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Alexandra

Great Male Dancers #2

29 posts in this topic

Please continue the discussion of Great Male Dancers of the Day here.

Thanks,

alexandra

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What about Rasta Thomas? If you haven't heard of him, go to his homepage at: www.rastathomas.com. He is a truly gifted young dancer with a brilliant future.

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I have never seen Rasta Thomas , but I think that the best male dancer is Angel Corella. He is maybe better than Baryshnikov and Nureyev. Another very good male dancer is ABT's soloist Giuseppe Picone , have you ever seen him?

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I'm responding to Leigh and Mary's posts on the first Great Dancers Thread (which I'll go close off after I've posted this. I'm sorry if this is confusing. It's just that when the threads get too long, they take forever to load.)

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).

Alexandra

[This message has been edited by alexandra (edited 02-02-99).]

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I've gotten to a point where I can only judge a dancer through repertory. I think Carreno is extraordinary in Petipa. I've also seen him in Fancy Free, and he was quite good. But I'm not sure how he'd look in Balanchine. He's built more for stability than speed.

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.

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I agree about Charles Askegard. I've always liked him.....from his days at ABT. Glad things are going so well for him.

Giannina

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Thomas Edur, the Estonian former principal of English National Ballet, is a rare danseur noble. He has such innate nobility and such a pure classical line. No wonder Clement Crisp, Financial Times critic, described him as being descended from the Sun Kings.

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.

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I agree with Larissa in that Angel Corella is one of today's best male dancers. His Don Q. pas de deux with Paloma Herrera in American Ballet Theatre is really amazing. I also think that Damien Woetzal and Peter Boal are really good.

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Erin , really Angel Corella dancing Don Q. is amazing. Specially in his variation. He has an energy incomparable. But have you ever seen Corella in Le Corsaire as Conrad? It's really unforgettable.

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Larissa, no, I've never seen him in Le Corsaire. I would like to see it, though. I've heard that ABT does a really good production.

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I would just like to say that Yat Sen Chang of English National Ballet is a brillant dancer with an extrodinary jump.

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Faroukh. The only answer to the question of the greatest male dancer can be Faroukh Ruzimatov. After having seen him last week in "Swan Lake" and in "Scheherazade" (the Kirov has been to Baden-Baden in Germany), my spontaneous reaction was never to see any ballet again, because it could never get better than this. Well, you might call him a character dancer, but I think that exactly is his magic: that strong personality, that glows through all his perfect technique, that impression of a wild animal that escaped from his cage. And his sense for the perfect pose. Just look at his hands on the fotos.

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!

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Angela, I wasn't that impressed by the Kirov's Danila Korsuntsev when I saw him as Siegfried in Hong Kong last Dec. partnering Makhalina. But I am glad to hear about Ilya Kuznetsev dancing with Lopatkina, who in Hong Kong was partnered instead by Evgeny Invanchenko.

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.

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I'd like to see Kuznetsov in Giselle. I think his youth and feckless quality might be interesting.

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.

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After seeing Peter Boal's magnificent Oberon last night, I really have to put him up there with any of today's greats.

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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What about Yanis Pikieris. While he spent the better part of his career in Europe, he was a founding member of Villela's Miami City Ballet as well as the first non-Russian to ever win the Moscow Dance Competition Gold Medal.

I've mentioned his name before, but I don't know if anyone here has ever heard of him. The dancer's of the 80's I have talked to put him right behind Misha.

shag

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It seems that nobody has mentioned here the several etoiles of Paris Opera Ballet who I think are among the greatest danseurs in the world today - Laurent Hilaire, Nicolas Le Riche, Manuel Legris. What star quality they all have, especially the first two.

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Kevin, of course I agree with you! wink.gif (But I'd put Legris as high as Le Riche, and even

higher than Hilaire). I'd also list Charles Jude (recently retired),

and among younger dancers, Jean-Guillaume Bart seems

very promising (and perhaps also Yann Bridard and

Herve Courtain).

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One of the best male dancers that I have seen perform is Patrick Armand. He belonged to the Boston Ballet for quite sometime and just left the company towards the end of this last season. He was fabulous in everything he did. You name it he was great in it.

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I agree about Armand. I was in class with him in France and I have never seen such a natural dancer. His turns are incredible. He stays up on demi-pointe at the end of six pirouettes. He looked so blasé in class. And talk about gorgeous - like a young Oliver Reed. This was in 1985, so he must have been quite young. I later saw him as Paris at the London Festival ballet's Romeo and Juliet. He was much better up close!

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Except that now he needs to do a little road work on those haunches.

Maybe age. Maybe whatever. But the technique was always amazing.

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You are not kidding about Armand's pirouettes. I had him as a teacher once at Boston Ballet's SDP. He was great. One of my friends hurt herself in his class and he felt that it was his fault. So he ran out after class and bought her a box of Godiva chocolates. He was so sweet. All that put aside he is an amazing dancer.

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Tay, if you are so keen about Patrick Armand, who is now a principal of English National Ballet (ENB), you should follow the company's performances in Britain. I saw a lot of his performances in London in the 1980s when he was with ENB before he joined Boston Ballet.

I last saw him perform Siegfried during the ENB's tour to Hong Kong, and was quite impressed. However I have always found his line too lumpy for my taste. I prefer a danseur noble with a purer line, such as those I have mentioned above.

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I've never seen Vladimir Malkhov perform live before, but he's supposed to be quite good. Has anyone here seen him?

Aleksander Antonijevic is a rising star in Canada. He can perform very difficult leaps and turns, but also has a really clean line & extension and overall technique. He's a leftie dancer, so in a lot of choreography he's been forced to do triple pirouettes and stuff on his 'bad' side, so he is now very strong on both sides.

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Is Patrick Armand a relative of the teacher and former dancer

Colette Armand?

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