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by Andre Yew
October 9, 2005 -- Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles
For the final performance in Los Angeles during this US fall tour, the Kirov Ballet presented a new couple in their classical staple, “The Sleeping Beauty,” on Sunday, with Olesia Novikova dancing Aurora, and Anton Korsakov dancing Desire. Both are compact, strongly built dancers, and Korsakov had danced the Bluebird on opening night, so this was quite unlike what we'd seen before. Novikova, like Somova, played up the dramatic aspects of her role. Her debutante ball saw her full of wonder and newfound excitement as she discovered her potential: after each balance in the Rose Adagio, she looked at the audience as if to say, "I can't believe I can do this!" Her dancing in Act I was full of energy, like it was the most exciting thing for her to be there. Her reaction to being pricked was appropriately shocked, and made for a poignant contrast from her earlier excitement and happiness.
Unfortunately, other sections danced by these two were a letdown. Her partner, Korsakov, looked like he ruined her dancing several times in Act II with both clumsy partnering and expressionless dancing. While technically very fine, he looked like he was just going through the steps: there was no emotion. With nothing but technique, his un-princely physique became even more noticeable: he looked like a stand-in for a missing danseur noble. It got so bad that, after a quick peck to wake up the sleeping Aurora (which was at least not as bad as Sarafanov who looked like he was kissing his sister), Aurora looked like she wanted nothing to do with him.
The energy and chemistry level of both dancers kept declining through to Act 3, where at the end the both looked like they were just going through the motions. The normally reliable corps had also looked like they'd let go for this performance: while still dancing at a high level, it looked as if they knew this was the last performance, and it was a matinee, so it was OK, if not to phone it in, then to shout it in from the next room over. We had Elena Vostrotrina reprise her disappointing role as the Lilac Fairy. While able to perform amazing feats of virtuosic steps, her Lilac Fairy had no mystery or depth, or even much grace to speak of.
In brighter contrast to these disappointments, the reliable Yana Selina and Anton Lukovkin gave us their wonderful White Cat and Puss-in-Boots routine, while Dmitry Semionov and Ksenia Ostreykovskaya danced a solid Bluebird pas de deux. Igor Petrov's Carabosse was also good, showing us the musicality of the role: you can hear Carabosse's laughter in the music when Petrov dances the role unlike Roman Skripkin’s portrayal in other performances.
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