An older women shares a moment with a young girl. She is telling her a story, and the young girl sits transfixed, hanging on every word.
The gardens of the Alexander Palace at Tsarsko Selo, the Imperial residence – 1914
The young Grand Duchess Anastasia is busy at play with her companion Dimitry, the son of a palace kitchen maid.
Their carousing is interrupted by Anna, the imperial Nursemaid, who chases Dimitry out of the garden.
Anastasia’s mother arrives, accompanied by an Orthodox priest. Shortly after the Tsaritsa’s arrival Anastasia’s sister Tatiana enters the garden looking for her mother.A military messenger arrives and informs the Tsaritsa that Russia is going to war. The Tsaritsa shares the news with her daughters and companions, and they fall to their knees to pray, as the news reverberates through the Imperial household.
Squares of villages and towns through out the Empire
Russians gather as the troops march off to war.
The gardens of the Alexander Palace at Tsarsko Selo, two years later.
Anastasia and her sister Tatiana now more mature are busy at work organizing medical supplies for the hospital set up by the Tsaritsa and her daughters on the grounds of the Imperial residence.
A young officer enters, and escorts Tatiana away with her supplies. A commotion is heard and a dirty and disheveled peasant staggers into the garden, clutching stolen goods from the palace. He freezes at the sight of Anastasia, and drops his bundle to the ground. It is Dimitry, and he is being pursued by the palace guards.
Anastasia hides her childhood friend from the guards, and when they clear out, the two former playmates have a brief moment of reconnection before Dimitry runs off.
Struggling under extreme conditions workers gather around new ideas, demonstrating for food and peace. Revolutionaries lead the call for change. Tensions mount, as protests grow larger the authorities spring into action. Chaos and panic ensues and the demonstration ends with injury and arrests.
Some of the demonstrators who escape take refuge in an underground meeting place. They tend to their wounds and regroup. We find Dimitry amidst this group of working class rebels. Their outrage against the pain and suffering of their people becomes a clear battle cry as weapons are distributed.
A drawing room within the palace
Anastasia prepares for her debut ball. Still very playful she rebels against wearing the overblown dress coat to her first ball. Anastasia is a becoming a woman, and she is poised and beautiful. She stands proudly before her father, the Tsar who enters with a gift. The Tsar presents his daughter with a beautiful tiara before escorting his daughter to the grand ballroom.
The palace ballroom
Courtiers, soldiers and all manner of aristocratic personalities adorn the palatial ballroom. The gathered assembly sink into curtsies and bows as the royal family is announced.
Anastasia is presented before the court, and is whisked across the dance floor by a stream of courtiers. The mirth and merriment reach a crescendo, when a tremendous commotion grinds the party to a halt as revolutionaries including Dimitry rush in.The Imperial family is seized before the horrified onlookers. Dimitry is ordered to arrest Anastasia, bringing them face-to-face before she is led away.
The Imperial family and their suite is led into captivity
Ipatiev House - Ekaterinburg
Peasants and Red Guard soldiers mill about as the Imperial Family is lead through to their upstairs quarters. The atmosphere is festive and jovial, vodka is passed around, there is dancing and carousing. Power has shifted, and the empire is no more. The raucous atmosphere is disrupted by the entrance of Anastasia, who has come to beg for food for her family. She is taunted and humiliated by the Red Guard until a senior officer breaks up the crowd.
Anastasia laments the bleak situation of her family, before retiring to join them upstairs.
Dimitry, sent from Moscow enters, and he carries the execution order for the Imperial Family. His distress is visible, his grief and turmoil only impacted by the discovery of Anastasia’s tiara on the table.
Anastasia returns to retrieve her tiara, and catches Dimitry off guard. His happiness to see her is met with coldness and anger. He implores her to listen to him, to not reject him as he wishes to talk to her. Anastasia sees his pain, and allows herself a brief moment of hope before she realizes the futility of the situation and turns away from him.
Dejected, Dimitry pours out his frustration over the situation, only he can now help his child hood friend.
The Imperial Family has been told they are to be moved as the frontline of the civil war engulfing Russia is rapidly approaching the city. They are packing their belongings to leave. Anastasia enters, and the family gathers for a short prayer.
Dimitry and the soldiers enter, they instruct the family it is time to leave. As the Imperial family exits with the soldiers, Dimitry takes the opportunity and grabs Anastasia, holding her back.
Desperate, Dimitry begs Anastasia to listen to him. He shows her the execution order, and pleads with her to save herself. As she realizes she may already be too late to help her family, she breaks down. Dimitry disguises Anastasia and then hides her in the room. He stages her “escape” and sends the guards out to search for her.
Outside – The grounds of the Ipatiev House and the nearby forest
Dimitry enters, with a young soldier at his side. He dispatches the other soldiers, and the young one remains. It is Anastasia, and it is clear she is terrified. Dimitry leads her off into the woods when suddenly the night is shattered by the sound of gunshots. All goes silent, and then Anastasia wildly tries to run in the direction of the shots. Dimitry restrains her, and tries to soothe her. They cling to each other for comfort, and then drift away into a fitful sleep.
The next morning, a nearby convent
The young lovers come to the convent gates. An older sister comes out, and watches their tearful farewell. She ushers Anastasia into the sanctuary of the convent walls.
An older woman sits with a young girl and draws to the conclusion of her story. The young girl is transfixed, and her eyes shine in amazement grab her mother’s hand. The woman reaches for a bundle, wrapped in a handkerchief, which she carefully opens. Inside the package is a tiara, which she gently sets atop the young girl’s head.
“...lyrical, attractive and accessible... a crowd pleaser…a what’s not-to-like ballet performed by a company that brings high professional standards to its craft.”
- Paula Citron, the Globe & Mail
The mystical story of the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia. It is a wonderful tale of tragic life, ripped from history.
The mystery of the seventeen year old Grand Duchess has fascinated people for 90 years, spanning books, movies, and musicals. Anastasia is the story of an innocent girl, a modern myth, and its mysterious surroundings inspire great speculation about the summer of 1918.
Embrace the gripping human drama - the life of a young girl born to privilege and cast into a heartbroken world. Her emotions, aspirations, and affections make a beautiful pivot for the world that transforms around her. Ballet Jörgen Canada, renowned for its storytelling, passionately follows the daughter of the fallen Russian Tsar through St. Petersburg ballrooms, revolutions, captivity, and into the heart of the tragic mystery.
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