CriticalDance Forum

Kirov Ballet, 2008-2009 Season
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Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:52 am ]
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In recent tours, under current director Yuri Petukhov (ex-Maly star), the ballets performed have mostly veered on the vulgar, 'new Russian' style, e.g., a new Romeo & Juliet with a Queen Mab character in black latex and thigh-high boots. Yuk - to think that this was a serious, highly-esteemed company just 10 years ago.

Ah, I know Petukhov's troupe! OK, this closes the loop, it all makes sense now. I didni't know Askold was his predecessor.

I agree, this is another case of the changing audience aesthetic -- the ignorance and dumbing-down of the masses results in art that is accordingly cheap and "easy". Bc that is what they want, that is what they can 'understand'. Horrible.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:27 am ]
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This is a retroactive post with comments I meant to include earlier on the thread. A few standout moments of recent performances on June 22 and 26:

1) The Laurencia excerpt performed in the evening if divertissements (and unfortunately not at the Gala on the 26th as initially planned). Tkachenko and Lobukhin as the leads, w/Selina and Lavrinenko alongside Murashov and Nedvega as the demi-soloists.

I'd never seen this ballet performed live before, much less just a piece of it. But the selection was a lovely evening opener. The choreography is unique, (as anyone else who has seen the famous films can attest) with requisite Mediterranean flair, the arms held in low demi-seconde behind the back, or in curled arches near the head. Tkachenko was vibrant and luxurious as the lead, certain of her place in the limelight. Lobukhin revelled in the jumps and tours. They made a nice pair.

Of the demi soloists, the men performed a synchronized duets with crisp double tours -- both Fedor Murashov and Alexei Nedvega have made significant progress in the past year and it showed. Their ladies -- Yana Selina and Anna Lavrinenko -- were both beautiful, although Selina was crisper and more secure in her dancing. Lavrinenko seemed hesitant, but she is also a very talented dancer slowly being given more attention and deservedly so.

The demi-soloists' costumes were especially pleasing: while the main couple wore all-white, the ladies had black velvet corsets above the white tiered knee-length "kitri" skirts; the men were in black velvet Spanish style short vests and sleek black tights. The effect was very clean and pure, and pleasing to the eye.

2) Andrei Batalov and Elizaveta Cherpasova in "Flames of Paris". They danced this twice -- on the 22nd and on the 26th in the gala. Both times Cherpasova flailed through her fouettes and seemed a bit wobbly. While the couple couldn't quite keep their lines sychronized, Batalov's independent dancing was unmatched - five pirouettes slowing to a stop en releve, then extending the leg to seconde (still en releve) only to end on the music. And no applause for his talents! This was one of the evenings I spoke of earlier on the thread. He is a talented dancer and now teaching (one of) the men's classes in the company. It was unfortunate he didn't receive his due from the audience either night.

3) Daria Vasnetsova with Andrey Ermakov in "Le Corsaire". At long last they allowed this couple with endless legs and height on the stage. Ermakov has everything it takes to become a star, if only he'd have more opportunity to do so. He is tall, more than 6'2"; but so is Vasnetsova at 5'8" or so. ALthough she didn't have a smooth start with the company, this pas de deux on the 22nd of June was delivered slowly, with utterly clean execuition. Vasnetsova was bouyant and light in a lilac/silver tutu. The couple danced safely and purely, without wobbles or distractions. She pulled off all the fouettes and his jumps were riveting, especially with his long limbs.

4) Dmitry Briantsev's avant-garde "Romance", danced by Yana Selina and Maxim Podshivalenko This is the first time I've ever seen Selina in a modern work featuring her. Dressed as a peasant babushka, her role was that of a woman torn by the departure of her peasant husband. Feet are flexed and parallel. The movement is slow, but works itself up to a faster pace while the music remains at the same slow waltz tempo. The result is a visual mismatch: you hear an adagio while the two dancers jump completely of time to the music. It was intriguing for its uniqueness, more a vehicle for drama than technical display.

5) Grand Pas Classique with the Matvienkos. Anastasia and Denis pulled out all the stops. It is enough that she has gorgeous legs. But he too was an excellent partner; it was the ideal finishing touch on the section of divertissements.

Author:  NataliaN [ Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:56 am ]
Post subject:  Laurencia Pas de Six question

Thanks, as ever, for this report, Catherine!

Regarding the Laurencia Pas de Six, I have a 'truly esoteric' question that only die-hard Kirov-Mariinsky fans can appreciate:

Did both of the female friends have solos...or just Pascualia (the bubbly solo with lots of running on pointe)? Every time that I've seen this, only Pascualia gets a solo among the two female friends; the other one, Jacinta, just dances in ensemble, usually mirroring the moves of Pascualia. An old timer once told me that way-way back (1950s or before), there used to be a Jacinta solo. By the 1970s, Jacinta no longer had a solo. Thus, I am curious if she got one here.

I am assuming that Jana Selina danced the bubbly Pascualia solo, right? It seems tailor-made for her type.

