Cygnet

Kondaurova Wins 2010 Golden Sofit Award

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Great news, Cygnet...and SO DESERVING. Common sense prevailed.

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Good news, but no wonder.

I think Kondaurova dances much more beautifully than Somova does. It was sad she didn't come to Tokyo for Boloshoi-Mariinsky Gala.

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Congratulations. It's a real tribute, considering that she was third cast in the role.

Can anyone tell us what a "sofit" actually is? (it can't be the same as an architectural "soffit," can it?) This St. Petersburg Times article goes a little into the history of the prize and has an illustration of the trophy, but does not explain.

The Tale of Our Town's Own Tonys

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Congratulations. It's a real tribute, considering that she was third cast in the role. Can anyone tell us what a "sofit" actually is? (it can't be the same as an architectural "soffit," can it?) This St. Petersburg Times article goes a little into the history of the prize and has an illustration of the trophy, but does not explain.

"Sofit" means 'floodlight' or 'spotlight.' Actually, this is Katya's second Golden Sofit in this category. She

won in 2008 for the role of Alma in "Glass Heart." She now has one Benois and to Golden Sofits. She won the 2006 Benois for her Zarema in "Fountain of Bahkshiserai," and was nominated in 2009 for her Odette/Odile. That nomination was in response to her O/O debut. Hopefully, her Anna will be nominated for the 2011 Golden Mask.

Kahoyo wrote:

I think Kondaurova dances much more beautifully than Somova does.
Kondaurova is a ballerina, destined (soon, we hope :huh:), to be a Principal and a notable Prima. Somova is neither; and only by title and internal politics.
It was sad she didn't come to Tokyo for Boloshoi-Mariinsky Gala.
Agreed. It would've been great if Katya had participated along with Tereshkina, Lopatkina and Obrastzova, instead of Somova. Katya and Genichka deserve all the exposure and appearances that they can get.

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"Sofit" can also mean "shining light" which, of course, describes Kondaurova.

IMO, there are three (3) First Soloist ladies on the current Mariinsky roster who deserve the promotion to Principal: Kondaurova, Obraztsova and Novikova...and far more deserving than You-Know-Who. It appears that the Mariinsky has only so many "slots" for Principals, e.g., glamorous Makhalina remains on the roster after her recent Spartacus appearances, beautiful Pavlenko is way under-used, and the veteran Nioradze hangs on...as the 14-year-old 'Juliet' tomorrow night. :smilie_mondieu:

CORRECTION: Four (4) First Soloists far more deserving of Principal status than You-Know-Who. Add Ekaterina Osmolkina to my original three, although Osmolkina has been indisposed of late.

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I agree that there are three first soloists deserving principal status but Kondaurova and Novikova, though I like them, are not in my list. Osmolkina and Obraztsova are obvious choices but lately I added also Anastasia Kolegova. I've seen her Gamzatti and Odette/Odile and I'm amazed by her performances. But she doesn't seem very popular in Petersburg, I have no idea why.

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Bianca, a lot of people like Kolegova but, in a company so chock-full of talent, she doesn't quite stand out. I know that she was a full Principal at the Mikhailovsky (Maly), where she spent the first 4-5 years of her career. She is one of several ex-Maly 'stars' who left when the Maly was privatized. Evseeva was another one.

Kolegova was the 'glamour gal' of the Maly but not quite as appreciated in the bigger government theater, where some of the coaches consider her proportions a bit odd (longer torso to shorter legs). Remember that she was not selected with her graduating class to go to the Mariinsky (the class of 2000 that included Tkachenko).

There's a lot of interesting 'politics' going on between those two companies since the smaller one was privatized. Lots of flip-flopping, e.g., 'The Matvienki' who have flipped twice - he from the Mariinsky to the Maly (via Bolshoi), then back to Mariinsky.

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It might interest you that the role of MacMillan's Romeo by the New National Theater Ballet (now called "The National Ballet of Japan"), scheduled June-July 2011, is yet to be announced. It was vacant for the foreign guest dancers (= 1 ballerina and 1 male dancer). So I recommend that Ms. Kondaurova talks personally to David Bintley about it. I believe she can bring to the NNT something that Zakharova didn't in the past.

Agreed. It would've been great if Katya had participated along with Tereshkina, Lopatkina and Obrastzova, instead of Somova. Katya and Genichka deserve all the exposure and appearances that they can get.

I watched both programs of the Gala at Ueno. Obrastzova's Giselle was so delicate.., she looked as if she was floating on the stage. And Sarafanov aroused excitement in Tarantella, not just by his technique, but mostly by his inner passion. Also, Miss Osipova's Kitri gave us lots of courage!

