CriticalDance Forum

14th International "Stars of the White Nights" Fes
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Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Thu Nov 10, 2005 3:01 am ]
Post subject:  14th International "Stars of the White Nights" Fes

To take place at the Mariinsky Theatre May 10 - July 19, 2006. Repertoire will be posted here once received from the press office.

The official press release:

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Thu May 04, 2006 10:26 am ]
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Bumping this up to prepare us all for the festival! :-)

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Fri May 05, 2006 10:54 am ]
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As mentioned in the other thread, as part of the White Nights Festival, Noah Gelber is choreographing the new "Golden Age" ballet, set to music by Shostakovich (as part of this year's ongoing tribute to the great composer). The full length, two and a half hour ballet will premiere at the Mariinsky on June 28, and will then tour to London in late July with the company. Maestro Gergiev may be conducting one of the premieres.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat May 06, 2006 3:25 am ]
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Catherine interviewed Noah Gelber for "Ballet-Dance Magazine" abiut his first work for the Mariinsky, "The Overcoat".

This section about the Company and his relationship with the dancers is SO interesting I felt it worth copying here:

“The dancers of the Mariinsky Theatre have an unbelievable work schedule, unlike anything I have witnessed before. I have never, in all my years of experience working with 25 international ballet companies, encountered a company that has a more varied repertoire in such a condensed amount of time. It is virtually impossible to rehearse so many ballets simultaneously. And yet they maintain this schedule, and still bring in new repertoire. And in spite of their interminable rehearsal days, they still make the magic happen on stage, every night. They are miracle workers. That is why my heart lies with them. That is why I feel such a strong bond to them. They have taught me, reminded me without any iota of doubt, why we are dancers, and why we do what we do. I understand and I see the amount of work and responsibility that they have, I see the sacrifices they make every single day without pause. It’s an amazing, unflinching dedication which stems directly and genuinely from the depths of their souls, their love of their art, and everything they can bring to their stage performances. They’re onstage, giving all and bringing it forward tirelessly, every single night. That is just phenomenal, in my eyes.

“My primary wish is for the dancers to enjoy this experience with me, to enjoy performing my ballet. I offer this very much as – if I am allowed to say this - a gift to them… if I may dare to assume myself in the position of someone who can give such a legendary institution’s dancers a gift. I don’t claim to be thusly empowered, but I do intend this process as a loving gift to them. I want “The Overcoat” to be something they will appreciate, and remember with fondness. I hope they will have personal satisfaction and pleasure in dancing it. That is truly what means the most to me.”

Here is the link to the full article: ... v2006.html

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sat May 06, 2006 8:10 am ]
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Thanks Stuart!

I spoke to Mr. Gelber about this project as well -- it is a much larger undertaking than "Shinell" (the Russian word for "Overcoat") was. With "The Overcoat" he had 5 months to prepare and research the music, the story, and plan for his work choreographing before he even began in the studio. This time there is none of that: he has only two and a half months to choreograph the entire ballet, which will feature almost the entire company, and certainly more than the ten or so dancers cast in "The Overcoat". So number-wise and time-wise this is gigantic. To say nothing of tackling Shostakovich's complex score!

(Edited to add: the rumors that the ballet is a vehicle for any one specific dancer are untrue).

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun May 14, 2006 4:25 am ]
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Incidentally, as other web sites have mentioned the casting for "Golden Age", I will confirm that Pavlenko, Tereshkina and Golub are rehearsing the leading role of Sofia, next to Sasha Sergeev, Misha Lobukhin and Artyem Yachmennikov for the role of Alexander.

On a related note, Yachmennikov has only recently returned to the stage after six months off for some painful heel spurs. Although he has had walk-on roles in Giselle and other ballets since April, his first dancing performance took place Friday night when he appeared in the White Nights Festival's opening ballet, which I review below.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun May 14, 2006 4:26 am ]
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Stars of the White Nights Festival
Opening Night, ‘Swan Lake’
Kirov Ballet
May 12, 2006

Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg -- By Catherine Pawlick

As the opening of the annual ballet season at the Mariinsky is structured, so followed suit the opening of the 14th annual Stars of the White Nights Festival, with ‘Swan Lake’, the most classical of classical ballets, leading the way. Aside from the sheer pleasure involved in attending a festival opening at the Mariinsky Theatre – and this one the last to be held inside these walls before the building closes for renovation over New Year’s – there was also the delight of a performance suffused with genuine, old-fashioned Kirov style.

