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  1. While waiting for more official Festival news I've been going through some of the things that I've written about previous Festivals. In addition to the highlights mentioned above, I also recall some overall events that I prize along with memories of other artists. The premier presentations of the Mariinsky nuanced Le Parc really effected me. I was swept away by the work's artistic 'genius' and by the very sophisticated and refined way that it was interpreted. The work has a transcendental quality beautifully interspersing Mozart with surrealism. Somewhat related to my feelings about Le Parc is the progression of Diana Vishneva. At one of the first Fesitvals that I attended around 2005 she did one of her excerpts from Alexei Ratmansky's Cinderella. Her flights across the stage into the arms of Igor Kolb and the flips in and out of his arms were absolutely breathtaking. As she's matured, her emphasis has shifted to expression and experimentation. Her performance of A Woman In A Room (2014) entered into the transcendental and experimental realm that I sensed with Le Parc. I felt that if anyone could carry the historic refinement of ballet dancing into the realm of modern art, she could be the one. I still follow her direction with great interest. Another highlight event was the Gala in honor of the famous Mariinsky teacher and coach, Gennady Selyutsky, in 2012. The cast included some of the most famous Mariinksy related names and their performances were of the highest order. Looking back at my first comments (2007) I was very taken by how much I equated the dancers' artistry with their real life selves. I considered them to be one of the nicest group of individuals that I'd ever had the pleasure of communicating with and I equated their outstanding performances with their niceness, considering them to be almost inseparable. I still feel much the same. My contact with the artists has been almost completely confined to compliments at the final night Festival receptions, where my very limited Russian has helped somewhat. My only other contact has been an occasional fews words from sightings in the audience. When I describe a human quality that I admire in one of these remarkable artists it's almost always one that I feel is also highly reflected in their artistry. Added: For anyone who might be interested in the casts for the year when the Festival actually performed six Swan Lakes (one is the norm). 2008 Sat, 15 Mar 2008, 19:00 Swan Lake Diana Vishnjova Jerve Moro Sun, 16 Mar 2008, 19:00 Swan Lake Gillian Murphy Andrian Fadeev Tue, 18 Mar 2008, 19:00 Swan Lake Maria Alexandrova (Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow) Danila Korsuntsev Wed, 19 Mar 2008, 19:00 Swan Lake Viktorija Tereshkina Anhel Korejja Thu, 20 Mar 2008, 19:00 Swan Lake Tamara Roho Igor Kolb Fri, 21 Mar 2008, 19:00 Swan Lake Ulyana Lopatkina Roberto Bolle (La Scala, London Royal Ballet) (Thanks so much to our dear friend, chiapuris) http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/26758-8th-intl-ballet-festival-mariinsky-theatre-13-23-march-2008/
  2. Partial casting has been posted today. La Bayadere Nikia: Olga Smirnova (Bolshoi Theatre) Solor: Semyon Chudin (Bolshoi Theatre Romeo and Juliet Juliet: Nadezhda Batoeva Romeo: Friedemann Vogel (Stuttgart Ballet) Don Quixote Kitri: Renata Shakirova Basilio: Daniel Camargo (Dutch National Ballet) Final Night Gala Featuring: Nadezhda Batoeva, Ekaterina Kondaurova, Lucia Lacarra, Renata Shakirova, Viktoria Tereshkina, Cesar Corrales (English National Ballet), Daniel Camargo (Dutch National Ballet), Marlon Dino, Ernest Latypov, Alexander Sergeev, Andrei Yermakov. Great news ! Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin ! She's always on my wish list along with Veronika Part and then Myriam Ould-Brahm, Simone Messmer.... Semyon Chudin, great talent and perfect partner. Lucia Lacarra appeared years ago at a Gala and I've not seen her since, but I've always liked her. Great to see her name again. Always really good to see Alexander Sergeev. He and his Principal dancer wife, Daria Pavlenko, whom I wish we could see a lot more of, are both wonderfully warm and highly talented. The two younger names, Nadezhda Batoeva and Renata Shakirova, have been given a lot recently. Nadezhda Batoeva has been a bundle of sunshine when I've seen her and Renata Shakirova, whom I'm not sure that I've seen on stage, has been very impressive on the internet (The Bolshoi Ballet contest, etc.) for her portrayal ability, flexibility of style and dancing prowess. Look forward to seeing both of them. Swan Lake is always a/the gem performance. Usually guests are given at least one of the leads. This year it's been given to an entire guest company, the Perm Ballet, a first and quite an honor. Some of the highlight performances over the years start with Alina Cojocaru's amazing year after year (six?) leading roles in the full length classics. Ulyana Lopatkina's Swan Lake (2006) may have been the finest I've ever seen. Other outstanding Swan Lakes include Gillian Murphy (2008) (actually six? Swan Lakes that Festival), Viktoria Tereshkina (2009), Yekaterina Kondaurova (2011), Alina Somova (2012), Olga Esina (2013), Oksana Skorik (2014), Anastasia Kolegova (2014).... Svetlana Zakharova's Giselle (2013), I wrote at the time, might have the best best performance of "Anything!" that I've ever seen. Yekaterina Kondaurova's evening (2013), performing all the leads in Jewels, was an amazing feat of stage versatility, endurance and dance beauty. Alina Somova's Fokine's Swan (2014) was a remarkable rendering, perhaps the finest of her performances that I've seen. Yekaterina Osmolkina's Giselle last year was exceptionally beautiful. George Balanchine's Symphony in C and Ballet Imperial are always gorgeously performed and wonderful inclusions. There's much, much more that I haven't had a chance to mention. This will hopefully be my thirteenth Festival in a row. I've loved them all, some glowing in certain areas, some in others. Usually the performances are outstanding with the artists giving their all and doing as well as I've ever seen them. There's something very special about the Festival. That's why I keep going back, year after year -- gratefully ! Correction made above: Oksana Skorik danced her Swan Lake in 2014, not 2012, which was the year that Alina Somova danced it with an outstanding performance. Anastasia Kolegova, an absolute sweetheart, also danced hers that year as posted.
