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Don Quixote at Kennedy Center4 perfs, Feb 24 & 25 '07


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#16 Ray

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 07:34 AM

At the risk of breaking a posting rule, I'm going to repeat myself from another thread (the other Bolshoi-at-KC thread, which seems to be inactive now that this one's hot), because inquiring minds want to know:

Why are the 2 flower girls in act one bare-legged? Is this traditional for these roles in the ballet? For the Bolshoi? (I hope I have the role name right--they're two "side leads" who wear orange tutu-ish dresses).

What's with the ratty point shoes & ribbons?--they look worn out and dirty, even Osipova's. The set's pretty tired, too (I'm perplexed by some of the good reviews it's gotten!). Money problems?

For all the incredible jumping, the dancers seemed not to make a sound. Is this b/c of Kennedy Center's acoustics or the dancers (i.e., worn-out point shoes are quieter)?

#17 Mashinka

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 07:54 AM

To answer part of the question, it's to do with personal preference as to whether dancers prefer old or worn out shoes, were you sitting close to or at a distance? If the latter then they need to tidy up a bit, but let me assure you it's not just Bolshoi dancers that choose to wear their most comfortable shoes at a big performance.

Surely soundless shoes are a cause of celebration? If it's noise you want, check out the Kirov - their shoes (with a couple of noble exceptions) are thunderous.

#18 Natalia

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 08:03 AM

Why are the 2 flower girls in act one bare-legged? ....

What's with the ratty point shoes & ribbons....


Ray,
On the first question: I have no idea but, in this ballet (esp. Act I), female soloists often wish to perform without their tights. In the evening performance, Svetlana Zakharova danced bare-legged in Act I. Ditto Irma Nioradze and Diana Vishneva, whenever they dance Kitri-Act I. Maybe they feel more 'earthy' & less 'classical'??? Who knows?

Second question: Perhaps they break-in and 'soften' the pointe shoes excessively, to make them more comformable in performance? After all, these roles (Kitri & her 2 friends) demand a lot of 'taquette' (quick jabbing) pointe work. It also helps to soften the sound.

I noticed that the two Bolshoi Friends of Kitri went even further & put a beige-colored coating (powder?) on their shoes, that blended with their skin color, giving an effect of being barefooted. So perhaps that is our answer to both questions - the characters are poor, happy-go-lucky girls who walk around Seville bare-footed? Yet all of the other women around them wear heeled shoes, so it is still very odd-looking.

Speaking of sound but otherwise unrelated to the shoes: Did anyone else notice how LOUDLY the toreadors plopped the daggers onto the stage floor, during the Street Dancer's solo? They seemed to be wanting to tear-up the stage floor. Is this supposed to be a dance of anger? I don't think so.

#19 koshka

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 10:21 AM

About the shoes: in principle shoes match tights, so the idea of coloring (usually with makeup) would be to make them match the skin rather than the tights.

Russian pointe shoes are exceptionally loud when new, and yet a quiet jump is prized. Hence I'd think dancers would choose shoes that were as soft as possible, but still strong enough to provide the needed support.

The orange/yellow costumes were severely in need of a cleaning.

#20 Ray

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 01:33 PM

Thanks for the speedy answers! Natalia, I'm fascinated that wearing tights could be a choice, especially in a traditional company like the Bolshoi. And Mashinka, I of course stand in total awe at the quietness of the feet, esp. considering the height of the jumps! But I have to say the dirtiness of shoes, costumes, and sets put me off--I was sitting very close, mind you. And while the soft pointe shoes may be comfy and clearly reliable, they don't always flatter the feet (fortunately, these feet were mostly pretty amazing).

One more shoe note: the Toreador was wearing white, lace-up jazz shoes! Couldn't they sew some kind of flap or faux buckle over the laces? (plus, when I think of a toreador I always imagine black shoes).

The floor itself looked in need of a good sweeping, and that can't be blamed on the Bolshoi. I've actually noticed dirty floors at a lot of major venues lately. Budget cuts? I'm sure it's expensive to pay a stagehand to push a broom, but it's worth it.

#21 ami1436

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 04:07 AM

Just thank you to everyone who has reported - I'm already missing this production, which I just saw last summer! Am a bit surprised to hear about Alexandrova - her staying up forever in those one-handed lifts is something I associate with her for some reason - will have to check and see who I saw as her partner.

I see Osipova is set to debut as the classical dancer in The Bright Stream this month? Yeah!

If there is any DVD of her ever in my lifetime, I will own it. It's so nice to see the *joy* of dancing so clearly on display.

#22 Naoko S

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 02:46 PM

Just thank you to everyone who has reported - I'm already missing this production, which I just saw last summer! Am a bit surprised to hear about Alexandrova - her staying up forever in those one-handed lifts is something I associate with her for some reason - will have to check and see who I saw as her partner.


ami, it was Sergei Filin who did it! He was amazing - after the hard work of doing the most of the first nights in the space of nearly three weeks the guy still maintained the stamina and strength to do that! (Wow!) I remember having cheered wildly at them, like a madwoman!!

Thanks also from me to all of you for bringing me back the 'fond' memory of the 'great' summer of '06...

#23 Ostrich

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 06:28 AM

ami, it was Sergei Filin who did it! He was amazing - after the hard work of doing the most of the first nights in the space of nearly three weeks the guy still maintained the stamina and strength to do that! (Wow!) I remember having cheered wildly at them, like a madwoman!!


And if I'm not mistaken, he did it all with a nonchalance as if Alexandrova weighed nothing at all. Have you noticed how slender his arms are? I never know how he does it.

#24 Naoko S

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 03:28 PM

And if I'm not mistaken, he did it all with a nonchalance as if Alexandrova weighed nothing at all.


'nonchalance' - that's exactly the word to describe Filin at the scene, Ostrich! The memo. I wrote after the performance reads: Filin held Alexandrova in the air with a single-hand lift for so long - longer than any body else I saw in years (and certainly much much longer than Matvienko from the previous evening). Particularly, second time he went for so long it's as if Alexandrova could suspend in the air forever! The audience went wild and cheered at them midway...

#25 ami1436

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 02:15 AM

Yes, it was Filin, and I loved it! I feel that while Osipova was the discovery, Alexandrova also very much delivered, and I also love her in Don Q. I also could watch the part where she runs across the stage and leaps into his arms.

And nonchalance is a good word for it - nonchalance but not ambivalance. The second lift seemed to last forever and Alexandrova totally flirts with the audience while she's up there.

Sigh. Yes Naoko, what a summer. A week after they left I was missing Don Q and The Bright Stream.

#26 nysusan

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 06:56 AM

Just checked my old programs and the first time (and the only other time) I saw Alexandrova in Don Q her partner was Yury Klevtsov. This was in NY summer of 2005 and Filin wasn't on the tour - I think he was injured and they were filling in as best they could because I remember several of the men having trouble with the lifts. I also saw Andrey Uvarov with Shipulina and he was no better than Klevtsov. What a pity because those lifts can be so spectacular...


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