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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:07 am 
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Catherine, you set off a buzz word (expression) -- 21st Century Ballerina.

Art history, for one example, seems to have its cycles -- Refined<->Expressive -- Simple<->Complex, etc., so it will be exciting to see where our new century leads us.

You mentioned Oxana Skorik, Sylvie Guillem and Svetlana Zakharova.

For me, it's *Basic* Human Beauty that probably keeps me so in love with ballet. I might also have an equal love for Chinese classical, except, because of Chinese history, this art form does not seem to have the unbroken continuity or continued development of refinement that western ballet has.

The matter of extension and flexibility that a ballerina possesses, for me, is probably secondary to her Overall Lyrical (Gentle, Graceful) Beauty. I do find this Lyrical Beauty present and compelling in Oxana Skorik and Svetlana Zakharova, in addition to their impressive physical expansiveness. Sylvie Guillem I just don't know well enough to comment on.

Oxana Skorik's Beautiful *Positioning* is perhaps unequaled in my dance viewing. When I watched this more carefully I noticed her exceptional flexibility. It was not just the flexibility that mattered, but how it was used. It was used to created Magnificent Forms and Expression. But it was not the only thing going on. The simple placement of her fingers, for another example, added considerably to her drama and to her physically-mentally reaching beyond.

I'm also very interested in watching Olga Smirnova (Bolshoi, graduated Vagonova Academy), perhaps destined to be one of the great 21st Century prototypes, and seeing to what degree she uses high extensions and flexibility.

The entire subject of extension, point work, turnout, etc. is always of great interest -- to what degree they are used and for what purpose.

Also in regard to the tall, very thin, ballerina who is so popular in some places today. To what extent should this be carried? I love the ones that I see today (I call them the 'Swans'), but I also love what I call the 'Butterflies', or the less tall ballerinas. Anastasia Kolegova, the subject of your most recent post, Catherine, does not seem to be tall nor is she particularly longed limbed. She is -- an absolutely beautiful Odette/Odile. Less tall dancers such as Diana Vishneva, Evgenia Obraztsova and Natalia Osipova have performed Odette/Odiles with fine success or considerable future promise. And of course there was Galina Ulanova, not tall, extremely thin or long limbed but perhaps unequaled to this day.


So she will be fascinating to watch and define, Catherine -- This 21st Century Ballerina.


Last edited by Buddy on Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:11 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:54 am 
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Buddy, quite a lovely post! I absolutely agree with you -- there are all types of ballerinas, different physiques and temperaments, even within the Mariinsky. "Butterfly" is an apt term for Kolegova in so many ways. She definitely emits a flightier, delicate persona as Odette in particular. I believe I enjoyed her second performance even more than her first, and I certainly noticed more of the "personalization" in the role in both her, and Kondaurova's second performances.

One teacher I knew called the tall girls "long stemmed roses" (to make up for the fact that we had to stand at the BACK of the classroom, he had a very organized way of arranging the centre work!) I wouldn't use "short stemmed" rose, but butterfly is lovely))

And for the record, as I addressed the issue at length in my book, "Vaganova Today" I absolutely agree that flexibility (including "high legs" in laymen's terms) is not the goal/achievement/focus in ballet nor should it ever be. Someone asked me at intermission why one of the Swan Queens wasn't lifting her leg to the ceiling. The answer is that it isn't supposed to be done that way - but interesting that people attend and expect to see that. Circus vs art...

And yes, Smirnova is a great ballerina and will continue to grow in her art form, no questions there :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:07 pm 
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Buddy wrote:
bcx wrote:
Now I can't even tell who I prefer, Kondaurova or Kolegova and I haven't even seen Skoryk.

I know exactly how you feel, bcx. Overall I tend to value them equally, with Anastasia Kolegova, the biggest unknown, turning out to be the most pleasant surprise. I had high expectations for Oxana Skorik and she exceeded them greatly !
In a quick summary I would list....

Oxana Skorik for her Artistic Brilliance
Anastasia Kolegova for her Lovability
Ekaterina Kondaurova for her Structural 'Magic'
All these ladies are Immensely Talented. They are my dominant memory from a sea of remarkable performers and performances.
I join you in thanking Catherine very much for her continued accounts and hope to hear as much as possible from both of you.


