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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:21 pm 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Thanks bcx. That brings up an interesting point: The issue between being assigned a task (role) and carrying it out, versus being assigned (offered) a role and deciding, on one's own, whether one can/should perform it now, whether one is ready, or whether one should wait for time to pass first.

Masha's decision seemed wise under the circumstances, especially (and perhaps this is key) if in the end, years later, in this case, she was able to successfully perform the role and infuse it with the appropriate emotion and "dramatism" as the Russians say.

I believe that the protocol in the Mariinsky would not necessarily incite someone to decline a role due to unpreparedness and maybe that is where the difference lies...For you certainly don't see that happening in the MT's ranks although it does happen in Western troupes (SFB or NYCB), ie the director says "what if you dance X role" and the dancer says "I dont feel ready yet." You dont see that happening in Russia.

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:08 pm 
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Posts: 1501
Location: USA-Switzerland
Waiting for an announcement of this year's Mariinsky Festival, I've been watching internet videos and recalling various live performances. A group of ballerinas captures my imagination. I look forward to seeing them as much as possible along with so many others. Four on my list of five are Mariinsky or Mariinsky related artists.

* Fascinating Ballerinas *

Oxana Skorik

(Mariinsky)

For me, she combines a remarkable Refinement with an Expressive Genius and a brilliant spontaneity. I've just finished reading an interview with Natalia Makarova, titled, "Being spontaneous, it's what saved me." I certainly can see some of this in Oxana Skorik. In the several Swan Lakes that I saw her perform last October one of the things that made her so fascinating was her spontaneous expression. Each performance was highlighted differently and in each she would seemingly reach beyond the doable, take a large chance because she felt she could accomplish it and deliver some of the finest artist expression that I've yet seen.


Olga Smirnova

(Bolshoi, graduate of the Vaganova Academy)

She is also a phenomenon. At the moment I would say that she is surer in her delivery than Oxana Skorik, but also extremely varied and interesting. The parallel development of these two artists should be a wonderful display of creative fireworks. Her most recent development can be witnessed on the internet series of videos, MosFilm TV project "Bolshoi Ballet" (first brought to our attention by Catherine at this forum).



Alina Somova

(Mariinsky)

Also possessing a beautifully Refined Essence, she explores and charts her own remarkable course.

Veronika Part

(ABT, formerly Mariinsky)

In my mind, perhaps the most developed of the artists listed here in her ability to grasp and magnificently deliver from the depths of the 'Creative Beyond.' She creates her own Artistic Universes that are as brilliant as they are compelling and fascinating.

I'll add one more name, because I have to. She is totally unrelated to the others in background (except that she is ABT like 'Veronika'), but if I think "fascination" I have to include her.

Simone Messmer

(ABT)

She's Fascinating !

I see so little of her, which just makes me want to see her all the more. Maybe she'll grace one of the Mariinsky Festivals someday.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:58 am 
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Location: USA-Switzerland
Positioning and Motion

In my recent internet viewing I've settled into the famous 'pas de trois' ('dance for three') from Le Corsaire. I don't tend to follow the ballet closely, but this particular segment is extremely lovely. Another reason for watching it is that I've found it danced by Oxana Skorik, Alina Somova and Ekaterina Kondaurova. It's a wonderful comparison. They all perform the positioning (highlighted shape) and interim motion with such outstanding beauty.

Looking over my notes from Oxana Skorik's several Swan Lakes in October, the word that I underlined most is "Positioning." Her's is absolutely beautiful ! I guess "Line" is another word that could be used for this. I like the definition of "Line" as being the "Silhouette". Paul Parish used the term "gloriously unfurling line" in his press review of her Berkeley Swan Lake.