  3. Cristian, to follow up on this, my first impression was "Vulnerability."
  4. I just discovered her about a year ago from video clips. I haven't watched that carefully, but I immediately considered her to be very special. She has very impressive physical capability and, above all, great sensitivity . It doesn't surprise me at all that George Balanchine valued her so highly.
  5. Glad that you both got to see some things that you really enjoyed. I hope to be able to be there myself, maybe next year.
  6. Thank you all for your comments. I continue to watch my 'adored' four minutes of video posted above by Kaysta starting at 10:30. At 14:00 almost all the dancers exit the stage doing a lovely and probably very difficult, one foot double turn ending in a back bend. The men do it 'flat toed' as usual and the women do the first turn full pointe, second turn flatter toed. The blond male dancer towards to end does a very graceful take. It makes me think about pointe work in general and if semi-pointe/lesser pointe isn't just as beautiful and a lot easier on the feet. This is a discussion that has been pursued here along time ago at another topic. Maybe we should revive it some day. The reason that I mention it here, besides thinking that it's always very important, is that the video glimpse allows a comparison of the same move with different pointe usage. Another reason is that the Miami City Ballet is so capable and versatile, that it could be a very fine place to experiment with this. I've seen the company do some extremely fine dancing of ballet quality and grace without the use of pointework. Any thoughts or comments anyone ? Maybe I'll revive the old topic if there's any interest.
  7. I just finished the Works and Progress video, Quiggin, and am also very impressed with all the performing and choreography. Also very impressive is the amount of thought and feeling that Alexei Ratmansky puts into everything. His attention to detail while coaching the dancers is extraordinary and heart touching. One dancer (Jeanette Delgado?) in a news article said that 'he has twelve ideas for each step.' The result is absolutely lovely.
  8. My only response, Cristian, is that ballet is both technique and aura. Which weighting each of us prefers is perhaps a matter of personal focus and sensitivity.
  9. One of the things that I appreciate, Natalia, is the way that she commits herself to something, even if it's not to her technical strength. I don't mean to minimise what you and Cristian experienced. I do have to say, though, that I've greatly enjoyed certain works that others haven't. I'm continuing to make my way through the Guggenheim talk and demonstration, which Kaysta found for us. There is enough there of exceptional beauty and interest that I would like to see this work. One thought that comes to mind from what you've written and the video has mentions, is how talented and adaptable the Miami City dancers are. Lourdes Lopez mentions it and I'm so glad. It means that she will probably encourage this. I've seen it myself and am greatly impressed. Another thing that I'm adjusting to on the video is the way that Jeannette Delgado (I'm also a big fan of her sister, Patricia) and Renan Cerdeiro are featured. Jeannette's portrayal (as Cristian once wrote, 'She always smiles like that') may take a little getting used to, but can become embracing and totally appropriate because it's really her and it's loveabe. Simone, on the other hand, can create worlds of differentiation.
  10. Thank you, Natalia and Cristian. I'm glad that you were able to share your experience and your thoughts. I still have my four minute video clip, which I adore. For me, it illustrates some of the best of what Alexei Ratmansky is capable of. I'm not sure what he takes from where, but his way of putting it all together can be outstanding. In the case of my four minutes, composition (the flux of motion, the loveliness and inventiveness of positioning, flow, etc.) along with his ability to adjust moods, situations, dimensions, etc. is exceptional. Being a great fan of Simone Messmer, based on what I've seen her do, I hope for the best. With the right material and direction that plays to her strength, which is her expressive beauty and brilliance, I think that she's remarkable.
