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Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev promoted


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#16 leonid17

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 10:22 AM

That final sentence hints at prejudice towards Russians in general, could that prejudice be colouring the entire review?

Laura Jacobs loves Veronika Part; her husband, James Wolcott, does, too, and he's used his "Vanity Fair" space to promote Part and to snark at Alastair Macaulay, who has not been impressed with her.

I don't think the generalization holds; Jacobs just isn't a proponent of circusy dancing, and is upbalanchine's alley in disliking facial expressions in lieu of expressing drama through dance shapes.


I agee, the generalisation doesn't hold.

Reading a Laura Jacobs article on the Bolshoi Ballet written in 2005, she appears to be both thorough and even handed in her criticism although it borders on the extreme at times. It is the sort of review I am really quite happy to read even when I might not agree with everything she states. She does what she gets paid for. What's the problem?

See:- http://www.newcriter...f-the-past-1360

Ps In an era when there are not so many dancers to admire, are Laura Jacobs and James Wolcott truly fans or sincere admirers?

#17 Mashinka

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 01:34 AM

When I think of the Kirov, I think of vaults. It’s not just the rich history of this company, which reaches back into the eighteenth century and is an inheritance to be reckoned with. It’s the arcing interior spaces that live in company style, the result of a shared technique learned in the Vaganova Academy, and a shared city of imperial raiments. All those golden domes against the moonstone-blue St. Petersburg sky, all those cupolas and colonnades. We see these architectural beauties in the dancing, nowhere more clearly than in Kirov women, in the celestial sphere balanced in their upper bodies, and in the Romanesque windows built into their épaulement. Kirov dancing at its best communicates an intense sensation of line imbued with deep space, a pregnant dimensionality. The company was originally named for a woman, Czar Alexander II’s wife Marie, hence, the Mariinsky Theatre.


When I read tosh like that I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

#18 Simon G

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 04:22 AM

When I think of the Kirov, I think of vaults. It’s not just the rich history of this company, which reaches back into the eighteenth century and is an inheritance to be reckoned with. It’s the arcing interior spaces that live in company style, the result of a shared technique learned in the Vaganova Academy, and a shared city of imperial raiments. All those golden domes against the moonstone-blue St. Petersburg sky, all those cupolas and colonnades. We see these architectural beauties in the dancing, nowhere more clearly than in Kirov women, in the celestial sphere balanced in their upper bodies, and in the Romanesque windows built into their épaulement. Kirov dancing at its best communicates an intense sensation of line imbued with deep space, a pregnant dimensionality. The company was originally named for a woman, Czar Alexander II’s wife Marie, hence, the Mariinsky Theatre.


When I read tosh like that I don't know whether to laugh or cry.



Is a pregnant dimensionality very different from a barren one?

#19 Mashinka

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 05:14 AM

Simon, I think it might be more politically correct to refer to an infertile dimensionality.

#20 Simon G

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 06:08 AM

Simon, I think it might be more politically correct to refer to an infertile dimensionality.


Sorry, you're quite right. I saw Osipova in Don Quixote and she is really sensational on a technical level, but when I see her dancing she kind of reminds me of that song from Half A Sixpence - "Hold it flashbang wallop what a picture."

Does anyone else know what I mean?

#21 leonid17

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 07:34 AM

Simon, I think it might be more politically correct to refer to an infertile dimensionality.


Sorry, you're quite right. I saw Osipova in Don Quixote and she is really sensational on a technical level, but when I see her dancing she kind of reminds me of that song from Half A Sixpence - "Hold it flashbang wallop what a picture."

Does anyone else know what I mean?


Definitely. More so, because my family knew Tommy Steele's (star of Half a Sixpence) family as our back garden abutted theirs.

From my experience, you are right to compare her to, "Hold it flashbang wallop what picture, what a photograph." I suppose its a near relation to the American "Look Ma I'm dancing."

I was recently informed via a pm from another poster that had seen her more recently than I, to expect much more from her when she appears here in London this summer.

#22 Helene

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 07:50 AM

When I read tosh like that I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

It wasn't easy to get through.

#23 leonid17

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 08:57 AM

When I think of the Kirov, I think of vaults. It’s not just the rich history of this company, which reaches back into the eighteenth century and is an inheritance to be reckoned with. It’s the arcing interior spaces that live in company style, the result of a shared technique learned in the Vaganova Academy, and a shared city of imperial raiments. All those golden domes against the moonstone-blue St. Petersburg sky, all those cupolas and colonnades. We see these architectural beauties in the dancing, nowhere more clearly than in Kirov women, in the celestial sphere balanced in their upper bodies, and in the Romanesque windows built into their épaulement. Kirov dancing at its best communicates an intense sensation of line imbued with deep space, a pregnant dimensionality. The company was originally named for a woman, Czar Alexander II’s wife Marie, hence, the Mariinsky Theatre.


When I read tosh like that I don't know whether to laugh or cry.


