CriticalDance Forum

Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season
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Author:  Buddy [ Thu May 05, 2011 4:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

A few interesting things in May

Odette-Odile: Oxana Skorik - Hooray !

Maria: Yana Selina - The Fountain of Bakhchisarai
Zarema: Daria Pavlenko

And June

Odette-Odile: Oxana Skorik - Yay !

Kitri: Elena Yevseyeva - Mariinsky Second Soloist, formerly Mikhailovsky

Siyumbike: Elena Yevseyeva

Odette-Odile: Olesya Novikova

Gamzatti: Olesya Novikova

Bravi ! ahead of time, Everyone !

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun May 08, 2011 7:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

It is a huge holiday weekend here in Russia -- Victory Day, the celebration of winning World War II. Each year the Mariinsky performs "Leningrad Symphony" in early May, to address the theme of that very war. I will attend tomorrow night and report back. It's a performance I look forward to and a ballet performed not often enough> They also will dance Young Girl and the Hooligan -- an adorable piece that I also wish was performed more than once or twice per year.

Skorik's debut as O/O is next Saturday the 14th. Counting down...

Author:  Cassandra [ Mon May 09, 2011 9:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Although these pictures are of Moscow rather than St Petersburg, I'm sure they capture the spirit of the day throughout Russia. Check out picture 4 of the veterans dancing outside the Bolshoi Theatre. ... 82&index=0

I've been lucky enough to celebrate Victory Day with the Russians twice; once in Moscow where everyone goes out with armfuls of flowers that they hand to the veterans, wherever they happen to encounter them, and once when I celebrated with a troupe of Russian dancers on tour in Marbella in Spain when we all when down to the beach to party. Great memories.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon May 09, 2011 2:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Ooh thanks for posting the link Cassandra, it's fabulous that you have so much coverage of it there in the UK. I know there's almost nothing about it printed in the US, not in comparison. I had to send my family links of some of what was published here.

I turned on the TV here today, and it was really touching to see all of the veterans. All the news channels showed the goings-on both in Moscow and in Petersburg, and I heard Medvedev's speech. Here in Petersburg, Palace Square had its usual display for the veterans, similar (but smaller scale!!) to what Moscow delivers. Those tanks etc -- it's quite impressive.

The city is also deserted, most people take advantage of the extra day to head to their dachas. But alas the theatre workers must perform for the masses so everyone is toiling the day (and night) away.

I think it is fantastic that this much attention is given to the end of the second World War--the number of children and grandchildren interviewed on TV also speaks to the closer ties to history that this country has. Something the US is sorely lacking (or maybe just US media is sorely lacking but I think it's both).

Full review to come -- it was a spectacular evening, needless to say.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue May 10, 2011 10:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Mixed bill: Young Girl and a Hooligan, Without, Leningrad Symphony
Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia
9 May 2011 - Victory Day Celebration

By Catherine Pawlick

Amidst parades on Red Square in Moscow, an address to the nation from President Medvedev, fireworks over Palace Square in Petersburg, and veterans everywhere donning old uniforms laden with military pins and ribbons, Victory Day in Russia is arguably one of the largest holidays outside of New Year’s Eve. For most, it provides a three-day weekend, but not for employees of the Mariinsky Theatre, where orchestra and ballet alike demonstrated their dedication to both art form and country with a performance tribute to the nation’s victory at the end of World War II.

The ballets typically performed for this national holiday rarely appear in any other month, thereby granting them a treasure-like status of sorts. The first of these favorites, “The Young Girl and the Hooligan,” a title that sounds smoother in Russian than in its English translation, focuses on the purity of the young Girl in a white dress who embodies the unattainable ideal of a rough-and-tumble bad boy, the Hooligan. Through a series of scenes created by little-known choreographer Konstantin Boyarsky, the bad boy scares her, dreams about her, idealizes her, and eventually wins her over, only to lose his own life to a bunch of gang thugs in the end.

