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Kirov-Mariinsky Forsythe Program in DC, June 13-15


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#16 Alexandra

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 08:25 AM

Audience was warmer last night, too. Steptext got three calls. I only remember one Tuesday. I did miss Mercuriev in that. I thought he was quite good.

I have to say that four Forsythes on a program is three too many for me. The repetitions, the stop/starts, the lack of dynamics, all the clever little Sixties avant-gardisms....too much of a muchness for me. I'd seen all of these before except for Vertiginous. "He looks like he's trying to prove that he can do it [make a classical ballet] and he can't!" a friend said at intermission. And I'd second that.

The program is a good chance to see a lot of the dancers in soloist roles, though. (The house looked about as full/empty Wednesday night as Tuesday. Which is good news, actually. Usually the opening night has the largest audience.)

#17 Natalia

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 08:57 AM

Thanks for pointing-out the absence of Merkuriev in 'Steptext' last night! I was wondering if that 'third guy' (after Kolb and Khrebtov) was a somewhat-heftier Merkuriev. So that's yet another unannounced casting change, beside Svetlana Ivanova dancing in place of Osmolkina.

I'm wondering if Osmolkina appeared on Tuesday? Is Osmolkina even in DC? If not...then who-on-earth will dance the four Peasant pdd's with Shklyarov? It's not Obraztsova, by the way. She will be returning to St. Petersburg on Friday afternoon.

#18 Alexandra

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 10:02 AM

I can't answer about Osmolkina, I'm afraid. Two cast changes were announced, very quickly, and I missed them. I thought they announced the Merkuriev change last night -- but I didn't catch the substitution. (Very unprofessional, I know, but I wasn't covering. :clapping: )

#19 Natalia

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 11:28 AM

Alexandra - The one change that they announced last night was that Alexei Nedviga would dance '3rd movement' of 'Approximate Sonata,' in place of Anton Pimonov. Nothing on Merkuriev.

#20 Alexandra

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 01:53 PM

Thanks. Hmm. Now I hope I"m right and Merkuriev didn't dance Wednesdays. Apologies to all in advance if I'm wrong. :clapping:

#21 nysusan

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 07:48 AM

I saw the Forsythe program Thursday night and the house was far from full. I haven’t seen much Forsythe and this was my first time seeing this program so I can’t comment on whether or not the dancers “got” his style – but they are such gorgeous dancers! I was not that impressed with Stepext or Approximate Sonata and completely missed the joke/scenario that Natalia described (wish I’d read her post before the performance!). For me the program took a major turn for the better starting after Sonata – I loved both Vertiginous and In the Middle.

The Kirov casting mysteries continue, the only substitution they announced was Tkachenko replacing Golub in Vertiginous and Gumerova in In the Middle. But surely that small, pretty brunette in Vertiginous wasn’t Osmolkina? I don’t know the Kirov dancers well enough to recognize most of them, especially not the men. I’m not even sure it was Pavlenko in the last piece last night - she didn’t look the way I remember her but I could be wrong. Anyway, whoever the lead brunette was in In the Middle was wonderful, but the real star of the night for me was Kondaurova. What a standout! If she does Somova’s Myrthas as rumored this will be a very interesting weekend!

Susan

#22 Alexandra

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 08:03 AM

I got two reports this morning, one from a Forsythe hater, another an admirer, who both thought Thursday night was very well danced. Both had seen earlier evenings and thought that Thursday was the best. We often have jet lagged openings, and this may have been one of them.

#23 koshka

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 09:20 AM

I was also there last night (Thursday). There were many empty seats, and more as the night went on, even though (IMO) the program improved with each piece. If my second ticket were to the same show (rather than Giselle), I'd likely go to see a different cast.

Now for a bit of "name that dancer": in the second-to-last piece (green leotards, black tights), there was a blond dancer who, relative to the others, was downright zaftig (meaning, of course, that she is likely a size 2 rather than a size 0) with fantastic presence. Who was she?

For that matter, who was the tall redhead?

