MadameP

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About MadameP

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    Bronze Circle

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Ballet fan, former student
  • City**
    Oxford
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    UK

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  1. Yulia Stepanova had a great success tonight in her debut as Mekhmene Banu in A Legend of Love at the historic Bolshoi Theatre. Her Queen was elegant, showing beautiful lines in the many sculptural poses and lifts, but also strong and regal. Her hands and arms in all the oriental gestures were expressive, and accenting the music with dynamism where needed. This was a STRONG performance indeed, but also a Queen of subtle emotion, giving a real sense of tragedy at the loss of her beauty in exchange for her sister's life. Her monologue especially was SO moving - full of turmoil - and her expressions throughout were wonderful. I don't know how she managed to portray such emotion even while wearing a veil - but she did! Technically she was flawless, with fast turns, and she was especially strong in the sequence of swift fouettes, ending with a triple. Great performance, and the audience called her back for numerous curtain calls. Her Ferkhad was Alexander Volchkov, who managed the difficult candle lift and the other acrobatic lifts that the choreography contains and acted well also. Anastasia Stashkevich was charming as Shyrin with her fluttering hands, and especially thrilling grands jetes in the sequences of jetes synchronised with Ferkhad. She was graceful, light, gentle and I thought she was a perfect foil for Yulia Stepanova. This ballet is so striking and effective in the simplicity of its designs on the huge Bolshoi stage. There are four braziers on stage and a number of chandeliers hanging down that change colour and also a series of small raised backdrops that come down onto the back centre of the stage (difficult to describe) - but that is all. All the effects are in the emotions of the dancers, the power of the choreography, the lighting and in the ranks of dancers who pour onto the stage, often in stylised formulation. I was absolutely spellbound by it. What a great ballet. It has the real feeling of a strange oriental fairytale, but a tragic one. A great success for Yulia Stepanova and for the whole company.
  2. OK, true, Mariinsky management decided to inflict these ballets on Mariinsky Ballet I still don't like them, and think they could have made far better choices.
  3. Yes, we need to keep Ratmansky busy, if only to prevent him from inflicting another Little Humpbacked Horse, Anna Karenina or Cinderella on Mariinsky Ballet...
  4. That is interesting what Sarah Lamb said. I see plastique as the using of the body to form shapes and lines and a way of moving particular to a choreographer's needs and also as interpreting the music. For me, that is why I rate Andrei Arseniev, currently still only in Mariinsky corps, so highly. I never saw a boy with his innate "rightness" of movement and line - it's SO DIFFICULT to put into words! - but he can use his body in so many ways, and they always seem perfect for the choreography and its dramatic truth. I think the dancers who have this instinctive amazing sense for plastique are born with it - it's a great gift and one that allies natural technical ability, intelligence, musicality, innate understanding of of the intention of the choreography.
  5. Buddy, I was smiling nicely at your posts, and that's because yes, you have been writing a lot about Smirnova, but, as Natalia says, it is good to see positive comments and enthusiasm about a dancer you clearly love. I also think Smirnova is a wonderful ballerina, and Uliana Lopatkina too, but I am afraid I just HAVE to pipe up here and say, that where our agreement must end is on the subject of the "other" O.S. who you just mentioned in connection with Smirnova, and who I do not consider worthy of tying the ballet shoes of Smirnova and Lopatkina, let alone being in the same realm of excellence! I think she is AWFUL. It was BURNING and I had to say it! and I do not want to start a trashing thread - but well, there it is! But Smirnova and Lopatkina - yes, love them both!
  6. Yes, using Paypal to contribute to Karina's fund is quick, very easy, and every single amount of money sent, no matter how small, may make a difference. And thank you also to mira for extracting Karina's account details from the instagram and video messages, and making them more accessible.
  7. Video link for a youtube video by russianballetvideos2, which gives a simplified translation of the text of the message which many ballerinas have displayed on their instagram pages.
  8. Karina's condition has unfortunately worsened, and she has had a severe relapse, with the return of her cancer. Many dancers have posted instagram messages, asking for help with links to various sites where anyone can make a donation. Please anyone who can help by financial assistance, please do so, and please pray for her also. I will link below both one of the instagrams showing the message, which is in Russian, and then below that, a link to a YouTube video by russianballetvideos2, which gives a simplified translation of the message. Thank you everyone.
  9. I agree with that - 5'6" is what I thought - a few inches taller than me, but no more! And as for Lopatkina being 6'1". This must be a joke! She certainly isn't. She might be 5'9", but she is shorter than both Kondaurova and Iosifidi. Iosifidi is just under 6 ft - 1.82 cm - she could be a catwalk model at that height! https://www.ellines.com/en/achievements/508-the-ballerina-who-enchanted-russia/
  10. Alina Somova does have exceptionally long legs but I don't think she is tall, from what I saw of her in class and rehearsal. I think it's very difficult to judge dancers' heights from their stage appearance, because the stage makes all appear fatter (in just the same way television or photographs do,) the dancers are constantly moving, and also performing on a raked stage which means that dancers in other parts of the stage might "appear" smaller or taller relatively depending on where they are standing on the stage. Also, even in real life, physique makes some look taller than they actually are. The long arms and legs that many/most dancers have, make them look taller than they actually are, giving them those endless beautiful lines that all strive for. Proportions make some dancers look shorter or taller. In their everyday clothes, many wear heels. It's difficult to judge. Tallest ballerina who I know of at the Mariinsky Theatre is Alexandra Iosifidi, who is nearly 6 feet tall. Smallest probably is tiny new recruit Anna Smirnova, who at well under 5 feet small, is very talented and recently danced Amor in Don Quixote.
  11. Alina Somova is on maternity leave at the moment - that's why she has not been performing.
  12. OMG! Now I am the Official Buddy Starter Mechanism? There must be a name for that? Maybe I won't go there! Seriously, yes, it is difficult to stop talking about something one has enjoyed so much, so on this occasion, Buddy, I will allow my name to be taken in vain! I enjoyed the Mariinsky Festival very much also! Incidentally, Sofya and Renata are the really small ballerinas, both much shorter than the ballerinas you mentioned earlier! I like them both, too, but Kondaurova can put both of them in her pockets!
  13. With regard to the heights of the ballerinas you mentioned, Buddy, yes, Yekaterina Kondaurova IS very tall - about 5'10", but Olga Smirnova certainly is not. I have stood next to all these ballerinas, and although I was not getting my tape measure out, Smirnova I would put at no more than 5'5". She does have very long, thin arms and legs though, which I think makes her look taller than she is. This also applies to Oxana Skorik, who appears taller than she actually is because of her exceptional thinness. Anastasia Kolegova though, could certainly never be called short - she's about 5'7", BUT for a ballerina she has comparatively short legs, which might make her appear shorter to you. Although I love her as a dancer, she doesn't actually have ideal proportions for a ballerina.
  14. Ah ... now you're opening up a whole kettle of worms! Yes, of course one of the main differences between Bolshoi and Mariinsky is that the Bolshoi does go for the "big effect" at the expenses of correctness of technique and Vaziev himself has stated his desire to "refine" the Bolshoi style. Faster and higher is of course easier if one is not so particular about how one attains this! This is why I personally am a Mariinsky fan first and foremost, although I love Bolshoi ballet for its theatricality and exuberance and I agree with you, Drew! I actually love the difference there is between the two companies! With regard to Olga Smirnova, I know that I have seen videos of her work in class at Vaganova, and at her graduation performance, and both in live performance and on video since then, and yes, she is somewhat unusual in that she has flexibility, technique, elegance AND SPEED ... her final diagonale in the kingdom of the shades scene showed that very clearly!