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


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#46 Amy Reusch

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 07:43 PM

Poor Robert Johnson... he missed Giselle.

"Treat Yourself" would be my comment. Some of the dancing in this production was absolutely impeccable.
So nice to see the ballet done with the proper pointe technique. The Giselle's ability to linger in and then float out of her balances was sublime.

I'm a bit fried. Will post more details after I've deciphered my blindly scrawled notes tomorrow. Okay, there were some slight flaws, but the strengths made you readily forgive them.

This was so much better than I was expecting. I'd rate them way above the Boston Ballet cast I saw do a Sylphide matinee last fall... I haven't seen San Francisco Ballet live lately, and I don't know how they are at Giselle, but I'd venture that the women in this production from the ballerina down to the corps would be dangerous competition.
(and I remember not recommending this company's Romeo & Juliet).

[Edited to add... I have posted my review on the thread with the other reviews: http://ballettalk.in...p...c=26808&hl= ]

#47 wildaboutballet

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 06:53 AM

I admire loyalty but I think it is hard to support a company which gets such a review from a respected critic (not a website wannabe) Mr Johnson says "It's hard to know who should be more ashamed -- the impresario, Columbia Artists Management or local presenters -- for trying to swindle audiences by linking this garbage to the finest in Russian ballet."


I haven't seen their Carmen. If it is the one-act version created for Pliesetskaya, I can imagine that it wasn't well received. It generally seems to get very unfavourable reviews in the west, no matter what company performs it. However that may be, with the last part of Mr Johnsonson's statement I can't agree. The St Petersburg State Academic Ballet Theatre is part of the "finest in Russian ballet" as far as I'm concerned. Certainly they are in no way inferior to the travelling troops that the Bolshoi sends around (I'm not talking about the full-season, all-star casting that places like London get). I'd love to ask Mr Johnson in what way they failed to meet this standard.

BTW, I don't know if I just couldn't access the rest of Mr Johnson's review, but his arguments seem to be entirely unsubstantiated. He describes the production as "teeth-grindingly awful". In what way? Choreography? Decor? Dancing? Casting? Unless there is more to this, I'm not taking what he says on faith.



