popularlibrary

Mariinsky Symphony in C on YouTube

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Since no one else has reported this - there is now a four part, complete performance of Symphony in C by the Mariinsky on YouTube, with Vishneva, Lopatkina, Dumchenko and Noriadze. Or at least there is until the Balanchine police catch up with it,

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Popularlibrary: That was glorious - thanks for the alert, and thanks to Paradiselost89, who posted the clips.

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...

Peggy

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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.

It seems to be: 1rst Nioradze, 2nd Lopatkina, 3rd Vishneva, 4rth Dumchenko

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.

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Moderator note: In case there was confusion, one of the Moderators made the first post in this thread invisible for a bit because it went against our "only post links to youtube in connection with a discussion" rule. I reinstated it because people had commented on the post. PLEASE feel free to discuss this performance, but please remember that our YouTube policy is quite simple: post links to youtube material ONLY IN CONNECTION WITH AN ONGOING DISCUSSION. We don't want this forum to become a list of "check this out on youtube" posts. :) Thank you.

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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? :helpsmilie:

The reactions I have are more choreographic than Kirov related. :)

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IMO, best performance of Symphony in C I've ever seen. And yes, I've seen NYCB live, and yes, it was a good cast. This is fantastic. My only wish is that Balanchine had the resources to use a larger male corps, as the Maryinsky could deploy theirs to excellent effect.

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Thank you Hans. I may look, but choreographically I am left empty. :)

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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 Third Movement starts about half-way through the section marked "3."

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.

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That Kirov performance is not my favorite SiC because it's like molasses. My favorite's the Royal Ballet's from the 90s with Yoshida, Bussell, Benjamin, and Bull. I know Leigh hates the RB's take on it, but I can't get over how synergistic the English port de bras and epaulement, as well as their own brand of attack, are with this kind of Balanchine.

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.

--Andre

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The second movement looked a little Allegra Kent-ish to me--very beautiful, but the narrative thrust seems to be lost. It's maybe a string of quotations. And yes, "molassassy."

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.

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I can't speak to the matter of specific details. But as a matter of overall effect, this is one of the most powerful and emotionally moving Second Movements I remember seeing.

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.

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I am sorry about posting a link without discussion - I was just distracted and in a hurry. Thanks for the responses, and I'll be more careful in the future!

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.

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I agree with most of what has been said about the 3 allegro movements. Popularlibrary, your image of the "dances scrambling to catch up" because the music has gotten in the way is wonderfully -- or sadly, depending on one's point of view -- accurate.

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.

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.
Is the Mariinsky simply "being the Mariinsky" here? Or, again, has it crosssed some sort of line which should never be crossed?

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Hans, just for the record, when did you see NYCB do Symphony in C? Thanks.

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"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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Jack, I saw NYCB dance Symphony in C several years ago at NYST and more recently here at the Kennedy Center with Abi Stafford, Wendy Whelan, Sterling Hyltin, and Ashley Bouder.

I think it is interesting to read about dancers not being supposed to act in Balanchine because it appears to me that NYCB does it all the time. During NYCB's latest visit to DC, I actually had to stifle laughter throughout a good bit of the performance as the acting was so overdone, especially in Serenade (which is pretty melodramatic even without added acting). This particular video is not clear enough for me to compare, but generally I find the Maryinsky to be pretty restrained as far as that sort of thing goes.

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Excellent post, popularlibrary, especially

emptiness, gesture as poetry, non-explanation

I think Darci Kistler says somewhere "You're in love with your partner / you never look at your partner." The pas de deuxs in Balanchine--especially in Stravinsky Violin Concerto--are mostly really dual monologues. That's why I--I know I'm really in the minority on this--find it so hard to watch the Paris Opera Ballet Jewels; it's nuanced out with coy looks and extra gestures and extra elasticity (with the exception of the great solos in Emeralds). Balanchine should be sharp and full of shifting planes. He's a high cubist, by way of Braque of 1911 and Tatlin and Constructivism.

I did enjoy the couple (I couldn't really make out what the corps were doing) in the third movement of the Kirov hand-held Symphony in C, sort of in tandem, Gene Kelly/Fred Astaire-ish for a stretch.

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Excellent post, popularlibrary, especilly
emptiness, gesture as poetry, non-explanation

...That's why I--I know I'm really in the minority on this--find it so hard to watch the Paris Opera Ballet Jewels; it's nuanced out with coy looks and extra gestures and extra elasticity (with the exception of the great solos in Emeralds).

Much thanks, Quiggin! I do find it hard to write about this sort of thing without sinking into babbling obscurity!

As for the POB Jewels, dearly as I love the company I have to agree with you that it's not their happiest hour. Or maybe that's the trouble with it - far too light, bright and sparkling, with very little of the necessary weight or drama.

