CriticalDance Forum

Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)
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Author:  Buddy [ Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

For an instant at sunrise today, a setting full moon delicately balanced itself on top of the hundred foot high trees, that stand on top of the golden lit mountain, ten thousand feet overhead. It happens here once a month. It's some of nature's finest artistry.

It reminded me of tomorrow when I'll be going to the California coast, also some of nature's finest beauty, to see another example of magnificent balance and imagery, some of the finest human artistry that there is.

This morning a neighbor came walking by and asked me what I was doing. He's a sensitive man, who used to teach art. I told him that I was on my way to the coast to see the russian ballet, possibly the finest in the world. He said that it sounded great if you like ballet. I responded, " I love it! -- because the beauty is so -- wonderful." Sometimes what you say on the moment really tells the story. I think that it did for me.

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

Night One

Oxana Skorik

!!!! Absolute Genius !!!!

Author:  NataliaN [ Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

Buddy, you (and your car) made it to California! Thanks for this very first impression of the opener.

So Oksana was wonderful? This was a huge hurdle for her. Whew! If internet connectivity and time allow, would love to hear more. If not...hold your thoughts and let us know after your trip, when you're back to normal internet.

I am so pleased for the troupe.

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

Here's some more, Natalia.

Oxana Skorik

Greatness, Absolute Greatness !

An Essence and Wonder of Poetic Expression

Hers is a long, linear, outreaching physical expression that would make her different from Galina Ulanova.

Drama of Motion and Positioning

She has a contained refinement that would make her different from a Diana Vishneva.

One of her most noticeable abilities is her physical flexibility. She can reach out and adjust herself just a little more than any other dancer that I recall. This is done to highlight her expression, to physically connect with something beyond, and it is done magnificently.

From all the current dancers that I know, I would say that it is the remarkable aura of Veronika Part that I sense most in her, but she is definitely distinct --

A One of a Kind Wonder

She was not without several technical hesitations. The main one was that she had to stop her double, single, single fouette spins and then continue them. -- The most important thing here, is that her overall ability is so great that these things become almost irrelevant. The audience barely noticed them and you could almost feel the electricity in the audience and its enthusiastic applause. Hers is a subtle command, as is a lot of ballet, but if even you are not familiar with the art, inside, although you may not be able to define it, you know that something great is happening.

Other performers did beautifully. Vladimir Schklyarov was heart-endearing and an outpouring of gracefulness. His jumps just sailed. The company was brilliant.

Still it was Oxana Skorik who probably dominated all.

Her Images, Her Motion, Her Physical Structuring, Her Expression, Her Drama, Her Refinement, Her Poetic Command, Her Inner Surety -- All Magnificent !

She is A Work of Art of the Highest Order

Author:  Buddy [ Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

Night Two

Ekaterina Kondaurova

Oxana Skorik, who will appear again tomorrow, is a hard act to follow, believe me.

Tonight an Odette from Planet Heaven and An Ethereal Odile had their Triumph as well.

Comparisons are not always easy.

Applause is.

Also a personal favorite, the gentlemanly affable, Xander Parish, in the Act I Prince's friends trio, was pretty darn spiffy. The best I've seen him do. I think that he will around the Mariinsky for quite awhile if he wants to be.

Lots of other great stuff as well.

Author:  NataliaN [ Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

Thnaks so much, Buddy. Well, alas the official reviewer in the Orange County Register newspaper noticed the fouettes flub (as did the L.A. Times' reviewer)...but, as you write, Odette-Odile is so much more than the 32 fouettes (but that's a huge part of it all). So you have Skorik-#2 with her real-life partner, Timur Askerov, tonight. This is Timur's US debut, I think. He was not at the Kennedy Center last winter and was not in Canada last spring.

Author:  Buddy [ Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

Thanks, Natalia. I read these reviews also. I do feel compelled to write again, that as very important as these technical requirements are, Oxana Skorik's amazing Overall Ability can overshadow them. This is not to say that she can't also master these consistently like she has done with so much else. Her Technical Performance of the all important Act II White Swan duet at this year's Mariinsky Festival Gala, as I recall, was Flawless.

Oxana Skorik -- I do think that the word Genius does apply to this remarkable young artist, Natalia.

Ekaterina Kondaurova


There is a state in dance, perhaps in anything, when you really can't ask for more, it is perfection. In dance, I call it being Connected. Some dancers have it at times and it is their moment to be among the best ever. Others can deliver it consistently. Ekaterina Kondaurova is one of them. If she just stood still on the stage she could possibly accomplish this.

She is such a Statuesque Beauty !

In dance the Connection occurs in the motion and the pose. Ekaterina Kondaurova just flows and it all just happens so naturally. In appearance she is somewhere between a Goddess and an Angel.

If Greek mythology had a Goddess of the Air, she would probably look and move like Ekaterina Kondaurova.

