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Vaganova Academy Graduation Performances

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Also deleted. Was simply responding to Cygnet. Sorry.

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Now that we have proof-in-writing from no less an authority than renowned St Petersburg critic Igor Stupnikov, we can report that this year's #1 graduate, OLGA SMIRNOVA (student of Ludmilla Kovaleva), has been invited to join the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, as a Soloist, no less! So the Vaganova's gem skips the home theater and bolts for Moscow. Interesting. No word yet on where the other graduates may end up, including the very strong Kristina Shapran, Alexandra "Junior" Somova, Sergei Strelkov,or the rest.

The full in-print report of the graduation is found here, from St. Petersburg Vedomosti newspaper:

http://www.spbvedomosti.ru/article.htm?id=10277521@SV_Articles

It is in Russian and I will be happy to translate bits. For starters, it's GREAT to read that Yuri Burlaka (recently-departed head of the Bolshoi) was brought in to stage an entire act of the old Little Humpbacked Horse by Gorsky-after-Petipa, to the delightful music of Pugni: The Underwater Scene. I was soooo afraid that the old Humpbacked Horse would "die" with the recent 'cheap sets' Ratmansky/Shedrin version being performed by the main troupe. Hopefully Burlaka will someday be able to resurrect the entire 19th-C version, which was the favorite ballet of Tsar Nikolai II.

One of the female grads this year is Isabella Maguire of the UK, who perfromed the Tsar-Maiden in Humpbacked Horse. A recent report on Isabella:

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23854519-first-briton-at-st-petersburg-ballet-school-is-picked-for-coliseum-show.do

Now for translated bits of Igor Stupnikov's report on the 2011 graduation:

Main teachers of the graduates were Ludmilla Kovaleva for the girls and, for the boys, Boris Bregvadze, who recently celebrated his 85th b'day.

For the first time ever, Petersburg ballet turned to Moscow for help, in the form of noted balletmaster & scholar of the Petipa era, Yuri Burlaka. He recreated the Underwater Scene from the Pugni/Gorsky Little Humpbacked Horse. The ballet "beautifully preserved the aroma and touching naivete" of the original. It starred Sergei Strelkov as the Water God, Artyom Sorochan as Ocean and the "technically sound but lackluster" Isabella Maguire as Water Goddess [a pdd with Strelkov, the Water God].

"Drama" came from the very talented female grad, Olga Smirnova, being invited to join the Bolshoi as Soloist (bypassing corps and coryphee ranks).

Smirnova was "full of lustre and confidence" as Nikiya in Bayadere Shades, partnered by the "reliable" Nikita Nazarov. Earlier, at a rehearsal for a later graduation concert, Stupnikov was "dazzled" by Smirnova rehearsing Roland Petit's miniature Thais.

The other highlights mentioned in the article: Ekaterina Bondarenko & Eldar Yangirov in a pdd from Grigorovich's Legend of Love; Ekaterina Ulitina & Yaroslav Pushkov in Yakobsen's Vienna Waltz; and Kristina Shapran & Sergei Strelkov in Intermezzo, a lovely new duet by ex-Kirov principal & now coach Viktor Baranov, to Puccini's music.

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Thanks Natalia! Yes; now it is official. Olga Smirnova goes to the Bolshoi Ballet instead of the Mariinsky :clapping:.

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Here's one in a series of YouTubes of the current graduating class in their technical exam, in the big hall at the academy. This particular clip shows the girls doing their jumps. Olga Smirnova is in the middle of the first quartet (group) and Kristina Shapran leads the 2nd group.

