Zachary

Olga Smirnova

120 posts in this topic

Don't think it's really fair to compare Smirnova, who just had her debut, with Part, who's been dancing the role for more than a decade. Part has had time to refine her portrayal. A lot of debuts of O/O tend to be on the "cold" side, IMO, with the dancers so concentrated on getting the steps and look right that they forget to tell a story.

I'd also add that the Bolshoi version of Swan Lake is very "cold." Grigorovich places an emphasis on Siegfried and Rothbart, and Odette/Odile are almost a fantasy who flick in and out of the ballet. Grigorovich even rearranges a lot of the music to fit his vision of Swan Lake.

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One of the problems with You Tube is that everything a performer does ends up in the public domain for extensive analysis down to the smallest details. If Part's or Lopatkina's first outing as the lead in SL was available on youtube, I would bet that it probably did not look anywhere near as polished as it does today.

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I have no problem with cold. Neither, from all accounts did Balanchine: his favorite dancer from his Mariinsky/school days, Gerdt, was also considered cold.

Cold is very different than stiff. One of my very favorites, Tereshkina, is a cool dancer -- some consider her cold -- but I don't find her stiff at all. It will be interesting to see what her dancing is like when she comes back from maternity leave, as becoming a mother has changed the dancing of many ballerinas.

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Smirnova's Odette/Odile struck me as "cold" also. However, she's only 22 years old, possesses considerable technique and gorgeous port de bras/upper body movement. Watch her Nikiya Act I on You Tube and there it is. It's rare that a ballerina nails all the complexities of O/O on her first try. Let's give Smirnova time to grow and mature as an artist. She has the potential for greatness.

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One of the problems with You Tube is that everything a performer does ends up in the public domain for extensive analysis down to the smallest details. If Part's or Lopatkina's first outing as the lead in SL was available on youtube, I would bet that it probably did not look anywhere near as polished as it does today.

Thank you. I feel very strongly about this aspect of YouTube. Of course I too watch it and start forming opinions and making judgments about dancers and even express some of those opinions and judgments online. But the You Tube experience of performances (often in excerpt) leads to all kinds of odd disproportions of analysis and comparison. And can never do justice to a live performance in any case.

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Smirnova's Odette/Odile struck me as "cold" also. However, she's only 22 years old, possesses considerable technique and gorgeous port de bras/upper body movement. Watch her Nikiya Act I on You Tube and there it is. It's rare that a ballerina nails all the complexities of O/O on her first try. Let's give Smirnova time to grow and mature as an artist. She has the potential for greatness.

MakarovaFan, I did check out Smirnova's Nikiya, as you suggested, and I found it interesting and reassuring to see the difference in her use of the wrists and hands from the way she used them in Swan Lake. Now I'm thinking that someone (herself, a coach, a teacher?) suggested that in Swan Lake she use her wrists and hands as wings, which is perhaps why she breaks at the wrists all the time. Her Nikiya was beautiful. I loved the way she used her torso and her pliant back, and it is apparent that she can use her wrists and hands in other ways. Maybe she just needs to see herself (on YouTube) or have someone tell her that her wrists and hands don't need to be flapping every minute to convey that she's a swan.

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I feel like everyone is saying different things about her O/O... I personally perceived it as a brilliant, mature first outing, without that undulating fluttering motion some dancers plaster across the choreography. And fast single fouettes! For me, many things to like. For others, many things to talk about. In any case, worth watching if it merits this much discussion.

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Hello!

I've been watching smirnova in jewels, which is beautiful, is that her best role does anyone know?

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Thanks!

I think Smirnova is a wonderful dancer - beautiful line and musicality.

I also really love Kondratieva, and so I enjoy that every time there's a feature on Smirnova, there's an interview with her coach!

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Very much enjoyed watching this. Thank you.

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Thank you so much for posting this; Olga's truly special.

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I've been watching the most recent video clip of Olga Smirnova dancing Diamonds and of the many things that I like very much, one is very pleasant to see.


