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Moscow Int'l Ballet Competition reports

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The quadrennial Moscow IBC -- one of the most prestigious & 'granddaddy' of all competitions -- begins today & continues through June 30. It is being widely reported on Russian-language sites. I will try my best to pass-on (translate) reports & 'news' on this thread. Anyone who happens to be on-site is welcomed to post, of course!

First is the distinguished panel of judges. Quite a line-up! [My own "comments" in brackets.]


RUSSIA: (4 judges from the host country)

Chairman of the Jury:

Yuri Grigorovich

Altinai Assylmuratova

Natalia Bessmertnova [Mrs. Grigorovich]

Mikhail Lavrovsky [long-time professional partner of Mrs. Grigorovich]


BELARUS' Valentina Elizariev

UKRAINE Yuri Stanishevski

BULGARIA Biser Deyanov-Todorov

GERMANY Konstanze Vernon

ITALY Anna Prina

CANADA Aleks Ursuliak


USA Natalia Makarova

FRANCE Charles Jude


JAPAN Minoru Ochi

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The various rounds & events:

June 20 - final registration & draw; Bolshoi Ballet's 'La Bayadere' (Grigorovich version), starring Svetlana Zakharova

June 21 - 23 - Round One (all competitors) - includes classical & modern dances; soloists and couples (pairs) allowed; both junior (ages 14-18) & senior (19-26) levels

June 25 - 26 - Round Two (semifinalists)

June 28 - 29 - Round Three (finals)

June 30 - Awarding of Prizes to dancers in all categories + special choreographic prize (among Modern Ballet segments)

July 1 - Special Gala Concert

At the Thursday, June 16, press conference, the following information concerning competitors was provided:

We received 450 applicants from 38 countries. After eliminations work, including the screening of videos, photos and applications, some 230 participants from 22 countries (including Austria, Bulgaria, Venezuela, China, USA, Ukraine, the Philippines, Russia, etc.) were invited to compete. So far, 201 dancers have confirmed their participation, among whom are 60 'juniors.' The rest are seniors. ***Among the 201 dancers are some 45 past winners of recent International Ballet Competitions & from the All-Russia Competition in Krasnodar, who were allowed to pass-on to Round One without going through the preliminary elimination committee. Some 30 choreographers have applied to the Choreographic Competition (their work to be seen in the modern segment of Round One).

Source: Bolshoi Theater web site press release.

* I will post the list of all competing dancers as soon as it is available.

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Thanks for the news, Natalia -- the Moscow competition web site looks like it's geared more to those competing than those interested in the results (i.e., no news component, at least not yet), so I'm glad you'll be keeping us up to date. (At least one of the UBA students -- Mathias Dingman -- is competing. I don't know if the others from that school who went to Helsinki went on to Moscow as well, but I do know that he'd intended to.)

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How very cool to see that Natalia Makarova is representing the US.

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Thanks for the tip-off Alexandra. I thought that one or two of the Korean girls were also competing. Too, I heard that most of the recent graduates of the Vaganova Academy, as well as one or two of the younger Kirov-Mariinsky stars (Alina Somova) may be competiting. Let's see who turns up on the final roster!

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I've moved the threads discussing Alina Somova here so that this thread can be focused on the competition.

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Privet Nataliya!

Thank you for reporting on the Moscow Competition. Two of my daughter's friends are in the Junior Division so we are really excited to be able to hear the news from you.

Bolshoi spasibo!


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DAY ONE REPORT (will add/delete/edit this, as new info comes in)

Bits of Info re. Roster of Dancers, Jury changes -


Although the competition just started, I'm still waiting for the final roster. I've e-mailed the competition site for this & other official releases but have received nothing yet. [Mikhail -- if you have the final roster, or the order for Round One days, could you please e-mail them to me at or post a link to them here? Thanks.]

Confirmed top Russian & Ukrainian names, among dancers:

Bolshoi Ballet dancers, incl soloists:

Natalia Osipova (grad in '03...I've seen her...spectacular raven-haired beauty)

Anna Tikhomirova (another top grad of '02 or '03)

Lola Kochetkova - competing as BOTH dancer & choreographer (tall, dark-haired Glamazon type; I've reviewed her here before)

Ekaterina Krysanova

Chinara Alizade

Alexei Matrakhov

Pavel Dmitrichenko

Anton Kondratov

Bolshoi Choreographers, in addition to Lola Kochetkova:

Morihiro Ivata

Andrei Melanin

Kremlin Ballet soloist:

Roman Artyushkin (I wonder if he is related to Alla Artyushkina, Bolshoi star 20 years ago?)

