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Alina Somova


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#31 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 12:45 AM

If a ballerina chooses not to show off the balances in the RA it will never look as it was done per choice, I am afraid. The Rose Adagio is all about them. Just as that other old thread about Odile´s fuettes.

#32 carbro

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 01:06 AM

If a ballerina chooses not to show off the balances in the RA it will never look as it was done per choice, I am afraid.

I disagree. I think a ballerina with good stagecraft, if she remains calm, can make the RA about interacting with her suitors, which is what the RA is all about. :dunno: Then there's Ashley Bouder, who managed last week to combine the two in equal measure.

#33 leonid17

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 02:32 AM

If a ballerina chooses not to show off the balances in the RA it will never look as it was done per choice, I am afraid.

I disagree. I think a ballerina with good stagecraft, if she remains calm, can make the RA about interacting with her suitors, which is what the RA is all about. :dunno: Then there's Ashley Bouder, who managed last week to combine the two in equal measure.


For me the letting go of the supporting hand and the balances reflect Aurora's status and independence of choice. The balances indicate a refined time of thought in the matter.

If this is the case, I think a well brought up Royal Princess would never exhibit a "teasing time" in making her judgement. Think of the audience it was created for and especially the presence of the Imperial Family.

I hold a picture in my mind of the pained expression of the likes of Christian Johannson and Evgenia Sokolova must have has as Carlotta Brianza exhibited her physical strength and Italian training in the balances.

Perhaps the Czars comment to Tchaikovsky of the ballet as "Very nice," was also a reflection of the 'homage' as being, " not quite, quite" given Brianza's tour de force style compared to the Imperial Theatres more refined style at that time.

In an intergrated artistic production reflecting the ballets aesthetic, one hopes that the balances are absolutely secure and never held for more than 2 counts to maintain the flow of the music and to avoid a seemingly vulgar display of technique, which should always be disguised by artistry.

However, I can well remember in my youth Dame Margot Fonteyn on occasions holding and holding the balances and I cheered with the rest of he audience.

#34 Simon G

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 06:21 AM

You know what? In fairness to Somova, who previously has been a dancer I absolutely couldn't stand for all the reasons mentioned on the boards, I had a look on Youtube at the most recent video uploaded of her, the Sleeping Beauty third act PDD - and I have to say it's like watching a totally, totally different dancer. She's really worked hard to overcome all her stylistic eccentricities and considerable technical problems.

On her penchee's she never once take it to six o'clock nor does her tutu ever flop over her head backwards, her petit allegro, and small terre a terre work is just in a different league from anything I've seen her do before - her problem is precisely that she is so flexible and so long of limb that she was never on top of her legs, but here she's really reined it in and brought all those quick small movements down to where they should be.

She also appears a great deal stronger, especially in pirouettes, supported and solo and her feet another big problem for her previously, are working so much better.

Because she is so long musicality and keeping to the beat and rhythm is always going to be difficult and considerably harder than for a compact dancer, but in every aspect of her technique you can see she's put in what must have been a Herculean effort to improve beyond all recognition.

I doubt she'll ever be a dancer I'd pay top whack to watch, nor would she ever be a favourite dancer of mine - but I do think when someone has really worked and the efforts are so remarkable and noticeable, it's definitely worth mentioning. She actually looks like a ballet dancer, and a very confident and competent one. Kudos to her.

#35 mariinskyfan

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 07:41 AM

Then there's Ashley Bouder, who managed last week to combine the two in equal measure.


I've heard so many rave reviews about Ashley Bouder on this website, and I have never seen her dance live. So I searched for some videos of her on YT and this is what I found
I am not sure if we are holding Alina Somova to a higher standard than we are for American dancers, but I would rather see Somova over Bouder any day. Am I insane????

