CriticalDance Forum

Kirov in the USA, 2005 - The Sleeping Beauty
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Author:  fedora [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:50 am ]
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The Kirov Ballet with the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre of St. Petersburg
The Sleeping Beauty

I won’t add much to what NataliaN has said already about the other two Auroras: Ekaterina Osmolkina and Olesya Novikova. In general terms I agree with Natalia's characterization of their style and class. I was impressed with the filigree-like coordination of wrists, head and neck, displayed by Novikova. She is being coached by one of the greatest ballet teachers - madame Moiseeva and it showed, especially in the Aurora Variation of the Rose Adagio and also the Wedding PDD.

But to me neither of those wonderful dancers makes me think of her as of a Ballerina. Great technique? Yes. Style? Of course. Appearance? Most certainly. But there is something else that sets a Ballerina apart from other soloists or a Premiere from other dancers, for that matter. And it's not the potential either. It's either there from the beginning or it's not. Call it aura, call it charisma, call it star power... whatever! In the course of the last week I saw this mysterious "IT" only in two performers: Alina Somova and Andrian Fadeev in that order. Uliana Lopatkina notwithstanding, of course.


Now I'd like to continue with giving due credit to the rest of the cast. As Sir Laurence Olivier once said: “There are no small parts, only small actors” :-)

Another wonderful debut – Ulia Bolshakova as Princess Florine! Another Kirov beauty – tall, long-limbed with a face of Olga Spessivtzeva. She seems to possess everything to have a brilliant future with the company. And I would have loved her Florine much more, if she were not overshadowed by a more experienced Florine - Ksenia Ostreykovskaya, who performed the following night. Ksenia has developed the role to the spoiled perfection. There was simply no way to outshine her ;-)

Dmitry Semionov who danced the Blue Bird one of the nights impressed me a great deal with his precise allegro movements. He is very light despite of being rather tall for a dancer.

Courage Fairy - Yana Serebriakova ran into little bit of bad luck, as she found herself sitting on the floor. Oh, well – any dancer must do it at least once in their career :-)

On the other hand, Diamond Fairy - Victoria Tereshnkina demonstrated precise and fast pointe work that had a “wow” effect. Technically, she is the strongest dancer on this tour, but somehow lacked warmth for me. I could easily see her as awe-inspiring Gamzatti in La Bayadere .

The White Cat - Yuana Selina and Puss In Boots - Anton Lukovkin charmed the audience. The whole scene is too cute for me, though ;-)

And Yuri Zagorodnyuk playing solo violin in the 2nd act did not fail to provoke rounds of applause every single night. Oh, Kirov orchestra' violins … something to behold!


Yekaterina Osmolkina. Soloist.
Ekaterina was born in Kishenev (Moldova).
She graduated from the Vaganova Academy in 1999.
Picture 1
Picture 2

Olesya Novikova. Coryphee.
Olesia was born in St Petersburg, Russia.
She graduated from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in 2002.
Picture 1
Picture 2

Ulia Bolshakova. Corps member.
Ulia graduated from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in 2002.

Ksenia Ostreykovskaya. Soloist.
Ksenia was born in Obninsk, Russia.
She graduated from the Perm Ballet School.
Joined the Mariinsky Theatre in 1996.

Dmitry Semionov. Soloist.
Dmitry was born in Moscow.
He graduated from the Vaganova Academy of St. Petersburg in 1999.

Yana Serebriakova. Coryphee.
Yana was born in St. Petersburg, Russia.
She graduated from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in 1997.
Picture 1

Viktoria Tereshkina. Soloist.
Viktoria was born in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
She graduated from the Vaganova Ballet Academy (class of Marina Vasilieva) in 2001.
With Andria Fadeev in Don Quixote

Yana Selina. Coryphee.
Yana was born in St. Petersburg.
She graduated from the Vaganova Academy in 1997.
Picture 1
Picture 2

Anton Lukovkin. Coryphee.
Anton was born in St. Petersburg.
He graduated from the Vaganova Academy in 1999.

Author:  ripowam [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 10:44 am ]
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It is certainly clear from what we see onstage at the Kirov that certain dancers are able to take great liberties with choreography.

Author:  fedora [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:23 am ]
Post subject:  About the boys...

About the boys...

For example, the middle sequence of the prince's first solo in the forest, while surrended by his hunting pals, calls for two consecutive turning jumps with the back leg in attitude ...

Natalia, I believe you mean the sequence of two grand jete en tournant. If so Leonid Sarafanov, who partnered Olesya Novikova the 2nd night in Detroit, performed the sequence as it was intended to be performed.
I do agree about Maxim Scherbakov who danced the Blue Bird. I am mostly impressed and not just with his technique, but his winning stage personality as well. In fact he charmed me to death!

