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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:57 am 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Artistic Soiree Dedicated to Gennady Silutsky
Kirov Ballet
27 April 2007
By Catherine Pawlick
........................
The evening began with a “master class” led by Silutsky onstage. He opened the program with a brief speech. “A tradition stands before you,” he began, to great applause. Explaining that while it is traditional to never applaud during the Vaganova state exams, “your applause is needed, not just tonight, but every night,” he said.

The master class was indeed an exam of sorts, as 6 boys performed pre-determined combinations at three barres set on the stage. A pianist was situated downstage left to accompany them. It was a treat to see – the nature of the combinations, their musicality, timing, and level of difficulty – and to hear Silutsky’s sparse comments to the boys, as he shouted “all together!” or “precise!” or “powerful!”, encouraging the boys to do their best. .......................................
.


Catherine, I read with great interest your detailed report on the Artistic Evening dedicated to Gennady Selyutsky, esp. the section that dealt with the classical ballet state exam. Many thanks.

On the 21st of April we were invited (through a Moscow acquaintance) to attend at the Vaganova Academy the character dance state exams of Course 1A and Course 1B.

Course 1B at 2 pm was a demonstration with Character Dance Teacher E. A. Sherstnyova comprising the students of Classical Dance Professors L. V. Kovalyova (female students) and G. N. Selyutsky (male students).

Course 1A at 1 pm was a demonstration with Character Dance Teacher V. A. Serotin comprising the students of Classical Dance Professors I. A. Sitnikova and Y. I. Umrikhin.

What an amazing demonstration of corporeal plasticity, inventive port de bras, and percussive rhythms both the classes showed! The word 'awesome' seems inadequate. Never have I seen anything like these, totally different-from-each-other 'barres'.

The technically developed and sophisticated level of character dancing gives a definite edge to the classical dancers produced by the Vaganova Academy.

I'm very grateful to have witnessed these exams.

I also look forward to following the careers of these gifted students of
Professor Selyutsky and those of the three other teachers, dancers who will certainly be appearing soon in the ranks of the Mariinsky and other leading companies.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 4:43 pm 
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Catherine wrote

"By the time the group moved in to the center, the combinations grew more challenging and included some of the most difficult petit and grand allegro I have ever seen, but the boys performed all of it –for the most part – with ease."


jpc wrote

"What an amazing demonstration of corporeal plasticity, inventive port de bras, and percussive rhythms both the classes showed! The word 'awesome' seems inadequate. Never have I seen anything like these, totally different-from-each-other 'barres'."


These are very exciting comments. Thank you ! Could you possibly give any specific examples of what you saw ?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 5:07 pm 
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jpc wrote:
I also look forward to following the careers of these gifted students of Professor Selyutsky and those of the three other teachers, dancers who will certainly be appearing soon in the ranks of the Mariinsky and other leading companies.



I may as well add that I also was allowed to attend the first hour of exams and considered it a major highlight of my trip. I am not nearly as good at picking out details of the dance vocabulary as are Catherine and jpc, which is why I posed my question above.

What I did see I thought was just wonderful. I even noticed one of the girls who I would already call "Yevgenia Obraztsova-Natalia Osipova Jr."

I certainly join jpc in looking forward to following the careers of these
wonderful dancers and wish them all very successful futures.


[spelling error corrected--"Yevgenia Obraztsova, Yevgenia Obraztsova, Yevgenia Obraztsova...."]


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 9:01 pm 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Artistic Soiree Dedicated to Gennady Silutsky
Kirov Ballet
27 April 2007
By Catherine Pawlick

The evening began with a “master class” led by Silutsky onstage. He opened the program with a brief speech. “A tradition stands before you,” he began, to great applause. Explaining that while it is traditional to never applaud during the Vaganova state exams, “your applause is needed, not just tonight, but every night,” he said.



Footnote

The students in the first hour of exams that I was very kindly allowed to attend seemed very relaxed in their pre-exam practicing.

Although there was no applause during the exam, the 'judges' did give the students a warm applause at the end.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 5:57 pm 
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Zdrastvuityi Catherine (Hi!),

Donde esta ?

The internet seems very empty without you.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 5:38 am 
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Privetik Buddy - thanks for noting my absence! (sometimes I wonder if anyone does notice!) I had quite a four-weeks: moving apartments, renewing visa, dealing with work deadlines -- and so had to opt out of performance reviewing. That will pick back up later this month however, so stay tuned.

Just a note to say I did watch the Vaganova "Graduation" performance on Wednesday morning. The 8th class/3rd course students will continue on for another year however, so those we saw are not graduating this year. Familiar faces from the Vaganova's last "Nutcracker", and word that several 7th year boys have been accepted to Eifman's troupe ahead of time. That's my brief report from this half of the globe!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:01 am 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
I had quite a four-weeks: moving apartments, renewing visa, dealing with work deadlines -- and so had to opt out of performance reviewing. That will pick back up later this month however, so stay tuned.



