Andris Liepa, son of the celebrated Soviet dancer Maris Liepa, has spent much of his career as a choreographer reviving and reconstructing the classic ballets of Fokine. This double bill at the Birgitta Festival staged Scheherazade and the Polovtsian Dances, both performed in costumes and on sets based on the original designs dating from around 1910, when Diaghilev's Ballets Russes appeared in Paris at the Théâtre du Chåtelet.

The style of these dances is distinctly Muscovite – the St Petersburg ballets were refined and low-key by contrast with these exuberant explosions of colour and movement. Andris Liepa is now in his fifties, trim and elaborately coiffed with blond hair in an elegant double wave over his forehead. His own career has included performances in Moscow at his home company the Bolshoi Theatre, as well as in New York (with both the New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theater). His admiration for Fokine’s genius stems from his own classical training, following his father (who, unlike Nureyev and Baryshnikov, did not defect to the West) in observing and practising the art of ballet, as set up by Petipa and then under the direction of Diaghilev.

Scheherazade’s score is one of the most elaborate tone-poems to come out of the Russian Nationalist movement (nationalism including the southern parts of the Tsarist Russian empire) and was performed on this occasion by the Moscow State Opera and Ballet Theatre for Young Audience, an institution set up for the promotion of classical music to schoolchildren and students. The standard of orchestral performance was high, especially in the numerous solo passages – in many ways, the work feels like a violin concerto.

The star of the show was the North Yorkshire dancer Xander Parish, tall, muscular and elegant in his costume as the Golden Slave, who captivated Princess Zobeida and brushed away the attacks from the courtiers. Parish is making an excellent career in St Petersburg, a fascinating example of the exportability of exceptional British dancers to the homeland of Russian ballet. It was clear that he had imbibed all the idioms of this exotic style of dance, and I hope he will be able to realize more roles in this taxing but rewarding repertoire.

The Chief Eunuch, Mikhail Galiev, hobbled about the stage as if he had been freshly castrated (an effect Andris Liepa told me was intentional) while the cast of odalisques, led by Yekaterina Zaitseva, whirled about in Fokine’s mesmerising choreography in a way that convinced the viewer that this was no reanimated fossil, but a living ballet, worthily recreated.

The second half of the programme consisted of the much shorter Polovtsian Dances, a ballet fragment from Borodin’s opera Prince Igor. Here the mood was much closer to that of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, with ritual dances from the remoter regions of Russia being given the full Bolshoi treatment in costumes based on folkloric research, and dance steps of a more primitive kind. The vivid sets and violent colour contrasts worked well in the austere setting of the Birgitta Convent, whose stone walls echoed to the sound of the superb Estonian National Choir, trained by their chorus master Elmo Tiisvald. Every time choral music appears in the Baltic States, it raises the standards of performance, as it is the core of the musical traditions here, celebrated in vast festivals of folk singing which are clearly linked to the art music that emerges from them.

Andris Liepa has taken his revivals of the choreography of the early Russian ballet masters all over the world, and this performance in Tallinn gave a valid reason why such revivals are a success, and a miraculous survival from the period before Soviet rule.