CriticalDance Forum

Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015
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Author:  Tiara [ Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015

sandpoint wrote:
Novikova's Aurora debut was at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles on 10/09/2005 (Osmolkina's debut on the 7th). Her Mariinsky stage debut was on 02/23/2006. The only other Mariinsky video clips I saw was on 10/24/2008, and I don't think I missed much. It's a beautiful surprise!

13th January 2012 was the last time Olesya danced Aurora - far too long ago. She is a magnificent Aurora.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015

sandpoint wrote:
Novikova's Aurora debut was at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles on 10/09/2005 (Osmolkina's debut on the 7th). Her Mariinsky stage debut was on 02/23/2006. The only other Mariinsky video clips I saw was on 10/24/2008, and I don't think I missed much. It's a beautiful surprise!

Yes! she's almost never cast and certainly has not been given top billing at a festival in....years. Aside from Edwaard Liang's ballet created on her and husband Sarafanov which was I believe...3 or 4 years back now. I have to count in my head which year that was...

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015

I arrived in St. Petersburg two days ago. It’s been beautiful, sunny weather. I’m greatly looking forward to tonight’s first performance which starts an hour earlier than usual, perhaps because the works are devoted to children.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have stayed at one of the nicest hotels in the city, the Astoria, which is very reasonably priced, since this is the winter season, and is a sponsor of the Festival, hosting the guest artists and the gala reception. It’s also very friendly and extremely well run.The last two years I’ve had especially lovely rooms. Most prominent in each of these are six feet high, two feet wide, very artistically done photos of Mariinsky ballerinas. They vary from a warmup scene in last year’s room to two this year, one of which has splashes of fabric around the performing dancers. Yana Selina is on the front of one along with, I believe, Svetlana Ivanova. I guess that the ballet does indeed have its place in the hearts of St. Petersburg.

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015

I look forward to seeing Nadezhda Batoeva Sunday as Kitri in Don Quixote, based on her vibrant presence tonight in Bambi. The entire program consisted of two works, Bambi and In The Jungle, that was a kindhearted and sympathetic effort. The evening lasted about two hours including the intermission.

Author:  Buddy [ Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015

Don Quixote

Both the evening and the lead performance by Nadezhda Batoeva as Kitri were a delight. She is a charming, not tall, artist with lovely dancing and noticeably fine technical abilities. In this respect she reminds me of Anastasia Kolegova. She is quite young and probably has a very bright future. Among other things she has a very natural theatrical prowess.

‘Natural’ and great is how I felt about the entire company after not having seen it for an entire year. Its performers command the art as if created to do so.

Shining brightly was Oksana Skorik in her very brief appearance as the Queen of the Dryads. Her presence becomes more and more compelling in its artistic depth and beauty. She radiates poetry, drama, fineness and excellence.

Another great favorite of mine, the Mariinsky’s theatrical giant, Vladimir Ponomarev, Principal Character Artist (mime actor-dancer), has been replaced the last two years as the Don, probably because of his advancing age. The Don is possibly his best character role. Glimpses of it have happily been preserved on the dvd featuring Tatyana Terekhova and Farouk Ruzimatov. I do think that Islom Baimuradov, Principal Character Artist, has the potential for similar excellence if he choses to pursue this.

And it's always nice to see the beautiful Elena Bazhenova, Principal Character Artist, dancing rather than just mime acting. Here she’s the exotic dancer.

There were many other fine performances, such as those by Konstantine Zverez as Espada and Viktoria Brilova as the Street Dancer. Her radiance and proficiency reminded me somewhat of the Bolshoi’s Maria Alexandrova.

There was an added spark to last night’s Don Quixote. It seemed more vibrant and slightly changed with some more lively details. Such things as the aerial prowess and breathtaking backbends of Konstantine Zverez and similarly impressive backbends and ‘Russian’ folk bravura by Oleg Demchenko as the Gypsy Dancer reinforced this.