Olga Smirnova seems more Remarkable in this respect with each rapid step of her amazing development. I've been watching the video clip of the final duet from the Fille de Pharaon (The Pharaoh's Daughter) and once again she is Breathtaking.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:44 am 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
A bit late in posting this but have been following it personally elsewhere. Maria Kochetkova of San Francisco Ballet (trained at the Bolshoi and then to the UK) this week performed in Giselle at the Mariinsky with Timur Askerov and then in the Vainonen "Nutcracker". An excerpt of the latter has already been posted on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l0N6tN8K94&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I know it was Kochetkova's dream to dance on the Mariinsky stage and so far 2013 has brought her one (big) dream come true. Congratulations to Masha!

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:31 pm 
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Posts: 44
Catherine Pawlick wrote:
A bit late in posting this but have been following it personally elsewhere. Maria Kochetkova of San Francisco Ballet (trained at the Bolshoi and then to the UK) this week performed in Giselle at the Mariinsky with Timur Askerov and then in the Vainonen "Nutcracker". An excerpt of the latter has already been posted on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l0N6tN8K94&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I know it was Kochetkova's dream to dance on the Mariinsky stage and so far 2013 has brought her one (big) dream come true. Congratulations to Masha!


Lucky Kochetkova to have her dream come true. I wish many of my favourite MT ballerinas could have their dreams granted so readily, but with the Fairy Godfather Gergiev in charge, this seems unlikely. I wonder whether Kochetkova also dreams of becoming a MT principal, and possibly the tiniest one in its recent history? Maybe she should, since she could become the third in an unlikely trio of It's-Only-A Matter-Of-Time Mariinsky principals. In first and second position in this line-up are the shamefully hyped-up Oxana Skorik, currently bulldozing through the ranks and scattering more talented ballerinas left, right and centre, and marketing pawn Keenen Kampa, who appears to be given important roles solely because of her American nationality and must be set to become the first foreign principal in Mariinsky history? She is already the first "foreigner" to receive a Vaganova diploma at the end of her time there. Maybe my countrywoman Isabella McGuire Mays became the second foreign diplomate one year later - but I do not know if she did get a diploma? Maybe you can answer this? Anyway, it is good to know that at least one ballerina's dream has come true ...


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:35 am 
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Posts: 374
Funny thing - Yuri Fateev ignores and bypasses short (but not as short as Kochetkova) Evgenia Obraztsova but now he decides to hold-up tiny Kochetkova...who was not good enough to dance at the Bolshoi upon graduation from its affiliated academy. However, Obraztsova now reigns as a Principal at the Bolshoi! How ironic. That says it all.

Also, Tiara, you certainly read my post in BT mentioning what I (& others, privately) call the Unholy Triumvirate of the Mariinsky, so the idea has been taken. Of course, imitation is the best form of flattery. :) And you got them a bit wrong, as the members of the Unholy Trinity are Somova, Skorik, Kampa. Kochetkova, with whatever flaws she may have, is far better than the "Three ODD-alisques."


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:41 am 
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Posts: 44
NataliaN wrote:
Funny thing - Yuri Fateev ignores and bypasses short (but not as short as Kochetkova) Evgenia Obraztsova but now he decides to hold-up tiny Kochetkova...who was not good enough to dance at the Bolshoi upon graduation from its affiliated academy. However, Obraztsova now reigns as a Principal at the Bolshoi! How ironic. That says it all.

Also, Tiara, you certainly read my post in BT mentioning what I (& others, privately) call the Unholy Triumvirate of the Mariinsky, so the idea has been taken. Of course, imitation is the best form of flattery. :) And you got them a bit wrong, as the members of the Unholy Trinity are Somova, Skorik, Kampa. Kochetkova, with whatever flaws she may have, is far better than the "Three ODD-alisques."


What is BT? Do you mean BA? No - I certainly have not read your post, and if I had, I certainly would not dream of taking your idea! I have not yet lost the power of independent thought or originality.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:26 am 
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Posts: 374
Ballet Alert - used to be Ballet Talk.

