What do you all see as their greatest challenges. As an outside observer, who sees the company rarely, I would like to here your insight.
! I've been following the Mariinsky/Kirov (live and canned), for over 25 years. First, I totally concur with Catherine, Cassandra, Julius and bcx's posts. That said, I want to see meaningful and effective management change. There needs to be a major change at the top of the ballet company's org chart. This company needs an Artistic Director with a discernable vision for the future which also honors the glory of the past. This person would also actively seek out, encourage and cultivate new choreographers, from within the ranks and from the outside. I've posted about this before. I would like to see a reversal and de-emphasis of the gimmick, the flash-dance, the cirque de soleil exhibitionism
that has been in vogue at the Mariinsky for the last 16 years, and which has been falsely advertised as true Petersburg/Vaganova technique and artistry.
I'd like to see the men who are waiting in the wings be thoroughly nurtured and developped as successors to Kolb, Korsuntsev, etc. The soloist ranks have been top heavy since the Vaziev regime, and they continue to be so under Fateev. It's crazy that Fateev would hire Xander Parish, (with respect to Xander), from the Royal Ballet and not un-earth and cultivate the rough diamonds in his own mine. Under Vaziev and Fateev I've watched natural homegrown danseur noble material such as Dmitri Semionov and others leave for greener pastures elsewhere. I've watched Natalya Sologub, and from the 80s and early 90s, Elena Pankova and Lara Lezhnina do likewise. IMO the company was divested of it's true "leaders" from that generation. We see the results today. Who knows what might have been? With respect, had they promoted in their home company as they should have, and been showcased abroad, things might be very different now. People like Somova, Volochkova, Vishneva and Zakharova (when she was still an MT member), might not have "happened."
Over the years there have been many regrettable and ill-conceived policies. In spite of this fact, there are still those who are the exemplars and strive to uphold the Petersburg/Vaganova banner. These examples are Lopatkina, Pavlenko, Kondaurova, Tereshkina, Obrastzova and the forgotten Osmolkina, Ivanova, Zhelonkina and Dumchenko, to name a few still languishing in the soloist ranks. And what of the men? Alexander Sergeev, (Pavlenko's husband), and Vladimir Shklyarov are two of the too few
Vaganova trained men on their way to the top. Both of these men should get there - if they aren't obstructed.
There are many who should have gone forward, but have been shelved, overlooked and neglected. Many of these people have forged careers in other companies. It's astonishing that since Vinogradov departed the leadership and vision has been ecclectic,
I'm being diplomatic when I say this. IMO the Mariinsky's primary raison d' etre is the guardianship of Petipa's classics. It was inevitable that they would add modern works to the repertory: Diverse programs, marketability and box office receipts are everything. Has the relentless pursuit of these three things damaged the company? I don't know; time will tell.
I will say that if we have a company and tradition, (for example like the Royal Danish Ballet), that has a specialty
, it's the management's duty to put its' best feet forward in that repertory at all times, and to be good stewards of that heritage and maintain it. It's frustrating when the management refuses to cast individuals correctly. It's exasperating when they cast individuals incorrectly. It's irritating and aggravating when the management insists on promoting and rewarding mediocrity and incompetence of the sort, that would've never
seen the light of day during the Soviet era or
here in the West. Somova has been a huge blip on their radar screen, however time heals all wounds. The one constant that remains is the glorious corps de ballet. We look to each commencement for the future of the company. If the Vaganova Academy stays true to its' ideals, the company will survive the blip and what I see as an over-long managerial crisis.