Petrouchka, a Puppet Ballet, Opens Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida Season in Aventura

Does the banality of your work week and the dearth of spontaneity in your life ever have you questioning the existence of free will? Suddenly you look around and think you might be but a dancing marionette, controlled by some greater power that you can't quite place your finger on--the government, evil corporations, or an ominous master of the matrix.

Maybe that's the subconscious allure of Petrouchka, opening at the Aventura Arts and Cultural Center this Saturday. The ballet tells the story of puppets in a Russian fair that are given human emotions by the sinister Charlatan puppeteer, who then watches the dolls battle for each other's affections like their human counterparts.

The title character/puppet is Petrouchka, a sad and complex puppet who consistently faces rejection and is imprisoned in a depressing cell. She vies for the affection of the selfish Moor, a puppet with an Adonis-complex who lives a cushy life in spacious accommodations. Then there is the Ballerina, the object of affection who flirts with the Moor to make the Petrouchka even more miserable.

"The ballet requires from each dancer a great deal of acting [in addition] to the dancing itself," says Ballet Master Vladimir Issaev who directs the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida. "It is not a happy story with a happy ending." Indeed, the ballet ends on a dramatic and haunting note, with symbolism that leaves the audience contemplating who (and what) is real. In effect, it will be a night of art mimicking life, the audience watching the puppets, and the puppets watching the audience, and each wondering who is really in control.

The company opens its season with a modernized version of the famous Russian ballet, alongside two other neo-classical pieces--The Four Seasons, set to Verdi and featuring Issaev's own choreography, and Danzon No. 2, a work by Yanis Pikieris with music by Arturo Marquez which first premiered by Ballet de Monterrey in Mexico.

Petrouchka performances will take place on Saturday, October 2nd at 7 p.m. and Sunday, October 3rd at 3 p.m. at Aventura Arts and Cultural Center (3385 NE 188th St., Aventura). Tickets cost $25. Call 305-466-8002 or visit

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Gabriela Garcia