Mariinsky Symphony in C on YouTubeA complete Symphony in C - while it lasts
Posted 20 April 2008 - 04:06 AM
Posted 20 April 2008 - 11:36 AM
I assume that was Vishneva in the first movement; who was her partner? I wasn't too impressed by his solo, although he seemed better later on, if I got the faces right. Lopatkina was exquisite in the second movement. Does she have the longest legs in the known universe?
Now, if somebody would post Serenade...
Posted 20 April 2008 - 12:10 PM
It seems to be: 1rst Nioradze, 2nd Lopatkina, 3rd Vishneva, 4rth Dumchenko
I assume that was Vishneva in the first movement; who was her partner? I wasn't too impressed by his solo, although he seemed better later on, if I got the faces right.
The 1rst movement guy seems a lot like Victor Baranov who used to dance this part
The music of the 2nd movement is so slow it sounds almost decomposed - that must be a new record slow even by Lopatkina's standards.
Posted 20 April 2008 - 01:21 PM
Posted 20 April 2008 - 05:21 PM
The reactions I have are more choreographic than Kirov related.
Posted 20 April 2008 - 05:28 PM
Posted 20 April 2008 - 05:43 PM
Posted 20 April 2008 - 07:26 PM
The Third Movement starts about half-way through the section marked "3."
Not finding 3rd movement. It seems to be a repeat of 2nd, but maybe I should just watch 2nd through until the end? Perhaps 3rd comes after that?
The long-distance and fuzzy videography make watching this a labor of love. For me, it's marvellous to have the entire ballet available as an aide memoire. Watching it, bits and pieces of past live performances (2004 and 2006) came back to mind and almost to life.
Thanks, popularlibrary, for giving us a Heads Up on this video. Thanks also to Alexandra, for reminding us of the Ballet Talk guidelines for YouTube posting.
Posted 20 April 2008 - 09:32 PM
Speaking of Kirov videos on YouTube, in relation to the general high regard for Kondaurova in the Kirov's recent NYC residency, there's a bunch of videos of Kondaurova and Tereshkina dancing Forsythe's In the middle somewhat elevated. You have to search for "dance with forsythe". There are two videos, and they also link to Kondaurova's Steptext (incorrectly labeled as something with Bach's cello sonata). The video is very fuzzy, but you can tell who's who. Some of her special movement quality is lost on the video, but you can get an idea of it.
Posted 21 April 2008 - 09:47 AM
Part of the slowness or deliberateness may be the Russian style, where every movement seems to reach through a series of plateaus or locks or channels before it finishes. At least with the women in my limited experience--watching the lovely Maria Kotchekova here in San Francisco, and the Kirov here on its last two tours in Sleeping Beauty and Jewels (that Jewels performance was really something). The men, Korsakov, and Konsuntsev and Zelensky always seemed much freer.
Why do companies always smudge--even SF Ballet does--one of the most profound parts of the second movement of Symphony in C, the part where the foot of the ballerina--often a stylus or cursor in Balanchine--is guided to penetrate, and hold there for a beat, the space of the virtual hoop held up by two of the secondary dancers? The Kirov breaks it up and treats it as if it were a bit of court politeness. It becomes modest and inconsequential.
Posted 21 April 2008 - 10:59 AM
The performance has mystery and weight, and almost a sacramental quality. When the ballerina dances, she gives outward expression to what appears to be a deeply meditative spiritual center. The slow tempo supports a kind of dreaminess. Everyone else is an acolyte, important mainly insofar as they respond to or provide a setting for her.
The only time I have had this feeling was with Farrell, who was mesmerising. I can also imagine Kent having a similar effect.
Posted 21 April 2008 - 11:45 AM
Yes, it's a nice performance of SiC, though with some of the usual disconnects Macaulay noted today in his review of the Mariinsky's Balanchine program at City Center. There are all those little moments when the music gets away and the dancers scramble to catch up, with resulting hiccups in the phrasing, all the slightly too long preparations and the failure to grasp that Balanchine's connections are essential tissue, not stuff to get past on the way to the big steps. And, as AM notes, too much acting, even here, especially in the second movement. Lopatkina is a wonderful, wonderful dancer but she's not Allegra Kent (well, who ever was) who let the choreography works its magic without all those peripheral notes and comments. When UL drops the 'acting' and finds her way into the choreography for its own sake, she will be one of the greatest exponents of this movement ever, but she's not quite there yet, I think.
It reminds me of a comment - and my aging memory has lost the source completely - about Baryshnikov to the effect that he found that if he danced the way Balanchine wanted, he had to go against most of his own Kirov training, and ultimately, would have had to give up the technical grounds that enabled him to dance the Russian classics as he did. If anyone remembers and can identify this I would be grateful.
There is much more Mariinsky Balanchine out there, but not necessarily on YouTube (the copyright watchers for Balanchine are very efficient). There was a complete Concerto Barocco on YouTube recently, but I don't know if it's still there. If you go to Yahoo's videos, however, you will find a complete Serenade as well as a complete Ballet Imperial (Tereshkina) and La Valse (Pavlenko). Each is in four segments, and the thought of trying to post twelve links makes me dizzy, but you can find them easily enough by searching. They were provided by the Mad about Mariinsky site, and have so far not excited the Balanchine Police squad - as far as I know all three ballets have been there since 2006, the year of the performances.
The Serenade does not have a starry cast, but is a little less molasses in tempo than was apparently the case on stage here and I liked it a lot. La Valse is a case of serious culture clash, with everyone acting strenuously while the ballet's impact just drains away. Ballet Imperial if fine if also overacted, and full of the usual technical problems that attend that gut-buster of a ballet. For all of us who can't get to see the Mariinsky live, they are at least some indication of how the relationship with Mr. B is getting on.
