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Gala Honoring Galina Ulanova in London's Coliseum
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Author:  Cygne [ Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Gala Honoring Galina Ulanova in London's Coliseum

Vladimir Vasiliev, the President of the Galina Ulanova Foundation, in conjunction with Ensemble Productions will present "In Memoriam: Galina Ulanova." The gala will take place in London's Coliseum on Sunday, 15 May 2011. The troupe will consist of several international ballet stars from the world's major companies such as the Bolshoi, the Royal, the Mariinsky, ENB and POB. One unfamiliar name should be remembered: Olga Smirnova. She is scheduled to graduate from Vaganova Academy this June, and has been greatly honored to be included in this gala. ... temid=1177

Author:  Buddy [ Mon May 16, 2011 4:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Gala Honoring Galina Ulanova in London's Coliseum

"Just An Ordinary Goddess"

This is the title of one of the pages in the Galina Ulanova souvenir program.

"Just An Ordinary Goddess"

I Counted Twelve Of Them !

!!!! What An Evening This Was !!!!

Vladimir Vasiliev -- Introduction

"Les Sylphides" (Mikhail Fokine)
Ulyana Lopatkina (Mariinsky Theatre)
Marat Shemiunov (Mikhailovsky Theatre)

"Sinatra Suite" (Twyla Tharp)
Tatyana Gorokhova (Novosibirsk Ballet Theatre)
Igor Zelensky (Mariinsky Theatre)

"Romeo And Juliet" (Leonid Lavrovsky)
Evgenia Obraztsova (Mariinsky Theatre)
David Makhateli (Royal Ballet)

"Le Parc" (Angelin Preljocaj)
Nadia Saidakova (Staats Ballet Berlin)
Vladimir Malakhov (Staats Ballet Berlin)

"Diana And Acton" (Agrippina Vaganova, Vakhtang Chabukiana)
Dorothée Gilbert (Paris Opera Ballet)
Thiago Soares (Royal Ballet)

"Dvorak Melody" (Asaf Messerer)
Olga Smirnova (Vaganova Ballet Academy)
Sergey Strelkov (Vaganova Ballet Academy)

"The Dying Swan" (Mikhail Fokine)
Svetlana Zakharova (Bolshoi Theatre)


"Giselle Pas De Deux" (Marius Petipa)
Svetlana Lunkina (Bolshoi Theatre)
Dmitry Gudanov (Bolshoi Theatre)

"Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux" (George Balanchine)
Daria Klimentova (English National Ballet)
Vadim Muntagirov (English National Ballet)

"Macbeth" (Vladimir Vasiliev)
Svetlana Zakharova (Bolshoi Theatre)
Andrei Uvarov (Bolshoi Theatre)

"The Red Poppy" (Vladimir Vasiliev)
Darya Khokhlova (Bolshoi Theatre)
Vladislav Lantratov (Bolshoi Theatre)

"La Belle Pas De Deux" (Jean-Christophe Maillot)
Bernice Coppieters (Ballet Monte Carlo)
Alexis Olivera (Ballet Monte Carlo)

"Flames Of Paris" (Vassily Vainonen)
Ekaterina Krysanova (Bolshoi Theatre)
Vladislav Lantratov (Bolshoi Theatre)

"Orpheus And Euydice" (Asaf Messerer)
Ulyana Lopatkina (Mariinsky Theatre)
Marat Shemiunov (Mikhailovsky Theatre)

Hopefully some comments to follow.

Author:  Buddy [ Tue May 17, 2011 3:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gala Honoring Galina Ulanova in London's Coliseum

Svetlana Zakharova

A Star Is Born !

You Thought That She Was Already A Star ?

" You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet ! "

This Was Another Svetlana Zakharova !

In the last several years of watching her, I've thought and sometimes written, that as great and beautiful a dancer as I think that she is, I was still hoping to see that one step beyond that would make a performance that should never be forgotten.

Well, For Me, She Did It !

Maybe it has to do with the fact that she is now a mother. I would have to think that this has a great deal to do with it.

