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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:42 am 
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Thanks, Natalia.

I've never seen Zhanna Ayupova on stage, but I would still love to. I did have the great personal treat of seeing Yulia Makhalina dance at this year's Mariinsky Festival and I felt that her general loveliness was at least as beautiful as I've seen on dvd at the height of her career. Maybe Zhanna Ayupova could do the same.

I know that you've been waiting a long time to find out who will dance the Act II pas de deux from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and I hope that you are happy with the casting. I'm one of those who thinks that this duet is among the most beautiful in all ballet.

Maria Shirinkina seems like a natural for this. She was so absolutely, lyrically beautiful in the opening duet from "In the Night" at this year's Festival, possibly my favorite dancer in that performance.

Oxana Skorik may come as a real surprise to many this year. I've seen the internet video clips of her practicing "Swan Lake" and have been very impressed by her beautiful gracefulness, but I wasn't prepared for what she added at this year's final night Festival gala. She danced the White Swan duet and her Expression at several key moments was something that I never would have expected. It was completely her own and it was Magnificent ! I believe that she is scheduled to perform Odette-Odile soon if she hasn't already. I certainly hope that she comes to the States with it in October. I think that she might develop into an even more wonderful surprise to many and I think that she has a brilliant future ahead of her, maybe to become one the Mariinsky's greatest.

Now I'm back to watching Balanchine's NYCB and today's Mariinsky's Diamonds and Emeralds on dvd, which I'm enjoying immensely ! To see the contrasting beauty of these two companies is a delight. They can be very different in what they are doing and the Mariinsky take may be quite different from what seasoned Balanchine watchers are used to, but to me its a Masterpiece effort that I cherish being able to experience.


Added question:

Natalia, if you read this, can you tell me who some of the background dancers are in the dvd? It's very interesting to still see Ekaterina Kondaurova in the corps de ballet (Emeralds and Diamonds) but so far I haven't recognized anyone else.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:22 am 
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Sorry, Buddy. I'm not close to my DVD collection these days but I'll make a note to check it, once I can do so. A lot of the 'featured corps' have changed since the film was made, 5 or 6 yrs ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:39 am 
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NataliaN wrote:
Catherine Pawlick wrote:
I wonder who will be the leading Act II ballerina(s) and danseur? Inquiring minds would love to know. :)
[...]
p.s. Will you also be attending any of the Vaganova Academy graduations? I am looking forward to reading how Arina Varentseva, Ernest Latipov and other talked-about graduating students fare in the concerts and where they may be dancing next season (i.e., if they'll go to the Mariinsky or elsewhere, as recent top graduates have done).


Hi Natalia,
Apologies for being MIA, just overwhelmed here. I did attend the opening last night - review will be in Dance Europe but a few words here. Yes Skorik and Zverev danced the Wedding Act super long pas, and actually they were quite lovely together, well matched in height and, (I thought) temperament. Although there is a beautiful color program listing all the dancers, their titles in this production, and their photographs, even it is not completely up to date. Svetlana Ivanova is the butterfly and Yana Selina was also listed -- but Ivanova will be the only one dancing the role. (that is fine with me, for she was perfect) Tereshkina and Kondaurova trade off the lead, Tereshkina last night and Kondaurova tonight. Kondaurova however danced Hippolyta last night -regal and sharp, reminiscent in character of Odile, just a tad.
Viktoria Brileva really stood out. She has stood out in every role so far this spring. She danced Helena and while the first act was a bit raw, the later sections were mature and polished. She's going to be a principal some day, my prediction.

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:51 am 
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Thanks so much for these first impressions on last night's opener, Catherine! I, too, would not mind seeing Ivanova as the Lead Butterfly anytime. Finally, I am so happy that Oksana Skorik and K. Zverev were lovely inthe A2 pdd. During the Chopinianas at the Kennedy Center this past January, I could tell that Skorik was trying really hard to 'soften things' from one performance to the next. It seems that she is really LISTENING and LEARNING.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:05 pm 
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As reported by at least two other sites Yekaterina Kondaurova is now a Principal.