And for Hans - I'm sorry to say that the current NYCB seems to have traveled light years away from the company as it was under Balanchine's direction. In too many ways, they're no better at dancing Balanchine than the Mariinsky, RB, POB, Bolshoi, etc. - indeed, I think they're worse because they should know better.

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Yes, I only started watching NYCB in 1998, so I can only comment on what's been done since then.

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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.
This is very beautifully expressed, popularlibrary. Thank you so much for resopnding to my question. Although there are many critics of the way this or that company or dancer does Balanchine, there are few who are willing or able to go so deeply into why this is, for them, the case. You have given me a lot to think about.

From what I've read, Balanchine did indeed strive for "non-explanation" and did believe in the expressive sufficiency of gesture and movement per se, when talking to his dancers and explaining his performance ideal. It seems to me that he also allowed, in practice, dancers to color the role, heightening or subduing certain elements -- always within limits. I simply don't remember people talking all that much about a single, pure Balanchine performance standard, at least not when Balanchine was alive.

My impression of Lopatkina's adagio is that she is definitely "within limits." It's one of those cases in which it's best to agree to disagree. She seems to have reached into the ballet and found a spirituality and serenity that are implicit in the choreography and in the unearthly oboe music. You don't often find that. Farrell achieved a similar effect -- though at a faster tempo, which now seems even more of a miracle than it did at the time.

:helpsmilie: Can anyone tell me how to access the Ballet Imperial clips on Yahoo. I click, but only get a black screen. Does one have to register to use the site?

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Hi Bart: I was having the same problem as you, so I just left the video running and it turns out the 'black' is actually a picture of the curtain, which has not yet gone up! Wait a while, and it's a fairly long time, maybe a quarter of that bar thing at the bottom, and everything will be OK.

Peggy

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The time counter is at 9:24 (going backwards) when the curtain rises.

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(I edited this response slightly because apparently I can't conjugate verbs late at night!)

There's fragments of a Bolshoi Symphony in C floating about Youtube, focusing primarily on Alexandrova and Tsiskaridze (3'rd movement and finale). It's quite interesting to contrast the articulation of movements and tempi between the two Russian troupes. One does le Palais de Cristal and the other the Great White Abstraction (land ho!) and they could be doing two completely different ballets.

As to the acting - I recently had the pleasure of _finally_ seeing Moncion as Death. He does not act. Instead the sensuousness and brutality of Death emanates from somewhere inside of him. The most successful performers of Balanchine, I've noticed (in my extremely limited experience), have been those who have been able to draw upon aspects of their own personality to resonate within the choreography. You do not have to _be_ McBride or Farrell or Luders, but that aspect of your personality which you draw upon to perform his/her/their roles need to be in some way compatible. Sympathetic vibrations, perhaps?

Also, just wanted to note that the original clip for Mariinsky's Symphony in C is in fact _extremely_ high quality. As in, we can marvel (without squinting) at Irma Nioradze's eyebrows. Youtube has quietly added a higher quality function to most of their recent videos recently - I think all videos within the last 4-6 months or so will stream a higher quality version if you add the following command (without the inverted commas) to the end of your Youtube link: '&fmt=18'. Instead of streaming flash files, Youtube will instead serve up higher quality mp4 files - they're twice as big and two to three times as sharp.

Re-edited again to say that the ParadiseLost version is fact a repost of a lower resolution recording from user ketinoa on Youtube. The _original_ files that ketinoa posted were indeed high quality. The flash reposts are unfortunately just flash. Thank you ParadiseLost, but, alas!

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To save people frustration, the Alexandrova-Tsiskaridze clip is no longer on YouTube, which is too bad, because she is simply wonderful there. It was pulled for copyright violation, no doubt, by request of The Trust.

I suspect that the Trust searches not only video websites for unauthorized postings, but probably discussion boards as well, to see if posters have found some that they've missed.

So far, though, they seem to have missed the K-M video. :helpsmilie:

Thanks much, emilienne, for the &fmt=18 hint.

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Best I've EVER liked Nioradze -- in fact , I love her phrasing in this -- eboth first and last movements, and she's dazzling in hte finale.

lopatkina can dance both slow and fast -- I really like her adagio; it has its own integrity, it's her own, and it's wonderful. Rather like Tanny's; her balances are more confident htan either Tanny's or Allegra's. maybe like Toumanova's might have been I love hte way she's moving all the time.... the slow fouettes are REALLY wonderful, and hte big develloppe is magisterial, wonderfully phrased -- and his transition from the one hand to hte other is really beautiful, too. her pivot to arabesque is magnificent and hte penchee is glorious.

Didn't make me cry, like Allegra does, but I love it anyway.

If you think she's cold, check her out in in the Night http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dts4SQbiHdM&fmt=18

and think again.

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