Once again, this was a very enjoyable, lively and colorful evening. It was a reminder of the Mariinsky's artistic greatness and ability to provide the highest level of uplifting entertainment and pleasure.

Added note: The Paris Opera Ballet's Aurelie Dupont, whom I was greatly looking forward to seeing, will be replaced in Giselle by Alina Somova. Based on video clips over the years, this will highlight her delicate and refined side and should be a gem of a performance.

Author:  Buddy [ Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015

La Bayadere

Another very fine evening.

Sae Eun Park -- Nikiya

[Park Sae-eun according to The Korean Times]

She is an extremely lovely, endearing and talented artist.

My heart went out to her as I felt that she had to face as many performance challenges as her character, Nikiya, had to face life challenges.

She did it beautifully !

A quick search of the internet gives very little information about her. At the Festivals all the guest leads that I can recall have been Principals, but I don’t know Sae Eun Park’s exact ranking. I did find out from a somewhat confusing description in a January 1, 2015 article that….

“Park joined the ballet company [Paris Opera Ballet] in 2011 and made headlines back in October when she landed the position of soloist after two years.” ... 70934.html

She is a tiny lady from another culture (Korea). Last night she was dancing among some of the finest in the world from another land in a somewhat different style.

Vladimir Ponomarev towered over her as the High Priest who lusted for her. Still, she made herself his equal in stage presence. Alongside Anastasia Matvienko, also noticeably taller and extremely beautiful and imposing as the Rajah’s daughter, she maintained an equally impressive presence with compelling and culturally believable response. With her fine partner, Vladimir Shklyarov, she was comfortable in size and manner.

She’s not an expansive dancer and her upper body moves aren’t extremely refined and expressive in the Mariinsky manner, both often very helpful to a more petite ballerina. Yet her style was lovely and compelling among the other taller, poetically expressive and highly graceful dancers. She fit in just fine.

She showed total confidence as she was lifted numerous times into what must have been staggering heights for such a petite lady. All this was done with wonderfully statuesque positioning. Her dancing was very proficient with fine jumps and spins, the spins often accomplished with great speed.

At the end of a beautifully performed evening she was warmly and enthusiastically received by a full house with four or five curtain calls.

Vladimir Shklyarov was a very fine and supportive partner. He accomplished his usual launchings into outer space with great effect, but always maintained a sense of respect for his partner’s delicate presence.

Anastasia Matvienko was as beautiful as ever. After Vladimir Shklyarov’s Act II round of magnificent jumps she held her own very well with her impressive jumps and spins.

As usual the Act III chorus of Shade dancers was absolute stage magic.


In response to my question at Dansomanie, Florestiano replied that Sae Eun Park is a Sujet (highest corps de ballet level), after which comes a Première Danseuse and then an Etoile (Principal). This will be the first time that I know of that a guest non Principal, let alone a non soloist, has performed a lead at a Mariinsky Festival. Congratuations to her for this and for such a fine performance. [Actually I do now recall one other]

Author:  Buddy [ Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015

Wonderful Evening !


Alina Somova — Giselle — Wonderful !

Yekaterina Chebykina — Myrtha — Wonderful !
What a future she should have !

Alina Somova and Yekaterina Chebykina side by side — A Dream !

The Corps de Ballet as the Willis — A Dream !
As fine as I’ve ever seen it ! Looked like they rehearsed this for months. There wasn't a finger out of place and their Enchantment was spellbinding.

I’ll try to write more at another time.

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015


Both Alina Somova and Yekaterina Chebykina were marvelous poetry.

Alina Somova

The refined goddess.

Her grace reflected years of artistic development. Every detail, and I can’t begin to recite them all, was a statement of pure poetry. Her hands were fashioned like no others in their meaning and sculpture. Her motion was both classical and expansively revelating. It reached out with artistic brilliance, with sublime and heartfelt intent. Her character had a poetic maturity of great depth and sensitivity. Where could she get all these ways of perceiving and reacting to a situation? This is one of the great marvels of a great artist.

