Posted 21 August 2010 - 09:16 AM
I saw something quite different. While she insisted on the >180 degree splits in her jetes with a bent back leg, and had a few distorting extensions, for the most part, she was beautiful, particularly in her upper body, and mostly disciplined with non-jump extensions. Not at all what I had expected.
Posted 21 August 2010 - 09:52 AM
This one is really hideous!!!!!!
Posted 22 August 2010 - 03:44 PM
My views have changed since the previous post. My own experience with extension pretty much ends with tying my shoelaces! But I now see from the photos how, in raising her leg so high, Zakharov puts her torso out of line. Thank you everyone for insightful posts, especially Simon G. for your excellent explanation of the history and context. I'm going to be more discriminating about dancers. Ready to move on to other topics now.
Do you know what, I think I came down too heavy as being critical of Zakharova and hope I haven't put you off her. Regardless of whatever she does or doesn't do you love her and her dancing and that's the most important thing, she does it for you and that won't change and shouldn't change.
There are tons of ballerinas who one's supposed to like who are held up as being the pinnacle of dance and who leave me cold. I don't know if you've come across Tamara Rojo? She's the balletomanes ballerina of choice, feted to high heaven, universally acclaimed and I've never seen her once when she's done it for me, hasn't left me indifferent and cold and wondering what all the fuss is about.
I think that knowledge especially specialised knowledge gets in the way of love and enjoyment, which is what it's all about, should be all about, without that it's just academic steps and posturing.
Me personally I defintely think Zakharova is an intriguing dancer, there's a reserve and coldness which is somehow very engaging for me, she's got a very self absorbed persona onstage, and she is a technical virtuoso with or without the extensions. I like that coldness in artists which something burns underneath.
Posted 22 August 2010 - 04:18 PM
I don't know if you've come across Tamara Rojo? She's the balletomanes ballerina of choice, feted to high heaven, universally acclaimed and I've never seen her once when she's done it for me, hasn't left me indifferent and cold and wondering what all the fuss is about.
Posted 23 August 2010 - 11:03 AM
Looking back, I have to say that from the beginning, I felt that Moiseyeva (Zakharova’s first coach), didn’t temper Zakharova’s extreme approach while she remained in St. Petersburg. At the Bolshoi, Zakharova is Semenyaka’s pupil; and reportedly she has gotten her to dial it down somewhat. Zakharova has always had discernable port de bras, turn-out, epaulement, and professional presentation. She’s consistent in the basics as a terre a terre dancer, yet she isn't an aerial/Romantic ballerina or a dance actress. Unlike Zakharova, Somova has none of these attributes.
Zakharova started at the Kiev School. Two years out from graduation she entered the Vaganova Prix competition, and her appearance there led to the invitation to join the advanced class at V. Academy to complete her studies. She graduated V.A. from Professor Elena Yevteyeva’s class, was hired by the Mariinsky Theatre, then she was handed over to Olga Moiseyeva. I recall that she was immediately fast tracked and was appointed a principal in 1.5 years. At the beginning of her career, Zakharova was considered the culmination of her “predecessors” in the Mariinsky Theatre at that time (namely Makhalina and Mezentseva). These two primas were thought to be “extreme” for their respective generations – but their salad days were under the Soviet system. Zakharova was regularly 1st cast, given the central assignment both at home and abroad. In the new Russia of the mid 1990s, for Russian balletomanes, Zakharova was novelty - and bank for the Mariinsky management. On the other hand, for the connoisseurs and Petersburg pedagogical community she wasn’t “novelty” but a question mark at best. Then as now, they revere Lopatkina as the supreme Vaganova exponent of this generation. The rise of Somova began in October of the 2003-2004 season when Zakharova left for the Bolshoi. This was when former ballet director, Makhar Vaziev began to push Somova to the forefront as her replacement.
Posted 23 August 2010 - 01:20 PM
Posted 23 August 2010 - 02:49 PM
You're welcome GNicholls . There are a bunch of other threads on this site that discuss the reletntless quest for the +180 extension. Guillem transitioned smoothly into modern dance. As a prima she was blessed to have a relatively long career (by today's standards), with few major injuries. Here's a rare Guillem interview:
Thanks Cygnet for identifying key influences and factors in Z.'s career. Actually Simon G. you haven't put me off Zakharova, but I understand better what her limitations are. Also what is meant by beautiful feet. What I like about Ballet Talk is the experienced posters who both know and are able to clarify what they are talking about. Rare nowadays in any field! For this audience member it's about attending to the whole performance, not just the wow factor.
This isn't a cautionary tale, but artists inevitably deal with the artistic/technical choices they make. The physical and career consequences vary. For example, Zakharova sustained two hip injuries in the course of 6 months this year. The first caused her to miss the Bolshoi's February enagement at the Orange County of the Performing Arts; and the second was the recent Covent Garden tour. So, this issue is something to seriously think about.
Posted 27 August 2010 - 07:48 AM
Zakharova sustained two hip injuries in the course of 6 months this year. ... and the second was the recent Covent Garden tour.
As expected, La Scala announced that Zakharova is not dancing in Forsythe Night in September, for "personal reasons".
Posted 15 October 2010 - 04:01 PM
Alina Somova, Olesia Novikova and Polina Semionova.
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