Birdsall

Skorik

477 posts in this topic

I hope some of what was written recently is in jest because it's close to getting personal. Please, let's stay on topic and keep things impersonal and polite.

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Thanks Dale for your comment and everyone else for your interest.

I can understand some of the comments about 'hesitations' although I've not seen that much of it in my stage viewings. I've also seen some rock solid stage performances. It is also what I have to refer to as her *Beautiful Essence* that I find so wonderful and for me supersedes everything else.

I would like to make a comment that is kind of interesting. In one of her performances, which may have had the most 'hesitations' that I've seen from her, I was actually the most impressed. It was maybe because she was out of her comfort zone that she produced some of the finest stage brilliance that I've ever seen.

[the word "ever" was added to my last sentence]

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I hope some of what was written recently is in jest because it's close to getting personal. Please, let's stay on topic and keep things impersonal and polite.

Dale,

If you mean my comment about meds, I really did mean it to pertain to me. Opera was my crazy meds for 20 years after my sister died. It practically saved my life. Walking away from a career I loved caused the opera (my meds) to no longer work. So I turned completely to ballet which is helping a lot. But I have begun to think I need some real meds too, so that I can stop having negative thoughts. Loss of identity, career, graying hair, mid-life crisis......it all has hit me big time.

Anyway, I am sorry if my comment seemed like an attack on Buddy. I wish I could be more positive about life in general let alone opera or ballet. I say all this very openly because I think ballet probably gives solace to a lot of people on this forum. I was in a bad place mentally and my trip in March to the Mariinsky gave me something to look forward to and was an infusion of life for me that lasted for a month. Now thinking about meds for the first time in my life (my parents will be dead against it), because I no longer want to analyze the height of buildings and wonder if they are high enough to die or would only injure.

Like I said, I am going through a lot mentally and only open up so Buddy is not insulted and also in case others out there find solace in ballet. Don't worry! I am not suicidal. I have looked up and read that passive death thoughts are common during depression.

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OK. I appreciate everybody's response. We're all good.

Back to Skorik!

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Birdsall, I think that the ballet means a lot to most of us here, which is why we sometimes get so passionate about it. It is one of the highlights of my life and I hope that it continues to be one in your life as well.

Very best wishes.

[Dale, I posted my comment before seeing yours]

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No one has to understand anyone else's enjoyment of or appreciation for any dancer. This is a discussion board, not a court of law.

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I just made a comment about Oxana Skorik having been brilliant because she may have been outside her comfort zone. This may have been the reason, but in any case I did think that she was brilliant. What I wouldn't want to imply is that an artist has to do this to be great. I would wish all artists to be as healthy and happy in what they are doing as is possible. In fact, for me, this would be the most important thing.

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This is beyond everything and anything I've ever seen, heard or read in ballet...

At 1:12 here's your "born Odetta". I just can't imagine the frustration of all the capable female dancers being relegated to seat in the background and force to contemplate the unfairness of this world...

3:33 is so disgraceful that it becomes sad...

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Ballet dancers make companies under extraordinarily competitive conditions. From the moment they enter a school to the moment they step off stage, they are judged and subject to teachers' and managements' decisions. There are very few situations where either a dancer's union gets a management decision overturned or company members are judged by a panel including their peers, like the POB promotion system for lower ranks. Unless the dancer has powerful protectors, in or outside the theater, the dancer is at the mercy of whoever is in charge of the company at that time. That person's taste and judgement -- good, bad, or indifferent -- determine their fate.

Canadian Pairs skater David Pelletier once said about figure skating judging, "f I didn't want this to happen to me, I'd have gone down hills on skis." Dancers are in the same boat. They may pull their hair out and rage against the injustices, but they know what they're getting into from an early age -- that it's not a pure meritocracy -- and, unlike skaters, they look in the mirror most of the day and their competition is standing right next to them.

It's pretty amazing they go through this so that we can watch them.

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I think we ballet fans are very much like sports fans. Many sports fan scream at the tv at a fumbled ball and scream at what an idiot this or that football player is, but they can not run or jump or catch like the professionals. Same with most of us who are ballet fans. We can't do what they do. But we are fans, and I think it is good that Ballet Alert has a dancer side and a fan side. I personally stay on the fan side of things.

I pretty much think they have a rough life....they are trying to do their best, and when they fail nowadays people see it worldwide within hours of the fall or stumble. So part of me has sympathy, but it is the nature of the beast. It is sort of like Hollywood stars wanting fame and then suddenly wanting the paparazzi to leave them alone. It is what it is. They should know this. Like Helene says above, dancers have to have a thick skin and have to perform under incredible worldwide scrutiny. Some of the current ones may not have known that they would end up on YouTube, but now the ones still in school know this could happen to them. So they will go into the field knowing it. In some ways it probably teaches them grace under pressure.