The two male friends have always danced in a leaping duet (not solos), as you pointed out.

Thanks again.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:15 am ]
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Hi Natalia,

Yes, Selina did Pasqualia's bourree variation. But Lavrinenko here had her own variation as well, which I presume was Jacinta's, as you pointed out. It was not quite as impressive (and very short, on and off stage in a flash). And of course the male duet...

Author:  NataliaN [ Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:47 am ]
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Thanks, Catherine. Good to confirm that a Jacinta solo exists.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:24 am ]
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In the Awards Corner...

Konstantine Zverev and Elena Evseeva just won first prize in the 2009 International Ballet Competition in Seoul, Korea.

For the Shourale revival, several artists in the theatre, in addition to Valery Gergiev himself, received titles from the Republic of Tatarstan. Evgenia Obratsova was one of them.

Author:  NataliaN [ Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:09 am ]
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Great news all around, Catherine. Bravi!!!

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:21 am ]
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Yes, lots happening all around here. The White Nights tend to do that, I guess!

Word now is that next season there is a desire to revive Jacobson's "Spartak"...

Author:  NataliaN [ Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:58 am ]
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That would be fantastic. That's the once danced in sandals (no pointes for the ladies!). It's conceived as a series of classical friezes - two-dimensional dancing. That, too, was recently in the active repertoire of the Choreographic Miniatures troupe during Askold Makarov's tenure, so it should be fairly easy to transfer to the Maiinsky company.

Unlike SHURALE, SPARTAK may not transfer well to 21st Century audiences. I know that a lot of my 'fellow westerners' who saw this version of SPARTAK at the Cairo Opera did not 'get it.' I described it as 'living sculpture' but modern audiences may not appreciate it. Just my gut reaction. Nonetheless, I hope that it is done and that it may be a hit. If anything, it deserves to be preserved/filmed in full.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:25 am ]
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This is interesting, Natalia. I have never seen this version of Spartak, but the dancer I spoke with said it was very sort of "sexy" movement for the women. I can see how the Kirov sans pointe shoes might not go over well with audiences expecting to see "girls twirling on toe" (as it were).

It's encouraging and intriguing, too, that finally the MT is dipping into history to pull out some of its treasures. I think the trend is a good one.

There is a mini photo exhibit dedicated to Jacobson inside the MT, near the studios now too -- photos of Osipenko and others in nearly all of his works from way way back. Rehearsal shots of him working in the studio. Performance shots. ANd a fax/telegram from his wife saying she was honored that the revival of Shourale took place, sorry she could not be there for the premiere. I haven't checked dates but wonder if it is an anniversary year for him (of birth or death).

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:08 am ]
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Quickly scanning this month's playbill, I notice that Yana Selina will be doing the lead in "La Sylphide", Saturday, 25 July. It's always nice to see her being given some prominence. Also Ji Yeon Ryu will be dancing Effie. She is another very nice dancer, who also apparently dances Mirtha in "Geslle" from time to time. ... en/selina/

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:42 am ]
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NataliaN wrote:
Unlike SHURALE, SPARTAK may not transfer well to 21st Century audiences. I know that a lot of my 'fellow westerners' who saw this version of SPARTAK at the Cairo Opera did not 'get it.' I described it as 'living sculpture' but modern audiences may not appreciate it. Just my gut reaction. Nonetheless, I hope that it is done and that it may be a hit. If anything, it deserves to be preserved/filmed in full.

I'm not sure if that is a good idea, because the Yakobson version of this ballet--which I believe is the original version done in 1958, ten years before Yuri Grigorovich's legendary version done for the Bolshoi Theatre--might not be appreciated by the balletomanes in St. Petersburg unless you're a real "old timer." Yet, if properly executed it could be a success, if only to show a wider range of dance than the old Petipa "warhorses" and more modern Balanchine ballets MT is doing nowadays.

Now, if the musical score for The Bronze Horseman still exists maybe it's time to do a "new" choreography for that ballet? :)

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:13 am ]
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Last night Oksana Skorik of Perm/YouTube fame debuted as the Lilac Fairy in a test-run before the upcoming tours. She was gloriously, flawlessly beautiful, not just physically but musically. Skorik managed each of the double attitude turns into plie tendu without a hop, and she brought the leg from behind down to touch the floor ever so lightly, with such fluidity as I"ve never before seen.

She's regal, lyrical and every bit an example of pure Vaganova tradition with the promise of a great career ahead of her.

If you have the chance to attend one of her performances, do.

Author:  NataliaN [ Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:12 pm ]
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Great news on Skorik. She really impressed me in the bits that I saw at the Mariinsky Festival in March. Now that's the sort of young dancer that I wish the Mariinsky would be 'pushing' more so than the unmusical flexnatics of late (Nikitinas, Somovas, etc.). Maybe common sense is finally sinking in?

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:48 am ]
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Despite being their age, Skorik is by far the more mature dancer.

Hmm, I wonder if a person's dancing reflects their true offstage character to the same extent? I don't know Skorik but from what i know of many other dancers, it does...

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