CriticalDance Forum

Kirov 2005-2006 Season
Page 12 of 13

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Wed Apr 12, 2006 6:10 am ]
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Kirov Ballet
Mariinsky Theatre
St. Petersburg, Russia
April 4, 5 and 7, 2006 -- By Catherine Pawlick

In tandem with a Balanchine Trust film project on the Mariinsky stage that is aimed at capturing some of the Kirov’s finest in Balanchine’s “Jewels”, three performances of the ballet were offered this week with slightly different casts that depicted the range of emotions and dance styles housed within this three-part neoclassical masterpiece.

But before word is given to the performances themselves, acknowledgement and appreciation must be given to Zhanna Ayupova for her long-awaited return to the stage. Following a more than two-year absence, she danced the lead in "Emeralds" in all three performances.

Aptly cast in the gemstone section that alludes to the elegance and refinement of the French school, Ayupova danced fluidly, her warm grace filling the stage. Her presence is so enrapturing, it is difficult at times to even note the detailed choreography while she dances, but fortunately there were three opportunities to do so.

During her variation, Ayupova’s porcelain complexion and delicate features offered expression of various kinds, from shy gratitude to genuine joy, her every eyelash bat noticeable. Tempered with good taste, she completed the series of port de bras gestures in the variation, and the bourree turns en pointe – simple steps infused with expressive mastery that only a ballerina can offer. Accessibly human, Ayupova dances with all of herself, from inside. Even when depicting French classicism, she is ballet, classical ballet, Kirov-style, as it should be.

Likewise, her partnership with Denis Firsov (in each of the three performances) matched old-fashioned Kirov style across generations. Firsov’s relaxed arms and soft landings were conservative without being too light-weight. He managed to look at the audience as he lifted Ayupova overhead in the sweeping attitudes, lending her a sense of weightlessness, and underlining his own partnering expertise.

Sofia Gumerova danced the second soloist role on the first night. The joy in her variation was visible in a glowing smile that didn’t melt the coolness usually attributed to this green gemstone. Gumerova paired with Sergei Popov as the second couple, his partnering seamless, her legs endlessly elegant.

The following two nights, Daria Sukhoroukova replaced Gumerova along with Dmitrii Semionov. Their pas de deux was tinged with romance, and tenderness; if Semionov was serious, he was an attentive suitor and excellent partner, watching her as she danced beside him. Sukhoroukova always draws attention for her long, slim arms and legs. This variation put them on display, the length of her lines inferring the aristocracy of the French court in their richness and beauty. The one disappointment was in the choreographic rendition of this soloist’s variation, evident all three nights. The bourree entrance, followed by two steps into “B plus” in which the tendu leg “taps” the ground with the end of the pointe shoe have metamorphosed here into a step-plie, and sometimes simply a step tendu derriere –in either case without the tap-- that would disturb strict Balanchine adherents.

Ksenia Ostreikovskaya and Yana Selina danced alongside Vladimir Schklyarov in the Emeralds pas de trois on Tuesday night. Selina’s walks en pointe offered clocklike precision, her ear-to-ear grin depicting rapture; Ostreikovskaya shown as always for her refinement and reserve. Schklyarov shown in the jump section, as did Anton Korsakov, who danced the role both Wednesday and Friday nights. Korsakov especially took the opportunity to let loose in Balanchine’s choreography, an apparently welcome vehicle for his strong petit and grand allegro. He looked to be enjoying his time with the two ladies onstage as well, making for an even more personable pas de trois when he wasn’t busy voraciously consuming space onstage.

For “Rubies”, two casts were also presented. The first night offered Irma Nioradze in the leading role, followed by two nights of Irina Golub. All three performances featured Andrian Fadeev as the male soloist.

To this reviewer’s mind, Nioradze was an odd casting choice. Although in Russia Georgian roots alone are enough to deem one the spicy soubrette for all time, Nioradze at this point in her career doesn’t fit that prototype. In “Rubies” she acted well, but a strained look accompanied her throughout, reminding one that this was acting, and removing some of the believability factor. Her technique is only slightly behind Diana Vishneva’s – they share the same leg-whacking abilities to the front, although Nioradze’s arabesque and back are less flexible. The overall impression from a technical standpoint cannot be faulted, for the assymetrical formations in “Rubies”, the sharp edges, flexed feet and timing were all rendered appropriately. But some of the honest energy and vibrancy that should be given to “Rubies” was absent here.

