CriticalDance Forum

Northern American Tour: Oct-Nov 2006
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Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:12 am ]
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Fedora, there is a world of difference between gossip and opinion and any manifestation of the former is stamped on pretty promptly here. I for one will never be ashamed of voicing an honest opinion.

Author:  Fairwind [ Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:29 am ]
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Hey there! I love reading all of your comments. It is OK to have opinions. I do have a dance background and know what I am looking for in choosing a performance. Therefore, I take in all that I read from all of you with open arms.

I think it can be exciting for a young dancer to be given the spotlight. And yet, it is assuredly so that someone so young dancing Odette/Odile would not have the maturity that a more experienced ballerina would bring to the role. Having said that, I will probably take in more than one performance now!
After your comments I still am curious about Somova and will try and see Lopatkina too :D Since I have recently seen both Vishneva and Lopatkina in other roles, I thought it would be expanding my knowledge of the Kirov to open myself up to new artists. They do not come here often and many times do not even bring their top principals here. So thank you for all your comments as it is encouraging me to try and take in some extra performances so that I can see for myself

:lol: Now I am really looking forward to their appearance here in the O.C.!

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:06 pm ]
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Hi Fairwind,

I know what you mean -- even though I'm not in Orange County I'm often frustrated by the casting they take on tour (or even the local casting!) They have lots of talent in the ranks and probably more than a handful of girls who could do justice to principal roles but just never get the chance. So, choosing who to see is a serious dilemma, and one I can certainly appreciate! I am hoping ticket costs out there won't be too prohibitive, and that you (and others) will be able to attend multiple performances. And, you'll have to share your impressions with us afterwards!

Author:  Fairwind [ Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:36 pm ]
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I just went to OCPAC to see what seats were available for Swan Lake. There were very few orchestra and first tier tkts. left for any of the SL performances. Those of you wanting to see this production should get your tickets soon! :!:

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sat Sep 30, 2006 6:36 am ]
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As this got dropped from the thread, I'd like to repost the North American tour information.

Orange County:
Oct. 17-19 Romeo and Juliet
Oct. 20-22 Swan Lake

Very preliminary casting can be found here:

The rest of the tour includes:

National Arts Centre, Southam Hall
Ottawa, Canada: Oct. 26-29
(all Swan Lake)

Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
Chicago: Nov. 1-5
(all Swan Lake)

Wang Center for the Performing Arts
Boston: Nov. 9-12
(all Swan Lake)

and then nearly one month in Japan and Taiwan (Nov. 20-Dec. 15)

Author:  Buddy [ Mon Oct 09, 2006 8:18 pm ]
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With the Kirov-Mariinsky arriving soon, I've been focussing a lot on Ulyana Lopatkina, who will probably be one of the real highlights of this tour.

I have a personal observation about her performance. Although everything to me was wonderful when she performed Swan Lake in March, there is one aspect of her dancing that is a key in my viewing--Her Hands. Watching the expressiveness and beautiful moves of her hands for me is a major way of connecting to the beauty of her over-all performance.

I'm sure other posters have their own ideas about this and might want to convey them. The reason that I mention this now is that having a few reference points might help in enjoying the performances.

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Oct 13, 2006 5:37 pm ]
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Maybe I could add a few more thoughts about the upcoming Kirov-Mariinsky Swan Lake performances. I've only been following ballet for about four years, but I have had the good fortune to see all the scheduled lead ballerinas several times and it's been a wonderful experience.

I mentioned above Ulyana Lopatkina's beautiful use of her hands. As beautiful as this is there is also so much more of wonder to her dancing. Catherine once wrote, "What can be said of perfection? When the subject at hand is Ulyana Lopatkina as Odette/Odile, the descriptions are endless." ... 60205.html

For me the way that Ulyana Lopatkina moves seems almost beyond perfection--an otherworldly sort of magnificent beauty.

Diana Vishneva for me is amazing. I have never seen another dancer with the physical capabilities that she has and the ability to use them in such a beautiful way. Her characterizations can be sublime. She totally commits herself to her performances. She seems willing to try anything and this can add tremendous excitement to her performances.

I saw Daria Pavlenko perform Giselle and I was overwhelmed with the depth of expression that she conveyed both in her characterization and her dancing. I think that she is a greatly talented dancer.

I also feel that both Viktoria Tereshkina and Alina Somova are capable of giving outstanding performances.

All of these women are constantly surprising me with new aspects of their range of talent and they all seem to be growing as artists. I generally feel that when the curtain goes up it is a brand new world where descriptions of these excellent artists are being rewritten and new delights will be revealed.

This should be a wonderful series of performances.

Author:  Andre Yew [ Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:09 pm ]
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The first reviews are in for the Kirov's Southern California performances:

Kirov Ballet: Taking tragedy to new heights
Lewis Segal, LA Times

There are better versions of "Romeo and Juliet" on international stages — shorter, swifter, more surprising — but, in the first of three different casts, the Kirov offered the magnificent Diana Vishneva as Juliet, and her performance not only broke your heart (which is what you want any Juliet to do), but also managed to neutralize some of Lavrovsky's most grandiose dance rhetoric.