Even more pleasing it was for the unanticipated, though not surprising source of this traditionalism. Sofia Gumerova paired with Igor Kolb, as Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried, respectively, and delivered a textbook-ideal performance. Both polished performers in their own rights, these two dancers were as close to technically perfect as one can find across the world’s stages today.

Gumerova’s success in this role comes on the wings of Diana Vishneva’s controversial rendition, and both at a time of what some might consider a crisis within the theatre. Depending on the conversation partner in question, the argument that the old Kirov style is disappearing in favor of on-stage gymnastics may be heard. On Friday night Gumerova proved that she is one of the few still supporting the classics as they should be performed.

One could gaze at Gumerova’s impossibly beautiful legs for the entirety of an evening and miss much of the drama. In fact it was a challenge not to do so. Strangely, it was in fact technique, and not drama, that carried her through much of the ‘white act’. Her usual refinement and grace were met with additional decorum in her approach to Odette. Here no inappropriate battements or port de bras were to be found. Everything was done to the book, only slightly faster. If she isn’t an adagio dancer, (at just over 5’8”, Gumerova is among the taller crop of Kirov ballerinas, and typically taller dancers lend themselves more easily to adagio movements and tempi) she at least managed one long, sustained, arabesque releve, a signature step in this role. She apparently prefers a faster tempo throughout – hers is not a languorous Odette -- beginning many phrases ahead of the music in Act One. Quick and flighty, she reveled in every opportunity for batterie it seems, delivering the entrechat quatre sauté-retire passé sauté sequence with diamond-like sharpness and just as much brilliance. Her Odette was cool, reserved, frightened and, yes, quick.

Still only a soloist, Gumerova has danced this role before, but this performance left a lasting impression. And even more strangely, she came into her own most strongly in the ‘black act’, when, as Odile, she danced as a true predator, not only of Sigfried but of the choreography itself. She tackled the Black Swan pas de deux and variation with shark-like attack. Precise in footwork and seductive in glance, a sense of self-assurance overcame her in this section, revealing the most brilliant of her dancing. Conductor Mikhail Agrest caught up with her tempo in this act, where she managed all 32 fouettes, performing a single-single-double sequence for the initial 16 counts and finishing on time. Gumerova’s shift to pedagog Elena Evteeva must have influenced this performance. In any case, the results are spectacular.

Whenever Kolb dances, the competition for most beautiful legs and feet inevitably begins, for Kolb’s almost inhuman balletic facility is incomparable among the other male principals in the company. With arched feet and chiseled legs, even his initial attitude pirouettes and every subsequent releve arabesque capture one’s attention. Here he did double duty as prince and partner, reliably supporting Gumerova throughout and still dazzling in his solo sequences and jumps. Moreover, he acted the moody prince quite effectively. His Siegfried was in search of that undefineable something that he just might find when he takes the crossbow to the lake. Lucky for him, he does.

As the Jester, Grigorii Popov once again proved himself worthy of the role, carrying forth the drama in the first act, and executing clean, high jumps at every turn. The first act Pas de Trois featured ballon- infused Vasili Scherbakov accompanying Ekaterina Osmolkina and Irina Golub. This trio performed the dance in total unison, their arabesque legs matching in both height and timing, Golub solid and strong in her cabriole sautés, and Osmolkina sparkling in the rose-dance with the Jester.

In the second act’s national dances, Alexander Sergeev (not typically cast in this role) and Elena Bazhenova drew attention for their spicy Spanish dance. Artyem Yachmennikov, recently returned to the stage after a six-month injury hiatus, danced together with Polina Rassadina’ in the Hungarian dance. The couple's precision and energy made for an electric and exciting performance. Yana Selina and Alexei Nedvega enthusiastically led the Neopolitan dance.

As Rothbart, Dmitrii Semionov deserves accolades for his dart-like jetes and evil stare. His allegro continues to be of the grandest scale. One awaits the day that he too will dance Siegfried. He seems ready.

The corps de ballet, looking its pristine, uniform best, nearly distracted from the main action of the libretto throughout. Again, only at the Mariinsky.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun May 14, 2006 5:17 am ]
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All-Shostakovich Program
‘The Overcoat’, ‘Young Girl and the Hooligan’, ‘Leningrad Symphony’
Kirov Ballet
May 13, 2006

Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg --By Catherine Pawlick

In an afternoon dedicated to what would be the 100th birthday of Dmitrii Shostakovich and as part of a year-long focus on his musical compositions, the Kirov Ballet offered three short ballets set to the great composer’s scores.

