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Osipova and Vasiliev to leave The Bolshoi


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#46 Ilya

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 03:52 PM

Here are my translations of quotes from Osipova's teacher as printed in the Russian newspaper Izvestia, see http://www.izvestia.ru/news/506701, followed by my translation of a lengthy interview with Osipova and Vasiliev from Monday November 14, 2011, see http://www.fontanka.ru/2011/11/14/149/. Marina Kondratieva uses an endearing Russian term "rebyata" to refer to Osipova and Vasiliev, which I am not exactly sure how to translate. It falls roughly in between "the kids" and "the guys". Bolshoi's press person Novikova uses the same term in the next article.

I am not a professional interpreter and therefore some of the translations are awkward. (I was striving to be as close as I could to the structure of the original Russian text.) Osipova and Vasiliev are much more well-spoken than my translation might lead you to believe.

While some of what they are saying might be spin, two things are pretty clear from these articles: they are both very thoughtful (and in particular, their decision was clearly very well thought through), and Osipova's teacher was in on it and supportive.

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Excerpts from http://www.izvestia.ru/news/506701
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"If the kids leave, they will have more possibilities for touring," thinks Osipova's teacher Marina Kondratieva.

"They very much want to dance, whereas the Bolshoi is unable to give them as many performances as they would want," says Kondratieva. "The kids are counting on switching to a contract, in order to have more possibilities for touring. They have a lot of offers from other theaters. If they are free from required presence at the Bolshoi, it will be simpler for them. They wanted to do this for a long time, but this moment was being postponed."

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Full interview from http://www.fontanka.ru/2011/11/14/149/
---------------

Why did the best young ballet couple in the country choose Mikhailovsky over Bolshoi?

The biggest theatrical event of the day is the transfer from the capital's Bolshoi to St. Petersburg's Mikhailovsky of the most promising ballet couple of the generation of young masters: Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev. The Bolshoi couldn't name the reasons for the departure of the promising artists---the artists did this themselves, having given the first in St. Petersburg detailed interview to our correspondent.

The spokesperson of the Bolshoi, Yekaterina Novikova, told "Fontanka" that the Bolshoi cannot even guess what specific creative aspects could dissatisfy the artists Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev. "Both Ivan and Natalia came to the company when they were almost children: Ivan at 16, Natalia at 17. The company helped Ivan, who came from Belarus, both with the citizenship and with the apartment. The kids were occupied both in the classical and in the contemporary repertory: they participated in the premiere of Aleksey Ratmansky's ballet "Lost Illusions" to the music of Leonid Desyatnikov. Natalia was supposed to dance in a MacGregor ballet, Ivan has just danced Albrecht in "Giselle". Before that, Ivan danced "Spartacus", Natasha was going to soon have her debut in the "Nutcracker". They had much to look forward to creatively."

In addition, the Bolshoi could not find the answer to the question as to why the young artists have left the home company specifically now, during the times which are not the easiest for the company, when both in the press and in the theatrical circles unfriendly attitudes towards the company reveal themselves too obviously.

To the artists' credit, it must be said that they did not refuse to provide detailed answers to all the questions of Fontanka's correspondent regarding their move from Moscow to St. Petersburg. The artists categorically denied the obvious supposition that Mikhailovsky's director Vladimir Kekhman simply proposed to them advantageous financial conditions; they said that they were guided exclusively by artistic advantages. As a result, a substantive conversation ensued regarding the problems of today's Russian ballet theater in general.

Q: The main question is obvious: Why did you prefer Mikhailovsky to the Bolshoi Theater? Not the Paris Opera and not ABT with which you have serious artistic relationships---the departure there would be understandable---but specifically Mikhailovsky Theater in St Petersburg? This considering the fact that, at the Bolshoi, the historic stage just opened and the new stage is still actively being used---and now here, obviously, there are many possibilities for the development of young artists.

N.O.: It depends on how you look at it. Of course, this is a huge company with a colossal repertory. But if one takes my repertory at the Bolshoi Theater---I have danced practically everything that I could dance here. Everything else that I would like to dance, I am unable to dance at the Bolshoi Theater. Due to various reasons.

