Fraildove

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About Fraildove

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    teacher
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  1. Somova is 5'6, maybe 5'7. I'm almost 5'5 and she is just a hair taller than me.
  2. Haha funny you asked this. According to my husband I've been known to hum parts of Giselle in my sleep. I guess having danced it many times I know the score backwards and forwards so it is a bit of an unfair advantage. I love the music and the ballet.
  3. Unreal. Just stunned.
  4. Morton's Toe isn't any more a hinderence than a big toe longer and all other toes tapering off. In both cases it is one toe that takes the primary contact with the platform of a pointe shoe and therefore steps are taken to help distribute weight to other toes as well. This is done by wearing more tapered shoes, for Morton's toe building up the big toe to be even with the 2nd toe, etc. I have very tapered toes and would sometimes use a makeup wedge that women use to apply foundation in order to help alleviate pressure on my big toe. Of course, dancers with the first 3 toes even have the easiest time with weight distribution in their shoes, but lack of it doesn't mean someone will not become a 'top-notch' ballerina As far as a dancer's walk, when applied to ballet, I think it has to do with how one carries themselves. I was actually at a company audition where the AD asked each of us to walk across the floor on the diagonal and made cuts from there, before even a plie was danced. I've heard that has been repeated by other directors many times and recently. It can be quite unsettling to those cut trying to figure out why, as much as it was to those of us not cut, also trying to figure out why. Most AD's have in mind what they are looking for, even if it may not be easily expressed in words. The natural way someone carries themselves can help indicate how that person may or may not move when actually performing steps. For a female dancer, one of the HARDEST things to master is to simply walk and run in pointe shoes. It really is incredibly difficult!
  5. It is so amazing to know that Mr. Danton, soon to turn 98, is still teaching and coaching and instilling his vast amounts of knowledge to anyone wishing to learn. He is truly a jewel in current ballet and it's history. His insight into La Esmeralda as well as many other classical ballets is truly astounding. I do hope those who intend to restage or revive the old Petipa ballets would seek him out. What an incredible resource he could be!
  6. This make me almost physically ill! I guess having a husband who has known Filin for many years, plus the interaction I've had with him, and even more so the way he treated my son doesn't make me a very unbiased observer. But even if Dmitrichenko was a patsy, as many people believe, he still deserved to finish his sentence. This whole plot nearly destroyed a man's career and for what? Because a few members of the Bolshoi thought they should have been the director or should have better roles etc? He had an opportunity to do the right thing but instead he decided to fight dirty. I cannot even imagine what Filin and his family are going through. So very sad
  7. Buddy, It's very interesting that you say Zakharova has done a wonderful job of merging both Mariinsky and Bolshoi. Here is why... My husband studied all 8 years in Kyiv with the same male teacher who taught Sarafanov, Matvienko and many, many others that my production weary brain is not coming up with at the moment (our small company premiers Coppelia in 4 days and lack of sleep is par for the course for me! Can't believe I still enjoy it year after year! But imparting a beautiful legacy and art on such young, hungry students is all the encouragement I need to soldier on). Anyway, Zakharova, as well as Cojocaru, spent all but their last year in Kyiv as well, with Zakharova of course going to Vaganova for her 8th, and Cojocaru to the Royal for hers. I was trained completely from age 10 by Vaganova teachers imported straight out of the Vaganova academy, with 3 major ballerinas having coached me in several major roles. Sizova, Kolpakova, and Osipenko. This was a few short years after the Kirov Academy was founded in DC (which only Sizova was on faculty in that list. The others were outside the school) and the old guard running things like nothing had changed other than geography. (On a side note... True Vaganova training in the US is almost 99% impossible since usually most US parents would not want to be seperated from their 10 year olds to send them away to vocational school for ballet. It's also nearly unheard of for 10 year olds here to take ballet 6 days per week and having to pass very rigorous artistic and medical exams for entrance with the continued possibility of being accessed out of the program if not developing up to such I ncredibly high standards. I was very, very lucky to have started ballet at 9.5 years old and