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bhammatt

Kirov in Boston

31 posts in this topic

I don't think it is a question of more talented vs. less talented, but a difference in focus and schooling. The Kirov school has been training dancers in a particular style, and their repertory is also different than American companies. The company is a custodian of a long tradition and although they do more contemporary works, still the schooling and style are evident in everything they do. It is very different from Boston Ballet, whose dancers come from all over the world with very diverse training.

Thanks to all who have reported on the performances!

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Alexandra, Thanks for the compliment! Also for the link to the Mariinsky site.

As for enjoying the home town company (in my case Boston Ballet), I don't think there is anything to be embarrassed about! I find pleasure in watching dancers who are familiar, I can appreciate the differences in their various performances, their growth, compare them to others, etc. And it is always fun to have some newcomer to root for. It helps that in Boston the company skill level has increased so very much over the last 10 years or so, so it is not a case of liking a middling company better than a good company. I guess it is a more subjective experience though.

I also agree with the comment that it can be hard to compare companies that have very different styles and types of training.... it becomes a matter of taste as to which style is preferred. Finally, I think enjoying a performance by another company, Kirov or NYCB or Royal Danish (to pick three very different ones) and appreciating their skill doesn't detract from enjoying Boston or whatever other company is more familiar. We are so lucky to be able to see them all!

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I also saw the Saturday night performance. I was seated in Left Center Row K, and it was hard to see some of the action that was based on the floor. It was a bit of a culture shock to see the languid movements in Chopiniana. For me, it was a little sugary, although well danced. When the Kirov dancers move, they move as one - unlike Boston Ballet dancers, who are less synchronous. I liked the staging of Scherazade, but I agree that the Zobeide dancer wasn't particularly appealing. Slinky, but somehow not right. The Golden Slave, on the other hand, was terrific. Does anyone remember who played the Golden Slave? It was announced over the loudspeaker at the beginning, but I didn't catch it. He was very sexy - bold and powerful in his leaps. I loved how he leaped over the scimitar in the murder scene. He was a big man, but I could see Nijinsky and Nureyev in the role through his dancing. The Kirov does well in the big scenes - the orgy scene in Scherazade and the devil scene in Firebird. The choreography and the costumes were magnificent. The Firebird started off awkwardly, I thought. The Firebird was played by a very tall woman, and the Ivan character by a rather short, squat man. He seemed to have a little trouble stretching high enough to turn the Firebird, but he did better next to the petite Princess. All in all, a very passionate, vibrant evening. Well worth seeing.

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I must be in a minority, because I noticed that many around me seemed to think of it as an equivalent to the previews and credits in a movie... it's not a great idea, but still okay to talk and move around and stretch...

Is this a cultural thing? Most of the more recently choreographed things I've seen lately all have things going on during the overture: people walking through the streets in Nutcracker, etc.  Not dancing usually, just setting the scene.

I think those two things are related. It's been my experience that unless the curtain is up and there's both music and stage action, too many audience members at the ballet and opera think that it's perfectly fine to talk over the overtures and musical interludes. The "action" over the overture may be to pre-empt the chatting. Unfortunately, nothing stops the "How about those Mets?" discussions between the two parts of Liebeslieder Walzer.

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About the loud shoes: probably the Kirov dancers are provided with Grishko or other Russian-produced shoes, and I know that Grishkos are notorious for their loudness. I vaguely recall noticing this at a Kirov performance either in DC or in St Petersburg.

Oh, and another little tidbit about "Mariinsky"--the theater itself is often referred to as the "Mariinka".

What is with the apparent trend toward seating latecomers during the performance? BAH! A few years ago I arrived late to BB and I was seated in the boxes at the rear of the theater until the end of the first act. Since then I have referred to the boxes as "the penalty boxes". :-)

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Seems to me the overture should be a signal for the audience to quiet down and get in the mood for the performance to come, not to keep talking. I felt lucky the people behind us included a woman who made sure everyone had their cell phones off, and discretely shushed the people with her when they showed signs of talking at inappropriate times. It was nice to be seated near a thoughtful person. (Only slightly off set by the couple next to us who had their water bottles and chocolate bars handy, both forbidden in the Wang seats. Fortunately they saved their snacking for intermissions.)

As for seating latecomers, I was surprised to see that at the Kirov performance. BB is still pretty strict about not seating latecomers after the house lights are down. I thought it was a theater policy but maybe the policy is set by the organization performing.

Another difference noted between Kirov and BB - more fur coats at Kirov!

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