The second premiere of Noah Gelber’s “The Overcoat” (it debuted in March at the International Mariinsky Festival) set a somber tone for the afternoon, as the characters from Gogol’s dark novel danced their way through Akaki Akakievich’s tragic story. As Akakii, Anton Pimenov proved his deep dramatic talents and flexible movement style.

Grigorii Popov, who dazzled as the Jester in last night’s “Swan Lake”, found another vehicle for his expert pyrotechnices in the variation as the deliverer of the war letter.

Alexei Nedvega, a corps member who always manages to stand out from the crowd, here danced superbly as the purveyor of the invitation to the ball.

As the Girl, Svetlana Ivanova was a shining ray of pure innocence and sheer beauty, her every gesture towards the hero made with gentleness and hesitancy, her long, slim legs beautiful to behold.

Despite conductor Pavel Bubelnikov’s apparently independent decision to considerably lower the tempo throughout the ballet, Pimenov and the other dancers managed well. Unfortunately the altered tempo made the libretto’s progression and some scene changes seem longer than they should have been.

“The Young Girl and the Hooligan” is a purely Russian ballet that is, to the best of this reviewer’s knowledge, rarely if ever performed outside Russia. The basic story of a Young Girl pursued by a cool, tough street Hooligan in the early 1920’s is depicted through Konstantine Boyarsky’s choreography and Alexander Belinski’s film-based libretto. The dancers are clothed in accordance with the time period, and dance to simple scenery (images), such as a park bench or café tables, projected onto the upstage scrim.

Daria Sukhoroukova debuted in this performance as the Young Girl. Dressed in a pale blue knee-length sailor-type dress and pointe shoes, she entered the stage uncertainly, clearly depicting the young, innocent, inexperienced lady. The Hooligan, Ilya Kuznetsov, danced in casual pants, T-shirt and messenger cap, and was determined to win her heart, but apparently his rough and tumble ways frighten more than attract her. A brief scene in a nightclub featured Tatiana Tkachenko as the girlfriend of the untouchable Leader, dressed in black with a white silk scarf, danced proudly by Sergei Popov. Kuznetsov showed all the frustration of a tough guy incapable of expressing his feelings in an appropriate manner. His attempts to attract the Girl’s attention are unwelcome. Finally, however, during a brief pas de deux in the park which displayed Sukhoroukova’s lovely legs and exquisite port de bras, and Kuznetsov’s strength and acting ability, the couple communicate on the same level, both expressing joy at their mutual understanding. The Hooligan steals a kiss, is slapped, and then hits the Girl, resulting in her ultimate departure.

The rest of the plot offered more dramatic opportunity for the dancers than hardcore dancing time. After some rough behavior with the Leader’s girlfriend in a night club, the Hooligan’s fate is sealed. The Leader appears in the park along with a group of men in jumpsuits who look as if they’ve come from a car shop or factory. They attack, and the Leader stabs the Hooligan. The Girl enters after the Hooligan has been stabbed, and there is a brief pas de deux in which she willingly kisses the Hooligan, a small gift of joy just before his death.

“Young Girl and the Hooligan” is to the Mariinsky what a ballet such as “Filling Station” is to San Francisco Ballet – a historical part of the company’s past, a short, colorful ballet, presented almost in Broadway-like manner, and engrossing both visually and in theme. It a pity “Hooligan” isn’t performed more frequently on this stage, as it offers serious dramatic opportunity for all involved, and is a bright alternative for those seeking something other than traditional classical ballet.

The final ballet of the afternoon, “Leningrad Symphony”, was performed as it usually is, just after May 9, in honor of Victory Day. Thus, this year once more ode was paid to the millions of Russians who died during World War II, and the great toll it took on the country’s continually declining population. The leading roles were danced movingly by Daria Pavlenko and Dmitrii Semionov.

The mixture of costumes, music and choreography in “Leningrad Symphony” makes a bone-chilling impression of the horrors of war, which are depicted mostly symbolically in Igor Belsky’s effective 1961 creation. Girls in simple white dresses meet their boyfriends and dance together before the men are called to war. The image of gunfire is projected on the back scrim as a battle scene between Germans (clothed in brown fatigues and army boots) and Russians (the same boys, only shirtless) ensues. The image of prisoners of war is made as the Russian boys slowly climb an upstage ramp, their heads hung low in despair, arms crossed and entertwined as if in chains. They stand briefly before falling backwards, presumably to their deaths, and out of view.

