CriticalDance Forum

China Ballet Magazine Interview: Kim/Skorik/Yermakov/Shapran
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Author:  denaa [ Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:51 am ]
Post subject:  China Ballet Magazine Interview: Kim/Skorik/Yermakov/Shapran

A friend asked me to translate a few interviews that China Ballet Magazine (their weibo page can be found here: and their facebook page here: had conducted with Kimin Kim. Oksana Skorik, Andrei Yermakov, Kristina Shapran during their recent tour to Beijing. I felt that, for those of us who don’t understand Russian, these interviews might hold interest. Kim and Skorik ,interviewed at the press conference, talk about their recent promotions to Principal. Yermakov and Shapran were interviewed exclusively for China Ballet Magazine, Yermakov the day before his performance as Solor and Shapran the day after her debut as Nikiya. Personally, I really enjoyed reading Yermakov and Shapran’s interviews. In the original mandarin copy, Yermakov’s humor/personality comes across vividly (these paralinguistic things are hard to capture in translation) and I was struck by Shapran’s elegant syntax. On a side note, Yermakov’s interview is very long so I have truncated some questions and left out the quickfire questions (the interview proper is all there). Shapran’s choice of words (or at least the choice of words in the Russian translated to Mandarin version) is quite rich. I’m afraid I couldn’t quite convey that (or that of the translator’s) but the content roughly is there. Many many thanks to those who took the time to take these interviews! (and I hope there is nothing improper about translating them)

My friend (who watched three nights of bayadere and a gala) also said that that although neither Shapran nor Skorik are finished artists she found many (different) things to admire in their performances. She also fell in love with Shklyarov’s Solor and liked Yermakov very very much. Among the soloists she noted Kolegova’s Gamzatti and Batoeva’s solo shade. Lopatkina’s performance in Five Tangos was, of course ,much lauded. The corps(even if erratic across the three nights), was largely on fine form. The only unfortunate incident was that Yermakov had to replace Kim in the third act due to injury (presumably not too serious since Kim is still dancing in Japan). The interviewer in Shapran’s interview notes that that interview was cut short because of the abrupt announcement about the change in cast.

Kimin Kim (Interviewer: 陈亦璐) ... t_redirect

When people talk of you they often think first of your remarkable technical skill, how was your technique formed?
For this we must thank my parents, teachers because they provided me with my formative instruction/education which enabled me to grow

When you were younger you participated in a lot of international competitions including YAGP etc etc..what kind of experiences did you draw from the process of competition-facing pressure, competition-? And did it help you professionally?
To be honest, I don't like competitions. Of course I tried to be give my best but comparatively speaking I much prefer performance because when you perform a full length you have to convey an entire story. Ballet competitions utilize a different format, only one variation or one duet, no more than 10 minutes it is very hard to enter a character whether for myself or for the audience. When taken out of context the primary focus is on technique while in performance you have to express/consider a lot more aspects. Of course I must admit that winning prizes in competitions helped my career initially it allowed more people to know me, the company management to notice me. But now I won’t compete anymore because I have already entered the mariinsky-the world’s best company-for me this a new period and what I need/want to do now is to elevate my performance abilities in all respects.

You interned at the mariinsky for almost half a year before entering the company, to get that opportunity must be very rare, how did it come about? After you interned you skipped the corps ranks to become ,directly, a first soloist…did you expect that?
No no, I absolutely didn’t expect that. Of course I felt very honored. As to why our director gave me the opportunity to intern I think…maybe he liked my dancing style, the traditional russian school. Although I graduated from a Korean school I always received Vaganova training and my dance style/character also followed that route, I think this is why they signed me as a first soloist. After I entered the Mariinsky I worked very hard, whether it was rehearsal or performance every time I performed I gave my 100%. I think this is why I got the promotion.

