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.