kirovboy

Alina Somova

217 posts in this topic

Once I started my professional career, I decided I wouldn't post here anymore to avoid causing any commotion, but Im breaking my six year silence tonight because I am too intrigued about some comments I saw on another post. So, as we all know Alina Somova was promoted to principal today. There seems to be some frustration with this and I am curious why. I watched a few videos of her on youtube and found that she is extremely flexible (to a distasteful degree) and she is also a bit clumsy, but she otherwise seemed like a capable dancer. Could those who are not a fan of this dancer explain to me why they feel that she shouldn't be promoted. Also, why is she called the "accidental" ballerina? I look forward to hearing your opinions.

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I can speak only for myself here, kirovboy, but I think good taste and graceful movement are prerequisites to be a professional ballet dancer, even at lower ranks.

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Kirovboy, you use the words distasteful and clumsy to describe Somova and you are quite right. In my book no one with those two qualities makes it onto a stage let alone be appointed a principal dancer.

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Some of you Kirov fans may know that 2 wonderful DVD disks are released in Japan entitled "Uliana Lopatkina Variation Lessons" and "Diana Vishineva Variation Lessons" that shows the performances of those beautiful great ballerinas and speaks of their deep insight how they think about their acting and technique, and shows us how they rehearse.

A third disk will be released next January and it is, to my horror,

"Somova Tereshkina Variation Lesson"

http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2817720

Oh, I think Viktoria Tereshkina is an academic, beautiful dancer but what shall we learn from Somova.

But it was not the worst thing happening.

As Vasiev will be artistic director of Teatro Alla Scala, his wife is following him to the Scala, but now Somova's coach is Tatiana Terekhova.

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Come next January at the Kennedy Center, we shall see if there is any marked difference in Somova's interpretation of Kitri. We truly shall see. And report. Maybe a miraculous improvement will take place between the recent California performances and the Kennedy Center. Miracles can happen in three months. :clapping:

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...he,he...if there's something certain about this girl is that she's being carefully watched. Wow... :clapping:

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...he,he...if there's something certain about this girl is that she's being carefully watched. Wow... :)

Maybe finally Somova will get a good coach to tone down her extreme moves and become a proper dancer for a change. I was hoping for Irina Chistyakova (Ulyana Lopatkina's current coach) because Somova has a body build akin to Lopatkina's but Terekhova as coach is probably the next best thing. :)

(By the way, an interesting tidbit: Terekhova and Chistyakova were both involved in that famous large-cast performance of Don Quixote that was filmed many years ago and is available on DVD from Kultur Films.)

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I saw Alina Somova during the City Center run. I was really prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt, thinking she couldn't be as bad as everyone says. Well she wasn't ... she was worse. She has no elevation, so when she goes for a grande jete it looks like her legs are just flopping. She also can't really move, despite her ear-whacking. Her fouettes are very amateurish, her pirouettes insecure, and she also has adopted the Uliana Lopatkina way of holding her head so her chin juts out.

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I thought she did some lovely adagio work in "Ballet Imperial" last April at City Center. I hope her new coach can work with that and get rid of the extensions.

I think the biggest challenge is the blank look she seemed to have midway through everything I saw her in last spring. I know that ballerinas don't have to be PhD's, but generally they have a clue, or are receptive enough to be given one by the best.

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I saw Ms. Somova in quite a few performances last Spring at City Center. They ranged from as bad as people say to very, very promising. When I entered Somova Terekhova into that obvious video place, there was an 8 part set of Tatiana Terekhova teaching Alina and partner Fadeyev Don Quixote. This looks like big changes are around the corner for Ms. Somova. They also seem like nice people. Yet it is strange that an unfinished artist is promoted before the remarkable pair Obraztsova and "Big Red" Kondaurova. But then, as mentioned many times elsewhere on BT, Part and Reichlen are yet to be principals. It isn't only in Russia.

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Yet it is strange that an unfinished artist is promoted before the remarkable pair Obraztsova and "Big Red" Kondaurova.