No problem, Tiara. A more appropriate saying is: "Great minds think alike!" Three cheers! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:54 am 
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Posts: 167
Another clip from Kochetkova’s Nutcracker at the Mariinsky on Janury 8. Her commment: “The best fours cavaliers I’ve ever had.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JiMdu-iUqs&sns=em

It's true, she didn’t join the Bolshoi on her graduation. Instead she won gold at the Prix de Lausanne and went to the Royal Ballet.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:36 pm 
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bcx wrote:
Another clip from Kochetkova’s Nutcracker at the Mariinsky on Janury 8. Her commment: “The best fours cavaliers I’ve ever had.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JiMdu-iUqs&sns=em

It's true, she didn’t join the Bolshoi on her graduation. Instead she won gold at the Prix de Lausanne and went to the Royal Ballet.

Maria Kochetkova did not win Gold at Lausanne;she won an one year Apprenticeship to the Royal Ballet, as shown on the Prix de Lausanne's official list of prize winnners.

http://www.prixdelausanne.org/v4/index. ... ge-13.html

If we look at a timetable of events, Kochetkova entered the Prix de Lausanne in January, where she won her Apprenticeship to the Royal Ballet. She must have already realized she would not be going to the Bolshoi company itself, whether because of her extremely small stature, or because she simply was not good enough, or maybe a mixture of both, so she was clearly hedging her bets. She graduated from the Bolshoi school in June, having failed to secure a contract of employment at the company, and subsequently entered the Vaganova Prix, where she was awarded a Diploma, but was not offered a place at the Mariinsky either.

She danced at Royal Ballet, then English National Ballet and eventually became a principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet. As Natalia says, she was not considered good enough to graduate into the Bolshoi company after eight years of study at its affiliated school, and has never been a principal of a Russian company. Despite this, however, she was still invited to dance Masha and Giselle as a guest artist at Mariinsky Theatre, the greatest ballet company in the world. The current crop of supremely gifted ballerinas must be wondering what on earth they have to do in order to be given the same chances. Maybe they should all have failed to graduate into the company and gone to dance for inferior companies elsewhere, and then they would have been welcomed with open arms and be dancing every principal role in the repertoire.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:27 pm 
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I don’t want to get into a fight about the Prix de Lausanne, or Kochetkova for that matter. It appears that gold medals are no longer (or rarely) awarded (Vishneva won one); Kochetkova did win one of the two top prizes prizes that are offered annually:

Prix de Lausanne Scholarship - a scholarship of one year's free tuition and the sum of CHF 16,000 in ten monthly installments for living expenses during the prize winner's year of studies.
Prix de Lausanne Apprentice Scholarship - consist of a one-year apprentice scholarship for awardees over 17 and the sum of CHF 16,000 in ten monthly installments for living expenses.

I agree about the unfairness of the Mariinsky’s system of promotion, but I don’t see why Kochetkova (or any dancer) has to be put down to make the point. I don’t need to defend Maria. I hope readers enjoyed her performance. Comments on its strengths and weaknesse would be informative. Instead this forum, unfortunately, has become tiresome and trite, with the same two or three people endlessly repeating their positions, and attacking or defending dancers instead of the blatant favoritism and unfairness of the system (a situation that has been inherent in the art from the beginning).


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:39 pm 
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bcx wrote:
I don’t want to get into a fight about the Prix de Lausanne, or Kochetkova for that matter. It appears that gold medals are no longer (or rarely) awarded (Vishneva won one); Kochetkova did win one of the two top prizes prizes that are offered annually:

Prix de Lausanne Scholarship - a scholarship of one year's free tuition and the sum of CHF 16,000 in ten monthly installments for living expenses during the prize winner's year of studies.
Prix de Lausanne Apprentice Scholarship - consist of a one-year apprentice scholarship for awardees over 17 and the sum of CHF 16,000 in ten monthly installments for living expenses.

I agree about the unfairness of the Mariinsky’s system of promotion, but I don’t see why Kochetkova (or any dancer) has to be put down to make the point. I don’t need to defend Maria. I hope readers enjoyed her performance. Comments on its strengths and weaknesse would be informative. Instead this forum, unfortunately, has become tiresome and trite, with the same two or three people endlessly repeating their positions, and attacking or defending dancers instead of the blatant favoritism and unfairness of the system (a situation that has been inherent in the art from the beginning).