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Kolegova was the 'glamour gal' of the Maly but not quite as appreciated in the bigger government theater, where some of the coaches consider her proportions a bit odd (longer torso to shorter legs). Remember that she was not selected with her graduating class to go to the Mariinsky (the class of 2000 that included Tkachenko).

Yes; and Tatiana Tkachenko is still a Mariinsky 2nd Soloist moonlighting as a Hermitage Ballet Principal. Over there Tkachenko has danced Aurora, Giselle and O/O but she hasn't at the Mariinsky. This is just one example of how deep the soloist ranks are in the Mariinsky and the depth of talent languishing in those ranks. When Duato becomes the Mik's A.D., I suspect there will be more displacement between both theatres - and other St. P companies.

Kolegova and Matvienko are employed as 'go-to' house soloists. Matvienko's career has been following her husband, and Kolegova joined as a 1st Soloist, with Principal experience from the Mik. Kolegova's and Matvienko's main assignment has been the "Swan Lake" performances in-between the Principals' subscription and benefit performances. It's a rare thing when a ballerina who is considered an "outsider," ie. trained in another academy or from another theatre, becomes a Mariinsky principal. Some notable exceptions are the late Inna Zubhovskaya (Bolshoi transplant), and the ladies from Perm, Olga Tchyentchikova (Mrs. Makhar Vazieva), and Lubov Kunakova. Coryphee Oksana Skoryk is Perm trained and she's seems to be headed for the fast track, having made her debut in Giselle this past July. So, it can happen at the Mariinsky but it's rare.

Natalia, I totally agree with you re the four you mentioned as candidates for Principal. They need to move up. We'll have to :beg:and cross our fingers for all four of them. The question is which ones will become Principals? Like you stated, the slots are taken right now. IMO under the current circumstances, promotion for these ladies may be 50/50 - at best. Katya and Genichka (should) both make it. Olesya may make it because of her coach's influence (Moiseyeva), but it doesn't necessarily follow that anything's a sure thing. That's true everywhere. Also, according to the leadership's standards, Osmolkina may be deemed "too old" now (like Dumchenko and many others). Pavlenko is a Principal - from their generation - but she isn't being utilized at all, even though she's recovered and taking class again. Besides personal preferences, seniority and political gaming, Kondaurova and Osmolkina may have the edge over Genichka and Olesya because they both have Odette/Odile in their reps. The Mariinsky hasn't yet given Obrastzova or Novikova the opportunity to do it. Osipova (another soubrette like Genichka and Olesya), made Principal at the Bolshoi without O/O, Aurora, or Juliet, although she made her debut with ABT in "Beauty" and "R & J" this year. But Osipova is working under a different management structure at the Bolshoi, an environment totally different from the Mariinsky. In this company, the policy has been 'no O/O; no Principal appointment.' Vishneva was the exception until she danced it at home in 2005. That's not a hard and fast rule everywhere of course - but that's how the Mariinsky rolls. Novikova did dance O/O with Sarafanov in Paris this past July during Zelensky's Novosibirsk Ballet engagement. In the Mariinsky Ballet, when a soloist takes the initiative, gets permission and accepts a guest appearance, outsources a role, and succeeds in it with another company, the Mariinsky management's response is 'As far we're concerned, you haven't done it until you've done it here, and if you've done it elsewhere that doesn't count to us.' This is reflected in the dancers' bios under the heading "Repetoire at the Marinsky Theatre includes." *(italic emphasis mine).

The coaches and the management have been stubborn on this point. For example, Vishneva waited a decade before she was granted her Mariinsky debut as O/O; likewise Osmolkina. Obrastzova has already outsourced her Raymonda; and Novikova has danced the role successfully at home. Obrastzova may also need to do the same for O/O - if she wants to dance the role in her home theatre. Even so, that may not be acknowledged either - as she's still waiting for her chance at a Raymonda debut at home. And even if she should succeed as O/O elsewhere, she still may not get the nod to dance either role at home. Novikova danced O/O with Zelensky's company, that doesn't mean she will do it at home.

Preferred aesthetics may also be another factor. Obrastzova and Novikova are both petite ballerinas, and despite their wonderful attributes and outstanding accomplishments they may not be deemed by the powers that be as "Principal material." Those that they deem "P.M." they push, promote and frequently cast as Odette/Odile, and in other leading roles, based on a lb. of Ballet Director's wishes, a dash of foreign box office receipts, and a pinch of audience response. The Mariinsky's current aesthetic for O/O casting is long, lean, tall and loose. To put all of this in perspective, if Komleva, Kurgapkina, or Ayupova (and other notable primas) were starting out in the company today, they wouldn't get a shot at "Swan Lake." So, unless there is regime change at the top of the Mariinsky Ballet it will be status quo.

