The entire storyline of Raymonda has some inherently un-PC aspects to it -- Christian = good, Muslim = bad, Muslim men are a threat to European women, etc. That's built into the storyline and nothing can be done about it, short of not performing the ballet. That being said, I still felt as if Grigorovich went way over the top in his depiction of Abderakhman. The costume, the brownface, the wild gestures and crazy kookypants dancing. Also, maybe I'm reading the story wrong but isn't Raymonda supposed to be sort of intrigued by this exotic foreigner? In the Bolshoi production she's 100% disgusted all the time. And I would be too, if Abderakhman is as crazy as he is in the Grigorovich production. Ugh, I just didn't like it, especially considering the former USSR/present day Russia's large Muslim population, some of which became world-famous ballet dancers. To me, it's as offensive as blackface.
OMG! I laughed about the "kooky pants dancing" comment! Still laughing. And your comment about how disgusted you would be too.
I think in some productions she is supposed to be attracted to Abderakhman, and I do think Alexandrova overdid the disgust or unease. I think the 80s videos make Raymonda a little more hard to gauge in this respect. I think they are all a little scared in both videos, but not necessarily disgusted. I remember them going back and forth between apprehension and intrigue. I think "intrigued" is the right word especially since Grigorovich choreographed the Danse Orientale for both characters right after the Spanish Dance. In the Bolshoi version the Danse Orientale is the moment he is really trying to win her over and she is TRYING to get into the idea of Eastern culture (my interpretation). I think Alexandrova's disgust is either her invention or the director told her to do that as a new take on the story. I don't remember Bessmertnova or Semenyaka being quite as disgusted, but when I saw this the other weekend I assumed it was simply Alexandrova's stern facial features that made me feel she was too disgusted by him. Now that you bring it up, I think it is a mistake in her interpretation or the director's. I do think she should either be intrigued, as you say, or she should be oblivious, but not really disgusted.
I did find the dancer who danced Abderakham more cartoonish looking in this latest transmission. I think Taranda was all man and would make any Raymonda consider ditching boring Jean de Brienne!!!!