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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:25 pm 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Madigan wrote:
Olga Chenchikova teaches a lesson that artistry should never be confused with a beautiful body.


Never better said Madigan :-).

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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:24 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
According to the Kennedy Center website, the Wednesday, February 10, 2010 performance of "The Sleeping Beauty" has been cancelled due to the snowstorm in Washington, D.C. Apparently, the Tuesday, February 9 performance went on as scheduled. Exchanges are being offered to ticketholders of tonight's cancelled performance. Hopefully, some reviews will trickle out from those who were able to attend last night.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:25 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In the Washington Post, Sarah Kaufman reviews the Tuesday, February 9, 2010 performance of "The Sleeping Beauty" (with Diana Vishneva as Aurora) at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Washington Post

Performances are scheduled to resume tonight (Thursday, February 11) after being cancelled due to snow on Wednesday, February 10. A performance has been added on Sunday evening, February 14 to make up for the cancelled Wednesday performance. Performance and casting information are available on the Kennedy Center website.

Kennedy Center


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:54 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Charles Downey reviews the Tuesday, February 9, 2010 performance of "The Sleeping Beauty" at the Kennedy Center in dcist.

dcist


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:19 pm 
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Location: USA-Switzerland
Madigan wrote:
This probably should be required viewing for Alina everyday:

Olga Chenchikova teaches a lesson that artistry should never be confused with a beautiful body....The secret to her classicism is not bony arms and weightlessness born of having no body weight to begin with.


I've been watching a lot of videos tonight, Madigan, and I do have to say that Alina Somova's sense of "weightlessness" or airiness is something to be reckoned with !

And by the way....Oh, "Veronika" ! (You may have heard this from me before.)


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:55 am 
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Location: USA-Switzerland
"Weightlessness"

With Alina Somova her airy gracefulness is in her Beautiful, Linear Figure and above all in how she uses it. It's about Motion, Positioning, Vision....

I am using the "La Bayadere" (2007) video clips, that can be found easily on the internet, as my best current reference. I have also seen her perform the Shades scene live several times and it has been one of her lovelier and more impressive efforts. Internet comments, by even some of her most demanding critics, about her second and third such performances in New York City, two Aprils ago, enthusiastically supported this point of view.

She just performed Aurora ("Sleeping Beauty") with Evgeny Ivanchenko last night in Washington DC and will be dancing it once more Sunday.


[Correction made above--The Mariinsky NYC performances were in April (2008) rather than in January. It just seemed natural to me that the year would start after a Mariinsky Festival (actually in March).]

[added date of La Bayadere video clips, 2007]


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:42 pm 
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Location: USA-Switzerland
Sometimes you just burn inside to do what your heart tells you to do. So here we go.

Alina Somova

I have just finished watching several times the internet video clips (you know where) of her Act II from "Giselle" (2009).

With all the usual qualifications, such as the possible limitations of internet videos, the wealth of amazing talent in the ballet world, the "who can really say that someone is the best"....

I would say that she could be or possibly is....

One of the Greatest Ballerinas Ever !

An unequaled combination of....

The Expressive Soul of Anna Pavlova and the Ethereal Grace of Ulyana Lopatkina.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:50 am 
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Location: London UK
Buddy, I am delighted that you clearly get such unalloyed pleasure from watching Alina Somova. I myself have at times greatly enjoyed watching certain dancers of a type that were never going to set the world alight but who nevertheless possessed some quality or other that made them attractive to me. However I would never embarrass them by comparing them with the great names of the past.

I am (believe it or not) too young to have seen Anna Pavlova, but I did see over a long period of time the following:

Alicia Markova
Margot Fonteyn
Yvette Chauvire
Maya Plisetskaya
Ekaterina Maximova
Alla Osipenko
Irina Kolpakova……………….I could go on, but the list is long but there are few ballerinas of note I have not seen and over the many decades I have been watching dancers I believe I have an understanding of what constitutes greatness. Alina Somova is not a great dancer and there isn’t the remotest possibility that she will ever become one.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:15 pm 
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Thanks, Cassandra for your thoughts. (In regard to Anna Pavlova, I never saw her live either, but I have seen s few video clips of her.) I hope that you will look at this video sometime and that you might enjoy it nearly as much as I have.

