Nureyev & Baryshnikov
Posted 29 January 2002 - 01:01 PM
Posted 29 January 2002 - 04:33 PM
I think they were such different dancers it's hard to compare -- different bodies, different temperaments, different roles, different times. Technically, Baryshnikov did things no other dancer of his day in the West could do (and the fact that dancers today can doesn't detract from that achievement). Nureyev, for me, had more depth as an artist. Baryshnikov was generally not regarded as Partner of the Year -- but then, his repertory was not primarily made up of partnering roles, so that didn't matter.
My sense of our past discussions is that people who saw Nureyev in his prime would vote "Nureyev" and people who came to ballet during the Baryshnikov era would vote "Baryshnikov". Another reason why it's hard to compare them, is it's difficult to compare a 26-year-old with a 36-year old.
Posted 30 January 2002 - 12:09 AM
Partnering-wise, I always heard outrageous stories about Nureyev, but never myself witnessed anything too egregious and occasionally witnessed a very fine job of presenting a lesser light (actually he danced a lot with lesser lights); Baryshnikov I did see behave very rudely, but likewise saw performances in which he partnered with, at least to a mere fan's eyes, great skill.
(By the by -- my ultimate male pantheon goes by way of neither of the above, but Bruhn and Dowell.)
[ January 30, 2002: Message edited by: Drew ]
Posted 30 January 2002 - 05:39 AM
Ballet, though, is much more than technique. It is theatre, and in this sphere Nureyev is for me the winner by miles. I love Drew's expression " frisson of terror". Every performance was uniquely exciting, his "acting" didn't seem to be acting at all, it simply seemed real. Nureyev was without doubt for me the greatest artist I have ever seen.
I agree that Dowell and Bruhn were superb, but in my experience Nureyev, at least when young, had a magic that seemed to belong to another world. It was almost beyond humanity. No amount of academic perfection can compete with that.
[ January 30, 2002: Message edited by: Helena ]
Posted 03 February 2002 - 10:45 PM
Posted 06 February 2002 - 11:15 AM
And also loved Bruhn and Dowell.
Posted 06 February 2002 - 12:38 PM
During his lifetime Nureyev divided both audience and critics: you either loved him or hated him and I write as one who loved him faults and all. Baryshnikov was a highly academic dancer and an accomplished technician but unlike Nureyev he won't be remembered as a ballet immortal.
As to partnering skills, I believe Nureyev's reluctance to rehearse with many of his partners led to the lapses that have been well documented. Interestingly, Baryshnikov was also challenged in the partnering department as his lack of height meant that his list of suitable partners was more restricted than Nureyev's.
Nureyev by the way, considered his colleague at the Kirov, Yuri Soloviev to be his better in terms of pure technique and his admiration of Bruhn is well known but Nureyev possessed an asset that the others didn’t – he had Fonteyn.
Posted 06 February 2002 - 01:19 PM
Except for one wonderful Swan Lake with Cynthia Gregory in the late seventies, the Nureyev performances I saw were mostly memorable in spite of his failing and inconsistent technique, not because of it.
It's certainly easy to look at Baryshnikov and Nureyev, and see that Baryshnikov's technique was far beyond Nureyev's. And there's nothing wrong with that; and it can be interesting to consider in what manner Baryshnikov's better technique manifests itself. It can also be useful, and educational, to look at areas where Baryshnikov might not measure up to Nureyev. I'd consider it an education in stage presentation, personality, varieties of star power, etc.
So I'm quite happy to read and indulge in comparisons such as these; it's not for nothing dancer comparisons have been going on since Taglioni and Elssler. (Well, since before than, but that's the historical one that comes to mind).
Posted 06 February 2002 - 02:06 PM
I suppose Baryshnikov's forays into the modern dance repertory and movies have been considerably more successful, but things might have been different, in the movies anyway. I used to think it was too bad "The Turning Point" couldn't have been made in 1964.
Posted 06 February 2002 - 04:54 PM
Posted 06 February 2002 - 05:21 PM
Posted 06 February 2002 - 05:59 PM
Posted 06 February 2002 - 07:19 PM
I also think a Soloviev/Nureyev comparison might be a bit more apt, since they were contemporaries (although wasn't Soloviev a bit younger?). From what I've seen, Soloviev was absolutely more accomplished, technically, and not without considerable presence himself, although of an altogether different nature. I don't think he had the "electrifying" presence that Nureyev sometimes had, but one of the great "what-ifs" of ballet is "what if Soloviev had defected?"
Posted 06 February 2002 - 07:39 PM
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