Zachary

Olga Smirnova

120 posts in this topic

I want to cheer for Olga's latest casting coup but am tempered by the horrible news of the acid thrown on AD Sergei Filin last night.

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Smirnova's scheduled Moscow performance of La Bayadère was called off at the last minute. The note from the Bolshoi press office simply stated that Anna Nikulina would be performing the part of Nikiya that evening and that Smirnova's previously announced performance was being cancelled. If she wasn't able to dance the ballet on January 31, I guess it's not surprising that she wasn't able to dance it four days later.

You'll find the reference to the cast change dated January 31.

http://www.bolshoi.r...press/articles/

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That must have been a debut for Nikulina?? Wish some of that would pop up on youtube.

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Thank you for the info! I quite like her, but had never heard about a debut in Bayadere.

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Congrats to Olga for her Odette/Odile debut tomorrow. Looking forward to the reviews!

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Olga Smirnova says, "in Mariinsky theatre, my dance would be considered as more spiritual and refined, but Bolshoi audiences sometimes might judge it as cold."

Very interesting! This is how I feel about her dancing, though, only watching on computer screens. Kondaurova is from the same school as Smirnova. I guess that she might get to "warm up", if she would try the role of street dancer in D.Q. :-)

I will try to catch her this August in London!

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Personally I don't see her as cold in these clips (just my opinion). I thought it was a lovely debut from her and hope she gets to dance it more and keep developing.

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I am mesmerized by Olga's arms/port de bras...not that the rest of her 'line' isn't lovely. A warmer Odette than expected; ultra-cool Odile...but maybe she was nervously anticipating those 32 fouettes. She made it past that 'hurdle,' breathing a big sigh of relief, didn't she? Well, I'm sure that she will develop her interpretation and technique in the months and years ahead. Something great to which we can look forward.

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I am mesmerized by Olga's arms/port de bras...not that the rest of her 'line' isn't lovely. A warmer Odette than expected; ultra-cool Odile...but maybe she was nervously anticipating those 32 fouettes. She made it past that 'hurdle,' breathing a big sigh of relief, didn't she? Well, I'm sure that she will develop her interpretation and technique in the months and years ahead. Something great to which we can look forward.

Co-sign. This was a stupendous debut flowers.gif!

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Agreed !

She's Absolutely Remarkable !

In her Odette duet she does a 'swoosh' (forgive the strange sounding word for such a beautiful motion) towards the beginning, as she's being turned in attitude-into-arabesque, that takes my breathe away and sets the stage for a magnificence that I can only begin to describe.

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I'm apparently alone in my opinion that while her technique is extraordinary, I found the angularity of her arms detracting from her Odette, especially the continuous 90 degree break at the wrists, which I found more appropriate in her Odile. For me, there was no vulnerability in her Odette portrayal--less hyperextension and more fluidity would have made me love her, but I can't.

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I liked her Odette, but her Odile isn't flirtatious enough for me. As stated above, more performances will help develop her Odile. Definitely a step up from Oxana Skorik!

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I'm apparently alone in my opinion that while her technique is extraordinary, I found the angularity of her arms detracting from her Odette, especially the continuous 90 degree break at the wrists, which I found more appropriate in her Odile. For me, there was no vulnerability in her Odette portrayal--less hyperextension and more fluidity would have made me love her, but I can't.

The wrists and elbows (especially) were a bit much for me too, angelica. I admire her portrayal right now, but I don't love it yet-hopefully she will grow in time though.

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I'm apparently alone in my opinion that while her technique is extraordinary, I found the angularity of her arms detracting from her Odette, especially the continuous 90 degree break at the wrists, which I found more appropriate in her Odile. For me, there was no vulnerability in her Odette portrayal--less hyperextension and more fluidity would have made me love her, but I can't.

The wrists and elbows (especially) were a bit much for me too, angelica. I admire her portrayal right now, but I don't love it yet-hopefully she will grow in time though.

So good to hear that I'm not alone, ksk04! Which gives me the courage to go even further and say that to me, her dancing, while technically a tour de force, was affected and mannered, an exaggeration of what true artistry, as opposed to calculated posing, is about. Admittedly, every ballet looks different on every artist, which is why we go to multiple performances of the same ballet. For me, the gold standard for Odette/Odile is Nina Ananiashvili (you can see her on the DVD that was made when she was 29 years old, dancing with the State Ballet of Perm) -- these days it's Veronika Part. I will keep an open mind on Smirnova, however, as she develops in her roles.

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For me, the gold standard for Odette/Odile is Nina Ananiashvili (you can see her on the DVD that was made when she was 29 years old, dancing with the State Ballet of Perm) -- these days it's Veronika Part.

Yes to Veronika Part ! Based on consistency in five or six performances, perhaps the greatest Odette (and Odile) that I've ever seen.

