This is what all of London would have seen if Alina Somova had remained in London.
In truth Somova is hugely divisive but I have to say too I have never seen a dancer with such an overwhelmingly negative press and opinion about her abilities from the majority. Which is why those who love her will love watching her videos and those who have problems with her will continue to do so.
I have to say under Terekhova she has made huge improvements, I've even said so on this thread, though sadly in London apart from In The Night she garnered very bad reviews and seemed to fall back on many of her bad old habits, it's unfair too to say that Somova isn't talented, but she has a specific type of gift that perhaps would be better suited to a lyrical soloist, In The Night doesn't strain a dancer the way the classics and Balanchine do. It's not just Somova though, as Helene has pointed out the Mariinsky don't do Balanchine much justice, nor other contemporary choreographers such as Forsythe, one of the worst evenings of ballet I've seen in recent years was an all Forsythe programme by the Mariinsky, they were so out of their depth and didn't understand the dynamics and speed needed.
Maybe too Somova wouldn't be so contentious had her rise under Vaziev been so rapid, if she'd been given more time to be coached and had her excesses reined in, and yes I do agree that there's an element of schadenfreude by many in seeing her opportunities in her home company hamstrung to such an extent. Again, I really feel for her, to have so few performances, to be buried in one acts and third and matinee casts must be galling and disheartening and deeply depressing after having been given so much. But she does seem to have taken opportunities where she can get them especially at La Scala where Vaziev continues his commitment to her.
I think that's the thing though that in discussing this moment in Somova's career one does have to look at the subjective fact that she's been frozen out at the Mariinsky, that critics in the West are overwhelmingly negative to her when she dances the classics and the Mariinsky specifically put her in performances which the critics would not see, apart from In The Night which is a beautiful, lyrical ballet which makes no great demands on technique.
One also has to look at what's happening to her in regards to her position, she's one of a handful of principals, the youngest in fact, in a company of nearly two hundred and her performance schedule with the Mariinsky should be fully booked, she should by right of position be given first nights, multiple castings in three act classics, first choice on new stagings, new roles - she should be given more than most coryphees but she hasn't been. And maybe if she wants to pursue a full career she may have to move to La Scala, where I'm sure Vaziev would be delighted to have her, or K Ballet in Japan, places where the ADs like her for what she is - because to be continually frozen out as she is in St Petersburg must be pretty soul destroying for her.
To come back to Nikiya's death dance, yes she has improved remarkably, for me though with Somova all hell breaks loose in the Shades scene but that's beside the point, she's really come on and maybe if she wants to continue to grow with a full rep and full performance schedule she will have to move company.