Posted 21 April 2008 - 12:02 PM
I'm genuinely confused about the charges of "overacting."
Here are two sets of questions:
1) "Over"-acting as compared to what? It seems to me that a good deal of Balanchine dancing in the 60s and 70s was quite dramatic -- although there was always an effort to avoid extreme facial expressions -- no matter what Balanchine said in some of his interviews. Farrell and Kent are dancers who were especially effective at suggesting a profound inwardness though which and from which their bodies moved. Would it be possible to point to specific examples of Lopatkina's peformance that are merely "peripheral" to the role or which cross over the line into over-acting?
2) In another thread, Leigh talked about criticisms of the Kirov approach to Balanchine from the American (and especially New York City Ballet) perspective.
Is the Mariinsky simply "being the Mariinsky" here? Or, again, has it crosssed some sort of line which should never be crossed?
In the same way that Bob Gottlieb (another valued colleague and friend) judged the POB for not being enough like NYCB when they dance, I'd argue that Macaulay is not letting the Mariinsky be the Mariinsky. He may not like that, but plenty of other people (including the Russians) do. I say this as a Balanchine man - but the evolutionary endpoint of all ballet companies is not to become New York City Ballet even at its most ideal point. Let's let the company reflect the culture that surrounds it.
Posted 21 April 2008 - 02:48 PM
Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:24 AM
"Over"-acting as compared to what? It seems to me that a good deal of Balanchine dancing in the 60s and 70s was quite dramatic -- although there was always an effort to avoid extreme facial expressions -- no matter what Balanchine said in some of his interviews. Farrell and Kent are dancers who were especially effective at suggesting a profound inwardness though which and from which their bodies moved. Would it be possible to point to specific examples of Lopatkina's peformance that are merely "peripheral" to the role or which cross over the line into over-acting?
This is a hard one to put into words without sinking into great clouds of obscurantism, not to say pretension. Oh, well - here goes, anyway. I'll skip Lopatkina, whom I quite like (though Quiggin has already mention the fudging of the dramatic foot movements), and get right on to the big stuff. As compared to what? I would call it the Balanchine base-line - the concepts resulting from his years of creating dancers to dance his ballets, from the founding of the NYCB till his death. You saw the company in those years, and you note so accurately how dramatically they danced. But it came, I think, out of different principles, leading to different results, than the Mariinsky's. It is not that everyone must copy the old NYCB now and forever - that would be a disaster, not to mention impossible. All those companies never taught by Mr. B have to learn his language in their own way and with their own creative insight. Still, it is a language and you can only mess with the grammar, syntax and vocabulary so far before you are speaking, at best, a dialect, and at worst, gibberish. (Well, I told you this would get cloudy.)
To me, it comes down to a few principles I think mattered to Balanchine: emptiness, gesture as poetry, non-explanation. As we all know, Balanchine was a profoundly religious man, and I think there is little doubt that he applied the religious notion of emptying oneself as basic to dancing his work. The Mariinsky, and other companies, tend to look at a role as either becoming someone else or imposing your own personality, putting on all the role-defining feathers, dressing up, conquering the part. Balanchine, on the contrary, wanted his dancers to avoid all those things, to become clear, empty, naked, direct conduits to the music/steps. It is the mystic's notion that the less you have the more you are - that the inwardness you spoke of happens only when the dancer gets out of his/her own way - and out of the choreography's way. He knew that it freed a dancer's true individuality and so did his dancers, who have commented on the phenomenon in books and interviews (please don't make me go look them all up). If dancers give themselves over to the choreography as the music reveals it, become naked to it, they will reveal the role and the work with a fullness that cannot happen when the dancer's ego is trying to manipulate the part. And they will reveal themselves - was there ever a greater collection of individuals than the NYCB's dancers in the 50s, 60s and 70s? No two ever danced the same role the same way.
Balanchine spoke of dancers as "poets of gesture" - as artists who could feel the weight, emphasis, and drama of each moment, each movement. Watch the Mariinsky La Valse to see dancers acting strenuously rather than feeling how to dance the choreography. Pavlenko makes faces, adds pauses, strikes poses and largely fails to capture the role - and remember Pat McBride, whose gesture sprang unadorned from the choreographic texture, from the rhythm and musical color, and suggested innocence with a propulsive undercurrent of corruption that was overwhelming. The Mariinsky dancer doing the death figure behaves (and looks) like Dracula, which is unconvincing and ruins the effect - but remember Francisco Moncion, whose restrained use of gesture and rhythmic tension made him the embodiment of the lure of self-destruction. The Mariinsky over-acts. Balanchine taught his people to be, and to unfurl their dancing from the immediacy of their own presences fusing with the music and the steps. It is a hard lesson to learn, especially in a period that so values sheer acrobatic technical accomplishment, as if it were the same thing as great dancing.
What the Mariinsky, and many other companies, do is explain the role, comment upon it, use pauses, tossed heads, catches of breath, swooning arms and backs, and a whole repertory of tricks to convey - apart from the choreography - what the choreography is supposed to be doing, but the audience is too naive to get without signs, pointers and blackboards, and the choreography, it is understood, could never convey if one just danced it. It comes from insecurity, I suppose, and lack of trust in the work or themselves. It is over-acting, and it is profoundly un-Balanchinian. Wrong tempos are part of this as well - Serenade or the second movement of SiC do not become more profound the more slowly you drag out the music. The dragged-out tempi just become more unneccesary 'explanation', missing the constant ebb and flow of Serenade, and the "moon going across the sky" vision of the Bizet. The Mariinsky do many wonderful things with Balanchine, but they are in the infancy stage with him - they will get there I hope, but not just yet.
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