Fans are always going to be passionate about what they like and don't like. Personally, I am glad there is a place we can discuss things.

Buddy, I apologize if I inadvertantly hurt your feelings in any way. That was not my intent.

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I understand all of the above, and my ultimate criticism goes beyond Skorik-(or Somova or Kampa)- to whoever the powers-that-be are at this moment at the Mariinsky that has decided to corrupt the golden legacy of this venerable institution to throw to the knowledgeable ballet audience of the world-(who's definitely getting sharper and sharper due to comparison via videos)-such inadequacies. I'm not afraid to predict that this women will never be ballerinas. They will certainly be given more and more roles, and so more and more videos and mistakes will keep popping up online for the world to see. A female dancer ascends and eventually becomes a ballerina when she's noticed due to her qualities among her lower rank peers and is pulled out to be given a petter place to shine center stage. It is wrong to place a random mediocre dancer up front and tell the audience to swallow all her mistakes and wait for an improvement.

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If I could expand slightly on Helene's comment: I daresay most of us have held non-arts-related jobs where we were stunned at the incompetence of certain people promoted far beyond what they deserved. Such notions as "failing upwards" and "the Peter Principle" have currency because this is so common. We like to delude ourselves into thinking we live in a meritocracy, but does anybody believe GWB would have been admitted to Yale with his middling to mediocre SATs and GPA if his last name had been "Smith"?

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The interesting thing is that I don't remember such situation having happened at the Mariinsky before...-(before Somova, I mean...)

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If I could expand slightly on Helene's comment: I daresay most of us have held non-arts-related jobs where we were stunned at the incompetence of certain people promoted far beyond what they deserved. Such notions as "failing upwards" and "the Peter Principle" have currency because this is so common. We like to delude ourselves into thinking we live in a meritocracy, but does anybody believe GWB would have been admitted to Yale with his middling to mediocre SATs and GPA if his last name had been "Smith"?

What you and Helene say is true. We forget it.

Life is very unfair. I know teachers often say that if you mess up, you move up because you are removed from being in the classroom and put in an administrative position in an office where you are not around children or parents and eventually all is forgotten and you keep moving up into higher paid positions. The world can be crazy and upside down. So I don't know why we expect more from the ballet world.

I guess it comes from our desire to believe that the arts are pristine and people are in it for the artistry and not the money, etc.

I believe Dale Carnegie's famous book *How to Win Friends and Influence People* says something about how people are rarely ever fired for being incompetent if they are likeable people to their co-workers or supervisor. The majority of people are fired for not getting along with others, because they constantly create ill will and disrupt work and cause the boss to intervene in conflicts. But incompetence is totally okay b/c it often doesn't make waves. Others simply have to pick up the slack. Incompetent people are almost always tolerated more than people who do not get along well with others.

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The interesting thing is that I don't remember such situation having happened at the Mariinsky before...-(before Somova, I mean...)

In the 60s and early 70s, one Xenia Ter-Stepanova happened. However, unlike Skoryk and her predecessor,

Ter-Stepanova was left at home and set down when she committed faux pas during the Kirov's tours and didn't "hit"

with Western critics. Under the Soviets, the Kirov and the Bolshoi, wanted (well, were *required), to put their

best feet forward, or there would be repercussions as in loss of privileges.

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cubanmiamiboy: this is definitely a first. I've never been angry while participating on BalletAlert. But that video made me angry. Indeed it's hard to restrain myself from typing swear words at the moment. 0:50 really did it for me in that video. that was appalling. Most female dancers would give up their first born for the opportunity to dance Giselle once in their lives on the Mariinsky stage. The other clips demonstrated the lack of musicality in addition to the music issues. This isn't Gelsey Kirkland having a coked up bad day. What billionaire is backing this girl? I can't see any other reason for her to be on the stage. That or she's got some sort of political power over Fateyev.

As for Buddy, I've read through your descriptions. But frankly they aren't very specific. Just that she's "gorgeous". My advice is to watch some other dancers. Take a break from Skorik (*and* Alina Somova, who isn't terrible, but isn't very good). I'm sure we can all make our recommendations of others to watch. I think you need to see some others to help expand your viewing repertoire.

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[Admin beanie on]

Please do not presume on the board to know what someone's viewing experience is.

The only thing anyone "needs" to do here is abide by the rules and policies.

[Admin beanie off]

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Management can cast anyone they want. They can call dancers by any rank they want. That doesn't mean that anyone has to buy it.

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Management can cast anyone they want. They can call dancers by any rank they want. That doesn't mean that anyone has to buy it.

