CriticalDance Forum

Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels
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Author:  djb [ Sun Oct 12, 2003 2:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels

In response to Azlan's request, here's the casting for the Sunday matinee of Jewels, according to the program:

Daria Sukhorukova, Victor Baranov
Sofia Gomerova, Andrey Yakovlev
Yana Selina, Ekaterina Osmolkina, Vasily Sherbakov

Diana Vishneva (should be transliterated as "Vishnyova"), Leonid Sarafanov
Sofia Gumerova

Daria Pavlenko, Igor Zelensky

<small>[ 12 October 2003, 04:05 AM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Oct 12, 2003 8:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels

Stuart et al,

You'll be pleased to note that Pavlenko is apparently leaving the tour briefly to guest in London (!) on Oct. 21 and 31, and then rejoining the tour again. Lucky ducks!

As to the note regarding her rejection from the Bolshoi, she mentioned the same to me in June -- that they said her ears were too big or something crazy like that. I think it shows how much determination she had that she tried again at the Vaganova school. Just think what we'd be missing if that hadn't been the case!

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Oct 12, 2003 8:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels

Until it goes live in a proper format, here is my review:

Kirov Ballet's "Jewels" A Treasure Chest of Balanchine Gems
-Catherine Pawlick

In allegorical fashion, the Kirov Ballet's glittering rendition of "Jewels" reminded us of the company's prized place in Russian culture Friday night. From Rubies' sexy playfulness, and the cool romanticism of "Emeralds" to the respectfully ceremonial "Diamonds", these Russian gems dazzled at every turn, reclaiming Balanchine for themselves and proving there’s no better place for Mr. B's choreography than on his home turf.

Cities such as New York and Washington, D.C. have been blessed with appearances by the famous ballet troupe as recently as last year. Thus they've also been treated to debuts of the Balanchine work more recently than the west coast has. After an interminable 12 year wait, we're finally again able to feast our eyes on the Kirov Ballet. And it is a repast fit for kings.

Following the grandeur of Fokine's mixed program, "Jewels" greets us with boundless energy, stylistic accuracy and impressive artistry.

From a combined score with music from Faure ("Emeralds"), Stravinsky ("Rubies"), and Tchaikovsky ("Diamonds"), the ballet is said to mirror three eras of Balanchine's life: his early days in his home country, his time in New York City, and finally, an ode to Imperial Russia. After seeing the choreography, it is easy to draw the parallels.

The soothing, cool green tones of the Emeralds tutus, against a backdrop of delicate romantic movements seems to cross 19th century classicism with Mariinsky schooling, with a sprinkle of Balanchinean movement mixed in. Sofia Gumerova and Daria Sukhurova were the two leading ladies in Emeralds, both appropriately serene with decorative turns of wrist here and there. Sukhurova is a wispy creature whose long graceful arms spoke through Faure's soft calm music -- fluid but accurate. If her facial expressions at times belied self-doubt, her limbs delivered the choreography with an opposing assuredness. She was partnered by the credible Victor Baranov, a dancer of both good proportion and good timing.

Gumerova, however, drew more attention to herself with a no-nerves smile that radiated joy and conviction at every moment. Despite a brief spill on the stage's Marley floor, she continued dancing, hanging in the air on several pique attitude turns as if to show she was unscathed. With every subsequent entrance she seemed to merge more with the music, lending a maturity to the steps that offered glimpse of "the ballerina within". Andrey Yakovlev, a blonde dancer, supported her walks en pointe, wrists entwined almost in the manner of a Russian toast. Gumerova almost made up for Zhanna Ayupova's absence from her intended debut in the Emeralds role.

The pas de trios in Emeralds was danced by Yana Selina, a wide-smiled, ebullient redhead, and Ekaterina Osmolkina, a graceful brunette, both of whom were partnered by the strong Anton Korsakov. Mr. Korsakov's dancing outshone the other men, his beats strong, his partnering secure and his stage presence admirable. One is wont to imagine him in even greater roles. Likewise, Ms. Selina was visible no matter her place on stage, mainly due to her expressiveness.

