CriticalDance Forum

Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
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Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

Hi Buddy and Natalia,

I will post comments on the Vaganova for sure, but I'm actually doing a short piece (last minute) for Dance Europe on that topic so, for copyright, I can't duplicate.

A quick reply to Buddy: Viktoria Brilyova is one to watch, and you heard it from me first! :-) (she was in Paquita, as one of the corps. She's tall and slender with a lovely face and dark hair)

I attended last night's Giselle which I presumed would feature Kondaurova in the leading role since, before casting was posted, the website was announcing her in Giselle in big bold letters. Well as everyone knows, she danced Myrtha again -- a role that is completely hers-- but I was so hoping this would have been a debut.

Instead, Skorik danced alongside Maxim Zuizin. The website also listed Alexei Nedvega in his premeire in peasant pas -- he did not dance, Vasily Tkachenko did, and he partnered Batoyeva (from the Harlequinade pas of a few days back). Needless to say: Dont go by the website!

I have an entire review in my head regarding last night's Giselle and I dont know if I'll be able to get it all down right now, so the brief highlights:

Vasily Tkachenko was the most unexpected, delightful surprise of the evening. His dancing in the peasant pas so far exceeded that billing, it was precise and effortless, with perfect batterie but soft, flowing port de bras. I've never seen him dance something like this before and he's not often (at least the past few months) been cast in any notable solo roles. He stole the show. At one point, a perfect quadruple pirouette -- slowwwwly executed -- pausing in retire passe at the end, and lowering to his knee in the silent millisecond before the last note of the music. (Boris Gruzin's attentive baton was conducting). It was utter perfection and the audience roared. He is, for those who may not know, Tatiana Tkachenko's little brother, but I have not mentioned this before (and only for informational purposes mention it now) because he is so much a strong dancer in his own right. While Tanya has been cast less frequently, we can at least now see more of Vasily.

Skorik has grown immeasurably from last year's festival -- Buddy you mentioned her White Swan Adagio with Timur done at that time. That was truly child's play and emotionless compared to last night's Giselle. She was warm and expressive in the first act and, most enjoyably, her epaulement and upper body showed a freedom of expression that felt like a breath of fresh air. We didnt see that from her Odette, which at times may have been so restrained as to be cold...this was different. Her Giselle was human, incredibly shy around Albrecht (and naive, needless to say, as per the character), but enthusiastic in her dancing, and quick to trust Zuizin's Albrecht as Act One wore on. Skorik's sweeping arabesques in that Act were like liquid beauty, infused with life and breath that (again) I haven't seen before from her. The second act, partly due to a tulle skirt that seemed to be made of the lightest fabric in existence, and more layers of it than usual -- was ethereal but not at all stiff. At the beginning of the Act Two pas, she did the slowest developpe a la seconde in existence, hitting a 185-degree pose (covered by the tulle of course) that here did not look distorted, it simply impressed. She had finessed all of the transition steps and the entire performance was of the highest caliber. Skorik has won me over, after this performance.

Maxim Zuizin was the strongest I've ever seen him in an acting role last night. I couldn't help but see the influence of his dear but late coach, Sergey Berezhnoi, in much of his onstage mannerisms. He and Skorik had several personal touches in the Act One sequences, one of them an extended allonge in the "tap/kiss" diagonal moving upstage. The details in Act One's pantomime were explicit and clear -- not muddled over as is all too common and easy to do. You had the sense he was out for a good time initially, and then befuddled as to why the entire peasant community shunned him (end of the Act). In Act Two he saved Skorik from one promenade that might have tipped offbalance. But he caught it in time so that you wondered if it really would have gone off balance after all. His own attention to detail has grown a great deal and I'm so pleased he's finally receiving principal billing. I was expecting that back in 2006 and wondering why, as with other dancers we know and love, it took so long.

Author:  NataliaN [ Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

Thank you, Catherine! I'm happy to read about Oksana Skorik's and Maks Zyuzin's continuing progress, in particular.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

It really was a lovely performance. Visions of Skorik's port de bras in the second act still haunt me, its just such a transition from other roles I've seen her in so far, I felt that this was finally her chance to reveal herself on stage, and it was wonderful.

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

Very glad to hear that you like Oksana Skorik as much as you do, Catherine. Hopefully she will be one of the Odettes that comes to the States next October. Also hope that you continue to see performances that you enjoy as much as this one and that you can tell us something about them if you have a chance.

Myriam Ould-Braham was all over the internet yesterday. She's been made an Etoile - Principal at the Paris Opera Ballet to universal internet applause. She was on my wish list for this year's Festival. Maybe next year is now more of a possibility. She seems to have the same heart touching innocent radiance and fairy-like manner that I've been enjoying so much in Zhanna Ayupova's Emeralds dvd performance.


