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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:38 pm 
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NataliaN wrote:
Here is Shirinkina at about the time when she joined the Kirov-Mariinsky (fall '06...along with Kolegova):

http://photofile.name/users/poduchka/22 ... nImageLink

She has dark-brown hair which can't be seen here because of the 'Amour' wig.


Thanks for digging up that link Natalia -that's the dancer who was paired with Ivanova as a demi in Chopiniana, no doubt about it. She's caught my eye in a number of corps & demi roles since opening night & it's nice to be able to put a name with the face.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 10:34 pm 
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There is so much to write about that I will limit myself to describing only a few of tonight's highlights.


I murmured----"Incredible!"----twice during tonight's performances.


Once was about two minutes into the appearance of the women's corps de ballet of Shades (La Bayadere). Once was at the end of Ulyana Lopatkina's Le Corsaire.


The Shades were once again sent from the heavens. I was thinking that perhaps this is really the most beautiful scene in all of ballet.


The long, extremely lovely part from the extended pas de deux (duet) from Le Corsaire, as danced tonight by Ulyana Lopatkina, was----Indescribably Beautiful !

She also did a series of perfectly executed, speed of light chaines (spin turns) across the stage, to again remind us that she can do spectacular bravura moves as well as anyone.


Alina Somova for the most part was very, very lovely tonight in her La Bayadere performance.

She performed in one of her several modes, all of which am I learning to appreciate. Tonight she once again exhibited her refined, statuesque abilities. One thing that I have been noticing is when she elevates her extended leg, whether it is 120 degrees or the much discussed 180 degrees, she does it with such an airy, linear gracefulness. It was interesting to compare her with another Kirov statuesque beauty, Ekaterina Kondaurova, who did a dance just before her as one of the lead Shades. I would say that Ekaterina Kondaurova was more noticeable for the beautiful linear definition of her moves and Alina Somova more so for a slighter softness in hers.


Mikhail Lobukhin, who will be dancing all three nights in Diana And Acteon, further established himself as a Kirov Superman, as he sailed through the air with the amazing variety of aerial, spin turns that this ballet calls for. The most impressive is a climatic series of single leg split-like turns, of which the final one becomes a double spin jump with the second revolution being completed at the last moment.

This is possibly the most uniformly excellently danced series of Kirov performances that I have seen. Everyone is doing so well from the corps de ballet to the lead dancers. Viktoria Tereshkina, who will be dancing a different lead each of the three nights of this series, is one outstanding example. Not only does she have her now customary wonderful refinement, but she also seems to be as lyrically beautiful and exciting as I've ever seen her. It's really nice to see the exceptionally graceful Svetlana Ivanova being given a lot more up front parts to dance than before. Then there's Ekaterina Osmolkina and Yana Salina dancing as well as I've ever seen them do. Then not already mentioned are some folks named Diana Vishneva and Leonid Sarafanov. Then there's Olesia Novikova, Nadezhda Gonchar, Andrian Fedeev and on and on.



The Sun Will Rise Tomorrow And When It Sets Something Else Will Light Up The Night----The Kirov Ballet Dancers.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:40 am 
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/arts/ ... ref=slogin

Ballet dancing is not spontaneous; that is what Isadora Duncan and contact improvisation (modern dance) are for. I'm not sure why such comments are being published...


Last edited by Catherine Pawlick on Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:54 am 
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Buddy -- we agree 100%. What a night! What a repertoire (solid Petipa)! What a troupe!

Corsaire - Uliana Lopatkina continues her trend of warming up and being adorable (with smiles) and not just regal. It did not matter one iota that she omitted the 32 fouettes last night. Igor Kolb - a pantherlike Ali, with an amazing series of Pirouettes-a-la-Seconde done in "four corners" (four focal points in succession) style. Even Ivan Kozlov as Conrad was much improved since DC in January -- showing that he can do much more than lift Lopatkina...including a great series of creamy piroettes. Bravo to the three odalisques, including Sveta Ivanova (with the lovely, softest, most pliant feet in the troop) and Yana Selina (spot-on in an especially brisk rendition of the 2nd solo). Nadezhda Gonchar was also good except that she 'pushed the envelope' a tad when she attempted a triple-pirouette at the end of her solo.

