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St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre"Would the real ballet company please stand up?"


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#1 Amy Reusch

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 08:39 PM

I was curious to find some info for an upcoming performance at University of Connecticut so that I could encourage some of my students to go.

Here is the billing: http://www.jorgensen....php?eventID=41

GISELLE
St. Petersburg Ballet
March 27, 2008
8:00 pm

Direct from the birthplace of classical Russian ballet, the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre is one of the most distinguished companies in Russia. With its stunning prima ballerina, this jewel of a company will perform one of the most famous and enduring of the romantic ballets. A tragic tale of innocence and betrayed love, the doomed passion of Giselle and Albrecht is reflected in the ethereal choreography and hauntingly beautiful score by Adolphe Adam.


And here is what one finds at the St. Petersburg Ballet Site http://www.spbt.ru/?...;last_rnd_id=11

SPBT IS NOT TOURING AMERICAN COLLEGES OR AMERICAN ARTS CENTRES

SPBT is not touring American colleges or American arts centres. Since October 2007 many letters are coming to our website from the USA asking us to provide more information about a forthcoming tour that SPBT (St Petersburg Ballet Theatre) is performing in America from October until spring 2008. The most repeated question is whether Irina Kolesnikova is participating in the tour.American visitors tell us they see advertising for the tour and cannot find any confirmation on our own website that Irina is touring USA. Nor can they find any confirmation on our website that SPBT is touring the USA.So many letters are coming to us every week that we are forced to make an official statement here on this site:


and a little later in the same press release:

Advertised as touring in American colleges and small arts centres with taped music is a company that has no connection whatsoever with Konstantin Tachkin’s St Petersburg Ballet Theatre – brand SPBT.

The official name of the Russian company from St Petersburg advertised as touring the USA is St. Petersburg State Academic Ballet Theater of Leonid Yakobson. Under this name they perform in the city of St Petersburg and we have no idea why they are presenting themselves in America as the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre.


There is this website for Saint Petersburg State Academic Ballet Theater of Leonid Yakobson: http://rus-ballet.co...tic-jizel-1.htm
but it's a little vague.

I'm guessing the performance will be about the quality of the other Russian companies that have come through on these 1-night stand university tours... I feel for the dancers, the tours seem to be 1-night stand after 1-night stand all across the US with a handful of longer runs (3 days?) on the outskirts of large cities like NYC.

But I wonder that there isn't something of a scandal going on here with the company using another company's name.

Too bad they don't seem to be performing any of Yakobson's work. I'm curious to see that.

#2 Ostrich

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 09:18 PM

I have seen both Tatchkin's St Petersburg Ballet Theatre and the St Petersburg State Academic Ballet Theatre of Leonid Jacobson and found the latter to be considerably the better company! Their all-round standard was significantly higher than that of Tatchkin's ballet, where I remember some of the corps work was positively shoddy and the production(Swan Lake) was performed to one of the most brutally played(taped) versions of Tchaikovsky's score that I've heard. That said, I never got to seeing Irina Kolesnikova herself, who I believe alters the chemistry of their performance.

St Petersburg State Academic Ballet Theatre didn't boast one particular star, but their performance was polished and tasteful in every way. They did perform a lot of Jacobson's work, which was fascinating to see.

In my opinion Tatchkin's ballet is very overrated and their reputation partly built on heavy publicity and partly on the "star" status of Kolesnikova. However, I only saw this company once (not having bothered to see them when they returned with Giselle), so I may have missed something.

If you go, please tell us about your experience with the "State Academic" ballet! I'd love to know what impression they make on you.

P.S. I must add that they seem to use the title St Petersburg Ballet Theatre interchangeably with and/or as a shortened version of St Petersburg State Academic Ballet Theatre. When I saw them the longer title appeared on posters/programs and the shorter one in reviews and program notes.

#3 Paul Parish

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 10:40 PM

My experience confirms Ostrich's -- I saw the Yakobson company here in SF about 10 year ago and was VERY glad I went -- They did almost exclusively Jakobson's miniatures and I was fascinated. I took Remy Charlip as my guest and HE loved it too -- and Remy is a genius of the theater. Amy, if I were you I'd take the chance and go see them.

