Ballet in the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies in Sochi
By BalletHub on February 08th, 2014
ballet sochi opening ceremony

Dancers Alexander Petukhov, Svetlana Zakharova and Vladimir Vasilyev perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
(Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

For any ballet fans who tuned in yesterday (Feb. 7th) for the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi may have been wonderfully surprised to see ballet featured in the spectacular evening.  Well, maybe its not so surprising, since these winter Olympics are, after all, hosted in Russia.  Either way, it was great to see ballet be a part of the ceremony, and not just for a minute but for roughly 15 minutes, as excerpts from the ballet War and Peace was performed.

The entire cast for the ballet seemed to feature at least a hundred dancers.  The ballet being performed was War and Peace, and featured Ivan Vasiliev, Vladimir Vasilyev and Svetlana Zakharova, among others.

sochi winter olympics swans

Diana Vishneva dances to Swan Lake with the other “swans” for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi

The ceremony also featured many recognizable classical scores from ballets, including Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) by Stravinsky, Swan Lake, and the Russian Dance from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky.  The portion that featured music from Swan Lake was a mesmerizing display of blue light strands attached to a circlet that dancers spun around with.  You really need to watch it to get the full effect.  Toward the end, as the dancers moved the lit strands up and down, with Mariinsky Soloist Diana Vishneva in the front center, it really looked like outlines of swans flying away.

The entire ceremony was really well done, highlighting Russia’s (and former Soviet Union’s) rich history while utilizing amazing modern technology with lighting and projections, along with huge props sliding along a large gantry system. (think an over-sized electronic clothes line like at the cleaner).

If you haven’t had the chance, do checkout in it’s entirety, or at least the ballet, in the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi!