In lieu of a formal review, I wanted to post impressions and highlights of one of the Vaganova Academy's 2006 Graduation performances. This one took place today, June 11. Where the class level is not listed, that denotes a graduating dancer (2006).
* * * Part I * * *
Verdi's Four Seasons
Winter - Anastasia Nikitina and Rafael Mussin
Nikitina is a fair-haired girl with long, straight, athletic looking legs. She was clean in technique and accurate in her dancing. I'd say, one to watch.
Spring - Ekaterina Ploshkina and Boris Zhurilov
Summer - Elizaveta Cherpasova and Anatolii Marchenko
Cherpasova reminded me of Obratsova -- small, curvaceous, perky. She excels at batterie and her compactness was a benefit in the partnering exchanges. Also very promising.
Fall - Oksana Kiyanenko and Roman Soloviev
This couple was my favorite --they stood out from the rest. Kiyanenko is gorgeous. Dark-haired, long of line and very lithe, with an expressive face, she is taller than the other girls but simply beautiful. She has a freshness about her and a welcoming presence, a wide smile. She danced again (Firebird pas de deux) later in the program. I truly hope she will dance on the Mariinsky stage in this role as a company member soon.
* * *Part II * * *
"Scherzo" to music by Stravinsky
Choreography by I. Larionova
Ksenia Pichugina (5th class)
Viktor Lebedev (5th class)
This was a modern work -- both dancers were bare-legged and barefoot, with flesh colored short shorts (and for her a flesh colored, fitted top). The piece displayed their mastery of modern movement, and was interesting in composition.
Duet from "Legend of Love"
Darina Zarubskaya with Rafael Mussin
Fragment from "Firebird"
Oksana Kiyanenko with Roman Soloviev
Kiyanenko here proved that she is professional Mariinsky Ballet material. Every aviary twitch of the head or flutter of the arm seemed authentic, and her long legs were a pleasure to regard.
"Those, Who Come Close"
Music by Coil
Choreography by A. Ignatieva
Maria Dmitrienko and Yan Nam
'Pandaros' from "Raymonda"
Daria Barinova with Mark Kudelya
Both dancers (along with the supporting corps de ballet) were spicy and expressive.
Music by Chopin
Choreography by Dmitrii Briantsev
Daria Elmakova with Alexander Kurkov
Aside from the devastatingly beautiful music to which this piece was composed, this was a lovely, lyrical pas de deux performed expertly by both dancers. Elmakova has an innate grace and musicality; Kurkov was a strong partner.
Svetlana Bekk with Andrei Korolev
An athletic pas de deux done in white unitards in which both dancers were mime-clowns. A clever, cute piece that displayed Bekk's flexibility and Korolev's gymnastic ability.
Pas de Deux from "Le Corsaire"
Maria Adzhamova and Andrei Soloviev
Adzhamova is not the smoothest in delivery; while clearly a Vaganova dancer, her lines were overshadowed by those of some of the other dancers this afternoon. The administration, however, seems to like her, given the casting choice.
* * * Part III * * *
Excerpt from La Bayadere (3rd Act)
Maria Chugai as Gamzatti, with Alexander Romanchikov as Solor
Manu - Ekaterina Grazhdankina
Petite and almost skeletal, she smiled incessantly and seemed light as air.
Golden Idol- Anatoli Marchenko
Indian Dance - Anastasia Petushkova with Kamil Yangurazov and Alexander Abdukarimov
Even spicier than the Raymonda excerpt -- it was hot. These dancers have a great future ahead of them.
Four small bayaderes - Tatiana Balshakova, Naomi Akasaka (Japan), Ma Yu (Japan), Yulia Tikka
Four large bayaderes - Yulia Stepanova, Valeria Ivanova, Daria Elmakova and Svetlana Siplatova
Two youths - Kirill Efremov and Roman Soloviev
Both the large and small bayadere soloists appear promising -- their dancing was clean and accurate a la Kirov of old, with very few misaligned or overlifted legs.