No YouTubes yet of the graduation performances but I'm sure that something will be up soon enough. :)

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Following is a link to the Vaganova Academy's own website's page about the 2011 graduation concerts that are going on at the moment. The web is only available in Russian but you will find hyperlinks to an overview + links to the 3 dates of the concerts, containing detailed casting of each (June 18, 19 and the last concert this coming Sunday, June 26).

http://www.vaganova.ru/page.php?id=378&pid=5

The Overview document lists the 17 members of the Graduating Class -- 10 girls and 7 boys. The girls are (in Russian-language alpha order):

Ekaterina Bondarenko

Tatyana Goriushkina

Yulia Kabatova

Elizaveta Kaukina

Galina Rusina

Olga Smirnova

Alexandra Somova

Irina Tolchilshikova

Ekaterina Ulitina

Kristina Shapran

The guys:

Vladislav Makarov

Nikita Nazarov

Yaroslav Ryzhov

Sergei Selimagin

Artyom Sorochan

Danil' Starkov

Sergei Strelkov

The foreign students (such as Ms Maguire) are not listed but usually several foreigners finish the courses and participate in the concerts. CONGRATULATIONS to all of the graduates & participants (incl. foreigners who completed the difficult multi-year course of studies at this top academy)! :clapping:

I'll translate the casting sheets for each performance a bit later...who-danced (or will dance)-what.

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Translation of the Casting Sheet for the first of three concerts (June 18, 2011):

PART I: In honor of the 140th Birthday of Alexander Gorsky: Revival of the Underwater Scene of The Little Humpacked Horse (chor. Gorsky, staged by Yuri Burlaka/music by Pugni, Drigo & Asafiev)

Water Goddess - Isabella Maguire (U.K.)

Water God - Sergei Strelkov

Ocean & Two Pearls pas de trois - Artyom Sorochan, Yana Yashenko & Sofia Smirnova

Two Corals - Irina Tolchil'shikova & Alexandra Somova

Little fish/sea urchins - ensemble of students

PART II: Divertissements

Grand Waltz (Gliere/Larionov) - ensemble of young & mid students

Legend of Love pdd (Grigorovich/Melikov) - Ekaterina Bondarenko & Eldar Yangirov

The Letter (Keikhel/Richer) - Irina Tolchil'shikova

Gopak from Taras Bulba (Zakharov/Soloviev-Sedoy) - Yaroslav Ryzhov, Matiyama Takatosi (Japan) and Takano Enen (Japan) [isn't this supposed to be a solo?]

Between Us (Larionov/Walter) - Tatyana Goriushkina & Gianlucca Sermattei

Vienna Waltz (Yakobsen/Strauss) - Ekaterina Ulitina & Yaroslav Pushkov

Intermezzo (Baranova/Puccini) - Kristina Shapran & Sergei Strelkov

Paquita Pas de Trois (Petipa/Minkus) - Alexandra Somova, Ksenia Shevtsova & Danil' Lopatin

'Panaderos' (Spanish Dance) from Raymonda (Petipa/Glazunov) - led by Galina Rusina & Vladislav Makarov

PART III - "Shades scene" from Bayadere (Petipa/Minkus)

Nikiya - Olga Smirnova

Solor - Nikita Nazarov

Shade 1 - Yulia Kobatova

Shade 2 - Anastasia Asaben

Shade 3 - Elizaveta Kaukina

Corps of Shades - students

Programs 2 & 3 to follow...

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The programs seem to be the same but some of the casting changes. Translation of the Casting Sheet for the second of three concerts (June 19, 2011):

PART I: In honor of the 140th Birthday of Alexander Gorsky: Revival of the Underwater Scene of The Little Humpacked Horse (chor. Gorsky, staged by Yuri Burlaka/music by Pugni, Drigo & Asafiev)

Water Goddess - Elizaveta Kaukina (new)

Water God - Sergei Strelkov

Ocean & Two Pearls pas de trois - Artyom Sorochan, Yana Yashenko & Sofia Smirnova

Two Corals - Yulia Kobatova & Anastasia Asaben (new)

Little fish/sea urchins - ensemble of students

PART II: Divertissements [no change from the 1st program except that 2 modern numbers, 'The Letter' and 'Between Us', are deleted; same casting for all the rest]

Grand Waltz (Gliere/Larionov) - ensemble of young & mid students

Legend of Love pdd (Grigorovich/Melikov) - Ekaterina Bondarenko & Eldar Yangirov

Gopak from Taras Bulba (Zakharov/Soloviev-Sedoy) - Yaroslav Ryzhov, Matiyama Takatosi (Japan) and Takano Enen (Japan)

