Natalia

2012/2013 Mariinsky Ballet Season: General News, etc.

356 posts in this topic

Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this one. Something that I'm enjoying very much is observing the somewhat parallel development of Oxana Skorik and Olga Smirnova (several years younger, I believe). Since Olga Smirnova , a Vaganova graduate, is now at the Bolshoi, it is less easy to discuss them together in a topic format, but I think that the comparisons are fascinating and will be fascinating to make as both these outstanding (in my opinion anyway) young artists progress to become stars at their respective companies.

[Added comment -- You might enjoy watching the internet video clips of Olga Smirnova's beautiful handling of the "Grand Pas Classique". Here's one.]

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I completely agree with what Buddy said above about the problems with youtube as a medium for judging dancers. [buddy corrected me below--it was Writer who said that]; I also completely agree with Cubanmiamiboy about wanting to watch dancers who dance (rather than move from pose to pose) though certainly some roles (like Kitri) require less in the way of beautiful lines than others (such as Bayadere) to come off effectively.

But if a youtube duel of Grand Pas Classique it is...here goes: clearly both of these young dancers have problems negotiating some of the ballet's more harrowing moments -- I pause in typing of this sentence to appreciate Cynthia Gregory sans cigarette -- but only one of them looks like a potential world-class ballerina: Smirnova. And it's the upper-body and indeed the "danciness" that, in these youtube excerpts, makes the crucial difference.

Skorik does have some lovely qualities (including some of her lines). And indeed looks as if she has fine potential and may "grow" as a dancer and artist. Her prominence at the Mariinsky at THIS stage of her career remains a puzzlement if youtube here and elsewhere is to be believed. Of course, it may not be; fan reports of live performances (as on this thread) are rather divided.

Smirnova I have no doubt is someone I want to watch "grow." Here's hoping it happens and that I get to see her one day!

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Hi, Drew.

One quick correction. It is "writer" who brings up the consideration of videos and I think has made some points that are well worth thinking about.

Also I did not want to imply a competition between Oxana Skorik and Olga Smirnova, but rather a complimentary look at these two remarkable artists, whom I consider to be equal but beautifully different.

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Did the choreography change for the GPC? It seems that Skorik and Smirovna attempt to balance while the partner does a tour en l'air and try not to kneel until he does. Maybe it is just personal preference?

I agree, Maya would probably be a star today, but she would have to be much thinner. But I wonder if the ultra think body type diminishes a dancer's strenghth and ability to do such big jumps.

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I moved seven posts from this thread to a discussion of comparing generations:

It's a great topic in itself.

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In Essence I think that she is Extremely Beautiful and in expression she can be mind-bogglingly exciting.

I saw Oxana Skorik's Nikiya at Mariinsky on 4th February, and if this was exciting then her calmer moments must be described as comatose. As Act 1 Nikiya her face was like a blank canvas and I never saw a more emotionless portrayal. At times she did smile, but for the most part she had a completely still face. Nikiya needs to be very expressive - the music calls for it - but Oxana Skorik's heart and soul do not connect with the music.

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Does anyone know why Olga Smirnova did not dance on the 4th as scheduled? I hope she is not injured.

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In Essence I think that she is Extremely Beautiful and in expression she can be mind-bogglingly exciting.

I saw Oxana Skorik's Nikiya at Mariinsky on 4th February, and if this was exciting then her calmer moments must be described as comatose. As Act 1 Nikiya her face was like a blank canvas and I never saw a more emotionless portrayal. At times she did smile, but for the most part she had a completely still face. Nikiya needs to be very expressive - the music calls for it - but Oxana Skorik's heart and soul do not connect with the music.

But how much smiling does Nikiya have reason to do, really?

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I saw Oxana Skorik's Nikiya... her calmer moments must be described as comatose.

rofl.GIF

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....But how much smiling does Nikiya have reason to do, really?

Not much...just the Hootchie-Koochie Basket Dance just before the snake bites her. That bit must have some vem and vigor!

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but she isn't doing that dance because she's happy, right? it's a little more like 'darn, i wish myrtha was in this ballet and could dance you to death!'

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Ha-ha...I see your point. At that moment, I think that Nikiya was truly overjoyed, thinking that the basket came from Solor. (She receives the basket from 'sneaky Aya' halfway into the sad adagio...Aya had whispered tha tit came from Solor. So the basket perks her up & she does her happy dance.)

