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Mariinsky: NYCCApril 1-20, 2008


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#181 Solnishka79

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 07:46 AM

I'm not too sure-I tried GMs once while I was still dancing and found them very difficult to work with. I couldn't feel the floor through the box, couldn't get the shanks to bend where I wanted them to, other issues also. I wore them twice in rehearsals and put my Russian Pointes back on. I think they work well for some dancers but don't for others-mainly students. (I don't let any of my students wear them and nor do many of my other friends who instruct/direct schools.) I'm sure they are more comfortable to wear when performing day after day due to the wads of padding placed inside(like the Mariinsky right now) but they don't look good on some-mainly our blonde gymnast. The shoes tend to create a slim profile, something our higher arched dancers shouldn't worry about. But again, pointe shoes are subject to personal choice.
P.S. Thank you to everyone for your continued posts on the NYCC season! I wish I could have been there! I'm glad to hear about Big Red's triumphs and look forward to seeing her here in DC again soon.

#182 Petite_Arabesque

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 08:29 AM

Question: Are Gaynor Mindens taking over the Mariinsky as they are with ABT? Several of the ladies are 'GM Artists', and as with all shoes, I don't always feel (both from seeing the Mariinsky and seeing pictures), that they are right for everyone. Somova's are sometimes glaringly apparent in photos. According to the GM website, those who use them include:
Somova
Big Red
Gonchar
Novikova
Obraztova

I'm curious! I'm obsessed with dancer's favourite shoes, and am, perhaps naively, surprised to see so many from the Mariinsky wearing shoes 'of the future'!

I noticed this as well! It seemed to me that more than half of the dancers (corps included) were wearing Gaynors. Having worn them in the past I can vouch that they are comfortable...but they don't let the dancer have full articulation of their feet. On Somova, who doesn't have the extreme arch of some of the other dancers, this was glaringly obvious. While of course dancers have the right to choose their own shoes, I wish more would stay with the traditional Russian shoes. :smilie_mondieu:

#183 Andre Yew

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 08:48 AM

I think you may have said it best, about hiding SFB's weaknesses. The thing is, if you can even make that comment about any ballet company, doesn't that say something about said company?


Of course, but I think you can say this for any company even POB and Mariinsky. I found the Mariinsky's Symphony in C to be not that good, and I don't want to know what they'd do to Ashton's La Fille Mal Garde.

I am sure there ARE ballets they excel in that do mask their weaknesses. (I really have no idea what happens on their tours though. Maybe different casting and/or different rep?


I'm not sure what ABT does well. In SoCal, their productions seem to live and die by the principal couple. I've seen them in mixed rep and story ballets, classical and contemporary work, and while there are moments of stunning brilliance (Kent/Carreno in the white swan pas from their opening night gala in LA a few years ago), they don't live up to their exalted billing (America's ballet company?) and elevated ticket prices out here. It goes beyond the messy corps, too, as the company seems to have no style.

I gladly attended every single NYCB performance when they visited us for two weeks a couple of years ago, and would do it again, and I generally do the same for the Kirov. But when ABT comes out, I only see one performance and only because I feel obligated to give them one more try.

--Andre

#184 EAW

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 08:58 AM

And in Diamonds she will not have to do any!!!!!! Suzanne Farrell had awful beats too.... Life goes on. But that's what I meant by "a bit messy."

Awful beats? I can't let that go unchallenged. I'll single out just three roles - Chaconne, Mozartiana and Walpurgisnacht Ballet (think of those cabrioles battus!) in which Farrell's beats were strong, clear and beautiful - oh, yes, and Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, also. At the end of the first movement, which can be beat heaven or hell (depending on the ballerina), Farrell dropped to one knee in a pose of deserved triumph. I do enjoy Lopatkina, but at that same moment in Ballet Imperial she had to muster a convincing look of triumph to cover up the struggling, unsuccessful beats that preceded it.