In contrast, Irina Golub’s two performances lent a fresh innocence and unquestionable enthusiasm to the role. Golub danced even with her eyes, flirting with the audience as much as Vishneva has in her signature interpretation. Golub’s youth is a clear asset in this playful piece. She reminded one that Rubies is about fun, charm and flirtation, and that these qualities can be portrayed onstage by skilled actresses, no matter what their personal everyday demeanor may be.

Andrian Fadeev deserves more than praise for his consistency in all three performances. His boyish romp offered high energy throughout the dance. His was a game of “get the girl”, especially with Golub, chasing her and having serious fun while doing so. Despite the musical chair partnerships, he never failed to make his partners shine.

Maya Dumchenko danced second soloist role alongside Nioradze and, while accurate, was also a bit subdued emotionally for the heat of “Rubies”. Sofia Gumerova danced this role in the last two performances, slightly more sultry than her predecessor, and admirably managing the challenging series of penchees in pointe shoes.

For “Diamonds”, depending on the interpretation you prefer, there is a ballerina at the Mariinsky Theatre who can offer it. The two most recent interpretations of this final crown in the triple gem triptych offer two very different versions of the masterpiece.

Characterized by choreographical harmony and a dramatic andante in the pas de deux, “Diamonds” is Balanchine’s tribute to Russian classical ballet. If you could lend personality, sound, and feeling to these three gemstones, Balanchine managed to do so. It is fitting then, in many ways, that “Diamonds” closes the evening whenever “Jewels” is performed, acting as a silent tribute to his homeland that will no doubt continue to outlive the great choreographer for years to come.

In all three performances this week, Uliana Lopatkina danced the lead in “Diamonds”, and her interpretation can be summarized in one word: perfection.

When Lopatkina dances, what one sees is not the Balanchine school but the Imperial Russian school: everything is planned, prepared, precise. Risky off-balance turns and unexpected hip shifts are not to be found. The daringness of some of Balanchine’s finest ballerinas is not present here, but Russian school perfectionism is. And yet, her performance is never less than enthralling. In fact, it grew in warmth and grandeur, culminating in moments of exhilaration that crowned the celebratory finale. One had the distinct impression that she was an Imperial empress surrounded by her court, as off-white tutus and white gloves moved in unison behind her.

Abandonment is more Daria Pavlenko’s approach. She danced this role for Igor Zelensky’s Gala performance and again at the close of the Mariinsky Festival last month. Her interpretation, while not adhering to Lopatkina’s carefully planned tactic, is dressed with the same freedom encompassed in the “go-ahead-and-fall” attack method that Balanchine embraced and encouraged among his own ballerinas. Depending on whether one prefers perfection or a more human, unrestrained approach, both can be found among the company’s current roster.

Remarkable is the fact that the company spent five hours per day filming the ballet before the curtain opened each night this week, at which point the dancers then repeated everything for the audience. This is no small test of the troupe’s energy and stamina, and they met the challenge with vigor. While one wishes some of the more sweeping moments were done with even more abandon, it is a challenge to instill such an approach in those who have been bathed in Petipa since their ballet beginnings. The result is a Mariinsky interpretation of Balanchine’s “Jewels”, which doesn’t reiterate New York City Ballet, for it is Russian in every sense of the word.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sat Apr 15, 2006 8:13 am ]
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‘Apollo’, ‘La Valse’, ‘Serenade’
Kirov Ballet
By Catherine Pawlick

April 12, 2006 – Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia

An all-Balanchine evening opened St. Petersburg eyes again to the genius of the choreographer’s varied work styles on Wednesday night, as the Kirov danced three short ballets to a full house in exemplary fashion.

