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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 9:34 am 
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It is Sergei Vikharev, not Sergei Vikulov, who re-staged The Sleeping Beauty for the Kirov in 1999.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 2:42 pm 
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thanks ripowam. I've made the change.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:11 am 
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Catherine, could you please provide us with the names of the most recent recruits to the Mariinsky? Amonsg the June 2005 grads, who was taken into the company? Alas, the Mariinsky website's roster is always a year behind with this information - they just recently added the June 2004 grads (Esina,Bolshakova, etc.) to the corps de ballet list.

You've mentioned Daria Vasnetsova (Aurora at one of the graduation galas) in recent performances. Curious if Ivannikova, Dolmatova (Lilac Fairy), Stepin, Sitnikov & other hot shots at the graduation gala made the cut. Thanks, in advance, for any clues that you may be able to offer!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 11:42 am 
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Last edited by fedora on Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 12:02 pm 
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Hi NataliaN,
Thanks for your post. I don't have that information but will see if I can get it from the press office. I'll keep you posted.

And, in honor of the new combined forum, here are two reviews from this week:

All-Forsythe Program and
All-Balanchine Program
Kirov Ballet
Mariinsky Theatre
St. Petersburg, Russia
1 and 3 November 2005
by Catherine Pawlick

1 November All-Forsythe Program
‘Steptext’, ‘Approximate Sonata’, ‘The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude’, ‘In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated’

It would not matter so much, what order the ballets on the Kirov’s all-Forsythe program were presented, for after leaving the theatre, the overall impression is the same: one of powerful, abstract, classically based movement on tot he streamlined bodies of ballet’s thoroughbreds: the Kirov.

As it stands, the piece opens with an apt audience-warmer, ‘Steptext’, which never fails to throw audience members for a loop with its opening: house lights on, curtain already up and Bach’s Partita Number 2 screeching between moments of silence as the first man on stage plods through his arm movements. That man, for the November 1st performance, was Andrei Mercuriev, who offered a fluid port de bras while his legs remained glued in place. Later, Andrei Ivanov and Maxim Krebtov accompanied him and Daria Pavlenko, her ultra lean body clothed only in a flash of red unitard. Pavlenko’s flawless lines were mesmerizing and her arm sign-language done in a manner of pertinent communication. Like Sologub, she makes Forsythe’s choreography her own. Ivanov and Krebtov were attentive partners, and in fact all four dancers demonstrated mastery of both Forsythe’s style and his intention.

The ever mind-boggling opening for ‘Approximate Sonata’ was performed by Alexander Sergeev in his debut in the “lion” role. The mind will always seek meaning among chaos, and this ballet demonstrates that more than others. The offstage voice telling him to raise one arm higher than the other, to “go”, and to “return”, Sergeev following the instructions, the “Da” sign upstage, the suggestions of contact improvisation at points in the choreography, the piano chords echoing – it is all seemingly connected in a very disconnected way.

Beyond the opening sequence Sergeev too presented himself as fluent in Forsythe. He approached the entire ballet with high energy and full movements, partnering agile Elena Sheshina in the introductory and closing sections. Yana Serebriakova, clothed in the fluorescent green pants, danced with Maxim Chashegorov, displaying lean lines and quick transitions. Ksenia Dubrovina and Maxim Ziuzin were smooth and accurate. But it was Ekaterina Petina and Anton Pimenov who stole the show with their professionalism and intricate partnering work, perhaps deemable the true Forsythe disciples within the Kirov.

The third ballet on the bill, ‘The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude’, is the closest to a balletic work on this program, offering the dancers a vehicle for cannons, duets and synchronized dancing, with intricate footwork more classically-based than the movements in his other ballets. Olesya Novikova, Tatiana Tkachenko and Ekaterina Osmolkina, in green flat tutus, danced with, between and around Alexander Kulikov and Vladimir Shlyarov, clothed in boyshort leotards to the sounds of Schubert’s 9th Symphony in D major. Tkachenko’s fluidity and Novikova’s curved lines were as noteworthy as the men’s seemingly endless jumps and turns. As a group the dancers suggested a royal court of times past, heads held high, energy to match, not stopping until the final chords, the final curtain and the final pose – in fifth position.

