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Ballet in Latvia dates back to 1911 and the performance of opera divertissements at the Riga Opera House. In 1921 the first full-length ballet was performed in Riga, La Fille mal gardée, staged by N. Sergeyev from the Mariinsky Theatre. In 1932 a ballet school was founded in Riga and the ballerina Alexandra Fedorova became a major force in the city teaching, choreographing, and staging many ballets from the Russian classical repertoire (1925–37). Her work was aided by a succession of guest ballet masters including Fokine (1929) and Tikhomirov (1933). During the post-war period Elena Tangiyeva-Birzniece was ballerina and chief choreographer in Riga, creating the first Latvian-Soviet ballet, Laima (mus. Anatole Lepin, 1947). Evgeny Changa also choreographed many works between 1950 and 1961, including a version of Spartacus in 1960 and there has subsequently been a strong tradition of nurturing native choreographers including Irene Strode, Alexander Lembergs, and most recently Aivan Leimaris. There was also a ballet company at the Liepaja Opera House from the early 1920s to 1950 and a company is still active at the Riga Operetta Theatre. Modern dance is less active than ballet in Latvia but there are companies such as that led by Olga Zitluhina (who also teaches choreography at the Latvian Academy of Culture) and Dzirnas, led by Angris Danlevics. The Baltic Ballet Festival founded by Lita Beiris in 1995 showcases Baltic and international dance companies each year. Latvia has a flourishing folk dance scene headed by the company Daile, which was founded in 1968.

Subjects: Dance.

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