Edited to add --
Well, I just went to both links you give, nad neither seems to be for the Jakobson company -- at least, not at first glance -- in fact, they seem to be two different sites for the SAME company.... SO I don't know what to advise. BUT if WHOEVER it is is gonig to do Giselle, I'd say, probably go. Giselle can stand up to lower production values and still really deliver -- there only has to be one really beautiful dress, and if the company can DANCE, well, that's what's called for. The Cubans come in loud hard shoes and it doesn't matter. Oakland Ballet has danced Giselle more convincingly at times than San Francisco Ballet -- their mime was more sincere, andthe jumps really got off the ground. Myrtha must be a JUMPER. So must giselle, all the Wilis , they jump jump jump. If they understand the ballet and love it and dance sincerely, it might be something the likes of which your students have never seen.

#4 Amy Reusch

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 03:10 PM

Thank you, thank you for the info! I don't hope that we'll get the performance San Francisco gets, but at least that sounds much better than I had hoped for! I will encourage my students to go. Unfortunately I teach that evening. Maybe it's worth my cancelling classes and arranging a group rate instead. Not sure how my director would go for that, but I'll float the idea. Most of my kids have never seen a real live professional ballet dancer, it would be worth more than class to them.

And I agree with you, Paul, about the production values. This won't be like the Coppelia that came through once. The University of Connecticut's performing arts center (?) has no fly space. I'm not sure, but perhaps this is why there was no doll in the entire first act of that Coppelia. Precious little of the references to the doll made any sense to the audence a a result. I don't think there's anything like that in Giselle? The rising from the grave should be manageable. There's been some funky lighting in the travelling shows before, so perhaps they won't manage that transition to morning convincingly, but most of the ballet should come across...

#5 Mashinka

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 03:00 AM

the production(Swan Lake) was performed to one of the most brutally played(taped) versions of Tchaikovsky's score that I've heard.


I must admit to being puzzled by the above. StPBT has toured extensively here in the UK for many years now and is by far the best of the Russian touring groups that visit (I'm tempted to say inflict themselves) regularly. On the many occasions I've seen them they have always appeared with their own excellent orchestra that if their schedule allows has also played concert performances here.

#6 Ostrich

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 11:01 AM

The UK probably gets preferrential treatment :wink:

While Tatchkin's company was by far not the worst I've seen in the way of Russian touring companies, I wasn't tempted to go back after that Swan Lake. If this is not their usual standard, maybe they thought audiences at the southern tip of Africa aren't very discerning (which often enough is true). The Jacobson company, however, gave a jewel of a performance and I've been praying for a return visit from them for years now.

#7 Natalia

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 07:12 AM

The above posters are correct. The St. P. State Academic Ballet company -- the one that Yakobsen, then Makarov, headed once known as "Choreographic Miniatures"-- is miles ahead of the 'Tatchkine-Kolesnikova Troupe,' although the latter is not bad (generally nice corps and IK has lovely moments though her face can be particularly irksome, to me at least).

I rank the St. Petersburg companies thus:

1. Mariinsky (ex-Kirov)

2. Mikhailovsky (ex-Maly/Moussorgsky...now headed by Ruzimatov)

3. St. Petersburg State Academic Ballet Theater (directed by former Maly star, Yuri Petukhov; was the troupe of Leonid Yakobsen and, later, Askold Makarov)

4. Eifman Ballet

5. Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory Ballet (until recently was headed by Dolgushin, who built a fabulous repertoire)

*** the above are the "Big Five" whose dancers and history are featured in the St. Petersburg Ballet Encyclopaedia of Arsen Degen***

6. Tatchkin - Kolesnikova

7. Hermitage Theater Ballet (touring US this spring,right? Lot of Kirov soloists guest here.)

#8 Natalia

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 09:37 AM

Related to the above, I can confirm that the Hermitage Theater Ballet with Kirov-mariinsky & Mikhailovsky soloists will be touring the southeastern US next month, commencing with a gala in Savannah, GA, on February 8 '08. Stars include Irma Nioradze, Tatyana Tkachenko & Sergei Popov of the Kirov-Mariinsky & the divine Irina Perren of the Mikhailovly (ex-Maly). Oh...and Anastasia Kolegova who is on both the Kirov-Mariinsky and Mikhailovsky rosters (and is a huge favorite in Japan with her supermodel looks). The Hermitage's own principal ballerina, Alyona Klochkova, is also a stunner.

