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Anastasia Ballet Research – JORDAN SCRASE

Anastasia is a ballet about the true life of Anna Anderson, who believed to be the Grand Duchess
Anastasia and survivor of the assassination of Russian Imperial family. Kenneth McMillan
(choreographer) originally conceived the ballet as a one act show for the Deutsche Oper Baerlin in
1967. The ballet was originally cast as a one act ballet, but in 1971 two acts were added in, prior to
the first, for the Royal Ballet so that there was insight into the Romanov family life.

The music was composed by Tchaikovsky and Martinů but performed by the Royal Opera House
Orchestra. The show was directed by Kevin O’Hare in the production I watched.

Anastasia was a younger sister of Grand Duchess Olga, Grand Duchess Tatiana, and Grand Duchess
Maria, and was an elder sister of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia. She was murdered with her
family in an extrajudicial killing by members of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police
at Yekaterinburg on July 17, 1918.

Anna Anderson’s case first surfaced publicly between 1920 and 1922. She claimed that she had
faked her death among the bodies of her family and servants, and could make her escape with the
help of a guard who noticed she was still breathing and took felt sorry for her. Her legal battle for
recognition from 1938 to 1970 continued a lifelong controversy and was the longest running case
ever heard by the German courts (30 years). The final decision of the court was that Anderson had
not provided sufficient proof to claim the identity of the grand duchess.

DNA tests were taken in 1994 on a tissue sample from Anderson and compared them to the blood
of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a great-nephew of Empress Alexandra. It came up that she was
not related to the family, but was a match with a great-nephew of Franziska Schanzkowska, a
missing Polish factory worker.

By using the music by Tchaikovsky, the first and third Symphonies, MacMillan’s choreography for the
first two acts cold evoke the ballet styles of the period: folk-influenced social dances of the court, a
virtuoso pas de deux for members of Imperial Ballet. Mac Millan was proclaiming his identity as a
classical choreographer in the royal ballet tradition, as well as introducing the influence of German
expressionism in the final act, created in berlin. He had invited Lynn Seymour to return to the Royal
Ballet, trusting that she could bring her understanding of the role of Anna/Anastasia.

Her mother relied on the counsel of Grigori Rasputin was a Russian peasant or "holy man," and
credited his prayers with saving the ailing Tsarevich on numerous occasions. Anastasia and her
siblings were taught to view Rasputin as "Our Friend" and to share confidences with him. In the
autumn of 1907, Anastasia's aunt Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia was escorted to the
nursery by the Tsar to meet Rasputin. Rasputin was played by Ryoichi Hirano.