Yes, I also have a wonderful repertory at ABT, but one always wants to surprise and please at home, one's own spectators. To please them in "Don Quixote" or "Giselle"? Well I have already pleased them with these. The question remains: what next? And here is where difficulties start. On the one hand, I am having my peak as an artist now, at 25. I need to acquire and dance as much as possible. First of all, of course, the classics. I am not a purely classical ballerina, very controversial for many; but for me the classics are a priority because when I dance them I feel that I develop and become better. I graduated from a classical school and cannot abandon it and go into some deeply contemporary repertoire. Unfortunately, at the Bolshoi Theater I am unable to dance the classics as much as I need.

Q: They don't have enough classical productions?

N.O.: No, how can the Bolshoi Theater not have enough classical productions? However, I danced "La Bayadere" only twice, unfortunately. One can, of course, say that I go to work abroad too often and therefore don't have time to dance everything that I want. Unfortunately, this is yet another problem related to the Bolshoi Theater. The company is huge, it has very many artists, and no one will adjust to fit my schedule. There is no one to blame here, this is the situation. So it happens that at the moments when I feel that I must do a lot, I sit and do nothing. Therefore I need some push, a different place of work, a different repertory. So for me the transfer to Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg is an absolutely thought-through and correct decision, purely artistic.

I.V.: You see, at the Bolshoi Theater it is difficult to change something. If I did well as a heroic dancer---danced in "Spartacus", in "The Flames of Paris", in "Don Quixote"---it's very difficult to break this trend. But I don't want to dance "Spartacus" all my life. I want to dance different things, to dance more, to dance the entire classical repertory. Even if it won't be great, I will be able to do it decently, will be able to apply all my energy and put all my soul in it.

Q: In other words, at the Bolshoi Theater you are constricted by the emploi system?

I.V.: Yes, which you cannot say about European companies where they don't fixate on the emploi. There, if the dancer is an individuality, if he is convincing and talented, he can try everything. Experimenting is very important for an artist. It is forward movement, it is development, otherwise the actor starts standing still.

Q: And here, at the Mikhailovsky Theater, what did they promise you?

I.V.: Here they promised us, first of all, that we are going to dance all the repertory that the company has. In addition, that the ballet director Nacho Duato will make ballets specifically for us. And at the same time, here we have a thing which is very important for an artist-- freedom. That is, if we have invitations to work at companies abroad, we can go there and work without any problems.

Q: At the Bolshoi Theater, are there difficulties with this?

I.V.: At the Bolshoi the priority must always be the Bolshoi. And this is as it should be, because it is the main company of the country. But on the other hand, it is very complicated for artists to plan their artistic life if they find out about the repertory a month in advance, whereas in Europe and America the repertory is planned a year ahead, sometimes even two years. So it happens that if we want to work abroad---which is very important for a dancer's development---then we would be creating problems for the Bolshoi, which we don't want to do.

N.O.: Starting this season, since Sergei Filin became the head of the ballet company, the situation changed for the better: we started finding out about our performances three months in advance. But this still does not solve the problem.

Q. Have you communicated with Nacho Duato yet?

I.V.: Not only communicated, we have already worked together, although not much. It was producer Sergei Danilian's project called "Reflection". Certainly, Nacho Duato is one of the best contemporary choreographers, and the fact that he is creating ballets here and now, and there is a possibility to do it together with him---this is very attractive.

N.O.: Imagine how interesting it was to work at the Bolshoi Theater during Alexei Ratmansky's tenure, when he would create dances for you, when because of him at the Bolshoi Theater there appeared the first shoots of contemporary choreography. How everything was stirring! However, when there is no working choreographer nearby, it's very difficult.

I.V.: The fact that Mikhailovsky has Nacho Duato gives us the possibility to ourselves participate in the creation of a new, world-class choreographic language.

N.O.: And also my position is that I don't want to prove anything to anyone any more. And I never had the goal to become a world star. I want to work, dance, give happiness to people. And on what stage this happens---it's not important to me. And, needless to say, I don't want to participate in any intrigues. And, of course, we hope that we will be listened to, and those ballets that we wanted to dance but couldn't, will appear in the repertory.