Her two "Swan Lakes" that I saw last year were among the finest that I've seen. Her performances of these and "Le Parc" left me unable to concentrate on much else. She simply took over everything. She is a statuesque on stage goddess.

http://maitaly.files.wordpress.com/2011 ... enus_3.jpg
(Sandro Botticelli's Birth of Venus)

Also her ability to adjust to any dance situation is among the best at the Mariinsky.

Поздравляю !

Congratulations !

http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/company/ballet/troupe/


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:46 am 
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I saw that, Buddy. HURRAH!!!

In the history of ballet, has any other obvious and beloved STAR ever had to wait this long for the ultimate promotion? This is happy news but utterly absurd in light of the many, many years that she had to wait, having danced principal roles -- starring role in the Nutcracker sequel, created for her in 2002; Nikiya in Washington, DC one-act Bayadere Shades in 2003; sensation of the Forsythe 3ple bill in 2004; etc. -- for ages.

I would answer my own question with: "Yes, Obraztsova had to wait and ultimately had to move to Moscow to achieve it." However, Kondaurova is the 'champion' in that she graduated one year before Obraztsova. Obraztsova had a 10-year wait; Kondaurova an 11-year wait.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:22 pm 
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NataliaN wrote:
I saw that, Buddy. HURRAH!!!

In the history of ballet, has any other obvious and beloved STAR ever had to wait this long for the ultimate promotion? This is happy news but utterly absurd in light of the many, many years that she had to wait, having danced principal roles -- starring role in the Nutcracker sequel, created for her in 2002; Nikiya in Washington, DC one-act Bayadere Shades in 2003; sensation of the Forsythe 3ple bill in 2004; etc. -- for ages.

I would answer my own question with: "Yes, Obraztsova had to wait and ultimately had to move to Moscow to achieve it." However, Kondaurova is the 'champion' in that she graduated one year before Obraztsova. Obraztsova had a 10-year wait; Kondaurova an 11-year wait.
ITA. I'm ecstatic to learn that Kondaurova has finally been promoted to Principal Dancer. This nomination was long overdue and particularly hard earned. :arrow: Congratulations Katya :D!


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:30 am 
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Natalia and Cygne, I certainly agree with your excitement.

I mentioned having been at two of her "Swan Lake" performances last year. This is a work that I believe she had only been doing for about a year. The intensity of my response to her London performance (several months after her Mariinsky Festival one, also exceptional) is now mostly a memory as is normal in a year's time. Still having to get up early to catch a plane back to the US the next day, I do know that I waited about an hour at the stage door to finally congratulate her, something I'd never done before.

Natalia, you also mentioned her dancing Forsythe. Along with Viktoria Tereshkina, she seems to be among the most able and comfortable in taking on any form of dance at the Mariinsky. I would also include Alina Somova, but her story is somewhat different, often beautifully searching for new possibilities and new meaning in everything, including "Swan Lake." As the Mariinsky performs more new works, its dancers seem to become more comfortable and proficient, as illustrated by their very fine handling of "Le Parc" and Balanchine/Robbins in the last two years. Still, in my limited viewing experience of about eight years, it is Yekaterina Kondaurova, right from the beginning, whom I remember being perhaps the most accomplished and at home with this.

Yet, with all her various abilities, it's her statuesque dreaminess, her swan-like being, that lifts me up as much as anything that I've experienced in the world of the performing arts -- the Living Arts.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:28 am 
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Thanks for posting the news of Katya's promotion. I've posted it elsewhere but cant keep up with all the web sites these days! I was actually watching her as the lead in Midsummer Night's Dream when this all happened, so am just now catching up on Criticaldance... She deserves much congratulations. I remember meeting her back in 2005 when I first interviewed her for this website. Even then it was obvious she'd be a principal. Just took the powers that be 7 yrs to realize it...