Moscow Ballet of Kasatkina-Vasiliov soloist:

Nikolai Chevychelov

Kirov-Mariinsky Soloist:

Evgenia Obraztsova (grad of '02...sensation as Juliet at home and abroad...seen by some as a new Ulanova)

Favorite Ukrainian dancers, all confirmed:

Alla Domracheva, who competed as a junior last time, partnered by winner Leonid Sarafanov (now a Kirov star)

Denis & Anastasia Matvienko, as a couple - Denis has already won gold here; perhaps he is now a non-competing partner to Anastasia?

Andrei Pisarev (any relation to Ukrainean superstar Vadim Pisarev of 20 yrs back?)

Zherlin Ndudi

Yaroslav Salenko

"Favorites' if they show up; not yet sighted/confirmed:

Kirov-Mariinsky - Alina Somova, Julia Bolshakova, and this year's grads, many of whom are to be competing here

Tatchkin Ballet soloist Irina Kolesnikova not yet confirmed, but is to be competing


On Russian TV last night , Altynai Assylmuratova was not among the final jurors named by Yuri Grigorovich, although her no-show has not been publicly acknowledged yet. Instead, esteemed Bolshoi coach & former ballerina, Ludmilla Semenyaka (not on the original list), was named. So Semenyaka is definitely there as a juror. Too, Charles Jude (France) had not appeared as of this morning but there is still a spot for him in the panel; he's expected to arrive later today (Day One).


It all began this morning, with Group One of Day One (two groups each day, with a mix of Juniors & Seniors in each) . Standouts in this initial group include senior men Zherlin Ndudi of Ukraine & Ivan Vasiliev of Belarus. The former is elegant & soft; the latter very powerful jumper & Spartacus type of guy, who 'nailed it' with a Flames of Paris variation. No big stand-outs among the women yet, although the Bolshoi's Anna Tikhomirova made an impression in her Kitri Act III variation. Natalia Vorontsova (Russia?) was mentioned as a good junior girl in this morning's group. No junior boys mentioned yet.

No non-USSR-territory dancers mentioned yet. Perhaps the Americans & others have yet to compete. [uPDATE: Matthias Dingman of the USA/U.B.A.-Wash, DC, competed this morning, as per chiapuris' report, below.]

Edited by Natalia

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I believe that Andrei Pisarov is the son of Vadim.


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I believe that Andrei Pisarov is the son of Vadim.


Thanks, Renata.

Lots of second-generation dancers are beginning to make their mark. For ex., Ivan Sitnikov, son of Kirov soloist of 1980s Irina Sitnikova, just graduated at the top of the 2005 male class at the Vaganova Academy.

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Just a quick note:

Yes, Alexandra, Matthias Dingman did compete already.

We saw him perform in the morning session today (6/21) of the first round.

He danced a variation from Coppelia, and then, later, his 'modern'

entry which I liked a lot.

The jury is as Natalia reported. Semenyanka has replaced

Assylmuratova. Jude is not here yet.

I spotted George Zoritch (for those with long memories) at the Bayadere performance,

and he was at both sessions today.

I'm trying to send a brief report on yesterday's

Bayadere but my web connection here is very slow.

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Thank you for the on-hand report. It's hard to work with slow connections, but do know we appreciate it!


Many thanks for serving as Bureau Chief from afar and for collecting and translating all of this info from your correspondents!

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I'll echo Helene's 'thanks' to you, chiapuris!

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Hi Natalia and Chiapuris!

Thank you so much for being our eyes at the Moscow Competition. Has Isaac Hernandez ( juniors, age 15 from Mexico) competed or is he still to come?


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To Renata:

Isaak Hernandez competed on Monday; I thought his 'modern' piece was very good.


You were quite right to point out Zherlin Ndudi of the Ukraine.

His 'modern' piece to Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee

was fresh and sensational.

Of the list from the Bolshoi school and company, we've only seen so far

Anna Tikhomirova and Chinara Alizade.

[The first day they didn't circulate

programs with participants' listing,

so I had to make notes from the announcements -in the dark.]

Other Americans who've already competed

are: (today's morning session 6/22) Yana Feldman and Christine Shevchenko.