Mr Johnsons remarks about the impesario may have struck the right note ...look at this from 1996 Are the Stars of the Bolshoi The Stars?
By JENNIFER DUNNING
Published: May 1, 1996
The dance troupe that will perform at the Tilles Center at Long Island University and at the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in Bedford Park, the Bronx, this weekend calls itself Stars of the Bolshoi Ballet.
But is this the Bolshoi Ballet? The question has dogged the group since it began its 11-week tour of the United States on Feb. 19. Bolshoi Theater officials in Russia contend that there ape no Bolshoi dancers in the touring company and that the use of the Bolshoi name is a violation of international law. They have filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court of the Central District in Los Angelesagainst the tour's producer, Columbia Artists Management, one of the world's major classical-music booking agencies. The controversy has led dance-program presenters in Cincinnati and Denver to offer audiences a money-back guarantee if they are not satisfied with the performances. A third presenter, the Kentucky Center for the Arts, sued CAMI for misrepresentation.
Andrew S. Grossman, the senior vice president of CAMI who is responsible for the tour, says the dancers are bona fide members of the Bolshoi, one of Russia's oldest, best-known and most important ballet companies. In a Jan. 31 letter to the Kentucky Center for the Arts, where the troupe appeared in mid-April, Mr. Grossman dismissed the accusations as "in-house bickering and partisan politics created by individuals within the Bolshoi Theater." Mr. Grossman did not return phone calls this week.
Contract negotiations between the Bolshoi Theater and CAMI broke off in mid-November, said John Webber, the theater's American lawyer, who added that CAMI had no contract with the Bolshoi. The Bolshoi Theater is suing CAMI for damages and permanent injunctive relief on the grounds of unfair competition and infringement and dilution of the Bolshoi trademark. The name was registered as a trademark in the United States in April 1995. Last month, the Bolshoi lost its bid for a temporary restraining order on the grounds that too much of the tour, which ends on May 11, had elapsed.
Vladimir Vasilyev, the director of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and one of the great stars of the theater's ballet company in the 1960's and 70's, says there are no Bolshoi dancers -- not to mention stars -- in the troupe. Mr. Vasilyev had said he feared that the touring ensemble's standards would diminish the luster of the Bolshoi Ballet proper. An American tour is under discussion for 1998, the company's first in eight years.
"The tour presently being advertised using the name of the Bolshoi Theater is completely unauthorized, and is in serious violation of laws governing the use of the name of the Bolshoi Theater," Mr. Vasilyev wrote on Jan. 8 in a letter to The New York Times. On Jan. 25, Mr. Vasilyev notified CAMI, in a letter to Mr. Grossman, that the Bolshoi Theater was breaking off its business relationship with the agency and canceling a planned 1997 tour of the United States by the Bolshoi Symphony.
Eleven of the principal dancers in the touring group trained at the Bolshoi and danced with the company when it was under the direction of Yuri Grigorovich, who was ousted in 1995, though program biographies obtained from several tour engagements do not mention that the dancers have retired from the Bolshoi or have left it. Two principals were formerly with the Kirov Ballet, Russia's other major troupe, and Valery Golovitser, Mr. Vasilyev's representative in New York, said the ensemble's corps de ballet was from a troupe in Ufa.
The dispute occurs against a backdrop of political and economic turmoil that has flared in Russia after the collapse of Communism, as foreign and national entrepreneurs seek to cash in on Russian assets like the Bolshoi name. The arts traditions of the past are now being questioned, too. In an interview in January, Mr. Vasilyev talked of a needed modernizing of the repertory of the Bolshoi, which was founded more than two centuries ago.
No matter whether the tour performers, several of whom have been cr'tically praised during the tour, are bona fide Bolshoi dancers, CAMI seems to have had trouble deciding on a name and director for the ensemble. The group has been billed variously as Stars of the Bolshoi Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet Ensemble and Principal Dancers of the Bolshoi Ballet. In certain advertising and program material, the company is listed as being under the direction of Vyacheslav Gordeyev, who replaced Mr. Grigorovich as director of the Bolshoi Ballet and who has disavowed the group. In addition, Mr. Grigorovich is described in some material as "chief choreographer" of the Bolshoi, though he and the company have severed all ties.
Ticket sales have been brisk and both performances at Tilles Center are sold out. But the Kentucky Center charged CAMI with misrepresentation of the group in a lawsuit settled out of court. In papers filed in August, the center said CAMI had misrepresented the touring company by falsely claiming in the contract that the troupe would be headed by the former leading Bolshoi dancers Natalya Bessmertnova and Yuri Vladimirov, who were no longer with the Bolshoi.
The Aronoff Center in Cincinnati offered a money-back guarantee to its audience, though there were only a handful of takers, a spokesman for the center said. And Barry Fey, a Denver producer, is also offering a guarantee. Mr. Fey had considered canceling the performance late last week, but decided to go ahead after the restraining order was denied, he said. "The quality of dance is there," Mr. Fey said. "Once the court ruled, I felt professionally and morally we could go ahead. If you can't use the Bolshoi name, forget it. You might as well fold up the tent."
A spokeswoman for the Tilles Center said the center received material identifying the group as Stars of the Bolshoi as late as March. In its publicity material, the center refers to Mr. Grigorovich as chief choreographer of the Bolshoi. A publicity release for Lehman Center describes the touring ensemble as Stars of the Bolshoi but identifies Mr. Grigorovich as the former director of the company and the dancers as former members of the Bolshoi and Kirov.
American audiences have long been seeing small touring groups from large American and international ballet companies, many of them produced by CAMI, led by dancers who are not always the company stars they are billed to be, in repertory and with production levels that do not represent the best of those companies.
Will the Stars of the Bolshoi tarnish the reputation of the Bolshoi Theater? The furor over the touring ensemble has generated an unusual amount of press coverage around the nation.
An editorial in The Washington Post in late February compared the group to knockoff Louis Vuitton bags and Chanel perfume, saying, "No one wants to arrive at the theater for an evening of ballet and spend the performance wondering whether political and economic troubles have replaced the incomparable stars of legend with a bunch of ringers."

#48 wildaboutballet

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 06:59 AM

Don't judge the company on its new choreography -- such as the weird 'R&J' with Queen Mab and now this. This is not the Alonso Carmen which is a very fine work.

This fabulous troupe should stick to its strengths: the classics and the Yakobsen miniatures.