Kirov Ballet: A love match
Laura Bleiberg, Orange County Register

Someone has amped up the dramatic qualities of the entire production, which premiered at the Mariinsky Theater in 1940 and continues to be tweaked; both the Bolshoi and the Kirov ballets have previously performed it here, in versions considerable more staid. The Kirov's current, oversized way of playing it reminded one that Lavrovsky's "Romeo and Juliet" is Soviet-era classicism, that is, dancing that approaches the bombastic, with its broad pantomime and bench-press lifts.

Author:  Andre Yew [ Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:11 pm ]
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A preview piece on the Kirov in Orange County:

Kirov Ballet: Sticking with the classics
Laura Bleiberg, Orange County Register

But the company's slate this week surprised some due to its more conservative bill. Two full-length story ballets with high name recognition, "Romeo and Juliet" (Oct. 17-19) and "Swan Lake" (Oct. 20-22), are scheduled; the company performed this same "Romeo and Juliet" in Segerstrom Hall in 1992. Shorter ballets had been offered previously, but not this time.

Audiences still overwhelmingly favor traditional narrative dance, and tickets are selling briskly for both ballets. By Friday, the ballets were on track to sell out, a center spokesman said.

Author:  Buddy [ Thu Oct 19, 2006 7:21 pm ]
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Good find, Andre. Thank you.

[added a few minutes later]

Whoops, I meant this one--her follow-up article reviewing the actual Diana Vishneva-Andrian Fadeev performance. ... 323368.php

Right person anyway.

Author:  Andre Yew [ Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:26 pm ]
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A short post on Thursday night's R&J before I have to clean up and iron my shirt for tonight. Yevgenia Obraztsova is a revelation! She's fresh-faced, has good technique, good acting (which is not a given with the Kirov), and really got the Juliet role down. I would like to see her dance Aurora one day. Luckily she was paired with Andrian Fadeev, another of the Kirov principals who can act and dance. More good dancing came from Yana Selina as Juliet's friend --- I'd only seen her dance the White Pussycat in Sleeping Beauty, which doesn't show off much of her technique, but she's got a great jump among many other things.

Some reviewers complained about the over-the-top acting, reminiscent perhaps of silent movies, but I loved it. Tybalt, played by Ilya Kuznetsov with flaming red hair, was just over the top but not too unbelievably so. There's lots of mime, so lots of opportunities to see one of this troupe's great strengths. So often, mime is seen as a precursor to dance, necessary only to transition to the next bit, but it was nice to see it have its place here front and center. It was also so nice to see a company with such a clear style of dancing and presentation, something we don't see much, if any, in American companies. Every time I see this company, it's like getting my ballet batteries recharged, and my orientation reset.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this Romeo and Juliet. I guess I was expecting a stiff, Spartacus-like Soviet choreography, but this ballet is surprisingly classical in its dancing and structure. My only complaint would be that the third act is too long and takes too long to build up to its peak.


Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sat Oct 21, 2006 7:12 am ]
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Thanks, Andre, for sharing your impressions! Obratsova is one of the Kirov's budding talents - I say "budding", because she is still so young, but her interpretations in acting roles such as Juliet are quite polished and mature.

The first time I saw this version of R&J live, I too was struck by Tybalt and never understood the caricature hair/leotard costuming. Disregarding that, the character himself (gesture/choreography) is quite well developed (some would say overdeveloped) -- it is clear that he is a strong personality, bent on destroying the Montague cohorts. The only problem then, is that opposite this strong acting force (per the choreography and libretto both), Mercutio's role in the plot appears weaker, which isnt the case in, for example, the Macmillan version.

I'm glad, above all, that the Kirov's visit is --as you very aptly put it -- resetting the ballet orientation of (hopefully many) audience members. I think it is easy, when surrounded only by American ballet, to forget what a troupe of the Kirov's caliber means in terms of a performance. I think its easy to start to assume that the local troupe, whatever it may be, is the authority on whatever ballet may be shown. Sometimes that might be true, but not always, and rarely, I'd say, with some of the classics.

Author:  Cygne [ Sat Oct 21, 2006 12:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Uliana's "Swan Lake" October 20

I witnessed Uliana Lopatkina's O/O for the first time yesterday evening.
I will quote Fonteyn's statement when she first witnessed Ulanova's
Juliet, when the Bolshoi first visited London.

"I am so dazzled, so dazed. I cannot describe it. I cannot describe it.
I had no idea, no conception of her. I tell you, I cannot describe it.
What? No. I didn't watch her technique: One does not watch
technique when one watches Ulanova."