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Thanks for the info on Isaak (who has studied in the US for the past 2 years) and on the Americans and all the others who have competed.

Privet! Renata

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DAY TWO information

For starters, here are the links to the full lists of competitors, alas only in Russian but many of you should be able to understand the names:

The 56 Juniors:

The 73 Seniors:

So out of the over-200 approved entries, 129 actually showed up in Moscow & are competing. Among these, 34 dancers represent non-USSR-territory countries:

Japan - 11 dancers

Korea - 7

USA - 4

China and the Philippines - 2 each

Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Macedonia, Venezuela, Brazil, Israel & Mexico - one dancer each

Among yesterday's unconfirmed famous names, we can now confirm Irina Kolesnikova, 'prima' of the K. Tachkine Ballet. The Kirov's Alina Somova opted to not compete but there's an 'unknown' Natalia Somova from Moscow. Kirov soloist Evgenia Obraztsova -- their famous Juliet -- is here. All of the anticipated Bolshoi dancers are here. Certain dancers are so famous (Kolesnikova & Obraztsova, for example) that they are practically guaranteed medals unless they fall flat on their po-pos. Ditto the more favored soloists among the various Moscow-based dancers (Osipova, Kochetkova & such). Just my observation after umpteen years of following IBC events chaired by Yuri Grigorovich. :blush: Not that those famous dancers would not deserve it if they dance to their known potential. Hopefully, 'new discoveries' will also be rewarded, if they perform was the case with Thiago Soares (Brazil) in 2001 and the unknown sprite Alina Cojocaru (Romania) in 1997! This year's discoveries could be established stars four years from now, dancing with ABT or the Royal Ballet. Who knows?

To confirm the final list of USA dancers:

One Senior: Jonathan Drake

Three Juniors: Kristina Chevchenko, Matthias Dingman, & Jana Feldman

MORE NEWS FROM YESTERDAY (the evening round):

It was reported on 'Kultura' television news that Russia's Natalia Somova broke her foot in the midst of the competition & is out. Her partner had to finish the pdd all by himself.

Everyone agrees that the standouts among junior men, yesterday, were Ivan Vasiliev of Belarus and Ndudi of Ukraine. A late report on yesterday's morning round also notes -- besides those pointed out earlier -- Miss Sayaka Takuda of Japan, in Flames of Paris pdd.

In yesterday's evening round, stand-outs (all seniors) included

Ekaterina Alayeva of Ukraine - for her lightness, as Giselle

Maria Seletskaya of Estonia - for her contemporary dance, to Stravinsky

Lola Kochetkova of the Bolshoi - considered rather weak in classical but superb in contemporary (her own choreography)

Miryana Pop-Alexova of Macedonia - a big surprise! Excellent Corsaire Medora variation

Ludmilla Konovaliova of Moscow - very professional, clean classicist, by all accounts


A report of Day Two's morning round, in the Bolshoi Forum (by author "Marekh") states that the biggest impressions were made by the "two Americans" (in parentheses, as names are not typically American) Kristina Chevchenko and Jana Feldman for the junior girls. Ukraine's Xenia Rusina, dancing a contemporary tango, impressed for her sheer physical beauty. Junior guys of note today were Ukraine's Alexander Shpak -- mentioned by ALL reports as superb! -- and Japan's Yasuomi Akimoto in Flames of Paris.

Another report on the morning round also praised Alexander Shpak of Ukraine & Ilya Bolotov of Perm-Russia, both of whom appear to have danced the same contemporary number by Radu Poklitaru (a modern take on a Chopin Mazurka). By the way, Poklitaru is the perennial winner of the choreography prize at such competitions; he choreographed the controversial new 'Romeo & Juliet' at the Bolshoi. A lot of people figure that he'll win yet again here.

Standouts (all seniors) in today's evening round, according to various reports:

Alexei Matrakhov of Moscow

Roman Artyushkin of Moscow (who was a memorable lead in the Kremlin Ballet's Coppelia not long ago, writes one reviewer)

Evgenia Obraztsova of St. Petersburg - huge accolades for her classical work

Vladimir Kuklachev of Israel -- actually born in Russia -- who is being coached by ex-Kirov great Valery Panov

Alexander Buber of Belarus - said to have the most spectacular technique, so far, among the senior men

From the writings I've read, it appears that the huge hope of all Muskovites is NATALIA OSIPOVA of the Bolshoi, who will dance tomorrow. [she was my big favorite at the May 2002 graduation of the Bolshoi Academy, even outdancing her classmate, the now-famous Polina Semionova, IMO.] Osipova was lucky to have received a 'high draw number' and will dance on the 3rd and final day of Round One. In other words, she is set to make a huge impression tomorrow, if she 'delivers.' Fans will be there en-masse for her.