To enter the mariinsky for you is already something to be proud of. Did you face many challenges when you entered the theatre-for example, language, culture, lifestyle? As a non-Russian dancer dancing in this hallowed/traditional theatre, how did the audience accept you?
Yes, for example language was a barrier, Russian is really really hard, its vocabulary/semantics/grammar is completely different from Asian languages .
The cultural difference was more manageable because I have always liked russian culture, the russian people. I feel that Russian people are very passionate/friendly/warm and they have given me a lot of help. Especially the Russian audience, they are very knowledgeable ;Russian ballet has an illustrious history and they the audience understand its history, repertoire, schools etc their background knowledge is at the back of their hands/fingers. So I really like to be able to communicate with them on stage because for me the audience is like a teacher. Every time I perform, I do get very nervous because seating below is an extremely educated audience.

How do you manage your nerves?
To be specific I get nervous every time the day before the performance, during rehearsal. But when I get on stage I am completely immersed in the performance, waiting in the side wings I already cannot wait to show myself. But every time the day before the performance I will get nervous, will think a lot more.

What is it about the Mariinsky that most attracts you?
What I love most about the mariinsky is its history and its substantial repertoire of preserved classics/works. I love its history. Of course ballet started in France and Iitaly but Russian ballet had huge influence, it was here that Petipa created the golden age of classical ballet-Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty etc etc, were all premiered here as well as the show we will be performing in beijing-La Bayadere.

If we are talking about making history, you too have made history by becoming the first Asian principal, the first post-90s principal, Do you feel changes any after becoming principal? What does ‘principal’ this title mean to you?
Firstly, I am really happy to have this honor and here I feel I want to express once again my gratitude to our director Yuri Fatyeev, my gratitude for nurturing and promoting me. No doubt this is one of the highlights (most important thing) that has happened in my life. It means that I have been accepted here, that I am now a russian dancer and not a Korean one. After the promotion the pressure will only be greater, every time before a performance I will get more nervous and during a performance I will have even higher expectations of myself.

This year you have only turned 22 so a lot of people call you ‘prodigy’ or other such praise-like terms. To a lot of dancers becoming a mariinsky principal is the pursuit of entire career but you have already achieved it at this age. For the future what are your goals?
Yes, now I am a principal and have danced almost all the leading parts in the classical repertoire. But I want to deepen (explore) my character interpretations, to explore new contemporary works. Besides that, my artistry (character performance) still has to be improved, and yes now I dance a lot of preserved works but I am not the first choice for those works which proves that there are still a lot of areas where I need to improve.

Author:  denaa [ Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: China Ballet Magazine Interview: Kim/Skorik/Yermakov/Shapran

Oksana Skorik (Interviewer: 谢佩潼) ... t_redirect

You come from Ukraine Why did you choose to go to the Perm Ballet school? Russian has a lot of Ukrainian dancers, is this because Ukrainian ballet has a very broad reach/influence/rich culture?
Yes, the Ukrainian climate/culture is very gentle/friendly, to ballet. Ballet was my choice, when I was 12 I chose to go to the Perm Ballet School and because my natural facilities were suitable and I really wanted to dance, in the end I achieved that.

After Ballet school you entered the Mariinsky and very quickly you received a lot of opportunities even Giselle. For someone just out of ballet school, what did this mean? Did you feel pressure and were there difficulties/challenges?
Of course, to perform these roles were very difficult, I felt a huge sense of anxiety and responsibility. Because I am not from St Petersburg's Vaganova, no one knew who I was so I had to prove ' I can do it, I can perform this role.'

How did your teachers at the Mariinsky help you?
My teacher is Elena Evteeva, everyday we work a lot because then I was still dancing in the corps-I danced there for a not insignificant period of time-besides the corps rehearsals I had to rehearse the solo roles, so this was quite difficult. I talked to my teacher alot, my teacher often gave me private classes because every production has a different character/style.

After you were promoted to soloist, for a period of time audiences expressed questions about your dancing believing that you needed more work. During that time did you feel a lot of pressure? How did you release this pressure, manage yourself? I want to say is, this is a biased view. People didn't understand me, people criticised from a distance 'oh, she's from ukraine' but this is not right. Yes, then I felt a lot of pressure, my teacher always supported me, and our director Yuri Fatyeev he always believed in me and this was an enormous support as was my family. Expert opinions also had huge influence; they said 'You have the right, don't listen to other people because there are too many different opinion.'

