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Promotions, Nov 2008 - Somova is Principal Ballerina


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#16 PeggyR

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 01:14 PM

Do you think that in the Somova version the dying swan will touch her knee to her ear one last time before expiring?

And after. :P

#17 bart

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 03:14 PM

A while ago I asked the following:

For the purposes of discussion: How would a supporter of Somova's promotion justify it -- aesthetically or in other relevant terms?


Mashinka replied:

Well, the Somova supporters (Kirov management?) seem to be flooding You Tube with clips of her dancing and the comments posted underneath are very revealing, as they seem to come in the main from pre-teen ballet school pupils that have it in their heads that the height of balletic attainment is a 180 degree extension. The dissenters are shouted down extremely rudely by posters with an imperfect knowledge of English. That says it all as far as I'm concerned.


I also have received an extremelyi interesting, exremely convincing p.m. from one of Members who has had extensive experience observing the Kirov/Mariinsky. This Member, who preferred not to post online, tried hard but could only come up with a couple of arguments in supporting the promotion.

You're looking for a devil's advocate [ ... ]?

[ ... ]

Tourist audience's and audiences abroad "like her."

[ and ... ]

"connections."


That really does appears to be it. The silence in defense of this promotion -- even when our Members are trying -- speaks loud indeed.

I've seen Somova only on video, but I must admit that I agree with everyone else here. The most amazing aspect of this is the way she looks on video and the effect this has on the ballet and on those dancing around her. Somova in these videos seems to have been imported from another company, another aesthetic, possibly another planet for all I know. Her dancing, whatever one thinks of it, destroys any illusion of stylistic unity. It does not fit. It jars. As my correspondent writes, it "stands out like a sore thumb."

It's all very strange -- but so is a lot of the economic and political news coming from Putin's and Medvedev's Russia in recent years.

#18 Sacto1654

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 06:59 AM

As Marc points out, how do you place this young lady on the same plain as Vishneva and Ayupova.


This is not news. From what I've heard, there is a LOT of politicking going on "behind the scenes" over getting the level of promotion for each dancer inside the Mariinsky troupe. I believe most of that politicking is coming from the coaches of each dancer, too. In my opinion, unless you're naturally very talented like these four female dancers from the 2001 and 2002 Vaganova Academy graduating classes (e.g., Ekaterina Kondaurova, Olesia Novikova, Evgenia Obraztsova and Viktoria Tereshkina), you need a coach that can strongly influence the Mariinsky management to promote the dancer. Given that Alina Somova's former coach was the wife of Makhar Vaziev (who was the Deputy Director of the Ballet Company of the Mariinsky Theatre), I'm not surprised Somova got promoted so fast. If I read correctly, there are still detractors about Diana Vishneva becoming Principal dancer, especially those who express concern that Vishneva is spending too much time as guest artist of other ballet companies. It's very rare for a dancer to get promoted to Principal status in a few years with the Mariinsky troupe just because his or her skills are so superior to all others--Ulyana Lopatkina is one of the few I can remember in recent years.

(By the way, in my personal opinion I can see Kondaurova, Novikova and Obraztsova become Principal dancers within the next 4-5 years--these three are favorites with both Russian and Western audiences. :o )

#19 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 08:12 AM

As Marc points out, how do you place this young lady on the same plain as Vishneva and Ayupova.


This is not news. From what I've heard, there is a LOT of politicking going on "behind the scenes" over getting the level of promotion for each dancer inside the Mariinsky troupe. I believe most of that politicking is coming from the coaches of each dancer, too. In my opinion, unless you're naturally very talented like these four female dancers from the 2001 and 2002 Vaganova Academy graduating classes (e.g., Ekaterina Kondaurova, Olesia Novikova, Evgenia Obraztsova and Viktoria Tereshkina), you need a coach that can strongly influence the Mariinsky management to promote the dancer. Given that Alina Somova's former coach was the wife of Makhar Vaziev (who was the Deputy Director of the Ballet Company of the Mariinsky Theatre), I'm not surprised Somova got promoted so fast. If I read correctly, there are still detractors about Diana Vishneva becoming Principal dancer, especially those who express concern that Vishneva is spending too much time as guest artist of other ballet companies. It's very rare for a dancer to get promoted to Principal status in a few years with the Mariinsky troupe just because his or her skills are so superior to all others--Ulyana Lopatkina is one of the few I can remember in recent years.

(By the way, in my personal opinion I can see Kondaurova, Novikova and Obraztsova become Principal dancers within the next 4-5 years--these three are favorites with both Russian and Western audiences. :) )


FYI, Diana Vishneva has been a principal dancer since 1996. Both she and Svetlana Zakharova made it to principal within a year after they joined the Mariinsky. It took Lopatkina 4 or 5 years before getting the big prize. That coaches lobby for their pupils is no secret, but how much and in which cases it worked, is purely speculation. Chenchikova had many dancers under her care. Some did make it to principal, others just didn't.

#20 Helene

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 08:52 AM

The recent controversy over Vishneva was whether the Mariinsky should allow her to remain with the company while spending so much time away from it, guesting.

#21 Helene

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 08:28 PM

[Admin Beanie On]

Somova's promotion is a polarizing topic, but please avoid speculation about it.

[/Admin Beanie Off]

#22 Hans

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 10:06 AM

Remember when we all thought Svetlana Zakharova was tacky? Now she seems almost tasteful.

#23 Natalia

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 10:23 AM

Remember when we all thought Svetlana Zakharova was tacky? Now she seems almost tasteful.


Scary but true. :clapping:

At least Zakharova is musical and performs with a certain degree of refinement. Somova is a 100% hopeless mess....even with Terekhova's current coaching sessions...even if Enrico Ceccheti would emerge from the grave to impart special lessons. One either has a basic sense of artistry or one does not. End of story.

#24 Mashinka

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 02:02 AM

Remember when we all thought Svetlana Zakharova was tacky?


I still do.

#25 volcanohunter

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 09:39 AM

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).

#26 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 11:11 PM

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?

#27 Chaconne

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 01:08 AM

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.

#28 Sacto1654

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 05:39 AM

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).

#29 Millie

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 06:34 AM

Alina Somova is dancing in the Canadian Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker in Toronto, Canada, the weekend of December 20. Anyone care to come up and see her?

http://www.starsofth...et-theatre.html

Scroll down.

#30 canbelto

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 09:15 AM

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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