#185 sz

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 11:51 AM

>[Suzanne Farrell's] Awful beats? I can't let that go unchallenged. I'll single out just
> three roles - Chaconne, Mozartiana and Walpurgisnacht Ballet

You're right, "technically" cabrioles are considered beats. But I consider cabrioles rather as an embellishment to a large jump. There are no scissor-like crossings for women's cabrioles (yet!!). But you're right the cabrioles were just fine at the Kirov.

I was referring more to entrachet sixes and the brisse volees (apologies for the spellings.) Suzanne managed them, some better than others... (she was not known for brilliant jumping technique). Somova and the Kirov managed *some of them* too, but not as well as NYCB / ABT on the whole perform them.

As I said before, I really don't care if the beats are perfectly done, but it surprised me that the Kirov, with all their gorgeous training, didn't perform them well.....not even nearly as well as NYCB /ABT does overall. That's what looked "a bit messy" to me.

#186 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:08 AM

I attended the April 20th matinee, the last performance of the Kirov’s City Center season. I hope they return before too long. I bought the ticket for the April 20th matinee because I wanted to see the Kirov dance Balanchine, and most of all I wanted to see Vishneva. I’ve seen her in “Swan Lake” and “Giselle” (with ABT) and she was fantastic. I really wanted to see her perform in a non-story ballet. Well, that was not to be, but the afternoon was still wonderful.

“Serenade” was absolutely gorgeous. I was particularly impressed with the performances of Victoria Tereshkina and Ekaterina Kondaurova. Nadezhda Gonchar was okay, but she did not dance at the level of Tereshkina and Kondaurova (in my opinion anway). Both men were very good (Ivanchenko and Sergeev). As I mentioned before, I was really impressed (and surprised) by the level of the male dancing this time. I’ve seen the Kirov six times before their City Center season, and while the men might have been decent partners, they were rather klunky in their individual performances. So “Serenade” is another ballet I’ll never be able to see again (like “Les Slyphides”) without comparing it unfavorably with the Kirov performance. And I probably shouldn’t say this – but it’ll be even worse if Darci Kistler and Yvonne Borre dance the Waltz Girl and Russian Girl parts. (I saw New York City Ballet dance “Serenade” in late February, and I was very disappointed in Kistler’s and Borre’s performances. And after reading the Ballet Alert posts pertaining to their performances of “Serenade” I know I am far from alone.

Before seeing the April 20th performance, I wondered how the Kirov would do in “Rubies”. After seeing their beautiful “Chopiana” (twice) I figured “Serenade” would be a lock for the Kirov ballerinas. And “Ballet Imperial” (which was choreographed for ABT, wasn’t it) was another ballet the Kirov would dance wonderfully. But “Rubies” is a different story. I wasn’t sure the Kirov dancers would have the speed and attack necessary for this Balanchine/Stravinsky ballet. However, I am so glad I was wrong. The Kirov’s “Rubies” was a really exciting ballet. Sure, the scenery was a bit tacky, but that didn’t bother me in the least. And the dancing by the three leads – Olega Novikova, Vladimir Shklyarov, and Ekaterina Konadurova was just perfect. (These performances have already been described by other posters). Novikova and Shklyarov reminded me very much of Megan Fairchild and Joaquin DeLuz, who I saw dance “Rubies” last June. Novikova even looks like a taller version of Fairchild. And Shklyarov has the boyish good looks, exuberant personality and bravura dancing technique of DeLuz. I saw Shklyarov in “Etudes” and thought he was very good, but I was so overwhelmed by Sarafanov that I didn’t pay a lot of attention to Shklyarov. And his part in “Etudes” wasn’t the show stopper role. But after seeing Shklyarov in “Rubies” I think he would make a really exciting turning boy in “Etudes”. Also after seeing Konadurova several times this time, I think she can dance just about anything. I would really love to see her again (and soon).