Author:  NataliaN [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:24 am ]
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ripowan, I had to go back to my programme notes on Scherbakov/Ostreikovskaya's Sat night Blue pdd. Beside, VS's name I wrote "Finally, double assembles in the entree! Correct ending of adagio. Best solo, incl correct ending pose. Coda, stopped brisse-vollees 3/4 of the way through the diagonal. Great final jete into wings." So he got a bit tired on the first diag of the coda.

fedora - I was not at the Sarafanov performance...but I did manage to see him having lunch at the tapas place across the street from the theater. (ha-ha)

Author:  fedora [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:40 am ]
Post subject:  About the girls

Leonid looks like he is about 15 years old – BIG teath :D
I caught a glimpse of ….
…. … ...

Uliana Lopatkina. Ta-da! She was having tea all by her lonesome. It was the day of her performance and I was so tempted to come over and tell her how much she is admired in US. But I remembered her saying once in her interview: “Sometimes I seek solitude so I don't loose the focus”. I resisted the temptation and wished her "good luck" in my heart.

Author:  ripowam [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:47 am ]
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Vasily, not Maxim, Scherbakov.

Author:  fedora [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:50 am ]
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Thank you, ripowam. Vasily Scherbakov. Maxim is Maxim Chaschegorov who also dances the Blue Bird, btw :-)

Author:  Cyngenoir [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 1:02 pm ]
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Fedora, I agree with your points on Olesia. I saw her in L.A. and her interpretation needs a lot of work. In this performance, there was no "there," there. Do I see her as Odette/Odile or Nikiya? No. One has to be a mistress of nuance for those roles. Do I see her as Raymonda? No, and that ballet is just as if not more difficult technically. I definitely see her as Masha, Cinderella, maybe Giselle, possibly Juliet, and surprise - Aurora too! If she had that elusive "IT" (as you put it for Somova), IT would have manifested, and the residual aftertaste would be "staying power." The few who have IT go from strength to strength. Suffice it to say, her Aurora didn't stay with me.

Correct emploi means nothing now at the MT. Obviously, the new policy is to have corps members dance important roles. OK. If you do this, there must be due diligence to see that the young charges are really ready and suited for the big responsibility. IMO, Olesia performed as if it were merely a classroom exam. How can I say this? She needs more punch, more oomph. She's a correct but juiceless dancer. Contrast her with Diana: There's no comparison, because D.V. is present and on from curtain to curtain. Now, Novikova is only 19: Of course this doesn't mean she can't improve :) . Since Moiseyeva is her coach, Madame will pay attention to all of the minute details. If anyone can pull the artist out her it's Moiseyeva. If they're truly serious about her, have her best interests at heart, don't throw her over for next month's flavor, and really concentrate on nurturing her, she might make Prinicipal someday. She definitely has 2nd, possibly 1st soloist potential, but beyond that I just don't think it's wise to baptize her in fire the way they're doing now.

Even so, Olesia and Katya - even on their best days, are NOT in the same technical/artistic/charismatic universe as their illustrious predecessors. And by 'illustrious predecessors' I don't mean the coach generation. The Maryinsky's highest caliber Auroras (of course, Diana not withstanding), remained in Petersburg during this U.S. engagement - that's a fact. Re Ripowan's points: Excellent post. Thank you Ripowan for your audacity! Indeed, obstruction and coach-croneism are the biggest problems in the Maryinsky right now.

PS: Happy belated Birthday Uliana Lopatkina (Oct 23)! :D

Author:  ripowam [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 1:09 pm ]
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Fedora -- did you take these photos in Detroit? I'd love to see more.

Cyngenoir -- It was outrageous of them not to bring Dumchenko to dance Aurora.

Author:  fedora [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 1:23 pm ]
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Hi ripowam,
Unfortunately it is strictly forbidden to take pictures anywhere inside Detroit Opera House – even in the hallways. Too bad, since it is one of the most beautiful interiors I’ve ever seen. All handcrafted and painted a la Wedgewood: with angels at the orchestra level, with pictures of the Nine Muses at 1st floor level and with the scenes from different operas at the 2nd.

A photographer who is a buddy of mine took these pictures in the Mariinsky theatre. She gave me permission to use them for my story. I believe she won’t mind if I refer you to the starting point in her photo album. Enjoy!

Photo Album

Yeah, I agree with you about Maya Dumchenko. And also Daria Pavlenko couldn't come. I think of Daria as a Ballerina!

Author:  NataliaN [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 1:29 pm ]
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At least Dumchenko is scheduled to dance the first Aurora of the current season, back home at the MT. This will be Dumchenko's debut in the 1890 'new-old' production.

