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Bolshoi returns to Balanchine


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#1 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 01:30 AM

On March 12 the Bolshoi Ballet will do its share in the Balanchine centennial by presenting its new Balanchine program, including "Agon", "Symphony in C", "Concerto Barocco" and a divertissement with "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux", "Sylvia Pas de Deux", and "Tarantella".
Rehearsals are supervised by John Clifford, Marina Eglevsky, Adam Lüders and Tatiana Terekhova.

"Agon" and "Symphony in C" entered the Bolshoi's repertory in 1999.

#2 Paul Parish

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 10:38 PM

myGOD!!! What an evening! What a program!!

That's the spirit...

#3 Roma

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 09:30 AM

I am not sure that all the ballets will be shown in one evening, though.
I understood that either Barocco was to alternate with the divertissment, or it was Barocco+ one of the pas deux (alternating which one).
Clifford is teaching the steps for Tchai Pas, and Violette Verdy is suppose to join him in a couple of weeks to polish it up.

#4 Inga

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 08:18 AM

On 12,13,14 of March Bolshoi showed at last their Balanchine program. Was performed Concerto Barocco, Agon and Symphony C, and some short number – first day it was Tchaikovsky pas de deux, second day – Tarantella, third day – Sylvie pas de deux.
The long awaited premiere was much less successful than the Balanchine program of Mozartiana, Agon and Symphony in C shown 5 years ago. In 1999 Agon was adorned by Gudanov, Belogolovtsev, Pertova, in Symphony C shone Ananiashvili-Uvarov and Alexandrova-Tsiskaridze… We have no such a treat now.
The company looks as if the roles were given at random without considerations of a dancer’s abilities. There were just a few bright moments.
Maria Alexandrova danced Tchaikovsky pas de deux with Sergei Filin. Both show a lot of energy and star power but the number was apparently not rehearsed well so there were mistakes.
Galina Stepanenko was very impressive in the Symphony in C IV part and in Tarantella (with Andrei Bolotin whom I also liked). She is an earthy bravura dancer, a type not usually connected with Balanchine, but she danced with apparent joy and inspiration, so the audience received her with enthusiasm.
The rest was fine but not exciting. Sweet but bland Anna Antonicheva in Concerto Barocco; nice but not very memorable Anastasia Yatsenko (II trio) and Ekaterina Shipulina- Ruslan Skvortsov (pas de deux) in Agon; good, professional and dull Nadezhda Gracheva (I part) and Svetlana Zakharova (II part) in Symphony in C. Maria Allash danced Symphony C III part showing a heavy jump, and her partner Yan Godovsky showing nothing at all.

Now I am waiting to see the same program with another cast. I hope one day the stars of 1999 premiere will dance their old roles again.

#5 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 08:36 AM

Many thanks, Inga. Shame the evening didn't go down that well. Sounds to me that this Balanchine celebration was more or less felt obligatory, but not really danced with the heart.

#6 ina

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 03:31 AM

I was also rather unhappy at what I saw during the Balanchine premier at the Bolshoi. The main problem from my point of view is that the chosen ballets were under-rehearsed. 5 years ago the dancers involved in Balanchine program were free from other obligations for three weeks rehearsals. Now they had to participate at the same time in the full-scale ballet process on the two stages of the Bolshoi. I think , they did not prove to be ready for that.
What to the casts, they really looked random. One of the reasons, as I see it, is that the most of the heroes of the previous premier were absent: Tsiskaridze – injured ( his duet with Alexandrova in the 3d part of Symphony in C was spectacular 5 years ago), Ananiashvili, Petrova, Uvarov, Belogolvtsev – on tour. Filin was the only premier danseur engaged in the project. And he, for some reasons, failed to demonstrate the level of dancing and style suitable for his rank.
I think the understanding of the Balanchine style was the major problem, the company faced. Even Svetlana Zakharova, whose dancing was almost exquisite in the adagio part of Symphony in C, lacked the dignity and grace, which we saw with the best Russian interpreters of this part - Lopatkina and Ananiashvili. Her happy smiles in the middle of the part destroyed the spell which she began creating with her beautiful soft feet and incredible (sometimes exaggerated) plasticity.
Gracheva was a sheer disappointment – again more in the style, than technique (which wasn’t perfect either). Who knows why, but she chose to put on airs of Odylle for the 1st part of Symphony (!). Stepanenko manifested her strong technique in Tarantella, but brought to the piece too much of a typical Russian-Ukrainian flavour and bravura instead of lightness, unforced easiness and natural coquetry, as I see it.

On the 11th of April there will be another Balanchine performance: Alexandrova returns to the 3d part, Uvarov - to the 2d part of Symphony. We’ll see how it works: Uvarov will partner Gracheva (Zakharova leaves on 2 month personal tour), Alexandrova will have a new partner - Vorobiev, whom we hardly know. Will he match her? There aren’t many male dancers in the company, whose jump is better than Alexandrova’s :wink: . Anyway I do hope that the company will polish her Balanchine program to the extend which will match it’s name “Bolshoi”.

#7 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 08:06 AM

Thank you, Ina. It seems that the Bolshoi is making the same mistake as the Paris Opera Ballet by trying too much at the same time in two performing venues, and with a new repertory which demands careful preparation and time.

It's interesting that the Bolshoi casts Zakharova in the 2nd movement of "Symphony in C" (which I assume would suit her better), while at the Mariinsky she was cast in the 1st.

Please keep us updated about further casts in this program.


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