In Act I she was a current of air as the evening took shape more as a gentle reverie than a story being told.. In Act II, in the airy sea and highly beautiful aura so well set by the entrance of Yekaterina Chebykina as Myrtha and the chorus of Willi ballerinas, she was high poetry reaching to the sublime, into our hearts.

Yekaterina Chebykina

The fresh breeze.

I mentioned earlier that there’s a beautiful large photo in my hotel room with the delicate fabric of the Mariinsky ballerinas’ gowns flowing around them. Yekaterina Chebykina was this picture fitted to her character and brought to life. She moved with the same grace as her long, flowing gown. Her motion was alive with rhythms of detail. She displayed the artistic freedom that she highly values with such youthful elegance. And it was all so well designed. She is so distinct and so fine in her artistry.

Timur Askerov as Albrecht danced very well. He complimented his partner beautifully with the expressiveness of his character.

It was very nice to see Elena Yevseyeva once again. She danced the Act I duet with Filipp Stepin.

So much more could be said of this exceptionally fine and enchanting evening.

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015

Swan Lake

Another Beautiful Evening

Another Beautiful Dream -- Yekaterina Kondaurova

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015

“An artistic evening with Viktoria Tereshkina”

In two works that I like very much, Legend of Love and the Grand Pas from Paquita, only her magnificent Swan Lake from a few Festivals ago may have surpassed what she was able to do so beautifully last night. She was a gem in these and it was great to see. All her finest abilities came together showing her totally in control of her exceptional artistry. To be able to do all that she did in one evening was a wonder in itself.

Among the ladies that I’d not yet seen at this year’s Festival Kristina Shapran shone in her solo from Paquita. Every part of her, every motion was flawlessly beautiful and rich in content.

It was also great to see Yekaterina Osmolkina. She was Shyrin in Legend of Love and did a solo in Paquita. She is such a graceful, lovely and gently uplifting artist.

Kimin Kim was the lead male in Legend of Love where he did a round of jumps faster than I’ve ever seen along with other amazing feats, fine partnering and excellent characterization. He also soloed in Paquita. Once again you have to wonder if there’s anything that he can’t do ! Only Vladimir Shklyarov in Paquita may have outdone him in the Wow department with some kind of mile high leap-spin with a leg split thrown in, the likes of which I’ve never seen.

Based on what I’ve read and observed, Viktoria Tereshkina is also a lovely and supportive person. It showed tonight. Added after Paquita was a very quick, high energy and enjoyable work (choreographed by Yuri Smekalov) with her and twelve male dancers, mostly Soloists. It was a very nice tribute to all of them.

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015

So Lovely To Have Seen This

Sleeping Beauty

I’ve only watched Olesya Novikova peripherally since I first saw her in two Sleeping Beauties in Detroit about ten years ago. At the time she was thought to be the next Diana Vishneva, who was known for her bravura. Well times have changed. Diana Vishneva has become a remarkable expressionist and Olesya Novikova has become wonderfully graceful and airy, while maintaining all her former technical abilities (balances, spins, jumps….) -- Pure Loveliness !

To see Olesya Novikova, Oxana Skorik and Kristina Shapran on the same stage in Act III was the artistic equivalent of seeing several magnificent galaxies revolving around each other.

Kristina Shapran was the Lilac Fairy and she took my breath away with a set of slow, slow motion attitude spins in Act I. She has a sculpture and motion that expresses volumes.

Oxana Skorik can just be at the side of the stage, which she was in part of Act III as Princess Florine, and still stand out like a brilliant star. Once again she radiated poetry. Her dancing was beautiful.

The Entr’acte violin solo also took my breath away. First of all it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of music that I know of. In an instant the orchestra pit rose with the conductor towering above everything. The men all had tuxes and white bow ties. It was almost overwhelming. Then the first lady that I’ve heard perform this at the Mariinsky played it as delicately and beautifully as I’ve every heard. It was pure velvet.

