Natalia

Promotions, Nov 2008 - Somova is Principal Ballerina

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Remember when we all thought Svetlana Zakharova was tacky?

I still do.

So do I. The first time I saw a clip of her Giselle I was momentarily tempted to put my eyes out (but thought better of it and turned the video off instead).

Well, I hope you had the chance to see Zakharova once live after that missed opportunity, volcanohunter. You do realize that condemning an artist on account of a clip is rather cheap and doesn't really help anybody?

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Remember when we all thought Svetlana Zakharova was tacky?

I still do.

So do I. The first time I saw a clip of her Giselle I was momentarily tempted to put my eyes out (but thought better of it and turned the video off instead).

Well, I hope you had the chance to see Zakharova once live after that missed opportunity, volcanohunter. You do realize that condemning an artist on account of a clip is rather cheap and doesn't really help anybody?

I suppose it's a matter of maturing, and my impression of tackiness partly lies with SZ's early exposure in the major roles. Now a decade later, SZ has come into her own. What if she had been promoted to principal, say, three or four years ago? We would exclaim: "Venus has just come out of the sea!" All thanks to the Marijinksi management for putting the formative years in stage light for the audience.

Some dancers--Kondaurova comes to mind--seem to get "it" from the get go, even if they were not yet their polished selves back then. Still, it probably did help for Kondaurova to have spent a few years of obscurity back in the corps/demi-soloists, rather than fast-tracking to the principal. Being away from the spotlight removes a dancer from the Next Big Move and may even give her better sense of stage, organization, etc. Bolshoi seems more observant of the "starting from the bottom" practice, and growing through the solos characterized the career of someone like Alexandrova.

If Zakharova leaves anything like bad taste today, it's less the six o'clocks than the lingering self-satisfaction.

As for Somova, she is not tacky so much as she has little to tack on to. If Vishneva seemed a bit wayward back in 1996, at least personality gave her performance a focus. Somova feels...badly in need of the well-tempered Terekhova.

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Some dancers--Kondaurova comes to mind--seem to get "it" from the get go, even if they were not yet their polished selves back then. Still, it probably did help for Kondaurova to have spent a few years of obscurity back in the corps/demi-soloists, rather than fast-tracking to the principal. Being away from the spotlight removes a dancer from the Next Big Move and may even give her better sense of stage, organization, etc. Bolshoi seems more observant of the "starting from the bottom" practice, and growing through the solos characterized the career of someone like Alexandrova.

Fortunately, in recent years we're seeing the rise of a really good group of younger ballet dancers in the Mariinsky troupe, and I can cite four examples: Ekaterina Kondaurova, Olesya Novikova, Evgenia Obraztsova and Viktoria Tereshkina. In my humble opinion, :) I can see all four of them being listed as Principal dancers within 4-5 years (Tereshkina already has this status).

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You know, I think maybe the hand-wringing is a bit pre-mature. Not because Somova deserves Principal status (she doesn't), but because I don't think her promotion in the long run will affect the company who for centuries has been known as the Stage Where Ballet Legends Are Made. Somova might stick out like a sore thumb, but it's a testament to the training and tradition of the company that she sticks out so much.

When I saw the Kirov in La Bayadere and the 32 shades came down the ramp, I thought that it was so beautiful that one Alina Somova could not destroy the best company in the world.

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Well, I hope you had the chance to see Zakharova once live after that missed opportunity, volcanohunter. You do realize that condemning an artist on account of a clip is rather cheap and doesn't really help anybody?

That's not fair, Marc. I didn't say that I reacted to every one of her roles that way. I don't find her Odette-Odile nearly as objectionable. Yes, I have seen her subsequently, and yes, I still think she's tacky.

I was simply stating that my first exposure to her Giselle filled me with a revulsion quite unlike any I'd experienced as a ballet viewer.

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That's not fair, Marc. I didn't say that I reacted to every one of her roles that way. I don't find her Odette-Odile nearly as objectionable. Yes, I have seen her subsequently, and yes, I still think she's tacky.

I was simply stating that my first exposure to her Giselle filled me with a revulsion quite unlike any I'd experienced as a ballet viewer.

Then you should have said so to avoid people from drawing the wrong conclusions. It’s bizarre that you immediately refer to unfairness in your own defence, volcanohunter. That you like a dancer or not, is your good right, but that you should slam him or her on account of one single clip you didn’t even watch completely, is anything but fair.

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This has been a most enjoyable and polite conversation, and thanks to all.

[Moderator Beanie ON]

Ballet Talk thrives on good discussion. Disagreement is of course part of that. Ideally, we make our points and move on. Some back-and-forth is probably better reserved for pm's or email. Thanks to all for adding to this very interesting topic. :sweatingbullets:

[Moderator Beanie OFF]

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I loved Somova in Ballet Imperial back in April, totally to my surprise. I thought she was horrible in all the clips I found on YouTube and Vishneva had been scheduled for that final performance. I was horrified, but then thought Somova was glorious. But then, it's true, I don't judge with the same standards as the balletomanes, although I was pleased at the time that I had the same feeling about Ms. Somova that one of BT's dancers did. My intuition is that she might be a kind of performer that won't ever be consistent, but will sometimes by celestial. I'm glad she got the promotion, it was a big risk, but I don't why the Maryinsky wouldn't know what they were doing (although plenty of other companies are reputed not to as well...there have been innumerable rumours about wrong decisions by NYCB and ABT, and these have stretched into years of dispute...)

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... her hair is now bright yellow

...you mean blonde?

I mean yellow!

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... her hair is now bright yellow

...you mean blonde?

I mean yellow!

He,he. Just being annoying...never mind me. :P . Anyway... back to Miss Somova...

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... her hair is now bright yellow

...you mean blonde?

I mean yellow!

He,he. Just being annoying...never mind me. :P . Anyway... back to Miss Somova...

Makarova used to sometimes have yellow hair, I think it's common enough with Russians. Miss Somova is a beauty even with yellow hair, though, although much has been made of her long fingernails, etc., and many references to other aspects of her frightful taste, despite her natural beauty.

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