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 Post subject: 2011 Vaganova Academy Graduation Performances
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:33 am 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
In the interest of lack of time, I will keep this short.
On June 18, 19 and 26, this year's Vaganova Academy graduates performed their annual graduation concerts at the Mariinsky Theatre. June 18 and 19 were (unfortunately) identical programs, even down to the casting, which has not been the case in years past. June 26 promises to be a different program/cast.

To quote one of the Academy pedagogues, "This year is a weak group, and there are no boys." A sweeping statement but there is some truth to it. The jewels of the group are the of course Kristina Shapran and Olga Smirnova. Shapran danced only a short pas de deux; Smirnova was the lead in the Kingdom of the Shades scene, as Nikiya, both June 18 and 19 (yesterday and today).

Sergei Filin and Yuri Burlaka watched/attended both performances and Filin confirmed that Smirnova has accepted his offer to join the Bolshoi Ballet. A loss for Petersburg but given the recent somewhat uneven administrative events within the MT, I would probably do the same in her shoes, at least right now, this year.

Smirnova is a polished ballerina already and was even a year or two ago, when she performed as an undergraduate in the end of the year graduation performances. Slender, long and lean, with a beautiful face, she has a flexible extension, beautiful arches, a beautiful elastic back and perfect Vaganova Academy port de bras. Her technique is certain. I could see no flaws at all in her performance, which says a great deal about someone just out of school!

Shapran is similar in many ways -- she has darker hair, and the pas they gave her was more modern and emotional. Both are stunning to watch. It will be interesting to see if Shapran joins the ranks of the Mariinsky or not...

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 Post subject: Re: 2011 Vaganova Academy Graduation Performances
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 5:19 pm
Posts: 186
Catherine Pawlick wrote:
In the interest of lack of time, I will keep this short.
On June 18, 19 and 26, this year's Vaganova Academy graduates performed their annual graduation concerts at the Mariinsky Theatre. June 18 and 19 were (unfortunately) identical programs, even down to the casting, which has not been the case in years past. June 26 promises to be a different program/cast.

To quote one of the Academy pedagogues, "This year is a weak group, and there are no boys." A sweeping statement but there is some truth to it. The jewels of the group are the of course Kristina Shapran and Olga Smirnova. Shapran danced only a short pas de deux; Smirnova was the lead in the Kingdom of the Shades scene, as Nikiya, both June 18 and 19 (yesterday and today).

Sergei Filin and Yuri Burlaka watched/attended both performances and Filin confirmed that Smirnova has accepted his offer to join the Bolshoi Ballet. A loss for Petersburg but given the recent somewhat uneven administrative events within the MT, I would probably do the same in her shoes, at least right now, this year.

Smirnova is a polished ballerina already and was even a year or two ago, when she performed as an undergraduate in the end of the year graduation performances. Slender, long and lean, with a beautiful face, she has a flexible extension, beautiful arches, a beautiful elastic back and perfect Vaganova Academy port de bras. Her technique is certain. I could see no flaws at all in her performance, which says a great deal about someone just out of school!

Shapran is similar in many ways -- she has darker hair, and the pas they gave her was more modern and emotional. Both are stunning to watch. It will be interesting to see if Shapran joins the ranks of the Mariinsky or not...
Thank you Catherine for the report! IMO this is a surprise coup d'etat for Filin and Olga Smirnova! Congratulations to her! This is very exciting and unexpected news! It would be something if K. Shapran also opts for another company, (that is should she be given a job offer by the Mariinsky). Personally, I don't blame Smirnova either for making this choice. It shows that she was wide awake while at the Academy about the current ballet administration at the Mariinsky Theatre. If it happens that Shapran goes elsewhere, I wouldn't blame her either. It's sad to hear that in the Class of 2011, there were only two female diamonds and no male diamonds.


