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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2002 6:12 am 
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<BR>Twenty five quite dramatic photographs of Nikolai Tsiskaridze as Hermann and Ilse Liepa as Countess can be seen on: <A HREF="http://www.bolshoi.net/balet/dama/photo-dama.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://www.bolshoi.net/balet/dama/photo-dama.htm</A> <BR>There is also a series of studio portraits of Nikolai on: <A HREF="http://www.bolshoi.net/stars/ciscaridze/link-caro.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://www.bolshoi.net/stars/ciscaridze/link-caro.htm</A> <BR>Don't be put off by the Cyrillic script. Keep clicking the arrow on the right of the picture. Some portraits are absolutely stunning!<BR> <BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2002 5:38 am 
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Alexandra Tomalonis in the Washington Post on the Bolshoi's 'La Bayadere' in Washington: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><P>Nikolai Tsiskaridze (Solor) is an exciting dancer, but a sloppy one. He has a few spectacular moves, especially the jumps in the third act, but delivers them as though they're tricks rather than classical dancing, and seems to lose interest toward the end of a variation.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Comments anyone?<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2002 5:47 pm 
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In regards to the quote from the review posted above, first let me say that I have never seen this dancer, either on tape or in live performance. So, I can offer no opinion on his dancing. However, I do have an opinion on a critique such as this.<P>It seems to me that comments, both laudatory and critical, can be made on the performance witnessed by the reviewer/critic, but not such a statement as quoted above. In my opinion, a review is a snapshot in time and while the performance and the dancers within the performance can be assessed, an overall blanket assessment of the dancer cannot be based upon one performance. <P>If the reviewer has seen this dancer before and is basing this opinion on a history of having seen this dancer, then that should be stated in the critique. Such as: "I have seen this dancer before and this performance reinforced my view that while he is an exciting dancer he is also a sloppy one."<P>But to call a dancer sloppy and proclaiming that the dancer 'has a few spectacular moves' is much too generalized. How sloppy? Moves? This is dance - not 'moves.'<P>The sentence "Nikolai Tsiskaridze (Solor) is an exciting dancer, but a sloppy one." is eye catching - but unfair.<P>In my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2002 8:56 pm 
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Basheva, but Tsiskaridze is indeed a sloppy dancer. He has a beautiful elevation, which is somewhat "eye-catching", but he is not classically refined at all. It is all the Bolshoi style - just "Go for the effect!" I find the whole "noise" around him rather curious. I saw him in New York a couple of years ago and in Paris this winter. In my humble opinion, he is an interesting dancer - let us wait and see how he develops - but he is far from the major league. By major, I mean dancers like Legris, Malakhov, LeRiche.<BR>And about the critic - have you met anyone who is fair? After all, any opinion is very subjective -yours and mine also.