Vienna Waltz (Yakobsen/Strauss) - Ekaterina Ulitina & Yaroslav Pushkov

Intermezzo (Baranova/Puccini) - Kristina Shapran & Sergei Strelkov

Paquita Pas de Trois (Petipa/Minkus) - Alexandra Somova, Ksenia Shevtsova & Danil' Lopatin

'Panaderos' (Spanish Dance) from Raymonda (Petipa/Glazunov) - led by Galina Rusina & Vladislav Makarov

PART III - "Shades scene" from Bayadere (Petipa/Minkus)

Nikiya - Olga Smirnova

Solor - Nikita Nazarov

Shade 1 - Irina Tolchil'chikova (new)

Shade 2 - Anastasia Asaben

Shade 3 - Tatyana Goriushkina (new)

Corps of Shades - students

Casting for final program (June 26 next).

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Translation of the Casting Sheet for the third & final concert (this coming Sunday, June 26)...and this one is quite different from the rest in the Diverts & casting of the LHH and Bayadere portions. This one promises to be "The Whopper" with each of the two 'Class Queens' - Smirnova & Shapran - leading one of the major segments + "sneak peeks" at the highly-praised non-graduates Zhiganshina & Varentseva. If I could attend only 1 of the 3 programs, I'd go to this one. Not-to-be-missed!

PART I: In honor of the 140th Birthday of Alexander Gorsky: Revival of the Underwater Scene of The Little Humpacked Horse (chor. Gorsky, staged by Yuri Burlaka/music by Pugni, Drigo & Asafiev)

Water Goddess - Olga Smirnova (new)

Water God - Nikita Nazarov (new)

Ocean & Two Pearls pas de trois - Takano Enen, Arina Varentseva [*with at least 1 more yr to go, being watched as the next Smirnova, maybe] & Ksenia Ananieva (all new in these roles)

Two Corals - Yulia Kobatova & Anastasia Asaben

Little fish/sea urchins - ensemble of students

PART II: Divertissements [almost total change from the 1st 2 programs]

La Fille mal Gardee pdd (Gorsky/Hertel) - Ekaterina Malykhova & Yaroslav Rychov

Spirit Ball pdd (Bryantsev/Chopin) - Ksenia Shevtsova & Danil' Starkov

Hindu (Drum) Dance from Bayadere Act II (Petipa/Minkus) - led by Irina Tolchil'shikova, Eldar Yangirov and Yuri Zolotukhin

Between Us (Larionov/Walter) - Tatyana Goriushkina & Gianlucca Sermattei [the only carry-over from the first 2 concerts' diverts]

"Bluebird pdd" from Sleeping Beauty (Petipa/Tchikovsky) - Ekaterina Bondarenko & Artyom Sorochan

"Pas d'Esclave" from Corsaire (Petipa/Oldenburgsky) - Ksenia Zhiganshina [also highly touted and "YouTube star" since she was a child at the private Leonid Yacobsen Academy in St. P, from which she already graduated last year; transferred to Vaganova a yr ago for additional studies (a-la Nureyev after his Ufa graduation) and won the Mikhailovsky Gnd-Prix last Nov.] & Matiyama Takatosi (Japan)

Thais (Roland Petit/J. Massenet) - Olga Smirnova & Vladislav Makarov

PART III - "Shades scene" from Bayadere (Petipa/Minkus)

Nikiya - Kristina Shapran (new)

Solor - Sergei Strelkov (new)

Shade 1 - Elizaveta Kaukina (new as Shade 1)

Shade 2 - Yulia Kobatova (new as Shade 2)

Shade 3 - Alexandra Somova (new)

Corps of Shades - students

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Stanislav Beliaevsky took some amazing photos of the dress rehearsal for the 3rd & final concert. Click on the following link and scroll down to the color photos...including Kristina Shapran & Sergei Strelkov dancing the Shades adagio with the scarf. Gorgeous lines & feet! We also see Smirnova in an 'Emeralds'-like green tutu as the Water Goddess...Smirnova again, with Makarov, in 3 photos of the Roland Petit Thais pdd...Malikhova/Rychov in Fille pdd...Bondarenko as Florine, etc.

http://www.facebook.com/people/Maxim-Bondar/1073144622#!/media/set/?set=a.10150178203447128.324593.205250232127

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The Mariinsky's youtube channel also has a

about the performances. It includes short interviews with Altynai Asylmuratova, Ludmila Kovaleva and Olga Smirnova.