The audience-shocker is always saved for last on this bill. “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated” emits its club-like electronic music into the far reaches of the theatre halls and, with matching extremism, the dancer’s extensions and flexibility are strained seemingly to the limit by various stretches, pulls and tosses. Slow is merged into abrupt, complex movement that then becomes slow once again. Irina Golub’s name topped the cast list, and she was partnered at times by Andrei Mercuriev with precision, but for this piece the leading soloist could be any of the women onstage. Indeed both Ekaterina Petina and Ekaterina Kondaurova, in their respective solos, drew more reverence for their long, lean lines and accurately accented movements. Alexander Sergeev appeared here again, sturdy and reliable as he partnered Petina. Mikhail Lobukhin also deserved praise for his work with Ksenia Dubrovina, who alone seemed more new to the work than the other dancers.

This performance of Forsythe further attests to the accomplishments of the Kirov dancers in their adaptation to the choreographer’s abstract style, which, if not in direct opposition to the basis of classical training, at least bends it in new directions. It is to the dancers’ credit that they follow that direction so easily and with such energy.

3 November 2005
All Balanchine Program
‘Four Temperaments’, ‘Prodigal Son’, ‘La Valse’, ‘Ballet Imperial’

The All-Balanchine program continues to grow on the Kirov dancers, and if some of the choreographer’s more modern movement at times challenges them, his more classically-based ballets are close to being an accomplished part of their repertoire.

‘Four Temperaments’ had a stumble here or there, and a lack of abandon overall, but nonetheless presented some of ballet’s cleanest lines in its black-and-white display of Kirov physiques.

Aside from Olga Esina’s stumble off-pointe in the en pointe, plie-ed promenade in the opening Theme, her partnering with a man billed as Sergei Popov (but who was not Popov) went rather smoothly. Olesya Novikova was partnered by Alexei Nedviga as the second couple, and both executed their sequences without difficulty.

Ekaterina Kondaurova’s grace and certainty shown in her short pas de deux with Maxim Zuizin, performing the ‘spider leg’ walk offstage. Kondaurova’s flawless lines are heavenly to regard, especially in a spare leotard ballet such as this one. Among the first three couples in the theme, she drew the most attention for her polished line and appropriate expression. Of all the women in the ballet, she most resembles the Balanchine ballerina.

Anton Korsakov, listed in the program to dance the Melancholic variation, was replaced by Maxim Zuizin in a laudable expression of the temperament’s traits. Zuizin’s arched feet and well-proportioned body complimented his expression. From his dancing one receives the impression of timidity, but through that moments of serious drama manage to peek through.

Ekaterina Osmolkina, appearing rail thin, danced the Sanguinic variation with Alexander Sergeev. Her altered frame detracted from what is usually a beautiful display of line, while his accuracy and reliability was commendable.

Andrei Mercuriev was quite dramatic in the Phlegmatic variation. Sturdy in his delivery and balances, his arm gestures were suggestive of Petrouchka in their momentary floppiness before being flanked by the four longest-limbed dancers –Daria Sukhorukova, Yana Serebriakova, Elena Vostrotina and Ksenia Doubrovina.

Ekaterina Petina as Choleric was powerful, assured and strong in both temperament and technique in between air tosses performed by Alexander Sergeev.

In ‘The Prodigal Son’, Mikhail Lobukhin exhibited all the impatience of an immature young boy determined to make it on his own before the harsh reality of the real world strips him of all his belongings. Lobukhin’s strength – dramatically and physically – were visible. Daria Pavlenko, as the unfeeling, seductive Siren, was a coldly beautiful temptation for Lobukhin’s naive character. In the last moments of the ballet, the strain of the Son’s venture into the outer world was visible through Lobukhin’s acting – his pained face and sobbing motion a testament to his acting talents.

Lest one have been starved for something more traditionally-oriented, ‘La Valse’, the third ballet on the bill, made up for in classicism what the former two pieces were lacking, at least from the point of view of stereotypical balletic elegance. Ekaterina Kondaurova, the epitomy of beautiful sophistication, reigned supreme in the main role, honoring it with cool reserve and classical chic. She was easily the belle of the ball, while partner Vladimir Shishov seemed only too taken with the lovely girl. When Death seized her hand, her steps quickened, and she looked at her foot movements as if they weren’t her own. Given Kondaurova’s red hair, the moment was strongly reminiscent of Moira Shearer in “The Red Shoes”. Before falling lifeless in the center of the floor, she tossed her bouquet offstage and performed the series of partnered tour-jete/kicks with rebellion. Shishov’s disbelief at the turn of events was visible in his searching glances. When the curtain fell, one wanted to see it all over again.

