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The Russian Ballet Logic Puzzle

Posted by Rick Archer
Last Update: November 2010

Ballet of the Greek Muses

The Greek Muses were nine goddesses who presided over the arts and sciences. It was their role to inspire mortals to excel at their pursuits.  Daughters of Zeus, king of the gods, and Mnemosyne ("memory"), they were born at Pieria at the foot of Mount Olympus.  

Today the name "Muse" has become to term given to a teacher or mentor who encourages a protégé to achieve excellence in creative arts.

Nowhere is the role of a "Muse" more important than in the world of dance, the domain of the Muse known as Terpsichore.  As a tribute the fame of the Greek Muses, Madame Raisa Kechko created her very own ballet in their name to be performed by Moscow's Imperial Russian Ballet Company.


Madame Kechko was justifiably proud of her magnificent original Russian ballet, "The Greek Muses".

Not only was the Ballet itself a form of perfection, Madame Kechko was precise down the last detail.  She was determined that her dancers would receive their well-deserved recognition in the proper order.  Therefore Madame Kechko arranged an elaborate scheme by which her dancers would depart the stage.

Madame Kechko took special care that her dancers would receive applause in the proper order by scheduling a special "staggered departure" of each dancer from the stage.

Order of Departure

First Mme. Kechko arranged the nine women in three groups of three.  

Mlle. Babyan and the others were assigned numbers 1 through 9.  

Stage Left would include a Principal Dancer placed between two attendants numbered 1, 2, 3.

Downstage Center would include the premier danseuse in the role of Terpsichore, placed directly between two attendants numbered 4 and 6.

Stage Right would include the third principal placed between two attendants numbered 7, 8, 9.

Using the diagram below, please note as you look at the stage from your seat in the audience, Dancer 1 would be the farthest to the left and Dancer 9 would be the farthest to the right.

The First Curtain Call

All nine women plus their male partners who had performed in the ballet would participate in the First Curtain Call.   Then the curtain would fall and the nine men would leave the stage.

The Important Second Curtain Call

Only the nine Muses would appear for the Second Curtain Call.  The Second Curtain Call was very special.  This is where Madame Kechko placed her attention.  Marina and the other dancers were shown how to leave the stage in a special order.

Mme. Kechko wished to keep tight control of the rate of departure because she feared a memorized departure could occur right in the middle of great enthusiasm and therefore be "premature".  She refused to leave any timing to chance, preferring to monitor the applause and the rate of departure from the stage first-hand.

To solve this problem, the various dancers were instructed to leave the stage two at a time upon receiving a special verbal cue.

As the applause began to wane, Mme. Kechko was to give a secret whisper to her dancers.

"Hurry Please!" meant dancer 1 was to depart through the side exit. Her counterpart Number 9 on the other side of the stage was to keep her eyes open and leave at the same time.

Dancer Number 2 was instructed to wait for the verbal order "Exit Now!" with Number 8 awaiting the visual cue.  

Dancers 3 and 7 were to leave next upon hearing "Leave Quickly!" in the same way.

This would leave only the three women in the Downstage Center Group to receive further applause.   Then the curtain would fall. 

The Potential Third Curtain Call

During her career, Madame Kechko had learned that sometimes the applause was so powerful that yet a Third Curtain Call was necessary.

In the event of a Third Curtain call, the Downstage Center Group was to remain on stage to reappear upon the rise of the curtain.  Then on Madame Kechko's cue, dancers four and six were instructed to exit on the words, "Ladies Depart!".

That would
leave her prima ballerina
Terpsichore alone on stage for the final applause.  

Then upon Mme Kechko's signal, everyone would reappear upon to finish off the evening.

To Solve the Puzzle

Using the program listings below to keep track of the nine Muses and their particular disciplines, complete the program with the first and last names of each dancer, the role they danced, and their number onstage during the Second Curtain Call.







1. In one group, Mlle. Silvan stood between "Religious Music" and Katarina.

2. In the second group, Nastasha as "Epic Poetry" and Mlle. Vladul as "Lyric Poetry" attended Klara.

3. In the third group, "Tragedy" (played by Mlle. Aikul) and "Comedy" attended Alyssa.

4. Polina Sabotek and Euterpe left the stage together; theirs was not the last exit.

5. Dancer 3 did not perform Melpomene.

6. Veronika and Mlle. Hladky would have left the stage together if there had been another curtain call.

7. Mlle. Nochka did not portray Clio. She exited after Mlle. Bagai, but not at the same time as Tamara.

8. Mlle. Chabrek and Yelena left the stage simultaneously. Neither lady portrayed Urania.

9. If you were to divide the stage in half, Calliope was on one side and Clio was on the other.



So What Does Rick Think about this Puzzle? 

I have now attempted to solve this puzzle on three different occasions.  I solved it correctly on my very first attempt back 2007.  Memory tells me this was a tough puzzle at the time, but not super-difficult.

Three years passed and someone sent me a list of answers for confirmation that contradicted mine.  When I sent him my answers, he questioned my work.  So in April 2010 I decided to solve it again.  This time I got completely stuck.  After about three hours, I put it aside in frustration.  I couldn't decide what was harder - learning to dance ballet or deciphering this puzzle!

Six months later in November 2010, I ran across my unfinished work during a house cleaning spree.  I put my mind to the puzzle for the third time.  Fortunately this time I was able to break through.  I was relieved to find my answers were the same as the first time back in 2007.  My success confirmed that this puzzle can be solved as it stands.

This is a very complicated puzzle.  I found myself reading and rereading the initial writeup several times to more fully understand the order in which the women left the stage.  If you want a hint, divide the three groups and write them down on three separate pieces of paper.  Then carefully go over each clue until you are able decide which group must go in the middle.  The rest falls into place.

If you are new to my Logic Puzzle page, please note that I do not create these puzzles myself.  I take them from Puzzle magazines.  After I solve a logic puzzle, if I find that the clues make sense and the puzzle is intriguing, I add it to my collection. 

If you wish to have your answers validated, please send your answers to Rick Archer,   Good luck!

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