Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Blender

Podcast: Bolshoi Welcomes An American; Political Murder In Kyrgyzstan

Natalia Osipova and David Hallberg perform in "The Sleeping Beauty" in New York last year.
Natalia Osipova and David Hallberg perform in "The Sleeping Beauty" in New York last year.
On November 4, a momentous cultural event is occurring in Moscow. An American ballet dancer will debut as a full-fledged member (premier danseur) of the storied Bolshoi Ballet company.

Twenty-nine-year-old David Hallberg of South Dakota -- "obviously one of the great male dancers in the world," according to "The Washington Post" -- speaks to correspondent Richard Solash about his life, his career, and what dancing at the Bolshoi means to him.

Staying with Russia, RFE/RL producer Pavel Butorin invited Brian Whitmore -- the man behind our popular Power Vertical blog -- into the studios for a lively discussion of the case of Yury Luzhkov. He's the colorful former mayor of Moscow who recently gave a frank interview to RFE/RL that he blames for the fact that he's been called to testify in a fraud case allegedly connected to his wife. You can read the original interview with Luzhkov here.

An American At The Bolshoi And Political Murder In Kyrgyzstan
An American At The Bolshoi And Political Murder In Kyrgyzstani
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Voters in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan go to the polls on October 30 to elect a new president and hopefully usher in a period of much-needed stability. As correspondent Daisy Sindelar reports, however, things haven't gotten off to a promising start, as a grisly murder case and the brutal legacy of former President Kurmanbek Bakiev are casting a shadow over the vote.

Grant Podelco
And finally to Afghanistan, where correspondent Frud Behzan takes a look at the country's fledgling filmmaking industry. If lack of money and resources weren't challenges enough, outside interference is also playing a role in keeping the world -- and even Afghans themselves -- from seeing some important work.

This week's host is Grant Podelco.

This week's show features music by Adolphe Adam from the ballet "Giselle," in which Hallberg will make his Bolshoi debut, as well as "Dokhtar Amu Jan" from "Traditional Music of Herat."

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About This Podcast

Brian Whitmore
Welcome to "The Blender," the weekly podcast from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. "The Blender" presents the best of RFE/RL -- features from our far-flung bureaus, interviews with newsmakers and correspondents, reports on language, music, and culture, even a little humor now and again. A new episode is posted every Friday. Download the latest episode at left or subscribe on iTunes. Your feedback is welcome, either in the comments section or write to