Q.: Natasha, you were born, grew up, and studied in Moscow, in Moscow you became a world star, whether you want it or not. Aren't you afraid that you will miss Moscow?

N.O.: Of course I will miss Moscow---the company, the coworkers, the friends, the teachers, with whom, I hope, our relationships will never end. But, on the other hand, we will dance in Moscow, and in Europe, and in America. And we won't have much time for
melancholy. For example, I already have a four-year relationship with ABT---and starting this season, I am already a prima-ballerina at ABT.

Q.: Are you planning to continue the collaboration with the Bolshoi Theater in some form? At the company's press office, I was assured that---I'm quoting---"the company is not going to turn away from the artists who left and will always be glad to see them on their stage in any status".

I.V.: You know, despite the fact that we have been reading all day online that the Bolshoi Theater conducted negotiations with us to make sure that we stay, offered us different forms of collaboration---for example, a guest contract---none of this happened. No negotiations were conducted with us, and are not being conducted until this very moment. There have not been any offers of a guest contract, either. To our great regret. For us it would have been a great honor to perform at the Bolshoi as guest artists.

N.O.: Especially in the productions in which the spectators like us.

Q.: Won't the stage here be small for you---it's significantly smaller than the historic stage of the Bolshoi Theater, and is even smaller than the Mariinsky stage?

I.V.: We have danced "Giselle" on this stage, I danced "Don Quixote". Perhaps there is not much difference whether the stage is big or small. The main thing is how to dance and what to dance.

Q.: I don't have to tell you that the situation at the Bolshoi Theater is not the most stable now, despite its reopening with great fanfare. You yourselves recalled the remarkable contemporary choreographer Ratmansky who headed the ballet company of the Bolshoi in 2004-2008, and then left it for ABT. Nikolai Tsiskaridze has started a scandal in the media, taking it upon himself to discuss, for some reason, the quality of the restoration. Dmitri Chernyakov's premiere of "Ruslan and Lyudmila" had an uneven reception, was met with sometimes unacceptable aggression, and even caused a scandal inside the theater during the day of the premiere. All this smacks of an intrigue against the Bolshoi Theater whose meaning we will find out soon. Doesn't it seem to you that your departure may be construed as part of some campaign against the Bolshoi Theater, that you may become its unwitting participants? If you left at the end of the season, such questions to you would not be raised.

I.V.: Our departure is definitely not connected with any campaign against the Bolshoi. The Bolshoi is a huge thing, it's a great company which will exist forever and to which we do not wish anything bad.

N.O.: As to why we are leaving now---because if we wait until the end of the season, we risk losing interesting offers, contracts. The repertory abroad starts being built in the middle of the previous season, right now. We don't want to lose the next season, because ballet dancer's time is limited and every season counts. And separately I want to say: God save us from being in any campaign against the Bolshoi Theater, against our home. I will never say a bad word about the Bolshoi Theater in my life, because everything that I have professionally was given to me by the Bolshoi Theater. And now everything depends on ourselves. We have acquired our feathers and flew out of the nest. I think that they will easily replace us at the Bolshoi.

Zhanna Zaretskaya,
"Fontanka.ru"

#47 YID

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 04:04 PM

When I look at pictures of Natalia with other ballerinas, her thigh muscles look completely different - they are shaped differently, are much more developed, and appear stronger. I was wondering if anyone else noticed this, and if something like this is the likely product of genetics or of a specific type or duration of muscle training.

[size=4]i kept my mouth shut, but you poked it. Actually it's not her thighs per se, it's her calves, the size & shape (you need to see it close to fully grasp it), that both enables the high(est) jump and "keeps her from tutu roles" (aka Swan Lake, Sleeping beauty) (by some russian clasical gurus) as there are other ballerinas with lither and leaner "classical line".... believe me, i feel for her, as i myself (as most humans) can't change our genes.[/size]

#48 Helene

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 04:11 PM

Ilya, thank you so much for your kind and generous translations which answer so many questions :flowers: (I love that interviews in the Russian press ask the pointed questions in the first place!)

Osipova and Vasiliev sound intelligent, thoughtful, and articulate in your translation.