‘Ballet Imperial’ crowned the evening with more classicism, if not as mysteriously as “La Valse’, then more lightheartedly and idyllically. Tatiana Tkachenko in the leading role bore more softness than previous performances, which, combined with her ever-present surety and attack made for a true ballerina. Igor Zelensky, her adoring partner, was princely perfect in every way, dismayed at her evasiveness, and entranced at her presence. Irina Golub danced the second soloist’s role in blue, but her performance was, unexpectedly, dimmed by Tkachenko’s stronger stage presence and polished delivery.

Mikhail Sinkevich conducted the nearly four-hour evening admirably.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 2:29 pm 
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Thanks for all of this, Catherine. So did Maxim Zuizin dance *both* the 3rd Theme (with Kondaurova) and the major role of Melancholic? I wonder how he coped in the finale, in which both of those 'roles' appear together on the stage? Quite a miraculous feat!

Thanks in advance for checking on the 2005 graduates. It's always interesting to know who made the cut. Some years only a couple of grads are taken into the company; other years, they take a boatload (almost 20 taken in 1999, for example).

fedora, so Dolmatova made the US tour? I need to check my corps list but it is very unusual that the most recent graduates be taken on foreign tours. They usually remain home &, in many cases, get chances to prove themselves in small (or even large) solo roles on the Mariinsky stage.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 2:38 pm 
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Last edited by fedora on Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 3:42 pm 
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I'll check because I care, fedora. Just consider me a Kirov Nut. Some people track baseball recruits...I track the prospects & progress of young Russian dancers. Have being doing so for over 25 years & my 'track record' is mighty fine, if I may boast a bit. :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 4:11 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 4:37 pm 
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Well, fedora, there were several nice blondes (& others) in the corps. When not dancing the Lilac Fairy, Esina danced in the corps. You may have noticed her...hard to not notice. She danced one of the black-tutued Ladies in Waiting in Act I when not dancing Lilac, for example.

In fact, I was amazed that so many coryphees and soloists were tasked with basic corps dancing during this tour, e.g., Kondaurova, S. Ivanova, Nekipelova. People who are 'stars' in some ballets are simply doing corps work. The same thing happened with the 'Corsaires' in DC, this past summer. Kondaurova & Iosifidi, both of whom dance soloist or even principal roles from time to time back home, danced nothing but corps de ballet in the DC 'Corsaire'. Absolutely amazing when one recalls that Kondaurova danced MEDORA (!!!) in St. Petersburg last year. From Medora to the front line of Jardin Anime? Mind boggling! They seem to 'drop' as quickly as they 'rise,' sometimes.

At least Kondaurova is maintaining her leading roles in the modern rep, as per Catherine's latest post. That makes perfect sense; Kondaurova is fantastic in Forsythes & Balanchines but , IMO, cringe-inducing as Lilac Fairy and Medora. [Kondaurova was the one who took over what was supposed to be Lopatkina's Lilac Fairy last December, when this production was revived. Boy, were lots of folks upset when, expecting Lopatkina to 'rise' from beneath the stage in the Prologue, it was Kondaurova who 'rose' instead. Surprise - surprise! And, as you see, she never was cast as Lilac on this tour even though she was present in the corps...the woman who danced the role at the revival, less than one year ago. ]


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 12:00 am 
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But Natalia, we know that behind each one of the corps assignments is a backstory. This cannot be discussed on this board, but we can discuss privately.

The lovely Ivanova was, in fact, so laden with corps de ballet work last summer that she could not avail herself of an offer to dance the Giselle pas de deux at the Hermitage theater.

Obviously Zuzin didn't dance both parts in Four T's -- or did he?

But the fact that someone who is IMO as dramatically bland as he -- yes he has a pretty face and body and is not a bad dancer -- actually made his debut as Melancholic a year ago demonstrates what is wrong with the company's current casting, in the Balanchine as well as everywhere else. Zuzin's ceaseless grinning in La Valse and Ballet Imperial strikes me as a more than a little inappropriate. La Valse becomes the high school prom and Ballet Imperial a West End revue ca. 1935.