You are absolutely right and it is the favouritism and blatant unfairness of the system that is the real problem, and the unfairness of the Fateyev regime is actually unprecedented in Mariinsky history. That is actually what I was trying to get across with my criticism of the casting of Kochetkova - there is more young ballerina talent at the Mariinsky than ever before in its history - and there would have been even more if Yuri Fateyev had hired Shapran and Smirnova - but the young ballerinas are not given the chance to perform, and so many of the best graduates are afraid that they will never be given a chance to perform, that they take up contracts with other companies, instead of with their rightful home company. This is a state of affairs that simply did not occur before. .

Despite all the great wealth of young ballerina talent, the majority of the dancers spend most of their time dancing in the corps when previous directors, Vaziev and Vinogradov, would have had them dancing principal roles and some, particularly Stepanova, might be a principal, instead of a corps/character girl, ranked as coryphee.

The favouritism shown to some dancers and unfairness of the system is only highlighted by recent casting. Despite all the abundance of talented ballerinas within the ranks, Fateyev deprives them of roles and brings in two dancers to dance the leads in three of January's performances: Kochetkova, who Vaziev did not hire, who Vinogradov woudl not have hired and Fateyev definitely would not have hired, gets to dance Giselle and Masha, depriving the young talent of their chances. In addition to this, on 18th,a former Mariinsky dancer, now dancing in Dresden, Natalia Sologub, will dance Cinderella. Outstanding corps ballerina Oksana Marchuk has never danced a significant role and would dance Giselle, Masha and Cinderella better than the guests. Also, San Francisco and Dresden are not equivalent to the Royal Ballet, or Royal Danish or Paris Opera or ABT, so I do not understand why Fateyev is choosing lower level companies for bringing in guest artists, when the ballerinas he already has within his company deserve their chances and can do far better. This is the point that needs to be made.

The Fateyev regime has brought the definition of unfair to unseen and record levels.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:26 pm 
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I am truly asking this question with no desire to accuse anyone of anything, but I am wondering if dancers can now pay to dance on the Mariinsky's stage.

Tiara brings up a good point that dancers from lower level companies are getting lead roles in ballets.

It would make sense if big stars from major companies were guesting and the Mariinsky took on stars like Cojocaru, Gomes, etc. I mean, I am not sure I would agree with that either, but that would at least make more sense. Giving lead roles to dancers from San Francisco or Dresden seems strange, unless they are paying to make their debut.

I wonder if Fateyev is intent on creating an international company that has dancers from different countries in the company and guesting. This will probably ruin the unique uniformity of style for the Mariinsky, so it will be very sad. But from everything I have read it sounds like that is his goal. What we see as treasureable and needs to be saved he apparently does not value as something special. In fact, maybe he views a unique style as provincial (just trying to guess what is going on in his mind), so he wants to turn the Mariinsky into ABT or Royal Ballet or something with a complete mix of dancers from all over.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:00 am 
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Location: London UK
PenneallaNorma wrote:
I am truly asking this question with no desire to accuse anyone of anything, but I am wondering if dancers can now pay to dance on the Mariinsky's stage.


Yes they can and it it has been the practice for some years now. It started under Vaziev but Fateev has done nothing to stop it. Not sure if it applies to guest artists though.

In the case of Kochetkova I would rather see Vaganova trained dancers Glurjidze and Kolesnikova dance with the Kirov as both have impeccable ballerina status.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:06 am 
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Cassandra,
Does that mean if I am a young dancer from something like Alabama Ballet, and I just made it into the corps at Alabama Ballet (barely) but my father is a billionaire and is willing to pay a large sum, I could hypothetically make a debut as Giselle at the Mariinsky, when I am a lousy corps dancer in Alabama?
Or are there limits? Does a dancer have to at least be a principal elsewhere to do something like that (pay to dance a leading role at the Mariinsky)?
Regardless, it is sad that this can happen, but I am asking about the extent to which it can.


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