Edited by Natalia

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Thank you very much for your report, Natalia.

It's wonderful to hear that Maria Seletskaja did well yesterday. She has been dancing with the Estonian National Ballet for two years, following a year of study at the Vaganova Academy after her graduation in 2002 from the Tallinn Ballet School. Just before joining the Estonian Ballet, she won 2nd prize at the Eurovision Ballet Competition in July, 2003.

Masha was given solo roles, starting with Myrtha in Giselle, as soon as she joined the Estonian Ballet, where she was ranked as a second soloist last year. She won an "Encouragement" prize at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition earlier this month.

She is joining Malakhov's Berlin Ballet this year.

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...Maria Seletskaja.... Just before joining the Estonian Ballet, she won 2nd prize at the Eurovision Ballet Competition in July, 2003......

Thank you for this, Marga. So *that's* why Seletskaja's name rang a bell - my video of the 2003 Eurovision Competition! She is indeed wonderful, from what I recall.

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Point of clarification: I am not on site, in Moscow. I thought that I had made my location clear at the start of this thread; sorry if this was not the case. I am in my home in Washington, DC, reading/compiling/translating various Russian-language reports on the competition, as they trickle in, as a service to you. Chiapuris, who has posted a bit, is on site & we welcome his/her additional postings. The more, the merrier.

DAY THREE STANDOUTS, as per a compilation of reports on various Russian-language fora:

Natalia Osipova of the Bolshoi - magnificent classical portion: 'Flames of Paris' pdd with non-comp-partner Jan Godovsky. Then people's hearts sank with her contemporary piece: a pdd from V. Gordeev's "Last Tango" that seemed under-rehearsed & generally shaky. Partner for this was Ruslan Pronin. Still, the general consensus is that she'll make it on to Round Two.

Magnificent Chinese pair, esp. the girl, Sin SAN, dancing the Black Swan pdd. The man, Zhibbei BANG, is also good, if not as impressive as the girl.

Anastasia & Denis Matvienko of Ukraine - very polished, beautiful 'Sleeping Beauty' pdd [He has already won a gold medal -- maybe even an Grand Prix? -- at this competition. How can he top himself this year, one wonders?]

Miriam Faustino & Gerardo Francisco of the Philippines - surprisingly good classical but downright SPECTACULAR contemporary pdd 'Spiders' (Arachnids), with very tricky acrobatic supports

Katia & Peter Borchenko of Russia - another good Black Swan pdd

Viktoria Luchkina of Krasnodar, Russia impressed with her light elegance, reminding one reporter of Irina Kolpakova

Doshan Tabuildi of Kazakhstan was cited as one of the best solo (non-pair) men in the senior ranks

DISAPPOINTMENTS today (beside Osipova's contemporary piece) -

Irina Kolesnikova of St Petersburg/Tatchkin Ballet Troupe - cited as one of the 'most professional' competitors but very 'rough' in-your-face manner, as if trying too hard.

Natalia Domracheva of Russia - she was wonderful in 2001 (when I attended live), as Leonid Sarafanov's partner. This year's audiences are not quite as impressed. She has grown up (body wise) and isn't as fresh & sparkling. People were expecting her to build on 2001 & it doesn't appear to be the case.


People are still buzzing about the magnificent Israeli, Vladimir Kuklachev, calling him a new Yuri Vladimirov (ex-Bolshoi star) due to his acrobatic leaps and quick shifts of direction in midair. Kuklachev's coach is Valeri Panov, himself a wonderful demi-caractere dancer & high-jumper from the Kirov in the 1960s & early '70s.


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Thank you for doing this, Natalia.

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Just a quick note from Moscow after reading Natalia's detailed and complete reports of the

Competition from Washington. I am awed! Many thanks Natalia!

Third day: the big impression is Osipova's Flames of Paris pdd in the morning, (your report is right on: her contemporary was somewhat ragged )- a couple of fubbed lifts-- although she looked great in black tights.

