CriticalDance Forum

Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season
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Author:  Buddy [ Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

Thanks to those who hang in there with me during my bursts of enthusiasm for Oxana Skorik.

I'd like to backtrack somewhat. Why my preoccupation with her and why do I keep writing so much about her ?

Simply, she takes up so much of my ballet attention, especially video attention. I’ve followed her on stage for over four years, over ten performances. My video viewing for the last year or two has possibly been 70% or more watching her. Admittedly some of this is accounted for by the fact that Mariinsky audience video posting is prolific. Also videos of other artists that fascinate me, such as Olga Smirnova, are less abundant and in her case don’t capture the amazing qualities she displayed recently in NYC. For artists not from Russia, videos can be almost nonexistent as is the case of Veronika Part (ABT, formerly Mariinsky).

When I wrote several days ago that she might be the equal of a Galina Ulanova, even possibly an Anna Pavlova, this is based on the perception that’s grown over this span of time. I’ve no personal interest in promoting her over others, and could change my opinion if further viewing supported this. So far she has grown consistently and seems to have overcome the major physical challenges that have caused much discussion, in particular her ‘hesitation’ with spins and lifts. I’ve seen her display exceptional ability with both and so far she seems to be becoming much more comfortable and consistent.

All I’m trying to say is that my enthusiasm is based on what I see and not what I want to see.

As to whether she is yet, or ever will be, another Galina Ulanova or even possibly an Anna Pavlova, well this would be a huge statement.

In my mind, she does already occupy ‘A Greatest At’ place in ballet history because of

** Her Inner Expression **

** Profound and Sublime **

Whether her actual dancing, as wonderful as it is, conveys the same ‘magic’ as that of Galina Ulanova or Ulyana Lopatkina, well that maybe remains to be seen. I think that she has the ability, but time will tell.

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

So let’s go outside the box, just somewhat.

Enter into the equation and all the above

** Veronika Part **

She’s been at ABT for years, but if I have to put it this way, she was formed at the Vaganova/Mariinsky and it shows.

“Veronika Part was born in St. Petersburg in 1978. She graduated from the Vaganova School (pupil of Inna Zubkovskaya). Joined the Mariinsky Ballet in 1996. Promoted to soloist in 1998. She joined American Ballet Theatre as a soloist in August 2002.” (The Ballet Gallery)

The Mariinsky saw fit to invite her to perform Swan Lake, maybe five years ago, a short divertissement at this year’s Festival Gala (limited possibly by her other time commitments) and about a month ago Giselle.

This woman remains a statement of art to be historically reckoned with. A fascinating thought is how does history deal with artists such as her.

Her artistry, which is ‘Megawatt,’ as far as I’m concerned, should just grow and grow. Like so many ballet artists, she’ll eventually have to deal with the physical challenges of age, but not hopefully for many more years. In a topic at another forum I suggested the idea of developing a modification or extension of ballet that could allow this artistry to grow while reducing the extremely physical demands.

As I think I mentioned above, during one of her Swan Lakes in NYC she became, for me, the greatest ballerina in the world. I look forward to seeing as much more of her as possible, hopefully as much as possible at the Mariinsky.

Author:  Buddy [ Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

Since this is well deserved vacation time for the Mariinsky and other companies, it’s interesting and fun to reflect somewhat.

I tend to separate ballerinas into two categories — Lyrical and Expressive.

Of course there is no real saying that someone is completely one or the other. Galina Ulanova was probably equally great at both.

A ballerina has to be lyrically beautiful. That’s pretty much the basis of the art. By Lyrical, I mean overall beauty of motion. On the other hand, expression is what makes it human. A wave or a waterfall is perhaps more beautiful in motion, but the human has love and soul which is Expressed.

Ulyana Lopatkina is possibly the most beautiful Lyrical, most beautifully moving, ballerina today, perhaps ever. The motion of her limbs is pure poetry.

Some other ballerinas, whose essence of motion I would put in this category, are Svetlana Zakharova (originally Mariinsky) and Alina Somova.

Some ballerinas whom I would note for their Expression are Veronika Part (originally Mariinsky), Diana Vishneva, Alina Cojocaru (invited to perform the leads in five classics at separate Mariinsky Festivals) and Olga Smirnova (Vaganova graduate).

Someone today who manages to convey both Lyrical and Expressive beauty, perhaps equally, is Oxana Skorik. I might also include here, Yekaterina Kondaurova.

For me, Oxana Skorik’s beauty of motion, for the moment, is most noteworthy in the shapes that she’s forming. This is different from the poetic flow of Ulyana Lopatkina, the classical fineness of motion of Svetlana Zakharova or the graceful waviness of Alina Somova.

As I’ve mentioned before, Oxana Skorik’s expression, for me, is culminated in her face. All her beauty of motion and its shapes, the expressiveness of her motion, focus on her face. Her face is the highlighted summit. What makes her somewhat different from other beautifully expressive dancers is the prevalence of her ‘Mariinsky’ fineness. Also I’ll add, since it’s been the topic of much past discussion, that her technical prowess (and its athletic requirements) is extremely impressive. As she continues to gain more confidence and consistency this becomes even more apparent. What continues to keep her in the center of my attention is how brightly she shines throughout the entire spectrum. And in the quality of her Essence she is marvelously consistent and constantly growing.

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

“Xander Parish has been named Emerging Male Dancer of 2014 at the Premia La Danza Léonide Massine in Positano. Oksana Skorik was named Emerging Female Dancer of 2014.”
(Also — “Steven McRae also received an award as male Dancer of the Year and Olga Smirnova as female Dancer of the Year. Christopher Wheeldon was named Choreographer of the Year.”) ... la-danza-léonide-massine-in-positano/
(thanks to Bluebird at Balletco.Forum) ... d-in-italy

Author:  Tiara [ Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

I recently saw the following video on another forum, and was truly shocked, as it really does highlight all the technical weaknesses of Oxana Skorik. The video could rightly be called a Catalogue of Disasters - and especially the section from 13 minutes and 3 seconds. I wonder how the judges at Positano could possibly give an award for best emerging young female dancer to her. Evidently they have not seen this video.

Author:  Cassandra [ Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

Seeing as the video is two years old and she was being judged on performances on the day I don't get your point. Who were the other contestants? Maybe the competition for that title wasn't that great.

To be fair to the woman she was fine in the two performances of Midsummer's Night Dream I saw her in in London, admittedly Tereshkina was a far superior Titania and Batoeva completely out danced her in the act II pas de deux. But this time around her dancing was perfectly adequate so it does look as if she's pulled her socks up since my first sight of her.

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

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.

Yekaterina Kondaurova

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.

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