Her Persona As 'The Swan' Reached Totally Beyond Herself.

I hardly recognized her.

Her Depth Of Expression Was Just Magnificent !

Her Dancing Was A Study In Gracefulness And Lyrical Loveliness -- As Usual.

She was the last performer before the intermission. I was spellbound.

When the dancing started again, with Svetlana Lunkina as Giselle, I was almost beside myself, but this is another story which I hope to get to later.

If all this wasn't enough, Svetlana Zakharova returned two dances later in Vladimir Vasiliev's "Macbeth."

Don't ask me exactly what she did -- it was just a continuation of some magnificent progression.

I have no idea how she was able to do it, but after about a year's absence because of maternity leave -- she seemed stronger and more capable than ever !

With the totally secure assistance of her very fine partner, Andrei Uvarov,

She Was A Constant Transition of Sculptural Amazement -- In The Air !

It seemed like she may have never come down.

I know that I haven't !

[spelling correction made]

Author:  Buddy [ Tue May 17, 2011 8:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gala Honoring Galina Ulanova in London's Coliseum

Svetlana Zakharova was not the only one sailing that particular cloud that I landed on.

There was also Ulyana Lopatkina, Evgenia Obraztsova, Olga Smirnova and Svetlana Lunkina (listed in the order of their appearances).

There were other equally wonderful clouds afloat, populated by other equally wonderful dancers and performances, but this one is the one that sailed A Celestial Sea like no other and it is one that I will cherish as a memory.

It started with Ulyana Lopatkina's "Les Sylphides" and continued on with Olga Smirnova's "Dvorak Melody," Svetlana Zakharova's 'The Swan,' Svetlana Lunkina's "Giselle," Svetlana Zakharova's "Macbeth" and ended with Ulyana Lopatkina's "Orpheus And Eurydice."

It almost seemed like the same dance.

Fortunately other equally fine performances, that may have been a bit more 'grounded,' kept me from sailing away completely.

Ulyana Lopatkina -- "Les Sylphides"

Ulyana Lopatkina, among other things, might be described as an art form. She is a one of a kind.

She's a natural phenomenon. She's a poetic sea. Every inch of her has its own poetry and expression. Her arms, her legs, even her feet move like waves.

Nowhere more than in a poetic dream like "Les Sylphides" can this be more evident.

Here she set the stage and began the enchantment that flowed through the entire evening.

Evgenia Obraztsova -- Duet from "Romeo And Juliet"

I have been wanting to see her do one of these for years -- one of the loveliest of duets, one of the several that can be found in this work.

She is Lovable and the expression and beauty that she poured into this presentation was heartwarming and lovely to the Nth Degree.

Olga Smirnova -- "Dvorak Melody"

She's an Absolute Gem !

She has probably 'upped the bar' completely as to what to expect from a young dancer. Only a Student at the Vaganova Academy, she already has the expression, refinement and artistry of a mature mistress of the art. She flows like a dream and is not only completely believable, she makes you long to believe.

Svetlana Zakharova -- 'The Swan'

As mentioned above, she sealed the Enchantment and left the first half of the evening securely anchored to the heavens.

Svetlana Lunkina -- "Giselle"

All my sense of focus, or desire to focus, disappeared when she began. How do you focus on the ethereal ? I just let her carry me along in a state of almost overwhelming reverie. I've never seen her dance more beautifully !

Svetlana Zakharova -- "Macbeth"

She simply became a spatial symphony of nearly unbelievable physical accomplishment and an overwhelming attracting force that personified Heart and Soul.

Ulyana Lopatkina -- "Orpheus And Euridice"

This time, as a flow of transparency in a gown of airy white veils, like a heavenly spirit, rather than an enchanted physicality, she carried the evening to its final star-bound conclusion.

The Evening Ended

Somewhere Above Both Heaven And Earth.