Diana & Acteon Pas -

I was expecting the classical marvel and refined grace of Ekaterina Osmolkina's Diana. What totally surprised me was the new-and-improved high-flying technique and bravura manners of tall blonde Mikhail Lobukhin...absolutely the He-Man Hunk of the night, garnering the loudest bravos for ANY other male lead tonight.

Don Quixote Grand Pas -

Viktoria Viktorious! Viktoria Tereshkina - Her new Principal Ballerina status -- just confirmed on the Mariinsky web --becomes her. She delivered not only her usual dazzling technique and refined finishes but lots of aplomb and 'star power.' This included incredible balances, the lines of poses and 32 very zippy fouettes peppered with doubles. We're talking Osipova Quality here...zippy-zip with no floppy working leg. Her Basil, Anton Korsakov -- looking streamlined and wonderful -- matched her in technique and refinement, with lighter-than-air leaps in the midst of the adagio, let alone the solo and coda. And the Cherry on Top of the Sundae? None other than the beauty who we lovingly call 'Big Red' in another web forum: Ekaterina Kondaurova, dancing a spot-on Bridesmaid Variation wearing a Big Red Tutu that matches her Red Hair!

Bayadere Shades -

As expected, impeccable corps of 24 shades, now more used to the small stage. Magnificent trio of Solo Shades, with a delightful First Variation by young redhead Elizaveta Cheprasova ('Lil' Red'?). Andrian Fadeev was an elegant and soaring Solor. BUT the highlight of Shades was -- prepare yourselves -- the Nikiya of Alina Somova, who was absolutely BEAUTIFUL in a more-restrained delivery than what we saw one week ago. Yes, we saw hints of the wild legs especially in the initial adagio with Solor and, yes, she still needs to work on emotional connection. That doesn't matter -- we want her to concentrate hard on elegance. It paid off big-time last night and I added my voice to the 'bravos' at the end of the show. A huge step forward for Alina Somova.

In sum, a picture-perfect night. Can I survive the two days before my next 'Kirov Fix' on Saturday & Sunday?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:02 pm 
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I am also puzzled by that review from Mr. MacCauly. How exactlyh is one supposed to make ballet spontaneous. Maybe he's meaning something else and using the wrong adjective.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:51 pm 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/arts/dance/10ball.html?_r=2&ref=arts&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Ballet dancing is not spontaneous; that is what Isadora Duncan and contact improvisation (modern dance) are for. But I guess MacAulay hasn't studied the art at length, so I'm not sure why such comments are being published...


IMO, Alastair Macaulay hates the Maryinsky Ballet, its artists, and everything it stands for. Period. Moreover, in recent years the New York Times hasn't had what any fair minded person would call an impressive track record of veracity. This fact doesn't only concern dance criticism.

Ever since Macaulay arrived at the Times, he has single handedly lowered the tone of the dance section, and the Maryinsky isn't the only company that's been subjected to Macaulay's disdain: This includes local and other visiting troupes as well. If he doesn't like to cover classical ballet, (of which the Maryinsky is the epitome and foundation for the West), as Dance Editor he should seriously consider either, (a) changing professions, (b) sending a knowledgeable, appreciative subordinate, and spare us his uninformed distress, confusion and bewilderment, or (c) all of the above.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:16 pm 
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An Absolutely Inspiring Evening !


I am on the road at a very early hour tomorrow so this will be it for awhile. I will try and describe some more as soon as I can.


In almost every instance tonight I would say that everyone did at least as well or better than I've seen them do in New York or Ever !


Leonid Sarafanov in Le Corsaire might have given his best performance Ever. It was certainly the best that I have seen. I have a very cute story to go with this that I will try and relate at another time.


Alina Somova for the second night in a row danced the lead in La Bayadere.


If she was Beautiful last night she was----Dreamland!----tonight !



[typo correction made]


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 Post subject: Alistair MacAuley
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:39 am 
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Quote:
Ever since Macaulay arrived at the Times, he has single handedly lowered the tone of the dance section, and the Maryinsky isn't the only company that's been subjected to Macaulay's disdain: This includes local and other visiting troupes as well. If he doesn't like to cover classical ballet, (of which the Maryinsky is the epitome and foundation for the West), as Dance Editor he should seriously consider either, (a) changing professions, (b) sending a knowledgeable, appreciative subordinate, and spare us his uninformed distress, confusion and bewilderment, or (c) all of the above.


