Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
mohnurka

Galina Mezentseva

71 posts in this topic

Where is Galina Mezentseva currently? She was in the Kirov-Mariinsky, then for a time was in Scotland, and now...? What is she doing?

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, I know about that site, and in fact, have printed many photos :) But I don't think it mentions what she is doing currently...

Share this post


Link to post

I've never seen Mezentseva live, but from the videos I have seen I must admit she's one ballerina whose enormous reputation baffles me. She has a good classical technique (pure lines, very "Kirov"), but she's not a particularly fast or athletic ballerina. Her leaps and spins all at least on video seem slow and deliberate. But most of all, she just seems to exude iciness. Her face, hands, back, they all seem stiff, icy, and unexpressive. This is good, I suppose, for a role like Odile, but then again, her total lack of sexiness and her aforementioned deliberateness are kind of a wet blanket even in the Black Pas de deux. I dont know whether she was a different ballerina in person, but at least on video Mesentseva seems rather, well, ordinary to me.

Share this post


Link to post

canbelto, I am so glad you wrote that. I have never understood her high reputation -- and it's my understanding that she really is revered as a top ballerina in Russia. To me, she's not at the top in anything: technique, artistry, dramatically, or even in physical beauty. I have seen her live several times and I did not admire her performances.

This may be a Great Cultural Divide. I've been told by colleagues who saw her dance in Russia 15 years or so ago that American and British critics, to a person, went and said "Oh, what a beauty!!!!" -- about Asylmuratova. And the Russians, to a person, said, "What? NO! You must see Mezentseva."

I'm still asking why? why? why?

Share this post


Link to post

I mostly agree with you, Alexandra and Canbelto. However, I was surprised to see her turn in a ballerina-claiber Sylph-figure in Scotch Symphony when the Kirov brought their brand-new, Farrell-staged production to the Met. Is it that the Balanchine didn't require the fluid lyricism that the older classics do? Was it Suzanne Farrell's magic touch? Don't know :shrug: , but it was a lovely, commanding (in its gentle way) performance, free of the brittleness I'd come to expect from her.

Share this post


Link to post
canbelto, I am so glad you wrote that.  I agree completely.  I have never understood her high reputation -- and it's my understanding that she really is revered as a top ballerina in Russia.  To me, she's not at the top in anything: technique, artistry, dramatically, or even in physical beauty.  I have seen her live several times and I did not admire her performances.

This may be a Great Cultural Divide.  I've been told by colleagues who saw her dance in Russia 15 years or so ago that American and British critics, to a person, went and said "Oh, what a beauty!!!!" -- about Asylmuratova.  And the Russians, to a person, said, "What?  NO!  You must see Mezentseva."

I'm still asking why? why? why?

Ditto that Alexandra! I have several Kirov tapes with Mezentseva in them, and only one she starred in - the 1982 "Giselle" with K. Zaklinsky. Based on the recorded evidence, I concluded long ago that she was mediocre. After time goes by the worst reviews tend to stick in your mind. I remember when the Kirov came to L.A. in 1989. Martin Bernheimer, whose not given to diplomacy, completely flipped out when she danced the Lilac Fairy. He said, "Mercifully, she didn't wear the nighty. She had feet that groped rather than skimmed the floor." I will never forget that. Three years earlier he questioned the Kirov "... favoring her with the central assignments." Her coach was Olga Moiseyeva, and even she called her a great ballerina :shrug:. Her main partnership was with Zaklinsky. IMO I think he made her; not the other way around. He was a very earthy, handsome, competent and generous danseur noble. He knew how to present her.

I can't remember the name of the book, but I read that the Russians likened her, (IMO frightening), thinness in ballets like 'Giselle,' 'Bayadere' and 'Swan Lake' as ethereal and ghostly. In 'Giselle' she did look like a wraith. Her Mad Scene was contrived. She had no lightness nor lyricism for me. Technically she was just ok. Perhaps during the Soviet era she was a party member and had the favor of the powers that were. She did receive many State awards and titles. Other than that, I don't see how she made it.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, that's my take on things :blushing: I love the toes groping the stage -- thank you for that. I saw her mostly with Evgeny Neff (an apt partner); when I saw Zaklinsky, he was usually with Asylmuratova, and I thought they were a very fine partnership.