It's how healthy she looks. She has a very proper weight condition for one thing.


I look back on earlier video clips where I really admired the linear beauty of her motion. She was also thinner and I began to think that it was a large reason for the overall, beautiful look of her dance.


Now I see that she can still achieve a wonderfully linear dance quality and also have a very healthy and beautiful looking weight condition.


Based on video clips only, I think that she is progressing wonderfully and is just beginning a truly remarkable career. I greatly look forward to being able to see her perform live this summer in NYC to confirm what I've enjoyed so much on video.

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Congratulations to Olga Smirnova--a beautiful young artist!

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Congratulations to Olga Smirnova--a beautiful young artist!

Also a Prodigy definitely, and a Genius quite possibly.

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Olga's professional debut at the Mariinsky takes place tonight - she dances Swan Lake with Semyon Chudin. The company is putting out a great cast for her, with Ermakov as Rothbart, and Batoeva/Selina/Stepin as Prince's Friends. It's sold out, of course - all St Petersburg must be waiting to see her! Will be interesting to read the reviews!

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There are a couple videos up on YouTube - her Odile variation and the coda. I'm waiting eagerly for more! She looks beautiful, I'm sure she must have been nervous but I myself think she did an absolutely stunning job, not to mention the variation is a different version than the one she's already performed at Bolshoi. Chudin is, of course, perfect as always.

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There are a couple videos up on YouTube - her Odile variation and the coda. I'm waiting eagerly for more! She looks beautiful, I'm sure she must have been nervous but I myself think she did an absolutely stunning job, not to mention the variation is a different version than the one she's already performed at Bolshoi. Chudin is, of course, perfect as always.

I can't tell you about the difference in variations, but otherwise I agree with you completely.

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I saw these video bits as well. I thought Chudin looked gorgeous especially in the opening sequence of jumps but less preternaturally perfect in his finishes for final part of variation than he did at his first August performance in New York (which I saw in the theater) and where he seemed to me to show an almost Bruhn-like level of control. As for Smirnova--in this video when she really 'hits' something, it does look gorgeus and indeed much of this is very beautiful--at the best moments really dancing the difficulties rather than showing them off--but I think she is still smoothing out rough edges in parts of the variation. Not surprising in what is for practical purposes a debut (the variation is not the same as what she does at Bolshoi) and I think, too, she may have been a touch nervous. I like the fact that she opts for single fouettes at a decent speed/height and in place (though she seemed to lose a bit of control at the very end).

None of this is meant as "faint praise"--rather what I think of as honest praise for two very appealing and talented dancers I like and admire a lot -- and hope to see again. I am also hoping some of the first two scenes turn up on video...Though one thing I don't think video will ever be able to capture is the warmth and charisma that Smirnova-Chudin bring to the stage in this ballet. It's an elegant, high-style, classical warmth--but warmth still seems to me the right word.

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Drew, thanks very much for your added thoughts. You mention "warmth and charisma." What, for me, Olga Smirnova has added to her Swan Lake debut (I've only seen on video) is a definite and compelling identity. I noticed this in NYC both times.

Her Odette/Odiles are now clearly defined. For the moment I can't totally describe it, but I'll suggest a few descriptive words.

'Alive, here and now, believable, sensitive, aware, dramatic, poetic, compelling, charismatic, enchanting, commanding.....' (She can't do much better than that, I guess)

Somehow she now truly 'Connects' with her partner, the stage and us.

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Did you all think that Smirnova's variation at the Mariinsky was good? I thought that part was a disaster. I have seen her several times in galas as the White Swan and she was very lyrical and good so I was shocked to see that clip, very heavy, en dehours problem, lack of 5th position no fluidity and so on. Perhaps she was nervous because it was not the Grigrovich variation she was accustomed to.

Although she is very beautiful, talented and a good actress and has that lovely warmth, sometimes I could see she has that en dehours problem, her standing feet is tacked in which is annoying.

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