put in class 6 days per week the following year.) When I met my husband, we had been asked to do a guesting by a director who knew us well, although we had never met before. I'm actually surprised I agreed in the first place as partnering is built on trust and trust rarely would take place in the 4 rehearsal days provided before the performance. We favored each other in looks, body type, and temperament and I again was incredibly lucky. After that initial pairing we continued to dance together almost exclusively until medical issues finally proved too insurmountable for me to continue performing. When I started really observing him while we took class together, I noticed small, very subtle differences in his training than mine, and I do not mean male/female differences. It was very interesting to see him not just work but more so in how he taught. The more I observed the more convinced I was that he wasn't trained like either Russian school although extremely close to it, but a melding of sorts between the two. Not as charged or spirited like Bolshoi, not as elegant and super refined like Mariinsky. And it was and still is beautiful to see. When we started to actually try to pinpoint the technical proponents the clearer the differences became. I've had the same impression when I saw Zakharova in class back when she had not that long ago switched to the Bolshoi. Dvorovenko and Belerserkovsky the same. Sarafonov the same. And while neither of us will back down on what we feel is actually correct, we have had much fun being able to offers our students a little bit of both. The only Kyiv trained ballerina that I've seen that breaks this prototype for me is Cojocaru and that is because she is a creation all her on seemingly pulling all the many aspects that the different schools taught her and fine tuning what exactly worked for her. I've always been partial to the Mariinsky, which is no surprise. Or I should say the Mariinsky prior to the current director... But by dancing and teaching with my husband I found a new perspective on what I thought I liked, but especially what I knew I disliked about the Marrinsky dancers. And what I appreciated from the Bolshoi that I was never able to define until seeing what can be done when mixed together. I suspect that since all three 'styles' were so close in actually methodology and its original founding technique it has allowed for this to take place. It is something that I don't think could happen anywhere else since each technique is so different. Like Paris Opera and Royal Danish. Complementary yes but melding??? I feel that would be like cherry picking the best of each which has proven many times over isn't advisable. Yes of course ballet has evolved from the original founding, and each system works beautifully because it teaches the entire body in harmony with itself and not disjointed. On a side note, have you ever noticed the same type of 'best of both worlds' from dancers from Perm? From my perspective the Perm school is closer to the Mariinsky style and Kyiv to the Bolshoi, if only by a fraction. Saying that, it's curious how many ex-Kyiv dancers eventually ended up in the Mariinsky. They tried very hard to convince my husband to finish his last year at Vaganova, which he refused to consider. and which others jumped on for, in his estimation, the pedigree that the St Petersburg school could give. Sarafonov made the same choice as did Matvienko. Or maybe it was because they had found themselves with the good fortune to have a wonderful teacher at their disposal for their final 3 years in school. Sorry this was so long winded!
  8. I think his comments about being too old and broken refer to the fact that he felt he had maybe one or two more years left. Starting over in a new company isn't realistic at that point because it would be counter productive to a new artistic director to invest time, energy, and casting into a dancer that will not produce results for very long. I think in general that is why dancers in their mid 30's rarely change companies. There are many more things to consider when moving to a new company besides performing a few more years. The effort it takes to learn a new rep, having coaches invest time in a dancer who will not be there for very long when that time can be used to help bring a younger dancer up through the ranks, a dancer who has many years to devote and give back to the company (baring injury or artistic changes). Occasionally, if there is a budget for it, and sadly in most cases for US companies there isn't, a dancer of soloist or principal status who can no longer physically maintain principal roles will move on to character roles in the same company. Or take a position behind scenes in the school or company itself. It's rare that a dancer here would be kept on the roster if they are unlikely to be able to perform at that level. You will see that sometimes in the major Russian companies, but it's usually just honorary and the dancer rarely performs.