Perhaps we can place our bets on whether or not it will actually be Maya Dumchenko who dances Aurora next month, at the Mariinsky? One can't be too sure!

Author:  Cyngenoir [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 2:18 pm ]
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Fedora, Re Dasha Pavlenko, I agree with you TOTALLY!!!! There is no doubt: She is a True Ballerina. My God!!!! Furthermore, she is Diana's immediate and direct competition. Maya is quite excellent also, and Zhelonkina is also most exceptional.

Natalia, I wouldn't dare place a wager on whether Maya will or won't make her debut. I wouldn't be surprised if Alina gets it. After her
U.S. triumph, she's destined to wear that red & pink/gold brocade tutu at least once at home before the season's over next year; and certainly before Paris in a few weeks.

Author:  NataliaN [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 2:55 pm ]
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Cygnenoir - I wouldn't exactly describe a few amateur reviews on fan boards as a "U.S. triumph" for Alina Somova. With all due respect to my fellow fan-posters, I have yet to read a positive legitimate (professional) review of her Aurora (or any other role, for that matter). Of course, that won't hold the MT management from throwing Somova into the role of Aurora back home.

I agree with you that Daria Pavlenko IS a true, wonderful ballerina. Unfortunately, her stature back home (among long-time Mariinsky fans in the 'upper galleries') is not what it is abroad. Heavens, I'll never forget the negativisms whispered about Pavlenko during her debut as Nikiya at the premiere of the new-old Bayadere on June 1, 2002! I was in one of the 'cheap seats' and was frankly embarrased for if the decks were stacked against her.

Then again, the old-guard don't care for Somova either. I was in not-so-cheap-seats last March, for her Nikiya in 'Shades' at the Corps de Ballet Gala during the Mariinsky Ballet Fest & Somova received the coolest of responses imaginable. Neither was Clement Crisp very impressed, writing for the Financial Times.

Who do Petersburgers seem to love the most, among ballerinas? They DO love Lopatkina (of course), Vishneva, Dumchenko, Osmolkina and, to a slightly lesser degree, Novikova. Oh...and they ADORE Obraztsova's Juliet and Sylphide. Makhalina was extremely popular in her heyday & Zakharova was very loved and appreciated. It's not a matter of extensions; it's a matter of what 'locals' perceive as finesse and musicality. I don't always agree with 'the locals' -- I may agree with them on Somova but absolutely do NOT agree on their downplaying of Pavlenko.

p.s. - I tip my hat off to Vasiyev & Company for granting Pavlenko a Gala Evening at the Mariinsky Festival last March (along with Gala Evenings for Lopatkina, Vishneva & Corps de Ballet). That, at least, was a step in the right direction.

Author:  fedora [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 3:04 pm ]
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I believe Olesia Novikova has turned 21. She was born in St Petersburg and graduated from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in 2002. Like Alina Somova, who is 19 (class 2003), Olesia is a coryphee.

At present her repertoire includes:
Sylphide (Sylphides);
Don Quixote (Street Dancer, Kitri);
The Fountain of Bakhchisarai (Young women, Maria);
Swan Lake (Little Swan);
Ratmansky´s Middle duet.
And now also what I think is a very decent Aurora in the Sleeping Beaury

Alina's "fans" don't care much what she is or isn't going to dance in far-away St. Petersburg, Russia. As long as she continues to dance for us, that is :P She brings people JOY!

Author:  NataliaN [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 3:29 pm ]
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Olesya Novikova won a gold medal at the most recent (summer 2003) Vaganova Prix competition. At that same event, Somova won a bronze medal.

Novikova has been dancing Kitri at the Mariinsky since her first year as a company member & has made the role almost her signature. I love her in the Forsythe rep, too. She's one of the most versatile of ballerinas with the troupe (along with Vishneva & Pavlenko).

Interestingly, during the past couple of years, Novikova has become noticeable thinner (less muscular, round legs) than she was in her early Kitri years. I saw her in her graduation then, two years later, in one of the early Ballet Imperials. I barely recognized her. At first I thought that she had gone to an 'extreme makeover' type of TV show, it was that drastic a change!

fedora - I'll beg to differ but, in fact, I have tremendous respect for -- and give credence to --the seasoned Kirov/Mariinsky Theater audience, who follow their local ballet troupes very closely and revere tradition. Just as I tip my hat off to the seasoned New Yorkers who follow NYCB and the School of American Ballet. When they give opinions about the current state of NYCB, I listen & pay attention! [Not that I have to agree with everything, of course. But these sorts of 'local veterans' have a base of knowledge that none of us could acquire, no matter how hard we cram.]

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