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I totally agree with your basic argument, Cygnet. I wouldn't be surprised if there are even more defections from the 'House of Blues' soon, perhaps Novikova following Sarafanov? Novikova, incidentally, has danced the Ballroom Act (Odile) at the Mariinsky during the Kurgapkina Gala a couple of years ago.

Furthermore, I would not be surprised if the upcoming graduate of the Vaganova Class of 2011, OLGA SMIRNOVA -- finally graduating after having been praised all over the world for the past 6 years! - will opt to dance at a theater other than the Mariinsky, come June 2011. She might "Pull a Lebedev" and do as her frequent partner, Victor Lebedev, did upon his own graduation in June 2010: bolt for the Mikhailovsky. [That said, I'd hate to see classically-trained dancers be relegated to Nacho Duato choreography, no matter how handsomely they are paid by Banana Man.]

p.s. Thanks to Kahoyo for the update on the Tokyo NNTB, not the National Ballet of Japan. That is great news. They deserve it. Obraztsova or Vishneva might be better suited for Juliet than Kondaurova, who seems a bit too statuesque for the pas de deux adagio-flinging by MacMillan. Unless the Romeo is a six-foot guy with lots of muscle. Somehow Kondaurova evokes more "stately queen" than "gentle soubrette" to me. But I would love to be proven wrong. :)

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I totally agree with your basic argument, Cygnet. I wouldn't be surprised if there are even more defections from the 'House of Blues' soon, perhaps Novikova following Sarafanov? Novikova, incidentally, has danced the Ballroom Act (Odile) at the Mariinsky during the Kurgapkina Gala a couple of years ago.

Furthermore, I would not be surprised if the upcoming graduate of the Vaganova Class of 2011, OLGA SMIRNOVA -- finally graduating after having been praised all over the world for the past 6 years! - will opt to dance at a theater other than the Mariinsky, come June 2011. She might "Pull a Lebedev" and do as her frequent partner, Victor Lebedev, did upon his own graduation in June 2010: bolt for the Mikhailovsky. [That said, I'd hate to see classically-trained dancers be relegated to Nacho Duato choreography, no matter how handsomely they are paid by Banana Man.]

p.s. Thanks to Kahoyo for the update on the Tokyo NNTB, not the National Ballet of Japan. That is great news. They deserve it. Obraztsova or Vishneva might be better suited for Juliet than Kondaurova, who seems a bit too statuesque for the pas de deux adagio-flinging by MacMillan. Unless the Romeo is a six-foot guy with lots of muscle. Somehow Kondaurova evokes more "stately queen" than "gentle soubrette" to me. But I would love to be proven wrong. :)

Thanks Natalia. I agree: It will be very interesting to see if Smirnova and other leading graduates of the Class of 2011 will go to the Mikhailovsky.

Hi Kahoyo. Obraztsova appeared this past July in Pierre Lacotte's Etoile Gala 2010 in Tokyo, with Paris Opera Ballet principals. Among other roles, she created the role of Constance in his new ballet "The Three Muskateers." She also danced MacMillan's Balconey pdd for the first time with Matthieu Ganio, so she may be in contention for an opportunity to make her debut in the complete MacMillan's version in Tokyo and elsewhere.

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Kolegova was the 'glamour gal' of the Maly but not quite as appreciated in the bigger government theater, where some of the coaches consider her proportions a bit odd (longer torso to shorter legs). Remember that she was not selected with her graduating class to go to the Mariinsky (the class of 2000 that included Tkachenko).

Pavlenko is a Principal - from their generation - but she isn't being utilized at all, even though she's recovered and taking class again.

Agree that Kondaurova, Osmolkina and Genia deserve promotions, but I'm not absolutely convinced about Novikova. And as you've both pointed out - talent within the soloist ranks at the Mariinsky is deep and competition for principal status is fierce.

As to Kolegova, I've only seen her dance once and I'm reluctant to make a judgment based on a single performance but her advance publicity left me predisposed to love her and yet I disliked her intensely in that one performance I saw. It was Sleeping Beauty at the Kenn Center and her proportions did distract me, but I also found her dancing overly correct and cold. I'm not eager to see her O/O.