In “Apollo”, Viktoria Tereshkina, Nadezhda Gonchar and Yana Serebriakova danced the three muses alongside Igor Zelensky’s young sun god. Sleek in their smooth white tunic leotards, the women managed to depict their different gifts with clean technique and accuracy.

As Calliope, Gonchar’s enthusiasm was a delight to watch, her chiseled arches drawing attention throughout the dance. In similar fashion, Yana Serebriakova’s lines were beautiful to regard as she moved through Polygimnia’s variation. The one disappointment was the finger held to her mouth. Due to the position of her hand, it looked as if she was pointing to her nose, and thus continuously distracted from the dance, an unfortunate circumstance given this dancer’s beauty.

As Terpsichore, Tereshkina danced vibrantly, from the beginning of the scooping leg movements in her variation through to the playful pas de deux with Apollo. Of the three she has the keenest sense of Balanchine technique, unafraid of the hip-directed leg movements, easily meeting the challenges of flexibility demanded in this role. In her brief dance with Apollo, as he lowered her into the splits and picked her up again into releve arabesque, the overall sense was one of playful fun, a young God enjoying his time with the muse of movement.

Balanchine’s step economy becomes especially apparent in this ballet, for the flexed feet and turned-in lines are unexpected at places, and there is no room for adjustment. This demands precision from the dancers, which is one element that the Mariinsky ladies have mastered. Some of the intricate pas de quatre work could quickly become disastrous if one dancer’s timing was slightly off, but luckily nothing of the sort has happened in this ballet at the Kirov thus far.

The initial birth scene in the full version of “Apollo” was absent here, and thus the closing was also void of the climb onto the upstage pedestal, instead closing with the even more effective “sun arabesque”: golden light bathing Apollo and his three muses from the wings as the ladies’ legs created the “rays” of sun behind him. It seemed fitting, as the curtain closed, that it was Zelensky in this role, flanked by three slim Kirov beauties.

The second ballet of the evening, “La Valse”, is a favorite for its hauntingly beautiful score. Here Uliana Lopatkina danced with Ilya Kuznetsov until she was unexpectedly interrupted by Death’s calling, danced by Soslan Kulaiev.

Lopatkina’s own beauty and grace are evident from her first entrance. As with every other performance, here too Lopatkina gave the ballet a story. Dressed in a floor length white tulle gown with matching white gloves, her dance with Kuznetsov was one of a young girl, ecstatic at her chance to attend the ball. Her initial mime to him, one hand on her hip, the other above, was a polite suggestion, ‘shall we dance?’ Upon joining the twirling crowds, one could have easily mistaken her for Cinderella living out her dream on the dance floor.

She gave meaning even to the interlude with Death. As Kuliaev directed her movements from upstage, she seemed hypnotized at first, and unaware of what was pulling her backwards. Then, facing him, she watched, wide-eyed, as her own arms moved themselves into the black gloves held out for her, as if the limbs were no longer under her own command, emphasizing the loss of control over her actions and her Fate. These details are the genius of Lopatkina’s art, and the unique approach that sets her apart from all others.

Kuznetsov’s pleas for help were (of course and according to the libretto) unheard when the finale’s almost sick parade of indulgence began. As the elegantly dressed, twirling couples ignored him, their indifference to this pair’s unfortunate plight underlined the strength of the majority at the expense of the individual. Why, after all, should a sudden, unexpected and inexplicable death interrupt the gaiety at this richly festive occasion? The idea offers room for contemplation in its possible interpretations.

The final ballet of the evening, “Serenade”, might be deemed a gift to God as well as to humanity, so ethereal is Tchaikovsky’s music here, and so breathtaking the initially simple choreographic structures that build upon themselves in the course of ballet.

Ksenia Ostreikovskaya and Denis Firsov paired together as one soloist couple, and Maya Dumchenko and Sofia Gumerova formed a trio with Ilya Kuznetsov for the black angel sequence as well as those that lead up to it.

Ostreikovskaya and Firsov danced the waltz, skimming the floor in circles to this section of glorious musical composition. Ostreikovskaya seems to be a Serenade ballerina in her innate classicism. Just as she is often cast as the solo white swan in “Swan Lake”, so nothing is more appropriate than finding her here in Balanchine’s sweeping waltzes and space consuming steps. Likewise Firsov has an aura of old school classicism about him that makes him a perfect match for her in partnering sequences.

