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Vishneva (continued)


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#16 beck_hen

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 08:07 PM

Actually, I'm on the same page in that I've preferred the interpretations of others in Giselle, Swan Lake and R&J, the roles I've seen her in. But I'm interested in what she does, and her facility is huge. It's true she doesn't disappear into a role, but she announces herself as a ballerina, where others don't seem to do so no matter how satisfying their individual performances are. It's a certain arrogance, or confidence, they seem to instill at the Maryinsky.

Faux Pas mentioned the question of emploi. I'm not sure she has any emploi in the traditional sense—she is a singular performer and has to find a unique way into each role. She has a creaturely, wild animal quality. For example, when her Juliet meets Paris, she allows herself to be coaxed toward him like a doe learning to eat from a human's hand. She's a beautiful ugly duckling throughout the whole thing; even when she falls in love she doesn't lose all of her awkwardness. I think she comes off as calculating when she tries to be more generic and traditional. So I think it's a tough balance for her.

I think I'll continue to be intrigued and want to see her performances, even if I don't fall in love. Sometimes that's the way it goes, right?

#17 nysusan

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 10:49 PM

This is a very interesting thread, but then Vishneva is a very interesting dancer, to say the least!

... Still her claim to immortality as I have mentioned before, for me, is her performance in Ratmansky's Cinderella


Buddy, I wonder if you could elaborate a little on why you felt hat Cinderella is Vishneva’s best role. I haven’t seen the Ratmansy version but having seen the Ashton and the Kudela I’m having trouble picturing this role being anyone’s best

...
There are artists, like Luciano Pavarotti in his pre-Three Tenors days, who always play themselves... But there is no doubt that the artist supercedes the material. I've seen Vishneva live once, in Sleeping Beauty, and didn't for a moment think I was watching Aurora. There were some very lovely things that she did in that performance, but I felt like I was watching The Diana Vishneva Show.

(Someone has to be Scrooge...)


Interesting observation. I’ve certainly felt an element of “The Vishneva show” each time I’ve seen her dance but I felt it the least in Sleeping Beauty. I think one of the reasons she gives this impression is that a common thread each time I’ve seen her is her extrordinary stage presence and the huge scale of her dancing. As beck_hen points out, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Actually, I'm on the same page in that I've preferred the interpretations of others in Giselle, Swan Lake and R&J, the roles I've seen her in. But I'm interested in what she does, and her facility is huge. It's true she doesn't disappear into a role, but she announces herself as a ballerina, where others don't seem to do so no matter how satisfying their individual performances are...

I'm not sure she has any emploi in the traditional sense—she is a singular performer and has to find a unique way into each role.


I’ve seen her in Ballet Imperial, Rubies, Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty and R&J and I also prefer other dancers interpretations of everything I’ve seen her in -with the exception of Sleeping Beauty ( I’m with Gottlieb on that one!) But her technique is so powerful, her phrasing and line so beautiful and expressive and her artistic vision is so uncompromised that I think the fact that I may ultimately prefer someone else’s interpretation is completely beside the point. The point is that she provides such a unique experience that to miss a Vishneva performance is unthinkable in the same way that 30 years ago it was incomprehensible to miss a Makarova or a Kirkland performance. You go if you can get there.

I also think that the scale of her dancing and the unconventionality of her interpretations are the only things that are the same about the way she approaches different roles. That’s one point where I guess I disagree with Helene. Unlike many dancers who never seem able to submerge their personalities to the demands of a role Vishneva seems to approach each role differently. Her Aurora couldn’t be more different from her Giselle, who is completely different from her Juliet etc. Which is the way it should be. Not to mention the fact that she never seems to do the same role exactly the same way twice. She is endlessly fascinating. She may never be my favorite Odette or my favorite Giselle but she is well on her way to becoming my favorite among the current generation of ballerinas
Susan

#18 Buddy

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 04:26 PM

... Still her claim to immortality as I have mentioned before, for me, is her performance in Ratmansky's Cinderella


This is a very interesting thread, but then Vishneva is a very interesting dancer, to say the least! Buddy, I wonder if you could elaborate a little on why you felt hat Cinderella is Vishneva's best role. I haven’t seen the Ratmansy version but having seen the Ashton and the Kudela I'm having trouble picturing this role being anyone's best


nysusan, thank you for your very interesting comments.In regard to your question above, I was thinking after I posted it that someone might wonder "Why? Being relatively new to ballet I don't really know technical descriptive terms that might make the picture much clearer in your mind, so I will try and use enthusiasm instead.

