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Galina Mezentseva


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#61 chrisk217

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Posted 20 January 2005 - 02:02 AM

This topic has been dead for a long time but I had to post since I love Galina Mezentzeva...

I own many videos of Giselle. But whenever I see Galina Mezentseva I am blown away by the poetry she exudes. Everything is understated, internal, full of dramatic meaning...

Many dancers with great technical ability perform the choreography today but the viewer never really forgets that this is dancerX dancing Giselle. Mezentseva to me IS Giselle (cliche, I know... but she is totally immersed in the role and conveys the emotion with every understated motion)

I also never tire Tatiana Terekhova's Myrtha. Altynai Assylmuratova is also in the video dancing Mona (one of the 2 willi-queen helpers).

#62 girl_bear

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 05:15 AM

Hi, I'm new to this forum and I know this is quite an old thread but I read it's okay to reply :beg: This topic is of great interest to me as yesterday my DVD of Giselle arrived in the post. The dancers are Galina Mezentseva and Konstantin Zaklinsky.

I purchased this DVD because I have a weakness for the older versions, and particularly for the Russians. I had read various comments about Mezentseva's interpretation, some praising, others highly critical. But I also own The Children of Theatre Street, in which the famous Swan Lake pas de deux is danced by GM and KZ. Both dancers were young but there was already something rare and beautiful. I admit I felt Mezentseva lacked expression facially, but her body said so much.

I have only seen Giselle live once, performed by the ST Petersburg Ballet Theatre, with Irina Kolesnikova dancing Giselle. Simply her entrance brought me to tears-although this was the first time I saw russian ballet and it was an overwhelming experience. Kolesnikova's acting abilities are incredible, not to mention her flawless technique. I know the company will be selling a DVD shortly, which I intend to buy. But I was still intrigued with Mezentseva so as soon as I found a version of her Giselle I bought it without hesitation. And, after watching, without regret.

I understand why some people do not find her physically beautiful; she does not conform to the normal features of a Kirov ballerina, despite the long, long limbs and delicate thinness. I have read in this post that some considered her stiff, not flexible. Firstly I myself cannot relate to this; her back is beautifully supple, as are her arms, feet and legs. As for fluidity, this comes down to interpretation. The russians are famous for their 'singing' quality (which Kolesnikova has in abundance), but there are other qualities to appreciate. I was saddened by the comments reffering to her tears in the mad scene. Ballet is an art and little about it is natural, but how distant should it become before no one can relate to it? Tears are the most recognised form of sorrow-an emotion Giselle is pained by. The mad scene is probably one of the most challenging scenes for dancers, not just dramatically, but because audiences have come to expect so much. Giselle allows for more interpretation than say, Sleeping beauty (IMO), and yet ballet audiences want to see the best. Different, more daring interpretations may cause confusion and dislike-not because they are wrong, but because they are new. As others have said, I think Mezentseva was different.

In Act 2, I was awe struck by Tatiana Terekhova's Myrtha. But this did not make Mezentseva's Giselle any less credit worthy. One thing about her which I found haunting was her arms. Long and thin, trained in the purest Russian technique, I found them more expansive, more expressive than words. Even her fingers would direct my gaze to where she intended, and this is simply on DVD. She commanded the stage and I recognised her tragedy....her love for Albrecht. I always think they fall inlove too quickly, but ballet is ballet and Giselle is even more than that.

To those who do not like Mezentseva, your views are what makes ballet so interesting. I love how some dancers can be both adored and disliked-it exemplifies what we call art.

#63 papeetepatrick

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 06:52 PM

I just read a big slice of this thread after watching Mezentzeva's Black Swan with Konstantin Zaklinsky. 'Juicy thread', Old-Fashioned says.

Yes, indeed.