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I see Nikiya as being happy twice: in her PPD with Solor, at least in part, and where she receives the basket. If she doesn't show that she thinks it's from Solor, then there's no way of making sense of why she embraces it, as opposed to it being a dance prop, and it's the only way for us to see what it represents: her assumption that Solor will remain true to her, even through she's just learned he's engaged to Gamzatti and has been behaving like an engaged man, if publicly, like Radames in "Aida." She dies before we see whether he'd have put his money where his mouth is, like Radames, or whether he's a weasel, like Albrecht, at least Act I Albrecht.

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As this is the 2013 season thread I wanted to post an update regarding tomorrow's performance. It would have been the debut of Svetlana Ivanova in Giselle, along with Xander Parish, but she is injured. She will be replaced and Xander will still perform. Here is to hoping her injury is not serious and that she can resume this debut before the 2013 season closes.

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As this is the 2013 season thread I wanted to post an update regarding tomorrow's performance. It would have been the debut of Svetlana Ivanova in Giselle, along with Xander Parish, but she is injured. She will be replaced and Xander will still perform. Here is to hoping her injury is not serious and that she can resume this debut before the 2013 season closes.

So unfortunate!!!!! I suspect Ivanova's Giselle would have been heavenly! Really disappointed. I was happy she was dancing that role on my birthday!

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Birdsall - the 11th is my birthday too!!! yahoo.gif Happy early birthday to you!

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Birdsall - the 11th is my birthday too!!! yahoo.gif Happy early birthday to you!

OMG! I never meet anyone with a Feb. 11 birthday, and then this year I found out a friend's boyfriend is the 11th, a new friend is the 11th, and now you! That is so unusual! Happy Birthday to you too!

Any idea who will replace her?

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I just saw that Osmolkina is replacing her. That should be good.

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I see Nikiya as being happy twice: in her PPD with Solor, at least in part, and where she receives the basket. If she doesn't show that she thinks it's from Solor, then there's no way of making sense of why she embraces it, as opposed to it being a dance prop, and it's the only way for us to see what it represents: her assumption that Solor will remain true to her, even through she's just learned he's engaged to Gamzatti and has been behaving like an engaged man, if publicly, like Radames in "Aida." She dies before we see whether he'd have put his money where his mouth is, like Radames, or whether he's a weasel, like Albrecht, at least Act I Albrecht.

The whole business with the happy face during the basquet dance is a little tricky. She can certainly try a "defeated" sad smile as if telling Gamzatti..."You've got the Prince and this is my consolation prize..?, So be it", but certainly one happy wide grimace is just too much. Solor is right there next to his fiancee...a now forbidden territory for her, so it does not make sense to portray her sooo happy I think.

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A gentle reminder: links from official sites only.

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I tend to view Nikiya's "happy dance" in Bayadere as sort of a cabaletta. Many of you may know that in bel canto opera, singers will sing a slow cavatina/aria and then some minor character brings them a letter to read and their mood changes from melancholy to happy and they sing a fast paced cabaletta with embellishments galore thrown in. Sometimes it is a BIG STRETCH for the character's mood to change 180 degrees like that, but it was part of that time period's formula for arias.

So I tend to view Nikiya's basket dance as sort of like that change of mood cabaletta. She was sad and danced slowly. Then, Aya gives her flowers from Solor, and she suddenly thinks, "OMG! He loves me after all!" and her mood does a 180degree turnaround. It is not very realistic dramatically but it makes for a good show! LOL

This could be why Makarova left out the "happy dance" when she staged Bayadere here in the West. She knew it was not realistic and did not help the drama and made no sense. In fact, she took out a lot of the things that could be considered silly (like the manu dance) and her version is actually much more serious, in my personal opinion.

But I do enjoy the "happy dance," so I prefer it to be left in no matter how unrealistic it is at that moment.

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I thing the change of mood is very realistic: when people are the most despairing, they cling to any sign that gives them hope, and that hope gives a shot of mood-changing adrenaline. To Nikiya, the basket is a tangible sign that she should hope.

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I thing the change of mood is very realistic: when people are the most despairing, they cling to any sign that gives them hope, and that hope gives a shot of mood-changing adrenaline. To Nikiya, the basket is a tangible sign that she should hope.

It rarely works for me (the basket dance). I agree with what you say above on principle, but both the music and choreography of the basket dance are so manic that the change from the melancholy preceding it is almost always jarring.

In my opinion you still have the change of mood in the Makarova version. She is happy when she receives the basket. It does give her hope. Its just more subtle.

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