#49 puppytreats

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 05:16 PM


When I look at pictures of Natalia with other ballerinas, her thigh muscles look completely different - they are shaped differently, are much more developed, and appear stronger. I was wondering if anyone else noticed this, and if something like this is the likely product of genetics or of a specific type or duration of muscle training.

[size=4]i kept my mouth shut, but you poked it. Actually it's not her thighs per se, it's her calves, the size & shape (you need to see it close to fully grasp it), that both enables the high(est) jump and "keeps her from tutu roles" (aka Swan Lake, Sleeping beauty) (by some russian clasical gurus) as there are other ballerinas with lither and leaner "classical line".... believe me, i feel for her, as i myself (as most humans) can't change our genes.[/size]

YID, It was not a criticism. I was wondering how to train muscles like that to get power, and I am also interested in how lithe bodies achieve sufficient strength.

#50 Jayne

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:37 AM

Please, could someone please explain the "Bolshoi emploi system"?

Also, can anyone shed light on the journalist's comment "Dmitri Chernyakov's premiere of 'Ruslan and Lyudmila' had an uneven reception, was met with sometimes unacceptable aggression, and even caused a scandal inside the theater during the day of the premiere."

#51 Cordelia

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 03:28 AM

One can, of course, say that I go to work abroad too often and therefore don't have time to dance everything that I want. Unfortunately, this is yet another problem related to the Bolshoi Theater. The company is huge, it has very many artists, and no one will adjust to fit my schedule. There is no one to blame here, this is the situation. So it happens that at the moments when I feel that I must do a lot, I sit and do nothing. Therefore I need some push, a different place of work, a different repertory. So for me the transfer to Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg is an absolutely thought-through and correct decision, purely artistic.


This paragraph sums it up and is also slightly contradictory if you interpret it a different way. Essentially Osipova's outside commitments clash with the scheduling situation at the Bolshoi. She should have said the problem is related to her own needs outside of the Bolshoi instead of saying it was related to how Bolshoi operates. If you read between the lines, the point is that Osipova has become too big for the Bolshoi, no pun intended. Why indeed belong to a company if what she really wishes to do is to dance a good chunk of the year at ABT or in Japan and Europe? It would be so much easier to defect to a company that is only too willing to have her and Vasiliev, one that sees them as trophies and demands less commitments from them than the Bolshoi. To say her decision is purely artistic, well I don't know if I really buy that now. It seems like a big part of it is not wishing to be tied down to a company which requires residency instead of few performances a year from its stars. They don't want to wait for Bolshoi to change its scheduling practices even though they say it's actually getting better under Fililn. I feel like they are treading a fine line between placing gentle blame on the Bolshoi and going scorched earth on the company.

#52 Ilya

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 05:02 AM

Please, could someone please explain the "Bolshoi emploi system"?

"Emploi system" = "type casting". E.g., the Bolshoi's point of view is that casting Vasiliev in Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty would be against type. Vasiliev himself agrees with this in the interview when he concedes that he may not be great in such roles. However, his point is that he would still like the opportunity to try. Bolshoi's spokesperson points out that the Bolshoi has given him Albrecht in Giselle (last May)---which would also be considered against his type.

#53 Ilya

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 05:11 AM


One can, of course, say that I go to work abroad too often and therefore don't have time to dance everything that I want. Unfortunately, this is yet another problem related to the Bolshoi Theater. The company is huge, it has very many artists, and no one will adjust to fit my schedule. There is no one to blame here, this is the situation. So it happens that at the moments when I feel that I must do a lot, I sit and do nothing. Therefore I need some push, a different place of work, a different repertory. So for me the transfer to Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg is an absolutely thought-through and correct decision, purely artistic.


This paragraph sums it up and is also slightly contradictory if you interpret it a different way. Essentially Osipova's outside commitments clash with the scheduling situation at the Bolshoi. She should have said the problem is related to her own needs outside of the Bolshoi instead of saying it was related to how Bolshoi operates. If you read between the lines, the point is that Osipova has become too big for the Bolshoi, no pun intended. Why indeed belong to a company if what she really wishes to do is to dance a good chunk of the year at ABT or in Japan and Europe? It would be so much easier to defect to a company that is only too willing to have her and Vasiliev, one that sees them as trophies and demands less commitments from them than the Bolshoi. To say her decision is purely artistic, well I don't know if I really buy that now. It seems like a big part of it is not wishing to be tied down to a company which requires residency instead of few performances a year from its stars. They don't want to wait for Bolshoi to change its scheduling practices even though they say it's actually getting better under Fililn. I feel like they are treading a fine line between placing gentle blame on the Bolshoi and going scorched earth on the company.