New DVD -- "Treasures of the Russian Ballet"

A review by Joel Lobenthal

"Bolshoi and Kirov vitality preserved 

"Legendary Russian dancers show why they are legends in the new DVD Treasures of the Russian Ballet (ICA Classics/Naxos). It contains performances by Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet and (then) Leningrad’s Kirov filmed by the BBC in London from 1956 to 1963, some on stage, some in the television studio.

"Galina Ulanova was a product of the Kirov but was transferred to the Bolshoi at the end of World War II. At 46, Ulanova is quite astonishing in the White Swan adagio from Swan Lake, captured during the company’s debut season in London in 1956.

"Indeed, it’s not possible here to mention, let alone do justice to all the great performances in this collection—let me just say that everything on it is crucial viewing!"
(posted at BalletcoForum)

Author:  NataliaN [ Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

Catherine Pawlick wrote:
....Paquita..... Yana Selina, Oksana Skorik and Maria Shirinkina performed the other three variations.

Catherine, the recent Concert Hall gala which you review above is now online on YouTube. I completely agree with your assessments, particularly Shirinkina in the gentle 'Babochka pdd,' as well as Terioshkina as the lead in Paquita. Among the others, I was quite surprised by the 'new finesse' and beauty of Maria Shirinkina dancing the 'celeste variation' (originally from Pavillon d'Armide). I also loved Oksana Skorik's arms in the 'harp variation' but her pointes seemed so loud. It may have something to do with the accoustics in the Mariinsky Concert Hall, I bet.

Author:  amiaow [ Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

Natalia, would you mind posting the Youtube user who uploaded the recent concert hall Gala? I have been unable to find the footage and would dearly love to see it. Many thanks!

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

Natalia, actually I'm glad you mentioned that -- I failed to mention the sound of the shoes, but on that stage the pointe shoes were louder than at the Mariinsky. The sound carries upward from the stage, and with the exception of the first few rows in the orchestra, since all of the seats *are* higher than the stage, that ampitheatre is just not created for ballet performances (this sound issue being one on a list of many). I was sitting in a "baignoire" which in that hall is about the equivalent in height of say, the second balcony at the MT (that is -- it's rather high up). I noted it especially with Evseyeva's variation, but with others as well. Knowing these girls weigh next to nothing and can land soundlessly, it *is* the case of the hall's acoustics. Sadly. I know a lot of audience members in the West (and some critics) judge dancers harshly if the shoes are heard on stage -- but often there's nothing that can be done about that, depending on the stage in question.

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

Momentary diversion.

Ah, memory lane.

I've only been into ballet for about ten years. The second year Diana Vishneva was the lead in Alexei Ratmansky's "Cinderella" in Washington DC. (The part was actually created for her). I saw both of her performances. They were by far the finest ballet performances that I had yet seen and remain among the finest that I've ever seen.

In the principal duet with Igor Kolb (I can't praise him enough for this sort of thing), who saw to it that Diana Vishneva didn't fly off the stage, she accomplished the finest and most breathtaking Celestial! gymnastics that I've ever witnessed ! I underline in bold print ** "Celestial!" **. This is what makes it great ballet, for me.

The Mariinsky is returning to DC with this in October. My understanding is that Diana Vishneva won't be there and in my mind no one will ever replace her.

Still I've been looking at an internet video clip of Daria Pavlenko dancing this and although it's a completely different animal, it's lovely and compelling. Her dancing is so clear and articulate, for one thing, that I noticed Alexei Ratmansky's ability with choreography like never before. Alexander Sergeev, her partner, wonderfully amplifies the effect. Her expression is also typically 'Daria' -- lovely and heart touching. It looks like DC would be very fortunate if she were to be one this year's Cinderellas.

(reference to this video clip is from Ballet Alert)

Author:  NataliaN [ Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

amiaow wrote:
Natalia, would you mind posting the Youtube user who uploaded the recent concert hall Gala? I have been unable to find the footage and would dearly love to see it. Many thanks!

Amiaow, I found it on "rafzak61" channel. The titles of the YouTube clips are in Cyrillic/Russian.

Buddy, the Cinderella clip that I posted in BA is of Somova, not Pavlenko. A fellow poster named "Drew" mentioned having seen a YouTube of Pavlenko in the role but I've never seen it and have been unable to find it. (Sometimes YouTube links expire or are removed, although that tends to happen less in Russia.)

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

Hi Natalia.

The internet video clip that I'm referring to is of Daria Pavlenko. I've PM'd you where to find it.

I keep watching it and the more I do so the more that I think that 'Daria' is doing it just beautifully and the more respect I have for Alexei Ratmansky's way of telling a story, certainly his choreography, much of his point of view and the way that the Mariinsky is interpreting it. For me this shows a slightly new side to Daria Pavlenko, perhaps more mature, more comfortable and more adaptable.