Nikiya in La Bayadere is a role you debuted a few years ago. How do you understand/approach this role? What do you feel about the love triangle between Solor, Nikiya, Gamzatti?
First of all Nikiya is a spiritual member of the temple, she has her god, her religion, a lot of depth/generosity, she believes in true love. When she knows Solor is being forced to marry Gamzatti, she finds its hard to accept because she loves him alot, I think she sacrificed for love.
Their three way relationship is very complex, people have very different ways of seeing it. Solor is a warrior, he cannot act according to his own wishes in ordering his life, Nikiya is the same, she is a devout follower, lives in a temple. But they still choose to love each other, this can all be abundantly seen in act 1. But Solor still makes a choice to surrender to power, abandon Nikiya, marry Gamzatti. For Nikiya of course this a tragedy, because she still loves this warrior and ultimately because of the snake Gamzatti placed in the basket she inevitably is drawn towards death (her death)

You have danced alot of leading roles in the Mariinsky including dramatic roles like Juliet, Anna Karenina contemporary works like Infra and neo-classical works. What are the challenges about performing these different styles? What do they demand of the artists? Do you have preferences?
More contemporary works are maturing in terms of technique, skills. Choreographers and stagers have even higher expectations/demands, we need to practice even more, need different muscular strength to display a different aesthetic so compared to classical ballet it is a little harder. Do you know? When you dance contemporary works you feel that classical works are comparatively easier. Compared to contemporary works, dramatic ballet is easier to express our inner world because contemporary works are sometimes hard to understand in terms of their content or meaning while classical ballet is easier to understand- every step every movement has its special meaning, you know what it is talking about.
I haven’tt danced alot of contemporary works, if there are opportunities I will try to learn., for example Nacho Duato, Wayne Mcgregor works. In St Petersburg there are a lot of young talented choreographers like Vladmir Varnava, Yuri Smekalov, their works are all very interesting.

2 months ago you were promoted to principal. What did this mean to you? Did your attitude (internal state), life in the company change?
The first month when I was promoted to principal, I felt like I didn't understand what happened. Yes, I’m not saying that I didn't have the qualifications-we can say that I did- but be a first soloist was for me the highest point, I felt that principal was still very far away from me; for a period after I was promoted I didn't really know what I should do. At that time some people came up to congratulate me ' You did it!, 'Congratulations!, others would say 'Do you think you are good enough?', yes people had different, diverse reactions. Later, I feel that I relaxed, when I go onstage I feel a lot of strength, this principal status gives me a lot of confidence and strength, now when I'm onstage I feel calm/peaceful.

You have danced with a lot of male partners, do you have preferences?
en...I don't know, collaborating with them is all different every person has his own strength. with some we have a lot of contact, on stage it is easy to express love. With others there is alot of chemistry, you stand there, you don't have to say anything and he knows what to do next for example where to put your leg, what movement to do...I can't speak in concrete who I prefer, I like everyone I work with.

Do you have plans for the future?
I would really like to try working with contemporary choreographers, some works like Russell Maliphant's Push,I would really want to try. If possible, I really hope to be able to collaborate/work with them on some contemporary pieces.

Author:  denaa [ Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: China Ballet Magazine Interview: Kim/Skorik/Yermakov/Shapran

Andrei Yermakov, Interview proper (Interviewer: 谢佩潼) ... t_redirect

Before you dance La Bayadere we would like to understand you better especially about the way you approach the role/how you see the role.
The first time I came to china was 6 years ago in 2008 when the theatre opened, then I was still in the corps. This time we have brought La Bayadere which is one of my favorite ballets. Also, I have a new partner, this is her first time dancing Bayadere with the mariinsky; it is her debut. Precisely because of this two points, I feel (that this performance) is very important.

A lot of your fans learned about you through your role as Rothbert in Swan Lake..could you let us know what you think about the role?
Actually in Swan Lake I should portray the prince, this type of classical princely roles is my everyday homework. But I also feel that portraying this more unconventional/different/anti-hero role is more challenging, more interesting. In front of the audience I can employ many different performance strategies/choices. I like this type of role ever more; I even think that this is quite a noble/priceless vision (referring to the role).