What immediately comes to mind were the 'Overhead Lifts'. Call it "athleticism", "pyrotechnics", etc., but just for starters. It was as if Igor Kolb (seemingly very good for this sort of thing) was throwing her all over the place and she was just breezing through it!

No Physical Challenge Seemed Too Great! The physical control and the way she would throw herself into each challenge was amazing and 'Flawlessly Executed' to my eyes. But lets remember that this is ballet and not a gymnastic event. I Can't Possibly Just Call It Great Athleticism And Leave It At That.

The balletic 'Grace' with which she accomplished all this was truly amazing to me. I was thinking last night as I was watching her "Giselle" video (a nightly ritual these days), that she seems to have an 'Ethereal Safety Net' when she 'Soars Into Space'. It's Beautiful What She Does----Very, Very Beautiful!!!! I might describe this aspect of her Ratmansky's Cinderella as... Pyrotechnics As Might Be Performed By An ** Angel ** ' 'Stage Presence'----My eyes hardly ever left her, even when she was sitting in the furthest corner of the stage during someone else's performance. I saw two other fine ballerinas perform the same ballet and they were very good, but it wasn't the same. I saw her perform it twice----equally good both times. Total Control.

I saw her perform the Pas De Deux a year-and-a-half later and it was just as good. For me. "It Is Just One Of Those Super Special Things." I Never Expected To Ever See Anything Like It And I Don't Expect To See Anything Like It Again----Except By Her.

#19 Buddy

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 08:03 PM

I have just found out today, July 13, is Diana's Birthday. I Wish Her All The Best!

#20 jps

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:19 PM

Thanks for these very helpful comments. I saw Diana Vishneva for the first time last Fall when the Kirov brought Sleeping Beauty to Berkeley. I saw two performances of the Kirov's Sleeping Beauty; Diana was in the second performance only. The first night's performance, without her, was a night of small pleasures: the company as a whole was not particularly inspiring. But on the second night, when Diana appeared, it's as if an electrical current went through the house. The entire company's dancing became more elegant, stronger, more beautiful, as if to reflect hers. She is not a self-absorbed performer: she has a way of making almost everyone feel more alive (including the audience, which that night in Berkeley was rapturous; the previous night it was simply warmly appreciative). For a long time I had been feeling that I had come to ballet too late—too late to see Gelsey Kirkland, Suzanne Farrell, Margot Fonteyn, Anna Pavlova. But that night in Berkeley I felt I had finally seen one of those once-in-a-generation dancers.

#21 Buddy

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 02:46 PM

But on the second night, when Diana appeared, it's as if an electrical current went through the house. The entire company's dancing became more elegant, stronger, more beautiful, as if to reflect hers.


jps, I felt the exact same way with the Cinderella performances. The two nights that she performed everyone seemed to perform better and I saw all the performances.

#22 Paul Parish

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 04:43 PM

but she announces herself as a ballerina, where others don't seem to do so no matter how satisfying their individual performances are. It's a certain arrogance, or confidence, they seem to instill at the Maryinsky.


Back in the late 80s, when Russians started showing up here every year, the critic Keith White used to say you could smell the difference when the Russian ballerinas were in town. The dancers exuded something (he called it musk, but he didn't mean to be taken literally), and the audience's hormonal levels changed acordingly. "They look at us as if to say 'I am magnificent; you may adore me.'"

It might be arrogance, but I think of it as a sense of responsibility to the public -- not in a pious way, but as the legacy of Pushkin and Vaganova, the determination to put your will and imagination and soul in service, in order to conquer the heroic difficulties of presenting everything the public needs to see and NOTHING ELSE.

#23 drb

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 05:09 PM

...
It might be arrogance, but I think of it as a sense of responsibility to the public -- not in a pious way, but as the legacy of Pushkin and Vaganova, the determination to put your will and imagination and soul in service, in order to conquer the heroic difficulties of presenting everything the public needs to see and NOTHING ELSE.


Joan Acocella, in her recent New Yorker review of the Vishneva/Corella Giselle mentioned as part of Diana's method the need to find her "secret" about the role. More of Diana's method was revealed in the May 2004 issue of Pointe as Nina Alovert interviewed Ms. Vishneva and asked how she prepared for a new role. Diana replied:

I always have the music inside me, but I begin to work on a role with the first steps during rehearsal. After beginning the rehearsal process, I start to understand what I need to see and read. For me, every step is a word. When I dance, it’s like I’m reading poetry to the people. I discover when to “say” something loudly, when to keep silent, when to make my tone lower—every step is looked at like this. Then, when I start to perform, I have a vast supply of research and imaginings, and I try different things to see what the people understand better. I never stop trying to know more.


