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Ostrich

Russian Chamber Ballet "Moskva"

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The Russian Chamber Ballet "Moskva" will be touring South Africa in August and I am wondering whether they are worth seeing. They claim they will bring such "stars" as Natalia Tchekhovskaya, Galina Shlyapina, Anatoly Golovan and Vasily Polushin. I checked their website, but not much can be gathered from that, other than that they perform both modern and classical works.

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I'm answering my own question. I went to see them, but I'm afraid I walked out during the interval. Technique, choreography, acting, costumes - they were all at about the level of our local ballet competitions (in fact, as far as the latter three are concerned, I've seen substantially better work performed at the local competitions). The dancers did look very young. If they'd advertised themselves as a youth dance company, I might have been more lenient, but as it was I was too dissapointed to stay for the second half.

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Sorry it was a disappointment. Some of the smaller traveling Russian companies I've seen have been half very green (often very appealing!) young dancers, and dancers at the end of their careers.

What was the repertory? For the part you saw. (And what did you miss? :( )

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Except for the Russian National Ballet, I have been lucky so far when I went to see smaller Russian dance companies. This one, however, belongs to the class that is giving Russian ballet a bad name. In the first half of the program they performed Walpurgis Nacht, the pas de deux from Harlequinada, the Dying Swan and Bolero by Ravel. The latter was supposed to be very "new" and "original" choreography, but honestly, I have seen far more interesting and innovative work performed by our local dancers. The choreography of the other items was "adapted" (read down-scaled to suit the dancers' technical abilities). Maybe I'm being unfair - the dancers really looked very young, but my concern is that by travelling as a "proffessional" company these dancers aren't getting the training they obviously still need.

The second half, which I missed, contained the Waltz of the Flowers and the Nutcracker pas de deux (I don't know why every visiting company perform these items - I have seen them so many times over that the beautiful Tchaikovsky music has been "killed" for me). There was also Death in Venice, the Gopak from Taras Bulba and the Polovstian Dances.

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Interesting that you describe the dancers as "very young" as I would imagine Galina Shlyapina is now very much a senior dancer, in fact I wasn't aware she was still dancing: I thought she was teaching in Spain. I saw her dance in Vienna and at the Sintra festival in Portugal in the 90's and was very impressed by her. At the time she was dancing with the Imperial Russian Ballet and had previously danced with Moscow Classical Ballet and San Francisco Ballet.

Unless of course this is another of those irritating Russian instances of dancers not changing their name when it is shared with someone more illustrious - something that isn't allowed in the UK.

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As it turned out, Galina Shlyapina didn't accompany the tour at all, although they advertised her name in their brochure. In fact, only one of the dancers advertised performed - that was Natalia Chekhovskaya. She was better than most of the others, but still nothing extraordinary.

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