I hope that this is cricket. Just to get a few more thoughts, admittedly favorable to my immensely positive reaction, I found these 11 of the 21 comments posted at the video site.


"Alina is both eloquent and elegant here - beautiful line now that she has lowered her extension slightly. Beautiful solo!

i usually don't like her, but there's something different in this video, she's defnitiely getting better if she works she would become an amazing giselle, i like her as giselle, she's not my favorite giselle but i really enjoyed the video. She can develop into someone truly amazing.

that was beautifully executed!

her amazing extensions make her seem even more unreal and ghostlike

What a beautiful ballerina she has become!

And yet she is indeed shows marks of a great Giselle. Watch how he runs forward to beg Myrta? Then stopped in her tracks by the austere response, shields her beloved with her own body. This is something from Hugo's Les Miserables. Surely one can see how extraordinary this girl is. She harbors greatness!

GREAT Giselle in making!

She simply breathtaking. So expressive and sweet. Great Giselle in making.

Wow, she is such a beautiful Giselle!!!

I am so surprised. Her Giselle is so good

Very touching, I even shed a tear!"


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:15 am 
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Location: London UK
Buddy, you are aware that comments of this nature are invariably posted by the same besotted fan whose many aliases clog up most of You Tube, aren't you?

And what on earth has the ballet Giselle to do with the novel Les Miserables?


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:54 pm 
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Location: USA-Switzerland
Hi Cassandra,

I think I know who you are referring to and I know what you are saying because I have read this before, but it was a long time ago. I would not have posted this if I thought that this was the case, but I can't deny the possibility of what you are saying.

I have to say that I do agree with these comments.

Since I am here again, I do also agree with one of your premises if I understood it correctly. It is perhaps better to see an artist as being her or himself rather than trying to base her or his identity on that of someone else. I meant and deeply felt every word of what I wrote and I definitely feel that Alina Somova has "greatness," but maybe it is better to let it be her own.

Did you see the video? If you did you have any thoughts that you would like to express about it?

After I posted my reply to your previous post I was thinking how fortunate you have been to have seen all those wonderful dancers that you mentioned.

Best wishes.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:31 am 
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Sorry Buddy, but life is too short to waste a moment of it watching video clips of Alina Somova.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:59 am 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
“Giselle”
Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia
By Catherine Pawlick
26 March 2010

Sometimes leaving the jewelry store is necessary in order to truly appreciate the blinding beauty of the jewels. But often a glimpse of precious gemstones leaves an impression strong enough to last well into the future.

Both proved to be the case following this reviewer’s recent six-month hiatus from Petersburg and exposure to several Western ballet companies. Upon returning to Russia, it is clear that the Kirov (Mariinsky) Ballet is still unsurpassed the world over. Whatever your preference in terms of technique, artistry and, most of all, dramatic expression, the top artists at the Mariinsky define the standards by which classical ballet today is judged in each of these areas.

Uliana Lopatkina’s performance in “Giselle” on the company’s home stage Friday night left no doubt in the hearts of Petersburg’s serious balletomane elite that she remains the best example of the Vaganova-based, Kirov style.
As Giselle, Lopatkina’s initial graceful entrance etched the image of an orchid in the wind: delicate, beautiful innocence, gentle, soft and shy. After she first circled the stage in the famous balloné sequence, a fleeting moment of her hand lifted to her forehead implied the coming theme of a weak heart stressed by dancing – and love. Her bouyant port de bras implied youth; and small touches, such as a head turned completely to Albrecht in her arabesque fouetté, underscored a carefully dissected characterization.

