Here is the FT article which is most definitely not
written by Clement Crisp
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/6c1bf20e-82e2 ... abdc0.html
The author of this piece, Peter Aspden, appears to be a staff journalist covering a variety of subjects including:
travel, religion, politics, history, most art forms and sport: he covered the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, and the World Cup in France in 1998.
In other words someone with no particular interest in ballet at all (disregard the reference to ‘most art forms’ as UK arts journalism tends to include such things as rock concerts and stand up comedy as art forms). This entire article has the whiff of a piece of damage limitation; could it be commissioned by the Kirov management I wonder? Or perhaps the writer is inspired by Ms Somova’s sporting links as he informs us she was once involved with some ice skater and is a fan of Zenit football club, as a sports writer perhaps he feels an affinity, but I must protest over this:
But I sense broader issues at play here. Not only is Somova’s style of dancing controversial; her personality too displays 21st-century tendencies that are not normally associated with the famously severe Russian schooling. For one, according to the gossip columns, she was once romantically involved with a handsome figure skater, Alexei Yagudin, an Olympic and world champion, no less.
Frankly this is news to me as I have no more interest in the private life of the lady than I have in anyone else in the dance community, nor can I remember anyone commenting on her personal affairs on this board or else where. If anyone were so crass as to post gossip about her love life (or any other dancer’s for that matter) I would hope the moderator would quickly censor it, unless of course a dancer indulges in no holds barred antics such as Volochkova’s
And what are we to make of this?
Then there was her distinctly proletarian behaviour last year at the Lowry Centre, where she was dancing at the same time as the football team she supports, Zenit St Petersburg, was contesting the UEFA Cup Final up the road, at the City of Manchester stadium. “Yes! We were dancing but really we were all at the football match!” she told The Daily Telegraph. “We celebrated at the hotel afterwards with the players.”
Since when has enjoying football been ‘distinctly proletarian’? I can remember even members of the royal family admitting to watching Match of the Day. If I read this correctly Aspden seems to be saying that the British public and critics dislike her because of innate snobbery towards someone who likes sport: bizarre.
Now I have no problem with people liking Somova, it goes against the grain, but that’s people for you, after all there are many out there that still believe the world to be flat. I have to say though that Aspden's trawling the scary comments on You Tube is an odd thing to do, it would be the last place I would go for informed information about any dancer.
This however is rather disquieting:
The company’s commitment to excellence survived every twist and turn of Russian and Soviet history. But now it must take its place on the global cultural stage: a place that is promiscuous, fast-moving, wilfully superficial, and that offers stellar rewards for little more than a transfixing smile.
Sounds as if we’re all off to hell in a handcart.