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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:59 am 
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Sacto7654 wrote:
Congratulations to "Big Red." 8)

But for her to make Principal status she has to do a LOT more big time soloist dancing roles. In my opinion, not going to happen with Ulyana Lopatkina still very active as the most popular of the MT's female Principal status dancers.

This is true Sacto7654. Uliana is still active, and so is Diana. Diana is dancing O/O on Oct 28, and again next month. Also, there's the ongoing Somova Campaign, and Nioradze's renaissance of late. Quite frankly, I'm shocked Katya Kondaurova moved up this fast from the 2nd soloist rank, given the fiercly political environment of the Maryinsky Ballet. In fact, I thought she might have sat there for at least another season. I am ecstatic that she has promoted. Katya will be making her debut as Medora in "Le Corsaire," so, like Catherine said, she is taking "baby steps" towards Principal. I fervently hope that she doesn't remain on the 1st soloist roster as long as Osmolkina or Dumchenko.

Who are the ones that Katya and other talent are up against? Tereshkina is in heavy rotation right now. Irma will be paired again with Korsakov in "Giselle" next month and she's dancing Kitri. Makhalina isn't active, and Dasha Pavlenko has been relegated to the role of Street Dancer in "Don Q." Pavlenko is the forgotten Principal ballerina. She will be granted the lead in "Chopiniana," but really, that's child's play for her. It would've been nice for her to have a comeback in "Swan Lake," "Giselle," "Raymonda," or "Bayadere," or work in the Balanchine programs that they're reviving, such as "In the Night," and the upcoming "Scotch Symphony." She hasn't been given a spot in "Theme & Variations," or "Symphony in C," ballets in which she would shine, nor has she even been given a chance to reclaim "Diamonds." Moreover, she hasn't been given a spot in the upcoming Ballet Gala at the Concert Hall (a venue not suited for dance performances mind you). Pavlenko's bitter sweet situation is quite sobering. It kind of puts all of this joyous news in perspective, no? It's plain that anyone who excels (or promotes) under this regime will not have a cake walk - not the way that Alina Somova has. Once again, congratulations to Kondaurova!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:53 pm 
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Just a note that yes, Makhalina is out of the MT rotation but still "on" in the Petersburg city rotation. That is, she appeared in the Diaghilev Festival closing along with Kozlov in Eifman's Czechist pas from "Red Giselle." I'm told that she and Nioradze disappointed the most, which is the usual reaction to their most recent (Russian) performances. However, Lopatkina absolutely sparkled that evening in "Death of a Rose," as did a Canadian import, Edenek Konvalina, who danced a piece by Bejart. His apparently is a name to watch.

Daniel Ulbricht danced the Tarantella with a (disappointing) Cherpasova.

Anastasia Stashkevich and Dmitry Zagrebin popped over from Moscow, and glowed in the Flames of Paris. Oh -- and Andrey Mercuriev also made a brief appearance in Ratmansky's "Russian Seasons," I'm told looking in good form.

This from a friend who was able to attend.

Congratulations to Lopatkina, as well, for her recent birthday!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:40 pm 
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Cygne,

I do think Kondaurova will reach Principal status within the next 4-5 years. I state on my personal belief that Lopatkina is going to start winding down her dancing career once she turns 40 in 2013 for a career in the upper management at MT--possibly even as Director of Ballet (Lopatkina--because of her training by Natalia Dudinskaya and coached by Ninel Kurpagkina, both legendary names in the history of MT--has strong appreciation of the Mariinsky Theatre's gigantic contributions to ballet, which makes her perfect for this role).


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:39 am 
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Yevgenya Obratzova & Altynai Asylmuratova have received the 2009 Spirit of Dance (Soul of Dance), "Star" and "Teacher" awards from Russia's Ballet Magazine. Congratulations to them both!

http://www.russianballet.ru/rus/soul.htm *(latest edition in Russian only).


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:43 pm 
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Of interest, Andris Liepa also received an award for his role as Chairman for the Philanthropic Fund named after his father, Marius.

