Russian Culture Now hosts reception for Boris Eifman




On April 23, I was inspired and grateful that more than 150 people attended Russian Culture Now’s exclusive VIP pre-performance reception for choreographer Boris Eifman.

Held at the Russian Pointe Dance Boutique, the sparkling event included cocktails, hors d’oeuvers, and a silent auction that benefited Russian Culture Now’s Scholarship Awards program.

Mr. Eifman ― head of the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg who is known for his highly stylized, modern interpretations of classic talesspoke to the crowd about the privilege of bringing his company back to Chicago to perform.

It was gratifying that so many Russians and Americans were eager to meet Mr. Eifman face-to-face at the reception and then see his breathtaking production of Don Quixote or the Fantasies of a Madman at the Auditorium Theatre later that night. As always, the piece was majestic, emotional, and powerful, and it truly showcased the best of Russia’s modern ballet.

I was also enormously proud that Russian Culture Now was able to present a total of ten scholarships to students who won the 2011 Russian Culture Now Scholarship Awards. Five of those students personally attended the event. Mr. Eifman presented each student with a $500 check and a plaque, and all of the students were special guests at his company’s performance.

Kimberlee Kafana, whose daughter, Kalista, was one of the ten students selected for the Russian Culture Now Awards, said her daughter was truly honored to be chosen for the award and the whole family was awe-struck by the event. It’s especially touching that Kalista is choosing to use a portion of her scholarship money to start a fund for ballet dancers who can’t afford pointe shoes. It’s wonderful that our efforts will continue to help others enjoy the arts.

It’s also very impressive that so many of the guests traveled from as far away as California, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Mississippi, Moscow and even Dubai to attend the reception. It demonstrates how much Russian culture and the arts mean to people!

The reception was attended by several honored guests including Patricia Maza-Pittsford, Consul General of El Salvador and the Dean of the Consulate Corps; Brett Batterson, Executive Director of the Auditorium Theatre; Steve Robinson, General Manager of WFMT radio; and George Hisaeda, the Consul General of Japan.

Elena Mossina, of the law firm Baker & McKenzie, which sponsored the event, said she was impressed by both the pre-performance reception and the performance itself. “The Don Quixote ballet by Boris Eifman exceeded my already very high expectations. It was an unconventional, vibrant and esthetically pleasing performance. The pre-performance reception for the world-renowned choreographer was a seamless mix of Russian cultural heritage and Chicago’s multiculturalism.”