The last ballet was "Ballet Imperial". It was announced from the stage that Vishneva would not be dancing Sunday afternoon. The boos were so loud (mine included), that I didn't hear who would be replacing her. I asked the lady sitting next to me, and she said "Alina Somova". I had seen Somova
in "Etudes" and loved her. I really wanted to see Vishneva in "Ballet Imperial", but Somova was really an excellent replacement. Again I loved her - I think she's really an exciting dancer. Was she as good as Ashley Bouder whom I had seen dance the role in February? No, but I think few ballerinas dancing today dance with the total joy and technical precision of Bouder. When I saw New York City Ballet's "Piano Concerto No. 2" in February, I saw Savannah Lowry in the second ballet role. She was good, but the Kirov's Ekaterina Osmolkina was much better in the part. On the other hand, NYCB's Jonathan Stafford was far better than Anton Fadeev in the male lead (in my opinion anyway). Fadeev and Danila Kortsuntsev were the only Kirov males I was not impressed with.

All in all, it was a magnificent season for the Kirov. As a side note, I saw Anna Kisselgoff in the ladies' room after the second intermission on Sunday afternoon. I told her I really missed her reviews in the New York Times, and that everyone I knew missed them as well. She said "Thank you". I really had to restrain myself from saying "Please!!! Go back to the New York Times as the Chief Dance Critic and send Alistair MacAuley back to the UK. Of course I didn't say this. I wondered how she would have responded if I had.

#187 popularlibrary

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:39 AM

And “Ballet Imperial” (which was choreographed for ABT, wasn’t it) was another ballet the Kirov would dance wonderfully.


It is Theme and Variations that was choreographed for ABT. Ballet Imperial was created in 1941 for a great American virtuoso named Marie-Jeanne (who died recently). Many people who saw her dance the part say that she was never equaled either technically or dramatically.

#188 EAW

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:43 AM

All in all, it was a magnificent season for the Kirov. As a side note, I saw Anna Kisselgoff in the ladies' room after the second intermission on Sunday afternoon. I told her I really missed her reviews in the New York Times, and that everyone I knew missed them as well. She said "Thank you". I really had to restrain myself from saying "Please!!! Go back to the New York Times as the Chief Dance Critic and send Alistair MacAuley back to the UK. Of course I didn't say this. I wondered how she would have responded if I had.

Sorry, but not everyone misses Ms. Kisselgoff. I wish her well, and I know this belongs on a different thread, but Alastair Macaulay has a keener eye, ear and pen than she did. Ballet Imperial was not choreograped for ABT (which first danced the work in 1988) but for American Ballet Caravan in 1941.

#189 Catherine

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 02:27 AM

QUOTE(Catherine @ Apr 21 2008, 04:53 AM)
I think you may have said it best, about hiding SFB's weaknesses. The thing is, if you can even make that comment about any ballet company, doesn't that say something about said company?


Of course, but I think you can say this for any company even POB and Mariinsky. I found the Mariinsky's Symphony in C to be not that good, and I don't want to know what they'd do to Ashton's La Fille Mal Garde.


But my point was that in the art of classical ballet, the classical repertoire is the foundation of classical ballet companies. If a company cannot dance the basics (ie the classics), doesn't that say something about their quality overall? (to me it does). Whether a given classical company can branch into neoclassical or even modern dance successfully is another question in my opinion -- ie it doesn't work going in both directions.

As far as "La Fille" goes, just a note, the ballet hasn't been performed since Vinogradov left the company. Back then it was frequently performed successfully -- but back then the composition of the troupe and the strengths of the dancers was different as well. I don't know how they'd fare now but I do believe Obratsova would and could bring the house down in that role... She is perfect for it IMHO>

#190 Catherine

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 02:30 AM

I noticed this as well! It seemed to me that more than half of the dancers (corps included) were wearing Gaynors. Having worn them in the past I can vouch that they are comfortable...but they don't let the dancer have full articulation of their feet. On Somova, who doesn't have the extreme arch of some of the other dancers, this was glaringly obvious. While of course dancers have the right to choose their own shoes, I wish more would stay with the traditional Russian shoes.


Gaynor Minden asks the dancers to do photo shoots for advertising in return for some sort of discount. They still have to purchase the shoes though. Many in the company prefer them to the Russian ones they're given monthly bc the GMs last longer.

