I look forward to your post on Boylston and Kimm. Yes, Bella was a student in our school, The HARID Conservatory. She is indeed a lovely person. We have now had two alumni perform with The Mariinsky. Thank you for your posts.
vrsfanatic, I haven’t forgotten about you. Before I get more into the exceptional Gala evening, let’s take a quick look back at La Bayadere. I’ve already mentioned Alina Somova’s outstanding lead performance as Nikia.
Gamzatti — La Bayadere
Gamzatti is a very interesting part. She has two appearances, one being in a large segment at the end of Act I, where she does’t dance at all, and the second being in the entirety of Act II where she does several major dances. Two elements have always caught my attention. One is the Portrayal and the other a lovely dance segment that I’ve always appreciated somewhat independently from the overall story.
I’m very sensitive to portrayals and in this work I think that this has as much significance as in any ballet, again remembering that in Act I Gamzatti doesn’t dance at all. I’ve seen different takes on this, one of most interesting being at the Paris Opera Ballet (I don’t have the artist’s name at hand), where she is represented as a multidimensional and not unsympathetic character who definitely holds her own in importance and significance with the heroine, Nikia.
I’ve seen Isabella Boylston perform Gamzatti twice and have been equally captivated by her interpretation. If you read this, vrsfanatic, is this something you pay a lot of attention to at your school, where Isabella studied for two(?) years. She is extremely focussed and her presence has an intriguing power. She is youthfully vulnerable (as she probably is in reality), but she is also in command of her world. She knows that she’s a rajah’s daughter. In the presence of Nikia, portrayed in a very compelling way with goddess-like beauty by Alina Somova, she holds your attention with equal power. I could go on with moment by moment descriptions, but prefer to conclude by saying that she performed this as well as anyone that I’ve seen. This is an area that I hope she continues to grow in, because it’s not something I usually associate with ABT, or American ballet in general, and I think that she could be one of the best. I think that it's also worth mentioning that Isabella is the only non Principal, featured dancer that I can recall the Mariinsky ever inviting to the Festival. This is quite an honor.
In this particular performance I would say that the most noteworthy part of her dancing, which was very fine, was in her highlights. They were contained within the overall structure, rather than dominating it, and were often very impressive. In a series of lifts, for instance, she added some very exciting and dramatic backbends. Her spins, her balance, her positioning, her technical prowess, as seen in her fouette spins, were all extremely well performed.
I will mention once again that I saw her dance Swan Lake last Spring with ABT and in this work, which I consider to be perhaps the standard for ballet, her lovely dancing was extremely fine.
He also performed that evening as the hero, Solor, and there is little more that I can say except that
He Is One Of The Very Best !
He is indeed in the “force of nature” category in his physical prowess and is also a poetic and artistic phenomenon. By himself, he can be mind boggling in speed, jumps, spins, consistency — you name it. As a presence, he is noble, compelling, often fascinating and highly likable. As a partner, he’s rock solid, supportive and always one step ahead of the action in focussing the attention on his ballerina partner. He can also switch from modern to classical, from one form of imagery to another, with brilliance and equal mastery of each.
Corp de Ballet
I would also like to call attention to the lovely blonde artist, who has taken over from Yana Selina (not yet back from maternity leave (?) and highly appreciated) for the last few years as the first Shade in the grand entrance. I once read a quote from a Mariinsky dancer, saying that Yana Selina was given this because she has the best arabesque in the company. The new young lady, whose name I don’t know, has always impressed me with her outstanding and lovely command of this critical and focally dominant position. The entire Corp de Ballet, by the way, can never be praised enough. This La Bayadere may have been its best so far !