Great Male Dancers #2
Posted 18 January 1999 - 11:38 AM
Posted 26 January 1999 - 01:52 PM
Posted 27 January 1999 - 05:11 PM
Posted 02 February 1999 - 08:28 PM
On Leighs points, the idea of considering dancers cross-repertory is an interesting one, and full of pitfalls. Dancers can be wonderful in a certain repertory, or niche of a repertory, and not in others. I have to say I saw Woetzel with the NYCB soloists do the Black Swan pas de deux, and it was one of the least princely, least classical performances I've ever seen. Coaching problems, perhaps.
I also remember when ABT did lots of Tetley that there would be dancers -- Clark Tippett, Kirk Peterson, Dennis Marshall -- who looked wonderful in Tetley, but then, when they turned up in classical (i.e., in that repertory, Petipa) roles, they looked -- well, much less wonderful. (Martine Van Hamel looked magnificent in both.) Now, this could be partly because dancers always look their best in roles that are fresh to them, that are either created roles, or virtually recreations -- i.e., they've learned them from a good coach or the choreographer rather than whoever is assigned Studio B from 3 to 4 that afternoon -- but for whatever reason, there was a clear difference in standard.
What standards of judgment apply when determining a great dancer? I'd be very curious as to what people think about this. There are a lot of possibilities. Great range usually will suffice; mastery of, not just appearance in, a vast range of roles. Difficulty, as well. Someone who gives great performances in technically difficult roles will always beat out an artist who is only able to gesture and make an attempt at an arabesque, no matter how moving the performance is. Some dancers can be definitive and give Top of the Line for All Eternity-level performances in a few roles -- I'm thinking of Merrill Ashley (to switch genders for a moment) in Square Dance and Ballo. If you only saw her do those roles, you might call her the greatest ballerina you ever saw. If, on the other hand, you tell this to your friend who rushes out to catch her "Emeralds," you might have some explaining to do.
On Mary's comment about lost opportunities, sadly, I agree. I saw five teenage girls who had the ability to be ballerinas at Washington Ballet during the 1980s who simply stopped dancing -- for reasons ranging from couldn't take the stress to hated the life, discovered boys, and fear of heights (i.e., lifts).
[This message has been edited by alexandra (edited 02-02-99).]
Posted 05 February 1999 - 12:32 AM
I'd like to throw out the name of someone at NYCB to watch, Charles Askegard, who was good when he entered the company, but since then has made even more gratifying strides. When I saw him at ABT, he was an accomplished Petipa dancer. It must have taken incredible effort, courage and commitment to be willing to alter his style to suit the Balanchine he now performs. His leg lines have improved markedly and he is a much more musically acute dancer. He's built like Adam Luders, and is similarly an excellent partner - and probably the best import into the company since Luders.
Posted 05 February 1999 - 02:32 AM
Posted 05 February 1999 - 11:18 AM
In January, I saw him as the Prince in Cinderella in Michael Corder's production for English National Ballet, where he returned as a guest partnering Liza Pavane from Australian Ballet.
Posted 20 February 1999 - 06:36 PM
Posted 21 February 1999 - 11:06 AM
Posted 21 February 1999 - 04:45 PM
Posted 23 February 1999 - 03:51 PM
Posted 22 June 1999 - 04:19 PM
Anyhow, his Siegfried in "Swan Lake" was quite surprising. I have never seen an interpretation like that: quiet, a little sad, not so romantic and impetuous, but pensive like a poet. I would have never expected this from him.
Alexandra wanted to know about young soloists of the Kirov and the Bolshoi: the prince in the other "Swan Lake" was Ilya Kuznetsov, who also was Iwan Zarewitsch in "L'Oiseau de feu", and he is really convincing: young, very blond, and very pretty. He has very hard jumps, his technique is good and reliable, but not very elegant. But he acts nice and very believable: kind of naive, spontaneous, no mannerisms at all. Somehow you tend to look at him constantly when he is on stage...Which means a lot, when Odette/Odile is Uliana Lopatkina.
In March I also saw Daniil Korsunzew, another young soloist of the Kirov: the same hard jumps, but rather pale and a little boring. A very tall dancer with long legs, that means he is a good partner for the Kirov ballerinas.
And for the Bolshoi: they try to sell Nikolaj Tsiskaridse as their new star, a black-haired, tall dancer with a really broad mouth (that's the most impressive part of him, sorry to say so). I've seen him in a solo, "Narcisse", and in pas de deux from "Raymonda" and "Sleeping Beauty". In "Sleeping Beauty" he not only looked like a drag queen, he also walked like one. There is really no star quality at all about him, except for his rather high jumps, but all his dancing looks kind of clumsy and awkward. Compared to the Kirov, there seems to be a big, big gap between the male dancers of the two companies -- between the whole companies, I suppose. What I have seen from the Bolshoi on different gala performances here in Germany looked all dusty, like from the Sixties. So keep to the Kirov when they are coming to New York next week. Go and see Faroukh!
Posted 22 June 1999 - 05:39 PM
I remember Ilya Kuznetsev from the 1997 London season of the Kirov. He made a wonderful debut as Albrecht.
As for the Bolshoi, I have seen a photo of Tsiskaridse in the brochure of its London season in July.
Posted 22 June 1999 - 06:48 PM
I have been a Farouk groupie for years, but I prefer to retain my memories and videos of him from several years past. I think he might still be impressive in the roles you mentioned, but I feel that the edge is dulling with age (not to mention technique). You are correct, however, in the fact that not many can touch him for theatricality.
Posted 23 June 1999 - 08:37 AM
I'm also getting rather fond of Julio Bocca. Y'know, there were moments this season, when he would launch himself into the air for some bravura solo or other, that he looked as if he actually had some idea of how he was going to finish! Amazing.
Gotta love a guy who enjoys living on the edge, especially in front of three thousand raving fans.
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