I liked her Black Swan better than any I've ever seen, because she's so creamy. Someone mentioned 'she's not very fast', but what is that anyway? It's not slow, is it? My impression was that she could open up very fast choreography and make it look leisurely, not clipped--I don't think she's literally slower. She's extravagant, and I think carbro said something about 'the Farrell touch' regarding another piece. And physically a MOST BEAUTIFUL BALLERINA to boot! And her partner Konstantin Zaklinsky is this dream! Oh yes, I find this interesting that there was such a divide, and yet I don't have any Peterburg training to be on this side of the divide at all...I dig this dancer, she has some nerve!

And girl bear talks about her wondrous arms. Yes, these are marvels indeed, and may seem why she can give the illusion of slowing things when she might be opening up, but someone else who likes her would have to confirm that. All I know is I'd never heard of her and was watching 'Magic of the Kirov' to see Kolpakova, and I couldn't believe this kind of Odile.

#64 carbro

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 08:37 PM

I think carbro said something about 'the Farrell touch' regarding another piece.

Context is everything. In the earlier post, I was marvelling over the near-miraculous transformation Farrell worked on GM, who until she danced in the role Farrell taught her, was stiff, awkward and unmusical. In Scotch Symphony, there was evidence of potential not realized in the 19th C classics.

But that's just my opinion.

Maybe she was able to apply the lessons of Scotch Symphony to other roles. I don't know, as I never saw her after that visit when the Kirov first brought a Balanchine program to New York.

I should probably take a tour of some of her YT clips

#65 papeetepatrick

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 09:15 PM

Context is everything. In the earlier post, I was marvelling over the near-miraculous transformation Farrell worked on GM, who until she danced in the role Farrell taught her, was stiff, awkward and unmusical.


I was aware of that when I said 'another piece', but it turns out we most likely disagree anyway because this Odile was taped in 1986, and a search of NYTimes finds the 'Scotch Symphony' in 1989. Which means I thought there was something I used to find musical in Farrell in Mezentseva before 'Scotch Symphony.' I thought she was incredibly musical, although whether it's 'in the appropriate way' I wouldn't know.

In Scotch Symphony, there was evidence of potential not realized in the 19th C classics.



I would probably like her in this, although this is one of my least favourite Balanchine ballets, and I always find it boring, largely because of the music.

Maybe she was able to apply the lessons of Scotch Symphony to other roles. I don't know, as I never saw her after that visit when the Kirov first brought a Balanchine program to New York.


As we've discovered, she couldn't have applied it directly, having gotten to 'Scotch' after this Odile I just saw, but again I find this thread interesting like the discussions of Sylvie Guillem, about whom people also seem very partisan. Obviously, I'm no purist, and if her Odette would not be so transporting, that wouldn't surprise me, given how luxurious she is, nor would it matter to me, since I see these old pieces mostly in fragments anyway. I don't look for 'complete Swan Lakes' as such, because they're almost never available, would be like waiting for Godot. But totally disagree with one commenter's remark on Mezentseva's 'total lack of sexiness'.

#66 leonid17

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 04:38 AM

It is interesting to see admiration expressed for Galina Mezentseva across the pond as I do not recell similar appreciation in Europe. I saw Miss M dance a fair number of roles before I came to the conclusion NIFOM. A seemingly harsh opinion perhaps, but mine own. She epitomised to me wrongly perhaps, that she had inherited many of the mannerisms of earlier soviet dancers who achieved status but not aesthetic quality.

#67 papeetepatrick

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 07:17 AM

NIFOM.


Of course I get the drift, Leonid, but can you (or anyone else) specify NIFOM, I coudn't find it with the NQOCD's, etc., and I might wish to use it. The various glossaries for this sort of thing did not have anything but 'Naked in Front of Mirror', but feel free to PM me, as I would really like to know. We Americans don't know nearly all of these unless we're living in the UK. I thought it was possibly 'Not In Front of Me' or almost anything, but it's not readily available.