I once was at a reception with dance students in their late teens, and I remember asking one which ballerina she most admired. "Mezentseva," she said, unhesitatingly. "Why?" I said, trying to maintain an impassive, though bright and intrigued, expression. "Oh, the technique, the artistry. Her beauty. Everything." "Oh," I said. "She's so THIN," said the young dancer. And on that, we could agree.

Share this post


Link to post

Here we have this strange phenomenon in Russian ballet, called Mezentseva. I'm not trying to defend her, nor did I ever like her much. Yet there is one undeniable fact, as Alexandra already mentioned: she is adored by about any Petersburg trained dancer I know. Many of them, even from the current generation of Mariinsky dancers, consider her the example to follow, and many will admit her being far superior. A Kirov dancer once told me that her mad scene in Giselle was the most convincing one he'd ever seen in his life. Not because of her thinness, but because of her dramatic abilities, which he thought unequalled. I have never seen it, but there it is - and the things you suggest, Cygnet, are totally irrelevant to that fact. Moreover, Mezentseva was definitely not made because of dancing with Zaklinsky.

Share this post


Link to post

I feel so sad. I had never read so many monstruosities put together.

Galina Mezentseva is a DIVINITY.

She is the epitome of classical ballet. she is one of the best examples odf the best school of classical ballet.

she is tops in everything in technique, artistry, dramatically and in physical beauty.

I cant understand how can someone put her down based in watching one tape of her performing.moreover in giselle ,she was sublime, she was not " stiff,icy or inexpressive". she was expressive and with a divine subtlety she conveyed all the emotion s of this difficult role.

she is one of the best giselles of all time and extraordinary in swan lake. she is not icy, she is reserved and subtle in her emotions. ( maybe you would prefer her to roll on the floor like a madwoman)

if you had seen her dancing the dying swan in the zubkovskaya jubilee in st petersburg, you would not criticise her so stupidly and harshly. you would understand that her artistry comes from an unbroken line of divine dancers and paedagogues, like olga moiseyeva and agrippina vaganova.

I am so sad that the usa americans have these divinities teaching and coaching like mezentseva and kolpakova and you dont appreciate them.... please learn and appreciate men..

all this reminds me of a moment from the american documentary about the ABT from 1995 called Dance when the divine kolpakova is coaching Susan Jaffe in la Bayadere. when the rehearsal ends a couple with their little girl that have been watching the rehearsal, rush to susan jaffe and ask their autograph. they prefer a famous but run-of-the-mill dancer to a divinity. very sad...

josé manuel

Share this post


Link to post

yes, ther mad scene in giselle is the best I have ever seen

and I am very happy to read that kirov dancers still look at her in awe. not all hope is lost,then.

jose manuel

Share this post


Link to post

Well, we've got both sides of this argument now.

I only have seen Mezentseva on film, in "Backstage at the Kirov". She didn't make either a positive or negative impression from that. I guess she's one of those dancers that, if you don't get her, you never will.

Share this post


Link to post

I have to say that my post was written before haegeman´s reply (although he was quicker in replying) so my first line does not refer to him.

jose manuel

Share this post


Link to post

Just a quick note: Irina Kolpakova is generally very admired here both as a great ballerina (especially for her Aurora) and, today, as a coach.

And a general comment on the thread: We want to foster an atmosphere on this forum where people aren't afraid to say what they think. And so while we're happy to have strong opinions here, we ask that you state them positively: say what you admire about the artist, rather than insulting or dismissing those who disagree, please.

Edited by Alexandra

Share this post


Link to post

I love Mezentseva. I always have.

"I am so sad that the usa americans have these divinities teaching and coaching like mezentseva and kolpakova and you dont appreciate them.... please learn and appreciate men.."

I think the above comment is harsh, has nothing to do with ballet, and is uneccesarily critical of our country. Please refrain from such, thank you very much.

Mezentseva is glorious, she was also able to teach, tour, and spread her art in the USA.

Kolpakova lives and teaches in NY and Indiana.....

No one forces them to be here, we are extremely fortunate to have artists of their calibre and they are obviously here because they can make a living and pass their art on to future generations.