Buddy I meant to comment on that previously - after the Costa Mesa reports I was also curious what Skorik's performance would bring. After seeing her perform, I share the opinion of several dancers in the company that it was a shame that the judgements were formed on opening night when everyone was jetlagged and here we had a young soloist -- not even a principal dancer -- thrown into a role she hasn't danced at home much (at all? I saw her do excerpts this spring/summer but not a full Swan Lake, if I recall correctly). I have a fear that people will not alter those opinions founded in LA for some time. Her performance in Berkeley was solid, the audience adored her, she finished the fouettes, there were no major technical snafus. Yes, she is young, yes, she has time to develop further dramatic characterization. And that is necessary for this difficult role. But I have not seen an American ballerina look as beautiful as she did on stage. If one takes into account the conditions she's been thrust into and the pressure on her, I really believe she did a fine job. There is enough Russia bashing going on (unwarranted) in the press. Let's not take that into the realm of ballet as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:46 pm 
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Catherine, even with a few 'hesitations' (as I called them) in her first night's performance, my opening remarks for the Costa Mesa performances were....

Night One

Oxana Skorik

!!!! Absolute Genius !!!!


I have echoed these words ever since.

Interestingly, her first night, with the most 'hesitations', may have overall been her most brilliant. It might have had something to do with the possible heights one can obtain under the pressure of being outside one's comfort zone (of not having her usual partner, Timur Askerov, etc.). The audience certainly responded enthusiastically and I'm sure that this made a fine and gratifying impression on the company and its directors. Also of the five Bay Area press reviews that I've read, only two were less than very enthusiastic.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:27 pm 
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Janice Berman reviews the opening night performance in Berkeley for the San Francisco Classical Voice.

SF Classical Voice


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:30 am 
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Catherine, thank you so much for your masterful reviews of the Mariinsky in Berkeley :D! I was fortunate to see
Katya Kondaurova's October 6 performance in Costa Mesa, and am ITA with you re her excellence as O/O! She
was totally magnificent in both roles. Also, thank you for the subsequent reviews of Kolegova et.al. as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:10 pm 
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Cygne wrote:
Catherine, thank you so much for your masterful reviews of the Mariinsky in Berkeley :D! I was fortunate to see
Katya Kondaurova's October 6 performance in Costa Mesa, and am ITA with you re her excellence as O/O! She
was totally magnificent in both roles. Also, thank you for the subsequent reviews of Kolegova et.al. as well.


Totally Agree !


Attention New York:

Stretching this topic a little. ' Wish they all could be Mariinsky Girls ! ' Olga Smirnova (now Bolshoi, Vaganova graduate, mentioned above -- starting at top of this page) will appear in New York October 18.

Where?


**** Stars of the 21st Century ****

(see first posted sentence of this page)


(Other Mariinsky related artists: Maria Shirinkina, Vladimir Shklyarov, Svetlana Zakharova (Bolshoi, former Mariinsky) and Olga Esina (Vienna State Ballet, Vaganova graduate, One of my personal Raves)
http://www.davidhkochtheater.com/moreinfo21st.html

Olga Smirnova
http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2012 ... -her-toes/
(first posted at BalletcoForum (UK (home of Xander Parish!))


Last edited by Buddy on Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:26 pm 
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Toba Singer reviews both the October 10 and 11 casts of "Swan Lake" for the California Literary Review.

California Literary Review


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:07 pm 
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Thanks Francis and Toba.

Haven't read it all yet, but this caught my immediate attention.

"Oksana Skoryk, who was put in at the last minute for a pregnant dancer, danced a beguiling Odette that same night, showing an unwavering fluidity and coherence throughout. Her Odile was more problematic: It looked as if she was not settled on the character she wanted to be, her arms failing to support Odile as well as they did Odette; her piqués and passés going a little mushy and disconnected, and so her sizzle tended to fizzle. Her safe choice of single fouettés worked well for her. But when she is once again Odette, bourrées back, and crosses her arms, she regains her earlier stature with high extensions and extreme penchées, and so one wonders if the culprit is choreography that has Rothbart and Siegfried sharing her equally instead of Rothbart hovering menacingly at a distance as he does in other versions."

In all fairness, Rothbart, Konstantin Zverev (Toba saw Andrey Solovyov), handled her extremely well in the first Costa Mesa performance, as I recall. All the other Rothbart appearances went well also. So who knows ?