As Albrecht, Danila Korsuntsev extended his dramatic range, proving an emotional actor of significant depth in this role. His angst over Giselle’s death felt real, and his disbelief at her sylph-like state in the second act was palpable. His acting in this performance placed him in the top league of male danseurs; in addition to strong technique – smooth turns and lofty jetés-- his love and care were real.

Inspiration in the corps de ballet came from several familiar faces – Svetlana Ivanova, back from maternity leave, and Olga Minina, a fairly new graduate of the Vaganova Academy.

Second Act highlights were many. As Myrtha, Ekaterina Kondaurova earned a burst of applause upon her entrance, marked by glacially smooth bourrées, sharp jumps, and pristine technique throughout. Moyna and Zulma, danced by Yana Selina and Irina Golub, performed adequately, though Golub’s raised shoulders belied a tension in her variation.

In Giselle’s set of developpés à la seconde around the kneeling Albrecht, Lopatkina’s gift for legato allowed her to balance en pointe longer than typically done; likewise, her pencheé was statuesque, solid and flawless. But shifting into the coda, Lopatkina swept across the stage with urgency, another demonstration of her dancing range.

While those perhaps less versed in the technical aspects of classical ballet might consider Lopatkina mannered or over-rehearsed, this reviewer found neither to be the case. Uliana Lopatkina is a stunning example of the Vaganova technique, polished to a fine gleam. Along with others, such as Kondaurova or Tereshkina who also uphold this fine tradition, these ballerinas carry the brand that marks Russian ballet above the others, at least when concerning classical ballets, and sometimes in even broader categories. Friday night’s performance served as a perfect demonstration of the Kirov’s high caliber performance capabilities, superb artistry, and soul-filled dancing.

The ever-conscientious Boris Gruzin conducted.

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Author, "Vaganova Today: The Preservation of Pedagogical Tradition" (available on amazon.com)


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:03 pm 
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“Uliana Lopatkina is a stunning example of the Vaganova technique, polished to a fine gleam. Along with others, such as Kondaurova or Tereshkina who also uphold this fine tradition, these ballerinas carry the brand that marks Russian ballet above the others, at least when concerning classical ballets ...”


Thanks, Catherine, for this report from the Mariinsky at home. This is the kind of review that makes me want to return to St Petersburg, for I had a similar experience to yours when I saw the company last year. The Mariinsky Ballet in Berkeley (or even London) does not seem to be the same company as the Mariinsky at home. Of course, their jewel of a theater in St Petersburg is part of it, but even the dancing doesn't seem to have the qualities you describe when the company is on tour. Right now, the Bolshoi seems to be the Russian darling of most of critics in the West, but I have seen with my own eyes what you describe, and I agree with what you write about Lopatkina, Kondaurova and Tereshinka, and the great classical tradition the Mariinsky still exemplifies. Unfortunately, I can’t get away for the Mariinsky International Ballet Festival next month (if Evgenia Obratztsova were given a significant role in it, along with the stars you mention, it would have been even more tempting).

Meantime, I’m off to see one of the final performances of
The Little Mermaid, the contemporary ballet that seems to bring out some of the best qualities in the San Francisco Ballet, a company which is very young compared to the Mariinsky, but which has its own charms.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:06 pm 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Bcx, good points. Although I have seen the MT on tour in the States sparkle just as much, and witnessed the critics bash them simply because they're Russian. I"ve seen it all too often. And I"m sick of it, quite frankly. Just because it's an outside touring company doesn't automatically make it worse than the local company. But the critics would have you think so. I wonder if ticket sales have anything to do with that? :wink:

One thing I can say though -- it takes me more than 5 days to fully adjust to the 11-hour time difference, which is basically day and night. The dancers have often less than that and they are expected to perform in front of hundreds of people under those conditions... Less than ideal and far from fair.

I watched SFB this season. I"ve concluded that the company really excels at Balanchine but for anything classical it is not their niche.

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