The Polovtsian Dances ballet

Music by Alexander Borodin
Choreography by
Anatoly Emelianov

Polovtsian camp. Evening. Polovtsian girls are dancing and singing a song comparing a flower expecting rain with a maid anticipating a meeting with her love. Konchak offers freedom to Prince Igor, his prisoner, in exchange for the promise never to raise arms against him. But Igor honestly states that if Konchak sets him free, he will collect his army and attack immediately. Konchak wishes they were allies and calls his prisoners to entertain them.

The Polovtsian dance scene begins. First comes “Fly with the wind” girls’ choir accompanied by dancing. It is followed by dance to the arioso by Konchakovna, renowned for its melody and beauty. Then comes the major Polovtsian dance that culminates the act.

The Polovtsian Dance piece from the Prince Igor opera has become a separate ballet performance.

Alexander Borodin (112 November 1833 – 27 February 1887) was a Russian chemist and Romantic musical composer of Georgian ancestry. He was one of the prominent 19th-century composers known as “The Mighty Handful”, a group dedicated to producing a uniquely Russian kind of classical music, rather than imitating earlier Western European models. Borodin is known best for his symphonies, his two string quartets, the symphonic poem In the Steppes of Central Asia and his opera Prince Igor. Music from Prince Igor and his string quartets was later adapted for the US musical Kismet.

A doctor and chemist by profession, Borodin made important early contributions to organic chemistry. Although he is presently known better as a composer, during his lifetime, he regarded medicine and science as his primary occupations, only practising music and composition in his spare time or when he was ill.[ As a chemist, Borodin is known best for his work concerning organic synthesis, including being among the first chemists to demonstrate nucleophilic substitution, as well as being the co-discoverer of the aldol reaction. Borodin was a promoter of education in Russia and founded the School of Medicine for Women in Saint Petersburg, where he taught until 1885.

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