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Late-April 2006 Castings; Giselle 'clues'


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#16 Natalia

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 12:10 PM

I....her Sleeping Beauty in Los Angeles to be a remarkably developed performance for a dancer at such a young age... the hyper extensions were thankfully gone, and her dramatic spontenaity was a pleasant surprise.


Maybe we're talking about two different dancers? In Detroit, Somova's hyper-extensions (and crude attack, aggressive/non-elegant airs, lack of musicality, jutting-out chin, insensitivity to male partner, etc., etc.) were all there. If anything, she has become worse, not better, since her 2005 U.S. appearances. Her Aurora and Dryad Queen at the Mariinsky, this past March, were hideous. Luckily, practically nobody else is as poor as she is at the Mariinsky. Yes, others may display hyper-extensions, but they are musically sensitive, elegant, ladylike, etc. Somova's basic problem is not with the extensions but with the 'bullyish' quality of her 'punched' moves, coupled with overall gangliness. To top it off, she comes across as being darn proud of it, smug grin and all!

She is "young," you say? She is professional, plain and simple. She should perform as a professional. Hundreds, even thousands, of "young" ballerinas who have graduated from the top ballet academies on this earth know better than Ms Somova. They know the basics of musicality, carriage, and not wanting to neglect basic artistry for one-upsmanship.

Sorry for my candor but I feel very strongly about this. I'm open to all degrees of flexibility (from Fonteyn to Guillem) in a ballerina but I can't applaud artistic insensitivity.

Somova's 'punches' should serve her well as Myrtha...assuming that she will 'punch' on the beat.

#17 Mashinka

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 01:17 AM

I'll second everything Natalia has to say on the subject of Somova, but would like to add that I feel the Kirov is beginning to insult it's overseas audiences that expect certain standards from such a previously eminent company. Time and again we have these inexperienced, and in Somova's case frankly vulgar dancers, thrust on us when far more able, artistically mature dancers are continuously being sidelined.

#18 Natalia

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 06:48 AM

On a more POSITIVE note about Somova: I can state that 'old timers' in the Kirov audience retain fond memories of Somova from her student days at the Vaganova Academy. One reason why the polite Petersburg audience does not 'boo' her outright is because they have such respect for the traditions and allure of the Vaganova Academy. They especially respect Leningrad-born (pre-1991-born) children who went through the curriculum at Theater Street for their entire eight-year schooling period. Somova is one of these.

I discovered this while talking casually to some of the 'locals' who sat next to me during the March performances. It was obvious that Somova had performed poorly (esp. Dryad Queen, falling off pointes which strufggling to achieve 190-degree extension)...most applauded in muffled manner...polite applause only. When I asked, "Do you like Alina Somova?" to one babushka, she answered "Da - prekrasnaya debushka...Yes - lovely girl. I have been seeing her at the school presentation since she was eight." So there is a lot of respect & 'love' for the Children of Theater Street. So they won't bash her, even if she makes them wince every now & then.

p.s. - The above 'reasoning' may also explain why spectacular ballerinas who do not go through eight full years of schooling at 'Theater Street' may never be able to become #1 favorites with the local crowd.

#19 Natalia

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 10:09 AM

As per my other note on the 'May 2006 castings' thread -

Daria Pavlenko has pulled out of an upcoming 'Swan Lake' performance at the Mariinsky, replaced by Sofia Gumerova. On the good-news front, she is still scheduled to dance Giselle in two days' time (April 26). We in DC will keep our fingers and toes crossed to see if Wednesday's Giselle by Pavlenko will truly come to pass. Here's hoping...hoping... :)

On a positive note: Young (age 21) Vladimir Schklyarov triumphed in his debut as Albrecht last night, partnering Novikova. So DC appears to be in for a treat.

#20 Natalia

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 10:37 AM

GOOD NEWS for all American fans of Daria Pavlenko! The ballerina *did* dance Giselle last night at the Mariinsky. All Russian reports so far are very positive. Pavlenko was especially good in the Mad Scene of Act I; so-so in the diagonal of the Act I variation; wondrous in Act II. HOWEVER, Ilya Kuznetsov seems to have absolutely "taken the cake" as Albrecht! Now I wonder if Kuznetsov may be added to the Kennedy Center roster? It would be great.

Kudos, too, to:

Kondaurova - Myrtha
Serebriakova & Selina - Moyna & Zulma
Pykhachov - Hans
Kassenkova & G. Popov - Peasant pdd

The bottom line: Pavlenko fans can breathe a sign of relief; she is still on track to dance Giselle in DC.


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