Author:  NataliaN [ Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

Thanks again, Buddy. I agree with your own assessment. Daria P is lovely as Cinderella. I hope that Washington, DC is once again graced with her presence; twice in one calendar year would be amazing (Fokine Triple Bill in January, then Cinder in October).

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

You're very welcome, Natalia. It's also possible that the Mariinsky has improved it's overall take on this work. From this brief look at 'Daria' 's and 'Alexander' 's dancing it all seems so much clearer and more understandable than when I saw it and the 'refining' which the Mariinsky seems to be doing so well with certain newer material ("Le Parc" and Balanchine/Robbins) also seems evident.

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

Natalia, I've also looked at the very brief video clip that you posted elsewhere of Alina Somova's Cinderella and I think that she is absolutely charming and Alexei Ratmansky's reinvention of this scene (as performed by her), Cinderella's arrival at the ball, is brilliant and delightful. It seems to be some sort of high ballet, "Sweet Little Sixteen" 's first dance-at-the-hop, Russian folk dance, that she is performing in front of a royal gathering. It's a gem. Thank you.

Added comment:

There are actually more internet video clips of this performance (you have to use russian, google translation first, to get to them).

Her dancing is lovely and flowing. Although the choreography can go brilliantly quirky and expressive, her expression is beautifully understated. Only the free, but airy flow of her expansive limbs and body do the talking. There is no near the top theatricality at all. A performance like this is carried on the breeze and hopefully we are on a similar current when this one passes by to fully appreciate it.

Author:  NataliaN [ Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

Buddy wrote:
Natalia, I've also looked at the very brief video clip that you posted elsewhere of Alina Somova's Cinderella and I think that she is absolutely charming .....

Buddy, you know that I've never been much of a Somova fan but, in this case, I completely agree with you! Even though this role was created for Vishneva in 2001, Somova in 2012 makes it look as if this has been her ballet all along.

Author:  Buddy [ Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)

Hi Natalia. Thanks so much for your kind and thoughtful comment. I was in the middle of writing this when I saw it. So here we go.

I've continued to watch the internet video clips of Alina Somova performing Alexei Ratmansky's "Cinderella" and I continue to be more impressed. There are five clips posted 2 months ago that might give some idea of what to expect in DC if she performs there. I think that folks will be in for a big treat.

Alina Somova

She is lovely and she is fascinating !

For instance at the Mariinsky Festival this year.

She Danced Leads in Four Different Works -- In One Evening !

It was at the wonderful Gala Concert for Gennady Selyutsky.

She was part of the opening being in one of the three couples from "In The Night" (Jerome Robbins) with Evgeny Ivanchenko.

She danced the Pas de deux from the ballet Le Papillon (Maria Taglioni) with Alexander Sergeyev.

The Adagio from the ballet The Legend of Love (Yuri Grigorovich) with Igor Kolb.

And she closed the evening being in one of the four couples from the Finale from the ballet Symphony in C (George Balanchine) again with Alexander Sergeyev.

That's a lot of dancing, but more interesting is that each work was completely different requiring a completely different approach.

In Addition:

She was Odette/Odile ("Swan Lake") the second evening and helped close the Festival being in one of the four couples in the complete Symphony in C.

The internet video clips of her Cinderella are very interesting and lovely.

In the first one she is the 'poor sister' dancing at home alone. Absolutely charming. In the second she arrives at the ball (already discussed) and once again absolutely charming ! There are two dreamy solos with the prince (I believe Alexander Sergeyev) at the palace and another possibly after the prince rediscovers her at the end.

These show Alina Somova's ongoing development which seems to be a constant and intentional pursuit. In her Festival Swan Lake she was all sorts of subtle variations. Because she performs so many 'westernized' works (Balanchine/Robbins, Ratmansky (influenced), etc) she seems for a long time to be trying to grasp the essence of this world. I would go as far as to suggest that she may be studying 'western-world' movie and stage personalities. She has as good a grasp of 'western' sensitivities as anyone at the Mariinsky. Mariinsky and Bolshoi dancers, to my mind, have always been very good at proper characterization. By that I mean that they don't look Russian when they're supposed to be from somewhere else. Among so many things, in her Odette for a certain while, I was sensing Greta Garbo. I don't mean for a second to suggest that she is 'westernizing,' but rather that she is exploring and trying to master another essential element in the world of the performing arts.

Her exploration and expression seem to be everywhere.

Yet what I've also noticed and already mentioned in regard to the Cinderella videos is control or understatement. I've noticed this for about a year and especially at this year's Festival. No matter what she is doing, she seems to contain her potential expansiveness, as if to say that 'this is Ballet and I intend to respect it's Essential Beauty and Delicacy.'

There is so much more that I could touch upon, but in sum I most look forward to witnessing as much of her continuing brilliance, sensitivity and beautiful artistry as possible.

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