I hope you like your new apartment and that you get to see some great performances.

"...stay tuned."

Nous restons fidele au poste. Anxiously awaiting your return !

Best wishes


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 4:58 am 
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Catherine, have you by any chance seen Evgenia Obraztsova's debut in Giselle ? I would love to hear about it, as there seems to be some debate over whether it was a success or not.
In any case, I'm looking forward to reading some more reviews, if you've seen performances lately ! :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 10:40 am 
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hi Azulynn,

Alas, unfortunately I didn't see Obratsova's debut, so I cannot comment on it. I would have a hard time believing it was not a success -- that role seems like one she would certainly excel at -- but I haven't heard commentary either way.

I just finished 3 separate Eifman reviews but they're in the Europe thread. Next week I'll cover two Mariinsky perf'ces and another Eifman, so stay tuned for those! :-)


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:23 am 
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“Swan Lake”
Kirov Ballet
Mariinsky Theatre
St. Petersburg, Russia
27 June 2007

By Catherine Pawlick

As part of this year’s White Nights Festival, Daria Pavlenko appeared at her lyrical best alongside Danila Korsuntsev’s ever stronger Siegfried in “Swan Lake” this Wednesday night. To the chills inspired by clashing cymbals during the Mariinsky Orchestra’s powerful and crystal clear rendition of Tchaikovsky’s well-known overture, the company offered a tight, traditional performance of this the whitest of white ballets for a full house.

The house, however, was not full at ten minutes past the hour. In fact, the curtain was delayed 25 minutes due to several tour buses whose contents apparently comprised more than half of the audience. This frustrated those who had made an effort to be on time, and resulted in ultra speedy intermissions for the mostly tourist-filled audience who barely applauded at the appropriate intervals. Despite these inconveniences, this performance nonetheless proved a shining example of high-quality, pristine dancing that can be found only at the Kirov.

Pavlenko’s last appearance in “Swan Lake” took place this January. Her continuously rare casting in major roles is an ongoing, inexplicable and frustrating phenomenon, but followers and newcomers alike were given a reprieve on Wednesday night as her warmth and soulful emotion graced the stage for more than three hours. Pavlenko inevitably is always given the more inconvenient programming choices: matinees on tour, Monday night performances at home (when the house is less likely to be full), last-minute replacements for dancers calling in sick. And despite her positioning as the step-in girl, or perhaps because of it, she is one of the strongest intuitive dancers on the company roster and without any doubt the most soulful on the list.

But before we were able to feast our eyes on her beauty, the first Act offered some other charms. Notable was Grigory Popov’s openly humorous portrayal of the Jester. From a fourth-row orchestra vantage point his vibrant acting skills and love of the game – in this case, entertaining the Prince and the guests, and propelling the story forward throughout the first scene – came across clearly, leaving nothing to be desired. Popov’s performance in this role has grown in the past two years, resulting in a polished actor who can play inside the score’s musicality and repeatedly come out ahead. In the Pas de Trois, Maxim Zuizin proved a nice surprise for his forceful jumps and beautifully arched feet; his faille assemble diagonal soared, and his beated tour jete was effortless. He need only smile more to win each audience member over. Ekaterina Osmolkina was a delicate princess in her variation, her soft port de bras floating gently while pristine footwork covered the steps. Only Yulia Kasenkova disappointed; despite a strong jump, which is no doubt the reason she is placed repeatedly in this role, her short lines and stiff feet fail to match those of her counterparts, providing for an imbalanced third portion of the trio.

As Siegfried, Danila Korsuntsev seems to have grown more into this role with the passage of time as well. His legs now more powerfully built, he carries an arabesque line beautifully, and his manege of split jetes quickly covers the entire expanse of the stage for his lengthy limbs.

And finally, the ballerina. From her first entrance of trembling bourrees and that initial arabesque held perfectly for several seconds, Pavlenko entranced. She was at her expressive best. As she stretched her arms in alarm at first sight of Siegfried, one had no doubt as to what she was saying. Her own beautifully arched feet curled over each step with ease. One knew from that entrance that this was not just a ballerina, but a Russian one, filled with soul, emotion and warmth. In the White Swan adagio, Pavlenko’s initial double pirouette to arabesque was performed with a honey-like legato, the entire adagio one long, uninterrupted phrase. She accented the partnered sequence of soutenue-retire passé- developee into arabesque plie with a quick petit battement before the retire passé, and used her lush back and neck to express every manner of feeling. Pavlenko then shifted without warning from luminous legato to sparkling, sharp allegro in the beaten entrechat quatre/retire passé sequence. A final stroke of interpretative genius showed Pavlenko’s call to return to her swan-form. As she bourreed backwards, she paused, reaching for Siegfried while still en pointe and then, facing the audience, waved her wings with a blank stare as she retired behind the curtain, no longer human. Throughout this act Pavlenko mesmerized so that one hadn’t even the desire to steal one’s eyes away to the pristine corps de ballet.

