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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:02 am 
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I don't agree with a word of that: Matvienko has always operated as a freelance and his career moves have reflected that.

There are real barrel scrapings dancing leading roles at the Kirov now, so are you seriously saying Anastasia M. is worse than Ms I-can-extend-but-can't-do-much-else or Ms I-may-not-be-that-good-but-I-have-a-powerful-'protector'?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:28 am 
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Denis particularly is a wonderful dancer, with a distinctive personal style - a grand and flamboyant style which is thrilling to watch. His Romeo in London was incredible.

I too have fond memories of Anastasia's wonderful Giselle here - one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 7:25 pm 
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I agree w/you Tahor. Of the two of them, I much prefer Denis for a number of reasons. His roles are fresh and infused with energy and verve. I can't say the same about hers.

Quote:
Her MT debut as Gamzatti at last year's Mariinsky Festival was a non-event. Sorry but I'm not the greatest admirer of either one of The Matvienki and am not that thrilled that they have managed to shoehorn themselves onto the roster of the Mariinsky.

If they were that outstanding, Denis would still be a principal at the Bolshoi and Anastasia would have been welcomed to join their ranks. The standards at the Mariinsky are obviously lower than at the Bolshoi...or perhaps spots on the roster are more easily - ahum - "obtained" at the Mariinsky?


Natalia N, thanks for recalling that performance. I think there's a general consensus regarding A.Matvienko's performance as Gamzatti during that festival, and those who routinely (or not routinely but exclusively) have seen her perform in Petersburg.

To Cassandra's point however, I dont think any of us would say she's worse than the girl referenced above (gumby flexnastic).

I cannot HELP but think that when you take the mid-level Russians and tour them in the West, however, that the contrast between their (mid level) accomplishments and the "high level" Westerners (in some but not certainly in all cases) ends up being an "impressive" performance.
(I do not argue that there is NOT some very high level dancing outside of Russia - there is).

But I think it is very much an issue of what is being compared to what. Or in this case, who.

I know I have seen plenty of that in the West Coast of the United States: everyone thinks the locals are hot until the Russians come and then they are blown away... So that element should be taken into account. Even a mid-level (for lack of a better word, i dont know what else to use here) dancer with pristine technique like AM can outdance nearly everyone in California...however, can she outdance others at the Mariinsky? I would argue no, she cannot. Anastasia is still cleaner with a nicer technique than MANY of her Russian counterparts. However, at the Mariinsky, she is not, in my humble opinion, as much to write home about as some of her colleagues are.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:55 pm 
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Talking about Bolshoi comparisons, the one that AM brings to mind is Ekaterina Shipulina--glamorous, hyperextended, and versatile. Even among the rank of leading soloists, she can barely hold a candle to the very musical Yatsenko and Kaptsova. A dancer can get away with rockette legs at Bolshoi, but it will not get her that far.

AM is a wonderful dancer, but just not an indispensable one at Marinsky. I am curious how Chenchikova was seen when she first came to M.

Denis might be a more needed appointment since the Kirov danseurs (Ivanchenko, Korsuntsev, Fadeev) of late tend to be restrained, and we love the good old days of spitfires such as Zelensky and Ruzimatov!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:26 pm 
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Quote:
AM is a wonderful dancer, but just not an indispensable one at Marinsky. I am curious how Chenchikova was seen when she first came to M.

Denis might be a more needed appointment since the Kirov danseurs (Ivanchenko, Korsuntsev, Fadeev) of late tend to be restrained, and we love the good old days of spitfires such as Zelensky and Ruzimatov!


Hi Madigan - I second you on both accounts. :-)

I don't know about Chenchikova but she certainly had a high enough rank to help Vasiev obtain his position. So politically she had clout -- I can't say either way how most people then viewed her dancing (I simply don't know). I remember being impressed the first time I saw a recording of her. At the time it far surpassed what any dancer in the USA looked like - that was in the late 80s.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:12 am 
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Chenchikova dancing was always a class act. Chenchikova teaching is another matter.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:26 pm 
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Catherine wrote:

Quote:
“I don't know about Chenchikova but she certainly had a high enough rank to help Vasiev obtain his position. So politically she had clout -- I can't say either way how most people then viewed her dancing (I simply don't know). I remember being impressed the first time I saw a recording of her. At the time it far surpassed what any dancer in the USA looked like - that was in the late 80s.”


