Fateeyev’s views must surely chill the hearts of all those that regret the near total loss of the renowned ‘Kirov style’
As long as the Vaganova Academy continues to produce pure dancers, the aristocratic style doesn't have to be lost. But, the old guard faculty is aging and dying off. The unknown vairable for the future is the next generation of faculty and who they'll produce. If the goal is gymnastics, rather than classical ballet, then yes the aristocratic style and the purity of the company will be lost. I fervently hope not! It took former Director Vaziev a little over a decade to achieve the present aesthetic, which is the anti-thesis of Oleg Vinogradov's aesthetic. Fateev is simply continuing Vaziev's policy.
. . . If the dancers can do it, they should, he thinks - as long as it fits the artist's vision and the choreographer's vision.
What of the artist/academics who aren't hyper-extended? Or what
if they are and choose not to flaunt, but temper it, and subject it to the "choreographer's vision?" What is their future in this environment? Fortunately, there are several dancers who "can do this," (two female Gold Medalists come to mind here), but choose to adhere to the academic rules and
develop their roles. There are still some dancers who don't continue their stretching warm-ups onstage during a performance, nor try to pass distorted posing off as classical ballet.
Those who have never been fortunate to have seen or experienced displays of the true Vaganova/Petersburg style will
mistake these fabricated excesses for the real deal. Increasingly, those who truly seek the real deal have to do their own research. Unlike the fortunate few, they can't compare the 2008 corps with the corps when Vaziev was first appointed. They can't draw on their memories and program books from live performances: They can't draw from that frame of reference. They have to obtain an extensive
home DVD library of benchmark performances
to have some idea of what it is, (what it was). These souvenir books and DVDs would have names such as Kolpakova, Zaklinsky, Berezhnoi, Ruzimatov, Zelensky, Lezhnina, Mezentseva, Asylmuratova, Terekhova, Sitnikova, Ayupova, Iskanderova, Tchyistyakova, Pankova, Vtorushina, Tchyenchikova, Yevteyeva et.al. on the cast lists. These souvenir books and DVDs would have Corps casts with names such as Tamara Mirzhoyan, Natalya Pavlova and Irina Zhelonkina among the ranks. What they
achieved is that's "missing" today.
Here's where casting decisions are key: IMHO correct emploi matters
. One can't cast dramatically blank, unmusical gymnasts in Petipa's leading roles; conversely it's unwise to cast acadmic purists in say, Forsythe. The reverse makes more sense. Okay, this
is an exaggerated illustration of casting policy, but this is what has been going on for the last 13 years. The company's raison d'etre is the preservation of Marius Petipa's legacy. I applaud all of management's efforts to catch up with the West. When effectively cast, coached and prepared, their Balanchine rep, and some
of the Forsythe's works have been their best efforts to date. However, the company main issue is the continued lack of a home choreographer
, and a Home Choreographer Development Initiative
. The company desperately needs a choreographer
that can take them to the next level in this
new century. Vaziev failed to find one; perhaps Fateev will be more successful with the men mentioned in the article, with the exception of Mr. MacGregor. IMO he would be unsuitable for the company for reasons already covered in CD's Royal Ballet threads.