I also saw Skorik in that same performance and while I saw potential in her, she didn't blow me away. And it's dismaying to hear Daria Vasnetsova's name mentioned as a major contender. I saw her several times when the Mariinsky was at City Center and I am not a fan.

Worst news from the Mariinsky lately (from a NYer's perspective) - that they've canceled their planned stop in NY this summer. I was sooo looking forward to Anna Karenina and The Little Humpbacked Horse.

But Cygnet -the BEST news I've heard lately is that Pavlenko is recovering and back in class. Here's hoping that she'll be foisted on us "rubes" here in North America. I broke down and bought tickets to the Mariinsky's Swan Lake in Toronto this coming March. It would be so very lovely to be blessed with Dasha's magical O/O!

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Nysusan, Vasnetsova has improved A LOT since that 2008 NY season. The "Somova-isms" are gone. She's become a much more refined artist and has won accolades from those in the know for her Phrygia in Spartacus, for example.

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Nysusan, Vasnetsova has improved A LOT since that 2008 NY season. The "Somova-isms" are gone. She's become a much more refined artist and has won accolades from those in the know for her Phrygia in Spartacus, for example.

Natalia, that's wonderful news! I'm glad to hear that she's developing as a dancer. Gives me hope for the new crop of Mariinsky ballerinas.

Now, if we could only see Pavlenko back on the stage again soon...

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hi all,

Pavlenko is already back in classes and --more importantly-- rehearsals. So just a matter of time til she dances something this season.

I'm in Petersburg at the moment -- tonight is Lopatkina's Swan Lake in honor of Natalia Makarova, who will be present (her Jubilee). Grisha Popov will be the Jester, Danila Korsuntsev Prince Siegfried.

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hi all,

Pavlenko is already back in classes and --more importantly-- rehearsals. So just a matter of time til she dances something this season.

I'm in Petersburg at the moment -- tonight is Lopatkina's Swan Lake in honor of Natalia Makarova, who will be present (her Jubilee). Grisha Popov will be the Jester, Danila Korsuntsev Prince Siegfried.

Thank you for this wonderful news about Pavlenko, I can't wait to see her again.

I also hope to hear your impressions of the Lopatkina/Korsuntsev Swan Lake at Makarova's Jubilee. Makarova, Fonteyn and Pavlenko are my 3 favorite O/O's of all time, followed by Lopatkina and Part - so I really wish I could be there. I'm sure it will be wonderful.

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Am reviewing for a publication, so for now can just say "sublime"! I have been in the US for 6 mos now, and it has been a long painful dry spell in terms of dance viewing. I cannot understand how the level of dance in classical companies --and the QUANTITY-- is so low. After over 5 yrs in Petersburg it has really been a shock to my system. In SF: No fall season. What is that? Really? I understand NYCB only has its first fall season this year. ABT also isnt performing yet. What is that about? What are balletomanes to do from May to December? Hibernate I guess...

So, seeing this classical warhorse, after being artistically "starved" -- well it was like food for a dying man. Simply sublime.

Lopatkina sublime. Korsuntsev sublime. Popov as the Jester - sublime. THere's nothing negative to say about this company or any of the dancers. The corps is out of this world, you cannot see that on any American stage, period.

Interesting that Nikitina seems to have filled out a lot. I didnt expect that, i expected her to stay as lanky as Somova. Shirinkina is now the lead swan, so Selina's months --and years-- of that spot are long over (obviously, as she's no longer just coryphee!). Victoria Brileva is easy to spot as one of the four swans now, along with Skorik. They're probably the two beauties "to watch" bc Kondaurova started out in the same spot...

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Am reviewing for a publication, so for now can just say "sublime"! I have been in the US for 6 mos now, and it has been a long painful dry spell in terms of dance viewing. I cannot understand how the level of dance in classical companies --and the QUANTITY-- is so low. After over 5 yrs in Petersburg it has really been a shock to my system. In SF: No fall season. What is that? Really? I understand NYCB only has its first fall season this year. ABT also isnt performing yet. What is that about? What are balletomanes to do from May to December? Hibernate I guess...

Well for most New Yorkers I think they kind of split the world into two seasons: opera season (fall into winter), and dance season (starts after Nutcracker, but intensifies in the spring). Of course there is overlap with the NYCB's winter season and Paul Taylor's visit and Fall for Dance but the intense focus is on opera in the fall and winter, and dance in the spring. For those uninterested in opera it might be a drag but for those who have an interest in both it works well.