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 Post subject: Re: 2011 Vaganova Academy Graduation Performances
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:17 am
Posts: 374
Thank you, Catherine! Well, well...so Smirnova goes to the Bolshoi. What a coup for Filin/Bolshoi. This follows last year's Vaganova post-graduation shocker in which the best male in a long time, Viktor Lebedev, went elsewhere (to the Mikhailovsky). I wonder if Shapran will join the Mariinsky or even stay in St Petersburg? Did Ludmilla Kovaleva - coach of Smirnova & Shapran - coach all of the girls who graduated this year? Wasn't Nikita Sheglov the coach of the graduating boys (Latipov, etc.)?


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 Post subject: Re: 2011 Vaganova Academy Graduation Performances
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:37 am 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
I was told also that after Victor Lebedev accepted at the Mikhailovsky (I dont know how far into this period it was) he wanted to go to the Mariinsky and Fateyev said "no". So that should also be factored into the equation.

For this year's graduating class, yes, the pedagogues include Kovaleva, but also Sherstneva, Sirotin, Baranov, Porivkina, and Desnitsky, for graduates. (Sheglov is not listed in the program) Unfortunately they do not list them separately, so in the numbers that included graduates plus those who have one year left, they list all the pedagogues involved, but those names apply to graduates if I'm not mistaken. Obviously all of the graduates have taken duet classes from Desnitsky and many men will have had numerous coaches (ie including Silutsky) and so forth. Ie its never a case of just one pedagogue in the course of 8 yrs.

You asked about Lopatin, when he performed with Sasha Somova and Ksenia Shevtsova (the pas de trois from Paquita by the way), Silutsky is listed for that ballet, along with Kovaleva and Sitnikova.

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Author, "Vaganova Today: The Preservation of Pedagogical Tradition" (available on amazon.com)


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 Post subject: Re: 2011 Vaganova Academy Graduation Performances
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:50 am 
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Thanks for the clarifications, Catherine. Interesting about Lebedev's situation; perhaps he caught wind too late about the new 'modern' trend at that theater, with Duato et. al.? Now looking at my notes, it seems that Sheglov was one of the coaches last year (the class in which Lebedev graduated). Some of the coaches who you list for the current class are character and historical-dance focused, such as Sherstnyeva.

A bunch of last year's grads -- especially men, despite Lebedev opting for the Mikhailovsky -- were taken into the Mariinsky. I wonder who, among this year's grads, male or female, will be taken into the MT?


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 Post subject: Re: 2011 Vaganova Academy Graduation Performances
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:02 am 
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Posts: 374
Catherine, I know that you've been extremely busy with deadlines but you might want to go the the 3rd & final Vaganova Concert at the MT this Sunday, as I've seen the casting sheet on the Vaganova website...and it's a 'Whopper' with Smirnova leading Humpbacked Horse + Thais pdd in the diverts; Shapran as Nikiya in Baya Shades; and highly-touted up-and-comers Arina Varentseva (in Ocean & 2 Pearls) and Ksenia Zhiganshina (Corsaire pdd). Promises to be an all-star spectacular! :D


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 Post subject: Re: 2011 Vaganova Academy Graduation Performances
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:36 am 
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Here are the new hires for the Mariinsky corps de ballet, from the Class of 2011:

Ekaterina Bondarenko
Yulia Kabatova
Elizaveta Kaukina
Two men: Vladislav Makarov & Yarolsav Ryzhov
http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/company/ballet/kopsballet/
Two ladies go to the reserve roster: Galina Rusina and Tatiana Goryushkina, http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/company/ballet/reserve/
Alina Somova little sister, Alexandra Somova didn't make the cut.


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 Post subject: Re: 2011 Vaganova Academy Graduation Performances
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:59 am 
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Irina Tolschishikova also made the cut. Four ladies and 2 men join the corps + the 2 reserve ladies.

I wonder if Shapran and the main guy in the class, Strelkov, will join Smirnova at the Bolshoi? There had been early speculation via younger students' Twitter accounts but none of that can be taken as the word.


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