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Alina Somova


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#181 alexaa1a

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 11:05 AM

I have photo proof to debunk what George Ou shows. He took Somova from a different section of the ballet and when she was getting in position and off balance. I can easily show a photo of Somova in the same point of the Bayadere adagio where Alina's shoulders are at least as square as Zakharova and her arabesque leg is not more open than Zakharova. Also, poses is not what ballet is about; artistry, acting, arms and hands, upper body, technique, movement of entire body and look of entire body, facial expressions, portrayal of roles, etc.

Anyone can pick bad points, particularly transitional points and say how bad a dancer looks at that peculiar point..

[Admin note: please see our rules and policies against discussing the discussion and to use the "report" button if you have a problem with a post. You are also welcome to post a link to photos that show Somova in a different light, as long as they aren't part of another discussion board.]

Edited by Helene, 15 August 2011 - 04:15 PM.
Content discussing the discussion


#182 Mashinka

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:20 AM

In fairness though I am not a Somova fan by any means, I really feel for the woman, it must be bloody awful to have everything taken away from you and all the opportunities you've worked for diminish to nothing and one thing I don't doubt is that she really works hard.


Somova reminds me of Marguerite Porter who danced with the Royal Ballet in the 1980's; she was also promoted beyond her abilities and was defeated by every ballerina role she attempted to dance. Had she only performed minor soloist roles all would have been well and she could even have been remembered fondly, rather than the nadir of British ballet that she became. Somova is the same kind of dancer, quite acceptable when I saw her dance In the Night, but a disaster the following evening when she attempted the lead in Ballet Imperial.

Regarding photographs, I've noticed a lot of pictures that in the past that would have been vetoed by company press officers appearing all over the web on official sites. Whether this indicates a drop in expertise among the specialist photographers or a more lax approach to what is published I don't know, but even on her Mariinka fan site there are some truly awful pictures of Somova.

#183 Helene

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:43 AM

I saw Marguerite Porter dance Odette/Odile when she closed the NYC portion of the 1981 Royal Ballet tour. I quite liked her and preferred her to Leslie Collier, whom I saw at the matinee.

While her career trajectory may have been similar to Somova's, I found her dancing to be direct, modest (in the best sense), and unmannered. I don't remember that many details from 30 years ago, but I do remember being impressed, and it didn't hurt that Anthony Dowell was her partner.

Of Porter's NYC debut in the roles of Odette/Odile, Anna Kisselgoff wrote:

Marguerite Porter, making her New York debut as the Swan Queen and her opposite number, was very much in the lyrical Margot Fonteyn tradition, while Wayne Eagling, replacing the injured Anthony Dowell, has honed the portrait of the youthful innocent prince he first showed here in 1976...

Neither Miss Porter, who nonetheless made a much better showing here than in ''The Sleeping Beauty'' nor Mr. Eagling can measure up to these technical standards: their performances can best be appreciated for sense of style.


Perhaps compared to dancers who had strong technique and even stronger style, Porter paled, but if Kisselgoff is correct -- and I didn't have enough exposure to the Royal Ballet to know the grades of style to know -- then she at least exhibited the schooling and style that, sadly, no longer exists in the company. Many of the complaints about Somova are that she doesn't reflect the style and schooling of the Vaganova Academy and can point to others dancing currently with the Mariinsky who do.

#184 Angelique

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 03:37 AM

Why she did not perform in Bayadere on Saturday is that she is very close to her coach, Tatiana Terekhova, and very close to her coach's husband, Sergei Berezhnoi, whose funeral was last Tuesday.

Thank you, alexaa1a!

Some folks are very disappointed for not being able to catch Alina’s Nikiya in London, since they flew across the pond just for that one performance. Now, that you explained the reason why, I am sure they will understand.

Although I have never seen Sergey on stage, my heart goes out to his family and friends. All dancers go to heaven.

#185 Simon G

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 04:22 AM

Why she did not perform in Bayadere on Saturday is that she is very close to her coach, Tatiana Terekhova, and very close to her coach's husband, Sergei Berezhnoi, whose funeral was last Tuesday.