Semionov, already noted for his strong jumps, classical line and high potential, here led the group of young Russian men going to battle. His long legs and powerful allegro was a perfect match for the role of the leader of undefiable Russian youth. As the last Russian standing, he fended off the last German in a final battle of strength. Belsky’s ingenious choreography avoids obvious props such as guns, instead using arm gestures or even the idea of strength invisibly emanating from one’s chest as a tangible force. In Semionov’s case, he needed just stand, chest held high, next to the German who, in return, folded backwards in weakness.

As the Girl, Pavlenko’s performance more than impressed, her lines as lovely as her acting was poignant. With tousled hair and pleading gestures, she depicted the agony of loss, the incomprehension of destruction, and the grief of losing loved ones. Following the end of the war as she repeated the balance pique step done earlier when all of the couples were together. Almost subconsciously consoling herself with the rocking motion, one had the impression that she had lost not only her family and loved ones, but part of herself in the course of the war. This was no doubt part of Belsky’s intention in creating this ballet. Pavlenko’s blank stare implied shock, emptiness and despair. As she reached her open hands towards the audience as the curtain closed, one was overcome by the all-encompassing feeling that what was lost in the war cannot ever be regained.

This program will be repeated on July 3.

Author:  Cassandra [ Mon May 15, 2006 6:47 am ]
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The Young Girl and the Hooligan” is a purely Russian ballet that is, to the best of this reviewer’s knowledge, rarely if ever performed outside Russia.

I think you may be right about that Catherine; however a pas de deux from the ballet has certainly been performed in London. The Panovs' danced it when they first left Russia and they gave a performance of it at Sadlers Wells which was broadcast on BBC TV. More recently I saw it danced at the London Paladium by a young couple (from Kiev, I think) as part of a show put on by Anastasia Volochkova.

Don't know much about the music other than its by Shostakovitch, was it written as a ballet or pieced together from his other works?

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon May 15, 2006 7:09 am ]
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hi Cassandra,

As for the music, I don't know either. The program doesn't note anything music-wise aside from listing Shostakovich as the composer. (And I dont follow Shostakovich enough to have recognized sections of the score).

The program also mentioned that Valeri Panov debuted as the Hooligan when the ballet premiered in 1962 at the Maly Opera Theatre here in Petersburg (Dec. 28 to be precise). It only returned to the Mariinsky rep in 2001 -- perhaps that is why it hasn't been performed very often. It seems it would be a fairly easy piece to tour -- no real sets to speak of are required. That is wonderful that it has been shown in London. This ballet really deserves more "air time" in my opinion. I just loved it.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Wed May 17, 2006 7:52 am ]
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‘Swan Lake’
May 17, 2006
Kirov Ballet
Mariinsky Theatre

St. Petersburg, Russia – by Catherine Pawlick

The second “Swan Lake” of the White Nights Festival greeted theater-goers on Tuesday night, as a completely different and unique cast took to the stage. Ilya Kuznetsov paired with Elena Vostrotina as Prince Siegfried and Odette/Odile respectively, to Dmitrii Klimov’s rarely cast Rothbart.

While not Vostrotina’s first exposure to the dual swan role, this reviewer has not watched her perform it in well over a year. As one of Elena Evteeva’s charges, Vostrotina is one of the younger generation who have been influenced by the extensions of Sylvie Guillem and the extremes of Forsythean choreography; arguably the first generation to break rank with the older traditions of the Vaganova School’s refined style in favor of more acrobatic ballet.

Based on physical attributes and capabilities, Vostrotina is one of those who belongs to this discipline – that of long slim legs, exaggerated hyperextension, and legs that actually go behind the ear. But the challenge is to withhold judgement until the dancer in question has had a chance to demonstrate his or her dissection of the most classical of warhorse ballets: “Swan Lake”.

Compared to Lopatkina’s careful approach, Vostrotina’s dissection was minimal at best. She was thankfully generally restrained in her delivery – legs were kept, mostly, to a tasteful level-- but the result was a surface area, by-the-book rendition of the dual Swan personalities that didn’t have much depth or dramatic impact either way. Despite her clear acting efforts, one could not sense the fragility or fear in Vostrotina’s Odette, and her under-the-wing pose departed from typical swan positions, offering a strange angle of neck that gave cause for wonder. The sauciness of Odile’s character, despite the presence of accurate, sharp legwork, was lost here. In sum, this was a choreographic rendition of Odette/Odile with minimal emotional projection. On the one hand, compared with virtually any western ballerina, Vostrotina deserves a gold medal for her technical accomplishments in this role. She managed 29 fouettes and remained strong throughout all three acts of the evening. But on the other hand, technique alone does not a ballerina make. In some ways she reminds one of the young Julie Kent: blessed with beautiful legs but minimal dramatic ability. She seems Balanchinean – able to attack the steps, but void of significant, visible internal plot which is crucial in a ballet such as this.

