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Ivan Vasiliev named principal with ABT

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From the company:

IVAN VASILIEV NAMED

PRINCIPAL DANCER AT AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE

Ivan Vasiliev, principal dancer with the Mikhailovksy Ballet, has been named a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, effective immediately, it was announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. He is scheduled to perform during the 2013 Metropolitan Opera House season and on ABT’s national and international tours.

Born in Vladivostok, Russia, Vasiliev studied at the Dnepropetrovsk Ballet School in Ukraine and later at the Belarusian State Choreographic

College in Minsk, graduating in 2006.

In 2006 he was invited to join the Bolshoi Ballet as a soloist, making his debut with the company as Basilio in Don Quixote. He was promoted to the rank of principal dancer in May 2010. Vasiliev’s repertoire with the Bolshoi includes the title role in Spartacus, the Nutcracker-Prince in The Nutcracker, Colas in Sir Frederick Ashton’s La Fille Mal Gardée, Solor and The Golden Idol in La Bayadère, Conrad and the pas d’esclaves in Le Corsaire, Philippe in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Flames of Paris, Acteon in Yuri Burlaka’s La Esmeralda, The Young Man in Roland Petit’s Le Jeune Homme et la Mort and featured roles in Christopher Wheeldon’s Misericordes and Asaf Messerer’s Class Concert.

Vasiliev has appeared as a guest artist with the International Rudolf Nureyev Festival in Kazan and the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater. Since 2009 he has been a member of the cast of Kings of the Dance. In December 2011 he joined the Mikhailovsky Ballet as a principal dancer.

His awards include the Bronze medal at the Varna International Ballet Competition (2004), the Gold medal at the Moscow International Ballet Competition (2005), the Gold medal at the Arabesque-96 Ballet Competition in Perm (2006), and the Grand Prix – Varna International Ballet Competition (2006). He is also the winner of theTriumph Youth prize (2006), British Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards in the category ‘Spotlight’ (2008) and as Best Male Dancer (2010), and the Benois de la Danse prize for his performance in Le Corsaire and The Flames of Paris (2009). In 2011 he received Grand Prix at the International Dance Open Festival.

Vasiliev first appeared as a Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre in 2011. His repertoire with ABT includes Solor in La Bayadère, Pyotr in The Bright Stream, Franz in Coppélia, Ali, the Slave in Le Corsaire and the Flames of Paris pas de deux.

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Hallberg in the Bolshoi roster and Vasiliev in ABT's. What a sign of the end of the cold war..! clapping.gif

(Has he ever danced Albrecht, BTW...?)

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Hallberg in the Bolshoi roster and Vasiliev in ABT's. What a sign of the end of the cold war..! clapping.gif

(Has he ever danced Albrecht, BTW...?)

Yes, both as a guest artist with other companies and (just once, I think) at the Bolshoi.

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How do we think this new development will impact the other short virtuoso men at ABT? Cornejo is clearly a very important star at ABT, so I doubt that Vasiliev will cut into Herman's territory. However, I'm not sure whether this will hurt Daniil's chances for a promotion. Personally, I'm thrilled about Vasiliev's more permanent relationship with ABT.

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ABT was is and will be an international company. I think there has never been a real effort to change that. Vasiliev and Semionova will DEFINITELY cut down other's hopes for roles, but that's the way it is...

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I like his leaps and other tricks but not the aesthetics. ABT seems to have become 'Ardani Ballet Theater' and it's not all for the better.

And they wonder why ABT doesn't have money to pay for substantial realistic sets & costumes, instead settling for 'lego sets' and one-dimensional cardboard cut-outs for a Nutcracker?

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And they wonder why ABT doesn't have money to pay for substantial realistic sets & costumes, instead settling for 'lego sets' and one-dimensional cardboard cut-outs for a Nutcracker?

I've only heard that question raised one place actually.

I like the nutcracker sets. I don't think they look cheap in the slightest.

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...

I like the nutcracker sets. I don't think they look cheap in the slightest.

You like that plain blue background with the one-dimensional white little house? Uh...to each his own.

They 'broke the bank' with that one.....NOT!

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I like his leaps and other tricks but not the aesthetics.

I totally agree, he is a dancer with very limited emploi.

