CriticalDance Forum

Northern American Tour: Oct-Nov 2006
Page 7 of 7

Author:  jpc [ Tue Nov 14, 2006 2:18 pm ]
Post subject: 

Buddy wrote:
It's great to see Wonder on a stage. It's also great to see simple Human Warmth.

Buddy, I thought your post, especially on Pavlenko, to be finely perceptive [ re: errors and the comparison with skating events] and also deeply moving.

Works of art are gauged by overall design, intent, et al. not technical details. Can you imagine someone saying about a painting: "Sure, you say it's an Impressionist masterpiece, but I spotted a discordant brushstroke".

Each unique dance performance is a work of art.

Author:  celebrityseries [ Tue Nov 14, 2006 4:15 pm ]
Post subject:  More Kirov Boston reviews

Joel Lobenthal reviewed The Kirov's Swan Lake in Boston for The New York Sun:

It was with some reluctance that I went to Boston last week to see the Kirov Ballet dance "Swan Lake" at the Wang Center, where it was part of the Bank of America Celebrity Series, which first brought the Kirov to Boston in 2003. At that time the Kirov was still coasting on the strength of its performances of the late 1990s and early 2000s, when it looked as though it had undergone a glorious rebirth. The years since 2003, however, have seen an alarming decline in the Kirov's standards. Yet in Boston, the company succeeded and even triumphed. The reason was that it had apparently decided, or been forced to clean up its act— at least temporarily.

Also, Iris Fanger reviewed the Kirov's Swan Lake in Boston for The Patriot Ledger of Boston's South Shore:

Despite the prominence of Odette the Swan Queen, performed last night by the company’s leading ballerina, Uliana Lopatkina, the soul of ‘‘Swan Lake’’ belongs to the corps de ballet of 32 swans who surround her in the second and fourth ‘‘white’’ acts. Moving as a single entity, with tempos, gestures and height of raised legs in unison, the Kirov corps seems to inhale and exhale on a single shared breath, a marvel of grace and beauty. Their exemplary performance is testament to the level at which the entire company is dancing.

Along with the Globe and Herald, these are the major reviews I have seen to date. Anna Kisselgoff was on assignment November 9 (Lopatkina)for There will also be an additional Boston Phoenix review from Marcia Siegel who attended November 10 (Vishneva)Marcia's review is scheduled for this Thursday, November 16.

Author:  celebrityseries [ Tue Nov 14, 2006 4:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Kirov dress rehearsal photos

I also shot a few photos of the Kirov's November 9 dress rehearsal of Swan Lake. Vishneva was the lead, but almost everything is of the corps, with Vaziev pacing throughout (a strange idea of a "dress rehearsal."

I have posted these on our blog, nonetheless I submit them here (very) humbly. I am by no means a professional photographer and my equipment is consumer grade.

Author:  Andre Yew [ Tue Nov 14, 2006 6:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

jpc wrote:
Works of art are gauged by overall design, intent, et al. not technical details. Can you imagine someone saying about a painting: "Sure, you say it's an Impressionist masterpiece, but I spotted a discordant brushstroke".

I'm not sure a painting can be directly compared to dance. Painting is a creative art, whereas dance is a performing, or re-creative art form. In the former, you are trying to get what's in your mind's eye onto the canvas (or music sheet or stage or something else). In the latter, you are taking predetermined steps (or notes or words or something else) and trying to fit them into your interpretation of the work of art.

I'm not advocating that ballet performances must be step-perfect to be acceptable, but how many steps can one change or leave out before the effect of the choreography is lost? It's certainly a different set of considerations than painting's.


Author:  Buddy [ Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:01 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'm very happy to report, for anyone who is interested, that it's been over a week since I saw the last Kirov-Mariinsky performance and I'm still up there ! I think about those wonderful performances a lot !

jpc, thank you so much for the very kind words. As I've said before, all I am trying to do is reflect as best I can the wonderful beauty that I was fortunate enough to be able to experience.

I have thought a lot about your analogy of dance and painting. It makes a lot of sense. I do have to admit that I stood in front of the George Seurat huge msterpiece painting in the Art Institute of Chicago for a long time. This is the painting with the 'ten million' dots (plus or minus) of the folks sitting on the grass. I didn't see one dot out of place !

But I really do agree with the essence of what you are saying. Detail and technique are wonderful to appreciate, but very few will 'judge' an art masterpiece primarily by some of the brushstrokes.

wrightjack, thank you again for the great links. Degas, move over ! Your photos are precious. Degas was a great artist and a fantastic colorist, but I like very much the gentle nature and relaxed grace of these wonderful dancers that you were able to capture. Braque, move over as well, in regard to your great violin photo. Keep up the good work !

