La Bayabore, uh, I mean Bayadere
Olga Smirnova as Nikya Is it possible to love a ballet to death? Because every time the ABT trots out Natalia Makarova's La Bayadere , I think the great Russian ballerina adored this ballet so much that she killed it. The La Bayadere that the Mariinsky/Bolshoi/Paris Opera Ballet do is a piece of East-meets-West exotica. Productions call for: a stuffed tiger, an elephant, girls who dance with birds attached to their wrists, kids in blackface (ugh), dancers in "brownface" beating wildly against a drum, and a woman balancing a jug on her head. In between all that schlock there's one of the greatest scenes in classical ballet ever choreographed (the Kingdom of the Shades).