Congratulations to all of the award recipients!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:29 pm 
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Hey everyone, newbie here and long-time fan of CD!

Sacto7654 wrote:
Cygne,

I do think Kondaurova will reach Principal status within the next 4-5 years. I state on my personal belief that Lopatkina is going to start winding down her dancing career once she turns 40 in 2013 for a career in the upper management at MT--possibly even as Director of Ballet (Lopatkina--because of her training by Natalia Dudinskaya and coached by Ninel Kurpagkina, both legendary names in the history of MT--has strong appreciation of the Mariinsky Theatre's gigantic contributions to ballet, which makes her perfect for this role).
:D

In that case, Katya K. would be a tad old as a principal. She is already 27(?), an age at which a handful of current Kirov female principals have already made it to the top. Maya Dumchenko is already in her early 30s and we know what happened to her. So the clock is on: Kondaurova has two or three years before the likes of Nikitina and Vasnetsova catch on.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:44 pm 
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Thanks for posting Madigan and welcome!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:13 pm 
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Yes, Madigan, welcome to Criticaldance! And thanks for posting.

I agree with you, and our only hope is that the powers that be "clue in" sooner rather than later. Certainly audiences love KK. In the past five years, I've watched what goes on inside the theatre and I have drawn many conclusions. But as regard promotions, it seems clear that there really is no hard and fast rule, and at times those are promoted who perhaps may not QUITE be ready, while others languish at certain levels after having danced principal roles (at home, or abroad, or both) for *years*.

Obratsova is another one that comes to mind, but as I mentioned before, she pointed out to me that "short girls" don't dance Odette/Odile at the Mariinsky, and that role is the measure of a principal dancer (despite the fact that Vishneva didn't dance it until well after achieving principal status, just 3 or so years ago).

So in short, let's keep our fingers crossed for Katya and (my personal opinion) Zhenya as well!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:16 pm 
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Sacto, I really think it is hard to predict what Lopatkina's decision regarding retirement will be. She loves her art, and she loves being on stage. I don't know if she would love administration as much. Time will tell, it will be interesting to see what decisions she makes. She has just four years until age 40, although I can say that up close she looks no older than 22. (I honestly don't know how the Russian, or Ukrainian, in her case, beauties do it!)


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:35 pm 
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Thanks for your warm welcome, Catherine (and LCMTech, too)! I have always enjoyed your meticulous reviews in the magazine.

Katya and Zhenya are complementary dancers: have their repertoires ever overlapped? One is an adagio ballerina, and the other, a demi-caractere dancer, but both very pure in their own styles despite the difference. The top ranks at MT could get more luster from artists who have left their imprints on one emploi or another, rather than being a "meh" by dancing everything under the sun. Lopatkina belongs to the former type, and Nioradze to the latter. Enough time has passed to show which is better.

Yet purity does not get one far these days (gee, I really feel for the dove Maya D.). Among the first soloists who dance almost everything, Katya K. has stiff competition. Just look at Osmolkina and Matvienko: they can dance O/O just like KK, but they can also sail through Kitri and Auroras, roles which would go to KK when Somova's leg goes down to 90 degrees. Kondaurova is a dream of a Medora, but her height at times does slow her down. And then her point shoes could be quieter for the Dyrad . . . Within those constraints, KK has to nab Bayadere, Raymonda and Diamonds to prove herself as fit for a principal.

So what KK has going for her? It's not technique--Tereshkina has already beaten her to that--but an aura. She has a cool that just defies her surroundings. She really has the femme fatale quality that is requisite for so many heroines and that has saved Guillem from being known merely as "precursor to Somova." Not that many MT ballerinas have so strong a personality. Zhenya has something like that in her own way, too, a Mozartian grace and eternal joy that made Kolpakova the Hebe of her art.