Author:  David [ Wed May 18, 2011 9:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gala Honoring Galina Ulanova in London's Coliseum

Galina Ulanova Gala
London Coliseum, May 15, 2011

Sometimes the gods come down to visit

by Charlotte Kasner

I was not born when Galina Sergeeva Ulanova retired and was therefore only able to see her on film; we are lucky that a fair amount of it exists. Although it is no substitute for live performance, it is easy to see the magic that Ulanova wove over her audience. her predecessors, without the benefits of recording the ephemeral, are remembered through their legend - an advantage in that they cannot be compared unfavourably as tastes and expectations change. Ulanova however, became an iconic figure in the first generation of Soviet people to have benefited from the vast expansion of literacy and general education, including a great respect for the arts and culture, and her photographs were cherished by soldiers on both sides during the Great Patriotic war (WWII), on one occasion being stolen from a Kommandant's wall to line a Russian foot soldier's pocket. She benefited too, from the following generation who grew up with television and who could follow her live performances from all over the Soviet Union and its dominions.

Hints of her capabilities had filtered through to Europe and the USA ahead of the groundbreaking London performance in 1956 when many queued on the pavement for three days in the hope of a seat on the gallery benches. She is quoted as saying that she hoped to entrance people with theatre so that they could forget that they were perhaps sitting a long way away from the stage in uncomfortable seats and there is no doubt that she succeeded in spades as far as many Londoners were concerned.

So, she is indeed a fitting subject for the latest Ensemble Productions gala, introduced by a former subject of a similar gala and Artistic Director of the gala, the great Vladimir Viktorovich Vasiliev.

The programme opened with an excerpt from "Les Sylphides", perhaps a ballet that is better when seen in small sections than as a whole, and paradoxically illustrative of a new wave in choreography heralded by Mikhail Mikhailovich Fokine as he paid tribute to Romantic ballet. Lopatkina looked light as a feather, with her controlled landings and sensitive partnering from Shemiunov was of great assistance.

The "Sinatra Variations" are a hard act to follow for those of us who remember Barishnikov, and whilst forgivably lacking in that level of charisma, Gorokhova and Zelensky were slick.

No tribute to Ulanova could be complete without "Romeo and Juliet". The 1956 Bolshoi tour introduced London to what was then a very new (and in some ways controversial) ballet. Perhaps hundreds of versions have been produced since, but, however many we see, no one who saw Ulanova execute her amazing run across the set could forget her - incredibly, like Fonteyn after her, able to portray an adolescent even when well into her forties. The re-creation of the Lavrovsky version was seen in London recently and looked very dated, but it is worth catching Ulanova on film where time seems to be more kind. Obraztsova and Makhateli played the lovers in the balcony pas de deux and it was really good to hear the wonderful English National Ballet Orchestra, conducted by Valery Ovsyanikov, in the ballet for which they recently played with their own Company in this very theatre.

"Le Parc" segued beautifully from Prokofiev to Mozart, Saidakova and Malakhov adapting to Preljocaj's exciting choreography with a tantalising glimpse of this work.

"Diana and Acteon" however is an example of the ghastly musical mish mash of mid-nineteenth century ballet by Pugni, like Minkus, a ballet hack composing by the yard with little regard to period or continuity. This pas de deux is memorable more for its choreographers, Vaganova and Chabukiani, who were pillars of early and mid Soviet period dance. Gilbert and Soares were convincing as goddess and voyeur who is destined to be turned into a stag for his curiosity and devoured by Diana's hounds.

"Dvorak Melody" was a real revelation and a reminder of just how great Asaf Messerer was (and not least, how much ballet owes to other members of the Messerer family). Smirnova and Strelkov were excellent.

Ulanova became known for dancing Fokine's "Dying Swan" before it became an often, badly danced, cliché that parodies classical ballet. Though short, it is not easy to pull off and Zakharova struggled in places. It was a little "flappy" without the sense of fading, steely strength and she skipped the fiendish backbend that is usually included.

The second section opened with a tribute to another signature role for Ulanova, a pas de deux from "Giselle". Gudanov dazzled with sharp, brilliant batterie and Lunkina slipped effortlessly from his grip like a will o' the wisp.