Who has GM's Giselle on video? Can I get a copy from you? Please, please????Please PM me--

Share this post


Link to post

Jose Manuel,

First of all, let me ask you, other than her being a "divinity" what is so great about her? I',m not trying to be rude and insult you (although you havent exactly been very polite) but here is what I see:

1. stiff limbs. This is most unusual for a Kirov dancer. Even though she's very thin, her legs seem very "heavy" -- theyre slow, they dont seem to fly easily. Every step seems deliberate and carefully placed.

2. lack of flexibility. Again, for a Kirov dancer, this is most unusual. I'm not saying this is bad, but just something I note.

3. A kind of inorganic disconnect when she dances. For instance, in the White pas de deux of the Swan Lake sometimes I feel as if she's flapping her arms while rather stiffly arabesqueing. Ive seen this with Paloma Herrera too. With the best ballerinas I always feel as if it's not just their feet or their hands or their face dancing -- everything is in sync. With Mezentseva I just don't see that, sorry.

4. Slowness and lack of power. Again, this is not bad, but just another thing that I observe.

5. A rather cold, forbidding, expressionless face. Lack of beauty is fine -- Natalia Makarova was nothing to look at either. But Mezentseva's face never seems to change -- her Odette has a big frown from her very first entrance. To me, what is a Swan Lake is Odette doesnt also show a sign of joy or rapture, that makes her fate that much more poignant? When Siegfried dances with her, he has to see not only what she is but what she was and what she could be.

I mean basically this is just what I see. And I love Lezhnina, Zakharova, other Vaganova-trained dancers. I even thought Natalia Bessmertova was enchanting in Giselle.

Share this post


Link to post
brittleness

Juicy thread. Never having seen or even heard of this Mezentseva until now, I can't comment much, but this word came to mind when I searched for pictures of her.

Share this post


Link to post

well, if from this thread people get to know and appreciate Mezentseva, I will be very happy

to alexandra

I understand your words and the spirit behind your words very well, but I had to react when I read the terrible comments about mezentseva.

to canbelto

to your question. "what is so great about her? " I already answered in my first post.please read again and more carefully.

although to understand the essence of a dancer, one has to see him/her in many roles and many times. for example I call Mezentseva divine because I have seen in the grand pas de quatre ( 1981 night of classical dance, st petersburg). I have seen her, and it is an incredible experience,we are not talking about pirouettes or jumps here, a hand or arm gestureof mezentseva expresses the infinite,like the arm gestures of the angels in Leornado da Vinci´s paintings.

and also there is knowledge,background knowledge. for example, when you see a performance of suzanne farrell ( whom I adore) you like it,not only because of the performance itself ,but because of her background, balanchine,her story,etc. when I see a great dancer from the kirov school like mezentseva or asylmuratova or makhalina. I see "more" and I enjoy more.

about your comments of "stiff limbs" and "lack of flexibility", a dancer is not a gymnast, mezentseva is an artist, a ballerina, in the sense that makarova uses this word

to juliet

she says " I think the above comment is harsh, has nothing to do with ballet and unnecessary critical of our country"

well, it´s true my comment was harsh,but not harsher than the comments I read in the posts before and in my opinion necessary

my comment has EVERYTHING to do with ballet

[a sentence in this post has been deleted by the administrators. A.T.]

bye for now

jose manuel

Edited by Alexandra

Share this post


Link to post
to alexandra

I understand your words and the spirit behind your words very well, but  I  had to react when I read the terrible comments about mezentseva.

The way to react, in this forum, is to discuss the question -- tell us why you admire Mezentzeva, discuss the reasons, not to personally insult posters who disagree with you. Future posts in that vein will be deleted.

Canbelto posted some very reasonable questions, and specific examples of what she did not like, and I hope that there will be others who admire Mezentzeva who could give another view and explain how they view those particular performances, or aspects of her dancing, as well as some examples of what they especially admire.

Share this post


Link to post

I think what Juliet meant was that you made an attack on nationality and not just certain individuals' opinions. If you meant it to be an attack on nationality, then therefore it really is irrelevant to the topic and unnecessary. In the posts before you, people only criticized the dancer, not what others think about her. There is a difference between saying the Russians have different views from the British and Americans and saying Americans don't have taste (or something to that effect).