In her heyday, Olga Chenchikova was considered one of the “indispensible ones” at the Kirov. Chenchikova was in a class by herself. She was a virtuosa. She had broad, full shoulders, a shortish neck, long legs, short arms, and a “strong” face, (like V. Tereshkina). She had a formidable stage presence that sometimes overpowered the corps (as in “Swan Lake Act 1 Scene 2), but had great impact. Chenchikova wasnt an aerial, nor lyrical/ethereal ballerina. She was a very physical mover. She was a special effects, technical sorceress, for whom no terre a terre combination was impossible. She was a natural and expert turner. Her pirouettes and fouttees, in particular were warp speed fast, dripped like honey when they needed to be slow, and were unfailingly sur place. Only Terekhova rivaled her in technical virtuosity. She excelled as O/O and she owned the lead ballerina role in “Paquita.”

Although Olga was an outsider, she had immediate and uproarious success when she made her debut with the Kirov in 1977. She graduated from Perm Academy and came from the Perm Ballet. Her teacher was the great Perm pedagogue Ludmilla Sakharova. Sakharova also produced Galina Ragozina-Panov and Nadezhda Pavlova. She danced in Perm from 1974-1977. While at Perm she haunted the competition circuit. She won the 1973 Moscow IBC silver medal. At Perm she danced O/O, Aurora, Kitri, etc. By 1977 she had made enough waves to be invited to guest at the Kirov. She made her1977 Kirov debut as O/O. She was coached for that debut by Alla Shelest. Reportedly, her O/O debut was so devastating, that she was “invited to join” the Kirov Ballet the next day. In those days that meant “drafted” or “reassigned.” She was one of two Perm ballerinas to be relocated to the Kirov, Lubov Kunakova, (the exact anti-thesis of Chenchikova), being the other. They were both medal winners. In 1969 Kunakova was the first ever gold medalist of the Moscow IBC, defeating Ludmilla Semenyaka who won the bronze. Both Chenchikova and Kunakova were able to fit in at the Kirov artistically, because Perm was a satellite theatre for the Kirov during WW 2. So, there wasn’t much of a difference in style and production presentation.

In 1977 Vinogradov assumed his post as AD of the Kirov, having left that post at the Maly. He came in and made what many considered at that time to be radical changes. Among the principal females he had Kolpakova who was still active, Mezentseva who emerged after Makarova’s defection, the young homegrown virtuosa Terekhova, Komleva who was in the late summer of her career, along with Kurgapkina and Sizova. The Kirov was the poor stepchild of the Kremlin, with the Bolshoi getting all the major world tours and government perks. When Vinogradov came in, he fired many dancers who were pension age. He focused on perfecting the corps de ballet and the level of performance and production, and tried to bring new works into the repertoire. He also nurtured promising dancers, such as Ayupova, Lezhnina and Asylmuratova.

By the 80s Chenchikova was a Kirov superstar. During the late 80s she married a soloist named Makhar Vaziev the immediate past ballet Director at the Maryinsky. He can be seen dancing the Don Q pdd with Terekhova on the “Kirov in London” dvd (Kultur, 1988). Between 1992 – 1995, Vinogradov was losing favor fast and there were certain factions trying to assume the ballet directorship. Gergiev made the decision to appoint Vaziev over Ruzimatov, who was still active. In 1996 Chenchikova suffered a career ending injury and retired. She then began to concentrate on coaching, rubber stamping her husband’s decisions and taking on those dancers he wanted to push as her pupils. This perfectly segues into Cassandra’s point:

Quote:
“Chenchikova dancing was always a class act. Chenchikova teaching is another matter.”


Precisely. Is there a notable ballerina that Chenchikova has produced? Let’s look at the "biggest" names that came from her stable. Chenchikova’s first project in 1995 was Vishneva, Vaziev’s first favorite. Whatever one thinks of Vishneva, she is the most famous of Chenchikova’s wards. IMO, for me, Vishneva is an acquired taste, who for all her theatrical unorthodoxy was never as technically pristine as Chenchikova. By the same token, Chenchikova was never as dramatic as Vishneva. Diana eventually returned to her graduating teacher Kovaleva and some outsiders for coaching. Today, Diana has exposed herself to, and availed herself of many different influences. She has become a hybrid - a dancer without category, having a highly individual style that is sometimes at odds with her home company’s performance tradition. Is Vishneva Chenchikova’s product, the way that Maximova was Ulanova’s? IMO no she isn’t. Looking at her today, I’d say that Vishneva has produced herself: She is her own product.