And finally, why oh why are minimalist leotard costumes for women designed with absolutely no support in the front (a problem with Balanchine ballet costumes too)? And why, in this event, could the Kirov costume shop not come up with a set of appropriately cut or sewn-in liner leotards for the dancers who wanted or needed them? In the green leotard piece, a couple of dancers had bra straps that did not even approximate the lines of the leotards. That's bad enough at a school performance, but for the Kirov??? Come on.

Of course, I look forward to any news about the SUnday cast for Giselle....

#24 Dale

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 09:39 AM

Now for a bit of "name that dancer": in the second-to-last piece (green leotards, black tights), there was a blond dancer who, relative to the others, was downright zaftig (meaning, of course, that she is likely a size 2 rather than a size 0) with fantastic presence. Who was she?


Tatyana Tkachenko? She always brings a glamorous presence to any piece, with her beautiful face and hour-glass figure.

#25 ami1436

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 09:40 AM

Redhead probably Kondaurova?

#26 nysusan

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 01:57 PM

Now for a bit of "name that dancer": in the second-to-last piece (green leotards, black tights), there was a blond dancer who, relative to the others, was downright zaftig (meaning, of course, that she is likely a size 2 rather than a size 0) with fantastic presence. Who was she?

For that matter, who was the tall redhead?


I'm not sure which blonde you're referring to. The Vertiginous Thrill (3rd piece, after Sonata and before the last intermission) had 5 dancers including 3 women with flat, "platter" type tutus. The tiny blond with the big personality was Obraztsova (who, by the way, was fabulous) , the taller blondish woman was Tkachenko, and the third was a mystery brunette. Tkachenko also danced in the last piece.

There were 2 redheads in the last piece, I’m assuming that the taller one with the lighter red hair who danced one of the leading roles was Kondaurova and the shorter one with the darker red hair was Yana Selina.

I also noticed another shortish, blondish,heavyish female dancer – first as part of the 1st couple in Sonata and then again in the last (4th) piece. By comparing casts I’m deducing the shortish one is Elena Sheshina. This is fun, I feel like Sherlock Holmes…

BTW did anyone notice that they listed 1 less dancer for Thursday night’s In the Middle than for the other 2 performances? You notice things like that when you pour over the program trying to figure out who’s who!

Yana Serebryakova was listed as part of the 2nd couple in Sonata (tall blond, neon green pants). Is this the same dancer who did the Sheherazade pdd with Zelensky at the YAGP gala? The name sounds the same but she sure looked like a petite brunette in Sheherazade.

#27 nmdancer

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 05:54 AM

(this ended up being long -- I'm sorry!)

I agree -- I think the blonde in question is Elena Sheshina, and the tall redhead is Kondaurova.

I went to the Thursday night performance and it looked as though the house was close to full, at least at the orhcestra level...and there were multiple calls for each piece, so it appeared as though others in the audience were enjoying the performance as much as I was.

I love Forsythe's work, so my opinions of the performance may be a bit biased, but overall, it was very pleasing to see such strong and talented dancers performing his choreography. Steptext starts with the house lights still up, which is great for several reasons -- it forces latecomers to hustle to their seats -- and is so different. Of course, throughout the piece the house lights are coming up and down, which serves to blur the distinction between the stage and audience (which is something that Forsythe also does in a different way, by having conventionally silent dancers -- in a historically silent art form -- speak or vocalize.) My boyfriend came with me, and while he thought that the choreography for Steptext was interesting, he thought that the visual elements (the lights and music mostly) were distracting. I didn't particularly enjoy Nadejda Gonchar -- thought she was too stiff and not right for Forsythe movement -- but one of the three men was incredible! I have no idea who he is -- he has sort of shaggy dark hair and performed a solo about 2/3 of the way through -- but his landings were so quiet and his connection of each individual movement was amazing. I could watch him for hours.

