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  1. Alyona Kovalyova danced the lead in Etudes tonight. If I recall correctly from several years ago this works starts out slowly beautiful and ends in quite a show of high energy bravura. I congratulate her on being able and being chosen to do this.
  2. I sent the Vaganova Academy an email inquiring as the health of Karina and received a very nice response with some hopeful news. It says that she's having "medical procedures in hospital, but living at home. Feels herself better and hope to continue education as soon as it can be possible.....We meet with her in the Academy more and more...." It thanks everyone for their help and interest.
  3. In about a week it all starts. Some of the things that I'm truly looking forward to. Olga Smirnova (w/ Semyon Chudin) -- La Bayadere She's simply A Phenomenon. Oxana Skorik -- She's possibly the most beautiful dancer at this Festival. Paquita Tromba Lontana (Maxim Petrov) Symphony in C I'm not sure if she gets the beautiful duet in Symphony in C. I would hope that it's her or Yekaterina Osmolkina. That she's working with the brilliant young choreographer, Maxim Petrov, could be exciting and more experimental. He's using John Adams' music so it might be more traditional. We'll see. Yekaterina Osmolkina -- Another absolutely beautiful dancer with remarkably mature artistry. Her Giselle at last year's Festival was a masterpiece highlight. Dryad Mistress (Don Quixote) Symphony in C Celestial (Young Choreographer: Garrett Smith) Xander Parish -- A Prince Paquita Diamonds What more can be said than the two primary works that he's been given. Yuri Smekalov -- Choreographer for much of the new Paquita. I thought that his Bronze Horseman last year was an exciting, world class effort. Really hope to see the same this year. Maxim Petrov -- Brilliant and highly entertaining young choreographer. Young Choreographer evening: Tromba Lontana (music John Adams) Beyond (music: Daft Punk) Lose yourself to Dance (shared two other young choreographers) (music: Daft Punk) His two longer works (about 20 minutes each) at the first two Young Choreographer performances were absolute highlights for me. The use of music by the French group Daft Punk implies something different and experimental. It's something that he could do very well. He's extremely clever and capable with a fine sense of entertainment and international perspective. There' so much more. In addition, surprise, brilliant performances always happen. Complete casting for Paquita can be found here. https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/festivals/fest_2016_2017/ballet_fest_234 (Click on the event. Thanks once again to Sophia at Dansomanie)
  4. Casting is up for the London performances. http://www.roh.org.uk/about/mariinsky (click on performances) (thanks to Don Q Fan at Balletco for this info) Yekaterina Osmolkina is getting two Swan Lakes. This is so nice to see. There's an opinion that no Swan Lakes are what kept her from becoming a Principal. I think that she actually danced her first as a guest with the Royal Ballet in London a few years ago. She's done so since at the Mariinsky. Kristina Shapran would have been my guess for next Principal, but she's sort of disappeared. Maternity leave? Promoting her would be consistent with the promoting of younger dancers at the Mariinsky and Bolshoi. Sergei Felin at the Bolshoi deviated somewhat when he made several dancers Principals upon his arrival who had been around for quite awhile. If Yekaterina Osmolkina were made Principal she would be one of the older guard. It would really be nice to see. One of the factors is no space at the top, maybe. She's such a lyrically beautiful dancer !
  5. There's a beautiful flow in life. The clouds in the sky. The waves in the ocean. The children at play. The dreams in one's heart. Sometimes it's expressed in dance.Why ?Dancing can make us happy !Dancing can be beautiful.Dancing can be ourselves.So each year Saint Petersburg has a Festival of ballet dance. It has its own definite style, its own definite beauty.It's a lyrical dance. Only one type, but one of the most developed, most refined and in many ways one of the most beautiful.Thus it can become a place to dream and hopefully a place to launch future and even more beautiful dreams.The Festival, folks in the streets, stars in the sky -- it can all become part of the same thing.A beautiful flow. A beautiful dream.