#36 Hans

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 08:49 AM

I'm watching the pas de deux Simon G mentions (haven't finished it yet, but I will) and there are several technical and artistic issues I notice already. One is that she sickles her foot in retiré position, which is something I cannot stand, and if you look at her developpé at 3:41-3:42, you'll see it is completely turned in. The other problem she's had and still does have is that she moves from her limbs, not her center, and so her torso gets contorted in all sorts of strange ways, which prevents her from having any sort of classical line. Her weak center, the resulting bad posture, and her inability to control her turnout are likely all contributing factors to her lack of balance.

She also seems to be dancing without any regard for the music, but that could just be the video. (Edit: after watching the rest of the video, I think this is just a problem with the audio, not lack of musicality.)

Mariinskyfan, I would not judge a dancer you've never seen in person on the basis of one video in which she performs an unfamiliar repertoire.

#37 Cygnet

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 11:37 AM

Hans wrote:

I'm watching the pas de deux Simon G mentions (haven't finished it yet, but I will) and there are several technical and artistic issues I notice already. One is that she sickles her foot in retiré position, which is something I cannot stand, and if you look at her developpé at 3:41-3:42, you'll see it is completely turned in. The other problem she's had and still does have is that she moves from her limbs, not her center, and so her torso gets contorted in all sorts of strange ways, which prevents her from having any sort of classical line. Her weak center, the resulting bad posture, and her inability to control her turnout are likely all contributing factors to her lack of balance.


She's been Terekhova's pupil since 2008. It's not Terekhova's fault. I'm sure (trust) that Terekhova's doing the best she can, but it seems that it's hit and miss with Somova - mainly miss. At this point her tech. issues may be etched in stone. I just looked at the clip. Her developpés and her arabesques are turned in. She's never really had a sustained turnout. This is why Aurora, the most academic of roles doesn't work for her. It, like O/O, Nikiya etc. exposes all of the problems that she has. For example, her extreme ecarté freeze frames and developpés in the Rose Adage, as Dryad, Kitri, Nikiya, Odile - all are turned in. Her arabesque penchees are turned in; there's no term for it, so I made up one. I call it the "secabesque," *(an arabesque - ŕ la seconde) hybrid. Of course, there's no such animal. She's a turned in dancer. Since she's been a pro, (7 years this June), for whatever reason, these idiosyncracies, haven't been corrected. Her feet have never been strong enough for the Petipa heroines. She isn't able to sustain proper placement in her center-work. Therefore, balances are an issue for her. Proper placement, a centered torso and strong pointes are the foundation for sustained balances. Her over-extended knees, and over long limbs don't help either. Her fouttes remain problematic. Her prep for unsupported piourettes is labored. They're strong only if she's partnered by one of the experienced stars like Kolb, Korsuntsev, Shklyarov, or Sarafanov.

IMO there's a ballet in the rep that suits her: "Etudes;" it isn't long, and it's not full-length. She would do well in the Forsythe rep, for the obvious reason. However, since she graduated, the former ballet director believed, (and the current B.D. who is continuing his predecessor's policies), believes that she's an academic diamond in the rough. Therefore, the only modern works that she's been given are "Diamonds," "Scotch Symphony," "Rubies," "T & V," and "Symphony in C." These ballets are as modern as they'll let her get. I hate to belabor the point, but she hasn't succeeded in these either, these works are also inherently academic. "S S" is more lyrical and romantic in style, and "Rubies" is more jazzy than the others. But "Diamonds,"
"T & V," and "C" demand technique with presence and nuance. In summary, her career to date "sits" on three pillars: 1) They've tried to shoehorn her into emploi that she's unable to master; 2) They've tried to justify their beliefs by "growing" her into the title of Principal Dancer; and 3) They've done 1 & 2 while over-zealously promoting her. The Somova Project may have looked good in theory and on paper, but reality intervened. It hasn't worked out the way they expected. Ballerinas are born.

She also seems to be dancing without any regard for the music, but that could just be the video.