Dumchenko’s accuracy and wide smile were dimmed only slightly by her fragile appearance, which weakened what would be an otherwise strong impression of her dancing.

In the pas de trois with Kuznetsov, Ostreikovskaya was the fallen girl, and Gumerova the ‘black angel’ who walked behind him, shielding his eyes from her. During the moment in which the girls both tug on the single male, Gumerova and Ostreikovskaya alternately turned towards Kuznetsov in a gesture of warmth, hugging him.

At the ballet’s end Ostreikovskaya was held aloft and carried, face first, towards the stream of light from the uppermost wing, as if being carried forth to heaven. Despite Balanchine’s denials of symbolism, storyline or meaning, it seems all of these can be found in “Serenade” when one stops to consider the possibilities. It was Balanchine’s first production in the United States, and its enigmatic quality lends it a timelessness that points only to the choreographer’s brilliance.

Mikhail Agrest conducted the evening.

Author:  Azulynn [ Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:48 am ]
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Another update of the website, as Catherine stated for Ondine.
In May, Daria Pavlenko will return to Swan Lake with Danila Korsuntsev - well, she's really back on stage and that's really good news, for she's such an exceptional Odette/Odile.
Also : Diana Vishneva gets a Giselle with Igor Kolb, Elena Vostrotina and Olga Yesina will have another go at Swan Lake.

Author:  fedora [ Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:18 am ]
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Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:49 am ]
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Kirov Ballet
By Catherine Pawlick

April 23, 2006 – Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg

A crisp, cool sunny Russian Orthodox Easter morning was spent in various ways in St. Petersburg today, where many a mother and child opted to attend the matinee performance of “Giselle” at the Mariinsky Theatre. Featuring Vladimir Shklyarov in his debut as Albrecht alongside Olesya Novikova’s well-developed rendition of Giselle, the performance was a tribute to the growing professionalism of two of the company’s youngest stars.

Despite her young age, Novikova is blessed with a gracious manner that found expression in the character of Giselle. Through ample use of her eyes and arm gestures, her Giselle was shy and reserved, but quickly entranced with Albrecht’s unexpected proclamation of love. She opted for an older, romantic port de bras in many of the initial sequences, a low demi seconde that at some moments wasn’t even quite completed. During the dances of the First Act, Novikova used every pause between phrases to gaze longingly at her new beau until the last moment possible, reaching for him repeatedly with a smile. This emphasized her musicality, but also her ability to begin each variation without grand preparation. (Novikova can begin nearly any step combination at a moment’s notice and complete it flawlessly). The minor nuances of this physical “dialogue” between Giselle and Albrecht made the performance her own. Likewise, during the long “wheel” of balances in which Albrecht and Giselle wave to each other from opposite ends, her second wave became a weak-feeling hand to her heart, the character’s fatigue from merriment already apparent.

From his first appearance on stage, Shklyarov was an impatient young prince, visibly younger than his royal aide, who he waved away quickly, eager to begin his game with Giselle. His acting was neither over nor underdone, rather straight by the book – nothing risqué or extreme to criticize. . When Giselle’s mother entered the scene, he bowed to her with the utmost respect, and his dancing interludes with Giselle appeared filled with genuine interest towards the young peasant girl. One had the impression he was a good-looking royal boy out to have a good time, unaware of the consequences, and, at first, unconcerned as well. Shklyarov’s strength in jumps is not news, and this ballet offers ample opportunity to demonstrate it. The only complaint was a strange spread hand in his sissone arabesques that distracted from the line.

Used to other castings, it was a pleasant surprise to find Islam Baimuradov dancing the role of Hilarion, or Hans as he is called here, in this performance. Baimuradov is a superb actor whose thoughts and expressions are always clearly mimed. One has no difficulty understanding his characters, no matter what the genre, and he did this role more justice than it often receives. After finding Giselle and Albrecht dancing together, Baimuradov stood downstage, his back to them, so that they would encounter him before he approached. He then asked Giselle what was going on and she repeatedly attempted to disengage from the brewing conflict. His role in revealing the truth was performed with the utmost sincerity. He is truly one of the Kirov’s treasures.