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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2002 5:21 am 
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Ah - But JulieB - you have just made my point. You have seen this dancer more than once and arrived at your conclusion after observing him more than once. Then, indeed, your critique is fair.<P>Everything is subjective. And that's why it is important to base an opinion on more than just one observation.<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited June 16, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2002 4:37 pm 
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How decent and fair of Basheva to raise an issue of critics' responsibility. The critics' prime duty is to guide - and not to misguide - the public. What was written about Tsiskaridze, is not a criticism, it is a gross misguidance.<BR>I HAVE NOT SEEN the performance at the Kennedy Centre on the 13th of June. But I have seen Tsiskaridze in "La Bayadere" in both productions - of the Bolshoi and Opera de Paris as well as in many other ballets and concerts. I can tell you that in my over 50 years of association with ballet I have not seen a dancer of such unique, entrancing talent. Dancers like him are born one in a century. Not only he has the most unique physique: tall beautiful body, wing-like arms, elongated lines, incredible suppleness, ballerina-like feet. All this, together with his astonishing virtuosity, is enriched by his poetic disposition.<BR>Every great dancer is unique but it is possible to trace, to some extent, their forerunners. Tsiskaridze has no precursors. Neither Bolshoi no Kirov had a dancer whom Tsiskaridze can even slightly resemble. He is a new 'word' in ballet and he is in a league of his own. Although trained at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy he is not one of typical Bolshoi male dancers with their projected masculinity. It is easier for Western critics to accept and praise something familiar and closer to their stereotype of a classical dancer. It is too troublesome for them to reconsider their criteria, they are not ready for that. However, the opposite tendency can be observed in Russia. Russians lived for decades with stereotypes imposed on them, therefore they are so responsive to everything new and extraordinary. In Nikolai Tsiskaridze the well-steeped in ballet Russians discovered an extraordinary talent. He does provoke controversy but he is the most talked about Artist in Russia, near a cult figure.<BR>For those who noticed a technical mistake on the 13th of June I want to remind what Nijinsky wrote in his Diary:<BR>"I saw a dream, it was a bad dream at first. I danced and I fell. But the audience loved it. Because I was falling beautifully." I can forgive all those mistakes, which Tsiskaridze may make, for 'dansability' of his body and the inimitable beauty of his dancing.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2002 5:44 am 
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Like Coda, I too was less than impressed by the review of Nikolai Tsiskaridze in the Washington Post. Whenever I come across a particularly hostile write up about an especially gifted dancer I can't help thinking that perhaps the review says more about the incompetence of the critic than that of the dancer.<P>Be that as it may, I had not seen Tsiskaridze dance for almost a year and was therefore reluctant to comment on his present form. I remedied that situation at the weekend by flying to Moscow to see him in Legend of Love with the Bolshoi. He was superb. I detected no "sloppiness" and certainly no "loss of interest in his variations". In fact what I saw was a performance to cherish, a feeling very audibly shared by the rest of the Bolshoi audience.<P>One last thought on reviews: a few months ago a young British based dancer, whom a friend of mine knows well, was clearly very upset by a reviewer who had commented adversely on his partnering skills. The dancer in question was rightly upset as he insisted he had not made a single partnering error during the entire performance reviewed. <P>Was this sloppy writing on the part of the critic, simply registering the fact that young dancers are frequently deficient in partnering and presuming that therefore this young dancer probably was too?<P>Reviews of that kind do nothing for the credibility of the critic fraternity.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2002 5:32 pm 
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I still have to say, I have never seen this dancer in a live performance. However, a very kind person sent me a tape of Tsiskaridze dancing. The tape is about 90 minutes long and I have watched over half of it. <P>So far the tape consists of excerpts of him dancing in about 8-10 ballets, everything from the Giselle/Swan Lake/La Bayadere classics to some less well known (at least to me) ballets. Some of the dances consist of the bravura male variations, and some of adage or petit allegro - almost all solo work.<P>I can tell you what I have seen on this tape. This is a stunning dancer. Long lines, manly but not overwrought thighs, and complete control. Even in petit allegro at quick fire tempo the feet were fully stretched and the body held with ease. Fluid deep backbends - in some of the choreography even more deeply than I have previously seen.<P>His extensions are light and easily as high as the women; 180 degree penchés, exquisite deep renversés. He did a slow promenade in arabesque well over 90 degrees -perfectly, without hesitation and without a bobble. Consistently tight chainé turns. Equally consistent in triple tour en l'air his preparation was a tight fifth and it did not open (as often happens) as he took to the air. Most dancers will allow that fifth position to open just as they take off into the jump. <P>He has the ability to create gaspingly exciting shapes in the air and make them fully visible - easily visible. If you blink, you still don't miss them. The shape in the air is held so that it implants upon the retina of the viewer.<P>Grand jetés that rise lightly, effortlessly, and hover - all so easy. Also with ease are a full repertoire of the most difficult turn combinations with multiple rotations, all landed smoothly. Those that he lands to fourth position on one knee - he doesn't crash into that landing. He doesn't use that knee landing to 'save' the turn - no, he pauses ever so slightly and then melts into that one-knee landing. Exquisite.<P>In Chopiniana/Les Sylphides when he and the ballerina do the chasé levé arabesque de coté de coté, his feet were as beautiful and as stretched as the ballerina's.<P>I did see a bobble in the Dance of the Golden Idol (in another excerpt he dances Solor), but that bobble came after doing that devilishly difficult turn combination that rises from the one knee on the ground preparation - as I recall the bobble was on the third in the series. Well, he is human. Image<P>So far, he doesn't look sloppy to me, at least not on this tape.<P>I should add that all of this was obviously taped at live performances - not set pieces that could have been filmed over and over again....nope, there was live audience throughout. <P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited June 28, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2002 4:35 am 
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I need to call attention to the fact that in my post above - a typo appeared which I have only just now seen and have corrected.<P>In the paragraph where I describe his promenade in arabesque I typed in that he did this <u>with</u> hesitation - that was a typo - it should read <u>without</u> hesitation. I have now corrected it.<P>I apologize.


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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2002 8:53 am 
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Folks, it's obvious I know and am friendly the critic in question, so take that as you will, and my apologies for stepping into this conversation, where I ordinarily wouldn't.<P>It's perfectly valid to agree or disagree with a critic's opinion but it's within a critic's prerogative to say a dancer was sloppy. And as you saw, some of you are saying Tsiskaridze was sloppy, some of you aren't. The difference of opinion does exist. (When I saw him dance, frankly, he was sloppy.)<P>Disagree all you wish, but when you question a writer's professionalism or expertise because you happen to dislike her opinion, frankly, you have gone too far.