"well, if from this thread people get to know and appreciate Mezentseva, I will be very happy"

I don't know if that was somewhat directed toward me because of my comment on her and never having actually seen her dance, but that was directed towards her thinness and how I feel about that body type. I really dislike seeing dancers that skeletal-looking (boney and angular, therefore appearing "brittle"), unless it's Wendy Whelan. Who knows, I may like the way Mezentseva dances, I'll just have to find out.

Share this post


Link to post
Here we have this strange phenomenon in Russian ballet, called Mezentseva. I'm not trying to defend her, nor did I ever like her much. Yet there is one undeniable fact, as Alexandra already mentioned: she is adored by about any Petersburg trained dancer I know. Many of them, even from the current generation of Mariinsky dancers, consider her the example to follow, and many will admit her being far superior. A Kirov dancer once told me that her mad scene in Giselle was the most convincing one he'd ever seen in his life. Not because of her thinness, but because of her dramatic abilities, which he thought unequalled. I have never seen it, but there it is - and the things you suggest, Cygnet, are totally irrelevant to that fact. Moreover, Mezentseva was definitely not made because of dancing with Zaklinsky.

Marc, I haven't seen her live. I would have never paid to see her live. I had opportunities to do so, but based on what I had seen and read, I was not going to pay money for 'live' mediocrity, especially since the company had far superior ballerinas on the roster at that time to choose from.

Unlike you, I have seen her Giselle, a taped live performance - in her prime, which is painful to revisit with the exception of Terekhova's Myrtha, the corps and Zaklinsky. I do not suggest, I emphatically declare that it was lousy, period. It was so lousy, that during the curtain call Selyutsky, who danced Hilarion crossed in front of Galya and gave his bouquet to Terekhova to add to her floral glory instead. Imagine that affront. Terekhova's Myrtha and Asylmuratova's Moyna blew Mezentseva's performance out of the water. If that was the only Giselle she taped it is her valedictory. Worse, it has been recorded for posterity. Here's the relevancy: Where Mezentseva is concerned I am not alone in my assessment, regardless of what the Kirov gentleman told you or what Petersburgers think. Obviously the Russians judge her by a different standard. Its not a crime for me or others to disagree with that standard.

Share this post


Link to post

I saw her when the Kirov was here in New YOrk in the late 1980's I think. (It was the year they brought Scotch Symphony.) I wasn't blown away by her Scotch, but I was too busy watching that wondeful corps, and Lezhnina as the Scotch girl! I did see her in Sleeping Beauty, and I'm afraid that I can't think of a dancer that I have enjoyed less. She seemed so mannered and arch, and my gosh, she milked those curtain calls, longer than any Russian I have every seen, and that took some doing! I also saw her Lilac, which I enjoyed a lot more. She was the only one who wore a tutu during the vision scene, but like so many other Westerners, I can't really see what the excitement was about.

Share this post


Link to post

Dear Cygnet, my posting was nothing personal, you know. Just this: when I mentioned "I have never seen it" I meant that I did never see, live or in the video you so agreeably describe, what the Kirov person has seen in Mezentseva's performance of Giselle. (To make sure, it was not the video performance he was describing.) But since you were making insinuations about Mezentseva's career which are totally irrelevant as to how Russians assess her artistry, and since you seem to condemn a dancer on the strength of a video performance, I thought it useful to post this little clarification. Indeed, it's not a crime to disagree with another's standard, but it's a shame if one would remain ignorant of the fact there is another standard.

Share this post


Link to post

I think some of the questions were what the standard WAS. Saying she's beautiful and dramatic is helpful, but not to someone who doesn't see it that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Dear Cygnet, my posting was nothing personal, you know. Just this: when I mentioned "I have never seen it" I meant that I did never see, live or in the video you so agreeably describe, what the Kirov person has seen in Mezentseva's performance of Giselle. (To make sure, it was not the video performance he was describing.) But since you were making insinuations about Mezentseva's career which are totally irrelevant as to how Russians assess her artistry, and since you seem to condemn a dancer on the strength of a video performance, I thought it useful to post this little clarification. Indeed, it's not a crime to disagree with another's standard, but it's a shame if one would remain ignorant of the fact there is another standard.

Okay, now I understand where you're coming from. Let me clarify. I used the 'Giselle' tape as an example of a complete performance. I have several tapes with her in cameo appearances, in rehearsal et. al., and I borrowed her 'Swan Lake.' What you say I agree with. If I offended you I'm sorry; please forgive me. :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0