Again later, Baimuradov’s excellent acting was a smooth segway into the mad scene. When Hans produced the cape and sword belonging to Albrecht, Novikova’s eyes remained only on Shklyarov, a smile spread across her face, too deeply entranced to allow the new facts to register. She reached for him, extending her arm, paying no attention to the revelation that was occurring. But once Hans/Baimuradov blew the horn to call the hunt, her hands began to shake in front of her short peasant skirt as she watched Shklyarov kiss Bathilde’s wrist, the smile quickly disappearing from her face.

From there, Novikova’s fall into madness was slow, at first miming past sequences from memory at warp speed, stunned by the turn of events. The sense of her emotions was more one of disbelief and shock than insanity. But by the time she reached for her mother during the final notes, one had the distinct impression that she was already gone, unable to accept the reality of the present. Her collapse, mid-air in Shklyarov’s arms was met by equal disbelief all around, with Albrecht running from the scene moments later as the curtain closed.

Honorable mention goes to Grigorii Popov for his debut in the Peasant Pas de Deux alongside Yulia Kasenkova. Kasenkova appeared nervous at points, but danced reliably. Popov’s old-fashioned lines, and strong double- and triple- beats in almost every airborne jump attested to his strength in allegro variations. Their partnering showed signs of being well-rehearsed, including successful endings to the difficult pirouette that ends with the pair hooking elbows while she is still en pointe.

Undoubtedly the highlight of the Second Act was Ekaterina Kondaurova as Myrtha. Here, excessive extensions were not to be found, but rather a carefully executed, cleanly danced role. Her natural beauty projects well on stage, which, when combined with her amazing natural facility, makes for a perfect spectacle. Her spine remained straight in every pas de couru jete en avant, and in not one moment did she falter. She was flanked by Tatiana Tkachenko and Nadezhda Gonchar as Moyna and Zulma, both of whom danced with equal strength and accuracy.

As a wilis, Novikova embraced a quicker tempo for most of her sequences, giving the impression of a ghost out of control. Her frail frame lends itself well to this role, providing the impression of weightlessness throughout. She drew applause for the entrechat quatre passé sauté sequence that moves upstage, which she performed with high elevation and a spurt of energy. And in the series of slow arabesques that skim across the floor, neither she nor Shklyarov were amiss. For his part, Shklyarov’s cabriole devant is stunning and clean; his brise diagonale was adequate, but he has the ability to give more to that step. Throughout, he partnered Novikova attentively. Towards the end of Albrecht’s trial-by-wilis-fire, recalling their connection in the previous life, Novikova looked deeply into Shklyarov’s eyes and for a brief moment she became human again. One was touched by the poignant ending, a testament to the dramatic strengths of both performers this afternoon.

Valeri Obsyanikov conducted.

Author:  fedora [ Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:02 am ]
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Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:23 am ]
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You're welcome! I'm glad you enjoy the reviews :-)

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:52 am ]
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Baimuradov is a superb actor whose thoughts and expressions are always clearly mimed. One has no difficulty understanding his characters, no matter what the genre,

Hear, Hear, to that Catherine. Everything this artist does fills me with admiration and his list of roles is so diverse. I would love to see him as Hans but It's years since the Kirov brought Giselle to London.

Author:  Cygne [ Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:15 pm ]
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Cassandra wrote:
. . . It's years since the Kirov brought Giselle to London.

The 1988 Summer tour is the last time they brought it to London. Incomparable casts . . . Giselle & Albrecht - Asylmuratova & Zaklinsky, Yevteyeva (also with Zaklinsky), and Mezentseva too. There were soloists to choose from such as Elena Pankova, Olga Likhovkaya, Irina Sitnikova and Margarita Kullik alternating Moyna and Zulma, and Irina Tchyistyakova and Sergei Vikharev in the Peasant pdd. . . And last but not least, none other than the magnificent Terekhova danced Myrtha - :shock: :!: 5 stars all the way. . .

