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Great Ballerinas #2


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#16 Guest_Barb_*

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Posted 09 December 1998 - 07:15 PM

I would also nominate Iliana Lopez from Miami City Ballet. She's a beauty!

#17 Olivier

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Posted 10 December 1998 - 03:11 AM

Grace, when did you actually see Evelyn perform, and in which city ?
I agree with you, she is a wonderful artist...I had the pleasure to dance with her quite a bit, and feel very fortunate about it !

#18 Guest_Grace_*

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Posted 10 December 1998 - 10:17 AM

All the times that I've seen her perform were in Winnipeg, where I live. I've been very fortunate and now I'm dancing at the RWB and it's incredibly neat to think that all the professionals are dancing over head on the next level. When I was 7 years old our class got to go up to the third floor to dance, I was just dazzled because I remembered my mom telling me that, that`s where the professionals dance.
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#19 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 15 January 1999 - 10:04 AM

"The Great Ballerinas of our time". Can somebody tell me on what grounds Anna Polikarpova was selected?
I would rather nominate Yulia Makhalina of the Kirov Ballet, or why not Uliana Lopatkina ?

#20 Dale

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Posted 16 January 1999 - 06:37 AM

Well, everybody is entitled to their own choice but I wouldn't pick Lopitkina just yet, she's too young and does not have a "body of work" behind her.

While I enjoy watching Yulia Makhalina she just doesn't change my world when I do. Not only doesn't she have longevity (yet) but in sporting terms, she hasn't led her team to the world championship. If the Kirov is considered better than it was five to 10 years ago, I believe it is because of their younger principles: Lopatikina, Vishneva, Sakahrova etc... That said, I've only seen her in a handful of performances, maybe I'd have to watch her over a whole season to make a really just decision.

Dale

#21 Alexandra

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Posted 16 January 1999 - 10:35 AM

I agree with Dale. I loved Makhalina when I first saw her -- Lilac Fairy and Medora in Le Corsaire. She was so lush and rosy; an absolutely perfect Lilac Fairy.

Then something seemed to go wrong. Next time, she danced Tchaikovsky pas de deux in what looked like a Naughty Nighty from Victoria's Secret; as did her Dying Swan costume. Her dancing seemed less disciplined, too.

When I saw the Kirov ten years ago, they had that wonderful crop of young women: Makhalina, Ayupova, Ivanova, Pankova, Lezhnina, (forgive my spelling; I'm not looking any of these up) with Asylmuratova, slightly older, at the fore. I remember we all breathed a sigh of relief. "Ah, Russia. It won't die out. Look at them. They still produce squads of ballerinas." And within a few years, most of them were gone to other companies, and the ones who remained -- well, to me, they did not fulfill their early promise.

Hope with the new management the current generation will do better.

As for your question, Marc, of how did soandso get chosen, I doubt that any of us would agree with many of the names posted here. As Dale said, people just put up their favorites. That's why I put up the other thread, "Favorites." I was trying to make the distinction between "Great" and "Favorites" but I realized that that's something that concerns critics much more than fans, and it was probably a silly thing to try.

alexandra

#22 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 16 January 1999 - 02:47 PM

Well, Alexandra, I still have to see a performance where any of the newest generation of Kirov dancers will do a better job than Makhalina, Asylmuratova, or indeed any of the dancers you named (you might have added Irina Shapchits, always forgotten). Lopatkina, and Dumchenko in a lesser degree, are the only ones of the newest generation who can stand the "test" by watching their performances back to back with those of older dancers like Asylmuratova, Makhalina, Nioradze, or Ayupova. But not Vishneva, Zakharova, Amosova, Gumerova. Not in a million years.
The trouble with the young dancers at the Kirov Ballet nowadays is that they are much too soon in their careers confronted with too many roles. Before they are even twenty they already danced all the major roles in the repertoire, without ever getting the time to absorb. The result is often a complete lack of identification with the role, blandness, and boring performances that all look the same, whether it is Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, or Symphony in C.

And yes, Dale, Makhalina is a great ballerina. If you have the chance watch her in Raymonda, Paquita, Anna Karenina, or La Bayadère, those will give you a better understanding of her than some Swan Lake or Giselle pas de deux taken out of its context. Or try to watch her in rehearsal. You might be in for a fascinating experience, I'll tell you. Indeed, Makhalina used to take liberties with the text, especially in classical parts (though that too has been exaggerated by a certain tendency in mainly the British press), but anybody who saw her these last years will admit that there is a profound understanding in everything she does. Everything comes from the heart. And that seems to become something of a rarity too.
Honestly, I don't know if the Kirov is better than it was 5 or 10 years ago, but if it is, than I seriously doubt it is because of the youngest principals.

