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Everything posted by Drew

  1. Thanks for the review. I got a special pleasure from what you wrote about Ivannikova, as I have quite enjoyed her dancing in secondary/solo roles the couple of times I have seen her dance. I have only seen Batoeva dance one solo live--though I've watched quite a bit of her on youtube. I think my first choice of leading role to see her dance might be Aurora--but Kitri would be right up there too! In the event, I'm looking forward to her Gamzatti in D.C. -- for the pure classical dancing especially as I can't quite picture her as a villainess.
  2. A lovely, lyrical ballerina. Sorry I won't be able to see her in the fall...
  3. Do you know what the third city will be?
  4. Sort of off topic but -- Kirkland was ravishing in Other Dances. I saw her give two performances in D.C. that were unbelievable--the second one in particular. I daresay the ballet was different that it was when Makarova danced it, but also genuinely extraordinary. I remember the audience going into a kind of collective swoon when Kirkland began her first variation. When I saw Kirkland dance Other Dances in NY, probably a season or two later (I can't remember exactly)--she was lovely, but not as effective as in those D.C. performances. In particular she barely seemed to project -- and I was sitting very close. I can't know but suspect her various problems were catching up with her by the time of the NY performances. But those D.C. performances count among the most special ballet performances I've seen.
  5. Potentially serious issues raised but in the end, this seemed to me one long cheap shot: https://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2017/07/out-step?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/revisitingjewels50yearson
  6. Mackrell writes more knowledgeably and with more sophistication in her (not uncritical) account of the ballet and its reception than "Prospero" -- who seemingly just wants to knock ballet and, especially, its audiences...In the context of the Economist especially--even if only an Economist blog--I found it a little hard to sympathize with the snobbery of its anti-snobbery. Here's a snippet from Mackrell that gets to the point much more astutely: "But if early detractors regarded Jewels as a sophisticated but compromised form of product placement, those quibbles have long been superseded by a recognition of the ballet’s superb craft. It’s accepted now that the work’s imaginative logic goes far deeper than the surface metaphor of its title. There may be interlacing patterns of movement that form necklaces, bracelets and pendants; there may be a scarlet coloured swagger to the choreography of Rubies, and a pale and bevelled brilliance to Diamonds. But a far more resonant way of looking at Jewels is to read it as Balanchine’s own very personal account of ballet history."
  7. Anna Kisselgoff posed a related question to Sergei Filin when she did a public interview with him as part of the last Lincoln Center Festival Bolshoi appearance. That is, she asked him about the overall change of style/type in their leading male dancers, and what had brought it about. I should underline that I don't remember how she worded it, and I don't think he really gave an answer either, though I remember that after she followed up a bit he did say something along the lines of those bodies perhaps not being right for contemporary repertory. But again, I don't remember the exact wording. I think the top Bolshoi men have been less beefy--more pretty if you will--for quite some time. (Or at least those I know about.) And well before Filin became director. Filin himself was not a Vladimir Vasiliev or Yuri Vladimirov type. I always thought of Ivan Vasiliev, despite his shorter height, as something of a throwback. (Edited to add: one somewhat more slender/streamlined male dancer--also very good looking--that I remember from the late 70's/80's Bolshoi tours is Alexander Bogatyrev. But he still didn't have the lines today's Bolshoi men have. Bogatyrev died when he was just 49.) How do others see the change over the decades?
  8. That's not just an accent, that's the pas de deux 'signature'-- is it possible they just did it in some very, very soft way that obscured it? (Either way...disconcerting to read.)
  9. Thank you for passing this along.
  10. I saw her dance a Swan Lake during her second to last season with ABT in which she struggled with the fouettes -- atypical? I suppose so. I had only seen her dance the role one other time--a few years earlier--and there were no such issues. However I did find other aspects of the later performance admirable.
  11. Thanks for the translation.
  12. It's a reach--"mythmaking" as said above--to rave about the ballet on the basis of video snippets, but it's equally uncalled for to dismiss it as pornography or as a failure. I will say that it appears to be an ambitious work. Maybe we will find out in May...or not.
  13. Thanks for the new report California. Unfortunately, I don't anticipate having the chance to see this production anytime soon. I enjoyed the Ratmansky Sleeping Beaty but have been skeptical I would enjoy 'period' dancing in Swan Lake. Even so, the restoration of the libretto and much of the Petipa/Ivanov choreography, I would very much like to see.
  14. Thanks for drawing attention to this.
  15. As I remember, no-one on the board who commented on Part's performances this season wrote that she looked seriously diminished or needed to consider retirement. Rightly or wrongly, People DID write that way about Kent at the end of her career. What's written by fans is not the last word on any dancer, and most fans are not dance professionals. But as a general principle I'm not really on board with the idea that major ballerinas should be pushed out of the way prematurely. Sure, some hang on too long, but some dance with real greatness into their early forties and often with qualities the most sensational younger ballerina may not (yet) have. While companies need to promote younger dancers, they also need high quality senior dancers. Whatever reason ABT let Part go, I'm inclined to think it is a shame the ballet world did not get another season or two of her dancing.
  16. I brought up Whelan earlier only because Part's public indications of her feelings seemed to be drawing some criticism. I understand why, but I think a dancer's letting slip a little frustration in these circumstances is only human. I would feel that way in Part's case even if I were convinced Kevin Mackenzie had no choice but to let her go. I'm not, but I don't really know either. And she obviously doesn't feel she was treated properly, which she has every right to say. I could wish these transitions went more smoothly, but it is no wonder they don't. What is especially a shame is a loss of continuity and knowledge within companies--
  17. Both times I've seen Skorik dance live, I thought she danced beautifully. Like you, I'm looking forward to her Nikiya -- though a wee bit worried about the impact of her recent injury which I infer is rather serious as she has missed a number of performances.