My deepest, heartfelt congratulations to her -- it's a well-deserved promotion that has been far too long in coming.

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:36 am 
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A warm smile intended here. The announcement of Yekaterina Kondaurova's promotion at the Mariinsky's Twitter site was a retweeting of sophia's excited announcement at the Dansomanie internet site in french.

"Enfin! RT @dansomanie Ekaterina Kondaurova Etoile/Prima Ballerina!!" ("Finally! RT @dansomanie Ekaterina Kondaurova Star (Principal Dancer)/Prima Ballerina!!")

https://twitter.com/#!/mariinskyen

Also Catherine's interview with Yekaterina Kondaurova has been linked at the Dansomanie site.

http://www.forum-dansomanie.net/forum/v ... php?t=5962


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:29 pm 
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Probably not being able to see another Mariinsky performance (or any other ballet performance) until October, I have to enjoy my videos as much as possible. So I do have some added thoughts about the Mariinsky Jewels dvd. After a couple weeks of continuous viewing, I'm loving it as much as ever if not more so. This does somewhat relate to what's happening on stage, as the Mariinsky has just debuted another George Balanchine classic, A Midsummer Night's Dream.

In watching my Balanchine NYCB dvd I can definitely feel their naturalness. It's their world. In addition, they're dancing, under the careful direction of the genius who created it. It's a wonderful and certainly authentic experience.

But I have to say that as I continue to watch the Mariinsky dancers, in their own distinct style, in Emeralds for instance, the beautiful, heartful dancing of Zhanna Ayupova and Daria Soukhoroukova -- almost brings Tears to my Eyes.

I can't imagine Zhanna Ayupova ever being any Lovelier. The same for Daria Soukhoroukova.

The dancing is so beautiful throughout -- true Mariinsky. I could list so many wonderful examples. Certainly Ulyana Lopatkina in Diamonds would be among those at the top of the list. Although they might not be dancing literally at times to George Balanchine's style, the Mariinsky dancers, to my eye, definitely have a very acceptable and appropriately 'bouncy' energy level and they are totally charming. But in addition, so much Mariinsky Fineness ! Maybe I could mention some more at another time. There's so much beauty to be appreciated here.

Question? I've read that George Balanchine was partially influenced by "Jazz Dancing." Would anyone have a somewhat exact idea what this is?

Also in regard to the passing away of Nikita Dolgushin, being discussed at another topic, I certainly join Catherine and Natalia in their heartwarming wishes of condolence. I'm honestly not familiar with him. Apparently he was not known in the US like some of the other Russian stars, but was still a very great individual.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:02 am 
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To somewhat tie my video watching comments into today's actual goings on at the Mariinsky, during the Jewels video I've been able to focus slightly on Ekaterina Kondaurova, who is certainly making news these days. In this video, which as Natalia pointed out, was actually filmed five or six years ago, she is still dancing in the corps de ballet (Emeralds and Diamonds). I've only focused on her occasionally because by habit I stay glued to the lead ballerina. In Emeralds, Zhanna Ayupova is so compelling to me, that my attention stays with her. And the same, especially, when Daria Soukhoroukova dances.

I do catch glimpses of Ekaterina Kondaurova, which I would like to give more attention to. George Balanchine makes this a little easier in his structuring, as every dancer is often actively involved and the soloists sometimes do become more of the totality. Still, a great soloist, like Suzanne Farrell, is going to hold center stage, as do Ulyana Lopatkina, Zhanna Ayupova, Daria Soukhoroukova (in Emeralds) and others in the dvd.

