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Seismic Changes at the Corps Level26 new; 43 out (either promoted up or gone)


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#16 Cygnet

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 01:45 PM

Both the Kirov and the Bolshoi companies were better companies when the stage was filled by older dancers. Why, because in general it is was their home, their life and their experience brought a weight to performances that in general has been lost especially in character corps work. Those old dancers loved being on the stage and danced as if they loved it and lived their roles as if it was their own lives.

In January 1989, Makarova discussed this issue on the "Leningrad Legend" Kultur dvd. There were two extended segments where she coached the young Elena Pankova in the 2nd variation from "Paquita," and the young Zhanna Ayupova for her first Odette/Odile. Even then, she noticed a big difference in the company she had left 18 years earlier. She lamented the fact that the young members had few, " . . . examples of master dancing." She also mentioned that when she started out, she had been inspired by watching the "masters," and that, " . . . inspiration is important in the theatre." She was concerned about the technical and artistic development of the younger members, and that they should take the initiative to, " . . . develop their inner world." Fast forward to the present. With a few stellar exceptions, exactly what will this new generation learn and from whom?

Vinogradov did get rid of the older dancers and the tradition you talked about that made the two major companies what they once were, has been diminished

Vinogradov didn't limit himself to just the older dancers. Before his removal in 1995, he "ran off" dancers such as Larissa Lezhnina. Elena Pankova, Irina Schapsits and Anna Polikarpova (to name a few), also departed. Of that generation, (mid-late 80s graduates), the ones who stayed and eventually became Principals were Makhalina and Ayupova. At that time Asylmuratova was in her dancing prime, and she repeatedly opted for international guest engagements, notably with the Royal Ballet and Petit's Marseilles company. The immediate past Director of the Ballet, Makhar Vaziev, also saw these departures on his watch: Natalia Sologub, and Dmitri Semionov (Polina's brother), and others. When a new Director comes to power, his/her tastes and vision (or lack thereof), prevail. Before he was appointed Interim Director, Fateev's was the company's main Balanchine repetiteur, and still is, so it figures that he would favor Balanchine mixed-bills. IMO what the Maryinsky Ballet needs is a resident choreographer, or a Director who is also a choreographer. Ideally, this would be the same person. For all of Vinogradov's pecadillos, he was (also) a credited choreographer: The Maryinsky hasn't had such since 1995. Hopefully, Fateev will try to develop and encourage young choreographers, or stage his own work. Obviously, the company is in transition; and as someone stated earlier, "time will tell" what the ultimate results will be.

#17 Helene

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 03:06 PM

IMO what the Maryinsky Ballet needs is a resident choreographer, or a Director who is also a choreographer. Ideally, this would be the same person. For all of Vinogradov's pecadillos, he was (also) a credited choreographer: The Maryinsky hasn't had such since 1995. Hopefully, Fateev will try to develop and encourage young choreographers, or stage his own work. Obviously, the company is in transition; and as someone stated earlier, "time will tell" what the ultimate results will be.

Resident choreographers are rare birds, but two other companies -- the Royal Ballet and National Ballet of Canada -- have hired former ballerinas with artistic administration, coaching, and/or staging experience to run them. I don't know if this would fly at the Mariinsky and be accepted by senior dancers like Loptakina, but if it would, this might be an option.

#18 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 03:21 PM

Both the Kirov and the Bolshoi companies were better companies when the stage was filled by older dancers. Why, because in general it is was their home, their life and their experience brought a weight to performances that in general has been lost especially in character corps work. Those old dancers loved being on the stage and danced as if they loved it and lived their roles as if it was their own lives.

In January 1989, Makarova discussed this issue on the "Leningrad Legend" Kultur dvd. There were two extended segments where she coached the young Elena Pankova in the 2nd variation from "Paquita," and the young Zhanna Ayupova for her first Odette/Odile. Even then, she noticed a big difference in the company she had left 18 years earlier. She lamented the fact that the young members had few, " . . . examples of master dancing." She also mentioned that when she started out, she had been inspired by watching the "masters," and that, " . . . inspiration is important in the theatre." She was concerned about the technical and artistic development of the younger members, and that they should take the initiative to, " . . . develop their inner world." Fast forward to the present. With a few stellar exceptions, exactly what will this new generation learn and from whom?

