Rhode Island
Dance Company News
September 14, 2006
Festival Ballet struggles
to get dancer here in time for 2006/2007 Season
Maxime Podshivalenko
(Can this guy jump! The bottom of the photo had to be heavily cropped because he looks to be at least 6 feet off the floor)

Festival Ballet had been trying to recruit Russian dancer Maxime Podshivalenko, and he wanted to come, but due to U.S. visa delays, it looked like he wasn't going to make any performances for the fall. However, Festival Ballet has just gotten his I.N.S. (Immigration and Naturalization Service) approval and they are scrambling to get it to him so he can finish the visa process. FB is hoping that with any luck he should be arriving by October.

Maxime is Ukrainian by birth but currently lives in Moscow where he is a member of the Russian National Ballet dancing in both soloist and principal roles.

The company tours to the United States and this year's tour included a stop in nearby Portsmouth New Hampshire. Festival Ballet company dancer, Alexander Akulov (known as Sasha to his friends) had roomed with Maxime in Russia and encouraged director Misha Djuric, public relations manager Mark Fleisher and ballet mistress Milica Bijelic to make the trek there to see Maxime in Swan Lake. They liked what they saw and it looked like a done deal, but they hadn't factored in the current international situation.

Maxime isn't the only person having visa troubles. With the heightened security, many artists are finding it difficult to move from country to country. England has just recently agreed to relax restrictions on airline carry-on bags, which had been instituted after the latest terrorist plot to bring down planes using liquid incendiary devices (The Guardian). Prior to this reversal, musicians have been required to check their instruments - a very dicey prospect for a musician. Musicians' instruments, often irreplaceable, are their livelihood, and checked baggage bears too much risk of breakage, loss and theft.

Since 9/11, numerous performing artists of all kinds have seen their visa applications delayed past their U.S. concert dates. In 2004, the Cuban guitarist Ibrahim Ferrer could not get a U.S. visa to receive his award for Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album at the Grammy's. The Guardian reported, "A Peking Opera company had to cancel an 18-city tour because the American consulate in China claimed not all of the musicians could adequately prove that they intended to return home after the tour ended. The South African anti-apartheid leader and singer Vusi Mahlasela had to cancel a good chunk of a US tour because his visa took months to get approved, as did the Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia". The list goes on and on.

In August, J.K.Rowling was asked to check her handwritten manuscript of the final Harry Potter book (Times UK). Perhaps the airport security was right, it turns out that the Harry Potter books are some of the most requested books by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay (Washington Times)

Considering all the international furor, Maxime's imminent arrival remains questionable.

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Mark Fleisher picked up Maxime Podshivalenko at JFK on Tuesday, September 26, 2006. Maxime was delayed due to the U.S's very long visa process. With no time to recover from jet lag, he went immediately into rehearsals for the upcoming season.


Festival Ballet's 2006/2007 Season

Festival Ballet Roster

Festival Ballet announces dancers for their new season. Find out who's in and who's out.
Tough Love

Bill Gale's article on Festival Ballet published in the July 2006 issue of Dance Magazine

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