Filipp Stepin was masculine elegance. His jumps and spins were proficiency and fineness.

Yana Selina had her Act III cat as theatrically honed as it’s ever been. As always she’s been outstanding throughout.

And as usual there was so much more.

Author:  Buddy [ Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015

As an aside comment, on my last full day in Saint Petersburg, I’m going to try to get over to the world famous Hermitage Museum of Art and will probably go first to the fine collection of Rembrandts. There is so much soul and kindness of understanding in this great artist. This collection really belongs in this museum as it shows some of the finest qualities of folks that I’ve met here over the years. Sometimes I feel that he really should have been born Russian.

Author:  Buddy [ Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015

A Great Evening !

Ulyana Lopatkina and Xander Parish -- Absolutely Enchanting !

I have a plane to catch tomorrow, but I'll try to write more when I have a chance.

Author:  Buddy [ Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015

The Ballet Gala

All the Galas that I’ve seen have been extremely good. The Divertissement portions are always outstanding.

The evening started with Adagio Hammerklavier by Han van Manen. It was danced by three couples, Kristina Shapran/Yuri Smekalov, Xenia Ostreikovskaya/Alexander Timofeyev and Nadezhda Batoeva/Konstantin Zverev. Modernish adagio might describe the work and I rather liked it. The shaping and juxtaposing of the dancers is what I best remember.

The women were the most noticeable. Kristina Shapran grasped the feeling very well with finely expressive dancing. Her phrasing and positioning always seem to have a message and are also subtly fascinating in their appropriateness and delivery. You can see that she's trying to add emphasis, yet it's not forced and is unpredictably natural.

Nadezhda Batoeva danced very well and comfortably. She had a pleasant attitude which seems to be characteristic of her and is very enjoyable. Xenia Ostreikovskaya was lovely. She did take the most classical approach.

Possibly the finest performance of the Festival came next with Ulyana Lopatkina and Xander Parish in Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand. I recall seeing the video with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, for whom the work was created, and this was much different, much more refined. It was wonderfully lovely. I have yet to see anyone move as beautifully as Ulyana Lopatkina. What made it even more exceptional was her theatrical portrayal. I’ve never seen her do this better. Xander Parish was equally convincing and his ability to exhibit his own very fine theatricality while actually reinforcing his partner gets better and better and is as fine as I’ve seen. His presence is princely as is his dancing.

The Divertissements came next and I’ll try to mention them at another time. There were nine and I enjoyed almost all of them very much. Three were performed by Paris Opera Ballet dancers. Two were by its new director, Benjamin Millepied, who was there, and I thought that they were very good.

I’ll mention one more. The Grand Pas Classique was danced by Oxana Skorik and Timur Askerov. There was once some ‘discussion’ about Oxana Skorik’s ability to do such things as fouette spins. She’s been doing them brilliantly, along with other such challenges, but tonight surpassed even that. She did singles-leg out horizontally single-double combinations finishing with a quadruple turn. Her presence and dancing were elegant. Timur Askerov also did very well, shining as usual with his feet in the batterie jumps.

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: 12 - 22 March, 2015

For Me The Festival Continues

The Performance That I Would Have Wanted To See At A Festival
(And Maybe Still Will)

* Evgenia Obraztsova — Swan Lake *

When I got to London I found out that she was appearing at The Royal Ballet partnered by Steven McRae. The performance was sold out but I ecstatically was able to get a returned ticket. I’ve seen her many times at the Festivals before she left the Mariinsky for the Bolshoi.

All I want to say right now is that….

She Was Precious !

One Of The Most Beautiful Swan Lakes That I’ve Even Seen !

One Of The Most Poetically Lovely Performances That I’ve Ever Seen !

I waited at the stage door to congratulate her which is something I seldom do. I thought it was that wonderful. She was lovely as usual.

Natalia, if you should happen to read this, this could have been the performance that you and your friends in Saint Petersburg have long been dreaming of.

I’ll try to write more about it and the rest of the Festival Gala at another time.

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