The delightfully girlish grace of Svetlana Ivanova’s Girl, etching the choreographic drawing with prim walks en pointe, hands carefully clasped, and a wide-eyed innocent look, projected the perfect embodiment of this character, the feminine ideal, untouched, unreachable, but young and innocent in every way. Ivanova’s performance is so perfect, in fact, that it is hard to imagine anyone else in the role. In the schoolroom, where the Hooligan realizes she is the teacher, she finds the courage to push the Hooligan out of a kiss with another girl, but his coarse attempts to frighten her with the stomp of a foot or a sudden gesture succeed, ultimately sending her away.

The Hooligan, danced by a forceful and boyish Ilya Kuznetsov, emitted every bit of unharnessed power and immaturity requisite for the role. Twice Ivanova’s size, he managed the barrel turns in the initial solo with authority; his angst during the dream sequence (in which he dances with the Girl) were readily apparent through frustrated gestures and twisted grimaces.

The Hooligan finds his match in Vozhak, danced by Kamil Yangurazov, the unspoken leader of a gang of smudgy boys dressed in factory overalls and slouchy caps. Vozhak, in a slick black suit and white scarf, is in a way the Hooligan’s physical opposite, and seems to hold court at his nightclub/restaurant, where un-Soviet women undulate around nightclub tables, and the Hooligan is offered his first drink of alcohol. Yangurazov plays the role slowly and coolly, less with malice than with reserve. An offense of sorts takes place here, which seems the only motive for the Hooligan’s later demise.

Images of Soviet utopia, visible in the other characters –the schoolgirls’ braided hair tied with white ribbons, their matching white dresses, accompanied by strong sportsmen, abound. So do the grimy factory boys, who are more interested in street fun. The classroom gone wild –before the Girl teacher arrives—shifts into the nightclub. The scenography by Valeriya Dorrera and sets by Vyacheslav Okunev lend an authentic feel to the time and place of the libretto.

Although the entire ballet makes a firm impression, several scenes stand out from the others. When Kuznetsov finally embraces Ivanova, putting his head in her lap while she’s on the park bench, Ivanova realizes instantly that his coarseness is his only means of expressing love, and the pure joy on her face speaks volumes. Likewise, as he dies slowly from the stab wound, her tenderness towards him is touching, her angst at her unheard calls for help palpable. Although this seems to be a holiday ballet, it is one that the company would do well to perform much more frequently. The audience was ecstatic.

Benjamin Millipied’s new work for the Mariinsky, “Without,” which premiered during the April Festival, presented its second cast for the first time during this program. Ivanova appeared again here in the “blue” role previously danced by Alina Somova. But where her Girl was all innocence and controlled emotion, here her highly arched attitudes and expressive epaulement evoked a release of sorts, into sensuality, mood and movement. Accompanied by her reliable partner Alexei Timofeyev, the two danced a tender duet. Olesya Novikova and Maksim Zuizin were the passionate leading couple in red, their relational tug-of-war evidenced by a series of emotionally-charged pas de deux. Novikova’s realization that he has left her –twice—is met with support from the other eight dancers only at the ballet’s closing. Novikova’s ability to project thought and emotion to the far reaches of the hall –in addition to having a meaty role that allows her to indulge these skills—is not shared by all of the cast. Zuizin has come more into his own in the past season, dancing more strongly, more assertively, and stepping into his wardrobe of talent that until now has only been partially tapped; it is a pleasure to see these fuller colors in his own dancing.

The other three couples – Yana Selina with Filipp Stepin, Maria Shirinkina with Alexei Popov and Anastasia Nikitina with Alexander Parish—seemed more subdued in their dramatic expression than the first cast, although Parish attacked his solo with equal gusto, and Shirinkina’s delicate lines are always a pleasure to watch. The brief quintet of men on stage was particularly sharp and well-timed.