I've read the Joel Lobenthal article several times and he has some very fine insights and very kind words for many of the Kirov-Mariinsky artists.

I especially like his one sentence about Diana Vishneva.

"She danced like a dream, smoothly harmonizing all the many frequencies on which she's capable of working."

Some more...

"Although the company occasionally looked exhausted, it performed heroically in Boston."

"Ms. Lopatkina was Odette/Odile on Thursday night, giving one of the best performances of "Swan Lake" I've seen her dance. As the White Swan she employed few mannerisms — or rather exactly the right ones, employed judiciously. While always strikingly regal and slightly aloof, she was more vulnerable than she has sometimes been, which is all to the good. As the Black Swan, she evinced or simulated an unusual abandon and her fouettés were flawless. Her extensions are now higher, and, as always, her long, long arms are extraordinary, seemingly devoid of sinew or bone, their line perfect to the tips of her fingers."

"Astoundingly, Ms. Vishneva, who is an allegro ballerina by nature, danced the White Swan adagio at a tempo almost as slow as Ms. Lopatkina's, and did so with unhurried, in fact, luxurious cantilena and continuity. In the Black Swan, she was an incendiary whirlwind, remarkably unleashed without any cost to precision or security."

The Patriot Ledger says, "...this weekend is the equivalent of Christmas morning."

This kind of says it all !

PS. Andre, I just discovered your posting after I had completed this one. I would like to give your ideas some future thought.

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Nov 15, 2006 7:48 am ]
Post subject:  Joel Lobenthal's review

I found Joel Lobenthal's review remarkably frank:

Much of what the Kirov has been putting onstage in recent years — on tour and in St. Petersburg, Russia — is on the level of onstage training exercises. The roster has been for some time now dominated by dancers in their late teens and early 20s, while at the same time there has been an attempt to drive off dancers who might show up the fledglings. Whereas traditionally Kirov ballerinas have danced well into their 40s, a Kirov dancer in her late-20s recently told me: "In this company, a ballerina my age is old."

This has been my view, and that of other Criticaldance posters, for some time now; its reassuring that a mainstream critic is finally stating the blindingly obvious.

American fans can consider themselves lucky - they got Vishneva. Just what do we have to do to see her in London? And what do we have to do to get the likes of Ayupova and Zhelonkina in leading roles for that matter.

The sidelining of older dancers is a serious problem in Russia and things aren’t much better at the Bolshoi. I was recently told by a company member that Gracheva, Stepanenko and Ryzhkina are all considered too old to be sent on prestigious tours, a situation he considers deplorable. But at least at the Bolshoi they have very young dancers capable of taking on major roles and impressing in those roles, which definitely isn't the case at the Kirov.

Author:  Brian [ Wed Nov 15, 2006 5:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

I haven't been to this forum in a couple of weeks, but having just gotten caught up with what you've all been saying, I wanted to thank you all for sharing your thoughts and feelings about the performances you saw.

Specifically, thanks Buddy for sharing your zeal for all of the performances you saw. From all your posts, it is clear of the impact these performances had on you (even if they were not "life changing" ;) ). You let me re-live the experiences I had out here in Costa Mesa when the tour began. And between you and NYSusan, I almost feel that I saw Pavlenko's performance. Beautifully depicted by both of you.

Buddy, your comments about talking to Ms. Lopatkina were also meaningful to me. Your description of her as unassuming reminded me of a story I heard from an acquaintance I met after the last performance here in CM. He said that after her performance, she came out and signed autographs for over an hour simply because she was "waiting for someone and had the time and opportunity to". I don't recall the details, but it does sound like she is a genuinely gracious and unassuming star amongst artists not generally known for that quality. This also reminds me of an article I read off one of Suart's links where Lopatkina says that being a part of the Kirov legacy is an honor that she "never takes for granted".

The descriptions of Ms. Pavlenko suggests she might be of the same mold (the warm, appreciative, loveable smile she had, her ability and willingness to bring genuine emotion to her performances and even her appreciative reaction during her curtain call). In any case, I sincerely hope to get the chance to see her perform someday.

bcx, if you are still reading this forum, did you decide to go to Chicago or Boston?

Finally, a question to any of you: If I wanted to stay more informed about the professional ballet community what specific websites, magazine subscriptions, and forums should I be aware of? NYSusan, you referred to another forum where you talked about Pavlenko. What forum was that?

Thanks again.

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Nov 15, 2006 6:52 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Brian.

Thanks for your nice comments and your continued participation.

I've sent you a personal message listing a few possible ballet sources that might be interesting to you.

I also mentioned that I have had the pleasure of briefy chatting with four or five Russian and Eastern European ballet 'stars' and they have all been very nice and very unassuming.