Approximate Sonata -- loved the beginning and the end -- Forsythe likes to play with some of the ritual and formality of a "dance performance" in a way that I (as a dancer) enjoy...seeing the work that goes into a performance, seeing someone doing something so "un-dancerlike" suddenly morph into performing virtuosic movement...but what's struck me throughout all of Forsythe's pieces is his respect for the dancers he works with and the ways in which he includes them in creating movement, so it seems a bit odd that he would consciously label one couple as "too" anything; however, I can say that I did enjoy each successive couple more than the previous one, so maybe there is something going on there.

Vertiginous Thrill -- hadn't ever seen it before and was very excited to see it -- I also loved it, and especially Obraztsova. She looked like she was having so much fun performing (and it does look like a very fun piece to dance in), as opposed to the other two who didn't express any of the joy that Obraztsova did. I'm surprised the small brunette wasn't the announced replacement dancer -- her timing was consistently off and she had some pretty bad turning sequences throughout the piece (it looked like she needed more rehearsal.) The men of course were incredible.

And -- In the Middle -- one of my favorite ballets! -- made me want to get up and start dancing in the theatre. The Kirov dancers really attacked this one; you could feel the emphasis and the power they put into the stops and starts of the movement, the accents, the energy, the presence...Kondaurova was enchanting, as was the small dark-haired lead (Pavlenko?), but no one on stage had the presence of Kondaurova. Even when she was in the back and simply shifting positions during the more "sculptural" section where there's a male solo in the front, your eye was drawn to her. I think the difference between Kondaurova in this piece and Gonchar in the first is the committment to movement; it's easy to see when a dancer feels unsure (for whatever reason) about the movement they're performing -- it's also equally easy to appreciate when a dancer is completely committed to the movement and is fully invested in the performance.

(PS -- my boyfriend [not a dancer, or even a dance-goer before he met me!] really liked the last two pieces...wasn't so sure about the first two. The last two are a bit more audience-friendly, IMO.)

I think it's great that the Kirov is performing Forsythe; we drove 6 hours to see the performance and it was worth it. It didn't seem "dated" or "wrong" on them -- it just looked like good dancers expanding their rep and taking a risk (which I thank them for) by not performing the classical ballets that they're known for...and not all were perfect, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be performing this type of work.

#28 Helene

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 09:10 AM

(this ended up being long -- I'm sorry!)


That was a wonderful review, nmdancer, full of descriptive detail of three works I've never seen. Please don't apologize for length, and feel free to write as much as you'd like.

one of the three men was incredible! I have no idea who he is -- he has sort of shaggy dark hair and performed a solo about 2/3 of the way through -- but his landings were so quiet and his connection of each individual movement was amazing. I could watch him for hours.


I hope someone can identify this dancer for you.

#29 nysusan

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 01:13 PM

-- but one of the three men was incredible! I have no idea who he is -- he has sort of shaggy dark hair and performed a solo about 2/3 of the way through -- but his landings were so quiet and his connection of each individual movement was amazing. I could watch him for hours.



Yes, from someone else who was there your post was very descriptive, please keep posting! I think the dancer you admired was Anton Pimonov - he caught my eye, too! My identification is tentative - I've never seen him before but he also danced in Appx Sonata (3rd pdd with Selina), so that's his name if the program listings can be trusted!

#30 bart

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 06:13 PM

I think the difference between Kondaurova in this piece and Gonchar in the first is the committment to movement; it's easy to see when a dancer feels unsure (for whatever reason) about the movement they're performing -- it's also equally easy to appreciate when a dancer is completely committed to the movement and is fully invested in the performance.
[ ....]
I think it's great that the Kirov is performing Forsythe; we drove 6 hours to see the performance and it was worth it. It didn't seem "dated" or "wrong" on them -- it just looked like good dancers expanding their rep and taking a risk (which I thank them for) by not performing the classical ballets that they're known for...and not all were perfect, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be performing this type of work.

Thanks for these insights. I especially appreciate reading about performances from the point of view of articulate dancers llike you.

I wonder whether this is because dancers empathize with the their colleagues on stage so much and can "feel" the dancing in ways the rest of us cannot. When you said you felt like getting up and "dancing in the theater," I experienced envy -- possibly because you actually COULD. :blink:


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