MadameP

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About MadameP

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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. 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.
  2. Alina Somova is on maternity leave at the moment - that's why she has not been performing.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. Smirnova always had exceptional speed, even at Vaganova. It's one of her hallmarks.
  7. If so, you have my deepest sympathy, since I have seen both them as Nikiya and "from the sublime to the ridiculous" about sums it up...
  8. There are so many Spectres!!! I also think Vasiliev is horribly miscast as the rose - like a bull dressed as a rose in a china shop, and horribly sloppy and even falls off one of those attitude turns, but I quite like Kolb's interpretation! I agree Legris gives a beautiful interpretation - and he does the double en dedans arabesque into attitude into pirouettes sequence, and also does the double assembles en tournant both ways. He has beautiful arms also. I think Soloviev was severely hampered by that tiny stage space - he only does single assembles en tournant - although I think he did them both ways, but undoubtedly he could do doubles, but just not here. Like I said, just from his jumps, which clearly have nowhere to go, he was hampered. That space is ridiculous for this piece - like dancing in a cake tin. That is such a shame, because he of al dancers had that once in a lifetime unbelievable jump. I think his arms and fluidity do not compare with either Legris or Gudanov though. For me, my favourite Spectre is the one below, Dmitri Gudanov of Bolshoi. He has suppleness and fluidity of body and arms, beautiful lines, sensuality and expression. Amazing. He does double en dedans arabesque/attitude/pirouettes, but he does all his double assembles the same way - but they fabulous! Well, he is MY favourite, and yes, Cuban, I think he has the right "perfume" also! But no doubt this is going to be a long thread of personal favourite Spectres!!!
  9. I just heard today that, although Karina's kidneys are much better now, she has had a relapse. I do not know exactly what this relapse is, but it does not sound good, and she need all our prayers and good wishes. I know that many people have been praying for her already but please everyone, carry on with your efforts. Please remember Karina in your prayers and thoughts.
  10. Glad you enjoyed the gala, Buddy. Have a safe trip home!
  11. Last review from me, as I am going home today and so will not see Jewels or the gala. Hope you enjoy them both, Buddy! DonQ was a mixed bag for me. It's funny how we all see things differently and so I will start with the bad stuff - that, for me, was the guest Basilio, Daniel Camargo. I had seen photos and was expecting him to be good, but I was very disappointed. Yes, he's a good looking boy, but his elevation was very poor. In the grand pas, in particular he was visibly petering out and running out of gas in the manege of barrel turns, but still attempted a (pitifully low) revoltade but you could actually SEE him struggling to launch himself. Not good. He did a good grande pirouette though, and his pirouettes in general were good. He just did not have good elevation, which I think Basilio needs. He played a good comedy death scene though. Renata Shakirova was excellent in the first act - nice diagonale of single pirouettes and good acting - she is a saucy and vivacious Kitri. In the dream scene, she was one of the very select number of ballerinas to be given the honour of dancing the extremely difficult "Dudinskaya" variation, instead of the usual one, and she pulled of the tricky sequence of alternating en dedans and en dehors pirouettes, double one way and single the other, very well. I only saw Ksenia Zhiganshina do this before, as a student, although she did not do it at the grad performance and Zhiganshina was actually better in the variation than the (To my knowledge), only other current Mariinsky ballerina to perform the variation, Viktoria Tereshkina. She also danced a lovely variation in the grand pas. Ekaterina Osmolkina was refined and elegant as the Queen of the Dryads with some beautifully floating grand jetes. It was a great shame though, that the Vaganova children were missing from the whole of the second act, as it seemed very truncated without them - no puppet show that sets Don Q off to tilt at the windmill, and no children in the dream scene. That was a real shame. For me, one of the highlights of the ballet was the amazing Espada of Ivan Oskorbin - as Buddy said, he was sensational in his back flexibility in the renverses, and also had fabulous cabrioles. He had really outstanding panache throughout - great performance. I wish he could have danced Andres in Paquita! Yulia Kobzar also was outstanding in her oriental/Egyptian dance on the carpet, with that amazing undulating body and arms - BEAUTIFUL arms. Overall - really enjoyable Don Q!