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Smirnova looks very intriguing...but what a trip Asylmuratova is--the loving mother you can never satisfy.

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Thanks Natalia for all the links, translations, and video clips!!

Smirnova looks very intriguing...but what a trip Asylmuratova is--the loving mother you can never satisfy.

I love it! She reminds me of Tatiana Tarasova (the grand dame of figure skating coaches)--she'll smother you with affection if you do well, but don't you dare make her mad!

I noticed that Olga Smirnova and Sergei Strelkov both were supposed to dance in Diana Vishneva's benefit gala tonight. Is it unusual for recent graduates to participate in galas (especially if they're not going to the Mariinsky, like Smirnova)? Or is it pretty commonplace?

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Wow at the Vaganova Shades! :clapping:

Really? I know they are students but I was astounded at how *UN* synchronized they were. The leader very beautifully and elegantly lifts her leg to arabesque in a continuous movement. Others tendu and lift their leg up at the last possible moment, to I suppose save their strength, and they aren't coordinated at all. Look again and see how few of them are following the first shade or are coordinated with each other...

Individually a lot of them seem to have nice things going for them, but as a synchronized group? I don't see it.

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Thanks Natalia for all the links, translations, and video clips!! ......I noticed that Olga Smirnova and Sergei Strelkov both were supposed to dance in Diana Vishneva's benefit gala tonight. Is it unusual for recent graduates to participate in galas (especially if they're not going to the Mariinsky, like Smirnova)? Or is it pretty commonplace?

Not that usual. Smirnova is quite special. Remember, she (with partner Strelkov) was even invited to perform at the Ulanova Gala in London last month by the organizer, Vladimir Vasiliev! So she's already settling into the "international gala circuit," if you will. I would not be surprised if we see her at next year's Youth America Grand Prix Gala or similar events.

I've corrected the description of up-and-comer Ksenia Shiganshina (to dance Corsaire pdd in Sunday's final graduation concert). Working off my dusty memory yesterday, I had incorrectly described her as having transferred from a private academy in Moscow last year. In fact, she transferred from across town, having already graduated from the private Leonid Yakobson Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg last year but given a chance to 'refine' her style with a year or two of additional studies at the Vaganova. She indeed won the Mikhailovsky Grand-Prix this past November, having bested Daria Bochkova and other 'favorites' from the Bolshoi's academy in that competition.

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Wow at the Vaganova Shades! :clapping:

Really? I know they are students but I was astounded at how *UN* synchronized they were. The leader very beautifully and elegantly lifts her leg to arabesque in a continuous movement.

The lead is Olga Smirnova, star student of the graduation class. She too made some surprising missteps. Regardless, she moves like a dream, combining gymnastics like arabesques and attitudes (personally I don't have a problem with them) with articulate connecting steps, which remain the soul of Petipa’s ingenious choreography.

As far as the whole ensemble goes, to periphrases Mm. Assylmuratova - “The Shades” deserve better. They do indeed.

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:clapping: Loved Smirnova! Very elegant , perfect lines and quite an unorthodox beauty. Asylmuratova looks like she doesn't want anything but PERFECTION from her kids..!!

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This has just appeared online:

and the
.

I hope this youtube user has some more and will share it with us :)

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Thanks, Lidewij. I second your hope!

The blonde 'pearl' is Arina Varentseva, by the way. She's one of the 'special up-and-comers' about whom I wrote above, although all of the dancers here are wonderful. Arina still has a year or two left at the school.

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