Maya Dumchenko is Vishneva’s contemporary and among the the most pristine classical purists in the company. She should have been a big name. In the beginning of her career, she was pushed by Vaziev until Vishneva’s advent in 1995 and then Zakharova’s in 1996. Today, in spite of all, she remains one of the Maryinsky’s true artists, a classicist who embodies the ideals of the St. Petersburg/Vaganova tradition, like Obratzova, Osmolkina, Kondaurova, Tereshkina, the Invisible Principal (Pavlenko), and the icon Lopatkina. Dumchenko gets the rare Giselle performance, the bi or tri-annual Aurora, the rare "Fountain of Bahkshiserai," and the occaisional Juliet. The last time I saw her live was last December in "Nutcracker," as a marzipan flutes in the pas de trois :arrow: ( :?: :!:) Maya is a high caliber ballerina, and in that very minor assignment, she looked like a stranger in the wrong paradise.
Zakharova, Vishneva’s and Dumchenko’s contemporary, doesn’t figure in this discussion because she was essentially a Kiev product, and was coached by Moiseyeva then and Semenyaka now.

1995 was a bellwether year in the history of the Maryinsky Ballet. Not only was it the beginning of the Vaziev era but the Vaziev Brand. This brand has been erroneously advertised as the epitome of Petersburg/Vaganova artistry and classicism. Chenchikova and her husband helped accelerate its devolution by 2003, the year you know who graduated. The travesty culminated with her promotion to Principal in October 2008. The travesty continues.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:16 pm 
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Cygne, I thought Kondaurova was also Chenchikova's student. Or was it Islom who was doing all the heavy-lifting in coaching? :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 6:24 am 
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Quote:
Maya Dumchenko is Vishneva’s contemporary and among the the most pristine classical purists in the company. She should have been a big name. In the beginning of her career, she was pushed by Vaziev until Vishneva’s advent in 1995 and then Zakharova’s in 1996.


I am in agreement with almost all, except that Dumchenko and Vishneva both graduated from Vaganova in 1995, Dumchenko in the class of Saknovskaya and the Vishneva in Kovelova. In January of 1994 Vishneva had won Prix di Lausanne, in her 7th year of study. By graduation of 1995, Vishneva was an obvious favorite, but her actual graduation from school was in May or June of 1995. The long and the short of it is they graduated in the same year.

Of the coaching pecking order, I know very little. :arrow:


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:42 pm 
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Madigan, yes, Chenchikova was Kondaurova's coach before the Vasievs left for Italy.

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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:26 pm 
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Vishneva had already debuted at the Mariinsky in Jan. or Feb. 94, over one year before her graduation in May 95. Vishneva and Dumchenko graduated in the same year but had different coaches, as vrsfanatic points out. At the first graduation performances, Dumchenko had the lead in Chopiniana, while Vishneva starred in Bayadere Shades. Vishneva sustained an injury shortly after the first grad performance, so she was unable to dance in Vinogradov's Cinderella during the June/July US tour, as originally scheduled. So, you see, immediately after her graduation, she was famous enough to be given a starring role on tour in NYC.

Dumchenko made a big name for herself by earning the 1995 Vaganova Prix Gold a week or two after her graduation. However, it must be tempered with the knowledge that two of the top graduates of her class -- Vishneva and Sofia Gumerova, who missed the graduation performances entirely -- did not compete. Had either been able to compete, the results may have been different. BUT Dumchenko can forever take pleasure in the knowledge that she beat Svetlana Zakharova (at that time an unpolished Somova-like student with extreme flexibility & minimal musicality). In fact, didn't Alisa Sokolova win the silver and Zakharova the bronze, vrsfanatic? Or maybe they shared silver. It was a while back.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:57 pm 
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Natalia I had to leave St. Petersburg prior to the graduation ceremonies for family reasons. I missed the performances and the Prix. Anything I know is from reading the Internet or hearsay. My circle of balletomane friends were less than impressed with the graduating class of 1995. M. Dumchenko and Ji-yeon Ryu were my personal favorites of that graduating class of females durng my entire two years of study in the Vaganova Academy. I do remember Vishneva's events for Lausanne and the festivities surrounding her accomplishments quite well. Zakarova arrived in the school, I believe the following year, September of 1995. I still have never seen her. During my Holiday season visit this year I am hoping to see M. Dumchenko somehow, since I have not seen her since 1997 when she performed in West Palm Beach with I. Kuznetsov the Lavrovsky R&J balcony pas de deux when the company toured here last. I did fly up to DC to see a Corsaire some years ago, but that is the extent of my Kirov sitings since I left the Academy in 1995. I have never seen Ji-yeon as a professional, but maybe this time?


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:23 pm 
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VRS I do hope you get to see Ji-yeon, Ilya, and all of your other friends. I imagine this will be quite a reunion season for you! :-) Do let us know how the performances are that you attend. ))

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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:11 pm 
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Thank you Catherine for your good wishes. I am keeping my fingers crossed because British Airways may go on strike. :cry: If so, I will have a tough time getting to St. Petersburg for my very short visit. :(


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:38 pm 
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VRS - Oh dear, I had not heard. I will send good thoughts your way. After so many years, you deserve this treat!!

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