Vinogradov did get rid of the older dancers and the tradition you talked about that made the two major companies what they once were, has been diminished

Vinogradov didn't limit himself to just the older dancers. Before his removal in 1995, he "ran off" dancers such as Larissa Lezhnina. Elena Pankova, Irina Schapsits and Anna Polikarpova (to name a few), also departed. Of that generation, (mid-late 80s graduates), the ones who stayed and eventually became Principals were Makhalina and Ayupova. At that time Asylmuratova was in her dancing prime, and she repeatedly opted for international guest engagements, notably with the Royal Ballet and Petit's Marseilles company. The immediate past Director of the Ballet, Makhar Vaziev, also saw these departures on his watch: Natalia Sologub, and Dmitri Semionov (Polina's brother), and others. When a new Director comes to power, his/her tastes and vision (or lack thereof), prevail. Before he was appointed Interim Director, Fateev's was the company's main Balanchine repetiteur, and still is, so it figures that he would favor Balanchine mixed-bills. IMO what the Maryinsky Ballet needs is a resident choreographer, or a Director who is also a choreographer. Ideally, this would be the same person. For all of Vinogradov's pecadillos, he was (also) a credited choreographer: The Maryinsky hasn't had such since 1995. Hopefully, Fateev will try to develop and encourage young choreographers, or stage his own work. Obviously, the company is in transition; and as someone stated earlier, "time will tell" what the ultimate results will be.


Interesting points, cygnet.

This lack of living examples from older artists has been a problem at the Mariinsky for a long time now and people like Makarova, Lezhnina, Shapchits or Asylmuratova always underlined how important these models have been for their own development, although at that point they were essentially talking about their own traditional classics. The repertoire at the Mariinsky has broadened considerably in the last ten or fifteen years, especially with western import, for which the whole issue of live examples becomes even more difficult.

As the example of Alexei Ratmansky at the Bolshoi has shown the combination of AD with chief choreographer is less ideal than we would like to think it is. In a recent interview in the UK magazine Dance Now Ratmansky made it very clear that the two positions are in fact incompatible, especially in a huge company like Bolshoi or Mariinsky. In any case, in the long run, it didn't work for him.

#19 Natalia

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 06:48 AM

ROLL-CALL OF KIROV-MARIINSKY BALLET VETERANS (joined troupe pre-1990...during the USSR!)

To complement my original post (at the top of this thread), I went through the roster to pick the remaining 'veterans' on the troupe, as per their known Vaganova Academy graduation dates, which are also the years when they joined the company.

Non-Corps Veterans

1960s:

1964 - 'The Champ' Vladimir Ponomaryev, now Character Principal

1970s:

1970 - Petr Statsyunas, Character Principal

1980s:

1981 - Andrei Yakovlev I, Character Principal

1984 (two dancers): Zhanna Ayupova, Principal; Roman Skrypkin, Character Principal

1985 - Yulia Makhalina, Principal

1987 in Tiblisi - Igor Zelensky, Principal

1988 (two): in Tiblisi - Irma Nioradze, Principal; and, in Leningrad, Elena Bazhenova, Char. Principal

1989 (two): Irina Zhelonkina, 1st Soloist; and Andrei Yakovlev II, 1st soloist


Corps Veterans

Here, I am only guessing based on having seen names in the programs for years. I believe that the following dancers on the corps have been there since before 1990. Their longevity with the troupe is remarkable and very special, in the most positive manner.

Olga Akhmatova (Sazonova)
Alla Dmitrieva
Tatiana Linnik
Vanda Lubkovskaya
Irina Prokofieva
Mariana Yakovleva

Daria Pavlova, Anastasia Vasilets and several others joined ca 1990/91...so not on this list. I could not pick-out corps males; Soslan Kulaev has been around since at least 90/91 but not the 1980s, I think.

Any & all corrections are most welcomed. I was going solely on the bio-blurbs for dancers on the Mariinsky website & my general remembrances on the corps.

#20 Lidewij

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 08:47 AM

Did Elvira Tarasova retire? I believe she was still listed on the Mariinsky's website last year or so..

#21 Natalia

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 11:27 AM

Tarasova is no longer on the Mariinsky website's roster. I believe that we discussed it a bit on this forum a year or so ago. Somebody mentioned something about her new coaching/teaching career.

Ayupova was off the roster for a few months last year. Now she is back. So anything can happen.


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