Given the triumphant debut of "Katya" Kondaurova as Odette/Odile just over two weeks ago, I think she will be next to possibly make the jump to possibly Principal dancer--with good reason: she is starting to take over a lot of the dancing roles that one Ulyana Lopatkina used to do a lot back in the 1990's. :) Besides, her flaming red hair (I saw a recent Kultura TV profile of her and wow, her hair color stands out very prominently! :o ) in my opinion is probably reminding a lot of old-time Russian balletomanes of the legendary Maya Plisetskaya, who was also a redhead during the height of her career in the 1950's.

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I actually have the pleasure of knowing Alina on a personal level; she is a friend of my husbands, as well as a friend of mine. Even so, i have NEVER cared for her dancing, having had the extreme displeasure of seeing her Aurora in 2006, followed by her Odette/ Odile in 2007. It might strike everyone to know that she is actually quite shy when off the stage, quiet and extremely proper. What a contradiction to what she portrays on stage. Actually, if i had met her personally before seeing her dance, i would have bet money that she was on the conservative side (ignoring her 'lovely' fingernails...). I won’t pretend that we are best friends, but whenever she is in the states, we somehow always manage to get together for dinner, along with several other dancers. I really like her when she is not performing, and sadly we avoid watching her performances if we can help it. I hope for her sake that Terekhova will improve her judgement. I studied with Terekhova many years ago, and she was quite a force in the studio. I am cautiously optimistic of this pairing; imagining that this is just what Alina needs! I have my fingers crossed! :o

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I saw Alina Somova during the City Center run. I was really prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt, thinking she couldn't be as bad as everyone says. Well she wasn't ... she was worse. She has no elevation, so when she goes for a grande jete it looks like her legs are just flopping. She also can't really move, despite her ear-whacking. Her fouettes are very amateurish, her pirouettes insecure, and she also has adopted the Uliana Lopatkina way of holding her head so her chin juts out.

I have watched EVERY video of Alina that I can get my hands on, and I have to agree with you. She is a lovely lovely girl, and the Don Q rehearsals are really nice, however, she's just too uncontrolled.

As for the Uliana Lopatkina way of holding her head--it's like adopting mannerisms and ignoring the rest of the technique, the story. Lopatkina holds her head up high because it fits with her style. Somova seems to do it because, "Oh, it looks good". Never mind that seh looks ridiculous with the talon fingernails and the floppy jetes.

sigh.

Let's hope for a Big Red promotion :o

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. . . Yet it is strange that an unfinished artist is promoted before the remarkable pair Obraztsova and "Big Red" Kondaurova. But then, as mentioned many times elsewhere on BT, Part and Reichlen are yet to be principals. It isn't only in Russia.

Reality check time: Somova didn't even make annual as a First Soloist. She was "upgraded" for the April City Center engagement. This "promotion" simply doesn't pass the smell test. Also, if the Maryinsky had considered seniority, (and they didn't), the First Soloist who should have gone forward would've been Ekaterina Osmolkina; then Novikova, then Obratzova, then Kondaurova in that order. Usually, in the MT, (what's supposed to happen - in theory and practice), is that if a Principal retires, (male or female), then those "set" to move up, move up a notch. Of course, this procedure has been subject to

change in extraordinary circumstances - only for unprecedented & exceptionally gifted talents. Somova doesn't live in that zip code.

Compare Osmolkina's study list to Alina's - there's no comparison:

Company trouper for 9 years. Prize-winner at the Vaganova-prix competition (St Petersburg, 1998). Prize-winner at the International Ballet Competition (Seoul, 2004). Repertoire: La Sylphide (Sylphide, The Sylphides); Giselle (Giselle, Monna, Zulma, Pas de deux); Le Corsaire (Gulnara, The three Odalisques); La Bayadère (Gamzatti, Jampo, Grand pas classique), revised version by Vakhtang Chabukiani & the reconstruction; The Sleeping Beauty (Aurora, Generosity Fairy, Silver Fairy, Diamond Fairy), Konstantin Sergeyev, Aurora in the 1890; Le Reveil de Flore (Flore), revival of the 1894 production; Swan Lake (Prince´s friends, Two Swans); Raymonda (Clemans, Henrietta); Don Quixote (Kitri, Flower-sellers, Variation); Pertoushka (the Elegant Lady´s friend); The Fountain of Bakhchisarai (Maria, Young women); Romeo and Juliet (Juliet, Juliet´s companion); The Legend of Love (Shyrin, Shyrin´s Friends, Gold); The Bedbug (Zoya); Serenade; Piano Concerto No 2 (Ballet Imperial); the roles in Apollo, The Four Temperaments; Theme and Variations; Jewels (Emeralds & Diamonds); Etudes; Manon (Lescaut´s Mistress); The Nutcracker, the Vainonen & Chemiakin productions, (Masha, The Nutcracker´s Sisters, The Canteen-girl, China Dance, Waltz of the Flowers), Princess Pirlipat, or worthiness punished (Spanish Rat dance), production by Chemiakin, choreography by Kirill Simonov; Cinderella (Dance Teacher), choreography by Alexei Ratmansky; The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, The Magic Nut (Frog); Ondine(Giannina), choreography by Pierre Lacotte; Aria Suspended (soloist). Moreover, Osmolkina's repertoire is slightly larger than both Novikova's and Obratzova's.