For me, insert Lopatkina's name at the end of that sentence. Uliana was flawless and majestic from beginning to end: She dominated the corps and the entire company just by her mere presence. That is how I felt watching Uliana for the first time. I've seen the awesome Daria Pavlenko and now Uliana, and IMO the Maryinsky has two great O/Os in their camp. IMO no one else in this company comes close (in this generation). Both are equally magnificent, both totally divergent in their approach to the role. A heavenly evening!

Author:  Andre Yew [ Sun Oct 22, 2006 12:58 am ]
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A 3-for-1 tonight: quick summaries of the last three performances of Swan Lake with Lopatkina, Tereshkina, and Somova. Danila Korsuntsev partnered the first two, while Igor Kolb partnered Somova.

After hearing about her Odette/Odile, I had high hopes for Lopatkina. She didn't disappoint as Odette, with a deep performance and an attack that brought out the animalistic nature of her swan: it was like she could barely contain the energy of herself. With nice long lines, pretty feet, and continuous movement, she really brought this role to life. As Odile, it was a bit different: she stayed at one even level, and seemed generically evil. You knew she was bad news, but you weren't sure why. She had basically one expression: an evil grin. Her partner didn't help much as he was pretty flat and expressionless. He's a beautiful danseur noble, but he doesn't get out of himself much.

Tereshkina I found to be the opposite: an even-keeled, some (me) would say boring, Odette, and a memorable Odile. Dangerous, evil, too smart for everyone's good, and very sexy, she manipulated poor Siegfried to do what she wanted and enjoyed every moment of it. She was a classic villain.

Somova tonight was a mixed bag, unfortunately mostly negative. First the positives: she's young, and she's got really nice feet, good flexibility, and potentially nice legs. Unfortunately, she's a bit weak physically , and this came through in many ways. First of all, what I previously liked as her coltishness was really not appropriate for this role. Flying limbs left and right don't work for either Odette or Odile --- one is a queen not a young princess, and the other is a powerful evil person. Her attacks were inconsistent in quality and generally too manic, and I don't know whether that's due to her still developing physicality or her youth and seeming inexperience. I kept thinking I was watching a little girl doing the choreography.

If I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt for her white swan, I couldn't for her black swan. There was little characterization, and her physical weakness is just not appropriate for this role, which is supposed to be a very strong woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. She is miscast in this role. She appears to be a natural turner (and of the 3, she was the only one who threw in doubles in her 32 fouettes, which is all but necessary for anyone dancing Odile today), but her fouettes were ugly. U-G-L-Y. I couldn't believe my eyes, because she was committing the same mistake that girls at my local ballet school do: she flicked her gesturing leg in too quickly instead of showing the position in 2nd to the side. This led to a pretty manic-looking set of 32 fouettes bouncing up and down. I have to wonder why she's a soloist. In ensemble pieces, the corps around her as well as the other soloists looked stronger than she did, both in technique and physical strength.

Of the two men, I found Korsuntsev to be pretty flat both nights, but he could perhaps be playing the strong, silent danseur noble. Kolb tonight was far more expressive, and impressive in technique. I especially liked his big jumps, and his very expressive arabesques.

Jesters for both nights were really good. We had Andrei Ivanov and Grigory Popov. Both had good technique, and pulled off many tricks. Both also had good comic timing and expressiveness from the stage. Ivanov was a bit over-the-top and played to the crowd. His turns were just that bit better than Popov. Popov however had that bit more ballon in his jumps. Both were good --- these are nitpicks.

The pas de trois in the beginning has been consistently good, but my favorite set was tonight's: Ekaterina Osmolkina, Irina Golub, and Anton Korsakov. Nice sparkling technique, good ballon from all three, and just really joyous dancing, though I wish Korsakov would smile more than once.

The character dances were handled well, too. And finally the corps: wow. I don't know what more to say than that. They danced together and expressively. I can't get over how big the whole company dances, but somehow there's still a unity of movement and style that doesn't make them look like they're going every which way when people are all trying to dance big. And big doesn't mean just jumps, but every gesture is big and reads very well. The heads and shoulders are turned just a little bit more, their hands will make that extra motion, and they cover just that much more ground. I love how the company uses their eyes, too --- their lines just never stop and never stop moving.

I'm very happy so far, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's performance with Diana Vishneva and Andrian Fadyeev.


Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Oct 22, 2006 3:44 am ]
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Cygne, thanks so much for your post and impressions. I tend to share your views, based on what I've seen here of Dasha and Uliana locally in Swan Lake. :-)

Andre, again thanks for your feedback as well. I have to admit I'm not surprised that Somova again failed to impress. She is not officially a soloist, she is in the corps, but they continue to give her principal roles. My impressions of her are the same as yours -- "manic" is a good word. Sad though, that audiences are subjected to this when they could have enjoyed an additional night of Uliana or a confirmed ballerina onstage.

Can anyone tell me: were these the old costumes or the new ones? Did the girls in the Act I pas de trois wear thick white headdresses with veils (=the new costumes)?

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