I couldn't agree more Cygne, in a profession not exactly known for impartiality MacAuley carries more prejudices around than most ballet critics and above all he hates Russian ballet and Russian dancers.

I was pretty incredulous when I first heard he had landed the New York Times job (surely they could have found better native talent?), but I'm told he lavishes praise on NYCB so obviously knows which side his bread is buttered on.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:40 am 
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Ahem, may I? :-)

Cassandra, I was told six younger women were passed up, all very well credentialed, when MacAulay was finally chosen for his current spot at the NYTimes. Qualified reviewers are out there. For whatever reason this newspaper (among others) chooses not to employ them. You have to wonder who is making the hiring decisions.

Further, in terms of this new dance reviewer disease, unfortunately MacAulay is not the only one, and I would go so far as to say it’s possibly not even the reviewer’s fault – the newspaper (employer) is the one who bears responsibility of what is printed, ultimately, don’t they?

My hometown of San Francisco is also guilty of the “home team is the only and best team” syndrome of dance reviews. When an editor decides that the newspaper is going to have only one voice for dance reviews, is that democratic journalism? I would argue it is not, especially when said reviewer has clear bias and agenda in his/her reviews. It is propaganda, because the editor knows that X reviewer will prop up the local company (often even at the expense of lower-rank local companies; it doesn’t always have to be visitors vs. home team) whether they actually deserve it on an overall global objective scale or not.

*end tangential vent*


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:48 am 
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Quote:
It is propaganda, because the editor knows that X reviewer will prop up the local company (often even at the expense of lower-rank local companies; it doesn’t always have to be visitors vs. home team) whether they actually deserve it on an overall global objective scale or not.


All too familiar :cry:

UK critics are becoming an embarrassment too with their over-fulsome reviews of the Royal Ballet and I'm becoming sick and tired of their balletic jingoism. There's a whole clutch of them that I'd like to lock in a room with the collected writings of A.V. Coton.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:04 pm 
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I love it when you all use big vocabulary words like jingoism. It gives me warm fuzzies.

Anyway...

I could not agree more that the state of dance criticism is dismal right now, and it seems not just in America.

What about in non-English speaking countries? Is it the same there?


But back to the Kirov?

What do you think brought about the changes is Ms. Somova?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:47 pm 
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LMCtech wrote:
.....What do you think brought about the changes is Ms. Somova?


She was already changing her ways earlier this season, witnessed by her acceptable Nikiya at the Kennedy Center in January. For some odd reason, she reverted to 'Extra Flashy Mode' at the start of the NYC tour. I suspect that she was asked by top management to go back to focussing on the elegance because of the overwhelmingly negative reviews that she received last week.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:13 pm 
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Macaulay was a breath of fresh air for while - for the record, he has certainly leveled some criticism at NYCB and said things that would never have put in print during the Kisselgoff years. But I've lost my patience with Macaulay...

As to "spontaneous", I didn't see the article in question or the performance, so it could be just a bad choice of word (the editorial quality of the NYTimes has certainly been lacking lately). However, I would certain say that ballet, in many instances, should have at least a whiff of spontaneity. Not that dancers should be improvising - though there are some pieces performed by ballet companies that do involve improvising - but I don't want to be in the audience knowing that every dancer in role is going to do exactly the same thing. That would be incredibly boring. In the last few weeks I've seen Ongein probably 13 or 14 times, but it's never boring because each dancer and each performance is different - I never know exactly what's going to happen. Of course the choreography is always the same, but each dancer stresses something different and the little bits of mime change from night to night depending on the cast and timing.

Dancers should be confident enough in their technique and in the ballet that they make it their own, that you're never just quite sure what they will do next. That's what keeps you on the edge of your seat. And they very much, especially in full length ballets, need to be able to been spontaneous in that they have to react in a split second if something doesn't go right. A dancer that can create a step or adjust a bit of mime to cover up a mistake is immensely valuable.

Kate


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 11:58 pm 
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More about Leonid Sarafanov's Le Corsaire performance Thursday night.

