations,” said Alena Strygina, the director of cultural programme of the Russian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, in an interview with Gulf News.
It is important to point out that the programmed events will take place not just in the Expo Park, but across Dubai: at Dubai Opera, at Agenda, at Ain Dubai and many other of the city’s most eye-catching locations.
On October 18, visitors can discover traditional Russian folk music and dance at Expo’s Al Forsan Park, where the park’s own cultural programming venue, Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre, will seat interested audiences.
Named after the Russian nesting dolls, the Matreshka Folklore Festival first graced Dubai in 2014, hoping to bridge and strengthen cultural ties between the two countries. Former Miss Russia Victoria Lopyreva, also the brand ambassador of the Russian pavilion, is hosting the Expo edition of the festival this time.
The Russian pavilion will shine the spotlight on children on October 22 at Expo’s Jubilee Park with a fest featuring special guests – characters from Russia’s popular cartoon series. These animations include 'The Fixies', a group of tiny creatures only visible to children that also happen to be the mascots of the pavilion; 'Smeshariki', featuring an adventurous rabbit and its friends; and 'Malyshariki', a show where toys come to life.
Besides exciting performances, children and parents can also expect engaging activities at the park.
Ballet Modanse from Bolshoi Theatre
From November 8 to 9, the leading theatre company for ballet and opera in Russia since 1825 will lend its prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova to the Dubai Opera for two one-act ballet performances of ‘Modanse’.
Premiering in Dubai for the first time, Modanse opens with ‘Like a Breath’ set to the music of Georg Friedrich Handel, followed by the second ballet ‘Gabrielle Chanel’, where Zakharova pays tribute to the French designer Coco Chanel.
Russia National Day Festival
On December 4, Russia will take its national day celebrations beyond the Expo site and to the foot of the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, Ain Dubai, on Bluewaters Island. A star-studded line-up of Russian performers and ensembles will greet visitors following the 20-minute drive to the island from the Expo 2020 site.
Standing at a height of 250 metres, Ain Dubai will host the classical pianist Denis Matsuev, soprano Aida Garifullina and Russia’s dance company the Igor Moiseyev Ballet.
Igor Moiseyev Ensemble
Founded by Igor Moiseyev, a 20th-century Russian choreographer, the ensemble of more than 100 artists will perform a fusion of traditional folk dance and ballet at The Agenda Venues in Dubai Media City from December 5 to 6.
Russian Winter Festival
For a period of 11 days starting January 4, 2022, visitors will get to experience the seasonal Moscow festival at The Agenda Venues in Dubai Media City. The festival will see performers from across Russia flying in to reflect the multicultural fabric of the nation, featuring music, theatre, entertainment, food and drink as well as traditional activities. Russia’s unique take on Christmas celebrations will also be showcased.
Russian Rhapsody Gala Dinner
On March 25, 2022, Russian classical music will be brought to life by opera stars and screen projections of scenes from folklore during dinner at the Dubai Opera.
Women’s forum and festival
From January 13 to 14, 2022, the Russian pavilion programme will uplift women and their contribution to society through a dedicated forum and festival.
“We will tell the stories of great women from the past, and we will introduce the world to the new generation of amazing women who are role models of today’s Russia,” says Strygina. “These incredible ladies, all equally successful in business and at home, will talk about their own journeys to a fulfilling life and career and about the challenges that they had to overcome to get there.”
Calligrafuturism by Pokras Lampas
Representing Russia’s contemporary art scene is Pokras Lampas, a 29-year-old modern calligraphy artist who pioneered ‘calligrafuturism’ – a multicultural, futuristic combination of Cyrillic and Latin calligraphy.
Lampas will join other prominent names in painting the old and modern art scene of Russia exhibited through conceptual art installations, living art performances and art forums.
In our planning, we wanted to ensure that every person who visits our pavilion – guest, fellow participant, Expo organiser – finds something to interest them, and what’s more, is able to discover their very own definition of ‘Russia’.
Theme-driven, the cultural programme of the Russian pavilion hopes to reaffirm the country’s contribution to global creative industries. “In our planning, we wanted to ensure that every person who visits our pavilion – guest, fellow participant, Expo organiser – finds something to interest them, and what’s more, is able to discover their very own definition of ‘Russia’,” says Strygina.
- The writer is an intern with Gulf News.