Below is a link to the dancers' page on the tour's website:

http://www.hermitage...174/page/907546

#9 Amy Reusch

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 10:42 AM

Okay.... I guess it's just me... but I'm now wavering between company # 3 & company #7 from Natalia's post... I really suspect it's company # 7 that will be playing the University of Connecticut.... but I can't find proof. Maybe (?) someone at Jorgensen Auditorium can tell me, but generally they're not well informed... I think it was last year that they advertised Swan Lake with a photo of the Shades scene from Bayadere... I can't believe a company that rates between the Kirov and Eifmann would be playing at this kind of venue.

#10 Natalia

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 11:28 AM

Amy, I checked the Jorgensen/U. Conn website & it's definitely Company #3 from my list -- directed by Yuri Petukhov --that will be performing. I'm seeing their GISELLE in Rockville, MD, in mid-March, then they return to the Wash, DC area in mid-April with CARMEN and SWAN LAKE at Geo. Mason Univ. in Fairfax, VA. I love that troupe, although I'm a bit sorry that they have set-aside the true gems of their repertoire -- the Yakobsen oeuvre -- when touring. SWAN LAKES and GISELLES sell more tickets than do JEWISH WEDDING, EXERCISE XX, and the "no pointe-shoes-SPARTACUS"!

This is from the Rockville, MD, venue:

http://montgomerycol.../PAC/Ballet.htm

Company #7 (Hermitage) will only be touring the Southeastern U.S.

#11 Ostrich

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 12:31 PM

I love that troupe, although I'm a bit sorry that they have set-aside the true gems of their repertoire -- the Yakobsen oeuvre -- when touring


I remember seeing them perform a piece called "Illusions" and wonder now if it was one of Jacobson's or not (They also performed some choreography by Petukhov). It is a pas de deux with the woman's costume in Balinese style. The choreography shifted cleverly to and fro, leaving you guessing about which dancer was having "illusions" until at the end I was fully convinced that the person having illusions was myself!

#12 Treefrog

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 07:32 PM

More confusion :)

Is this the same tour that is advertised -- on Amy's second linked site -- as SoyuzSport Theater?

#13 Natalia

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 06:53 AM

.... the same tour that is advertised -- on Amy's second linked site -- as SoyuzSport Theater?


No, Treefrog. The link is for the Hermitage Ballet that will be touring the S.E. USA next month.

And it's not just St. Petersburg companies touring the USA simultaneously. We will also have the Georgian Ballet (Nina A.'s troupe) and the Perm Ballet (billed as "Tchaikovsky Ballet") criss-crossing America.

Not to forget Vishneva's 'Beauty in Motion' special tour...or the spectacular Moiseyev Folk Ballet that is currently in the middle of a three-month trek across America!

I'm sure I've missed one or two others. :)

#14 Amy Reusch

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 08:10 AM

Sounds too good to be true, but I'm delighted! I wonder what circumstances would permit a venue like Jorgensen would book the Yacobsen miniatures... I'm guessing they'd have to carry a season of two evenings of famous ballet before they'd add a third "experimental" evening... hard to beat the kind of free pre-marketing a ballet like Swan Lake has... They did bring in that wild Romeo & Juliet (darn, choreographer's name doesn't jump to mind) that a Russian company toured af ew years back, but then it had the Romeo & Juliet name.

I'm guessing any company that wanted to tour a Firebird or Rite of Spring wouldn't have much trouble getting bookings because of the fame of the music... although, then again, college educated adults around me weren't familiar with Firebird when it was played here recently, some mistakenly calling it "that firefly thing", so perhaps I'm wrong again...

#15 Amy Reusch

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 08:16 AM

OH... I see it was Petukhov who choreographed that bizarre Romeo & Juliet that came through a few years ago. I hope it's the traditional Giselle that they're touring? Has this tour touched down in the US anywhere yet?

... I better stop answering myself on-line... but maybe some others are wondering along the same lines:

It looks like it's been in Chicago: http://www.nwitimes....3d10080e9bf.txt

and it would seem to be the traditional version, although the article appears to be a preview rather than a review.

In this situation, I miss the old Ballettalk format of company forums.

Hunting about for this tour's production info, I found another company link (but I can't tell how current it is): http://www.musicians...burg/ballet.htm

and this site has a nice history of the company and notes for Giselle:
http://popejoypresen...nts/Giselle.pdf

And CAMI's page for them: http://www.cami.com/?webid=617
CAMI is their agent on this US tour, as they have been for companies coming through in previous years.
Oddly, their synopsis refers to the Willis as "Willises".


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