Speaking of Vishneva, while I respect her as an artist, I do feel she is gaming the international star system, even more so than Zakharova or Guillem does. When I was looking for jobs, our guidance counselor told us: "If you have more than one offer, choose one and free up another for your classmates!" DV is holding up the spot that could have gone to someone more committed at home.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:59 pm 
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hi Madigan,

I am enjoying your comments. I happen to share your views about Vishneva. She is an international star, not a "Mariinsky ballerina," in terms of she doesn't represent the technique, the aura, or the traditions of the theatre. To me the M ballerina is a defined type, epitomized by a number of women on the roster, Lopatkina probably being one leading example, but Dumchenko or Pavlenko as well. I also respect Vishneva for her wide range of accomplishments -- who else has the drive to be an ongoing guest artist with 3 major ballet companies at the same time, year-round?!

I have to (respectfully!) differ with you about the mention of Osmolkina and Matvienko though. Matvienko is a performance horse, the competition wonder. Plug her in, turn her on, and she hits it --most of the time-- but the emotion and the aura are not there. I"ve seen her do Grand Pas Classique, In the Night, or (Gamzatti) in Bayadere -- and it's all light years ahead of what most American technicians can do, but again - there's not a lot of drama or emotion coming from her. Still, I would rather watch pure technique than a blotchy performance with some drama -- for that there are dramatic plays :-).

Osmolkina has superior acting skills, and also she has an entirely different repertoire (given their height differences, this is understandable). Her spring visit to London won over audiences there, and I am curious if her height will be a decisive factor in her career at the MT as Obratsova has hinted her own is.

I absolutely agree with you about emploi though -- there's no reason to dance the entire repertoire, and there IS a reason emploi exists...or, rather, existed. (!) (When I saw Vishneva's debut in Swan Lake it was readily apparent that the administration's previous refusal to give her the role was not without wisdom or reason. It's not her role, and she really did not have much to gain except fulfilling a personal desire by subjecting herself to the task.) However, I also understand the dancers' thirst for new roles and new ballets which affects emploi issues. When you're performing hundreds of classical works each year, you really would want to expand your scope of repertoire after a time.

I would actually submit that both KK and Zhenya Obratsova have distinct onstage personas, distinct repertoires, and both deserve to be promoted far beyond where they currently are. Just my opinion though.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:41 pm 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
To me the M ballerina is a defined type, epitomized by a number of women on the roster, Lopatkina probably being one leading example, but Dumchenko or Pavlenko as well.


It helps that Ulyana Lopatkina was personally instructed by Natalia Dudinskaya during Lopatkina's days at the Vaganova Academy and coached by Ninel Kurgapkina for many years at MT. As such, she was pretty much trained and coached by (arguably) two of the most legendary ballerinas of MT during the Soviet era. As such, Lopatkina has strong appreciation of the dancing style as defined by MT. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:03 pm 
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Yes, Sacto, but Kurgapkina's influence and more recently, Chistiakova's, have been far more influential on Lopatkina. She was not one of Dudinskaya's "favorites" in class -- as such, much if not all of what she has achieved is through talent and hard work, not simply a case of being in the right place (or class) or of stepping on toes to get to the top -- which she hasn't done.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 11:45 am 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Yes, Sacto, but Kurgapkina's influence and more recently, Chistiakova's, have been far more influential on Lopatkina. She was not one of Dudinskaya's "favorites" in class -- as such, much if not all of what she has achieved is through talent and hard work, not simply a case of being in the right place (or class) or of stepping on toes to get to the top -- which she hasn't done.


If I remember correctly, a TV documentary done in 1991 at the Vaganova Academy right at the time Lopatkina graduated (which I can see on YouTube) already said she was a major talent to watch for in the future. Her subsequent triumph in the O/O role by the middle 1990's is proof that (in my humble opinion! :) ) decades from now, Lopatkina will be fondly remembered for her dancing career at MT just like Kurgapkina was.

There's still one thing I would love to see her do: play the O/O role in the Vladimir Bourmeister/Lev Ivanov version of Swan Lake, especially the Odile role, which (in my opinion) requires more "acting" skill than the Odile in the Sergeyev 1950 version.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:14 pm 
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Right, I'm not saying she was not a talent by graduation time.

I'm saying that she achieved that independently of who her pedagogue was.


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