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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2002 5:28 pm 
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hmmmm..... I think that a critic is not exempt from critique. However, though I think it is unfair for a blanket declarative statement about a dancer based on a single performance, I also think it is equally unfair to judge a critic on a single critique.<P>I finished watching the tape that was sent to me. The second half is the ballet "Queen of Spades." If there was a sloppy or weak moment in Tsiskaridze's dancing, I surely didn't see it. There are no obvious preparations to huge jumps, nor to the many demanding turn sequences. It all happens with total ease. <P>Again, in this ballet I was impressed with how light everything is - his legs float up, his back sweeps back, his jumps hover. Beats and petit allegro are crystal clear. There were some combinations where even first rank dancers often flout the 'stretched feet' rule...he did not. His feet were fully stretched.<P>But even the best dancer can turn in a sloppy performance - now and then. On this tape with included exerpts from about ten different ballets, I didn't see it.


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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2002 2:46 pm 
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Since the new ballet"The Queen of Spades" was mentioned by Basheva I thought it can be interesting to read how Roland Petit found the dancer for the most demanding role of Hermann as described in the monthly magazine «ITOGI» (Moscow), 6 November 2001.<P>Interviewer: - How did you find your Hermann?<P>Roland Petit: - I was looking for him in the Bolshoi Theatre for a long time. I watched classes and rehearsals. In my view, there are some very gifted artists in the company but my heart was telling me every time: this is not HIM. Do you understand what I mean?<BR>There was something mystical in our meeting! I was walking along a theatre corridor and suddenly felt that I had to open one particular door. I opened - and stood still. There was only one dancer in the studio. But what a dancer! Astounding, lithesome, he was simply soaring above the floor. There was so much passion in his every movement! In fact, I could see only his body; his face was half-covered with a scarf. I rushed to him - the glance of his dark eyes was burning. I saw his face and felt: this was my Hermann. I have found him! That was Nikolai Tsiskaridze. Then I realized that I have to produce a new ballet, which will be different from the "Three Cards".<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2002 6:43 am 
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<BR> I heard that the Bolshoi Ballet will do some performances at Cannes in<BR>France and Nikolai Tsiskaridze will dance in "Chopiniana" /Les<BR>Sylphides/between 16-20 September. Since I am not familiar at all with <BR>the theatre scene in Cannes, could the French readers/members of this Forum<BR>inform me about the venue or possible venue of this tour? It will be great if<BR>a telephone number of that venue can be given as well.<BR>Thanking you in advance.<P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2002 1:13 am 
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The Bolshoi is appearing at the Palais des Festivals, where the annual film festival is held.  Here is the link. Click on events then click on September and you will find the Bolshoi listing together with the phone number. <A HREF="http://www.cannes-on-line.com/Anglais/palaisuk.html" TARGET=_blank>www.cannes-on-line.com/Anglais/palaisuk.html</A> <BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2002 10:44 pm 
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First of all, I'd like to thank Forum for this interesting discussion about Nikolai Tsiskaridze and to add something about this fantastically gifted dancer. It' s not easy to talk about him, as any attempt to comprehend a mystery of any great talent is uneasy. So much has been said about his extremely talented unique body, beautiful lines, high soaring jumps, musicality, the incredible extension, but a little that explains all this. Certainly, it' s not enough to have a wonderful instrument (even if it was made by Stradivari himself) but one must have a skill to extract magical sounds from it, which is already a sphere of mystery.
Nikolai had famous teachers: a well-known expert on male dancing Peter Pestov at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy; and Nikolai Simachev, Nikolai Fadeechev, and the Greats - Ulanova and Semenova at the Bolshoi. He's managed to learn a lot from them, and not about dancing only. Ulanova has worked with Nikolai until the last days of her life and gave him, I feel, the most valuable: the attitude to their profession as Service, an almost religious rite. And, like Ulanova herself, Tsiskaridze is a Poet of dance.
He approaches any role very seriously. There are no insignificant details for him during his work. Everything is important when he is preparing a role: the historical and literary sources, cultural context, the costumes he uses, all this for creating a new character (by the way, he has really encyclopedic knowledge of the history of ballet). His talent consists of a rare combination of unique constitution, the superhuman extension, musicality, virtuosity, intellect, refined taste, talent for acting, devotion to his profession and …charisma. Tsiskaridze's dance for me is an aesthetic phenomenon. It has a plenty of temperament, force and power in the execution of really difficult steps in male dancing and at the same time each pose of his is so refined. His dance is spun out of continuous movements flowing one after other, and each of them is absolutely complete and precious aesthetically. His musicality is inconceivable. Nikolai also has a gift of dramatic and plastic transformation. When I tried to decide for myself which of his roles is the best, it ended in fiasco because I couldn't make a choice - Tsiskaridze is a versatile actor who is able to create roles contrasting each other plastically and stylistically. For example, graphic and sharp Rothbart in "Swan Lake" and almost boneless Golden Slave in "Sheherazade"; his Jean de Brienne in "Raymonda" is an epitome of chivalrous dignity but Narcissus is very delicate; the absolutely illusive Nutcracker Prince consists of music alone; the artist Ferhad in my favorite "Legend of Love" is strong and refined at the same time; and, the last but not the least, the breathtaking Germann in Roland Petite's "Dame Pique". I'd like to continue about this role next time.


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