However, it was the young, comparatively inexperienced Muntagirov who really set the stage on fire in "Tchaikowsky Pas de Deux". He has strong technique and real presence, currently being nurtured, luckily for us, by English National Ballet. He was here partnered by ENB's most experienced dancer Daria Klimentova. Somewhat diminutive, she is not an obvious choice for Balanchine but she imbued her role with accuracy and a sweetness that travels well over the footlights and is an audience pleaser.

Vladimir Vasiliev is no where near as well known as a choreographer as he should be, here illustrated by a dramatic pas de deux from his 1980 production of "Macbeth". Luckily this has been available on video and is well worth investigating. Zaharova was by turns glacial and sexily pliant as the Scottish queen in fiery red, Uvarov her scheming foil.

Vasiliev's choreography was also represented in an adagio from his version of the Soviet classic "The Red Poppy". It was a real tour de force for Khokhlova and shows that the crude accusations of "Socialist Realism" that have prevented this work from gaining a wider audience is misplaced. Khokhlova certainly left us wanting more.

The "La Belle" pas de deux was the one big flaw of the evening. Any allusion to "Sleeping Beauty" was hard to discern from this presentation that was frankly vulgar and left poor Aurora looking like a shop dummy in skimpy underwear being manhandled by her "prince".

"Flame(s) of Paris" is another recent re-discovery that, on film at least reminds us how utterly exciting such works can be. Krysanova didn't put foot wrong as she barely had time to draw breath between lighting fast, on the spot fouettes and petit tours that make a refreshing change from the ever-present Don Q fireworks. Again, more please.

The evening drew to a close with Lopatkina and Shemuinov in the pas de deux from Messerer's "Orpheus and Euridice". Lopatkina was positively sculptural, reminding us of Messerer's famous (male) ribbon dance solo and underlining the basic tragedy behind the classic tale.

Finally, to the opening strain's of Aurora's wedding music, the dancers laid floral tributes at the foot of Ulanova's image in a touching tribute.

This was a very polished evening that both pricked the eyes with nostalgia and left one feeling very secure in the future of the art, at least on an artistic and technical basis.

We look forward to seeing he next great similarly honoured.

Author:  Buddy [ Wed May 18, 2011 4:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Gala Honoring Galina Ulanova in London's Coliseum

Thanks, David, for posting this review. I agree with much of what Charlotte Kasner says and it's really nice that she was able to comment on all the performances.

Here's a five minute video clip of rehearsals, etc. which I found yesterday and seems to have been filmed by an insider with the artists' knowledge. I think that it's okay to post here.

This clip was also posted by sophia at "Dansomanie" along with several other brief ones from Russian TV and some photos from Marc Haegeman. Start at the top of the page. ... &start=555

Author:  Buddy [ Thu May 19, 2011 5:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gala Honoring Galina Ulanova in London's Coliseum

Here are some nice photos from the Russian Ballet Icons Facebook site. ... 9767435227

(directed here by the "Ballet Bag" Facebook site)

Here are some of the thoughts offered by Margaret Willis at "bachtrack."

(It's interesting that the five ballerinas that Margaret Willis highlights after writing, "So, onto the classical extracts closely connected to Galina Ulanova...." -- are the exact same five that so impressed me -- Ulyana Lopatkina, Svetlana Zakharova, Svetlana Lunkina, Evgenia Obraztsova and Olga Smirnova. It's good to have a 'soulmate.')*

"So, onto the classical extracts closely connected to Galina Ulanova. Having known her in her later years, I was eager to see if any ballerina would emulate her unique style. Closest came Ulyana Lopatkina, the prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Ballet, Ulanova’s original company, partnered by Marat Shemiunov (Mikhailovsky Ballet). In both her pieces, Les Sylphides and Asaf Messerer’s Orpheus and Eurydice, she floated as light as thistledown, her neat feet barely touching the ground., completely lost in her dancing."

