A little history of La Bayadère…
Rudolf Nureyev chose the role of the warrior Solor from La Bayadère for his Paris debut with the Kirov Ballet of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) on 19 May 1961. This choice for its presentation in the birthplace of ballet is indicative of the importance of this work from the classical repertoire, created from two dramas by the Indian poet Kālidāsa.
The libretto by Sergei Khudekov and Marius Petipa was turned into a grand ballet by the Marseille choreographer and scored by Ludwig Minkus. The Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg hosted the premiere on 23 January 1877, with Ekaterina Vazem as Nikiya, Pavel Gerdt as Solor, Lev Ivanov as Rajah and Maria M. Petipa as Gamzatti.
Originally, La Bayadère had four acts, but nowadays it varies between two and three, depending on the company performing it. Probably the most iconic scene of the work is The Kingdom of Shadows: thirty-six dancers descending a ramp, one after the other, after the first arabesque penché in profile, parade in a hypnotic zigzag until they take over the stage.