You think this is a noble anti-hero role? And a role with many facets, and not what is conventionally seen as a more conventional/formulaic/stock character?
Yes. I don't agree that it is a very stock character, actually these roles have even more room for creative interpretation, I am very honored to be able to perform such roles and I really enjoy performing it. In normal life I am a calm/gentle person, so how can I develop the other side of me? I found my answer here.

Could you talk to us about participating in the Mezzo recording of Anna Karenina? I heard Alexei Ratmansky chose you, is it true?
This was a surprise! I am not sure if it it was Ratmansky who chose me, I think it is because I always dance with a star dancer (Lopatkina).
What I mean is, the first performances of anna karenina acted like a starting point, in the performances that followed he frequently monitored my progress/performance. So I think, this is probably also one reason he chose me for the role. Management informed me of this decision. Then there were a lot of shows so when management informed me I was surprised/caught unaware. I have danced this role with Lopatkina many times so I understand it well.

How do you communicate with Ratmansky?
We don't have much personal contact, our professional work is built on mutual respect and professionalism. In the initial stages of rehearsal, I was employed in the corps and also learned the steps for Vronsky. This is was because Ratmansky suggested me for the role of Vronsky and not just for the corps.

On Giselle
I have only danced this role once, I was running a high fever then, I wasn't very conscious when I was dancing, my mind was a blank and I only wanted to finish the performance. But after that I really want to experience this role again regardless of the circumstances.

Very soon you will dance the role of Solor in la bayadere, I watched you dance it before and thought there were very naturalistic details that was different from other people, could you tell us what kind of person is Solor?
(jokingly) This role is about a war/battle between two women over me, I love it very much (laughs)….On the whole, heroic roles are closer to me, very natural, internally aligned. I don’t have to do something extra because inside I have a certain vision, we can say that this is my role. I don't need to invent something, it is all inside the heart, I can use what's inside to experience its power and strength. I hope that I can use myself (my experiences to express the role and that the audience can feel it too.
I also want to add that every time I perform any role, the person on stage is the actual me; perhaps it is my life that is the performance.

You mean that when you dance you can find something from your own experience?
I can’t articulate it, I try to feel it. I don't have to be deliberate about it

How do you see the relationship between the three people. Who do you lean towards? What is Solor’s internal state?
You mean the content of the libretto? Or realistically speaking? Because every female performer is different. From my perspective it is very simple, I will play it according to the libretto. I think solor true love is Nikiya.

That depends on how the audience sees it. For me, it is the same with everyone. Internally, I have a certain conception/vision that is independent of a real person. Some partners are more artistic, others are more technical but in my heart the role itself is a preconceived idea so regardless who I am working with I can maintain a certain vision.

This type due to a change in cast you are dancing with Kristina Shapran. How do you rehearse within such a short period of time?
This is not the first time I’m dancing with Shapran, before this we performed legend of love and some other small piece though not a lot, especially this sort of last minute cooperation. In rehearsal, there are various fast parts, slow parts, sometimes it is very good at other times we still need advice/reminders (from the teachers) to better our emotional /communication connection. In sum, we are still on the road, we can still make it better.

On Lopatkina
To dance with her is a gift, it has given me so much experience. Be it emotionally or technically we are very harmonious, I hope lopatkina can dance on and on. We will dance together twice in Beijing and continue working together in Japan.

How does it feel working with her?
Really, very happy

Are we speaking on an artistic level or a technical one or is it both, on a holistic level?
I think it is both, in every respect she is great. She inspires you to work harder, to finish a performance well. She will give me a lot of precious advice that I work hard to remember and can use when I dance with other people. For a young dancer she is an enormous help

Can we say that she is like a teacher?
Yes, absolutely

We would really like to know what you felt dancing at Yale since that is a school stage and not a conventional one.
Yes, it was quite small, limited seating with a simultaneous online broadcast, maybe there were some people watching online. This kind of performance gives me special motivation/energy. In sum, it was an interesting, fresh/new/novel experience. There was not a lot of pressure, very relaxed because we were surrounded by a range of students, they are all very intelligent.