Italics mine. As you say, Paul... responsibility to the public.

#24 Buddy

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 08:06 PM

For a long time I had been feeling that I had come to ballet too late—too late to see Gelsey Kirkland, Suzanne Farrell, Margot Fonteyn, Anna Pavlova. But that night in Berkeley I felt I had finally seen one of those once-in-a-generation dancers.


jps, I have also felt the same as you once again. I pretty much felt that the 'Greats' ended in the 50s with Galina Ulanova and Maya Plisetskaya with Natalia Makarova and Altnai Asylmuratova doing admirably in the meantime. I love the way I can finally throw these mega-syllable names around without rushing for my DVD covers. I once told a friend that the reason they have such long names must be because they are so incredibly talented. Would you agree? jps and nysusan, may I please go off topic for a moment and "With The Greatest Of Pleasure Announce The Arrival Of"...Uliana Lopatkina and Alina Cojocaru...along with Svetlana Zakharova and Daria Pavlenko...along with...Zhana Ayupova, Svetlana Lunkina, Maria Alexandrova, Veronika Part, Natalia Osipova...and off into the horizon.

My mind is actually beginning to be allowed (in all honesty) to think Galina Ulanova and Maya Plisetskaya when I view some of the current wonders. I don't think that I am alone. Anna Pavlova--well maybe not this time. All I am trying to say is that I think that 'Diana' is absolutely wonderful and should be discussed to the limit until she comes to town again---but 'Happily, Happily, Happily' look who else we have as well! I hope one day to see equally long topics on at least several of these other artists.

I close again with the salutation suggested by our wonderful bard, drb..."Long Live The Daughters Of St. Petersburg!" and all the other historic cities from whence they come and all the wonderful folks here, who keep them alive in our mind. Thank you all!

#25 jps

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 05:41 PM

. . . Nina Alovert interviewed Ms. Vishneva and asked how she prepared for a new role. Diana replied:
... "For me, every step is a word. When I dance, it’s like I’m reading poetry to the people. I discover when to “say” something loudly, when to keep silent, when to make my tone lower—every step is looked at like this . . . "


Thanks, drb, for this (to me) incredibly revealing quote. These are the words not only of a reader of poetry but of a poet. "Every step is a word": her dancing is poetry, and she works with movement the way poets work with words. "Every step is a word" also reminds me of another phrase Joan Acocella used to describe Diana's dancing (it's the one phrase from her essay I won't forget): "the soul as body."

This is such a great thread! (thanks too to Paul and Buddy and nysusan for your earlier comments---sorry I've been so late in responding. Isn't there some way to be notified of replies?).

#26 carbro

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 06:20 PM

Isn't there some way to be notified of replies?).

Yes. When you reply either by clicking "REPLY or ADD REPLY, you can scroll down to a box "Enable e-mail notification of replies." It won't appear if you open FAST REPLY.

#27 Helene

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 06:25 PM

You can also go to the top of the thread and click "Forum Options," then "Subscribe to this forum." You'll then be given notification frequency options, (default is "Immediate" notification), and then click the button at the bottom of the page to subscribe.

#28 jps

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 07:29 PM

You can also go to the top of the thread and click "Forum Options..."


Thanks, Helene & carbro. I appreciate the way you take care of new arrivals (I'm practicing quote format; I think I've got it).

#29 drb

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 08:12 AM

The epic poet of ballet has been giving news on her site regarding 2007 NYC performances. "I shall dance in MET in May-June 2007." "Yes, we with V. Malakhov plan to dance in the next year." "Probably I shall dance a Sleeping beauty in MET in 2007."

This third remark does not mention ABT specifically, although it would be so out of character for the MET to risk inviting the Mariinsky for a season (I bet they have no idea that it would sell out a full multi-week run with virtually no adverts), but seems consistent with Bingham's post under Sylvia today: "In the OCPAC announcement for the (mid July) 2007 ABT season, they mentioned that ABT is performing a new "full-lenght favorite direct from it's premiere at the Met".I hope it is Sleeping Beauty."

#30 canbelto

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 08:36 AM

Diana on her website also reveals that she wanted to be a figure skater as a child. I wonder how the figure skater/dancer distinction is chosen, because many figure skaters (Katia Gordeeva for example) started out as dancers and vice versa.


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