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La Bayadere

The Temple Dancer

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La Bayadere is a ballet in four acts and seven scenes, choreographed by Marius Petipa. It was first performed by the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg in 1877.

Plot Summary of La Bayadere:

La Bayadere takes place in the Royal India of long ago. As the ballet begins, we learn that Nikiya, a beautiful temple dancer, is in love with a young warrior named Solor. However, Solor is engaged to the Rajah's daughter. During the betrothal, Nikiya is forced to dance, after which she receives a basket of flowers from the Rajah's daughter. The basket contains a deadly snake and Nikiya dies.

Solor dreams of reuniting with Nikiya in the Kingdom of the Shades. He then awakens, remembering that he's still engaged. At his wedding, however, he sees a vision of Nikiya. He mistakenly says his vows to her, instead of his bride-to-be. The gods become infuriated and destroy the palace. Solor and Nikiya reunite in spirit, in the Kingdom of the Shades.

Interesting Facts About La Bayadere:

La Bayadere is most famous for its "white act," commonly known as the Kingdom of the Shades. It is one of the most celebrated excerpts in all of classical ballet. The dance begins with 32 women in white, all making their way down a ramp in unison. The dance is exquisite, and often performed by itself.
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