Moscow Ballet's Akiva Mimi, a former Israeli
and son of a native Detroiter, brings sweet visions
of peace to Fox Theatre stage.
Maria Luigia Borsi
Special Guest Solo Violinist
Special to the Jewish News
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have left the former Soviet Union and
are in Europe, North America or Israel.
"The company, which was formed
125 years ago, is part of an education-
al institute called the National Arts
Academy, which teaches every chore-
ographer in Russia," he says. "They
have a pedagogical mission as well as a
performance mission, so they insisted
on incorporating age-appropriate
young children's roles, giving large
numbers of young people a chance to
work with the professionals."
reaking with tradition, The
Great Russian Nutcracker, to
be danced Saturday and
Sunday, Nov. 9-10, at
Detroit's Fox Theatre, features a new
ending to the classic Christmas ballet.
Conceiving of the change, per-
formed by 50 members of the Moscow
Ballet joined by life-sized puppets, was
producer Akiva Talmi, a former Israeli
who traces his roots to
Detroit. Talmi decided to
finish the classic choreog-•
raphy in a land of peace
and harmony and stay _
away from the candy-
filled world that ends the
As the company tours 70
cities across the United
States this season, it is cele-
brating 10 consecutive years
of American bookings.
"I made the change apro-
pros of our time," says
Talmi, a fine arts and spe-
cial events impresario spe-
Akiva Talmi, center, with members of the Moscow
cializing in work with the
Ballet: A performance in honor of his father.
former Soviet Union. "The
inspiration for the choreog-
After recent auditions in Michigan,
raphy is from the painter Henri
local dancers were chosen to rotate
Rousseau, a primitivist from 19th-cen-
among the three performances. Also
tury France who presents a balanced
world of peace and harmony in nature." planned and presented were free assem-
blies at area schools, where children were
Talmi, who asked former Detroiter
Laura Lee to do the libretto for the new taught about the Russian culture, dance
and opportunities for young artists.
production, says his Israeli background
gives special meaning to the idea of
peace. He is dedicating the Michigan
performance to his late father, Abraham
Talmi, whose name was changed from
Talmi, who grew up in Detroit and
Clifford Fields when his family moved
changed his name from Albert Fields
to Israel, was a composer before he
when he moved his family to Israel.
became a producer. After living on a
kibbutz, he won a musical composition
ates of the Moscow Choreographic
Institute and the Vaganova Academy of scholarship to attend the Juilliard School
in New York City, where he earned his
St. Petersburg. Featured performers are
bachelor's and master's degrees.
Roman Mikhalev of the Mali Theatre
Encouraged by composer Richard
of St. Petersburg and Kiril Shoulipov
Rodgers and violinist Isaac Stern, who
of the Bolshoi Theater of Moscow.
were active with Juilliard, Talmi also
"Our company has Jewish teachers
did some conducting with Leonard
but not Jewish dancers," Talmi says.
Bernstein. The young composer later
"Most of the young Jewish dancers