Ilya Kuznetsov is not commonly cast as Prince Siegfried, nor is Dmitrii Klimov a frequent Rothbart. But both did more than justice to their roles. Kuznetsov is the consummate actor – he does a wonderfully boyish Albrecht, an effective De Grieux in “Manon”, and here a splendidly naïve (and slightly spoiled) Siegfried. Kuznetsov’s healthy musculature in his legs and beautiful feet make his grand allegro particularly pleasing to watch. This evening he appeared nervous only during his own variation, but once it was finished, only his infectious smile was needed to erase the short-lived moment of doubt. His partnering of Vostrotina, as with every other female, is almost uncontested in the company. The lifts may be difficult, but he accomplishes them every time and one never sees the strain or effort involved.

Klimov was also pleasing as Rothbart. His allegro is well-defined and accurate and he has mastered the evil glance and gesture requisite of the role. The only criticism might reside in his stature – Kuznetsov is significantly taller, which, only in this particular onstage pairing, dwarfed the effectiveness of the powerful evil villain within the libretto.

Grigorii Popov repeated his lively, comic role as the Jester this evening, throwing any number of tour or turn to the audience in a delightfully entertaining manner. In many ways this role is a lifesaver during the longer dancing sections of “Swan Lake”, but a taxing one for the dancer with its incessant grand allegro sequences. Popov met the challenge with energy to spare and deserves continued accolades for his sparkling onstage persona that not all company members can replicate.

The corps de ballet would have been a pristine vision of lakeside swans if it were not for the unfortunate but not surprising distraction that came in the person of Alina Somova as one of the four Large Swans. Whether during the pas de quatre or when supposedly standing in formation, Somova consistently broke rank with stray, unaligned arms, overly lifted chin and unruly extensions (her arabesque and her a la seconde seem to be the same pose). Despite the fact that she was invited to dance Odette/Odile in Vienna just a week ago, her inability to adhere to the basic tenets of classical ballet technique serves as an eyesore among the rest of the corps de ballet. One hopes that her difficulties with these basics will not result in continued tours when more deserving company members would better uphold the Kirov name abroad.

Lightening the load was the uplifting Spanish dance in the second act. Here Alexander Sergeev repeated the wonders of his Friday night charisma alongside Lira Khuslamova, a newcomer to the role and (seemingly) to the stage after a notable absence. As the second couple, Islam Baimuradov and Polina Rassadina offered equal appeal in their fiery dancing as well.

Alex Nedvega and Yana Selina repeated their enthusiastic Neopolitan dance, while Keren Johannisian paired with Ksenia Dubrovina for a reserved rendition of the Hungarian dance.

Still different casts of “Swan Lake” will be danced later this month on May 21 and 29.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed May 17, 2006 8:51 am ]
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Ilya Kuznetsov usually lifts my spirits with his stage presence and clean, quick steps.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Wed May 17, 2006 10:40 am ]
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Yes, that's exactly it Stuart. He truly is an amazing artist. I've never seen him and been disappointed -- always the opposite.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun May 21, 2006 10:29 am ]
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“The Sleeping Beauty”
Stars of the White Nights Festival, 2006
Kirov Ballet
May 19, 2006

St. Petersburg, Russia – by Catherine Pawlick

No one does the classics like the Maryinsky, at least not when the proper combination of talent, coaching and maturity combine to form a promising young star in one of the theater’s repertoire staples. Friday night’s performance of the reconstructed version of “The Sleeping Beauty” did just that, attesting to Olesya Novikova’s place in the company, and the Kirov’s own hold on classical traditions.

The “1890” as many call it, is a reconstruction of the original version of Petipa’s “Sleeping Beauty” based on historical notes housed in the Harvard Theatre Collection. It differs significantly from Konstantine Sergeev’s beloved version in both choreography and sets, the restored version almost like the shift from black and white to color, so lush are its hues and so vibrant the contrasts in the palette.