  18. I would cut Part some slack. Sure, in some of her public comments she is less than a model of public stoicism. But I have heard people in my own life say much worse when they were (or thought they were) terminated unfairly. And it sounds like she is owed some of her anger in any case. By the by, a very different personality, Wendy Whelan, has spoken publically about her dismay and disagreement when Martins stopped giving her certain roles she thought she should still be dancing - implicitly nudging her into retirement - when she was several years older than Part is now. And some ballerinas do dance incredibly into their forties. And in a ballet dancer's typically short career two-three additional seasons is not trivial.
  19. Vey nice news. Congratulations to her.
  20. The Avedon photos were a sensation at the time, and Nureyev's rule breaking disdain for norms and unbelievable sexual charisma were a big part of his persona; you bet he made people uncomfortable. But actually--scene after scene from the dress rehearsal posted on instagram does not seem to feature this full frontal photo. Maybe it does play a key role in much or all of the ballet, we don't know really.....but that is also not the point. For that matter, maybe the ballet is a piece of crap. Also not the point. The point? If 400,000 dollars was really spent on rights to the Avedon photo, am I supposed to believe that only a few days before the premier was the first time anyone in the Bolshoi administration noticed it or undersood its importance to the ballet? That beggars belief. They brought Serebrennikov and they okayed Nureyev as subject. They scheduled the ballet knowing it was a rush and then let it develop to within DAYS of the premier. Then they postpone it (after a long conversation with the minister of culture no less) -- it's either unfortunate politics or unfortunate incompetence or a mix of both. I would probably feel differently if the creative team had quickly stepped forward and said 'Thank you Bolshoi for this courageous decision. We really did need more time. People will see in May.' (Although with Serebrennikov's potential legal problems and those of the Gogol center I might always have been a little suspicious. And now anything the creators say will come after a long delay.) New ballets by serious artists are sometimes risky and often don't work. I can believe that a potentially scandalous ballet had the Bolshoi worried. But they made their bed and then refused to lie in it. The anguish of the dancers who have posted in social media suggests no clear consensus concerning the work's unreadiness anyway. If the Bolshoi prefers not to take risks, well, it won't take them. It is a conservative institution--fair enough. They will still have great dancers and great productions. Probably some bad productions too, because no new work is risk free unless it is very dull indeed. But to have taken this rather daring (for the Bolshoi) risk and then, one way or another, interfered with the premier...raises very serious questions. As I said above, a reasonably successful, uncensored premier in May will go some way to making things right. Had the ballet premiered, I would happy to entertain all criticisms of it. If I saw the premier for myself, then I might have harsh criticisms too. Maybe I would hate the use of the Avedon photo. Indeed the whole idea of a Nureyev ballet has always seemed dubious to me. (Though certainly a tame ballet about such an untamable figure would be pointless.) In this circumstance, however, I feel nothing but sympathy for the artists who--whatever version of the story one believes--have not been treated well. And I am not going to question their work until I see it and see it as they want it to be seen.
  21. Thanks for the additional details. The Bolshoi has always had great dancers, but I don't think the greatest dancers in the world at the top of their game can make up for this particular mess (or change people's views of 'Russia's Standing in this World' -- which takes us into far more political territory). Most ballet fans will always hugely admire the Bolshoi dancers and rush to see them when they can--though a few may object to Vaziev's apparent drift towards increasing the number of Petersburg trained ones--but this last minute postponement of a major premier will be a stain on the company one way or another. The May premier of the ballet will also be under a lot of pressure, but if it is uncensored and wins some artistic accolades, then that might make a positive difference to how the history of this episode is written--though it hardly makes the Bolshoi leadership look great. I am curious what kind of statement Serebrennikov and Possokhov will make should they make one. But I certainly expect it to be careful. I wiil also be curious to see what happens with the Gogol Center prosecutions.
  22. I would love to have gone to London! Not practical this year unfortunately. Please do report on what you see. If I could have gone to London, then I might also have taken a pass on D.C. But I most certainly want to see the Mariinsky in Bayadere as I never have. I am also keener on the D.C.casting than you. I actually just deleted a long paragraph about Mariinsky Nikiya options: what it amounted to was that...At today's Mariinsky, we could do a lot worse when it comes to casting Nikiya than Tereshkina, Kondaurova, and Skorik and ... not a lot better. (I am thinking of real options, not fantasy ones like 'why don't they cast X.') I don't actually mean that as terrible knock on the company, though I was secretly hoping that for once Novikova would tour. Anyway, I am very much looking forward to seeing all three ballerinas announced. But if the ballerinas disappoint and the corps is the star as you say--well, in Bayadere, that will be substantial compensation... I will say my favorite Nikiya of all time is a very different dancer from any of the Mariinsky ballerinas--Alina Cojocaru.
  23. Alexandrova has a very warm smile that radiates across the footlights--and that, at least, is something she has in common with Fonteyn. But perhaps there are some advantages to discouraging too direct a comparison to the dancers' real-life counterparts.
  24. Thanks for summary. Urin is a charmer . I agree that it's a...peculiar...project. But the Bolshoi committed to it--and then, for whatever reasons, bollocksed it up. We will see what happens come May...