I don't think my translation does full justice to what she is saying. It is pretty clear from the Russian text that she is trying to place more blame on herself than on the Bolshoi. To support this point of view, here is an excerpt from another interview of hers (to Kommersant, http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/1816362):

"This has nothing to do with either Sergei Yuryevich Filin, and certainly not with Anatoly Gennadievich Iksanov, both of whom we love very much. Bolshoi has nothing to do with it, I am thankful to it with all my heart. But I don't want to always feel guilty. I understand that I break the rules all the time, that my touring is a nuisance and creates all kinds of difficulties. But I want to both dance at the company, and go here and there, and all this does not come together, and turns out to be hard."

#54 Ilya

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 05:36 AM

----------------
Excerpts from http://www.izvestia.ru/news/506701
----------------

"If the kids leave, they will have more possibilities for touring," thinks Osipova's teacher Marina Kondratieva.

"They very much want to dance, whereas the Bolshoi is unable to give them as many performances as they would want," says Kondratieva. "The kids are counting on switching to a contract, in order to have more possibilities for touring. They have a lot of offers from other theaters. If they are free from required presence at the Bolshoi, it will be simpler for them. They wanted to do this for a long time, but this moment was being postponed."


There is another interview with Osipova's teacher, Marina Kondratieva, which seems to directly contradict the interview I translated earlier in the thread and quoted above. According to this second interview, she was neither consulted nor supportive. Navigating Russian press sometimes is very confusing!

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My translation of excerpts from http://www.itar-tass.../c9/273022.html
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" I don't think that Natasha made this step out of financial considerations," thinks Marina Viktorovna [Kondratieva]. "The money theme doesn't fit her. She is an artist, she lives through ballet, through her roles. She and I have worked together for five years. I know her well. And she said more than once that she can dance for free. Just to have a chance to dance! Most likely, someone confused the kids."

"No, she didn't even call me. This is hurtful. I am attached to her with my soul and with my heart. We have been very close," admitted Kondratieva. "I wouldn't try to dissuade her. They are young. Perhaps the youth is the reason. Generally, the current generation cannot be compared to ours. They are different. It is not always possible to understand them."

"We will see how it works out for them. I wish that everything would go well for them. However, this does not always happen," remarks Kondratieva philisophically. "I very much wanted Natasha to become a great ballerina. And for this she had all the opportunities at the company. She danced both the classics and the contemporary ballets. She had a large repertoire; but there is still much to be done. She is supposed to dance in the "Nutcracker" in December; other plans were also being considered. And her schedule was quite free: last year, for example, she was absent seven months."

"In 59 years of my working at the Bolshoi Theater I can't recall a single case like this, excepting, of course, the defections abroad during the Soviet times. However, in recent history such things haven't happened. And hopefully won't happen," sums up Kondratieva. "And even regarding Natasha and Ivan I still have hope. Perhaps they will change their minds and will realize what the Bolshoi Theater is. Because, as Yesenin wrote, "great things are visible from a distance." Besides, the general manager Anatoly Iksanov says that the Bolshoi Theater is always open for them, and they can always return."

#55 puppytreats

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 08:03 AM

In the recent documentary on the POB, the director indicated that the schedule is planned two years in advance. In "Ballerina", didn't someone find out she was promoted from a posting, instead of being told directly? (We have discussed on this board how artistic directors likewise lack courage or strength to fire people directly, and let them wither without roles or interaction.)

