Dwight Rhoden revisits F. Scott Fitzgerald’s jazz age shenanigans on stage

Mimicking the extravagant Roaring Twenties, The Great Gatsby Ballet is not a production for purists. Sparkling headbands, shiny gold confetti and lavish choreography create a distinct 1920s feel that is strongly reminiscent of Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 film adaptation of the iconic American novel.

The Great Gatsby; Ballet; Preview
© FMV

However, the mastermind behind the Russian/Ukrainian show – U.S.-born choreographer Dwight Rhoden – has managed to reduce the razzle and dazzle to the bare essentials. Merging ballet, contemporary dance and film, Rhoden strays far beyond the framework of classical choreography: In the role of Gatsby, Denis Matvienko – one of the Mariinsky Theater’s prime dancers – brings some of Russia’s finest classical ballet traditions, counterbalancing the edgy style of Artur Gaspari, a Ukrainian synth-pop artist, as well as the all-American Alvin Ailey approach of Clifford Williams.

Visually entertaining and compelling, and rich in period flavour, the show infuses the tale with new life. And while this latest version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic will certainly not be the last, judging by the numbers – 50,000 people have seen the ballet since its premiere three years ago – The Great Gatsby Ballet promises to be one of the more memorable interpretations of the Great American Novel.

Nov 8, 20:00

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Catherine Lankes is an Austrian freelance journalist with a tilt towards the international sphere. After having studied Translation Studies in Vienna and in Paris, she is now taking a peek into the world of diplomacy with a Master’s Degree in International Studies from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Her interests include classical ballet and riding her motorbike.