I quite liked the allusions to St. Petersburg architecture created by succesive Imperial Russian families, as having a direct relationship to the creation of the Imperial Ballet. Where else could such a company be formed in the era in question. The size and the grandeur of the capital’s building were reflected in the size and stature of the ballet company, personally sustained by various Czars who set the taste of the company by supporting or rejecting a work. Of course a number of the capitals important theatres were part of the Imperial Household supported by the Imperial purse so there is a of reality in creating parallels as Ms Jacobs does and she is correct in stating a, “shared city of Imperial raiments”, given the often extravagantly high quality of the visual presentation of ballets.

The Mariinski/Kirov style, is (was) of an elegant sophisticated, beautiful style, in which Vaganova somewhat reduced the curvature of line originally inspired in part by Italian sculpture and began to assume a radical mutation of the style paralleling activities in Soviet architecture and painting. She was to use a language of form and line to create a compositional style related, but still somewhat independent from earlier aesthetics.

Vaganova was also no doubt influenced by the role of the political dramaturge appointed to theatres to ensure a separation between Imperial and soviet thought. In the process, was I would suggest that she created a certain new angularity to the curvilinear balletic line, in contrast to the Petipa and Cecchetti’s softer linear expression.

The difference in styles was confirmed when I attended a long series of lectures by Anna Marie Holmes in which she used films of the Vaganova Method made with students of the Academy. I was engrossed firstly by the explanation of the Method but much more engrossed when various elderly Legat (and other teachers) pupils stood up and asserted the correct execution of various steps as performed in Imperial Ballet style. There was a particularly extende discussion on where the accent sould be in "flic flac."

Two separate examples of Vaganova’s mutation of the former Imperial style can be seen in her pupils Alla Osipenko and Irina Kolpakhova.

They confirm in their individual take on the formalism of classical Imperial style, but there is also a certain angularity of Vaganova’s
Soviet aesthetic present.

As to “Tosh”, my take on, “…an intense sensation of line imbued with deep space, a pregnant dimensionality…”, was that it meant having access to an extensive inner spiritual world, formed by the dancers that goes on and on, but tantalisingly, never quite personally experienced by the viewer. She again alludes to the feminine when she reminds us that, “The company was originally named for a woman, Czar Alexander II’s wife Marie, hence, the Mariinsky Theatre.” Is Ms Jacob’s not merely echoing Balanchine’s, “Ballet is woman.”

So I cannot fully agree with “Tosh!” though I have to say, I prefer my prose to be both a lighter shade of purple and perhaps less mannered.

#24 kfw

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 09:26 AM

So I cannot fully agree with “Tosh!” though I have to say, I prefer my prose to be both a lighter shade of purple and perhaps less mannered.

I too like it more when it's a bit less mannered, but I still find much of Jacobs' writing beautiful, this passage included.

my take on, “…an intense sensation of line imbued with deep space, a pregnant dimensionality…”, was that it meant having access to an extensive inner spiritual world, formed by the dancers that goes on and on, but tantalisingly, never quite personally experienced by the viewer.

Interesting. I read "pregnant dimensionality" as an enchanting sense of possibility, as the sort of presence that makes a dancer as riveting to watch at rest as in motion. Better put, as pregnant dimensionality.

To each his own. Style is always easy to mock, as others here have done. Ballet too is easy to mock as mannered and pretentious.

#25 leonid17

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 11:33 AM

So I cannot fully agree with “Tosh!” though I have to say, I prefer my prose to be both a lighter shade of purple and perhaps less mannered.

I too like it more when it's a bit less mannered, but I still find much of Jacobs' writing beautiful, this passage included.

my take on, “…an intense sensation of line imbued with deep space, a pregnant dimensionality…”, was that it meant having access to an extensive inner spiritual world, formed by the dancers that goes on and on, but tantalisingly, never quite personally experienced by the viewer.

Interesting. I read "pregnant dimensionality" as an enchanting sense of possibility, as the sort of presence that makes a dancer as riveting to watch at rest as in motion. Better put, as pregnant dimensionality.

To each his own. Style is always easy to mock, as others here have done. Ballet too is easy to mock as mannered and pretentious.


I like your interpretation. I find the imagery in her writing stimulating to read, but, Ms Jacob has a tendency to write for an audience that hardly exists in our brash new world.

#26 kfw

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 12:43 PM

One more thing about Jacobs: as Helene mentioned, she's married to James Wolcott, a heavily mannered writer himself. I'd love to be a fly on the wall when they read each other's stuff. :wink:

#27 canbelto

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 04:46 PM

One thing about Jacobs' writing is that I think she spends too much time talking about what a dancer looks like, and not enough on how the dancer actually dances. Her descriptions on Part for example. It's a mistake Arlene Croce, for instance, never made. Good dance critics I think always give you an idea of how a dancer moved.

#28 Mashinka

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 01:51 AM

Good dance critics I think always give you an idea of how a dancer moved.


Absolutely! And say what you like about Osipova – she can certainly move.


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