This morning's performance was nearly a replica of yesterday, only with slightly different casting and a slightly altered program.
Elmakova was not featured, although she again appeared as one of the Big Girls in purple in "Classical Symphony" (the first piece), and as one of 4 soloist couples in the "Krakovyak" section from Ïvan Susanin.
In "Classical Symphony" a new girl stood out -- her name is Kristina Shapran, and she is only in the first course (6th year). The spitting image of Lucia LaCarra, Shapran is blessed with an equally cute doll face, short brown bangs, and long slim limbs. Her flexibility and technique are already polished, her grace and control are sublime. If I didn't know better I would presume she was already in the graduating class -- I can't imagine what else she could have to work on in the coming years, she was nearly perfect and even managed to play with the timing of music and steps more than I"ve seen on this stage in the past 4 yrs.
The second piece was the pas de deux from the ballet "Ruchei" (“The Stream”) set to music by Delibes and choreographed by Desnitsky after Konstantin Sergeev. Here Boryana Petrova of Bulgaria upstaged just about every performer so far (aside from Shapran, Elmakova and Minina, that is
). A tiny, compact girl dressed in a white and silver tutu replete with tiara, Petrova did not appear on yesterday’s bill, and this prominent casting was indeed worthwhile. Petrova danced with nice presentation, exuding mature ballerina poise beyond her years and she delivered her variation flawlessly. Her partner was Dmitry Timofeev.
The stellar piece "Coincidental Encounters" (or “Chance Encounters”) by D. Kardoza was danced beautifully again today by Svetlana Siplatova and Alexei Kuzmin. They attest to the ability of Vaganova trained graduates to perform modern dance in bare feet on a level much higher than one often sees even in the States.
The pas de deux from a rarely performed ballet called “Futile Precaution” to the music of Gergel with choreography by Ivanov and Petipa was performed by Yulia Tikka, who led the “Markitanka” yesterday. After seeing her in both roles, Tikka seems the model of an Amour or Cupid-type girl, tiny and fitting for cute roles such as Copellia. Indeed the costume in this piece was a tutu with criss-cross corset décor in blue. Vasily Tkachenko was her partner, and offered extremely smooth tours, a soaring double cabriole in arabesque, and fantastic presentation. His maturity and polish will take him far. He is one of four or five top men in this year's graduating class.
Part One finished again today with the “Markitanka” pas de six. This time Viktoria Krasnokutskaya danced the lead alongside Ilya Petrov. The four soloist females were a different set, including Oksana Marchuk, Ksenia Romashova, Alisa Sodoleva, and Valeria Zapasnikova.
In Part Two, Olga Minuna was listed for the pas de deux from “La Sylphide”, but strangely, in her place appeared the (Tatiana) Tkachenko look-alike, Margarita Frolova. While Frolova did not disappoint, a member of the Vaganova staff had alerted me yesterday to Minuna’s billing in this piece, so I was sorry not to have seen her. I do hope she will be featured more prominently in the Tuesday evening performance. She only appeared again in this performance as an Odalisque in “Corsaire”.
Frolova’s partner in the Sylphide pas, Kirill Leontiev, took my breath away. A tall, gorgeous blonde with a beautiful arabesque line, clearly arched feet and no dearth of ballon, he delivered crystal clear petit allegro with calm, and is also at the top of the current crop of men from the Vaganova School.
Alexander Abukarimov, however, is also among those top five or so Vaganova males. He followed “Sylphide” in a piece choreographed by D. Pimonov (the brother of Anton Pimonov, for those who know the name), called “Postindustrial Faun” set to the music of Peter Gabriel. Dressed as a faun or satyr with a curly wig, a black T-shirt and 80s-style paint-tinted black pants, Abukarimov had a chance to showcase his physical prowess in this nonstop variation. He won two curtain calls for his efforts, and concluded the second one by doing a backflip into the wing.
The pas from Talisman was performed next by Anastasia Nikitina with Masakhiro Nakaya. The couple drew applause for their pyrotechnics, but Nikitina's visibily borderline anorexic look did nothing for me.
In the “Krakovyak”, although Nina Osmaova was listed as one of the soloists, in fact Daria Elmakova danced in her place. Olga Minina danced here also, leading me to believe that Margarita Frolova was listed in her stead (the programs for today were clearly not updated when the final casting decisions were made). The other two girls were Olga Belik and Viktoria Brileva. The four men were Alexander Ivlev, Sergey Strelkov, Mikhail Degtyarev and Aslan Karginov.
In Part Three, Yulia Chereshkevich appeared as Medora in the pas de trios with Masakhiro Nakaya as Ali and Alexei Kuzmin as Conrad; Lilia Lishuk danced Medora’s variation and Nadezhda Batoeva (with one year left of her studies) performed Gulnara’s variation. Minina, Elmakova and
Romashova danced the Odalisques.
The final performance will be this Tuesday night, June 24.