Unlike Somova, these ladies, and many others in the lower ranks don't need a flashlight, microscope, rubber gloves, a seeing eye-dog and tweezers to get through a ballet. Somova continues to nurse the few roles she's been given for the last six years. Her (now legendary) inconsistency is entirely another matter. Compared with the established Principals, Osmolkina, Obratzova, Novikova, including Kondaurova and other Second Soloists, Somova's study list is severely wanting. Not only that, compare the documented critical literature between all of these dancers. Somova's 'critique output' is conservatively 80% negative - 20% positive. That's a landslide of officially negative opinion. So, to describe Somova as "unfinished" is putting it mildly.

I'm sorry everyone, but IMO this situation stinks on ice.

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It's very sad to see that Somova is being wheeled out for interviews to the exclusion of Obratzova, Tereshkina or Kondaurova: superior dancers all. This is media hype - nothing more.

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It's very sad to see that Somova is being wheeled out for interviews to the exclusion of Obratzova, Tereshkina or Kondaurova: superior dancers all. This is media hype - nothing more.

I was afraid of that. BTW, as you are in London, Are you going to watch Beauty on August, 14th? Looks like a dream cast, with Obraztsova, and Kondaurova.

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Great headline there, sunday: Somova: Dancer or Trick Pony? So she is the circus side show? The troupe may be hitting rock bottom.

What a shame that the preview articles all focus on her and not the more worthy artists, though Lopatkina receives a mention in one of the stories.

It's now after 7pm, London time. We are rapidly approaching ZERO HOUR.

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. . . It's now after 7pm, London time. We are rapidly approaching ZERO HOUR.

Yes. D-Day (debut day) at Covent Garden has begun. Shklyarov will be hand-cuffed to the wrong Juliet.

It will be either one extreme or the other - there will be no gray area. God :helpsmilie: him.

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I'm trying to pin down what Brown really thinks about all of this. On the one hand:

Last year I thought Somova 40 per cent intriguing and 60 per cent circus pony. This year as the Princess in Alexei Ratmansky’s new The Little Humpbacked Horse for the Mariinsky, she was a delight, as dewy as a milkmaid. After the show, ballet’s grande dame Maya Plisetskaya plucked her diamond earrings off her ears, handed them to the awestruck girl and told her to go grab herself a brilliant career.

On the other hand:

I try to imagine Shklyarov and Somova vanishing in another life, and somehow it seems unlikely.

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I too wasn't really fond of her in the beginning. But I have to say: I'm part of the youtube-generation and so far I haven't seen her live on stage unfortunately (even when the Kirov performed in Amsterdam last year).

Her technique looked uncontrolled indeed and I didn't like her arms/hands (even too spastic to me). She used her flexibility in the wrong way.

But wow did I change my opinion! I've seen her latest videos and she was a charm! Her Dulcinea was a joy to watch and I just finished watching the New Years Eve performance of Paquita where she was definitely more matured in her style and movements. OK: she still shows her flexibility, but it's more dosed and subtle and I guess working with Tatyana Terekhova proved to be a deciding factor. Terekhova was quite famous for her technique, but she also had that classical Kirov style with sophisticated fluent arm movements. Somova to me really puts a smile on my face when I see her dance; she radiates joy!

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