The final ballet of the evening, the true ode to the Fatherland, “Leningrad Symphony” is, as most recall, set to Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony. To witness the ballet that premiered with the likes of Yuri Soloviev, Alla Sizova and Gabriella Komleva on its native stage exactly 40 years after its premiere is a historical moment. The honor of the leading roles this evening went, rightfully, to Uliana Lopatkina and Igor Kolb, who led the sea of dancers, bright faces full of hope and light. These are the children of the Soviet Union, symbols of happiness and possibility, who open the curtain.

Lopatkina, dressed in a long white sheath, appears as if she has stepped out of the 1940s, her hair in a short curled chignon, low on her neck, her movements slow and careful; she is youthful purity as yet untarnished. Kolb, on the other hand, is masculine strength personified. It is easy to see how much Soloviev may have impressed in his debut in this famous role, where the choreography for the men contrasts so intensely. At one point Kolb performs four double tours in a row, alternating directions; his dance is punctuated with numerous soaring leaps. At first the couple, flanked by other similar couples, perform a slow rocking step –pique coup de pied, step step coup de pied—right and left, slowly. The effect is a visual lullaby, a song of peace that is short lived. Soon the music changes, the lights in the distance appear. War has come.

The ruthless Fascists, dressed in brown unitards with black “horned” helmets, at first received snickers from the audience. Granted the caricature is almost cartoon-like, but only at first. As the march within the musical score mounts, the serious nature of their havoc is witnessed: Russian men climb the planks and die. A single desperate soul frantically does the “prisyadki” or squatting knee dance, begging to be spared, but is killed as well. Lopatkina shrinks in horror, crawling backwards across the stage, and finally burying her head in her hands. Her subsequent dance of grief and shock includes plenty of battements and renversés, visual symbols of the upset in her soul. Almost all of the men are destroyed before Kolb, mustering energy from within, emits an invisible source of power from the center of his torso, and it is this “field” that fells the last Fascist standing. The war is won.

In Lopatkina’s final gesture to the curtain , she crosses her hands at her chest, releases them to gaze at her palms and then reaches out, palms up to the audience in a look of surprise that is almost a question. The masterpiece completed by a genius ballerina leaves layers of messaging and the pride of a nation in one single gesture. The curtain calls and flowers that graced the stage afterwards could not have been more appropriate.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Wed May 11, 2011 2:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Tonite Valeria Martinouk debuts as Kitri alongside Alexei Timofeyev. Will give a review here.

The press conference for the Stars of the White Nights Festival took place yesterday. Zakharova is the guest artist for the season although dates she will dance are TBD. Vishneva will have a gala concert in honor of 15 years of dancing with the company, that takes place June 23 with other guest artists; she will be performing some Martha Graham for the event.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun May 15, 2011 2:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Two Debuts – Don Quixote and Swan Lake
Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia
11 and 14 May, 2011
By Catherine Pawlick

As the Mariinsky Ballet gears up for its summer tours –starting this month with stops in Israel, and then to New York before its jubilee tour for three weeks in London this July--a number of debuts are occurring on the home stage, testing the strength and talent of some of the company's younger performers.

On May 11, Valeria Martiniuk, known for her dancing in the peasant pas of “Giselle,” Manu in “La Bayadère,” or as one of the four little swans in “Swan Lake,” debuted alongside Alexei Timofeyev in “Don Quixote.” The initial battements and the floating jetes after her Act I entrance expressed Kitri’s full joie de vivre, her crisp footwork certain throughout. Martiniuk’s technique is beyond reproach – strong, and confident, she appeared at ease throughout the evening. She offered a nice contrast in Act II, when she transformed her feisty quickness into an elegant, poised legato, evoking the unattainable image of perfect beauty which the Don envisions. This shift in dramatic shading presented a surprising differentiation in Martiniuk’s dramatic range, something that is rarely seen in such bas relief on stage. In the final Act, Martiniuk managed a series of single-single-double fouettés, the doubles marked with arms en haut as icing on the visual cake. Her entire role was well-rehearsed, no details overlooked; it was a performance that marks her level of professionalism as considerably higher than her ranking in the company.