In the afternoon the Corsaire II act pdd of Ekaterina Krysanova with a non- participating partner

was excellent. Moreover her tango to Piazzolla with an excellent non-particip.partner was


Other dancers of today that impressed me:

Ekaterina and Piotr Borchenko R

Anastasia and Denis Matvienko Ukraine

Natalya Matsak Ukraine

Kim Sol Fi South Korea

Artiom Alifanov R

Nikolai Chevychelov R

My notes say Ekaterina Kolesnikova had strong and secure fouettes but no other positive comments.

Haven't sorted me second day notes.... yet.

The sessions have been long--hardly time for dinner.

Tomorrow no competition. So we're seeing Sleeping Beauty.

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Thanks, chiapuris! Enjoy 'Spiachaya Krasavitsa' (Sleeping B.) tomorrow & do eat a bit!

Here's something that I wrote just as chiapuris' report came in, so it will be interesting to compare my 'round-up' of the Russian sites with chiapuris'.

DAY FOUR (Friday) will be a 'break day' between Rounds One & Two. Hopefully the names of the dancers who've made it on to Round Two (the semifinalists) will be posted on the official site & I can provide you with a link. Competition resumes on Saturday, the first of two days in the 2nd round. I won't be able to post summaries of Round Two until Monday but perhaps others can provide information between now & then.

Just based on the various reports from the Russian websites, these are some of the dancers who should advance to the next round, in no particular order:

Junior Girls:

Chinara Alixidze (Russia - Bolshoi)

Anna Tikhomirova (Russia - Bolshoi)

Natalia Vorontsova (Russia - not specified)

Jana Feldman (USA)

Kristina Chevchenko (USA)

Junior Boys:

Zherlin Ndudi (Ukraine)

Ivan Vasiliev (Belarus)

Matthias Dingman (USA)

Isaac Hernandez (Mexico)

Alexander Shpak (Ukraine)

Yasuomi Akimoto (Japan)

Ilya Bolotov (Russia - Perm)

Paulo Alves Frasan (Brazil)

Senior Women:

Yevgenia Obraztsova (Russia - St P/Kirov)

Irina Kolesnikova (Russia - St P/Tatchkin)

Natalia Osipova (Russia - Bolshoi)

Sin San (China)

Ekaterina Kreisanova (Russia - Bolshoi)

Sayaka Takuda (Japan)

Ekaterina Alayeva (Ukraine)

Maria Seletskaja (Estonia)

Viktoria Luchkina (Russia - Krasnodar)

Lola Kochetkova (Russia - Bolshoi)

Natalia Domracheva (Russia)

Miryana Pop-Alexova (Macedonia)

Anastasia Matvienko (Ukraine)

Ludmilla Konovaliova (Russia - Moscow)

Miriam Faustino (Philippines)

Katie Borcheko (Russia)...competing with Peter Borchenko, sr man

Senior Men:

Vladimir Kuklachev (Israel)

Alexander Buber (Belarus)

Denis Matvienko (Ukraine)

Roman Artyushkin (Russia - Kremlin Ballet)

Nikolai Chevichelov (Russia - Moscow Ballet)

Andrei Pisarev (Ukraine)

Alexei Matrakhov (Russia - Moscow)

Doshan Tabuildi (Kazak)

Zhibei Bang (Cina)

Gerardo Francisco (Philippines)

The competition for the Choreographic Prize has ended, as all contemporary works to be judged were danced in Round One. However, the winners will not be announced until the final day. Other than Radu Poklitaru, I have not heard of any clear possible winners, although the contemporary dance of the Filipinos seemed to turn heads. Perhaps chiapuris or others could fill us in?

Good luck to all competitors! Tomorrow is the day of great nerves as they await the posting of the semifinalists.


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How wonderful to hear that an Israeli is so successful. The Russian emigre population has had such a huge influence on ballet in Israel over the past two decades - both as audience and as dancers.

My parents saw a performance by the Panov Ballet a week or two ago and were delighted with the performance.

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It's very exciting to read your reports...

Thanks Natalia for organizing and translating, and Chiapuris, for reporting from the sessoins...

I'm pulling for Krysanova, but she's the only one I've seen -- totally fell in love with her when the Bolshoi came here (Berkeley, California) last year; she was a soloist in Raymonda. Her technique was very fine, but her DANCING was out of this world.

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