However, once she disappeared from the stage, the eyes could feast on the sea of white swans. Here in the swan corps, whereas some swans appeared perhaps tired or bored, Yana Selina, Svetlana Ivanova and Liobov Kuznetsova stood out for their appropriately frightened, innocent looks. Anastasia Petushkova looked under her wing angrily and seemed discontented. But the rest of the flock appeared beautiful, and certainly not a foot was out of line or unpointed. As the four big swans, Ekaterina Kondaurova, Anastasia Petushkova, Tatiana Tkachenko and Alesandra Iosifidi performed expansive, rousing movements, covering the stage with long graceful limbs.

In Act II, Pavlenko, of course, returned. While Odile’s persona is by no means close to Pavlenko’s own, her acting ability proved to the contrary. Pavlenko’s Odile succeeds for her glamour; her eyes are the character, now glancing sideways from under her brow at Siegfried, testing him and enticing him closer, now pushing him away with the impetuosity of a whimsical female who knows the value of her feminine wiles. Pavlenko was not afraid to play with musicality either. She included several slower sequences, but her variation was sharp. She has virtually eliminated the Russian double-preparation for pirouettes, for as soon as her back leg hits fourth, she is already turning. Pavlenko’s Odile was every bit the Egyptian queen out for a kill, her lips curled into a wicked smile of deceit under knowing, clever eyes. But in this role, as in Odette, there was an element of human warmth: Siegfried falls in love with two women, not two swans, and Pavlenko’s interpretation makes this distinction clear.

In Act III, Pavlenko’s warmth shifted once more back to the betrayed Swan Queen. To the backdrop of Daria Vasnetsova’s solo as the first swan, in which her great foot articulation was met by beautiful port de bras, and Nadezhda Gonchar’s accurate second swan, Pavlenko entered, miming Odette’s tears, the entire corps de ballet following suit. The pain of Odette’s loss was nearly tangible. Herein lies the brilliance of Pavlenko’s dancing: she is reachable, understandable, human, imperfect, and all the more lovable for it.

As Korsuntsev defeated Rothbart, danced by Konstantin Zverev with more hatred, attack and precision than is usually given this role, Pavlenko awoke from the spell, looking at her Prince in disbelief. As the two lovers took their final pose, it was with a smile that Pavlenko stepped into arabesque, perhaps with the knowledge that love truly does conquer all.

Pavel Bubelnikov conducted.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:10 am 
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Hi Catherine,

It's great to see one of your very fine Kirov-Mariinsky reviews again. I am rushing out the door so I can't read the review completely at the moment, but will do so as soon as possible.

It looks like Daria Pavlenko did very well again. Very good news. There seems to be interesting parallels between her career and that of Veronika Part (formerly of the Kirov-Mariinsky) in New York. I think that they are both extremely fine dancers, who have certain basic qualities that are equal to those of some of the best dancers that I have ever seen (video or live). I hope that they both will get all the chances possible to display their remarkable talent.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 12:36 pm 
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Hi Buddy,

Thanks for the compliment :-).

You are spot-on in that comparison in my view. Part is an amazing dancer who has also been repeatedly overlooked at ABT. Instead of being cast in leading soloist roles, she's been relegated to the realm of Lady Capulet (not what I consider a dancing role) repeatedly. I know she is a subject of hot debate given their latest remake of "Sleeping Beauty"...where thankfully at long last she was given the chance to dance Aurora...but I have seen her in class, and her technique is the finest there is. If she did not live up to expectations in one performance, it is because she is so rarely let on stage to dance principal roles. I am certain that the amount of support a dancer has behind the scenes is directly proportional to his or her stage time, whether we like it or not. In my view Part should have been promoted to principal long ago, and it is beyond me why that isn't the case. I know that many disagree but that's my opinion. (sorry for the tangent).


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 12:48 pm 
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Before it gets any later, I must post two words about Alexei Miroshnichenko's "Like the Old Organ Grinder" which reappeared onstage tonight edged in between "Flora's Awakening" and "Etudes".

Miroschnichenko has edited the piece slightly. Instead of the cityscape backdrop, a simple green skrim covers 2/3 of the stage. When the curtain opens we see four people standing in front of the lit green field: a violinist, the girl, the boy, and the pianist. In silence the pianist walks downstage left and assumes his position at the keyboard. The two dancers step forward and dance to his music. The choreography -- complex as it is -- seems for the most part unchanged.

