In an announcement that will delight theatre aficionados immensely —Navrasa Duende in collaboration with the Royal Russian Ballet is set to stage an original production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake for the first time in India.

The troupe of 50 expatriate artistes will make its debut on the Indian stage on 22 – 24 September at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi that promises an enchanting experience full of music, dance and drama.

In conversation with Dinesh Singh, chief executive officer and founder, Navrasa Duende, discussed about the various challenges faced by entertainment industry and the growing taste of the audience for global live entertainment.


Q Ballet in India is almost oxymoronic. What was your ground research based on to initiate such an enterprise?

I have always been an admirer of performing arts and have watched some of the best plays, ballets, concerts across the globe. It was then, I realised that if I could enjoy, many back home should enjoy such international productions .The Indian audience surely have evolved and matured for all art forms. Any good art has universal language. Ballets combining music, dance, and drama should be the obvious choice. All Indian art forms find genesis in folk forms and ballets are rooted in folk forms. We believe that art transcends geographical, cultural, religious and language barriers.

Q Tchaikovsky’s compositions transcend the normal mental quotient, like The Sleeping Beauty leaves no qualms about perfection in art. Do you feel that his storytelling techniques are so timeless that it fits perfectly into our neo-chrome world?

Tchaikovsky was a composer whose music has made an ineffaceable impression on the entire world. During his time of his early compositions in 1856, he transcended stereotypes of Russian classical music. He displayed an unusually wide stylistic and emotional range, from salon work form of innocent charm to symphonies of tremendous depth, power, and grandeur. His story-telling music innovations were too complex and ahead of times which made his compositions engaging to the world. It is true that his music has a broader appeal, characterised by beautiful melodies, inventive orchestration, and a “heart on sleeve” emotional warmth and engagement. By treating ballet as a subject worthy of musical imagination, Tchaikovsky not only achieved an enduring masterwork but set a new standard for the role of music in ballet.

Q Was this an easy endeavour, to recreate the magic of Swan Lake?

Swan Lake is undoubtedly the most classic ballet productions of all time. It is considered as a benchmark for the artists and choreographers across the globe. The quest to explore diverse cultures and art forms, introduce them to global audiences, and create an impact on the lives of people encouraged us to bring timeless story. It was not an easy endeavour but this was our first choice because we believed that Tchaikovsky’s romantic, haunting and ageless music, magnificent costumes, sets, an all international cast and visual experiences will be refreshing to the Indian audience. The collaboration was to recreate the magic and introduce the best of western classical music, dance and theatre.

Q Molière had an edge over the intricacies of ballets with his comèdie-ballet. Will Navrasa explore the French art?

When it comes to drama theatre we certainly believe in institutions like Molière, Brecht, etc, especially for their contributions in raising high standards of satire and humour genre. We will promote such genres.

Q How do you think YouTube’s reception of the sneak peeks of the performance affect the real gig?

In my view, a sneak peek in YouTube is just a way to capture the interest and attract to see the real deal. We are fortunate to get great responses and quite optimistic that the audience will come and attend the ballet.

Q Collaboration with the Royal Russian Ballet must have made an indelible bond.Is there a possibility of future projects?

We believe that cross-cultural collaboration will help the art forms in creating a foothold in India and the association was a step towards it. We feel proud that we joined hands to bring the world’s best classic ballet and gift an experience to the Indian audience that they have never witnessed before. We will continue to associate with such projects and open avenues for the performing art forms across the globe. In times to come we will have joint productions of The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, etc.