Friday, April 01, 2011

The VIP Lifestyle

I could get used to this.
Walking into my favorite 24-hour hangout, "Kofe Hauz," a few minutes ago, I passed a billboard advertising the two biggest events in St. Petersburg this weekend.  Thanks to my amazing internship and a great new friend I made at a concert a few weeks ago, I have VIP passes to both events at no cost to me. I'm really having the ultimate St. Petersburg experience.

Vladimir (pictured with me, above) was the one who came to greet me at the door when I arrived at the John Forte concert a few weeks ago at the invitation of John's producer here in Russia.  It was a great night.  I got to talking with Vladimir and it turns out he works for Kapkan Records, northwest Russia's biggest record label, with artist/venue management subsidiaries.
Living in Nashville and studying at one of America's top music business schools, and having a great interest in international entrepreneurship, I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of future projects Vladimir and I might be able to work on.  I told him I'd check out their site and try to show up at a few of their events this spring.  Then, just a week later, I got an email from him inviting me to what he says is going to be a huge event -- the 10 year anniversary and new CD release party for a popular Russian group called Animal Джаз ("Animal Jazz").  

"Of course," he said, he'll have a VIP pass set up for me and he'll come meet me beforehand to show me around. Great!  I can't wait!  I'm super looking forward to the CDs he's going to bring for me, "so I can introduce you to some good Russian music step by step," he says.  
What a sweet guy.

The second event is the 10th Dance Open International Ballet Festival, a four-day event that actually started with today's press conference.  I accompanied our Consul General to the press conference, where she spoke, as there are several American dance companies taking part in the festival and the Consulate is one of the festival's major sponsors.  It was really neat to see the beautiful Natalia Makarova, the world-renowned prima ballerina who defected from the Soviet Union in 1970 and joined the American Ballet Theater in New York. Even at 70 years old, she is the epitome of gracefulness. 

Here she is performing with Rudolf Nureyev in Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty by The Royal Ballet at the the Royal Opera House in London in 1973:

Obviously, at 70 years old, Ms. Makarova won't be dancing in the festival.  Instead, she is the festival's expert and celebrity judge, and she was certainly the star of the press conference.
Here's a clip of her dancing back in the day though...
Even though it's an old video you can tell that her muscle control is simply amazing. I've heard her often referred to as the most talented ballerina who ever was.
I'm looking forward to TWO nights at the ballet in the next few days!


  1. Oh lucky you! The Russian Ballet. I am pea green.


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