  12. The third Paquita had Anastasia Kolegova and Xander Parish in the leading roles, Kolegova replacing at 10 days notice the injured Oksana Skorik. She is a beautiful woman and played Paquita with much vivacity and sweetness. Her feet especially are exquisite and she is technically strong. Her series of fouettes in the grand pas was amazing, single single double five times and then singles to the final double. She also danced a beautiful "gypsy" variation in the grand pas. She captured the stylised gypsy arms very well throughout and all in all, I thought she was a lovely Paquita. Xander Parish acted well, particularly in the comedy scene and also in the scene where he accidentally kills one of the officers. His best attribute is probably his beautiful lines, which were shown off in his sissones and arabesques, and also in his grand jetes. He also performed a nice sequence of entrechat6 in the pd3 and had easy command of the stage. I thought tonight's group of friends was by far the best. Maria Iliushkina, who danced the first variation, was outstanding. She has the most exquisite long lines and was faultless - beautiful, lyrical, musical variation. What a talented girl. Anastasia Nikitina is woefully underused, yet she was bright, charming and with clearly articulated footwork in the second variation. Really fabulous! Shamara Guseinova had excellent presence and jumping in the third variation, although not quite matching the superb Ivannikova from the performance before. Viktoria Krasnokutskaya is another ballerina who is under-utilised, yet she was SO charming and vivacious and had the most gorgeous expressions - so moving to see! - and lovely arms - she was my favourite of the three ballerinas dancing the fourth variation. Ekaterina Chebykina danced well mostly, and with good expression but could not compete with Nadia Batoeva as Cristina, although she is certainly a good turner. And Tatiana Tkachenko's acting was excellent as Carducha, although I do find her a little "hard", but that is just personal taste. The Vaganova children really brought the house down again in the children's mazurka, and it is SUCH a joy to see them. The little girl who comes on first must surely be a star of the future. She had neat footwork and lovely epaulement and expressions already at her young age - maybe 10 or 11? But all the Vaganova children were fabulous! I think this Paquita is a big success and a great company vehicle, and look forward to seeing other casts in it, although it is a big ask for the two leading roles in particular - as it has a great deal of complex (and tiring!) choreography. Congratulations to all the company and in particular to Yuri Smekalov! After the performance all the ladies were handed a red rose on the way out, which I thought was such a charming touch! I so much enjoyed this run of Paquitas!
  13. Perm ballet performed Swan Lake to enthusiastic applause and deservedly so. The two leads, Inna Bilash and Nikita Chetverikov, were prize winners in the Russian "Big Ballet" televised competition programme recently, and both danced with style and lyricism. Chetverikov is a WONDERFUL partner, who made all the high lifts look easy, partnered completely unobtrusively, always making his ballerina look good, and in particular, Bilash's partnered pirouettes in his hands were outstanding - amazingly fast! In addition, he had high, easy jumps and lovely adagio work, although for my taste, his line in arabesque and attitude was on the old-fashioned low side! Inna Bilash was secure in all her variations, with also great speed in her diagonals of pirouettes, nice expressions and lines - lovely girl! The Perm version contains some nice dancing for Benno, the Prince's friend, and Krill Makurin landed some beautiful double tours, as well as the diagonale and the whole of his variation was excellent - he is a very good boy. One of the two prince's girl-friends was absolutely outstanding in her variation. I NEVER saw such a diagonale of entrechat six de vole - for height, precision of the beats and flexibility of her back - she was incredible. Unfortunately, I don't know which one of the two named in the programme she was! She was EITHER Albina Rangulova or Olga Zagorodnyaya. I wish I knew which! I thought the Evil Genius, Sergey Mershin, also had very powerful presence on stage, and thrilling entrelaces. In this version, he mirrors the prince's movements for some of the time, a little like in the Grigorovich version, which personally I don't like, but there were other sections that I did find very effective, such as where at the end of the first "white" act, he appeared on a balcony at the back of the stage, and literally compelled Odette to leave and then projected his power forward to Siegfried - very effective. In the black swan act, I thought it was SO effective to have all the national dancers come on as part of Rothbart's retinue, and they even turned on Siegfried at the end of the act, preventing him from going after Odette in a very malicious manner! The black swan pas de deux was extremely well done, and BIlash produced a fast sequence of pirouettes - all singles, if I remember right, but VERY fast and accurate. But one of the highlights of the act for me was the gorgeous Russian dance, performed by Albina Rungulova and Ivan Puroshin, to the music commonly danced as a female Russian solo "Russkaya" - just so stylish and ... RUSSIAN - LOL. It was exquisite. I never saw this version of the Russian dance before and I loved it! There was some particularly beautiful choreography in the final act, which in this version, ends with the death of Siegfried, although his and Odette's spirits are seen flying off in the background to an afterlife. The black swans were used literally as the Evil Genius's tools and were truly malevolent. I have to say, I was very impressed with the corps de ballet, who danced with wonderful precision and uniformity of style. They were really outstanding. I assume many or most are graduates of the Perm school, but whether or not this is the case, they were technically and artistically excellent, and a credit to their coaches. It was really a beautiful Swan Lake.
  14. Buddy, did you see they were giving all the ladies one red rose individually wrapped with a little Paquita card on the way out? I have a red rose and it is even scented! Such a nice touch and I never had that happen before after a ballet! I completely forgot to write about the Perm Swan Lake, so will do that next, but in particular I LOVED the four friends tonight, and Anastasia Kolegova looked, as always, just SO beautiful!
  15. MT2 has already got a lot of built in security that the historic MT theatre does not have to nearly the same degree, if at all - it has hidden security cameras everywhere inside the actual auditorium, and the historic theatre does not. We shall see. And yes, thank you to everyone for their good wishes.