In recent years you have participated in a number of contemporary productions, could you tell us what you think of contemporary ballet?
I think the performances I participated in were all very good. I perform them because I like them. Every year there is a young choreographer workshop, this year around March I will participate again. I have already received 3 invitations. I am very supportive of new things because they allow me to cross the boundary of classical ballet or to import some things from neo-classical works into classical ballet; they are intertwined. The element of freedom in contemporary ballet can also, using different forms, be presented/transferred in/to classical ballet. They can help me gain insight/explore deeper classical roles.
Although contemporary ballet is very universal/globalised, I am not sure I completely support its proliferation/standardisation because I believe the understanding/presentation every dancer brings to a work is rooted in their particular background.
To give an example, in Carmen the role I dance most often is Jose but once someone suggested I dance the toreador. Speaking from the heart, this isn't a role that I like but I agreed to do it because I wanted to better understand my conception of Jose. I had to do it.

Are they any difficulties you face as a classical dancer when confronted with contemporary works?
To be frank, I don’t like ballets without narratives. Similarly, dance without emotion/story is completely unable to inspire my emotions. Sometimes I will within the boundaries of the choreography produce my own ideas, that is also collaboration with the choreographer and like that the ballet becomes mine/part of me. At those moments I should add my name next to the choreographer’s. (laughs)

Are you thinking of becoming a choreographer?
I think no, thanks (laugh)

What are your plans for the future?
You mean in terms of roles? There are many roles I really want to dance, I have also spoken to management (about them). Also, there are a lot of roles I don't just want to dance overseas/on tour, but even more so at the mariinsky, in St. Petersburg. It is true that I dance a lot on tour but in St. Petersburg I would like more opportunities. I hope I can realise more roles in St petersburg.

Among overseas audience you are already quite famous, I hope do you feel about that? Overseas people seek your interviews, everyone knows your name..
I am quite perplexed about this, I perform a greater repertoire overseas than at home. At the Mariinsky the responsibility is heavier, also I feel I should be known to my people in my country and not just overseas. When I dance elsewhere or at a gala I feel more relaxed. But overseas I feel that I have been separated/left a large family. From my perspective, I should first dance these roles at home then dance it internationally and not the reverse.

Yermakov goes on talk about his love for drama, books (all kinds of books, audio, science...), swimming, chatting with friends....

Author:  denaa [ Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: China Ballet Magazine Interview: Kim/Skorik/Yermakov/Shapran

Kristina Shapran (Interviewer: 陈亦璐) ... t_redirect

At such a young age you have already danced at three different prestigious companies, such a career trajectory is rare. As one of the more outstanding graduates of the Vaganova academy, why did you not choose to enter the Mariinsky directly but rather went to the Stanislavsky in Moscow?
When I graduated, the mariinsky did invite me, but I felt that, at that point in my life/for the person I was then to go to Moscow would be a bit better, that there would be more opportunities.

Then why did you choose to return from Moscow to St Petersburg and enter the Mikhailovsky?
By that point the idea ‘of going back to St Petersburg’ had circulated in my mind for some time, I understood that i didn’t completely belong to Moscow, that it wasn’t my home, so I wanted to go back. The Mariinsky had always held out an olive branch, at that time Altynai Asylmuratova went to the Mikhailovsky, so I decided to go there, perhaps this was the first step towards the Mariinsky.
I also wanted to add, when I went to the Stanislavsky I didn’t go because I had a particular company in mind, but rather because of Zelensky, I went to Stasik because of him and similarly I went to the Mikhailovsky because of Asylmuratova. Compared to companies, people attract me more, I wanted to work with Zelensky, Asylmuratova, and from working with them I absorbed/gained a lot of precious experience. Dancing the leads in Petit’s Coppelia, Lacotte Sylphide were also very meaningful experiences. These performances require other dance techniques. Here, the mariinsky has an elevated/worshipful status, I treasure, cherish my work here.