  6. So within several weeks one enters into a dream And so unlike a ballet dancer One drags one's feet in the silken earth So as to bring time into suspension as much as one is capable of
  7. Click on performance for casting. 30 March Paquita 31 March Paquita 1 April Romeo and Juliet 2 April La Bayadère 4 April A Creative Workshop of Young Choreographers 5 April Swan Lake The Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre 6 April Paquita 7 April Don Quixote 8 April Jewels 9 April Ballet gala Recently posted Ballet gala https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/playbill/2017/4/9/2_1900 This will include, once again, another George Balanchine -- Symphony in C -- which has always been a beautiful presentation. Yekaterina Osmolkina has been replaced by Anastasia Lukina in Emeralds but can still be seen in Symphony in C. This is the current casting. 30 March Paquita Roles are being rehearsed by (the names of the artists are listed alphabetically): Paquita: Ekaterina Kondaurova, Viktoria Tereshkina, Oxana Skorik Andres: Timur Askerov, Andrei Yermakov, Xander Parish 31 March Paquita 1 April Romeo and Juliet Juliet: Nadezhda Batoeva Tybalt: Alexander Romanchikov Romeo: Philipp Stepin Mercutio: Alexander Sergeev 2 April La Bayadère Nikia: Olga Smirnova (Bolshoi Theatre) Solor: Semyon Chudin (Bolshoi Theatre) Gamzatti: Olesya Novikova 4 April A Creative Workshop of Young Choreographers I. Tromba Lontana Choreography by Maxim Petrov Music by John Adams Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin Performed by Oxana Skorik and Philipp Stepin II. Redundantly Choreography by Olga Vasilieva Music by Nils Frahm Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin Performed by Nelli Smirnova and Andrei Arseniev III. Shelter – 2016 Choreography by Guilherme Maciel Music by Camille Saint-Saens Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin Costume Designer: Guilherme Maciel Performed by Anastasia Lukina and Guilherme Maciel IV. For a Sweeter Look Choreography by Guilherme Maciel Music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin Costume Designer: Guilherme Maciel Performed by the Mariinsky Ballet soloists and corps de ballet V. Celestial Choreography by Garrett Smith Music by Antonio Vivaldi, Thomas Tallis Costume Designer: Monica Guerra Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin Performed by Sofia Ivanova-Skoblikova, Valeria Martynyuk, Yekaterina Osmolkina, Yana Selina, Alexander Sergeev, Vasily Tkachenko, Maxim Zyuzin VI. Dreamers Choreography by Maxim Petrov, Vladimir Varnava, Ilya Zhivoi Music by Daft Punk (arrangements by Vladislav Ivanov) Costumes by Igor Chapurin Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin Produced and Directed by Sergei Danilian 1. Beyond Choreography by Maxim Petrov Performed by Yekaterina Ivannikova and Konstantin Zverev 2. Within Choreography by Vladimir Varnava Performed by Ekaterina Kondaurova Piano: Andrei Gugnin 3. Motherboard Choreography by Ilya Zhivoi Performed by Yekaterina Chebykina, Yulia Kobzar, Zlata Yalinich, Yevgeny Konovalov, Vasily Tkachenko, Maxim Zyuzin 4. Lose yourself to Dance Choreography by Maxim Petrov, Vladimir Varnava, Ilya Zhivoi Performed by the Mariinsky Ballet soloists and corps de ballet The Renaissance Percussion ensemble Conductor: Arseny Shuplyakov St Petersburg TV and Radio Children's Chorus Principal Chorus Master: Igor Gribkov 5 April Swan Lake The Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre 6 April Paquita 7 April Don Quixote Kitri: Renata Shakirova Basilio: Daniel Camargo (Dutch National Ballet) Gamache: Dmitry Pykhachov Espada: Ivan Oskorbin Street Dancer: Nadezhda Gonchar Flower-Sellers: Sofia Ivanova-Skoblikova and Shamala Guseinova The Queen of the Dryads: Yekaterina Osmolkina 8 April Jewels I. Emeralds Anastasia Lukina and Fuad Mamedov Anastasia Kolegova and Roman Belyakov II. Rubies Iana Salenko (Berliner Staatsballett) and Steven McRae (The Royal