What I see with Mezentseva may not be something as rare as I imagine it, but that I usually recognize as such, if for myself only--some sort of voluptuousness of movement I thought I saw in this Odile. Another time I thought I saw this was in the POB Jewels DVD, with Marie-Agnes Gillot in 'Rubies.' I believe I recall that most people thought this was not quite what was needed here, but I had liked it that way and thought M. Carbone brought the more overt kind of sparkle, since that was seemingly needed. In other words, it's a kind of using the body as another musical instrument that doesn't ignore the orchestra but doesn't seem to be 'keeping time' or dependent on the 'real music' either, maybe best said as 'two musics in a harmonious counterpoint or easy conversation' (if possible.) Anyway, I could well be missing some major point here, but this kind of musicality of dancing--a dancer with a partially independent music but which doesn't actually break away from the instruments playing--is what I used to think of as the most important characteristic of Suzanne Farrell's musicality when dancing. I hadn't ever thought I'd seen this in any Swan Lakes or Sleeping Beautys, though, so even if my impression is right in a literal since, it might be something considered too narcissistic (or something) for those ballets--perhaps self-indulgent and 'mannered', as you say (I'm quite capable of having a taste for the vulgar mannered, I imagine). But Odile to me is better the more seductive, though, and the costume she wore made me find her irresistible.

#68 bart

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 08:02 AM

She epitomised to me wrongly perhaps, that she had inherited many of the mannerisms of earlier soviet dancers who achieved status but not aesthetic quality.

Now that this thread has been revived, I've watched some of the videos for the first time.

The most striking quality I noticed in her performance of both Odette and especially Giselle, Act II, was the port de bras and the amazing positioning of head and neck. Her arms are mesmerising, or are they distracting?

Is this the sort of "mannerism" that you are thinking of, leonid? (I'd love to learn more about this concept as it applies to Soviet era ballerinas.)

#69 leonid17

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 05:37 AM

NIFOM.


Of course I get the drift, Leonid, but can you (or anyone else) specify NIFOM, I coudn't find it with the NQOCD's, etc., and I might wish to use it. The various glossaries for this sort of thing did not have anything but 'Naked in Front of Mirror', but feel free to PM me, as I would really like to know. We Americans don't know nearly all of these unless we're living in the UK. I thought it was possibly 'Not In Front of Me' or almost anything, but it's not readily available.

What I see with Mezentseva may not be something as rare as I imagine it, but that I usually recognize as such, if for myself only--some sort of voluptuousness of movement I thought I saw in this Odile. Another time I thought I saw this was in the POB Jewels DVD, with Marie-Agnes Gillot in 'Rubies.' I believe I recall that most people thought this was not quite what was needed here, but I had liked it that way and thought M. Carbone brought the more overt kind of sparkle, since that was seemingly needed. In other words, it's a kind of using the body as another musical instrument that doesn't ignore the orchestra but doesn't seem to be 'keeping time' or dependent on the 'real music' either, maybe best said as 'two musics in a harmonious counterpoint or easy conversation' (if possible.) Anyway, I could well be missing some major point here, but this kind of musicality of dancing--a dancer with a partially independent music but which doesn't actually break away from the instruments playing--is what I used to think of as the most important characteristic of Suzanne Farrell's musicality when dancing. I hadn't ever thought I'd seen this in any Swan Lakes or Sleeping Beautys, though, so even if my impression is right in a literal since, it might be something considered too narcissistic (or something) for those ballets--perhaps self-indulgent and 'mannered', as you say (I'm quite capable of having a taste for the vulgar mannered, I imagine). But Odile to me is better the more seductive, though, and the costume she wore made me find her irresistible.

You were correct Not in front of me.
On the occasions I saw Miss Mezentseva dance, I found her performances physically obtrusive, over emphasised attack(as if to show what technical and physical effects could be achieved - ala Soviet dancers of ilk I would not want to specify as some are still alive) and her inability to be come the role.
For me, mannered can be acceptable in some contexts and I have been momentarily amused by vulgarity but you have to be a supreme artist(eg Plisetskaya) to go to the very edge of classical ballet aesthetics and still stay within the implied boundaries of school and style.