I expect you are all aware of the esteemed Nina Alovert She has written the most informativearticle entitled THE LEONID YAKOBSON THEATRE RENAMED AS THE KONSTANTIN TACHKIN THEATRE
Nina Alovert – Russian Bazar №12 – 20th March 2008

Her opinion in the piece contains the following !

Such chaos reigns on stage that I may have missed a few of the ballet’s details. In the programme, next to each cast member there are two names but there is no mention of who is actually dancing. This is a pity because although the troupe as a whole creates the impression of an amateur company, the artist who danced Jose (V. Dorokin/I. Zaitsev) was very good. To be fair to the choreographer here, the Don Jose role is the most interesting the ballet offers: in act two Petukhov creates a witty and dramatic monologue for his hero. The audience perked up straight away and gave the dancer V. Dorokin/I. Zaitsev a heart felt round of applause. I would also single out the choreographic characterisation of Escamillo (at the beginning of act two) and the performer of that role: S. Davydov/P. Yakovlev.

I was ashamed for the great Leonid Yakobson’s former company. I am not even talking about the fact that at the present moment its dancers are at a much lower professional level than those of the Tachkin theatre whose name they have either appropriated for themselves or has been appropriated for them. This brazen use of someone else’s name suggests unscrupulousness and a lack of respect towards one’s own company. However, the most important thing here is that one should not be touring bad taste cowboy work thinking that the audience does not in any case understand. It does understand. Even the most casual theatre goer should be presented with theatre of the highest artistic quality. What is more, Russian ballet should not be discredited abroad.

#49 Ostrich

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 08:39 AM

This brazen use of someone else’s name suggests unscrupulousness and a lack of respect towards one’s own company.


As far as I know, the 'Yakobson' company has never used the name "Constantin Tatchkin Theatre", but either St Petersburg State Academic Ballet Theatre or (as a contraction) St Petersburg Ballet Theatre, which, as previous posters have pointed out, was their name before the Tatchkin Company even existed. So I don't know about 'using someone else's name'.

#50 wildaboutballet

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 07:09 AM

This brazen use of someone else’s name suggests unscrupulousness and a lack of respect towards one’s own company.


As far as I know, the 'Yakobson' company has never used the name "Constantin Tatchkin Theatre", but either St Petersburg State Academic Ballet Theatre or (as a contraction) St Petersburg Ballet Theatre, which, as previous posters have pointed out, was their name before the Tatchkin Company even existed. So I don't know about 'using someone else's name'.



Nina Aloverts piece tells us that the company is using the Tachkin name ....as so many newspapers in the US have also reported

THE LEONID YAKOBSON THEATRE RENAMED
AS THE KONSTANTIN TACHKIN THEATRE

Nina Alovert – Russian Bazar №12 – 20th March 2008

Not so long ago I was sent some newspaper articles from the Arizona Daily Star one of which, dated 2nd February, advertised the visit of The Konstantin Tachkin Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre who were to perform the ballet Giselle and other classical ballets. The author of the article informed the future ballet going audience that the renowned Prima Ballerina, Irina Kolesnikova, would be appearing and listed a few facts from her biography taken from an article which I had written for Dance Magazine in 2006.

#51 Roach

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 09:06 AM

Well, just saw this company perform Giselle last week here in Columbus, Georgia. Alexandra Badina played the main role. At the time I didn't know about this name issue and just assumed that there was only one St Petersburg Ballet Theater. I can't say I'm really moved one way or the other about the whole thing, but it has taught me to do my own research and not rely on the local yokels to give accurate info regarding who is performing and whether or not there will be a live orchestra. The box office specifically told me there would be an orchestra but I knew by looking at the seating chart that the orchestra pit area was also available. So either I would be sitting next to a horn player or there would be no orchestra. Too bad about that, but Russian ballet doesn't happen every day here so I value the opportunity and will forgive the taped music.

By the way, I'm in love with Alexandra Badina. :bow:

#52 Ostrich

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 11:36 AM

So either I would be sitting next to a horn player or there would be no orchestra.


In that case you must have been glad there was no orchestra! ;)
I can't remember when last I saw a foreign company (or even a local one) performing to live orchestra. Even the Bolshoi brings 'canned music' when they visit here. It is a pity as it does affect the ambience of the whole thing dramatically.


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