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.