Unfortunately, while a reliable partner, some of Timofeyev’s dancing left out the details; his transition steps were faulty, his acting seemed to fade the bright colors of Basil, and the potential impact of the pantomime scenes was lost. Distracting us back into the world of beauty was Svetlana Ivanova as the delicate and sprightly Amour in Act II, while the debonaire Kamil Yangurazov brought sleek accents to his debut as Espada. The larger disappointment --the insulting decision to cast principal dancer Daria Pavlenko as the Street Dancer – seems representative of some odd shifts in the current administration . While Pavlenko’s sultry full-bodied presentation of the Spanish role was faultless, the offense to a dancer who has climbed the ranks and earned the title Honored Artist of Russia is difficult to overlook. If this is the administration’s attempt to comment on company members, their vision and the means of the message are misplaced.

Others in Don Quixote who were equally also noteworthy include Liubov Kozharskaya, who offered a proud Fandango dance in the last scene; unfortunately typecasting and the system of emploi will prevent her from fully utilizing her classical training. She's a most capable dancer.

On May 14, the much-discussed subject of the documentary film “A Beautiful Tragedy” set in the Perm Ballet School some years ago, Oksana Skorik made her debut in “Swan Lake” to a full house. The hushed expectation of the hall upon this keystone of any great ballerinas career came with great responsibility for Skorik, who coped adequately with the evening. In fact, in any American company and stage, the audience would have been on its feet in ecstasy. But here, where the standards are higher, it was simply passable: Skorik is lovely to regard, with a beautiful round face and long lines. She is tall, but has broad shoulders. Her curled arches and a sharply folding spine grant her a lovely arabesque and port de bras. Based on viewing numerous performances by Lopatkina or Tereshkina, it was evident that Skorik had adjusted some of the role to fit her own interpretation of it, but only in minor ways, a slightly altered pose here or there, a small transition step shifted. She preserved her own individuality in her interpretation of both Odette and Odile, and luckily the promise of a sharper, stronger presentation lies before her. Perhaps the pressures of the evening had her nerves in knots, for she can be regal and commanding in other roles, such as the Lilac Fairy. Skorik’s Odette was quiet, and delicate, but it was difficult to feel her suffering. Likewise, her Odile had all the requisite attack, but one sensed she had even more to give, dramatically speaking. She managed the 32 fouettes –singles—without error.

Her partner, imported from Baku to the Mariinsky, Timur Askerov, seemed an odd choice for the tall ballerina. She towered above him en pointe and would have done better with Korsuntsev or Kolb. While the role of Siegfried does not carry much opportunity for in-depth acting, Askerov seemed a figurehead on stage and no more. One of the ushers commented that he has “no neck and a head of wood.” His elevation in jumps is surprising, although others in the company offer more visually pleasing musculature. It is difficult to critique a debut on the Mariinsky stage for any young performer – the debut itself is a great accomplishment for any artist in the world. Both Skorik and Askerov have much to offer, and their careers lie ahead of them. It will be interesting to watch their progression.