"Also stunning was Svetlana Zacharova (Bolshoi) who, in The Dying Swan solo, presented the ultimate in rippling arms and quivering feet, injecting the short but poignant work with pathos. She returned in Vladimir Vasiliev’s powerful ballet Macbeth, (which Ulanova had coached), as the conniving, heartless Lady Macbeth, her legs shooting up like rapiers around her guilt stricken husband, (Andrei Uvarov, Bolshoi)"

"No one can emulate Ulanova’s legendary Juliet but the Mariinsky’s glorious young ballerina Evgenia Obraztsova showed us a delicate starry-eyed teenage heroine, her dancing bubbling over with joy."

"Two students (Olga Smirnova and Sergey Strelkov) from Ulanova’s early training ground, the Vaganova School, danced Messerer’s Dvorak Melody with great feeling and sensitivity, while the Bolshoi’s Svetlana Lunkina and Dmitri Gudanov performed the pas de deux from Act 2 of Giselle, Lunkina’s delicate, expressive body and disciplined controlled balances evidencing her other-worldliness."

* [I overlooked her inclusion of Daria Kokhlova, who was just fine as well]

Author:  Buddy [ Fri May 20, 2011 5:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gala Honoring Galina Ulanova in London's Coliseum

Other artists rode other waves and they did so beautifully. Everyone had something special.

Ekaterina Krysanova -- She is always a welcomed Freshness. She can sail the poetic currents as well as anyone and she can be be a virtuosa spirit. She always charms.

She Is Faerieque.

In her Gala performance she was some of each of these. Her fouette spins had their usual dazzle and everything she did had it's usual Airiness.

Airiness -- For me, this is what she's about. I've seen her perform "Cinderella" and this is perhaps a work that she was born to inhabit. She endeared me beyond description with her childlike aura -- a touch of childlike uncertainty and wonder along with a lighter than air presence and sense of motion that is one of the essences of any child's beautiful imagination.

She is someone that I Always look forward to seeing.

Daria Kokhlova -- She seems to inhabit some of the same world as Ekaterina Krysanova with her youthful freshness. This very young lady just joined the Bolshoi in 2009. At this Gala she was another touch of delicate loveliness. Vladimir Vasiliev recently did a performance with her.

Daria Klimentova -- And speaking of Freshness, Daria Klimentova infused George Balanchine's "Tchaikovsky's Pas De Deux" with such a sense of Youthful Abandon that I thought that she must be on of the English Ballet's newly rising talents. It appears that she is actually one of the company's senior stars.

Brava, Daria ! -- for such a vibrant performance.

Dorothee Gilbert -- In "Diana And Acton" she was just what you would hope for from a Paris Opera Ballet star. She was sophistication and refinement to the max ! She radiated a knowing Elegance and sparked with a subtle feminine sensuality. Pure 'classical' Parisian enchantment.

Nadia Saidakova (Staats Berlin Ballet), dancing with Vladimir Malakov and Tatyana Gorokhova (Novosibirsk Ballet), dancing with Igor Zelensky, both complimented their illustrious male partners beautifully. Bernice Coppieters (Ballet Monte Carlo) dancing with Alexis Olivera (Ballet Monte Carlo) made another fine couple.

Some final comments about the men at another time.

[typo correction made]

Author:  Buddy [ Fri May 20, 2011 11:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gala Honoring Galina Ulanova in London's Coliseum

Both Igor Zelensky and Vladimir Malakov are dancers that I just really like. Besides being exceptional talents they manage to hang in there.

Igor Zelensky -- He is currently engaged in bringing George Balanchine and also, perhaps, the best that New York City has to offer, to the heart of Siberia. I have to congratulate him for this and wish him much success. This was quite evident in his performance of Twyla Tharp's "Sinatra Suite" with the young Novosibirsk company dancer, Tatyana Gorokhova. They both did a fine performance with Igor Zelensky taking a slightly Mariinsky approach. He maintained a certain artist distance. His Mariinsky essence gave the performance some wonderful elements of refinement and his handling of Twyla Tharp's elements of excitement, such as one foot slides, all came together very well. At the end he did a depthful solo and touchingly exited the stage.