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I like his leaps and other tricks but not the aesthetics. ABT seems to have become 'Ardani Ballet Theater' and it's not all for the better.

And they wonder why ABT doesn't have money to pay for substantial realistic sets & costumes, instead settling for 'lego sets' and one-dimensional cardboard cut-outs for a Nutcracker?

So very true, Natalia. In my opinion he does not bother to create character or act the role he dances. Seems to just be all about technique and not even beautiful technique. I got the impression watching him dance, that he wishes audiences to appreciate the difficulty of ballet mechanics. Don't get me wrong he is very athletic but I prefer dancers who make ballet seem like the easiest or most natural thing in the world. Vasiliev to me appears to be all mechanics and grits, lacking aesthetics as you pointed out.

I hope Simkin gets the message and maybe tries to bulk up a little bit if only to make himself a better option than Vasiliev in certain roles. Vasiliev will be digging into Simkin's roles most likely.

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I agree, Cordelia. Don't get me wrong - I've 'woo-hoo'ed' at Vasiliev's Flames of Paris PDD.

I actually see Simkin in a different light, several notches above the 'rough and tumble' emploi of Vasiliev. Simkin is, to me, more the 'petit prince' than the gangster. Incredibly refined and elegant. Both Vasiliev and Simkin are short and have won many competition medals but, to me, that's where the comparisons end.

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An early Basilio from Novosibirsk and his Solor at ABT seemed like he was in character to me, but I am more used to opera singers, (and some of the greatest singers just stand and sing without any acting), so maybe I am more tolerant to just skimming the surface of the character, but I did feel his Basilio and Solor were not just acrobatics. I think it is a case of viewing a glass half empty or half full.

I think he is definitely a creature of the stage and has star charisma so he may not be to everyone's liking, but he belongs on the stage, in my personal opinion!

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Regardless of personal opinion on Vasiliev's talents, I think abatt brings up the most important point: his height. Kevin already under utilizes Herman because of how he views his height and the ballerinas available to partner him; I would expect that Vasiliev won't have the same issues from management though....what a shock.

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Regardless of personal opinion on Vasiliev's talents, I think abatt brings up the most important point: his height. Kevin already under utilizes Herman because of how he views his height and the ballerinas available to partner him; I would expect that Vasiliev won't have the same issues from management though....what a shock.

Part of that is (as implied) politics I'd imagine. The other is that, although he has improved, Herman has historically been, and to some extent remains, a weak partner.

He can now decently partner the short, smaller women, but a woman taller than him (and many men have partnered taller women, cynthia gregory had partnerships with men who were less than the ideal height for her) is not possible.

Given the ease with which Vasiliev lifted Veronika Part, I think a wider range of partners will be available to him (based on physical ability).

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Regardless of personal opinion on Vasiliev's talents, I think abatt brings up the most important point: his height. Kevin already under utilizes Herman because of how he views his height and the ballerinas available to partner him; I would expect that Vasiliev won't have the same issues from management though....what a shock.

I think Vasiliev is wonderful in certain things and not so great in many others, but he is certainly an exciting and charismatic dancer. Partnering is not an issue for him as it is with Cornejo and Simkin because despite his height he is very strong. I remember seeing him as Ali in Corsaire last season. I think Part was dancing Medora - anyway whovever it was she was obviously too tall for him yet he partnered her beautifully. It must have been Part because I remember thinking that I wish they'd pair her with him instead of Stearns!

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I asked about Vasiliev's Albrecht because for me that's the ultimate sign for a dancer to show that he/she has conquered the very essence of the art form. Just a few dancers-(male and female,past and present times)- have demonstrated such capability to convince in the romantic roles once the leaps and turns have been demonstrated full capacity. Perhaps Vasiliev is not there yet...? Perhaps he will never be..?

I keep thinking on the likes of Markova, Nureyev, Fonteyn, Alonso, Baryshnikov, Kirkland, etc...who eventually conquered such diversity...

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Aurora, you & I must have been posting at the same time!

