Andrei Merkuriev’s verity – the birth of the image of a New Man

Andrei Merkuriev’s verity – the birth of the image of a New Man

Alexey Blinov


“World megastar of ballet art” or “king of dance” – no epithet will suffice to describe Andrei’s art. He lives on the stage to the full power of his talent, floating over the mediocrity, over time and epoch.  Every of his appearances is an ascent to the Olympus of high art. Andrei Merkuriev possesses a rare performing gift that manifests itself in an awesome force of impact, deep psychological insight and dimensionality. The major stages of the world have witnessed his triumphant performances, his talent of transfiguration, staggering dramatic acting and flamboyant charisma. With each appearance of the dancer on the stage we behold the appearance of a Personality. It is his artistry that makes him distinguished, his ability to get imbued into the role, to express his inner experiences with absolute emotionality. It is his legend and sacred enigma.

The name of Andrei Merkuriev is already enshrined into the golden history of the Russian ballet. His creative work and role interpretations belong to the national treasures of Russia, of the world. His name has become one of the symbols of modern Russian ballet and the Russian seasons of the 21st century. It is not easy to discern a genius in a fellow. Andrei Merkuriev is a complete genius. Thanks to the depth and veracity of the personages he creates, his name will once stand next to world heritage names as Vatzlav Nijinsky, Leonid Myasin, Rudolf Nureyev and Vladimir Vasiliev due to his ultimate in-depth and truthful images.

His life is a quest for the truth through dance. His life credo is ”dance or die” and “I dance, hence I live”. Merkuriev has learned to comprehend the truth with the language of choreography by using his body as a fine-tuned instrument like a Stradivarius. As dancer and choreographer he acts in the most subtle area – the domain of intellectual emotions and feelings. He stirs our conscience and our souls, his dance burns our hearts. Philosophers admit the truth does not exist on its own; it is not something that is given and frozen for ages. The truth can be only revealed and comprehended through the process of creation; the truth has to be conceived.

As follower and disciple of Alla Sigalova, an outstanding modern choreographer, Andrei applies her creed on stage and transforms himself into a source of energy constantly generating emotions that involve us all. He is the master of the stage: the audience’s attention always centers on him when he appears. Thus when Andrei Merkuriev shows up as Drosselmeyer in the ballet “The Nutcracker” after the monotonous beginning, the children genuinely burst out with emotions. Children are the most sensitive indicators and they readily open their souls to a sincere performer.

Sincerity is the highest value of our time, the main commodity in the age of our consumerist society. Merkuriev sets such a high standard of sincerity, that you will always miss him while watching any other ballet performance.  His talent’s versatility makes him the nerve of our time, a naked soul.

As a real genius Andrei makes of every stage appearance a puzzling magic. But dance for Merkuriev is neither a ritual nor an observation of eternally frozen traditions, but an embodiment of a living experiment. Call it “the dance of the dances”. Thus, the variations of the exit of Duke Alberto in “Giselle” in Merkuriev style have become emblematic for the Bolshoi Theater (Giselle is one of the oldest performances and interpretations are strictly limited.)

The ballet “Yell’ is Andrei Merkuriev’s debut as choreographer and as stage director. Only such a great master as Merkuriev could have accepted to attempt the stage adaptation and direction of Alexander Zinoviev’s novel. Zinoviev as writer is a herculean challenge that can be taken up only by a real Personality, or, to put it with Zinoviev, by a “new Man”, a human of a new kind.

One of the specificities of “Go to the Golgotha’ is its genre of a sociological novel that was first created and prodigiously applied by Alexander Zinoviev. The direction of a sociological novel is the second challenge met by Andrei Merkuriev as a choreographer.

Andrei has already taken part in a performance that could be called “sociological ballet”: “The apartment” by Mats Ek portrays the sanctum of communality, e.g. the sphere of human reproduction and survival, the “jungle” of basic instincts. The ballet’s language is passionate, carnal and very physiological, and the depersonalized characters perform as social functions where as ”social atoms”, they mark the lines of a coordinate system. Hence the philosophy of daily life, of daily routine where the heroes of history of humankind are simple mortals who mimic themselves. The performers, like galvanic cells, enzymes of live art, truthfully convey the atmosphere of the everyday fuss.

In spite of the fact that objects form the basis of the plot, this is not a saga about consumerist society. Consumerism performs the role of the sacred marking of the society with its holy pantheon of the hearth and home archetypes. It is the privacy which presents the central issue in our troubled 21st century; the final bastion which safeguards the habitat and existence of individuals.

“Yell” is a rather short ballet in terms of the time length, like “Le Sacré du Printemps”, “Carmen Suite or “Apollo Musagète”. Like these brisk lightning-like choreographical masterpieces, “Yell” has a very dense message that is more voluminous that its real chronometrical value.

In all character roles presented by Merkuriev there is healing, catharsis, revelation. And an answer to the most crucial question: about the meaning of life.

Enjoy watching Andrei Merkuriev, don’t stay impartial, believe him – he will help you to discover and comprehend the beauty of the world!