as a Russian studies major — which included spending the summer of ’92 bouncing around the moscow and saint petersberg theater districts — i try and see the Russian ballet troupes whenever their quasi-permanent touring companies pass through D.C.

this week, it’s the Bolshoi Ballet’s turn.

i won’t bother reviewing the show (there is no need, as Robert Greskovic of the wall street journal saw the exact same show) but it was both outstanding, and thoroughly un-Russian.

just as glasnost melted Soviet politics, it also melted the soul-crushing need for Russian conformity. in ballet, that means everything is a step less precise — likely because the off-stepping member of the corps is no longer shot on sight.

don’t get me wrong, the production was beautiful — awash in color, with incredible individualistic performances, filled with old world emotion — and nearly perfect by today’s standards.

it’s just not the mechanical, stunningly in-unison, and bombastic production that i grew to love back in the day.

… which puts me in a small circle of people (along with the military industrial complex) secretly wishing another cold war would breakout.

PHOTO: Le Corsaire, photo courtesy of Bolshoi Ballet.