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But in Russia you have both, for 11 months out of the year

:)

Forgot to add the most important: before the curtain there was a short speech wishing Makarova well (she sat in the Tsar's box), including comments that she had done in her art what not even Pavlova or Spessivtseva had done -- setting ballets around the world and being lauded for them.

Makarova did come out on stage at the end and bowed, taking in the warmth. She is quite short. I tried to imagine her with a 5'8" ish cavalier behind her, and the effect is much *smaller* (all around) when used to watching the long elegant stretch of Lopatkina. Different eras.

Am reviewing for a publication, so for now can just say "sublime"! I have been in the US for 6 mos now, and it has been a long painful dry spell in terms of dance viewing. I cannot understand how the level of dance in classical companies --and the QUANTITY-- is so low. After over 5 yrs in Petersburg it has really been a shock to my system. In SF: No fall season. What is that? Really? I understand NYCB only has its first fall season this year. ABT also isnt performing yet. What is that about? What are balletomanes to do from May to December? Hibernate I guess...

Well for most New Yorkers I think they kind of split the world into two seasons: opera season (fall into winter), and dance season (starts after Nutcracker, but intensifies in the spring). Of course there is overlap with the NYCB's winter season and Paul Taylor's visit and Fall for Dance but the intense focus is on opera in the fall and winter, and dance in the spring. For those uninterested in opera it might be a drag but for those who have an interest in both it works well.

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But in Russia you have both, for 11 months out of the year

Well, the theaters operate differently in the US, at least in NYC. Rather than mix the ballet and opera programs as they do in St Pete (or London and Paris for that matter), the seasons are dedicated to one genre. So in NYC, the Met runs opera EVERY NIGHT from September to May. Then ABT takes over the theater, again every night for 10 weeks or so. The NYST currently runs NYCB for 4 weeks or so Sept to Oct, then opera from Oct-Nov, then NYCB Nut from Nov-Jan, then NYCB rep from Jan-Feb. More NYCO from Feb-April, then NYCB till June.

Ballet companies revisit regularly in both theaters.

And there is more ballet/dance sprinkled through the Fall at City Center.

At least in NY, we do have enough to keep ourselves busy.

Perhaps you are in the wrong spot?

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But in Russia you have both, for 11 months out of the year

Well, the theaters operate differently in the US, at least in NYC. Rather than mix the ballet and opera programs as they do in St Pete (or London and Paris for that matter), the seasons are dedicated to one genre. So in NYC, the Met runs opera EVERY NIGHT from September to May. Then ABT takes over the theater, again every night for 10 weeks or so. The NYST currently runs NYCB for 4 weeks or so Sept to Oct, then opera from Oct-Nov, then NYCB Nut from Nov-Jan, then NYCB rep from Jan-Feb. More NYCO from Feb-April, then NYCB till June.

Ballet companies revisit regularly in both theaters.

And there is more ballet/dance sprinkled through the Fall at City Center.

At least in NY, we do have enough to keep ourselves busy.

Perhaps you are in the wrong spot?

Indeed.

I lived in St. P for almost 6 yrs, just up to last year. I had no choice to leave when my visa ended but oh how i wish I could return! There really is no ballet --after experiencing the Mariinsky for so long, year-round-- in the USA that would satisfy me. NYC is a step up from my tiny home town on the other coast (which even "in season" (Jan-May) doesnt have nightly ballet), but even that...it's not Russian, the corps is mix-matched, etc etc... *sigh* Withdrawal is painful! Try demoting yourself to Nestle's quick after eating Godiva daily...

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Indeed.

I lived in St. P for almost 6 yrs, just up to last year. I had no choice to leave when my visa ended but oh how i wish I could return! There really is no ballet --after experiencing the Mariinsky for so long, year-round-- in the USA that would satisfy me. NYC is a step up from my tiny home town on the other coast (which even "in season" (Jan-May) doesnt have nightly ballet), but even that...it's not Russian, the corps is mix-matched, etc etc... *sigh* Withdrawal is painful! Try demoting yourself to Nestle's quick after eating Godiva daily...

The NYCB corps is mix-matched? It's actually extremely uniform in schooling, style, and aesthetics. Maybe, along with the Mariinsky, the Bolshoi, and the POB, one of the last ballet companies to really all spring from one school and one teaching style. In fact, it's been criticized in the NYC critic circles in some years for being *too* uniform in look and style. The NYCB, for instance, might be one of the few companies left in the world that insists that all its female members wear the same brand of pointe shoes ...

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No no -- I wasn't talking about NYCB, I'm not from that city, so i can't comment (haven't seen their corps) since the 80s. Talking about other national companies in the US...

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