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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 7:33 am 
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Last edited by fedora on Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:04 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1738
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Hello everyone,

Apologies for my absences from the board; I do try to be here as frequently as I can. I see things have gotten a bit tetchy lately and just wanted to remind everyone, as moderator of this thread/topic, of the following.

We all recognize that politics go on behind the curtain, but the focus of this forum is, and should remain, what goes on when the curtain is open. Heresay is not really appropriate - anonymous or not. However, personal opinions of dancers and productions, whether positive or negative, are welcome when they are fair and backed up by factual support. We all have preferences. One of the benefits of this board is being able to form broader, more informed opinions of dancers, productions and companies due to the rich information exchange that online forums offer.

For the record and as an example, I also saw Somova's lukewarm Swan Lake last year. She isnt my preferred Odette/Odile for a number of reasons -- I also prefer traditional, more reserved interpretations and the high legs (in this case) take away from the focus that should be on the character's interpretation, the artistry, the feeling, etc.

One very wise man and respected critic told me about three years ago "Even the Kirov is not above criticism." It took a while for that to sink in, but when it did, i realized he was right. The key is to be fair in our evalutations, and respect each others' opinions, whatever those may be.

Cheers,
Catherine

(ps. for the record the Guest poster wasnt me. I dont know who it was)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:17 am
Posts: 374
Dear all,

I don't have ready access to the internet while here in Russia but I wanted to quickly note that I attended the 1 march performance of Sleeping Beauty with Samova/Shklyarov, sitting in my usual spot 'in the upper galleries' with a half-dozen friends. Not one of us cared much for Samova's Aurora or, for that matter, Kondaurova's Forsythish Lilac Fairy. Ostreikovskaya's delectable Florine is another matter, as is the noble Desire of Shklyarov. We stayed through the end for respect of all of these other artists but certainly not for Samova. Her main problem is not the high extensions but the relatively crude, almost unmusical, manner of dancing. Her attack. Lack of finesse, if you will. Even people who don't care for high extensions must admit that, when performed by a more musically-sensitive 'instrument,' such as Zakharova, high extensions have their own special beauty. Samova is the antithesis of Petersburg style -- the antithesis of 'beauty,' we're afraid to say.

As for the Mariinka 'local fans' website, that is a sham. I and other longtime Kirov-Mariinsky balletomanes used to post there regularly until it was taken over by truly 'shrill' types who seem to exist only to tout the 'party line.' That is why long-respected posters on that site (e.g., 'Mad about Mariinsky') have left and will soon be opening yet another forum in which true opinions, not tainted by Vasiyev-Chenchikova's wishes, can be voiced. Not that the new forum will, undoubtedly, be infiltrated yet again, at some time, by the 'company hacks.' At which time we will open yet another forum. Such is life in today's Russia.

Sincerely,
One Who Cares - Natasha


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:37 am 
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Last edited by fedora on Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:07 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:54 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1639
Location: London UK
Fedora, Natalia N. is a respected, wise and experienced ballet commentator whose views are always balanced and rational. That she chooses to criticize mediocrity when she sees it is her perogative.

Perhaps one might question your own lone championing of a dancer held in low regard by the majority. Perhaps also you should read the comments on Danser en français today and note that Natalia N. does not post in French!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:59 am 
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Last edited by fedora on Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:16 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
I think it's terrific that dance can inspire such passion, but I'd remind you that we do, as fedora pointed out, have a courtesy policy and that it applies to people on both sides of the issue.

From the courtesy policy:

Quote:
- while passion is fine in a positive sense it needs to be treated with care when applied to negative criticism. In addition, moderate language and a constructive attitude will enhance your credibility. Mark Morris has said that he would rather read constructive criticism than bland appreciation.

- the artist may read the report, and you should be happy to defend your words in person to the individual concerned. Imagine yourself in that position and if it would cause you undue embarrassment then don't write it.


The courtesy policy in its entirety can be read here.

Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Executive Director
criticaldance Forum


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 Post subject: Personality and principle
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:25 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 358
Location: Paris
Well, jadies and lentilmen,

I've walked out of several Maryinskii performances recently, including the latest series of Swan Lake here at Paris, where the girls came out in the pas de trois, wound their legs round their neck smartly three times, and then smacked that same baseball bat over the head backwards and forwards onto the ground

Blithely, thwacking.

Headache, walked out - perhaps it was the noise of that baseball bat, drowning out the music.

Somova, Bolshakova - neither were not on that night. Two other anonymous culprits, so to speak, were. And there are 350 more where that came from.

No idea what they call "Vaganova School" nowadays, but it sure ain't what Agrippina had in mind.