I have mentioned the amazing final jump sequence that Mikhail Lobukhin did in Diana And Acteon ending in a split-leg double spin jump. Well Leonid Sarafanov did a Series(!) of these split-leg double spin jumps! Then he did some combination spins partly in second position(?) (leg straight out to the side) or something like this. I don't recall seeing either of these moves done in this manner before in Le Corsaire (at least not in New York). It was almost superhuman! The control he has in his rotations (land and air) is unbelievable! As far as I can tell he lands all his jump spins, when required, in perfect fifth position. His partnering lifts were also the best that I have ever seen him do. He had Viktoria Tereshkina floating up in the clouds somewhere. In addition he did it all with total ease.

All in all----Absolutely Amazing !

There was a very good reason for this almost superhuman effort.

A man and three attractive Young ladies sat down next to me. I said something to the lady next to me. After a minute or so she said, "The lady with us is the dancer's mother." "Sarafanov's ?!", I exclaimed ! "Yes", she responded. I leaned over to the lady and exclaimed, "You're Leonid Sarafanov's mother?! I don't believe it! You look younger than he does and he is very young looking."

She was very lovely during the whole conversation. Yes, she is his mother and, yes, she is a very pleasant and beautiful woman. And, yes, I thought she looked as Young as he did! I'm still somewhat in shock.


Later Mikhail Lobukhin came out and did his very impressive Diana And Acteon again. Leonid Sarafanov was a very hard act to follow, believe me! The one thing that Mikhail Lobukhin did have that was special was the height of his jumps. He sailed straight up to the ceiling.

One more thing that I would like to mention about the Diana And Acteon peformances is that the last two were danced by Ekaterina Osmolkina. One of the highlights for me was when Mikhail Lobukhin finished one of his super bravura sequences to a huge ovation and out sailed Ekaterina Osmolkina with two Huge lighter-than-air jumps of her own. It was really a surprise to see both nights and I sat there once again in awe.


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 Post subject: Alastair Macaulay
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:19 am 
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Sorry to be a party-pooper, BUT.

What Alastair has actually written here, is this:

"During most of the third program in the Kirov Ballet’s season at City Center (...) an alarming question kept flashing into my mind: “Maybe I don’t like ballet after all?” Here were virtuoso episodes from “Le Corsaire” and “Don Quixote”; here was the “Diana and Acteon” pas de deux; here came salvo after salvo of audience applause.

"And almost all of it left me cold (...) friends admitted at intermission that they felt the same way.

"(...) the evening ended with the Shades scene from “La Bayadère,” which (....) at least provided the much-needed proof that ballet can be an art of substantial dance architecture and eloquence. Elsewhere, however, this feeling of indifference was disquieting."

I cannot tell you the number of people in the trade - on and off stage - who think PRECISELY that, and yes, it is most disquieting.

The Theatre du Châtelet is flogging tickets to the Ballet de Lorraine at half-price. The Paris Opera is nowhere near filling the Bastille for its current triple bill, and for the aforesaid Maryinskii tour, the orchestra seats at New York are apparently half-empty as well. At Berlin, Malakhov's troupe has just had their next season cut in half - from forty, to twenty performances.

The Great Depression now upon us is NOT the only reason for such disaffection.

So-called "classical" dancing is failing, at the present time, to fulfil its mission as an ART form. Boring as hell, a succession, as an American has put it, "of ice-cold tricks".

Type onto Youtube - "Royes Fernandez - Les Sylphides", and ponder what Royes Fernandez does as the Poet. Definitely, this man is not only a extraordinarily sophisticated and accomplished technician - he is a classical dancer, and definitely, a very great one. Then watch what happens over the ensuing four decades to that role, as it slides downwards into sentimentality, mannierism and a display of various unsavoury states of Ego.

We have long since left the domain of ideas, proper to an ART FORM, to clamber into so-called "pure aesthetics", that are a plaything of fashion, taste - and of rhythmic gymnastics.

The public is in a relationship with what happens on stage. Look at what we have allowed to happen to "popular" taste over the past four decades. If we be unsatisfied with the art form, we might want to start with being unsatisfied with what we allow to go on in our own mind.


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