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. Yes I finally was able to find it this morning! I will be very interested to see how Sobin Le, who won Grand Prix in Varna and has already danced major roles in eropean theatres and she is just 19. There is a video of her on YouTube doing Lise's variation at 13 that would put most professionals to shame. There are quite a few 'big names' this year. I see Popov is there, and saw the other Mariinsky dancers as well. Looks like an exciting competition. One question, has it always been just a week long? I thought I have always remembered it as 2. Anyway looking forward to watching it!
  2. Does anyone have the list of dancers competing? I've searched the website in English and in Russian and can't find it. Maybe because I'm looking on my phone? It's also not pulling up the jury other than Grigorovich. Natalia, any luck? Or MadamP?
  3. Ok a couple of thoughts and a general, somewhat rhetorical question. I preface this with the following: I rarely get to see ABT perform, but I do have several friends and a major coach that dance without ABT, as well as a family connection to Ratmansky. I do, however see a lot of European companies as well as galas when I can. Ok with that said: About Ratmansky. I don't love everything he does. I also don't love every last bit of Petipa, or Balanchine, or Ashton either. I've heard many dancers complain about having to work with a choreographer or perform a certain ballet. But in all my travels and with many, many friends who are dancing professionally i have personally never heard a complaint about having to work with or dance Ratmansky. Now granted I don't know every dancer on the planet, and I've heard small complaints about this or that, but the major consensus is he is giving interesting and different material for them to dance and really cares about the dancers he works with. Everything is not a masterpiece, but if inspires or gives new material then I am all for it. About guest artists: My husband grew up and danced with, for many years a principal couple recently retired from ABT (yes I know that so difficult to figure out who that might be) and the main complaint from them as well as other dancers performing major roles is the lack of coaching and the few opportunities to perform. I'm not sure how ANYONE who gets to perform a major role, if they are lucky, one time per year is supposed to develop artistry and confidence in that role no matter how gifted the coach. It should not under any circumstances take 10 years for a ballerina to truly understand what dancing O/O means and how to project that meaning to an audience. I remember reading way back in the day when ABT used to be a primarily touring company that dancers were constantly performing the standard rep as well as some mixed Rep thrown in. Was it grueling, sure. Is it hard to stay in shape on tour, most have no idea how difficult. But they had the opportunity to actually dance and grow in a role before they were required to perform it in the big leagues! I'm sad that that has all but disappeared for ABT. I think they have taken a step in the right direction in allowing their dancers to get opportunities to try out roles and to grow the talent that is there. I'm not sure I would want to be a young soloist and be expected to deliver a star quality performance at the Met my first time out. I cannot imagine the pressure. And knowing in the back of their head that this may be the only chance they will have to prove they can do it. I've been so happy to hear reports of how so many have risen to the occasion this season! That is amazing and I hope those dancers know that more experienced dancers have had to do that and failed miserably. So bravo! Ok my question: when I was in Londen recently I had time to meet with a few dancers who had performed in a gala that I somehow managed to sit through. Two of these dancers have been guest artists for ABT in the past so I asked them what their take on the lack of guest artists these past two seasons is. Both mentioned how much harder it is to secure a visa for Russian dancers trying to perform in the US due to the political climate between the US and Russia. So when I got back I asked another friend who has hosted a very large gala with dancers coming from both Bolshoi and Mariinsky for many years. It looks like this year it may not happen. He also said the same thing about difficulty obtaining visas as well as the huge rise in cost of the sponsoring agencies to secure those visas. So my question is, do you think that might have something to do without ABT's lack of guest artists, and if so do you think that if the political tensions die down that perhaps we will see a reamergance of the Russian Guests back on the ABT roster?
  4. I agree... so much of Italian Foutees is a natural coordination and rhythm. They were always very easy for me (I actually think that might have to do with me playing around with it in the studio at age 11 before I knew it was supposed to be hard! So much in ballet is made more difficult by overthinking). I do think for most dancers Italian Fouettes are more difficult due to the change in balance on the supporting leg. I'm very hyperextended and that had little effect, although I was not blessed with incredibly high insteps. Generally, high insteps make pointe work more difficult due to lack of strength. You have to work very hard to develop strength and also to maintain it. That being said, I do find it troubling that there are continued reports of ABT ballerinas having such difficulties with this particular step. Not to mention to be continually cast in a role that requires them make zero sense. With the talent level in ABT, surely they have a few dancers who could dance the role beautifully in spite of not being a principal. Are the dancers cast as Queen of the Dryads really a huge draw for those buying tickets? I wouldn't really think so and tend to think many would appreciate seeing up and coming talent in a debutant type role. Wasting resources seems to be a specialty of ABT
  5. Somova is 5'6, maybe 5'7. I'm almost 5'5 and she is just a hair taller than me.
  6. 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.
  7. Unreal. Just stunned.
  8. 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!
  9. 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!
  10. 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
  11. 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!
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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