That is also to say that the Mariinsky has huge charisma for you, is that why you gave up on a principal position at the the Mikhailovsky for a soloist one?
um...yes, I suppose you could say that. This theatre, this company is worth this choice. And I feel deeply fortunate, firstly that Yuri Fateev chose me, that he trusts me. You know, at some moments, the trust that other people place in you is also important, when you begin to realise that someone has huge hopes for you, that he trusts you, that feeling is epecially good/affective. Here my teacher Elvira Tarasova and I rehearse together, I have an especial respect, appreciation for her, I think I am really lucky. Also Asylmuratova. I met her when I was still a student, I don’t know if you have seen her perform but she too danced the lead in Bayadere, it is an absolute classic (to be clear she was saying that Asymulratova's performance as the lead in Bayadere is an absolute classic). In the initial rehearsals of Bayadere, I learnt lessons (experiences) from her, we communicated with open hearts, she shared her own experiences and secrets.

This is your first time dancing the lead in the Mariinsky version of Bayadere, before this you have danced it at both Stasik and Mikhailovsky. The Mikhailovsky version is similar to the Mariinsky one but the Stanislavsky version is quite different, what do you think of the differences in choreography, character understanding etc etc?
Yes, the Stasik version is completely different, it is the Makarova version. It is also three acts but the division/content of the first act is different, Nikiya Solor’s meeting and the snake dance is combined into one act, the Shades scene is the second act and the Third is solor and Gamzatti’s wedding at the temple which is when Nikiya’s spirit appears. That piece of music is very beautiful, i really like to perform that act, the hallucinatory atmosphere, the infinitely phantasmic music conceptualises/creates a vision of Nikiya’s soul on stage. And then the gods become furious, a storm descends, the temple collapses, everyone dies. The last scene/image/tableaux is very beautiful; with the sun glistening in the sky, Nikiya uses a scarf to guide Solor to her and together they ascend the heavens. This part is singularly beautiful. Because of love Nikiya forgives Solor, whether they are in the skies or wherever, we can say, that (their) love is eternal.

Besides classical works, you are also known for your modern/contemporary performances, for example on the Bolshoi Ballet programme you performed some contemporary pieces and because it was a television broadcast, a lot of people saw it. For you, as a post 90s russian dancer, how do you perceive contemporary and classical styles?
I feel that we should try both, we should allow our bodies to have contact with both classical and contemporary these two different styles. Perhaps sometimes after you dance contemporary you will come to classical ballet with a new understanding, and it will lead to new physical reactions/discoveries.

All three companies that you have danced in have different styles, the Mariinsky is more classical, Stasik leans towards dramatic ballets and the Mikhailovsky since Duato has danced more contemporary. Which style do you lean towards?
I can’t say which one I like more, I like everyone of them

Or maybe, which one do you think you are more suited to?
(laughs)...I don’t know. It is hard to say, perhaps I feel more comfortable dancing some works but I don’t know if the audience likes it. So I can’t speak in precise/absolute terms, but I do like trying new interesting things, diverse different styles. I hope that my life will be filled with new/fresh/novel happenings/occurrences, you have to experience life, this is very important, if you lose a sense of spontaneity in life and just live amnesiac-lly, this can also be seen on stage. Like some people say, when you stop experiencing life, you should leave the stage.
What I regret is when I was at Stasik, on one hand I didn’t know when I should leave, on the other I was desperately waiting for the opportunity to dance in Manon. I love this ballet, we could almost say that this is my favorite ballet, besides that I would really like to dance Anna Karenina and Onegin. Manon was something I was always hoping for, at the Bolshoi ballet programme I did dance a small excerpt. But in terms of understanding the role as a whole, I was too young, emotionally I needed a lot more summers (the translation uses the word calender). Of course, I cannot say that today I am an experienced/mature dancer, but I would still love to try dancing it.