I've noticed that it's "Non-U" to affirm that the job of the Maryinskii and Bolshoi on this planet, is not to rush like lemmings to the sea as the Great Mirage of Forsythe and Balanchine hovers over that white cliff.

It's Non-U, but I'm sayin' it anyway.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:21 pm 
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Last edited by fedora on Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 4:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1639
Location: London UK
Ms Kanter's views from Paris seem to be echoed by another ballet goer there:

Quote:
Bolshakova utilise à peu près les mêmes hyper-extensions qu'Alina Somova, d'après mon expérience - j'ai vu la première dans le Lac et la deuxième dans un certain nombre d'autres spectacles du Kirov (Bayadère, Balanchine...).

Même si j'ai détesté le Lac de Bolshakova en novembre, il faut tout de même ajouter qu'elle a, d'après de nombreux internautes russes ou russophiles, des qualités autres, de musicalité (à l'évidence pas le domaine de Mlle Somova, cf sa première Ombre de La Bayadère à Londres l'été dernier), etc, qui sont relativement visibles. Elle reste à mon avis beaucoup trop jeune pour Le Lac ou Giselle, mais elle est prometteuse - deux points que souligne d'ailleurs Catherine Pawlick sur le forum de CD consacré au Mariinsky.


If one can mention something as vulgar as money, I think it is worth mentioning that Kirov tickets don't come cheap and that balletomanes in places like London or Paris have certain expectations that the Kirov is currently not meeting. Putting on a string of inexperienced wannabes is clearly harming the company's reputation, why bother to go anymore when there are better dancers in the home companies? Is it a coincidence that the planned London season this summer has been cancelled? I recently read on the excellent site 'For Ballet Lovers Only' that the Kirov won't be dancing in Baden Baden this Christmas and will be replaced by the Bolshoi, now I wonder why that is. I didn't go myself last year, but would be willing to bet that their Forsythe programme didn't exactly pack them in.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 4:43 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
For the record, the Kirov Forsythe programme, one of the most exciting dance events of my 2005, sold well in London, especially considering that mixed bills tend to do poorly compared to full length works.

I applaud the Kirov for wanting to perform the work of Forsythe, who, for most of the dance professionals I know, is one of the most interesting dance-makers around.

Aspic is for cooked meat, not art forms.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 4:57 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1639
Location: London UK
I was referring to Baden Baden where I have had the opportunity to see what type of repertoire fills a massive auditorium; if Balanchine can't fill the Festspielhaus then I very much doubt that last year's Forsythe programme did. Baden Baden is probably one of the most conservative towns in Germany and it makes sense to tailor a programme to suit the audience.

With regard to London last summer, I did attend the Forsythe programme there and agree it appeared to be a sell out. London however is not Baden Baden in its tastes.


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 Post subject: Tut Tut Tut
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:56 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 358
Location: Paris
Tut Tut Tut everyone!

Look on the Bright Side!

The "Kill Rate" in Forsythe is so high that within a couple of years there will be plenty of Fresh Meat (in aspic, or in a light vinaigrette if you prefer), for the carniverous to claw over.

So if i'se werse youse, I'se wouldn't bet on any of the Raves Faves and Waves being round all that long for future tours.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:48 am 
I strongly disagree with Cassandra that the cancellation of the Kirov's tours to London and BadenBaden have anyting to do with the Kirov's quality as a top company. From what I was informed, there was another reason for the cancellation of their London tour, which I prefer not to go into here. It certainly isn't the case that the Kirov hasn't met certain expectations, as Cassandra put it.

The Kirov has been touring Baden Baden a number of times, and has actually been performing in the Festspieilhaus two years in a row now. So it is not surprising at all that the impresario there prefers another visiting company for this coming Christmas.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:07 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2005 4:09 am
Posts: 5
Location: near Bonn, Germany
Well, I was in B.Baden for the Forsythe Program last year, and I can tell you : I was surprised that it was quite well packed, and the audience reacted very warmly. I heard from several people who had been there every year that for them it was almost like a relief they saw the Kirov in something other than Swan Lake and the Nutcracker. It is true that B.Baden is neither London or Paris (where the Forsythe tickets sold very well and very quickly), but we in Germany can also appreciate it when something very interesting is being shown on the stage. Having said that, I admit that I do have reservations about some of the young Kirov dancers who are maybe being promoted beyond their abilities. However - where does one find in the world a ballet company with more talented (and beautiful) dancers than the Kirov? Last year I've been to Paris, London, Berlin, Amsterdam and other smaller cities and saw the local companies there - I still think the Kirov is incredible.


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