Author:  fedora [ Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:16 pm ]
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Author:  ripowam [ Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:08 am ]
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Both Kondaurova and Sarafanov were tied for the honor of best dancer at the Benois awards. Kondauraova shares her award with Korea's Kim Ju-Won, and Sarafanov shares his with China's Wan Di.

Author:  fedora [ Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:58 am ]
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:14 am ]
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A new prince at the Mariinsky
By Kevin Ng for the St. Petersburg Times

Last Sunday, the performance of “Giselle” at the Mariinsky Theater starred two of the most promising up-and-coming Mariinsky Ballet dancers both in their early twenties, in the lead roles. Olesia Novikova, who was prominently cast in the Mariinsky International Ballet Festival last month, danced the title ballerina role. Her lover Albrecht was danced by the talented 21-year-old dancer Vladimir Shklyarov, who was actually making his debut in this role.

click for more

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Fri Apr 28, 2006 4:02 am ]
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Kirov Ballet
By Catherine Pawlick

April 26, 2006 – Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg

The forgotten daughter of the Mariinsky, Daria Pavlenko, returned to the stage on Wednesday night to share with us her sublime gifts in “Giselle”, after a regrettable five-year absence from the role.

Of the same graduating class as Veronica Part, who is still currently a soloist at ABT, and (only for the last few years at the Vaganova School) Svetlana Zakharova, still enjoying success at the Bolshoi, Pavlenko is often overlooked in favor of larger “name” dancers. As such, her staying power amidst these departures means something. Pavlenko is in many ways a symbol of the Kirov’s future: she is the youngest principal female dancer on the roster, left mostly to fend for herself amidst the publicity of Vishneva, the perfection of Lopatkina, and a list of younger dancers with Guillem-mode high extensions aching to rise higher within the ranks themselves.

That is to say, that Pavlenko’s aura is of a third sort, a sort that audiences have not been given full chance to absorb yet. For Pavlenko, now recovered from a brief hiatus last fall for an injured knee, is nonetheless repeatedly withheld from casting even when not injured.

Last May she danced the final performance of “Manon” (before the theater’s contract with Lady MacMillan expired) with Nikolai Tsiskaridze. She danced Nikiya in “Bayadere” last September. And we did not see her again until she appeared onstage as Lilac Fairy to Alina Cojocaru’s Aurora in late March, followed by two performances of “Diamonds” earlier this month. For a principal dancer, three performances in a four-month (injury-free) period is disappointingly low.

But she has returned, and the results are no less than wonderful.

Neither particularly old-school Petipa in style (her dancing is not analytical; she does not rehearse details as Lopatkina does), nor fiery and dramatic like Vishneva (one can see her easily in the temperament of a white swan), Pavlenko’s presence on stage is in many ways the happy medium missing among the ranks in today’s Kirov. She is human onstage, full of feeling and tangibility. Not a diva, not an unreachable deity or image of perfection, but a character. She is the ballerina in “Diamonds”, creating a story onstage with her partner. She is the beauty at the ball, ecstatic at her chance to sweep across the stage in “La Valse”. And, in “Giselle”, she is the young peasant girl, enraptured by the unexpected attentions of a young peasant (so we think) boy.

Pavlenko is fallible, but this is in fact a great strength of hers. She brings the dance closer to each audience member through feeling and emotion, through the same fallibility that other ballerinas eschew in favor of the unattainable. Her drama is clear: she dances the choreography as she acts the role, without changing the essence of either. Thus, with Pavlenko, one would not expect to see a feisty, moody Giselle, or a cool, withdrawn, careful one. She is just a girl who has fallen in love with a boy. And her simplicity carries the libretto forward without accoutrement or distraction. Some would say this is boring. In fact, it is genius that such a direct, unadulterated interpretation can be found among the gymnastics and hysterics that increasingly represent the ballet world.