#70 FauxPas

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 12:37 PM

I have only seen Mezentseva on video. I do not like the Giselle, but it has been a while since I watched it. I actually find much to admire in the Odette/Odile in "Swan Lake" on Kultur DVD but she doesn't deeply move me or blow me away. One thing I feel is that she is actually a fairly big-boned rangy woman who has dieted herself into another physical emploi. I don't feel that the fragility is natural but assumed. I think by nature she is a big gestured "heroic" kind of ballerina with some technical limitations as to speed and extension. I also agree with the comments about her limited facial expression.

She gives off an aura of remoteness and severity. It is I think among the qualities that attracts the Soviets to her. She isn't voluptuous, flashy or pretty. She is very much "an artist" with an introverted air of suffering. This can also be a kind of a limitation in and of itself. As I remember, her Act I Giselle very much lacks girlishness and joy. Compare for example with Maximova, who I saw live late in her career (at age 49) who radiated the aura of a 16 year old who has discovered life and love in all its fullness and very shortly is going to lose it all. That was something to cry about. Mezentseva's Giselle is very much the tragedienne who is doomed from the start and seems to know it. Mezentseva, like Lopatkina, can also be accused of giving a performance by herself and for herself - lacking rapport with her partners and seeming wrapped up in her own artistic universe.

The arms are long and flexible but sometimes the thinness and lack of suppleness create the "brittle" edges some complain about. Other times I can see the "creaminess" and the sculptural elegance others admire. Big, broad gestured steps and dances can be filled out very generously, in other places she seems to break up the movements in an angular fashion. Again, I see this as a conflict between her natural physical endowment - big, long-lined, slow - and her ultra-streamlined, fragile assumed persona. Delicacy isn't really natural to her. She is too big for some of those little gestures. They come more naturally to a Makarova or a Maximova.

#71 papeetepatrick

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 12:55 PM

Big, broad gestured steps and dances can be filled out very generously, in other places she seems to break up the movements in an angular fashion. Again, I see this as a conflict between her natural physical endowment - big, long-lined, slow - and her ultra-streamlined, fragile assumed persona. Delicacy isn't really natural to her. She is too big for some of those little gestures. They come more naturally to a Makarova or a Maximova.


Yes, I noticed the vacillation between the 'generous filling-out' and a sudden splintering of movement in the 'angular fashion' you describe. It was strange, but I didn't mind it because sometimes the 'big, long-lined, slow' moments that 'her natural physical endowment' would bring about would still be something I hadn't seen quite like that before. Also, the 'introverted artist' is probably part of it, and this would make some of us find arresting that very juxtaposition of the long and slow next to the splintering off into a frenetic attempt to reduce herself into the necessary delicacy. This appreciation of her art by some of us (at least in what i've seen thus far) would be accounted for by finding the unexpected, or even quite 'incorrect' things interesting in themselves--as if she were both within and without the context. It isn't something that can finally be pronounced on, because none of the central tenets of any formal art can promote what comes across as transgressive to important traditions (and I don't nearly always tolerate such transgressions, it's definitely a matter of taste), but in the late 20th century and certainly now, seeing certain kinds of 'making-individual', even if considered dreadfully vulgar, can interest us as objects in themselves. We don't really expect most other people to agree with us, nor are we concerned with whether they do. This 'introverted artist' thing you point out, though, becomes a separate domain, and can be a source of great delight even when it is even immediately adjacent to less satisfying work. I definitely like the way you describe the inability 'to be delicate', but I was only interested in her when she was given over to that long-lined movement--I'm always attracted to it; and while I respect those who don't care for her--almost all knowing much more than I do about ballet tradition--none of it has changed my impression of first seeing her Odile. I love it. And I think her style is somewhat 'modernist' in a general artistic sense perhaps more than what I would know what that term means in ballet thought.


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