But she stayed for her Swan Lake, and In The Night which were both after the funeral?

#186 alexaa1a

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 07:57 AM


Why she did not perform in Bayadere on Saturday is that she is very close to her coach, Tatiana Terekhova, and very close to her coach's husband, Sergei Berezhnoi, whose funeral was last Tuesday.



But she stayed for her Swan Lake, and In The Night which were both after the funeral?


Mariinsky News Section in mariinsky.ru says that the funeral was on August 9.
You can look at many different locations to find out when she performed Swan Lake, In The Night and her only other performance, which you did not mention, Ballet imperial.
Swan Lake was on July 27
In The Night was on August 4
Ballet Imperial was on August 5
The funeral was 4 days after Ballet Imperial and 4 days before her scheduled Bayadere on August 13 when she did not return to London.

Still, there will be people that see your comment and will be convinced that she was removed from Bayadere, which is not true.

[Admin note: Last warning about discussing what the administrators should or shouldn't do on this board]

Edited by Helene, 30 May 2012 - 08:02 AM.


#187 Simon G

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 08:20 AM

Please respond with facts. That seems to be the problem with many comments speaking about Somova, when things are said that are not true.
Mariinsky News Section in mariinsky.ru says that the funeral was on August 9.
You can look at many different locations to find out when she performed Swan Lake, In The Night and her only other performance, which you did not mention, Ballet imperial.
Swan Lake was on July 27
In The Night was on August 4
Ballet Imperial was on August 5
The funeral was 4 days after Ballet Imperial and 4 days before her scheduled Bayadere on August 13 when she did not return to London.

Still, there will be people that see your comment and will be convinced that she was removed from Bayadere, which is not true.



The Swan Lakes with Sarafanov were five months before the Mariinsky Festival where she wasn't given a single full length, do you really think an ambitious dancer, a principal would turn down an opportunity to dance Odette/Odile on her home turf because she'd done a limited run in a foreign city some five months before?

Mea culpa, I got the dates wrong, but again the reason why Somova chose not to return, or rather perhaps was replaced following her poorly received Swan Lake is open to debate, none of us know the facts, but burying a dancer in third casts and matinee performances is a fact which speaks for itself.

I agree that a photo is just a snapshot of a certain moment, but seeing Somova is again a fact that those certain moments aren't taken out of context. Though if you want facts the fact of this Rose Adagio pretty much speaks for itself .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfKKeQgLJ_s

#188 Natalia

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 10:48 AM

EDITED TO ADD/CORRECT:

It was Angelique & not alexaa1a who wrote on may 23, in the Mariinsky Esthetics thread:
But truth is more important. At the time of Mariinsky Canadian tour, Ms. Somova and Alessio Carbone (Paris Opera Ballet) were preparing for World premier of Benjamin Milliepid's new ballet, which was shown at YAGP 2011 Gala: "STARS OF TODAY MEET THE STARS OF TOMORROW".

Nonetheless, the general trend is that Somova is no longer in heavy rotation as she was before Feb 2011, no matter whatever excuse or "fact" is cited.

Edited by Helene, 30 May 2012 - 08:04 AM.


#189 alexaa1a

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:30 PM

I agree that a photo is just a snapshot of a certain moment, but seeing Somova is again a fact that those certain moments aren't taken out of context. Though if you want facts the fact of this Rose Adagio pretty much speaks for itself - maybe you could enlighten me as to what you see?

Concerning your photo, why do people keep showing old videos and photos when she had Chenchikova coaching her, who was the wrong coach for her, but Chenchikova's husband was director, so nothing could be done. With the removal of Vaziev, Terekhova took over and made big changes in Alina.
Except for her 5 week absence after her Swan Lake injury, Alina has been very busy with 7 full length ballets in December, plus many Jewel performances in May. She has not suffered from lack of work. Look at her website schedule and she is also doing Mariinsky's first Giselle on October 9, which is not posted on her site, but is posted on Mariinsky.ru playbill.
This is her website schedule http://www.alinasomo...content/?page=8 with everything she performed during the period in question.
Here is a different snapshot taken from a 2010 Rose Adagio video where you can see that Chenchikova’s influence on Alina’s attitude line has been corrected by Terekhova
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa4sFDoHv7A

#190 Helene

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 02:11 PM

I don't think Somova needs to answer to anyone for attending the funeral of her coach's husband, nor to not returning to a tour after such a difficult time.

