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    ST. PETERSBURG, March 5, 2004. (RIA Novosti). The 4th Mariinsky international ballet festival will open in St. Petersburg on Friday.

    "Today this is Russia's only classic dance festival involving the leading dancers of the world's major ballet companies," said the press service of the Mariinsky (former Kirovsky) Theatre.

    Each time the festival gathers new stars.

    Mariinsky Theatre's dancers Diana Vishneva, Svetlana Zakharova, Ulyana Lopatkina, and Andrian Fadeyev will participate in the festival. American Ballet Theatre prima Paloma Herrera, La Scala ballet stars Massimo Murru and Roberto Bolle and prima of the National Ballet of Canada Greta Hodgkinson will premiere in the famous St. Petersburg's theatre.

    The premiere of three William Forsythe's ballets "Steptext", "In the Middle" and "Somewhat Elevated, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude" will open the festival.

    "The Mariinsky Theatre will be the first Russian ballet company to present the ballets by Forsythe, the famous choreographer who influenced the ballet development in the end of the 20th - beginning of the 21st centuries," the Mariinsky press service stressed.

    The festival program also includes classic ballets "The Swan Lake", "The Sleeping Beauty", "La Baydere", "Don Quixote" and "Manon".

    The festival will run until March 14. On that day the Mariinsky Theatre will host a gala concert dedicated to the 100th birth anniversary of the famous Russian choreographer Leonid Yakobson. All the stars participating in the festival will appear on the state on the last day.

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