No, it's not the clip, and in her case its never been the music. Somova "does" steps, she doesn't "dance" steps, nor are they seamlessly phrased with thought or focus. For example, when you get a chance go back and view the recent "Paquita" clip (from New Year's Eve). "Paquita" is a virutosa, showcase piece. As the leading ballerina, she doesn't take the stage, nor hold it with the authority that this ballet requires. What's most telling is that she doesn't do any of the above as one would expect of a Maryinsky Principal. I can say for myself, when you see her live, you don't know what to expect. You hope for the best but she's unpredictable, and not necessarily in a good way. That's the most diplomatic way I can put it. She's dealing with technical survival, that at this stage, and as a Maryinsky Principal shouldn't be an issue for her given her short list of roles. It's this level of performance that gets priority casting and carte blanche favor from the management :dunno:.

#38 Simon G

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 11:44 AM

Hans & Cygnet,

I completely agree with you and your assessment of her abilities as a dancer, however if you look at that clip of her in rose adagio it really is a completely different woman, well almost.

Her musicality is atrocious, her turn out, well I think there it's not so much a caes of she can't use it, I think she actually doesn't have it, she seems to be one of those hyper flexible types with extremely loose joints and muscles who ironically don't have natural turn out. And yes, her feet are always going to be pretty awful.

But if you compare the clips of her in the PDD from the Rose adagio filmed two years previously or the Etudes clip which is in the same league of cringeworthy, teeth-clenching pain inducing badness as the clip of Tom Cruise and oprah's couch, you really can see a hugely dramatic and marked improvement. Which can't have been easy to achieve.

For that at least I give her kudos. I mean, yes, she's never going to be a ballerina in anything other than title, but she is at least turning into a competent soloist.

#39 Jayne

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 01:47 PM

You know what? In fairness to Somova, who previously has been a dancer I absolutely couldn't stand for all the reasons mentioned on the boards, I had a look on Youtube at the most recent video uploaded of her, the Sleeping Beauty third act PDD - and I have to say it's like watching a totally, totally different dancer. She's really worked hard to overcome all her stylistic eccentricities and considerable technical problems.

I watched, and she has improved, but "Better" is fine for a soloist in training - but nevertheless, not good enough to be a principal at Maryiinsky.

The more I watch the Cynthia Gregory clip, the more I fall in love with it. I cannot say the same about the 2009 Somova clip, I just keep thinking "she is not ready yet for those role". I know the prior artistic director has compared her body to Sylvia Guillem, but I feel Sylvia was born with musicality that is her genetic gift. Somova would have been a wonderful rhythmic gymnast. But perish the thought that ballerinas the world over will soon be picked based on hyper flexibility and unusually long limbs, rather than musicality and technical purity.

Ah well, the world doesn't come to an end with Somova as a principal, it just means we watch the posted casting list more carefully to find the ballerinas we do like. What we do before youtube gave us this option to compare performances with a few mouse clicks?

Interesting article on preparing for Aurora:
http://findarticles....1/ai_n19053094/

#40 aurora

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 02:06 PM

I know the prior artistic director has compared her body to Sylvia Guillem, but I feel Sylvia was born with musicality that is her genetic gift. Somova would have been a wonderful rhythmic gymnast. But perish the thought that ballerinas the world over will soon be picked based on hyper flexibility and unusually long limbs, rather than musicality and technical purity.


I find statements like that so insulting to poor Ms Guillem, who was, and I suppose remains, controversial in her own right. (I don't mean your statement Jayne! That of the artistic director!)

While her extensions were certainly extreme, especially for the time, she never distorted her line to achieve them as does Somova, and an arabesque, when performed by Guillem, was actually BEHIND her.

She also had, in spades, one of the things Somova lacks: Strength and control. Watch her in the Grand pas Classique video. each time her leg goes higher. It is a conscious choice, not a whacking to the ear.

She also had lovely feet.

To compare those two bodies...that artistic director must have been looking at something completely other than what I see. Or he equated "bodies" with "how high a leg can go"

#41 papeetepatrick

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 02:15 PM

I know the prior artistic director has compared her body to Sylvia Guillem, but I feel Sylvia was born with musicality that is her genetic gift. Somova would have been a wonderful rhythmic gymnast. But perish the thought that ballerinas the world over will soon be picked based on hyper flexibility and unusually long limbs, rather than musicality and technical purity.