#191 Simon G

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 02:13 PM

The video is set to private and it's not my photo.

Sadly for her the critics, her company and audiences aren't backing her in any legitimate way, and like I said I think it's very sad for her to see her career fizzing out, but perhaps she should never have been promoted so fiercely to start with, and yes in certain ways she has indeed improved, I've even said so on this thread, but I still don't think she's a ballerina.

But again as Natalia said, the FACT is the Mariinsky aren't casting her and I do feel for Somova, it must be pretty terrible for her.

However, I'm sure there are boards out there championing Somova and online communities who love her.

#192 alexaa1a

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 05:13 AM

This is what all of London would have seen if Alina Somova had remained in London, not going to Berezhnoi's funeral.


#193 Simon G

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 06:12 AM

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.

#194 puppytreats

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 09:36 AM

Simon G,

1. Do you go overseas to see all these international ballets, or do you have access online somehow? I would love to have this ability :>
2. Doesn't schadenfreude involve an element of revenge? How come someone take pleasure in the failure of someone who simply performs in successively higher roles and positions as directed and appointed, and then is disfavored, unless (a) she did something harmful intentionally to someone or (b) the competitors are petty and jealous? (I cannot fully understand schadenfreude in situations involving revenge, because I cannot understand taking pleasure in someone's pain or loss, but that is another issue not for this board. Here, I am trying simply to understand your selection of language and your position.)
3. Why would a lyrical soloist not match a classical or Petipa repertoire? I thought, within the structure of classical ballet, a lot of the sections were lyrical in nature.
4. What aspects of La Scala's schedule differ from the KM to suit these abilities, or does the audience in Milan simply have different tastes?
5. Can you describe the views of different schools regarding hip position in arabesque and attitude?

#195 George Ou

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 02:13 AM

I have photo proof to debunk what George Ou shows. He took Somova from a different section of the ballet and when she was getting in position and off balance. I can easily show a photo of Somova in the same point of the Bayadere adagio where Alina's shoulders are at least as square as Zakharova and her arabesque leg is not more open than Zakharova. Also, poses is not what ballet is about; artistry, acting, arms and hands, upper body, technique, movement of entire body and look of entire body, facial expressions, portrayal of roles, etc.

Anyone can pick bad points, particularly transitional points and say how bad a dancer looks at that peculiar point..

The problem with your argument is that I've shown multiple examples of her flawed arabesque and they're not just of her "getting in position". Furthermore, how is she "off balance" when she's holding a partner and is she off balance that often?

Here's the examples I've shown with actual links just so that people can judge for themselves if the photos are anomalies or if they're systematic problems.
Screen cap freeze frame
http://www.flickr.co...57627407653236/
It came from this Youtube clip at the 1:06 second mark. She's holding a partner so you can't claim she was off balance or claim that she was "getting in position". She's making a fairly novice mistake of shifting the spine to her right and away from the working leg.

Another example here
http://www.flickr.co...57627407653236/

More recent example of Somova here from this video clip. I posted this one because one of her fans said that she had improved, yet she's making very sloppy "a la sabesque" poses in Giselle.
http://www.flickr.co...57627407653236/
She did the same thing in a 2007 documentary where the director of the Mariinsky said he didn't like her back attitude.

Now one may argue that her other virtues (beautiful body+face, great a la seconde, good stage presence, and for all I know a wonderful person) is more important than my criticisms of her arabesque and people have a right to that opinion. All I'm saying is that for me, the arabesque and back attitude are signature moves for the ballerina (and even important for men) and that aspect of Somova doesn't meet my personal expectations of what passes as a principle at a world class company.


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