Vladimir Malakov -- For me, he has a remarkable sense of poetry as well as many other exceptional qualities. I still remember his performance of "Giselle" with Diana Vishneva. Their dramatic intensity and sense of poetry complimented each other perfectly. I was extremely taken by his 'powerful' subtlety and likened him to a creation by Michelangelo. I thought, "He could never do something like this again." Yet, when I took a look at the dvd of the same work performed by them in Japan, there he was, just as compelling.

His sense of poetic commitment was also very evident in his Gala performance of "Le Parc." Also his ability to handle the very physically demanding lifts and maneuvering of his partner in the dramatic final duet has to be congratulated.

Vadim Muntagirov (English National Ballet) -- He gave a very graceful and physically exciting performance of George Balanchine's "Tchaikovsky's Pas De Deux."

Andrei Uvarov -- I have to congratulate him for his 'monumental' presence as Macbeth and above all for his ability to keep Svetlana Zakharova so Compellingly Airborn.

Dimitry Gudanov, Marat Shemiunov, Vladislav Lantratov, David Makhateli, Thiago Soares, Sergey Strelkov and Alexis Olivera all made fine partners as well as showing their own fine individual qualities.

Vladimir Vasiliev -- It was a great pleasure to be able to see this legendary giant in person. If he is the one responsible for choosing the Outstanding Artists that appeared, then he certainly continues to have his hand firmly on the pulse of what is going on -- from the megastars to the remarkable emerging talent.

He gave a very enthusiastic tribute to Galina Ulanova to begin the evening. Yet, it compelled me to lean over to the person next to me and whisper, " He was maybe as great as she was ! "

Violinist and Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky -- The Wonderfully-Beautiful Entr'acte Music from the "Sleeping Beauty" -- This music was used for the rather 'modernistic' "La Belle Pas De Deux" and performed by the Orchestra of the English National Ballet. It was as Beautiful a performance of this music as I've ever heard. The Violinist, whose name is not mentioned, Deserved a Heartfelt Ovation !

And back full cycle to the lingering memory.

Svetlana Zakharova, Ulyana Lopatkina, Evgenia Obraztsova, Svetlana Lunkina, Olga Smirnova ....

Describe All that is Love
Describe the Stars
With a Footstep, a Gesture
For This is Ours

Author:  Buddy [ Mon May 23, 2011 4:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gala Honoring Galina Ulanova in London's Coliseum

Credit where credit is due.

According to Graham Watts, who contributed to the Gala's written program, as mentioned in a post at "," it was David Makhateli, Principal of the Royal Ballet (also Evgenia Obraztsova's Gala partner), "who was very largely responsible for determining the content of the gala and arranging the dancers to appear."

Much thanks and Bravo ! -- David.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon May 23, 2011 11:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gala Honoring Galina Ulanova in London's Coliseum

Judith Flanders reviews the gala in The Arts Desk.

The Arts Desk

Author:  Buddy [ Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gala Honoring Galina Ulanova in London's Coliseum

Daria Klimentova

This is a lady that I knew nothing about, but when I saw her perform George Balanchine's accelerating whirlwind, "Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux," at this Gala I was really impressed with her Vibrant presentation. As I wrote above, because of her "Youthful Abandon," I thought that she must be one of English National Ballet's newly rising stars and was very pleasantly surprised to find out that she was actually one of the senior dancers.

There is an extremely sympathetic and interesting interview with her in the "Daily Mail." ... entov.html

(referred to by "Ballet Alert!")

"For now, however, Daria is very happy – and it shows. Even her old adversary has noticed. ‘Derek Deane ["the former artistic director of ENB"] has said to me that I shouldn’t stop dancing yet; he told me that I’m wonderful. Oh, it all depends on his mood. I don’t think he means everything he says. It’s just a show. We all know him. He will never change! Right now, I feel amazing. I guess I’m very happy to dance with Vadim [Muntagirov].' "

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