For this performance, Olesya Novikova’s Aurora was the perfect depiction of refined royalty, youthful grace and yes, beauty, alongside Andrian Fadeev’s ever-consistent Prince. Her superb coaching under the strong eye of Olga Moiseeva was apparent through the perfection of her port de bras, adjusted to reflect the style of an old epoch. Softly dipped elbows and delicate fingertips met an erect carriage in Novikova’s stage presence which, combined with her flawless legwork created a young ballerina in every sense of the word. Her dramatic delivery was exemplary: the first entrance on her 20th birthday displayed innocence and near disbelief at the fanfare around her. When the suitors were presented to her, with a confused look she asked her mother (through gesture) what she was to do. Relieved that only dancing was required, she engaged the four gentlemen equally. Likewise, technically Novikova is beyond reproach. Of note were the promenades, in which she managed to lift her arm completely overhead to 5th en avant after each suitor, and, confiming her strength, needed very little support before the allonge extensions into arabesque on her own.

Andrian Fadeev’s Prince is, as mentioned before, as perfect as they come. His mime in the first act made clear the emptiness in his heart as much as his first encounter with the vision of Aurora imported his feelings of love at first sight. Even after Aurora awakened from her long sleep, his eyes did not leave her, so completely entranced was he with this new princess bride. Technically Fadeev offered fireworks, especially in the last act. (Indeed, it is not until then that we’re able to enjoy his real dancing in this longer version of the ballet.) Here he paused after each perfect double tour, looked at the audience, and repeated the sequence again. He also partnered Olesya faultlessly. Would that every Prince were a Fadeev.

As much as the Novikova-Fadeev partnership pleased, so Yulia Makhalina both frightened and disappointed in her appearance as the Lilac Fairy. Despite this being her second performance of the role this month, and despite its comparative lack of serious technical challenges and the preponderance of mime, Makhalina was ill-placed in the role. While her upper body was acceptable, no amount of smiles – and this ballet requires four hours of them – could compensate for her weak legs. Both visually and technically, she was an abhorrence to behold, her legs absent any normal musculature that would indicate recent movement. Technically she could not stand on pointe, her feet seemingly devoid of arches, which interrupted rather than continued the line of an extended leg. Moreover, even when straightened, her legs appeared continuously bent. One hopes that this is not a sign of a significant health problem – from the waist up Makhalina was every bit the gracious fairy. But at the Kirov the standards are higher.

Luckily, there were other fairies in the ballet ready to confer upon us their impish charms. Of the five fairies bestowing gifts on Princess Aurora, Daria Vasnetsova drew the most attention as Flair de Farin for her quick footwork, bright expression and accurate style. Yana Selina incorporated her usual sparkle and flair as the “Canary” fairy, her flashes of leg always articulately placed. Ksenia Ostreikovskaya portrayed the Fairy Candide languorously, her movements lush and purely classical. Only Yulia Kasenkova and Elena Vaskiovitch appeared slightly less up to par, both with stiff port de bras.

The final act offered some unexpected delights as well. The Jewels section is always a snappy beginning for the parade of dancing to follow and here Ekaterina Osmolkina led the way with Yana Serebriakova (Sapphire), Yulia Kasenkova (Gold) and Ksenia Dubrovina (Silver) alongside. While not as cold as a diamond, Osmolkina was just as sharp, with added grace. Of the three gemstones Serebriakova stood out from the rest for her own expression and poise.

As Princess Florina, Yulia Bolshakova enchanted with her light touch, self-confidence and accuracy. Here, although the enveloppes en pointe were performed at half time, no wobbly footwork was to be found. Despite claiming perhaps one extra bow, Bolshakova’s performance proved that someday she may rise within the ranks, the seeds for sowing are already in place. As her partner, Bluebird Anton Korsakov appeared only slightly winded after his variation, his brises nonetheless bright. He finished with a triple pirouette although typically is capable of much more.

Finally, an under-accoladed Igor Petrov as Carabosse deserves mention for indulging both the audience and himself with his evil role, loving every minute of his sinister malevolence, and we loving him for it right back.

Pavel Bubelnikov conducted.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun May 21, 2006 11:06 am ]
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A couple of questions: Catherine, did the lead ballerinas execute "6 o'clock" extensions? While I don't have strong views on this issue in general, when the Kirov performed this version in London we saw plenty and they seemed out of place in a revival of a 1903 production.

And in general for our readers, which of the Konstantine Sergeev and 1903 versions do people perfer to see? For myself, I am pleased that the recreation exists and to see it, in future I would prefer to see the Sergeev with less mime. Other views, please?

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