Yesterday the complete Connection was accomplished with the arrival of her Odile in the third act. It was then consistently maintained through her Act IV Odette until the very end. From the beginning of her Odile everything was a natural flow of perfected beauty. I would actually call her Odile duet Ethereal. Her entire Odile, until the final instant when a statement of intent imposed itself, was an Enchantment. I've seen Lovable and Charming Odiles before. It works great for me, even into the conclusion. Odile's job is to win over a prince. What the Enchanted approach does for me is that it maintains the Ethereal Beauty established by Odette in Act II. It is an instance when the beauty of the art and the artist moves onto another level, perhaps transcending the story. But the story can be maintained, even at the conclusion of the act, with an Enchanting Odile. I've seen it done more than once.

Probably all 'ballerinas' want their Odette/Odile to be a masterpiece, perhaps like no one else's. Ekaterina Kondaurova's all important Act II Odette seems to be striving for this. This is not to imply that it is not yet there. I'm sure that all artists are always trying to improve what is already remarkable. Ekaterina Kondaurova has only been performing this role for about two years. Her Connection is already near perfection. If she wants to go beyond that, and there is no reason that she has to, then the further development of the character's persona is another possibility, which she seems to be pursuing.

I greatly look forward to seeing what she will do. I'll know again Friday evening. Sometimes performing artists just do it somewhat differently each time. Sometimes its an intended progression. There is such a spark and a perfection in her dance that should always be kept alive and vibrant as new directions and essences are explored and perhaps mastered.

Ekaterina Kondaurova is a Masterpiece of Beauty, Indeed a Performing Goddess of the Air.

[ Correction made. In the paragraph starting with "Yesterday the complete Connection....", I ended it by writing "But the story can be maintained, even at the conclusion of the act, with an Enchanting Odette. I've seen it done more than once." I meant to write "Odile".]

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

Laura Bleiberg reviews the Tuesday, October 2, 2012 performance of "Swan Lake" for the Los Angeles Times.

LA Times

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

Paul Hodgins reviews the Tuesday, October 2, 2012 performance of "Swan Lake" for the Orange County Register.

OC Register

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

Francis thanks for posting those links.

Buddy and Natalia, thanks for your comments and input. I have many comments but will hold them for now, as the company will soon be at Zellerbach and I'll be reviewing them here then. I will say this: I have not seen a U.S. company do justice to Swan Lake, and as such, it is rather discouraging to read the headlines in these reviews, which seem politically driven. (The Cold War ended 20 years ago).

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

Hi, Catherine. Glad to hear your thoughts and definitely look forward to reading your Zellerbach reviews. I hope that you enjoy these performances nearly as much as I have.

Night Three

Another Absolutely Beautiful Evening

Instant Standing Ovation at the Conclusion with a Feeling of Electricity Once Again in the Audience after the Act II Duet.

Oxana Skorik

Technically she was Flawless tonight except for maybe a slightly misplaced foot not even worth mentioning. She did keep the fouette spins to singles with a double at the end. They were fine. The overhead lifts in the Act II duet were accomplished with wonderful beauty. (They had actually been omitted the first night. It won't be the only time that I've seen the Mariinsky do this, but it doesn't happen often.) I would say that dancing with her usual partner, Timur Askerov, she was much more in her comfort zone.

Her Electricity was probably most noticeable in the final act. Here her Surety as well as her carrying of things that remarkable step Beyond, most noticeable in Her Expression and the Amazing Beauty of Her Poses, became the most apparent. This is where the word Genius applies.

So there's one more night, Saturday, to see her perform and hopefully take things once again into the world of Greatness. I highly look forward to this as I do all the other performances.

Author:  Cassandra [ Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

It's clear why Skorik is being groomed for greater heights, but whether she has the strength and confidence to pull herself to the pinnacle is another matter. She drifted precipitously during the signature fouettée (whipped) turns and had to start again. Mistakes happen, but, as the British say, keep calm and carry on. Skorik, on the hand, was rattled and concluded the ballet in a bleaker humor.

I'm afraid it isn't clear to me at all why Skorik is being singled out for 'greater heights' (in itself an oxymoron as she hasn't achieved any heights to start with as far as I have seen) looks like management has discovered a 'reserve Somova', as if one wasn't enough already.

I don't think I've ever witnessed the spectacle of a dancer starting again after fluffing the fouettes, the usual practice when they go disastrously wrong is to change to a circuit of turns instead, what she did is highly unprofessional in my book as she is playing a role and should therefore continue no matter what, not hold up the performance.

Author:  NataliaN [ Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

Maybe this photo answers your query, Cassandra, as to why Oksana is reaching greater more ways than one! ... 85/photo/1

That is one amazing stretch, whether one agrees with this approach to ballet or not!

Edited to add: This photo captures one of the great beauties of the troupe: Yulia Stepanova, seated to the left of Oksana (audience view) with the regal red dress for the Spanish Dance. I believe that is Karen Ioanissian standing behind her.

Author:  Cassandra [ Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

That picture exactly sums the woman up: ugly, crude and unclassical - knew there was a damn good reason I don't like her.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky to Orange County (October 2012)

The Los Angeles Times has published a photo gallery of "Swan Lake."

LA Times

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