Buddy, I think the reason why so many have a strong aversion to this dancer is because she takes ballet out of the artistic sphere and into the realms of gymnastics.
I personally detest the use of the six o’clock extension in classical works, for me ballet is about beauty of line, geometry almost, and only a very small margin of deviation from a choreographers original intentions should ever be allowed, otherwise the integrity of the steps is lost. By no means is Somova the only dancer guilty of this ugly movement, Zakharova has based her entire career on it and even dancers that are far superior to these two, Cojocaru for example, slam their feet against their ears at inappropriate moments. As a rule a thumb, I’ve noticed that the higher the leg goes; the more technical deficiencies can be spotted elsewhere.
The home audience is no doubt very partisan with its applause where the Kirov girls are concerned, but I’m afraid that this new departure to extreme technique will damage the company’s reputation irreparably before long.
IMO I think the pivotal question is what is now considered "traditional,
pure, academic classical ballet" in the Maryinsky? Apparently the new
vision is to promote and perpetuate that which jars the senses, the
aesthetics, and the original intent of the Maryinsky's classical repertory,
which is the foundation and raison d'etre of the company and the Vaganova Academy.
When a dancer is trained in the Vaganova Academy, passes the exams,
is accepted into the company, and then inexplicably throws all that
she (or he) learns out the window, in favor of their own
personal style, and worse, is encouraged to continue
path, that's a problem that needs to be addressed. Also, when
a dancer's personal style doesn't derive from the established canon of steps, nor how those steps ought to be correctly executed and danced in a performance, like it or not, there will be visual and artistic disonnance onstage with the ensemble. The Maryinsky Kirov Ballet of the most recent past i.e. pre 1994, had no such disonnance
The heritage and tradition of a school of ballet is in jeopardy here.
I'll veer a little off topic for a moment. Sylvie Guillem, the prototype
of the "gymnast/dancer," is here in Los Angeles for three performances
this week. Her direct descendents are Zakharova and Somova. Guillem's
the six o'clock extension. At today's high prices, as heroic as the honest effort is, there's no substitute for superior artistry,
rank, company seniority, experience, nuance and properly rendered dancing which does not deviate from the choreographic and libretto intent. Consider this: What and where exactly
will classical ballet norms be after Somova, Zakharova et.al. retire?