I don't find Guillem especially musical, and certainly the clips of her Aurora are very hard and cold and gymnastic themselves. And her balances are 'perfect' like Sizova's and Bouder's without having any of the resonance-you should be able to 'hear' a dancer's musicality, as with Sizova Bouder, Fonteyn, and Farrell. If the long limbs of Somova are ever gotten under control, she will be a great dancer, although I've got no reason to think that will happen. Guillem's body does not seem to extend beyond the object-body itself. it's just she can do difficult things easily. I don't think she has a thing to do with Aurora (she's just too severe), although wonderful in other things. she's a modern ballerina in an extreme sense of the term--very fine, but with her limits just like every other ballerina. Somova jas am amazing body, and if it were got under control, she could be the best; however, this needs intelligence of her own. Does she have that? I don't know, but do agree with Helene about what we saw at Kirov 2008 in 'Ballet Imperial'.

#42 Drew

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 02:52 PM

I hesitate to say anything based on Youtube (as people are probably sick of hearing me post, live performance is a whole different matter), but I actually found the clips of Somova in Ratmansky's Little Humpbacked Horse rather charming. Even in their off-kilter moments--let's call them 'neoclassical'--they seemed to work for the choreography. Though this, too, suggests her value in a more contemporary repertory. (Natalya who did see live performances of the ballet preferred Kondaurova.)

Off topic: I'm a big defender of Guillem on this board--so, again, people may be tired of hearing me on the subject, but . . . I saw her dance (what I thought) a very distinguished Odette/Odile. And I do value the fact that her extraordinary extensions were, so to speak, natural on her body, so her line remained elegant and undistorted. She did not have the pathos of some Odettes but her very clarity of articulation did bring out the poetry of the choreography for Odette and, in a different way, for Odile.

#43 carbro

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 03:34 PM

I've heard so many rave reviews about Ashley Bouder on this website, and I have never seen her dance live. So I searched for some videos of her on YT and this is what I found I am not sure if we are holding Alina Somova to a higher standard than we are for American dancers, but I would rather see Somova over Bouder any day. Am I insane????

Not insane. Yes, sometimes Bouder can be hammy, when the role calls for it, but in person, I've never seen her give a vulgar performance, which I concede these are. Also, keep in mind that these pieces are not part of her typical rep.

I don't know how much this will help you reconsider -- it's a studio rehearsal with nary an intact phrase, but even with her long-sleeved leotard, it gives a hint of the Bouder Auroras I saw last week.

And veering back to the topic of this thread, even at her worst (which I hope these Flames and Corsaire excerpts were :beg: ) Bouder is a very musical dancer, which in my book puts her way over Somova, who isn't.

#44 carbro

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 11:45 AM

Okay! We have new Bouder videos. Mind you, this is so far from her usual style, but I think in the adagio, she pretty well gets it. She's quite light, and I don't think I've ever seen a more seamless performance than this. (The first 56 seconds are the Peasant Pas.) The allegros, where her City Ballet roots clearly show, I concede, miss the mark.

Here she is in the Spessivtzeva variation.

You may still prefer Somova, mariinskyfan, but I hope you take into consideration that Bouder is plunging into a role that in many ways is antithetical to the style in which her home company dances.

#45 leonid17

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 05:16 AM

Okay! We have new Bouder videos. Mind you, this is so far from her usual style, but I think in the adagio, she pretty well gets it. She's quite light, and I don't think I've ever seen a more seamless performance than this. (The first 56 seconds are the Peasant Pas.) The allegros, where her City Ballet roots clearly show, I concede, miss the mark.

Here she is in the Spessivtzeva variation.

You may still prefer Somova, mariinskyfan, but I hope you take into consideration that Bouder is plunging into a role that in many ways is antithetical to the style in which her home company dances.


The angle and distance that the film has been shot from is not flattering, but even so I found Miss Bouder lumpish and especially unnattractive were her arms from the very beginning of the variation.

For all her faults, Somova is not lumpish.


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