This time at the Mariinsky’s Bayadere there are some Beijing dance academy students participating, so during your time in the Vaganova, what production left the biggest impression
I am a very emotional/sensitive person, even reading a book can inspire tremulations (a strong feeling).
The first ballet I watched after I was capable of memory, was probably Swan Lake, it left an enormous impression. Then, I was very young. Coincidentally when I was older, I watched Bayadere, at that time I had not started to learn ballet, I told my mother ‘Mamma, I want to dance, really really want!’. I thought that the dancers who got to stand onstage were the most privileged people, and that the costumes were so exquisite, delicate/detailed, like a dream!

Edited: I assumed that Shapran was referring to the Mikhailovsky holding out an olive branch since she went on to talk about the Mikhailovsky but as someone pointed out she was in fact talking about the Mariinsky, apologies for the mistranslation )

Author:  DrewToo [ Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: China Ballet Magazine Interview: Kim/Skorik/Yermakov/Shapran

Thank you for the translations. Very interesting interviews..

Author:  Buddy [ Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: China Ballet Magazine Interview: Kim/Skorik/Yermakov/Shapran

I've only had a chance to read some parts, denaa, but I'll read the rest as soon as possible. I join Drew in thanking you very much for doing this.

Author:  Buddy [ Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: China Ballet Magazine Interview: Kim/Skorik/Yermakov/Shapran

I’ve finished the interviews. Thanks again, denaa.

My primary feeling is of the dancers’ concern with significance, with message. Also I’m impressed with the interviewers' knowledge of the Russian ballet scene, which company does which version, etc.

As an aside, I’m interested in Chinese classical dance. Although I know very little about it, I do see from videos another very fine way of approaching refinement and enchantment. I would like to know more about the state of Chinese classical dance. For instance is there a dancer who might be the qualitative equivalent of a Ulyana Lopatkina?

Author:  denaa [ Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: China Ballet Magazine Interview: Kim/Skorik/Yermakov/Shapran

It was a pleasure translating the interviews (again many thanks to the interviewers)

I agree that the interviewers are very knowledgeable..In the yermakov interview the interviewer's question on giselle indicated that she had traveled to st.petersburg to see it. And in Shapran's case the interviewer noted that the ballet magazine had gone to great lengths to secure an exclusive interview with her because they were extremely interested in her three company journey...i think that interest in and knowledge of their subjects biographies does come across )

I'm not intimately familiar with ballet in china as whole. I am more familiar with the national ballet of china then with say shanghai ballet or the other many companies that together constitute ballet in china. So maybe someone here can give a better answer? But for me, national ballet's 3 prima ballerinas zhu yan, zhang jian, wang qiming are very good dancers. Among their principals i like cao shuci very much. None of course are at Lopatkina's level (imo) but then again how many people are lopatkina? )) The national ballet of china has quite a diverse repetoire (petit, neumeier, cranko, their own works like red detachment and of course classical which forms the backbone of their rep) and i think they are bringing in Makarova's bayadere soon. Personally i think the classical scene in China is more advanced than the modern dance scene but someone with better knowledge might know more about this )

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Author:  Buddy [ Tue Nov 24, 2015 2:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: China Ballet Magazine Interview: Kim/Skorik/Yermakov/Shapran

Thanks very much, denaa, for your response. What I refer to as Chinese classical dance is traditional Chinese classical dance as can be seen in Chinese traditional opera for example, not ballet. I do appreciate the names of the ballet dancers that you mentioned and will try to watch for them.

How does the popularity of ballet compare with that of traditional classical dance and do you know who the most popular traditional dancers might be and which works are the most representative?

In regard to Kimin Kim, he fascinates me for several reasons. First is his technical prowess. Second is his characterisation. He has managed to create a persona that is quite impressive. Coming from another culture he has created something that might be seen as a blend of Eastern and Western, yet is quite his own, as perhaps the Bolshoi's Olga Smirnova has done with her Vaganova/Mariinsky background.

Oksana Skorik makes the interesting statement that now being a Principal gives her confidence and allows her to feel more calm and secure. Other dancers sometimes see it as a greater challenge.

Also Andrey Yermakov's statement that he's always himself on stage is very interesting. He also says that he prefers narrative ballet yet I think that he's brilliant as well in the young choreographer, Maxim Petrov's, non story ballets.

