Could I please change the focus for a moment, because I was headed somewhat in this direction in my last post. Along with Oxana Skorik I mentioned Yekaterina Kondaurova as a ballerina who is equally wonderful for her lyrical beauty as she is for her expressive. There are two Mariinsky ballerinas of whom I often wonder, "What will they artistically do next?" — Alina Somova and Yekaterina Kondaurova. I might try to discuss Alina Somova at another time, as she, more than ever since her return from maternity leave, becomes a source of fascination and brilliance.
Along with many viewers, I largely admired her for her excellence with ‘modern,’ perhaps the best at the Mariinsky. Interestingly, her husband , Islom Baimuradov, Mariinsky Principal Character Artist, is also very proficient at this. In Angelin Preljoçaj’s Le Parc I realized what a statuesque beauty Yekaterina Kondaurova is, perhaps the most statuesquely elegant in all of ballet. She floated through that work like an apparition, almost supernatural in her linear, dreamlike beauty.
Then she was given Swan Lake. At the second one that I saw, in London, I was so impressed that I waited at the stage door, first time ever, with an early flight to the States the next day, to offer a few words of congratulations. These are the only two performances that I can recall seeing her do a classic, something truly lyrical.
After that she did the remarkable feat of performing all the leads from George Balanchine’s Jewels in one evening at a Mariinsky Festival. Another revelation. She had become a ‘portrayalist’ of outstanding ability. (And once again, I have to say that her husband, Islom Baimuradov, has very similar fine qualities.) I now think of her as being Garbo-esque, in addition to everything else.
So where will she go from here? From what I’ve read, she seems to like trying new things. Yet in the lyrical beauty of the classics she shines magnificently. It could be somewhat unpredictable, but it should be a wonderful future for her and a magnificent artistic voyage.