Catherine, you don't mention that Zuzin also danced solos in La Valse and Ballet Imperial -- that's a tie with Merkuriev for dancing the most roles in a single evening.

Natalia, btw, is it not true that Principal Character Artist Islom Baimuradov not only did not do his customary Carabosse on the U.S. Beauty tour, but instead was in the act 1 ensemble at each performance?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 9:05 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 11:06 am 
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Wow! I step away for a minute and I miss a great discussion on this thread! Before I get to the questions/comments I wanted to post the list of 2005 recruitees from the Vaganova School. Seems like a larger number this year, based on NataliaN's comments:

Below is the Russian and the English (for browsers that can view both)

Иванникова Екатерина - Ekaterina Ivannikova
> Васнецова Дарья - Daria Vasnetsova
> Кожарская Любовь - Liubov Kozharskaya
> Далматова Евгения - Evgenia Dalmatova
> Лаврененко Анна - Anna Lavrenenko
> Бударина Дарья - Daria Budarina
>
> Ситников Иван - Ivan Sitnikov
> Зверев Константин - Konstantine Zverev
> Еремеев Максим - Maxim Eremeev
> Стёпин Филипп - Philipp Stepin
> Ермаков Андрей - Andrei Ermakov
> Ушаков Андрей - Andrei Ushakov
> Гусев Эдуард - Eduard Gusev
> Бикчурин Салих - Salikh Bikchurin

-To Fedora's post, Pavlenko is one of my favorites and yes, I think she's gorgeous! THere is something about the naivete and freshness in her dancing that is very appealing. She's not Lopatkina, but I like the fact that she..is NOT Lopatkina, she is herself. She's honest in her dancing somehow.

NataliaN and others -- I may be mistaken and am also confirming this with the press office, but Anton Korsakov was billed to dance Melancholic and was no where to be seen on stage Thursday evening. I am quite certain his replacement (not listed anywhere) was Zuizin, but I am not a Balanchine follower enough to have noticed the moment when the two would have been on stage together in the finale, so I cannot comment on who was in the second spot. I was too distracted by those popping grand jete lifts...

also to NN -- Kondaurova was back in the corps of Ballet Imperial IMMEDIATELY AFTER dancing the solo in La Valse. So this "process" (tradition?) continues here too (but I know you already knew that!) :0)
But I will respectfully disagree with your opinion of her Lilac Fairy. I too saw that performance here (or one of her Lilac Fairies, it may not have been the debut) in the past year and I was impressed. I will agree that if you're expecting Lopatkina, ANY replacement will be disappointing. But i thought that, insofar as general role delivery went, she was far superior to most Western dancers and a good choice within the Kirov company. But again, just my opinion. I think she does a better job than, say, Vostrotina or Esina would.

Ripowam - speaking of silly smiles, Vostrotina was one of the 3 girls in the Valse introductory section, and was smiling -- beaming-- throughout, which threw the entire mood off, and I personally found disturbing...Zuizin did not have one inappropriate grin in any of the pieces this evening and in fact was quite somber in his "courting" during the La Valse intro sections, cooler than usual (maybe just exhausted?!). To your point, I haven't ever seen him appear that much on a mixed bill before.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 11:39 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 9:29 am 
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fedora - Dolmatova did not make the US tour at all, so that 'mystery blonde' you saw in the corps could not have been she.

ripowam - Baimuradov did not dance what has become one of his signature roles, Carabosse on the US tour. I never spotted him in the corps (Garland Dance) in Act I & he has a very distinct features, when not wearing heavy makeup! He danced Birbanto in St Petersburg a time or two during the US tour which makes me think that he missed the entire US tour & his name was erroneously kept in the programmes?

Last but not least: THANK YOU, Catherine, for researching & confirming the list of '05 grads who entered the company! Thirteen is indeed a higher-than-average number. My only surprise is that Marina Chugai missed a spot but perhaps she went to the Maly troupe, which tends to hire the shorter ladies among the most excellent graduates...or, perhaps Chugai is still in the school. Some of the solos in the Graduation Galas are granted to the more extraordinary 'junior' and 'sophomore' students, e.g., Yana Selina danced a variation in Shades two full years before her own graduation.


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