The Firebird is now receiving a lot of interest as well since a version by Alexei Ratmansky is currently being debuted by ABT. In a world of contrasts, while watching Emeralds on the dvd and thinking peripherally about Ekaterina Kondaurova, I had a real desire to see the video clip of her dancing The Firebird (with Ilya Kuznetsov) on the internet. About a minute into the video, she develops a remarkable personality, which she sustains to the end. For those following the ABT performances and for those interested in seeing one one more reason why Ekaterina Kondaurova is so beautifully fascinating, this video clip and others like it might be of interest.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:10 am 
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There need to be 36 hours in a day -- I am behind on posts and wanted to update a bit. Thursday night the Concert Hall had a mixed bill of Divertissements followed by Tereshkina/Shklyarov in Paquita. While I'm not a fan of putting ballet on a 360-degree ampitheatre type stage, the dancers did a beautiful job. The Divertissements included the following:

Butterfly - Maria Shirinkina and Alexander Sergeyev
Talisman Pdd - Ekaterina Osmolkina and Maxim Zuizin
Harlequinade Pdd - Nadezhda Batoeva and Filippe Styopin
Panaderos from "Raymonda" - Anastasia Petushkova and Rafael Musin
Corsaire Pdd - Oksana Skorik and Timur Askerov
Monologue of Mekhmene Banu from "Legend of Love" - Alexandra Iosifidi
Tchaikovsky Pdd - Elena Evseyeva and Alexei Timofeyev
Black Swan Pdd - Anastasia Kolegova and Evgenii Ivanchenko
Gypsy dance from "Little Humpbacked Horse" (Ratmansky)
Grand Pas Classique - Ekaterina Kondaurova and Andrei Ermakov

Although the concert began 45 minutes later than the stated time, it was worth the wait. Without a ton of time to describe each of them I'll mention highlights:

Sergeyev's timing, presentation, partnering and his variation in the Butterfly pas de deux began the evening on the right note. This piece suits him, from the saut de basque entrance to the quick, accented Hungarian style in the solo work. One always wishes there was more of it to watch. Shirinkina was a perfect Butterfly in part due to her impossibly tiny size: airy, light, she executed the series of batterie with ease, and it seemed this is the kind of piece she was made to dance.

Osmolkina and Zuizin danced Talisman with bright panache; Nadezhda Batoeva is often cast in the "darker" character pieces (her mother was also a Maryinsky dancer, so the ballet blood runs in the family), but here she had a solo role as the doll Columbine and did a wonderful job. She has a high, easy extension, and considerable onstage expression-- sweet and demonstrative, she's also incredibly strong as a dancer -- she spins like a top, and one has no fear of anything going wrong. Styopin was very enthusiastic and depicted Harlequin as I believe he's meant to be depicted -- the partnering sequences were also all very smooth.

Anastasia Petushkova is recovering from an injury and perhaps that's why she was given a character role here in the Panaderos. She did an expert job, but having seen her in Bayaderes, it's always hard to register such a great shift in typecasting.

Corsaire impressed. Unlike the early performances of Skorik and Askerov, this one was polished. Both seemed more slender, and more well rehearsed as if they'd finally found a level on which to relate. His jumps were delivered with a sprinkle of animal magnetism, which is what Corsaire requires. She danced lightly, precisely, but in the coda was all strength and bravura, finishing the fouettes solidly.

Elena Evseyeva dances with her heart and soul and it shows. Tchaikovsky Pas is not an easy piece to tackle and she succeeded -- even her eyes expressed joy on stage. She is an expert in terms of musicality and seemed at home in this choreography for that very reason -- she hears the music she dances to, and that offers her a chance to play with the timing to some degree. Alexei Timofeyev is repeatedly cast for his ballon and his jump, which always draw the audience's attention, but there are tiny nuances in upper body port de bras that might be altered to improve the lines. Nonetheless the pair was delightful.

Kolegova was excellent as Odile in the Black Swan Pas, but I could not help thinking about the tragedy of her husband and what she has undergone while she was onstage: none of that showed, which is truly a revelation of an expert performer. Ivanchenko managed a double pirouette in his variation and seemed slightly fatigued, although his long lines serve any ballerina well in a pas de deux such as this.

