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St. Petersburg - folk dancing or Ballet

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valley village
posts: 7
reviews: 69
St. Petersburg - folk dancing or Ballet

We are going to be on a cruise in mid July and spending 2 days in St. Petersburg. We are debating on which to attend on the one evening we have - a Folk Dancing Show or the Ballet at the Mariinsky Theater. Any advise???

Greenville, North...
Destination Expert
for Charleston
posts: 3,758
reviews: 141
1. Re: St. Petersburg - folk dancing or Ballet

The ballet gets my vote! The Russians are famous for their ballets and for a VERY good reason! The theaters are beautiful and the performances are excellant! I have attended ballets in many different countries but there was no comparison!

There is one restaurant on Nevsky Pr. that had a small folk dance show during dinner. It was a bit of a tourist trap but fun for one evening. I do not have the name of it but it was just a few blocks from Ligovsky Pr.

posts: 203
reviews: 21
2. Re: St. Petersburg - folk dancing or Ballet

I wouldn't miss the Ballet and it's very easy to buy tickets for either the Marinky or the Mussorsky online at their websites for a fraction of what third party companies will charge. We just got back and the ballet at the Marinsky (La Bayadere) was stunning. We had tickets in the first gallery in a box in the middle (box 8) and the view was fabulous. Price per ticket was $52.

St. Petersburg
posts: 12
reviews: 1
3. Re: St. Petersburg - folk dancing or Ballet

Depends on your interest and budget really. If you have kids traveling with you than Folk Show. But if you want to experience the famous Kirov Ballet - GO FOR IT! FYI when Kirov ballet comes to NYC it is not unusual to pay hundreds of dollars per person to go see them.

San Francisco
posts: 621
reviews: 2
4. Re: St. Petersburg - folk dancing or Ballet

We will be in St. Petersburg in early August. When will the schedule be posted for the Mariinsky? Also, is there a link to the Folk Dancing Show/s, or which one/s do you recommend?

Thanks!

St. Petersburg
posts: 12
reviews: 1
5. Re: St. Petersburg - folk dancing or Ballet

Usually mariinsky posts its summer schedule in April - including August. They usually have shows in the first week of August, sometimes till August 12, before closing till October 9 when the theater reopens for a new season. This year they have not announced any shows yet - I guess they may not have any shows in august this year?

Feel yourself russian is by far the best folk show in town. It is held in a grand palace on the neva embankment and is much better than "cruise ship only" shows. Here is a link: http://www.folkshow.ru

San Francisco
posts: 621
reviews: 2
6. Re: St. Petersburg - folk dancing or Ballet

Thanks. The Mariinsky schedule still isn't posted. It sounds like there may not be any ballets, in August.

Tnaks for the link to the folk show. Any idea how much it costs?

St. Petersburg
posts: 12
reviews: 1
7. Re: St. Petersburg - folk dancing or Ballet

Full ticket costs 990 rubles: it covers the show and buffet. Not sure how much without buffet - I guess around 700 - 750 rubles. I believe if you go through a tour operator they may be able to get you a discount (as they buy them en masse).

posts: 203
reviews: 21
8. Re: St. Petersburg - folk dancing or Ballet

You might want to email the folks at the Mariinsky. Just go to their website and there's a contact link. I emailed them for info as to the schedule and they were quite helpful.

St Petersburg Russia
Destination Expert
for St. Petersburg
posts: 2,209
reviews: 23
9. Re: St. Petersburg - folk dancing or Ballet

The Mariinsky is the destination for ballet or opera buffs of course but it can be an expensive evening since just for that show you will need a visa and private transportation or book it through a tour company that has port access authorization. Most of those outfits scouring the forums for customers do not.

The the tickets are priced based on the grade of the show and of course, the seating. The grades are 1-12, the most dear in pricing is the 12 grade. The prices range, and seating ranges from $6 to $186/ticket for the regular season but sometimes higher for the festival season.

The theaters post playbills up to 2 months in advance but as with everything here, nothing is guaranteed and buying tickets 2 months out likely will increase the risk of seeing something entirely different than you thought you bought.

There are 4 folkloric shows in the city almost every night in the summer. By many regardes the best and most intertaining is also the cheapest, at the theater of the Pulkovska Hotel. Next comes the Carnval Theater next to the Anichkov Palace. The much advertised and hyped "Feel Yourself Russian" is very touristy and not so interesting in my opinion. In reality no one sees these show except tourists so I guess they are all "touristy". All are pretty intertaining for general audiences.

Being a cruise ship passenger there are options to consider. Getting a visa so you can go alone or with a regular tour company or itinerate guide, or booking with a cruise passenger tour company that has regular group programs for ballet or folkloric shows and do not need a visa. Most folkloric shows groups cost $40-50 including the entry ticket, visa-free entry, guide and transportation. About $20 more for ballet. Those ballet performances are at one of several very nice elegant theaters using commercial ballet companies. One is held at the Conservatory Theater.

An evening at the soon to close Mariisky Theater will be around $480 including tickets for 10 and 11 grade performances, visas and transportation. The Mariinsky will close for 2 years later this summer but a new temporary home is being build in the place of an old warehouse for the theater that burned a few years ago. The new home for 2 years will seat about the same number of people. Mariisky II the new ultra modern theater is being build just across the canal on the same property.

St. Petersburg
posts: 12
reviews: 1
10. Re: St. Petersburg - folk dancing or Ballet

I guess your choice of the folk show depends on your tastes.

Since the Pulkovskaya show is indeed the cheapest it is the darling of commission-happy cruise lines agents who send HUNDREDS of tourists there every day. Good luck finding a proper seat on your own..

The reason I like the Nikolaevsky Palace show is that it is held in a chamber-like hall of a Grand Palace and feels way more intimate. Precisely because tickets are more expensive you will not find cruise ship crowds there.

Just my two cents..