History of ARTEast's Building

At the turn of the century, 13 Reytars'ka (present location for ARTEast Gallery) was considered the centre of Kyiv's cultural life. The building hosted two studios, the first for Ballet and the second for Opera. The ballet studio (which is now ARTEast) was owned by Yuriy Davydov (nephew of the composer Petro Tchaikowsky) and the ballet master was the world famous Ill'ya Chestyakov.

This Ballet School was unique and became a prototype for the schools around the world. The education was not only strict in ballet, but it offered girls an overall education in grammar, foreign languages, singing and recitation. Moreover, Chestyakov's tuition was free – unheard of at that time. His criterion was talent and his motto was education.

By the early part of the 20th century, Chestyakov's ballerinas set foot to the world of ballet. His students were demanded all around the world and many of his graduates participated in the creation of ballet companies in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Warsaw, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, London and New York. His teachings are still widely used today especially by the Kyiv National Opera and Ballet Theatre.

The most exceptional graduate of Chestyakov's School was Oleksandra Havrilova who became the prima ballerina of the Kyiv National Opera and Ballet Theatre. Havrilova was so famous that on several occasions Diaghilev requested her to be part of his famous ballet troupe and to take the lead of prima ballerina.

At the age of 16, Havrilova declined Diaghilev's offer and married her teacher Chestyakov. From their love was born Boris Chestyakov, whom in his own right became famous.

Boris' environment was the intelligentsia: – his parents, Tchaikovsky and Boris Pasternak (author of Dr. Zhivago). He excelled in painting, orchestral composition and became a virtuoso pianist. He graduated from the Kyiv Music Conservatory and then became the chief conductor of the Kyiv National Opera and Ballet Theatre.

It was Boris Chestyakov's performance on the old piano on 13 Reytars'ka that inspired the famous Russian poet – Boris Pasternak to write the poet dedicated to 13 Reytars'ka, which "embraces the spirit of the magical walls and gardens of this great old building".

# 13 Reytars'ka and now ARTEast have a special significance in the culture and history of Ukraine – it gathered and created the talents of the world and now today – history will be relived.