Last edited by Buddy on Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:24 pm 
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Agree, Zverev is great as Rothbart - in fact there were no poor Rothbarts in the Berkeley run. One comment I just remembered that I wanted to include: On Saturday night, when Skorik performed, at the end of Act I when Rothbart supposedly enters the stage to "pull her back" to his evil kingdom, Rothbart didn't appear until the final two counts of the music. It's only noticeable if you know that he's supposed to appear much sooner in that section.

I am used to this version with its historical costumes and therefore the struggle/fight between Rothbart/Siegfried not only makes more sense to me, but I would say I prefer it...

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:55 pm 
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Carla Escoda reviews the October 11, 2012 performance of "Swan Lake" for the Huffington Post.

Huffington Post


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:43 pm 
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From Nora FitzGerald’s interview of Keenan Kampa in this week’s Russia Beyond the Headlines:

“It was a hard period when I left Russia for Boston. You get used to that system,” Kampa said, referring to the Vaganova School . . .
“Your body ends up craving the work. It’s a completely different mentality,” she said of the transition from Vaganova to Boston, “and I could feel my technique slipping.”
As a new member of the corps, she intends to keep the mighty work ethic she has become known for — even in Russia. . . .
Vaganova, and Russia, was all about “learning how to work.” Kampa says she will never forget the daily corrections she received from her teacher at the prestigious academy: “knees straight, turn out more.” And always, the rhetorical question, “Would you like to do that again?”. . .
“I feel more in shape in Russia,” she said.
“There is much more repetition, and they have such a clear idea of what they are demanding. In the U.S., there is more artistic liberty. In Russia, there is a style that has been preserved. It’s a sacred church, and I want to respect it.”

More (including a slide show) at:
http://rbth.ru/articles/2012/10/15/mari ... 19135.html


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:21 pm 
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thanks for sharing bcx :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:32 pm 
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Thanks, bcx, for your excerpts from the Keenan Kampa article.

Here are some more about the Berkeley performances by Paul Parish in The Bay Area Reporter.

"....both Ekaterina Kondaurova and Oksana Skoryk, the ballerinas for the first two performances, were astonishingly apt.

"Ekaterina Kondaurova was thrilling as both the white swan and as her diabolical parody, the black swan. In all technical matters she reigned supreme: the white swan's gestures unfurled magnificently, and her evil simulacrum bore a glamor so potent, so sexy, so commanding, and so thrilling in her actual dancing, she drove me crazy – so of course, she fooled the prince.

[ I would like to say that I didn't feel that Ekaterina Kondaurova was "diabolical" in either of the "black swan" performances that I saw in Costa Mesa, but I would agree that she was -- Excellent ! ]

"The prince in the second cast, Vladimir Shklyaurov, outshone his swan queen. He was heart-breakingly beautiful. Oksana Skoryk, his very young ballerina, has imagination, musicality, a gloriously unfurling line, but her fear of the technical difficulties of Act III shone through, distorted her shoulders and neck, made her very difficult to partner – at one point, it looked like both the Prince and von Rotbart were going to have to hold her up on pointe, which scared us, though nothing disastrous happened, and she finished the act and the ballet in excellent form.

[In the three Oksana Skorik Costa Mesa performances, except for the first night when she halted her double-single fouette spins and then continued them, her Act III Odile seemed technically fine to me and I felt that she pretty much dominated everything in all her performances.]

http://www.ebar.com/arts/arts.php?sec=dance
(first posted at Balletco.Forum (UK))


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall: Oct. 10-14, 2012
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:32 pm 
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Thanks, Buddy, for citing and challenging this review.
I was at the performance and I think Paul Parish, usually a very sensitive reviewer, expresses himself clumsily when he writes about what he THOUGHT was going to happen and didn’t:
“it looked like [something was about to happen] which scared [the reviewer] though nothing disastrous happened, and she finished the act and the ballet in excellent form.” I agree: Oksana not only finished in excellent form, she danced with “imagination, musicality, and a gloriously unfurling line," a well-deserved observation. It was a privilege to watch a promising dancer early in her career take on such a demanding role on short notice. And she did it because two of your favorites, who were scheduled to dance O/O in California, are pregnant!


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