  9. This happened to my husband as well as several other dancers when there was a MAJOR change in artistic director in a very large US company. Sadly, the last 3 candidates were there for the dancers' vote of who they themselves felt most likely to lead the company in a way they approved. Unfortunately, my husband and several others were very vocal about it not being the one the board eventually choose. He and 7 others who were opposed to the new director did not have their contracts renewed. After the first season another 13 left. This was a large company, but for several seasons the turn over was high until a clear artistic plan was visible. It is now settled but very different than the company my husband danced for. It is thriving and has a clear and unique identity in the ballet world. Same happened in Boston, same in New Zealand when Steifle took over. It's terribly sad because the dancers did nothing wrong, they just happen to no longer fit into whatever 'vision' the current administration has. Angel is doing wonderful things for PA Ballet, but it was a quick and drastic change for everyone involved. My heart extends to all that will be 'overlooked' in this process and hope they can find a home in a company where their unique and beautiful talent will be utilized and appreciated.
  10. Isn't this only Gorak's 2nd season as a soloist? And he is also young, I believe around 24, does that sound about right? If so, he may be learning a lot of the repertory of the principal men as a bit of an understudy while being given time to 'settle' with everything that entails. I would be very surprised if Gorack doesn't follow a similar trajectory as Halburg baring an injury or some similar setback. He had a whirlwind season last Met season so maybe this one is meant to really solidify things in the studio before stepping it up again. I can't remember Gorack's height but did assume it being on the shorter side. They have Simkin, Cirio, Lendorf, Cornjeo, and Scott that are all shorter dancers so they are missing some on the taller end. Especially now that Halburg has been out for so long. I think Gorack's time will come. It would be hard to fathom someone so beautifully talented to languish too long. But, ABT has done it before. Stella, and Lane.
  11. So very sad to see this in my Facebook feed this morning. Johan has given his heart and soul to this company and especially the dancers. What a treasure to loose
  12. I have a question. Sadly, I've never seen LHBB and people speak of the goofy sets and sparse costumes. Could this be a ballet the Mariinsky markets to families and children? I know they generally don't but maybe if even just one performance gave a slight discount to families, it would be a great way to get them while they are young so to speak!
  13. So having watched Shapran, plus the 'famed' Skorik fail and tonight's Satanila on Kultura with Shakirova, the one thing all 3 have in common is shoe. And it was something that plagued me and continues to plague many dancers with really brilliant, stellar technique and dancers without. As stated above, due to the polymer that is used in the construction of the shank and box of the shoe, it doesn't break down like a traditional, paste shoe. Which is wonderful in most circumstances. But the shape required for hops on pointe, and the more arched the foot the more important this becomes, is almost a 90 degree angle. So in order to prevent the ankle from rolling into what is a full pointe position, the ankle and toes clench and purposefully hold back. The Gaynors generally like to be in two positions, pointed and almost pointed. It is a pre-arched shoe and why it makes rolling through Demi-pointe so hard. They have created different strength shanks to help this issue, but the instant a dancer feels like she is going over too far it is safer, and instinctual really, to come off pointe. So the very reason the shoes are so reliable are what make them so difficult to manipulate in that position. It's the very reason many teachers do not like young dancers wearing them, and why some old school dancers won't go near them. The ability for a shoe to conform to the dancer's foot changes. And the Gaynor Minden shoe has what can really only be described as a 'popping' feeling going from Demi to pointe. Many dancers swear by them, I loved the lightness of the shoe and how quiet they are especially in comparison to their Russian-manufactured counterpart. I always changed shoes anytime I needed to do ballone or extended hops because I never felt completely in control of the shoe. And when we are talking CM from being en pointe and off, I preferred loud and clunky to sleek and plastic. And promptly changed back as soon as possible. Just my take.