After luxuriating in the green glow of Emeralds, when the curtain rose on Rubies we were met with the very embodiment of panache: the famous Diana Vishneva, partnered by Leonid Sarafanov. Robed in the briefest of requisite Rubies costumes with a saucy, sexy temperament to match, Vishneva was a no-holds barred rendition of the rouge-colored gem’s choreography at its best. From swiveling hips and high battements to elastic extensions in every direction, Vishneva demonstrated the capabilities of her --very unique-- human body. Suggestive of the freedom, speed and earthiness of New York City, Rubies presents the elements of America most of us relate to, only in upscale balletic fashion with touches of almost-Broadway stances – and glances. From jumping rope movements and wild west hitch steps to languorous arm movements, the message is clearly American, almost a la Hollywood. At more than one point Vishneva's acting skills suggested the pouty sex-kitten, teasing the audience, but then turning around to give them even more. Complementing Vishneva, Sarafanov approached both his partnering and his solo work with boundless energy and genuine joy. The two ended their pas de deux with knowing glances – and more than one set of audience-induced bows.

The evening's majesty was crowned by Daria Pavlenko and Danila Korsuntsev’s luminous rendition of Diamonds as the curtain rose for the third time. More than one audience member was heard to comment afterwards on the exquisite beauty and mature delivery of Ms. Pavlenko, to say nothing of her perfectly Kirovian lines. More than one audience member was also rendered speechless by the artistry of the young dancer. She was the incarnation of royal blood, the ballerina’s ballerina: radiant, certain, perfect. With nary a misstep, Pavlenko carried herself regally but performed emotionally, her secure smile bringing even more grace to her role. Pavlenko’s slender arms and legs make her every line a pleasure to regard, and her ability to make the choreography her own is a valuable talent that is already visible. Of note too is the dancer’s young age: at a mere 24 she is dancing principle roles unblemished. Vishneva, it seems, has some serious competition.

Pavlenko was complemented by the tall, princely Korsuntsev, who must be commended both for his partnering and his ability to move his more-than-six-foot frame across the stage with such power. As a tall dancer he is no doubt challenged by his height in certain roles; in Diamonds his size offered a nice setting in which the shining Pavlenko sparkled. Given the audience’s standing ovation at the end of Friday night’s opening, it would be safe to say that Jewels is a gem to look forward to.

While the saying "worth the wait" sounds mundane, after such a long hiatus we’ve been gifted with a return unspeakably grandiose and, in the case of Jewels, incredibly dazzling.
Maestro Gergiev was sadly missing from the orchestra pit, but Mikhail Agrest conducted admirably. With programs like these, more than one ballet fan will be hoping for the Kirov’s quick return to the Bay Area.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Oct 12, 2003 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels

Here is the link to the photo version of this review:

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Oct 12, 2003 6:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels

Let's see how shall I put this.

If anyone doubts the ability of this company to provide a repeat performance of Friday nights' stunning opening of "Jewels", doubt no more. Today's matinee had similar casting -- although we were blessed with Zelensky in Diamonds this time -- and they pulled out ALL the stops, even better than Friday night, I might add. No spills on the stage this time. Vishneva was her saucy self, Sarafanov danced as if the stage was his playground, full of verve; Gumerova was even more lovely, Sukhurova more graceful and self-assured; Zelensky was in his cavalier element, and Pavlenko...every bit the ballerina and then some.

I'm speechless.

It's sad they're leaving, but they sure created memories for the Bay Area dance audience.

<small>[ 12 October 2003, 08:39 PM: Message edited by: Catherine Pawlick ]</small>

Author:  Azlan [ Sun Oct 12, 2003 7:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels


"The Kirov has reclaimed Balanchine."
I think it came from Diane quoting a London review. I believe you'll find the link to one of the London topics in this forum.