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Aurora/nyususan -

Yes, I do see where you're coming from absolutely (I've never seen Vasiliev with anyone but Osipova so my experience is more limited) and if Vasiliev turns out to be the soul mate partner for Part, I will be thrilled she found someone to dance with besides Cory (I think it would even be good for him to dance with someone like her-- I find he and Osipova too competitive together). But If anything, Vasiliev is more limited by emploi than Herman--though short, Herman has the lines of a prince, despite his height. Vasiliev is a much rougher dancer, though I am sure we will see him as Siegfried soon, whereas Herman does not dance it ABT. I could be proven totally wrong though!

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In the past, I've said of Vasiliev, "subtle he's not." And, really, not a lot of subtlety is required to dance Ali, though you need bravura technique to burn (and he has it). However, he genuinely surprised me last season with Solor. In addition to the bravura I expected, he brought a completely unanticipated sense of longing and frustration to the character in the second and third acts. When he chased after Nikiya at the end of the Shades scene he was a man utterly distraught. (His variation was also tinged with what looked like frenzy.) And in the dance with Gamzatti and Nikiya's ghost at the wedding, Solor was quite undone by his broken heart and by confusion and even horror over what was happening to him. Mind you, I've admired others in the role (particularly Marcelo) but Vasiliev was more than equal to its emotional challenges.

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His way of characterization is simply not my taste at all. It even bothers me in the role of Ali even though not so much is required. It is about personal preferences when it comes to such things I guess.

I also agree with the persons who said he appears as if he wants to show the difficulty of the movements. I also think that this contributes to me not liking his characterizations - it doesn't appear as if those movements are naturally a part of the characters, but something the dancer wants to show me. In some solos, that isn't as much of a problem as in other cases. My overall impression of him as a dancer makes me wonder how versatile his casting will end up being, and how much influence this all will have on the casting of other dancers.

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I'm going to chime in and agree with the posts that praised Vasiliev's acting as Solor in Bayadere this season. (I also saw his Spartacus a few years ago at the Kennedy Center, and he was riveting.) He is not a one-trick-pony. He can act and convey characterization, as proven by that performance. Maybe he is not ready or suitable for the full roster of princely roles, but it is not fair, either, to say that he should automatically be excluded from those roles. Obviously, to each his own. I would much rather go to Vasiliev performance than a Cory Stearns performance even though Stearns has the coveted princely body type.

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Ditto with me about his Solor, but I would still need to see his Albrecht, James, or even The Poet to give him a final grade-(not that he needs one anyway..happy.png ). Nureyev, Baryshnikov, V.Vasiliev, Esquivel and Acosta are for me the complete packages. Same with the ballerinas I mentioned earlier.

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Count me in the "like" camp for his Solar. He had a certain connectiveness to the role that I found appealing. I don't like him in everything, but then I don't necessarily need every dancer to be able to dance every role in the male rep. I too would like to see him dance with other dancers besides Osipova. Their pairing is at times so over the top. They cancel each other out. Someone mentioned they seemed to be competing all the time. I don't see him taking roles from Simkin either. They are so different. But I guess we'll have to wait and see. I worry more for Herman. And for others hoping to move up. But again, let's wait and see. And I wonder how Ratmansky will use him. Perhaps we'll see Vasiliev develop some new skills and abilities beyond his obvious technical prowess. And isn't that what growing as an artist is all about?

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This just came through on Twitter from Mikhailovsky:

Mikhailovsky theatre ‏@Mikhailovsky_en

Please note that the cast for 'Don Quixote' on September, 22 will be announced later, according to Ivan Vasiliev's health condition.

Does anybody know what this is about?

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Hopefully it's just a common cold but even that can keep someone at home.

Back to Solor and other Vasiliev interpretations. Even if Vasiliev may be the Lawrence Olivier of ballet, I simply cannot get past his poor line. This is classical ballet dancing and certain basic visual aesthetics should be met before one moves on to the next qualification for the noble, princely roles.

It's not the stature (shortness). It's the proportions and degree of muscularity. As I pointed out earlier, Simkin is short but he has the proportions of a noble.

Andrei Batalov of the Mariinsky had (has, if still active?) the same challenge with line and proportion. That doesn't take away from the joy that I experience when seeing Vasiliev or Batalov in demi-caractere bravura roles, such as Basil or the big PDDs like Flames of Paris or Pas d'Esclave.

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