I indeed hope that seeing Ulyana Lopatkina and Diana Vishneva were life changing experiences. I could see where they easily could be.

Andre, I'm still working on your comments. There's a lot to think about

[Message added a few minutes later. Hi, Cassandra. I saw Nadezhda Gracheva perform several years ago in Chicago (Raymonda) and thought she did beautifully and was extremely appreciative of the warm audience response. Her face lit up like a little child. I would also look forward to seeing the artists that you mentioned more often.]

Author:  Andre Yew [ Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

One thing I've always appreciated about dance is how accessible its performers are, compared to other art forms. I think the snooty professional dancer is more of an exception than a rule.

Buddy: I'm in no hurry. Take all the time you need.


Author:  Buddy [ Wed Nov 22, 2006 5:35 pm ]
Post subject: 

I just received a DVD of the Kirov-Mariinsky performing Swan Lake (1991). I've watched it several times and it seems quite fine. It features Yulia Makhalina and Igor Zelensky and is beautifully filmed. It might be the closest thing available at the moment to get a sense of the recent wonderful Swan Lake performances. Hopefully there will be a DVD soon of the BBC's filming of Ulyana Lopatkina's Swan Lake which should be excellent.

Andre, I am still thinking about your idea about painting being more a purely creative art and a dance performance being more a re-creative art. This is a good point and could probably be a good topic for discussion. If focusing on dance itself, it might be interesting to compare different works by different choreographers and performed by different dancers.

nysusan, I have reread your posting about Daria Pavlenko's wonderful dancing in Chicago and Boston several times and really consider it to be an excellent description of what I have also seen. I think that is well worth rereading from time to time.

I would also like to state again my feelings about Daria Pavlenko. Like you, I have seen her perform on different 'levels'. For me there is one level at which she is an extraordinary and great dancer. Then there is also another place, a human place, where she wins your heart ! At this moment I would say that my heart also belongs to, among others, Ulyana Lopatkina...Yulia Makhalina...and my grandchildren !

In regard to my quote from November 14--"I'm very happy to report, for anyone who is interested, that it's been over a week since I saw the last Kirov-Mariinsky performance and I'm still up there !"--make that--"It's now over two weeks and no land in sight."--Just fine.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Nov 27, 2006 2:23 am ]
Post subject: 

Just a note to say I agree w/Andre's comments above. However if you take it even further, the painter is also re-creating what he sees, as filtered through his own lens (his eyes). Look at how different a Monet landscape appears from any non-Impressionistic painter -- and yet both are still landscapes. You could have two painters sit next to one another and paint the same scape, and the results would be completely different but, if they are talented, in both cases one will be able to tell immediately what the image in the painting is.

Ballet differs in that technique sets its boundaries. So, that would be like asking all Impressionists to sit down and paint the same scape. You would have the same technique bc they're all Impressionists --ie. use of light and not predetermined brush strokes, representing an image not in a Realistic manner. But the end result would be different based on personal talent, interpretation, and yes, expression.

IT reminds me of a somewhat funny, somewhat disturbing story. An acquaintance of a friend of mine was told about a ballet company in town and she said she never watched ballet, since they all just got up on stage and danced to the music as they wished -- like a free for all. She assumed ballet was a bunch of girls who put on their "dresses" and pointe shoes and just did free dance interpretation to the music! I was shocked to hear this, and then realized, no wonder the art form isn't well supported in the States, and moreover, probably there are many other Americans who think of ballet that way and we're not aware of it. (You know that saying, that for each person in the class who raises his hand and asks a question, there are ten others wondering the same thing but not asking -- same principle, I assume (?), would apply here). So a key factor that sets ballet apart is the technique -- that was the point I was getting at before the tangent :-).

Author:  jpc [ Mon Nov 27, 2006 9:12 am ]
Post subject: 

Andre Yew wrote:
I'm not sure a painting can be directly compared to dance. Painting is a creative art, whereas dance is a performing, or re-creative art form. In the former, you are trying to get what's in your mind's eye onto the canvas (or music sheet or stage or something else). In the latter, you are taking predetermined steps (or notes or words or something else) and trying to fit them into your interpretation of the work of art.


Andre, thanks for amplifying on what I wrote.
My comparison was only from the view of the spectator: for dance an audio/visual experience, for a painting a visual/conceptual experience.

Sorry I sounded like I hadn't had Art 101.

Author:  CarolinaM [ Thu May 24, 2007 7:04 am ]
Post subject: 

CarolinaM wrote:
I think that a nice report will be published soon in fotoescena, when I see it on line I'll tell you.

Today I have remembered what I said :oops:

Maybe it's too late now and it is not so interesting, but just in case, here you are:

Mariinsky in Madrid


Page 7 of 7 All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group