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Their performance of Boris Eifman's Anna Karenina stands out as crowning achievement for the National Ballet of Japan. The first production here in 2010 met with widespread acclaim from critics in Japan and overseas.
Eifman's ballets are some of the finest in the canon of modern Russian ballet. Each is marked by a high degree of difficulty and demands exacting technique and expressiveness from the dancers, plus a consummate understanding of their individual roles. In their performance of Anna Karenina in 2010, the dancers of the National Ballet of Japan proved themselves to be well up to the challenge, and they performed to ovations in full houses. In particular, audiences were deeply moved by the emotional expressiveness of the three dancers in the lead role, the male dancers, and the group dances. At the same time, the production was a rejuvenating experience for the company, and showed that the National Ballet of Japan was really coming into its own.
Even before this production, the ballerinas of the National Ballet of Japan were known for their subtlety of expression. With their performance of Eifman's Anna Karenina, the company revealed a new individuality onstage for the first time. David Bintley was also quite pleased with the results, and the decision was made to restage the ballet. The dancers have since continued to hone their technique and expression through their performance in other productions, and audiences can expect this revival of Anna Karenina to be an experience even more rewarding than the first.