  14. I think first and foremost you have to realize that ballet education is like building blocks. One cannot progress higher until a solid foundation is laid. That is why it is very difficult to reteach a student with very ingrained bad technical habits, however if the facility and mental awareness is there, it's possible. It's just hard. I also do not agree with you that the bulk of the best schools in the US are ones affiliated with a major company. From having danced professionally to now being a teacher (and consistently a student, as I learn more about this art form every day) that observation does not hold true. I was just discussing this tonight with a student's parent. There are very few schools in the US that have consistently produced high-level, employable dancers right out of high school. Harid is one of them, Kirov Academy at the beginning was another. From there, you have to look to smaller schools, teachers and coaches who do what they do because they love it, not because of the money, although that would be nice. Every teacher who works with a student has an impact on what that dancer becomes. You cannot break it down by last year, or even last 4 years. However, from age 14-18 in this country is probably when most dancers are really formed. That is a very different way of training than anywhere else on the planet. Running a ballet-only school that has daily classes for children from age 10-18, with no major outside funding is incredibly difficult. Trust me, we struggle every day. And when we get very talented young dancers, we do encourage them to go away their last few years of training so that they become exposed to different styles and teachers. Have we trained a dancer from age 10 to a professional contract, yes, but only 2. And the ones who have moved on to other programs have never failed to mention us as their original teachers. Which is incredibly humbling knowing how easy it is, when limited to a few sentences, to only name the SAB's or ABT's. You also asked if the primary training would be visible if someone only studied in a school for 1 or 2 years. Absolutely it's visible. Strong technique allows a dancer the versatility to play with style, to be able to deviate from the original method taught and to branch into other systems of study. When a dancer bounces around, sometimes that is lost. Ask yourself if a dancer trained at Vaganova, or POB, when dancing Balanchine, if a touch of their underlying style doesn't show through. Of course it does. As for final year, trainee, apprentice then Corps structure, I call B.S. Sorry, but it just makes me angry. It is, in my opinion, a way for companies to get highly trained dancers who can perform in large company productions for free, essentially dangling a carrot in front of their nose with hope for an eventual company contract that may or may not exists. I've seen too many young, talented dancers go from studio company to studio company, having to waitress on their off hours, only to be told, 'Sorry, we like you, and after having you hear for two years we still don't have a contract to offer you". It's heartbreaking. If it was so necessary for an artistic director to have a few years to 'observe' dancers, then how on earth did all of the incredibly talented dancers of the past make it... I know companies are struggling financially right now. And I know the talent pool way exceeds the number of jobs, but when it becomes, what could be argued, as exploitation of dancers I draw the line. I believe the dancers at Washington Ballet went on strike when, due to finances, they were using the upper level school students instead of the paid company dancers for certain performances (I don't remember the exact details, but do remember that that was one of the complaints). I know that what I just wrote sounds a bit of a rant, but I've just seen to many talented dancers get caught in what seems a never ending circle. Unless you get very lucky and wind up exactly at the right place at the right time. As for the ABT national curriculum, I don't feel that spending one or two weeks in the summer can 'certify' someone to teach ballet. There is a reason why ballet has been passed from teacher to student for 200 years. It isn't something one can learn from a textbook. It only comes from experience. And I've met some wonderful teachers who have chosen to become 'ABT certified', and at the same time some that have no business calling themselves a ballet teacher at all... I wish Ms. Harvey all the best, and hope that she adds her considerable knowledge to the curriculum that is in place now. As for non-company schools, I think it is very telling when ballet teachers would rather entrust their young students to schools like Harid, where classes are small and the attention to detail and artistry extremely high, than to a company school where they get a whole lot less. Will the more than likely spend some time at a company school, probably. But for the training that means the most, they don't have any higher track record than anywhere else.
  15. There are also websites that have freelance dancers listed that schools can contact when in need of guests. Sometimes as partners, sometimes for male dancers to partner their students. Also, my husband gets more invitations than he can accept each Nut season and will pass them off to friends that he has danced with over the years. A lot is word of mouth. As everyone knows, the ballet world is ver, very small. For instance, we are right now guesting in a very small town in the northwest and I ran into a friend I danced with 20 years ago in school! It's crazy how ballet is so connected. But to someone who never danced or never grew up in it, I'm sure like it seems like a puzzle how things work!