The 92-photograph exhibition tells of the long established relationship between the photographer and ballet masters of the Kirov Theatre. Valentin Perelmuter spent many years within ballet community, enjoying practically unlimited opportunities for photography. The exhibition will be open 30th October — 22nd November.

The ballet troupe and productions of the Kirov Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, later the Mariinsky Theatre, was a unique phenomenon in Russian cultural history, which in 1977–1996 was unquestionably linked with the name of its creative director: Oleg Vinogradov. During Vinogradov’s tenure the troupe became a professional collective unit. The monumental productions by the ballet master, characterised by a nuanced choreographic language, memorable duets, variations, as well as the lean physiques of the ensemble became the calling card of the Kirov Ballet, making it one of the main cultural brands of USSR. It was this period that gave rise to stars such as Galina Mezentseva, Irina Kolpakova, Tatyana Terekhova, Gabriela Komleva, Konstantin Zaklinsky, Altynai Asylmuratova, Farukh Ruzimatov and Yulia Makhalina.

The new choreographic language introduced by Oleg Vinogradov required a new, innovative photographic method of capturing ballet, and this was exactly what Valentin Perelmuter had to offer. The photographer strove to capture ballet in a bright and emotive fashion, which displayed his clear passion for the artform. The unique atmosphere of the theatre stimulated him to search for a distinctive visual language and encouraged experimentation. The material, shot during rehearsals and productions, usually involves the use of complex printing techniques, such as multi-exposition, montage, cropping and combined printing. The unique portrayal of the image in his photography, which Perelmuter calls his “patent trait,” became another characteristic of the master’s photographs, which sets his work apart from other ballet photographers of the USSR.

The photo gallery of the stars of the Kirov Ballet, created by Valentin Perelmuter, invites the viewer to once again be immersed in the atmosphere of the legendary epoch of Leningrad ballet between 1970 and 1990. The photographs and slideshow once again bring to life famous productions of the Kirov Theatr, such as Infanta, Les Sylphides, Raymonda, Sleeping Beauty, La Sylphide, Giselle, La Bayadère, Swan Lake, The Knight in Panther’s Skin, Don Quixote and Notre Dame de Paris.

Perelmuter, invited to the troupe in 1977 by Vinogradov, spent twenty years creating a recognisable visual brand — the official image of the Kirov Ballet — including photoshoots for famous tours to Japan (1979), France (1983) and USA and Canada (1992). Perelmuter’s works were shown at exhibitions of ballet photography in Leningrad and London. Photographs by Valentin Perelmuter were featured in printed media, dedicated to the art of ballet, such as “Balet Molodykh” (“Ballet of the Young,” 1979), “Leningradsky Balet 1917–1987” (Lenigrad Ballet 1917–1987, 1988), “Zvyozdy, Kotoryye Ne Gasnut” (Stars that Never Fade, 2018), and to ballet star, such as “Irina Kolpakova” (1982, 1984) and “Nikita Dolgushin” (1985).

Original photographs by Valentin Perelmuter are held in the collections of the Saint Petersburg Museum of Theater and Music and State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSPHOTO.