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St. Petersburg Ballet TheatreGeorge Mason U., Sat April 16, 2005


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#1 Mike Gunther

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 07:23 AM

I saw their mixed bill in Virginia (George Mason U.) Sat. evening. They danced Chopiniana (chor. Fokine/Vaganova), Capriccio Italien (chor. Yuri Petukhov), and Scheherazade (chor. Petukhov). It was a spectacular performance, doing what the Russians do so well -- balance en pointe (Chopiniana), bravura leaps & turns (Capriccio, Scheherazade), lush & exotic Orientalism (Scheherazade). Petukhov, the company's artistic director, makes it seem like an athletic competition. I have never seen so many grands jetes, tours, pirouettes, etc. in a single evening.

I suppose it depends on your artistic values whether this seems like glorious virtuosity or vulgar excess, but there's no denying the achievement of the dancers. I wish that I could praise them individually by name, but the program listed several alternate castings with no announcement who was dancing that night (sigh).

They are doing Romeo & Juliet here on Sunday. I read about it in Recent Performances forum (maybe I should have posted there instead?) but won't be able to attend. Anybody local see it?

#2 Amy Reusch

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 07:06 PM

Mike,

I don't know the set up at George Mason U., but here at the University of Connecticut, the audio board is set up in the back of the house. If you are discreet, towards the end of intermission, if you hand them a program, you can sometimes get the audio engineer (generally travels with the company) to circle who is dancing that evening... it's not always reliable, but it's better than nothing.
[Now I'm doomed, no one will ever do it for me again!]

#3 Natalia

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 01:34 PM

I was at the GMU "Russian Season" program, last Saturday. Fabulous program danced with true Russian brio! Like Mike, I was a bit miffed at the non-identification of the principals in the playbill. During the 2nd intermission, one of the GMU Arts Series managers was able to identify a couple of the dancers for me (see below).

The St. Petersburg Ballet Theater dances as good a Chopiniana as could ever be seen. Fabulous rendition of the 1931 Vaganova version, as is performed at the Mariinsky. Tall redhead Julia Prossianikova was particularly divine in the Prelude.

Petukhov's Capriccio Italien was a delightful, energetic neo-classical piece, every dancer giving 101% of him/herself. The leading pair of Maria Yakhshanova & Nikolai Semenov made all of us in the audience want to get up & jump for joy!

Scheherazade was a fine literal retelling of the famous story, complete with the Scheherazade story-telling character (missing from the famous Fokine version). Petukhov's version replaced the Pavel Smok version, a long-time standard in this company; Petukhov's is a great improvement. The playbill's notes lent assistance to understanding this rather complex tale...thank goodness for those notes! A longish ballet, utilizing the entire Rimsky-Korsakov score (unlike Fokine), its choreography is energenic and joyful. Again, the tall, gorgeous redhead, Julia Prossianikova, was a standout as the title character. The young man who danced the character "Nur" is a modern-age Farouk Ruzimatov, in his jumping & pirouetting technique. [Who is he? I could not figure it out.]

Huge, instant standing ovation at the end of the programme.

In my estimation, this performance by the St. Petersburg Ballet Theater totally eclipsed that of Washington Ballet two days earlier. Septime Webre & company would be fit to see Petukhov's troupe, which employs about the same number of dancers. It will be years -- decades -- before the Washington Ballet could ever hope to equal or improve on what I saw at GMU last Saturday. It's not as if Washington's dancers do not have the talent & capability of dancing ballets like SPBT's Chopininana. That's the saddest part.

Well...thank goodness for touring companies who came to the DC area...and thank goodness for my Frequent Flyer miles!

Natalia

#4 Amy Reusch

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 07:54 PM

What is the deal, by the way, with the poor crediting of the dancers? I assume it's just expediency?... what with so many consecutive one-night stands (how do they manage?) I suppose it's easier to just send the potential cast ahead of time? It seems that U-Conn's Jorgensen programs have so many productions credited in each that they perhaps do just one printing for the whole season... Even if they were to give us a pre-curtain announcement of who is dancing that evening, if memory serves, such things tend to happen just as the house has gone dark... I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to remember the multi-syllabic foreign names until intermission when I could next look at the program. I wish the tradition were, if they couldn't get the program credits enough time in advance, that they would post them on a sandwich board somewhere in the lobby, so that one could consider the names during intermission and after the show. There were some truly fine dancers in the performance I saw of the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre, and I really did want to know who they were.

#5 Mike Gunther

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 09:57 PM

  There were some truly fine dancers in the performance I saw of the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre, and I really did want to know who they were.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Me too, for example the Prince (either Alexey Petrov or Sergei davydov) was a magnificent leaper, and ditto kudos to all the other principals, whoever they were! This company really got me excited, and I want to see them again. Plus you're
right, Natalia, the WB could do this too... taking it to the next level, I wish!

#6 Natalia

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 06:51 AM

I'm afraid that the St. Petersburg Ballet Theater (known as "Choreographic Miniatures" back home) has brought us a long-standing Russian tradition of listing in the playbill the names of all possible dancers who can dance each role. Only the Mariinsky Theater does not do this, back home. The Maly-Moussorgsky, Konservatoire, etc. all do it. *HOWEVER, there is one big difference back home in Russia: the 'babushkas' who work in each theater taking tickets & selling playbills take the time to circle the names of that night's actual dancers, on each & every programme! You read correctly -- take a pencil & circle each & every name of a dancer-who-is-dancing, prior to each performance.

Perhaps the St. Petersburg Ballet Theater thought that, while on tour, the ticket-takers at each venue would be doing the same thing?


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