I can imagine not being able to plan a schedule for someone who is in demand internationally, and under time pressure, is very frustrating and disturbing. These are very valid concerns to address, and all for valid reasons- artistically, financially, and for emotional well-being. Finding out one's schedule one month, or even three months, in advance does not permit adequate planning. In addition, one faces the risk of injury and cancellation, which also interfere with planning and impose time pressures. Therefore, these pressures explain a lot about the decisions. Furthermore, the number of dancers employed by the Bolshoi is enormous; just look at the roster. When I read it a few weeks ago, I wondered how anyone gets a chance to perform.

One expects that the dancers would express publically their artistic motivations, not their financial ones. I interpret this as a matter of etiquette and image. I noted a long time ago that almost all dancer interviews are very similar, giving rise to a tentative conclusion that people are trained to say certain acceptable things in interviews or learn from example.

#56 Helene

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 08:51 AM

In "Ballerina", didn't someone find out she was promoted from a posting, instead of being told directly?


Several times people at NYCB found out by looking at the program with the printed roster.


One can, of course, say that I go to work abroad too often and therefore don't have time to dance everything that I want. Unfortunately, this is yet another problem related to the Bolshoi Theater. The company is huge, it has very many artists, and no one will adjust to fit my schedule. There is no one to blame here, this is the situation. So it happens that at the moments when I feel that I must do a lot, I sit and do nothing. Therefore I need some push, a different place of work, a different repertory. So for me the transfer to Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg is an absolutely thought-through and correct decision, purely artistic.


This paragraph sums it up and is also slightly contradictory if you interpret it a different way. Essentially Osipova's outside commitments clash with the scheduling situation at the Bolshoi. She should have said the problem is related to her own needs outside of the Bolshoi instead of saying it was related to how Bolshoi operates. If you read between the lines, the point is that Osipova has become too big for the Bolshoi, no pun intended.


I don't see it as contradictory or blaming the Bolshoi at all. She was describing her situation in the company, and it is incompatible with what she wants, and why another place fits what she wants. She's solved her own problem.

#57 Natalia

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 09:03 AM

I was only 'half-joking' above, when I wondered if David Hallberg would now be the man-in-line to be groomed by Yuri
Grigorovich for next season's Ivan the Terrible revival.

More to the point:

Who, in your mind, might be the dancers on the current Boslhoi roster who may be able to step in to dance the leading roles most often associated with Natalia Osipova (technical whiz/soubrette/romantic-tutu jumping roles) and Ivan Vasiliev (tech whiz/demi-charactere hero)?

Vasiliev - this may be the 'easier' void to fill -- Lantratov, Lopatin, Bolotin, Vorobyov, Smolianikov, Tsvirko, Efimov? The Bolshoi ranks are packed with both 'tall and princely' and 'shorter and zingy' male talent!

Osipova - this one seems a little harder, as so many Bolshoi soloist & 'heavily featured corps' ladies are in the tall-and-willowy Swan mode - Kaptsova already dances a lot of the leading soubrette roles, though she's not as technically great as Osipova; recent transplant Kretova?; guest principal Obraztsova?; from the corps: Kokhlova, Okuneva, Vlashinets, Kern, or Vorontsova?

Ideas?

#58 Cordelia

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 09:34 AM


In "Ballerina", didn't someone find out she was promoted from a posting, instead of being told directly?


Several times people at NYCB found out by looking at the program with the printed roster.


One can, of course, say that I go to work abroad too often and therefore don't have time to dance everything that I want. Unfortunately, this is yet another problem related to the Bolshoi Theater. The company is huge, it has very many artists, and no one will adjust to fit my schedule. There is no one to blame here, this is the situation. So it happens that at the moments when I feel that I must do a lot, I sit and do nothing. Therefore I need some push, a different place of work, a different repertory. So for me the transfer to Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg is an absolutely thought-through and correct decision, purely artistic.


This paragraph sums it up and is also slightly contradictory if you interpret it a different way. Essentially Osipova's outside commitments clash with the scheduling situation at the Bolshoi. She should have said the problem is related to her own needs outside of the Bolshoi instead of saying it was related to how Bolshoi operates. If you read between the lines, the point is that Osipova has become too big for the Bolshoi, no pun intended.


I don't see it as contradictory or blaming the Bolshoi at all. She was describing her situation in the company, and it is incompatible with what she wants, and why another place fits what she wants. She's solved her own problem.