This small shift made a world of difference and made for a brighter, clearer piece. Anton Pimenov danced with a surplus of energy from unknown sources. This choreography is not only unforgiving but there is no time to rest -- it's nonstop. One could see his breathing near the end of his very long solo, and this from one of the most untiring dancers in the company.

Daria Pavlenko danced the role of the girl once again. Her port de bras was infused with breath throughout. Sporting newly cut bangs and little makeup, and dressed in a simple black highwaisted dress, she moved to the music intuitively, with plenty of shoulder and head movement.

I was stunned again by this young choreographer's work -- and enjoyed this piece much more the second time 'round. Even when sandwiched between two classical pieces, it still stole the show.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:34 pm 
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Hi Catherine,

If it's appropriate to discuss here, I've noticed at the Russian Mariinka forum they have a topic about Zhanna Ayupova and have posted a few casual remarks over the last month or two. If you have a chance to take a quick look, could you tell us what they are saying about her these days. Do they wish to see more of her? Do you have any comments?


http://www.mariinka.org/forum/viewtopic ... c&start=20

[added a minute later--I have to use AOL to get this forum to print out in russian, Safari doesn't seem to work]


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:53 am 
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Sure, I'm happy to. It's overwhelmingly positive. Forgive the rough translation, I only have time for a ten-minute glance here.

On that thread, Floria Tosca writes that she witnessed Zhanna Ayupova's debut in Giselle when Ayupova was 18 and Tosca only 8 at the time. She saw the performance while she had a fever so cannot comment extensively but she remembers liking her.

"From my more adult impressions: I have always loved and valued ZHanna Ayupova for her crystal exactitude, irreproachable, blameless style and her feelings. If I'm not mistaken I saw the Ober (?) pas de deux that people are discussing here. I remember really liking it. I remember that at one point I saw the balcony (scene?) with Zhanna and Fadeev -- it touched me to the depths of my soul. I was at her Raymonda debut. At the beginning I dind't like it but by the wedding act Zhanna was bolder, converging together (all the pieces in the end) and completely shined.

Nonetheless, some sort of charisma was lacking. In any case each time I was thrilled to see her listed in the program, I never bought tickets especially for her -- in comparison to Lopatkina and Vishneva, tickets for whom I was ready to go to any length to acquire (this was at the time when they issued the tickets at theatre box offices and you had to get them by searching all over the city). I used to feel sorry for Zhanna: why with such wonderful gifts and charm ...she did not become a star of the first order?

Then Sylphide posts the following:

"I was also at Ayupova's debut in Giselle (she danced it with A. Lunev). Only I wasn't 8 yrs old, I was older. Both were young, fresh....

Ayupova has never had the support of the mass media as have Lopatkina, Vishneva, Dumchenko, when they began their careers. It is a shame but these dancers' fame and success depends on the TV and magazine advertisements, what we call, the mass media.

I agree that Ayupova is a great Juliet. I saw her when she was already over 30 and I could not help but fall in love with this impetuous young girl. By the way, for her debut in "Sleeping Beautiy", when she was, I think, about 22 years old, I sat very close to the stage, in the first rows of the orchestra and I saw her little mouth and full facial expressions. She danced completely worthy of her debutant (debuting) status, but sometimes appeared like a young old person (yes there was that sensation!) Well whatever, it happens... (Gabriella) Komleva in an interview brought up this subject in an interview-- youth on stage. It's not enough to just be young - the dancer has to act as well.

Then Mad about Mariinsky listed all of her debuts:

1978 - Masha (Nutcracker, Vainonen)
1984 - Masha (Nutcracker, Vainonen) graduation
1984 - joins the Mariinsky Theatre
1984 - The Naiad and the Fisherman (Gusev)
1984 - Giselle --the 1984 film, photo by Nina Alovert
1984 - pas de trois (Swan Lake)
1984 - Mazurka and 7th waltz (Chopiniana)
1985 - Aurora
1986 - Florina
1987 - Odalisques (Corsaire, Gusev)
1988 - Nikiya
1988 - La Sylphide
1988 - Odette/Odile
1989 - Medora (Corsaire)
1989 - The girl (Spectre de la Rose)
1990 - soloist (Theme and Variations)
1990 - maria (Fountain of Bachchisarai)
1991 - gave birth to son Fyodor
_______________________________________

Of note is how many principal roles she danced just out of school. I'm sorry I (Catherine) haven't seen many of those. I do not believe she was promoted to principal early on either...

There is more on that thread about her -- Mark saw her in Washington, say's he loves her and she is super. Mad posts the photo. People rave about her beauty, and Glorija comments that she was fabulous in Emeralds in the debut. I will leave off here for now.


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