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Galina Mezentseva


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#16 canbelto

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 04:33 PM

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.

#17 Old Fashioned

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 04:42 PM

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.

#18 jose manuel

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 05:30 PM

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 Vinciīs 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, itīs 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, 25 May 2004 - 06:25 PM.


#19 Alexandra

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 06:36 PM

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.

#20 Old Fashioned

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 06:53 PM

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.

#21 Cygnet

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 11:23 AM

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.

#22 cargill

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 11:58 AM

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.

#23 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 12:20 PM

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.

#24 Alexandra

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 12:25 PM

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.

#25 Cygnet

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 12:57 PM

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:

#26 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 01:02 PM

You might even say that for Leningrad audiences and dancers she updated the existing standard: in their eyes she brought something unusual, extraordinary, or very personal, but always unexpected, in her performances of the great classics. Maybe it was just the fact of seeing something familiar done in a different, but still recognisable way, which attracted them - for that matter Mezentseva has been making school at the Mariinsky.

Nobody was offended. Like I said I never understood the fuss about her myself :wink:

#27 canbelto

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 01:30 PM

Ok, here's a theory. I have no idea if it's right. It seems as if perhaps I (and a few other people on the thread) are puzzled by Mezentseva's reputation because she is atypical of what we usually expect from Russian prima ballerinas. She is not particularly quick, athletic, flexible, or emotive. But maybe that's precisely the reason she's so revered in Russia: because she offers something different? I dont know, it's just a theory. Maybe it's what made her stand out among the light, quick, elegant, Kirov corps: she's stately, deliberate, aloof. I have no idea if this is true, it's just a theory.

#28 Alexandra

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 02:58 PM

I hope we'll hear from those who do admire Mezentseva -- what specifically do you like about her? What are those who don't missing?

#29 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 02:47 PM

This has been a really interesting discussion - I have enjoyed it. Of course, people must be allowed to have likes and dislikes and personal opinions.
I knew I had it somewhere, searched and found it - I havent seen it for years, why, well it was not so interesting.
So I saw Mezentseva in Giselle. Again after all these years...
Now what, well, I know a video is not a live performance but nevertheless it gives an idea.
I saw her on video as Giselle and though I admired the full works - after all it was not a tiny performance by a small town company - she left me pretty cold - cant explain it, but there just wasnt anything there. Cant say it was good or bad, she, as Giselle did not TOUCH me in the way that Maximova does. Oh, beloved video of Maximova and Vasiliev, taken out a couple of times a year as as super treat with a bottle of champagne.
OK, call me biased, I am hooked on the Maximova-Vasiliev Giselle, they set the standard so maybe I will always compare with them. But for ME, that is
the greatest I have seen.
To me Mezentseva is fine, but I would not hop on a plane to see her - nor would I
send for more videos either... :wink:

#30 Thalictum

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 04:59 PM

In the Byzantium of Russian ballet, if Selutsky gave his flowers to Terekova, it had nothing to due with Mezentseva's performance but was rather due to some personal contretemps that was occuring behind the scenes.


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