It was (no surprise) Katya Kondaurova and Andrey Ermakov who really drew attention in Grand Pas Classique. This is not a pas de deux that the Mariinsky presents frequently and as any balletgoer knows, one of the more difficult in the classical repertoire. Kondaurova appeared in a slim midnight blue velvet tutu, adorned with sapphires. Against her pale skin and red hair, the effect was stunning, and her dancing matched the beauty of her appearance and costume. Her performance more than justified her recent promotion to principal rank -- it was flawless. The first diagonal of ballones were strong as steel -- from there to the last section of fouettes-to-a la seconde-tour, she was unfailing in strength, energy *and* beauty. This piece, exhausting as it is, suits her well. Ermakov, as I've mentioned before, is stunning onstage (handsome, well over 6-feet tall, with uber long limbs which are eye candy when used to their full extent). That is, when he does not get nervous and lose focus. Here there was one glitch with Katya's costume, it seemed Ermakov didnt have any place to put his hands in the partnered turns (due to all the sapphire decoration) so one of the turns ended a bit prematurely. But it was easily forgiveable. This pas de deux exemplified much of the finesse that is the Maryinsky.

Tereshkina was spot-on and ever reliable in Paquita, and Shklyarov took to the stage like a playground, pulling off jumps-that-have-no-name in the coda to roaring cheers from the audience. It was a treat to finally see this ballet here; I know they perform it on tours, but rarely at home. The corps de ballet looked stunning, each dancer a ballerina in her own right. There is something about this Petipa work, the combination of ballet and Spanish flair, that makes it endlessly appealing. In the variations, Svetlana Ivanova danced "Amour" with sprightly precision; she is the sort of dancer one can put on stage in anything at any time, and she executes it flawlessly with all of the appropriate nuances, and decorated by an inner light ("Svet" means "light" in Russian) that comes through her dancing. Far from every dancer has that indefinable quality on stage. Sofia Gumerova's appearance on stage was a welcome addition in the adagio variation; she's been cast less frequently in recent performances and her presence is much missed; Yana Selina, Oksana Skorik and Maria Shirinkina performed the other three variations.

Apologies for the briefness of this review. Juggling too much these days!

This weekend is the first of the Vaganova Graduation Performances, which begin with Nacho Duato's "Madrigal", followed by (as yet unannounced) divertissements and finally, the Jardin Anime from Corsaire.

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:55 am 
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Thanks so much, Catherine, for this very fine and comprehensive review. It's great to be able to hear what so many of these fine Mariinsky names are doing as of the moment. It also sounds like the two wonderful Festival galas earlier this year -- Revisited.

I'm glad that Svetlana Ivanova has caught so much of your attention. I've liked her since I read your interview several years ago. She seemed sincere, thoughtful and very pleasant. More than a few times I've equated her performances with those of Ekaterina Osmolkina in airy and graceful loveliness, but because she didn't seem to be getting the same amount of exposure, she sort of slipped from my mind. The same with Daria Pavlenko. Hopefully Svetlana Ivanova will continue to shine and Daria Pavlenko will be front and center.

I don't see Viktoria Brileva's name mentioned here. I'm honestly not familiar with her, but because of your enthusiastic mention earlier, I'll try to carefully watch for her.

Glad that you liked Oksana Skorik. I've always liked her a lot. Her White Swan duet at the Festival's final gala, along with Ulyana Lopatkina's "The Swan," I thought was perhaps the outstanding performance of the entire series. I've seen her partner, Timur Askerov, in the internet video clip of the two of them rehearsing "Swan Lake" and he seems very competent, supportive and sympathetic.

I've only seen Anastasia Kolegova once, but I liked her very much.

It's good to hear all these names, some more familiar than others. Glad that you get to see fine performances like this, Catherine, and thanks again for relating them to us.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:22 am 
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Thanks for the report on the Concert-Hall program, Catherine. As time allows, it would be great to read your thoughts on the Vaganova Academy graduation performance, including the Duato. Also, it was supposed to be a tribute to the great Dudinskaya.


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