From a different angle for a moment.

'I never thought I'd see the day' when I'd be watching someone performing Odette and someone else performing Carmen Suite with equal awe. I've been going back and forth between Olga Smirnova's magnificent Odette and a very segmented video clip, often disappearing behind the person sitting in front, of Oxana Skorik dancing Carmen.

Two Absolutely Marvelous Artists !

Added:

Oxana Skorik performing with Ilya Kuznetsov (the best characterization that I've seen him do) -- this is surely the most sensitive and poetic performance of Carmen Suite that I've ever seen.

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I guess of all the wonderful beauty that I see in the Odette duet there is one quality that I love very much. This would be the Dreamlike Flow that surrounds and weaves through the more animated and depthful expression (an expression that I find totally remarkable for her young age). There is so much more, such as beautifully sculpted and timed imagery, that I still can barely start to define it. Maybe it's better at times just to let it happen and take in the pure pleasure and absolute brilliance of it all.

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This so reflects one of the things that I like very much about Olga Smirnova that I would like to post it again. It's a highly lovely and general definition of "Epaulment" from Clement Crisp.

"In ballet, épaulement denotes the dancer's ability to turn, bend and shape the placing of the trunk, shoulders, arms, neck and head to produce the subtlest contrasts and oppositions. In Italian art it is contrapposto, and this is what gives life, veracity and power to a drawn or sculpted position. In classical ballet it turns the academic pose into the beautiful, the fascinating."

http://www.ft.com/in...l#axzz2K8RzOIHP

(In fact this quote is taken from his article highly praising Olga Smirnova, but it's generalized significance I hope makes it acceptable for being posted here.)

[first sentence slightly reworded]

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I'm apparently alone in my opinion that while her technique is extraordinary, I found the angularity of her arms detracting from her Odette, especially the continuous 90 degree break at the wrists, which I found more appropriate in her Odile. For me, there was no vulnerability in her Odette portrayal--less hyperextension and more fluidity would have made me love her, but I can't.

I completely agree with you, and I also find this "break" in the wrists and sharp fingers very distracting - actually I found her arms generally, especially as Odile, to be stiff. She does have speed, great technique and brilliant turns, but I don't think she has any wonderful flow of movement. I found her Odette very cold and involving. She was more suited to Odile, but even here, she is aloof. It is interesting that she herself says, as quoted above, "in Mariinsky theatre, my dance would be considered as more spiritual and refined, but Bolshoi audiences sometimes might judge it as cold." Actually, I feel many Mariinsky audience members would consider her cold also: this is my main criticism of her. I look at her and never can engage with her - she is not a warm, expressive dancer and not a natural actress, and so I cannot like her.

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I'm apparently alone in my opinion that while her technique is extraordinary, I found the angularity of her arms detracting from her Odette, especially the continuous 90 degree break at the wrists, which I found more appropriate in her Odile. For me, there was no vulnerability in her Odette portrayal--less hyperextension and more fluidity would have made me love her, but I can't.

I completely agree with you, and I also find this "break" in the wrists and sharp fingers very distracting - actually I found her arms generally, especially as Odile, to be stiff. She does have speed, great technique and brilliant turns, but I don't think she has any wonderful flow of movement. I found her Odette very cold and involving. She was more suited to Odile, but even here, she is aloof. It is interesting that she herself says, as quoted above, "in Mariinsky theatre, my dance would be considered as more spiritual and refined, but Bolshoi audiences sometimes might judge it as cold." Actually, I feel many Mariinsky audience members would consider her cold also: this is my main criticism of her. I look at her and never can engage with her - she is not a warm, expressive dancer and not a natural actress, and so I cannot like her.

I watched Smirnova's performance again and then watched a couple of others, including Evgenia Obratzova and Ekaternia Borchenko (whom a friend of mine recently saw live at the Mikhailovsky) and they were both more fluid in their movements, their arms and hands not at all angular. Moreover, they made eye contact with their partners repeatedly. I agree, Tiara, that Smirnova is very "cold." And that it isn't a question of Mariinksy v. Bolshoi, it is a question of quality of dancing.

It is interesting that the quote Buddy gives, "In ballet, épaulement denotes the dancer's ability to turn, bend and shape the placing of the trunk, shoulders, arms, neck and head to produce the subtlest contrasts and oppositions. In Italian art it is contrapposto, and this is what gives life, veracity and power to a drawn or sculpted position. In classical ballet it turns the academic pose into the beautiful, the fascinating" comes from an article praising Smirnova. In my view, artistic epaulement is something that develops over years of training, but is instinctive in some dancers and artificial in others. At the risk of repeating myself, Veronika Part gets it right--her epaulement seems inborn, natural, not affected--whereas with Smirnova I feel that she exaggerates it at the end of every pose, to achieve a purposeful effect that becomes mannered rather than fluid.

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