Ballet) Yekaterina Ivannikova Piano: Lyudmila Sveshnikova III. Diamonds Yekaterina Chebykina and Xander Parish 9 April Ballet gala I. The Cat on the Tree. PREMIERE Music by Nico Muhly, Teitur Lassen Choreography by Anton Pimonov Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin Costume Designer: Arina Boganova Performers: Viktoria Tereshkina и Alexander Sergeev Ekaterina Kondaurova and Andrei Yermakov Nadezhda Batoeva and Ernest Latypov II. Divertissement Featuring Nadezhda Batoeva, Anastasia Kolegova, Lucia Lacarra, Anastasia Matvienko, Renata Shakirova, Marlon Dino, Daniel Camargo (Dutch National Ballet), Cesar Corrales, Denis Matvienko III. Symphony in C Music by Georges Bizet Choreography by George Balanchine Staging by Colleen Neary Costume design by Irina Press Performers: Yekaterina Osmolkina and Maxim Zyuzin Oxana Skorik and Yevgeny Ivanchenko Elena Yevseyeva and Philipp Stepin Nadezhda Gonchar and Alexei Timofeyev https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/festivals/fest_2016_2017/ballet_fest_234
  8. Flow is a word that was introduced at the beginning of this discussion and it is certainly one of her most beautiful features. I mentioned her highlighting. To be more specific, it's often the way that her lovely flow is followed by an upward arching of her back and head with her eyes focussed forward, a moment of suspension. It's a culminating statement of elegance and enchantment. The way that she controls the timing of these transitions and the subsequent highlight positioning can be compelling. Perhaps the best example is in the posted video from the Lausanne competition. There are a lot of related positionings, some working better than others, but there are several brief instances in the first half (around 0:40 for example) where this occurrence is breathtaking. (posted by the Vaganova Academy) I guess the reason that I continue to be so enchanted by Alyona Kovalyova is the combination of such beautiful refinement and and the lovely freeness of her youthful manner.
  9. And here's the casting for "A Creative Workshop of Young Choreographers ." https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/playbill/2017/4/4/2_1900 (thanks to Kentervil at Ballet Friends)
  10. Announced today. Paquita: Ekaterina Kondaurova, Viktoria Tereshkina, Oxana Skorik Andres: Timur Askerov, Andrei Yermakov, Xander Parish https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/playbill/2017/3/30/1_1900 (Congratulations to Sophia at Dansomanie for getting there ahead of me ) Added: It looks like a fairly nice distribution of dancers this year, with no particular dancer, group or philosophy being emphasised. Seems fine to me. Xander Parish is the only dancer that I've noticed so far being given two major appearances, Paquita and Diamonds. Congratulations! The only differences are the giving of Swan Lake to another company, a very noticeable first, and the broadening scope of The Young Choreographers evening, probably a good thing. Even a slight reclaiming and definite acknowledgement of Olga Smirnova -- the lead in Bayadere. She also got a Kitri gala excerpt last year. I've sensed over the years that there is a sense of goodwill, comradery and mutual respect at the Festivals. Svetlana Zakharova, for one, after she left the Mariinsky for the Bolshoi, was invited back several times, and even drafted as a last minute replacement to which, it seems, she generously responded.
  11. In an interview, not long ago, Olga Smirnova said that one of the things that made an impression on her in her recent work outside the Bolshoi, was the idea of relating to everyone on the stage. She said that ballet dancers tend to mainly concentrate on themselves. Being a person who seems to reflect on and take such things seriously, I'll be very interested to see if and how this is noticeable in the powerful interactions between Nikia (herself) and Gamzatti (Olesya Novikova) in the La Bayadere performance.