#191 EAW

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 03:21 AM

But my point was that in the art of classical ballet, the classical repertoire is the foundation of classical ballet companies. If a company cannot dance the basics (ie the classics), doesn't that say something about their quality overall? (to me it does). Whether a given classical company can branch into neoclassical or even modern dance successfully is another question in my opinion -- ie it doesn't work going in both directions

"Neoclassical" is a meaningless term coined by narrow-minded dance critics. Ballet Imperial is a classical ballet. The way a company performs this ballet gives a clear picture of their standard of classical dancing. Classical technique is the foundation of classical ballet companies - not the half-remembered, tradition-bound and often untheatrical works we've come to call "the classics" - as enjoyable as they might be sometimes.

#192 Natalia

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 03:43 AM

My initial glee over three weeks of the Kirov has slipped into sad nostalgia as 'reality' sets in.

As much as I love this company and thoroughly enjoyed my trips to NYC during the past three weeks...I have to agree with EAW, Macauley and others - the troupe has decreased in quality when performing the classics, which are its bread-and-butter. And the backbone of the Petipa (and similar) repertoire is the female corps de ballet. If one re-reads all of my reports, there is a leitmotif about "the corps is a bit ragged yet lovely in Paquita'...'the corps is not the same that I recalled in Chopiniana"...etc, etc.

And we now have the main answer for this. Catherine confirmed in another forum that the corps is no longer in the hands of Nina Ukhova -- their coach for 40+ years until late 2004/early 2005. I did not know this but guessed and asked "Is Ukhova still around?" No, she is not. There is our answer. Furthermore, we saw a mostly-new, very young corps at City Center...girls who entered the company in 05 and 06, who have never worked with Ukhova. Hence the lack of 'soft elegance' -- not just the issue of uniformity -- that Ukhova used to impart in their moves.

We can now declare that the great Kirov corps de ballet no longer exists as it did for the 70s/80s/90s/early 00s. Just because the current corps is still very good (it truly is) does not mean that the Kirov-Mariinsky should not begin now to try to get the corps back to the perfection of just 5-6 years ago. Sad. The bucket of cold water hit me yesterday, as I read Macauley reviews and exchanged e-mails with other fans. End of an era.

#193 canbelto

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 07:53 AM

But my point was that in the art of classical ballet, the classical repertoire is the foundation of classical ballet companies. If a company cannot dance the basics (ie the classics), doesn't that say something about their quality overall? (to me it does). Whether a given classical company can branch into neoclassical or even modern dance successfully is another question in my opinion -- ie it doesn't work going in both directions.


If so, then the NYCB would never be a top-flight dance company, and neither would the Royal Danish Ballet, as neither company's core repertoire is the "classics."
 

#194 Catherine

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 04:37 AM

Canbelto wrote:

If so, then the NYCB would never be a top-flight dance company, and neither would the Royal Danish Ballet, as neither company's core repertoire is the "classics."


A very good point. Let me further refine my growing theory then :-). NYCB is a neoclassical company, and they excel at Balanchine, they are *his* company. Royal Danish is Bournonville's company, which i consider to be a branch of the classical repertoire, kind of a subset. It's not Petipa...but it's also not Balanchine. I think any company with its own tradition (ie Kirov/Petipa/Ivanov; NYCB/Balanchine; RDB/Danish choreographers) should and usually as a rule is the best executor of their "own" repertoire...

 

#195 EAW

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 06:28 AM

A very good point. Let me further refine my growing theory then :-). NYCB is a neoclassical company, and they excel at Balanchine, they are *his* company. Royal Danish is Bournonville's company, which i consider to be a branch of the classical repertoire, kind of a subset. It's not Petipa...but it's also not Balanchine. I think any company with its own tradition (ie Kirov/Petipa/Ivanov; NYCB/Balanchine; RDB/Danish choreographers) should and usually as a rule is the best executor of their "own" repertoire..__

At the risk of repeating my earlier post, I'll say it again - there is no such thing as "neoclassical" dancing. What is the point of putting the experience of ballet into various sealed little compartments? As Arlene Croce once wittily and succinctly asked, "Is this a neoclassical dagger that I see before me?" Of course, companies that have been molded by individual choreographers and balletmasters will be closer "inside" the works of that artist but can we please abandon these artificial and unhelpful categories?


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