#23 Steve Keeley

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Posted 16 January 1999 - 03:14 PM

Ah! Marc mentioned Irina Shapchits. I would love to hear more about this dancer. All I know of her is her Swanilda in the video of Vinogradov's "Coppelia" (a version I seem seem to be alone in having enjoyed). I thought she was lovely and charming, and I looked forward to hearing more of her, but never have.

Please fill me in!

~Steve

#24 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 16 January 1999 - 05:08 PM

Irina Shapchits is living in Belgium now. She and her husband Mikhail Zavialov dance with the Royal Ballet of Flanders. They both left the Kirov Ballet in 1995, have been dancing for two years in Germany, and finally arrived in Belgium. Irina hasn't lost anything of her magic, but I'm afraid if you want to see her Steve, you will have to come over to Belgium... For your information Steve, there is an interview with her on the internet (Check the site http://www.kirov.com)

#25 Alexandra

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Posted 17 January 1999 - 10:48 AM

Marc, I think you've mentioned the central problem of classical ballet today (even greater than the lack of choreographers, in my opinion), and that's the way young dancers are developed -- or not developed. Throwing them into all the big roles without adequate coaching, having everyone dance everything -- the All Purpose Principal principle. It's very sad that it's happening at the Kirov, too. I had hoped that that was the last place where "employ" was still respected.

The Stanislavsky Ballet was in Washington recently and, although it's hardly a great company, it had great balletmastering. The Princes were Princes and the Jesters were Jesters, so there. The company also paid great attention to style. Their "Chopiniana" was gorgeous -- and never looked, for a moment, like the second act of "Swan Lake." Alas, if they had a ballerina, they left her at home.

alexandra

#26 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 17 January 1999 - 12:32 PM

Alexandra, I am glad you recognize the development of young dancers as the central problem in classical ballet nowadays(absence of adequate directorship, or "management" is the other main problem that's wrecking many companies today -- though that could be the subject of another topic).
Sadly, the Kirov Ballet, rightly proud of its tradition, is not immune to this flaw either. Attending rehearsals can be instructive for this matter. I'm not throwing stones at anyone - it's really too painful - , but when during a studio rehearsal a leading ballerina has to admit in tears that she has forgotten every single step of the ballet she is supposed to be dancing in the evening, then I guess there is something seriously wrong with the training. Everything was gone. And of course, anybody can have a blackout. But then you realize that this person isn't even twenty, and yet she is supposed to master a repertoire which normally for somebody of thirty-five would already be a major achievement. Everything is going much too fast. Nobody is instructed to watch examples anymore. None of the youngsters has or takes the time to watch a performance by an older colleague, who is sidelined anyway. The phenomenon of "living examples" is disappearing. Add to that the strain of endless touring, the responsability of being a "star-ballerina" at twenty, and you easily understand that some performances are anything but satisfactory.
But still, she can lift her legs behind her ear and she has a nice smile... The general ballerina of today? I'm afraid so.

#27 Dale

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Posted 18 January 1999 - 06:23 AM

This probably should be a different thread but...the developement of dancers or the coaching of ballets seems to be the biggest problem these days. I was reading the reviews in the latest Dance Magazine and almost all pointed out that the ballets weren't being taught right, that dancers performed the ballets in a homogenized style. I don't think it's because the dancers are not talented. They can do it, but they're not getting the support they or the ballets need. Is it a money issue? Do companies feel that coaching is a place where they can save a few bucks? Or do dancers feel that they are out of school and don't want to "take lessons" any more. I know that in music there was a point where instrumentalists felt that while they always had to practice, there was some point where they didn't need to study anymore. However, opera singers never stop working with their coaches. Even the best of the best still take lessons. I've noticed that Nina Ananiashvili still works with her coach just to make sure she's not slipping. It's sad to hear that this is happening at the Kirov, where it always seemed that older, retired dancers stayed around to help the next generation.

Dale

[This message has been edited by Dale (edited 01-18-99).]

#28 Alexandra

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Posted 18 January 1999 - 11:25 AM

I'm going to start two new threads, because this one is getting too long:

Please don't post anything more here.

If you want to talk about Great Ballerinas, please go to Great Ballerinas #3.

If you want to talk about coaching or the lack thereof, please go to Coaching or the Lack Thereof. I'm going to copy Dale's posts to that thread, just to get it started.

Thanks,

alexandra

[This message has been edited by alexandra (edited 01-18-99).]


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