  12. Mnacenani, we all see these artists differently and enjoy them differently. Ultimately, I believe, it's what moves us personally that counts the most. Group agreement, as seems to be the case with the artistic beauty of Alyona Kovalyova, is always wonderful, but the believing in and relating of what moves us personally is always something to be greatly valued. I'm beginning to notice a definite expressiveness in Alyona Kovalyova and to a similar degree in the younger Eleonora Sevenard. It's a sort of contained sweetness of awareness that defines the mood of their beautiful dancing. I sometimes wonder if they had the same instructors. Still, it's their ability, not the instructions for doing it, that makes them so special. I often use Olga Smirnova as the reference point for expression among the younger dancers. Her expression is gripping. It reaches out and embraces us. Alyona Kovalyova and Eleonora Sevenard have a more subtle power. Expression in all these dancers is most noticeable in their faces and is carried through to their beautiful sense of motion. Alyona Kovalyova (I'll not continue to use Eleonora Sevenard's name, but the similarities are still implied) in the posted videos, seems to establish a mood, not necessarily a message or compelling statement, as is perhaps the case with Olga Smirnova. She seems immersed in the dance and her face expresses the connection of this with her heart. She's relating the beauty of being there and doing what she's doing. She's also presenting and defining her own self as a part of this. I mentioned in my above post that I wouldn't have her change a thing. One reason for this is that she's already mastered beautiful fundamentals. She's already a 'ballerina'. Her youthful, perhaps less refined aspects, for me, add to her beauty. As she matures this will probably change. Refinement, development and perfection will be noticeable. Yet, I'm totally taken by the way that she is right now. She has some lovely technical qualities. She has a beautiful flow combined with outstanding highlights. Some of this is accomplished by the lovely and compelling timing of motion and positioning of her upper body and head. It's both elegant and engaging. In contrast to Oxana Skorik, who has a wonderful, outward articulation, Alyona Kovalyova uses a more contained space with a fine sense of character, aliveness and charm. She's really a lovely and accomplished artist at a very young age.
  13. Your second stage exam in what, mnacenani? In any case, congratulations! I would say that you really started something here. Again, congratulations! I'm really taken, along with everyone else here, by "Алёна Ковалёва". As I watch the video clips, I'm more and more impressed. I actually look at this extremely young, remarkable, novice artist, and say, "Don't change a thing." Yes, the artistry and refinement can grow, but the current 'Freshness' ("Свежесть" in Russian (back to the "Cве...."s, "Светлый Ручей" (Clear ("Limpid") Stream), Светлана (Svetlana) ) totally compensates. If I could suspend her in this moment, as an admiring spectator, I might well do so, although her future prospects are also fascinating. Another fascination from my ongoing viewing is how much the Vaganova's Eleonora Sevenard resembles her. Totally a younger sister in artistry. (She hasn't graduated yet, has she, Natalia?) I do hope that the Mariinsky takes her. Then we'll have one in each company. I do have to join the chorus here in wondering how the Mariinsky let Olga Smirnova and Alyona Kovalyova get away. And I must remind folks that Valery Gergiev is also involved in such matters. So generations may come in 2 to 5 year cycles these days! -- Eleonora Sevenard, Alyona Kovalyova, Olga Smirnova/ Oxsana Skorik....Quite exciting! Added: Since I'm kind of giddy at the moment, I may as well throw this in. If the Bolshoi is considering adding a Star (Etoile) level to its "Principal" ranking, how about making it a.... *Svetlana* (although a *Galina* is also quite compelling, if not literally a "Svet" (Star) word ).
  14. Olesya Novikova -- Gamzatti She's so beautiful and during the last several Festivals she so put her heart into her performances. Will be fascinating to see how she handles this one. I've seen some very sympathetic Gamzattis, Maria Allash at the Bolshoi being the most recent. Added: Being on the stage with a poetic sea of expression such as Olga Smirnova will be quite an event.
  15. I've always liked her. She's somewhat been placed in the shadow of her sister, Jeannette, but they've always remained highly supportive and adoring of each other. I tend to like her slightly more refined posturing. I saw her in Paris in Ballet Imperial and was wowed. She was so high energied that I thought she was her sister. I wish her much happiness.