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In 1926, Rahel Olbrei established a permanent dance troupe in at the Estonian National Opera. She had learned classical ballet under Sessy Smironina- Sevun and Eugenia Litvinova, and perfected her skills in modern dance in Germany under Mary Wigman and Rudolf Laban.
It was Olbrei who gave the ballet troupe of the Estonian National Opera its personal look in the first half of 20th century.
The troupe consisted of the following members: Lilian Looring, Rahel Olbrei, Robert Rood, Emmy Holz, and Sessy Smironina-Sevun as the troupe leader.
It was staged by Viktorina Krieger (Kriger) from the Moscow Great Theatre who also danced the leading role.
Estonian ballet of the second half of the 20th century has often been called Mai Murdmaa’s (she ran the ballet troupe of the Estonian National Opera from 1974–2001) authorial theatre.
In her ballets, Murdmaa focussed mostly on philosophical-existential topics and her choreography was often based on the 20th century music, incl. The following performances were staged with Murdmaa’s choreography: Tamberg’s “Ballet Symphony” and “Joanna Tentata”, Sink’s “The Songs of Death and Birth”, with Pärt’s music “Brightening” and “Crime and Punishment”, Sumera’s “Story of Anselm”, Tormis’ “Estonian Ballads”, etc.
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