Exactly, Bolshoi is incompatible with what she wants at this point in her career. The scheduling conflicts never were problems until she became the star that she is today, so it is really the case that she outgrew the Bolshoi. I do not believe dancers owe audiences or their former company any explanations as to why they left one company for another. However, once a dancer offers up her version of the split, it should be done in non self-serving way as much as possible. Why did Osipova bring up the fact that she danced only two La Bayaderes, when the point she attempted to make originally was how messed up the scheduling was to her own needs? Now Osipova's coach offers many contradictions to further cloud the intrique. Seriously if indeed she was absent from the Bolshoi for total of 7 months, and was allowed to dance major roles not to mention being prepped for new ones, then how much freedom does a dancer need? Couldn't she give the Bolshoi management and Filin more time to change the theater's scheduling policies in order to better serve both parties?

Compare her plight to soloists deserving of more stage time or promotion in other companies, it's not even a fair comparison. For example, a dancer like Sarah Lane at ABT must be seething to see her company hire foreign guest principals to dance major roles, instead of developing its own homegrown talents like herself. What about the perpetually slighted and fated to never be principal, POB dancer Ould-Braham? I can't seem to think of any Russian ballerinas who are in Lane or Braham's situation, maybe some of you will kindly educate me on this Posted Image

#59 Cordelia

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 09:44 AM



One can, of course, say that I go to work abroad too often and therefore don't have time to dance everything that I want. Unfortunately, this is yet another problem related to the Bolshoi Theater. The company is huge, it has very many artists, and no one will adjust to fit my schedule. There is no one to blame here, this is the situation. So it happens that at the moments when I feel that I must do a lot, I sit and do nothing. Therefore I need some push, a different place of work, a different repertory. So for me the transfer to Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg is an absolutely thought-through and correct decision, purely artistic.


This paragraph sums it up and is also slightly contradictory if you interpret it a different way. Essentially Osipova's outside commitments clash with the scheduling situation at the Bolshoi. She should have said the problem is related to her own needs outside of the Bolshoi instead of saying it was related to how Bolshoi operates. If you read between the lines, the point is that Osipova has become too big for the Bolshoi, no pun intended. Why indeed belong to a company if what she really wishes to do is to dance a good chunk of the year at ABT or in Japan and Europe? It would be so much easier to defect to a company that is only too willing to have her and Vasiliev, one that sees them as trophies and demands less commitments from them than the Bolshoi. To say her decision is purely artistic, well I don't know if I really buy that now. It seems like a big part of it is not wishing to be tied down to a company which requires residency instead of few performances a year from its stars. They don't want to wait for Bolshoi to change its scheduling practices even though they say it's actually getting better under Fililn. I feel like they are treading a fine line between placing gentle blame on the Bolshoi and going scorched earth on the company.


I don't think my translation does full justice to what she is saying. It is pretty clear from the Russian text that she is trying to place more blame on herself than on the Bolshoi. To support this point of view, here is an excerpt from another interview of hers (to Kommersant, http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/1816362):

"This has nothing to do with either Sergei Yuryevich Filin, and certainly not with Anatoly Gennadievich Iksanov, both of whom we love very much. Bolshoi has nothing to do with it, I am thankful to it with all my heart. But I don't want to always feel guilty. I understand that I break the rules all the time, that my touring is a nuisance and creates all kinds of difficulties. But I want to both dance at the company, and go here and there, and all this does not come together, and turns out to be hard."


Thanks for the translation by the way, and I agree that the last paragraph Natalia sounded very genuine and thankful. Maybe emotions are still very new and raw for both Bolshoi and the couple, that's why so many contradicting things have been said.

#60 Natalia

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 09:47 AM

Just look on the roster of Osipova's old company, Cordelia. Many, many examples of talented ladies who have either been in the corps for years or only recently were elevated to the next level of "soloist" (equal to "choryphee at the Mariinsky) - such as Chinara Alizade, who won the 2005 Moscow IBC Gold Medal for Juniors. (2005 was also the year when Osipova won a Senior Solo Bronze medal, to Obraztsova's Sr. Solo Gold and Krysanova's Sr. Solo Silver.)


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