<small>[ 12 October 2003, 09:28 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>

Author:  djb [ Sun Oct 12, 2003 7:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels

Vishneva was everything she was cracked up to be. She had that combination of extreme flexibility combined with strength that gymnasts typically have, and, like a gymnast, she could throw herself into movements and emerge from them with complete control. She definitely has the energy and personality to keep your attention fixed on her.

Pavlenko's performance in Diamonds actually brought tears to my eyes because of its beauty. A former San Francisco critic once wrote that memories of Suzanne Farrell faded while watching a certain former SF Ballet dancer in Diamonds. Well, nothing will ever make my memories of Suzanne Farrell fade, but if anyone could do it, it would be Daria Pavlenko.

I can't get over the idea of Pavlenko supposedly not having the right type of face for the stage. From her first step onto the stage, she was captivating. She looked the way royalty should look.

<small>[ 12 October 2003, 10:39 PM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  ripowam [ Sun Oct 12, 2003 8:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels

I think Pavlenko is a fabulous ballerina with a beautiful face, but I have heard from more than one Russian the complaint that her face is too round. We should keep in mind that faces and figures resonate differently in different cultures.

Author:  Azlan [ Sun Oct 12, 2003 8:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels

Welcome, ripowam, and thanks for the insights. Perhaps you would care to discuss the relative techniques of the dancers? And we hope to hear your impressions of the various performances! :)

Author:  djb [ Sun Oct 12, 2003 8:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels

I'll bet there are also lots of Russians who can't imagine someone thinking she doesn't have the right type of face for the stage.

Author:  ripowam [ Sun Oct 12, 2003 8:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels

I can't comment, more's the pity, on the Berkeley performances since I'm on the East Coast. But I saw Pavlenko's Diamonds debut in London three years ago and it was unforgettable.

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Sun Oct 12, 2003 9:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels

I also saw Pavlenko's debut in Diamonds in London in 2000, and then again in the 2001 season. Pavlenko was good as the Diamonds ballerina, but the other two Kirov stars Uliana Lopatkina and Svetlana Zakharova were stronger technically and far more moving in this role in 2001. It seems that Pavlenko has made a lot of progress in this role since then; I heard she danced beautifully the Diamonds ballerina in this year's Mariinsky Festival.

<small>[ 12 October 2003, 11:43 PM: Message edited by: Kevin Ng ]</small>

Author:  Azlan [ Sun Oct 12, 2003 10:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels

Hi, ripowam, I meant we would appreciate your impressions when the company makes it out to the US East Coast. Catherine has organized a cadre of writers stationed around the US to cover the complete US tour by the Kirov, and impressions from you would definitely add to the atmosphere!

Author:  ripowam [ Sun Oct 12, 2003 11:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels


Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Oct 13, 2003 8:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov in the USA 2003 - Jewels

Actually Azlan, Nikolai Kabaniaev made the comment about the Kirov reclaiming Balanchine. I don't know which Diane you're speaking of... but he made it after the Friday night opening... and I have to agree with him!

Mr. Kabaniaev had some further comments that he asked me to post today, following yesterday's final performance of "Jewels" at Berkeley:

"I was very impressed with Kirov Ballet's performances of Jewels on Friday night and Sunday at 3 PM. I did not know what to expect going to see the show on Friday. After Emeralds it was clear to me that Kirov can dance Balanchine very well now. After Rubies and performance of Diana Vishneva in it I was blown away. Diana was simply brilliant. She did not dance her part, she played with it. So did her partner Leonid Sarafanov. When curtain fell down after Diamonds danced exceptionally by Daria Pavlenko, Danila Korsuntsev and the entire crops de ballet I felt that I just witnessed something of a great historical and cultural importance and a highest form of what we call "Ballet." All of a sudden it made perfect sense that Kirov Ballet, a former home of George Balanchine embraced it's prodigal son with love, passion and understanding. It took time and a new generation of dancers, teachers and ballet masters to make it happen. I also felt that it was a beautiful ending to a fairytale and a beginning of a new one."

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