Author:  Cygne [ Mon May 16, 2011 10:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Thank you Catherine for the Skoryk/Askerov "Swan Lake" and Martynuk debut reviews! I'm pleased to learn that
Oxana "passed" and aquitted herself of the role, and that Valeria was a distinctive new Kitri :D. Now, on to more study
and development of their interpretations.
The larger disappointment --the insulting decision to cast principal dancer Daria Pavlenko as the Street Dancer – seems representative of some odd shifts in the current administration. While Pavlenko’s sultry full-bodied presentation of the Spanish role was faultless, the offense to a dancer who has climbed the ranks and earned the title Honored Artist of Russia is difficult to overlook. If this is the administration’s attempt to comment on company members, their vision and the means of the message are misplaced.
Thank you Catherine for this excellent statement. Injuries and maternity leave aside, Dasha Pavlenko is now fully recovered and has long since deserved more than Street Dancer and other such "winky-dink" roles. If these assignments are her choice, that's one thing; if not this is outrageous. She, along with no less fellow Honored Artist Ekaterina Osmolkina share a comparable number of both leading and supporting roles in all the major classical and most modern works in the repertory, (+100 roles between them if you take the time to count them all). It's unforgivable that Pavlenko is not utilized more per her rank, nor respected by the management. She deserves her due - as she sacrificed to attain it and is in what ought to be the prime of her career. She has also been excluded from major company tours, and unfortunately will not be in either New York's Lincoln Center or Covent Garden this summer. One wishes that Pavlenko will be granted permission to re-claim at least O/O soon, not to mention Giselle, Raymonda, etc. Pavlenko's "assignments," (apart from the long overdue :arrow: as in *6 years in waiting full-length Nikiya a few weeks ago) are a disgrace, and a reflection of the venal favorites playing that's constitutes the essence of the interim ballet director's casting policies.
*(Pavlenko's last complete Nikiya was seen on the Mariinsky stage on September 30, 2005).

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue May 17, 2011 4:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Buddy wrote:
Catherine -- Have you written a book ? !!!! ... %20Pawlick

Sorry for the delayed response Buddy, I only found your post just now. Yes that is my first book. It is available for pre-order now but only is physically "born" in September this year, print runs being what they are :-). Thanks for noticing it. Kind of exciting to have a birthing process of this sort....

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue May 17, 2011 4:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Cygne wrote:
*(Pavlenko's last complete Nikiya was seen on the Mariinsky stage on September 30, 2005).

I'm honored to have seen both of them. Others on Russian forums have said they thought she was awful... I saw nothing awful in her performance, not at all.

Author:  Buddy [ Wed May 18, 2011 4:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Catherine, if you say that Daria Pavlenko danced beautifully, then it must be so !

I, personally, have never seen her do otherwise.

Congratulations and best success with your new book. ... 321&sr=1-1

Don't forget us here after you become 'rich and famous.'

Haven't had a chance to read your "Don Quixote" and "Swan Lake" reviews yet, but will do so as soon as possible.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Wed May 18, 2011 11:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Thanks Buddy -- unfortunately nonfiction doesn't pay -- as my close friend says "If you want to make money, don't write a book about ballet" and she was right -- expenses outrun anything you'll ever earn from it. I doubt I will ever be famous for a small book, but one can dream :-)

Author:  Buddy [ Fri May 20, 2011 7:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Catherine, thanks so much for you fine reviews. I'm glad that Valeria Martiniuk made such a good impression on you. I like her very much.

In regard to Oksana Skorik, I just found this.

It's a 1:53 minute video clip of Oksana Skorik rehearsing "Swan Lake." (It's obviously filmed with her knowledge, so I hope it's okay to show here.)

You be the judge. I have to say that it looks pretty 'darn' good to me. ... r_embedded

(referred to by a post at "balletalert")

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sat May 21, 2011 7:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Funny, I saw that earlier today. Apparently an Israeli jouirnalist came to do some pre-work before their (happening now) Israeli tour. Given he's a journalist, I presume that makes the posting on Youtube OK, although the Mariinsky Administration is very much against anything placed on Youtube since it is not official.

Author:  Buddy [ Sat May 21, 2011 7:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Thanks for this information, Catherine. I will keep it in mind.

I would hope that someday the internet video issues can be settled. There is really so much good stuff out there that deserves to be seen, I would think to the benefit of both the artists and the public, that would never be seen otherwise.

The Mariinsky or anyone else does have the right to have these videos removed from YouTube and many such videos have been removed, even at the request of "third parties."

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