  11. Thanks, Cristian. To be continued tomorrow. Somewhat more limited in scope, I'm still glued to the first four minutes, the group dancing, of the video starting at 10:30. I do very much like the dancers and the choreography, which has a great deal of interest and charm. Alexei Ratmansky is very creatively agile. Towards the end of the video you can see him coaching Simone Messmer. He conveys certain exact details, which do have a lot of personal direction as well as outstanding beauty. It would also be interesting to see Simone Messmer working with someone like Christopher Wheeldon. He's perhaps more known for encouraging his dancers to contribute their own interpretations.
  12. While we anxiously await Cristian's return, thanks so much, Kaysta, for finding this video. I've been looking for it for several days. I've been glued to the first few minutes of performance starting at 10:30. First of all it has a very rare video glimpse of Simone Messmer (in black), who as you might know fascinates me. As usual, I feel that the best manner to treat her is to let her have her own way as much as possible. She has a remarkable ability to make a character her own. She can brilliantly integrate this with her physical imagery. Her personality can give great individuality and meaning to her motion. Interestingly, another dancer in the chorus that accompanies her, reminds me of her. She's the woman in the dark olive dress (with doll, last to leave stage in opening scene) She has very fine body language. Cristian, Kaysta or someone else, do you know who she might be. She is featured rather prominently. From the opening moment, when she is somewhat kneeling, her sculpture is gripping. Also her motion has a very natural and expressive flow. Callie Manning ? Added: I would guess that the second dancer's very impressive posturing, etc. is of Alexei Ratmansky's invention. But it's also the way that she does it, that makes her performance so embracing.
  13. I'm in California, Cristian, but we're all counting on you to make us feel as if we were there. Hope that you have a very good time !
  14. Nous attendons.
  15. A Mariinsky News release. 01.02.2017 A premier of the ballet Paquita will open the XVII International Ballet Festival Mariinsky The XVII annual international ballet festival will run at the Mariinsky Theatre from 30 March to 9 April 2017. In line with tradition the opening will see a premiere – Édouard Deldevez' Paquita with additional musical numbers by Ludwig Minkus and Riccardo Drigo. Yuri Smekalov is working on the new production, while Marius Petipa's choreography of the Grand pas is being reconstructed by Yuri Burlaka. The St Petersburg premiere of the ballet Paquita in 1847 (a transfer of the Paris production at the Bolshoi (Stone) Theatre was Marius Petipa's first work as a choreographer in Russia. Having undergone several revivals, which saw the addition of individual dance numbers, the ballet remained on the playbill for a long time. In the Soviet period the full version of the ballet vanished from the repertoire – only the bravura Grand pas was retained, to this day remaining a "jewel in the crown" of ballet evenings. The first performances will take place at the historic Mariinsky Theatre on 30 and 31 March and 6 April. For the fifth year in a row the festival will present projects of the Creative Workshop of Young Choreographers. Talented choreographers, so well-loved by St Petersburg – Vladimir Varnava, Ilya Zhivoi and Maxim Petrov will present their joint production Dreamers to music by the French group Daft Punk. The costumes, in a first collaboration with the Mariinsky Theatre, are being created by acclaimed Russian designer Igor Chapurin. The cast of the workshop's participants will be supplemented by American choreographer Garrett Smith, Brazilian dancer Guilherme Maciel and Olga Vasilieva, winner of the young choreographers' competition as part of the festival Context. Diana Vishneva (2016). Maxim Petrov will also present his second work Incantations set to music by Alexander Rabinovich-Barakovsky (4 April, Mariinsky II). Once again the festival will host the Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre. The guest company will be performing Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, staged by Alexei Miroshnichenko (5 April, Mariinsky Theatre). The festival's playbill will feature Mariinsky Theatre repertoire productions with guest dancers from the Bolshoi Theatre and the Dutch National Ballet – Romeo and Juliet by Sergei Prokofiev with choreography by Leonid Lavrovsky (1 April, Mariinsky II), La Bayadère by Ludwig Minkus staged by Marius Petipa and revised by Vladimir Ponomarev and Vakhtang Chabukiani with individual dances by Konstantin Sergeyev and Nikolai Zubkovsky (2 April, Mariinsky Theatre), Don Quixote by Ludwig Minkus with choreography by Alexander Gorsky after motifs of the production by Marius Petipa (7 April, Mariinsky Theatre) and Jewels by George Balanchine to music by Gabriel Fauré, Igor Stravinsky and Pyotr Tchaikovsky (8 April, Mariinsky II). On 9 April the XVII International Ballet Festival Mariinsky will conclude with a Gala Concert, as part of which the company will present Anton Pimonov's new work, as well as a classical Divertissement featuring lead Mariinsky Theatre dancers and guest stars (Mariinsky II). https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/news1 (Thanks to Olga K at Mariinka for finding this) Added: What I'm most glad to see is the return of Maxim Petrov (his forth year) to The Creative Workshop of Young Choreographers. For me, his two major works have a delightful resemblance to Jerome Robbins' more cheerful creations. Along with Yuri Smekalov's Bronze Horseman, last year, his work is the perhaps the finest of all the new Russian choreography that I've seen.