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Leigh Witchel

Nelli Kobakhidze

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Hey, Bolshoi watchers!

I saw the Boston Don Q tonight (Gracheva-Filin) and had a marvelous time. The secondary roles were particularly delightful, with a lot of dancers proving again and again that there are no small parts.

The one dancer that really made me go "Who is she?", though, was the young woman doing the second variation in the Act III divertissement. Nelli Kobakhidze, the program said (Knowing Bolshoi casting, one only hopes that is correct. Tallish, thin and long, dark hair, pale skin). She was just lovely - delicate and strong at once.

Can anyone tell us more about her?

And Yulianna Malkhasyants was over-the-top wonderful as the happysadhappysadoverjoyeddespondent Gypsy. It was the kind of deliriously whacked out performance I've only seen Russian dancers pull off.

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Thank you, Leigh Witchel, for you review!

It seems the dancer you asked about really is Nelly Kobakhidze. She looks like you described, and she is a person who can attract attention even in small role.

She was born in Georgia, like Nina Ananiashvili. She began to study ballet in her native Tbilisi, after some time moved into Moscow ballet school. In 2001 she was graduated from the school and joined Bolshoi Ballet.

In Bolshoi she danced small roles like Tenderness Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, variation in Raymonda dream (I wonder if she danced it in USA?) and so on. Her main achievement is leading role in Les Sylphides, and, last season, solo roles in Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco and Yury Posokhov’s Magrittomania. In galas she danced pas de deux from Giselle and Raymonda.

She attracted attention of Moscow audience by her musicality, charm and lyrical qualities. She was noticed even when danced in the corps. She seems to be intelligent dancer. Her only problem is, as it’s not unusual with thin and long-limbed dancers, she sometimes have technical problems. But she is young, so if she’ll be able to cope with big roles, we’ll have a ballerina of highest level.

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I'll echo Inga's words. I've seen Kobakhidze in Concerto Barocco and as Zulma in Giselle. I agree, Leigh -- she is a stunner! Incredibly, Inga, she is still listed in the corps de ballet but it's only a matter of time before she is promoted.

The other corps-level dancers on whom I'm keeping an eye include:

- Anastasia Meskova (the 2nd-cast Juliet...still in the corps!)

- Anastasia Stashkevich - a virtuosa

- Natalia Osipova - absolutely gorgeous...she has that Margot Fonteyn look!

- Vyacheslav Lopatin - a real virtuoso...SL pas de trois & Peasant pdd-type roles, so far

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Leigh (& others interested in Nelli K.):

I just read in the February 2005 issue of the Russian ballet magazine "Lineya" that Nelli Kobakhidze made her debut as 'Giselle' with the Ufa Ballet (Nureyev's home town) in late January. She was a guest artist, along with POB's Karl Paquette, who danced Albrecht. The article mentioned that Kobakhidze, who is presently in her 4th season as a Bolshoi choryphee, has been preparing the role for a long time & finally had a chance to perform it in far-off Ufa.

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Many thanks for the update.

As Dick Button might say, "Good for her!" I bet she was a lovely Giselle.

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Keep us posted please, Natalia. She's a dancer whose career I will have to follow from afar, but I look forward to the next time I get to see her dance!

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Leigh, Nelli was fabulous here in Raymnda--yes, she did a variation in hte dream, and she was down front in the last act....

she and Krysanova -- you dind't mention HER!!! was she dancing in Boston? -- completely made me go crazy with delight. I wasn't just technical,. they dance like Americans, or rather, in he liberated Russian style -- relaly musical, such gusto in he action, when everything else is so clear what it reveals is wonderful phrasing....

are we on he same pak\ge?

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Paul, I'm not sure I saw Krysanova! The ones I have notes about from my performances in Boston were Olga Stebletsova, Anna Rebetskaya, Irina Semirechenskaya and Natalia Malandina (friends of Kitri, all.)

It's hard to say now what I liked about Kobhakidze. I just remember she had lovely phrasing and a clarity that made you look at her. It was one of those moments on stage where you look at one dancer, nudge the person next to you and ask, "Who's that one?"

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We're n hte same page -- it's everything at once, good DANCING...

ps, I apologize for all those typos in that post... reeally awful....

Krysanova must not have been in it. You'd have remembered her. she had 2 big variatoins in Raymonda and just knoked our socks off. Much like Kobakhidze in phrasing, loft, clarity, but a rounder-faced, "prettier" girlier girl.....

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I just came home from a wonderful evening (Chopiniana, Tricorne, Symphony in C) at the Bolshoi:

Nelli had a magnificent debut as the Miller’s Wife in Tricorne. It was the first time I saw her in a non-lyric role and she was absolutely fantastic – brilliant technique, flamboyante, coquet, hilarious … ( my husband adds "gorgeous" to the list)

Mr. Ratmanskiy: it is definitely time for a promotion!

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Thank you for the news, dachnitsa! Many of us who've seen her on the Bolshoi US tours -- and not featured enough -- are hoping for the same thing.

I laughed when I saw the description "gorgeous," because I'm visiting England right now, and the only thing I've heard that word used to describe here is food :wub:

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Nelli Kobakhidze (written as "Khobakidze") appears as the Winter Fairy from Cinderella in a ravishing photo on the cover of the Summer 2006 issue of Dance Now.

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She was the Hungarian Princess in the Grigorovich Lake o' Swan I saw in London recently. Delightful.

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Nellie Kobakhidze will replace Svetlana Lunkina as Lisa in The Queen of Spades tonight.

Lunkina will also be dancing tonight - in "Go for Broke" (as last night) and Part 2 of Symphony in C.

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