From her first entrance in Act One, Pavlenko danced the role of an innocent, pure, sensitive Giselle. Her facial expressions alone were enough to clarify the mime sequences, so expressive was she in her delivery, but without overacting. Ilya Kuznetsov as Albrecht was the handsome, happy suitor, his eye consistently on the prize, intent on winning Giselle’s affections. After their first meeting, Pavlenko drew a hand to her heart with a brief sigh and glance outward, overcome with joy at his interest in her. As she counted the daisy petals, her head motions were complete explanations of her mime (this, where other Giselles may not nod or shake their heads fully, which can fog the audience’s understanding of a significant exchange between the characters: the first sign of Albrecht’s insincerity).

During the peasant celebrations in Act One, several dancing moments drew attention for their technical expertise. Here Pavlenko floated in each arabesque as if it were an everyday motion, but also ethereally, as if a harbinger of what was to come. Her variation included a ronds en l’air (from devant through a la seconde to derriere) instead of the passé developpe to arabesque. She finished the assemble pique turns smoothly, and all of the hops en pointe without difficulty. And in the dances en masse, when Giselle performs chaine turns to passé, she stopped on a dime before being lifted, perfectly placed.

Pavlenko’s first surprise embrace of her onstage Mother, danced by Natalia Sveshnikova, was poignant, filled with love and joy. One senses that Pavlenko does not act, for she is too sincere a dancer to be false – she simply becomes the character, and is believable in each gesture and step. Given her personal history (she lost both parents when she was very young), this role takes on deeper meaning for her especially.

In dealing with Hans, danced admirably by Dmitri Pikhachev, at first Pavlenko’s Giselle assumed responsibility for their communications, waving Albrecht aside. Then, prior to the revelation of her beau’s betrayal, she sought refuge in her mother’s arms.

Pavlenko’s mad scene was heartrending. Her eyes became wide with fear and disbelief as she recalled her first encounter with Albrecht. When she mimed his gesture of sworn love, shock filled her entire being. She then frantically grabbed the daisies from thin air, suddenly became self-conscious, and ran unknowingly into the sword. From there, the descent was slow, but clear as she viewed beings from the other life in front of her. Her dash to her mother was again genuine, but she didn’t even reach Albrecht’s arms, she fell through them, limply, onto the floor before he had even caught her.

Elena Vostrotina opened the Second Act as Myrtha. While mostly accurate, musically her rendition of the role was not as strong as Kondaurova’s last week. Tatiana Tkachenko and Yana Serebriakova were Moyna and Zulma, and danced their variations with the pristine coolness requisite of these roles.

In this Act, Pavlenko’s sylph-like specter was photo worthy. Her mad spinning was swift but never frantic, her penche in the main adagio slow and faultless. During the pas de deux, her arabesques lusciously filled the stage with help from Kuznetsov’s velvet-touch partnering. Her pleas to Myrtha to save Albrecht -- minor pauses in the dance that can go unnoticed if they become too “pose”-like – indicated Giselle as more than simply figment of the imagination. Indeed, Pavlenko’s Giselle flits between two worlds: now an unattainable, airy apparition, now the warm spirit of a young girl, alive in every way.

In this performance, Daria Pavlenko proved that even a five year pause cannot dim her inner light, which dances on despite various obstacles. Humanistic, sensitive, warm, believable, and real – these are only a few adjectives that capture her dancing. May we have many more opportunities to see her onstage in the near future.

Mikhail Agrest conducted.[/i]

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sat Apr 29, 2006 3:59 am ]
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Could someone maybe ask her if there is any chance that Zhana
Ayupova's "Sleeping Beauty" seen on the "Sacred Stage" video will be
released for sale.

If not, will she Please! lobby for it the next time she visits the

Best wishes, Buddy Kahn

Hi Buddy,
Thank you for your email submission. I am responding here so that others are also privy to this.
I too am a great fan of Ayupova, and I haven't heard anything about the Ayupova Beauty being released on video. The footage for Sacred Stage was recorded over three years ago by a Western (I believe British) filming company. I don't know if they filmed the entire ballet (it is possible they did not), and if so, if they have or kept the original footage. I'm not aware of who handles external filming contracts within the theatre (it just isn't something I deal with on a daily basis here). But the next time I speak with Vasiev, I will ask for you!


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