All the dancers seem to want challenges and new experience and styles along with their deep reverence for the classical. Kristina Shapran probably states this the strongest when she says she must always find new insights and life experiences to remain vital.

Yet it's the the fineness of style, developed over centuries perhaps, that makes companies such as the Mariinsky so special. I'm sure that Catherine would agree with this.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Nov 24, 2015 2:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: China Ballet Magazine Interview: Kim/Skorik/Yermakov/Shapran

Denaa, likewise my deep gratitude for your translation efforts. As a full-time professional translator I know the effort *and time* required. Thanks for contributing to making this forum livelier!))

Author:  denaa [ Tue Nov 24, 2015 4:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: China Ballet Magazine Interview: Kim/Skorik/Yermakov/Shapran

Buddy wrote:
Thanks very much, denaa, for your response. What I refer to as Chinese classical dance is traditional Chinese classical dance as can be seen in Chinese traditional opera for example, not ballet. I do appreciate the names of the ballet dancers that you mentioned and will try to watch for them.

How does the popularity of ballet compare with that of traditional classical dance and do you know who the most popular traditional dancers might be and which works are the most representative?

Ah I'm afraid I can't be of much help on this :P I know very little about traditional classical dance. Though a few years ago someone who had graduated from the Shanghai Dance Academy (which has different departments for different dance styles) did remark to me that for the students classical ballet was the higher ranked/more popular discipline; but I don't know if this is true of the dance scene in general. The Chinese ballet journals seem to give equal weight to both traditional classical dance and ballet and I think there is always quite a fair bit of traditional classical dance on chinese TV. Three names that I have heard of are Yang Liping (especially famous for her peacock dance), Huang Dou Dou and Liu Yan. (Yan was the dancer hurt at the Beijing Olympics but before that she was a highly regarded Chinese classical dancer) And that unfortunately is pretty much the extent of my knowledge )

And thanks Catherine for your kind words))

I must say I was quite impressed (even if not entirely surprised) at the respect these dancers clearly have for their audience (Kim), partners (Yermakov), teachers (Skorik and Shapran).

Author:  Buddy [ Tue Nov 24, 2015 5:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: China Ballet Magazine Interview: Kim/Skorik/Yermakov/Shapran

Thanks again, denaa, for your response. I've seen internet videos of Yang Liping and one dance that she created "Lotus Tara, Mystery of Tibet" (loose translation) I consider to be perhaps the most beautiful non ballet work and performance that I've ever seen. It appears to be a mix of traditional Chinese classical and ballet derived modern.

I tend to view these things more abstractly than technically or culturally. I look for beauty and enchantment of any kind. I love the seeming 'economy' of far Eastern dance. It looks so simple yet so beautiful. The use of the hands is also very meaningful and expressive. I think that all this is recognised in some of the ballet works by Christopher Wheeldon/Wendy Whelan and Alexei Ratmansky. What I like about ballet in comparison is the 'animation' of the entire body although the body becomes much more flexible in modern Western style.

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: China Ballet Magazine Interview: Kim/Skorik/Yermakov/Shapran

I was just watching the video clip of Yang Liping’s “Mystery of Tibet” dance and a list of other videos appeared. One was of Diana Vishneva doing “F.L.O.W. [For Love of Women] part III” from her “Beauty in Motion” performance. It seems very related to Yang Liping’s style. I would go as far as to guess that it’s partially based on some of Yang Liping’s videos (along with other Eastern dance elements).

I’ve seen very interesting experimental dancing from Diana Vishneva. Some of it I’ve liked very much. She tries to carry the basic beauty of ballet into other realms. I would like to see much more of this sort of thing.

Her “F.L.O.W. part III” is noteworthy in that you can see her attempting to almost literally copy far Eastern style. Her ballet style does predominate, making the difference between ballet and far Eastern classical more evident. It’s a nice effort on her part. This resulting synthesis of the two styles is very interesting and could lead to more works of this kind. It could produce some very lovely merging of seemingly different, yet in many ways similar, worlds of beautiful expression.

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