Which is exactly what's happening here...a substantial number of viewers who are not buying such inadequate product.

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Management can cast anyone they want. They can call dancers by any rank they want. That doesn't mean that anyone has to buy it.

Unfortunately, many audience members are forced to watch these inferior performances of Skorik's. Subscribers have to pay a lot of money to buy a set number of performances in advance without knowing which ballerinas are performing. People from abroad (like myself) who go to Mariinsky a few times a year and want to see certain ballets have to wait to see which casts are put on the playbill in order to avoid seeing Oxana Skorik, or have to not see certain ballets if she is cast. I know of many Russian ballet fans who sell their tickets often at a loss if she is cast. No - no-one has to buy it, but the management is very guilty of making it extremely difficult to avoid seeing her, since she is cast so frequently.

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cubanmiamiboy: this is definitely a first. I've never been angry while participating on BalletAlert. But that video made me angry. Indeed it's hard to restrain myself from typing swear words at the moment. 0:50 really did it for me in that video. that was appalling. Most female dancers would give up their first born for the opportunity to dance Giselle once in their lives on the Mariinsky stage. The other clips demonstrated the lack of musicality in addition to the music issues. This isn't Gelsey Kirkland having a coked up bad day. What billionaire is backing this girl? I can't see any other reason for her to be on the stage. That or she's got some sort of political power over Fateyev.

As for Buddy, I've read through your descriptions. But frankly they aren't very specific. Just that she's "gorgeous". My advice is to watch some other dancers. Take a break from Skorik (*and* Alina Somova, who isn't terrible, but isn't very good). I'm sure we can all make our recommendations of others to watch. I think you need to see some others to help expand your viewing repertoire.

I completely agree with you, and if, like me, you had watched her make mistakes in live performance, you would be even angrier. I have never seen her give a perfect performance. And the scandal is that Oxana Skorik is cast repeatedly, despite continuing to make mistakes. How many Swan Lakes did she do over the last year? It must be over 20, and there are so many wonderful ballerinas in the junior ranks who have never had one attempt at the role. Why keep giving roles to a ballerina who keeps making mistakes? It is ludicrous. Yes, she can produce beautiful line in isolated poses, but where is the quality of movement and beautiful, flowing arms? She does not have it - and is singularly lacking in expression. To see her cast so frequently at the expense of many of my favourite younger dancers makes me absolutely furious.

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I am hoping Fateyev reads our comments, so he realizes that everyone is fed up with it. But he probably doesn't read.

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Birdsall, I suspect that Fateev DOES read...and laughs at us. The more we complain, the more he gives the knowledgeable fans what they do NOT want because, in the end, he knows that a Swan Lake or a Don Q will 'sell' (to mostly-unsavvy tourists and businessmen) even if Minnie Mouse is cast as the lead.

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Birdsall, I suspect that Fateev DOES read...and laughs at us. The more we complain, the more he gives the knowledgeable fans what they do NOT want because, in the end, he knows that a Swan Lake or a Don Q will 'sell' (to mostly-unsavvy tourists and businessmen) even if Minnie Mouse is cast as the lead.

Strange that he does not want to keep the Mariinsky's reputation high. I agree that the ballet will probably sell out no matter who is cast, because even guide books tell tourists that ballet is important in St. Petersburg, so people who don't even like ballet will get a ticket just to say they saw the Mariinsky Ballet just as they go to New York and go to any show (doesn't matter what) on Broadway.

But if that is his attitude it is short sighted. If this sort of thing keeps up over the years people will start to speak badly about the Mariinsky (I mean beyond these ballet specific sites). Even the tourists who do not like ballet will go around to friends, "I don't get what the big deal is! I saw this dancer who kept stumbling!" It might take a long while, but eventually it will hurt the reputation of the ballet and eventually cause people to avoid it. Not to mention Fateyev's reputation will be mud in the history of the Mariinsky.

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No one is forced to attend any performance, aside from people who work for the theater during performances. If subscribers don't like what they see, they can stop subscribing. It's a combination of the "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" and the "Insanity is doing things the same way and expecting different results" principles. If enough people stop buying subscriptions and avoid performances by specific dancers or in general -- there is another important ballet company in St. Petersburg -- then the Mariinsky will suffer from it financially to the extent that these ticket sales make up their budget. I doubt it will make much of an impact, though: "Swan Lake" packs houses on it's name, aside from the dancers, even among audiences who have the experience to be more discriminating.

That doesn't mean one shouldn't mourn for a lost tradition or lost standards, although, happily, the major training academies more than once have saved their companies in the long run from years of poor management choices -- it's when the schools run out or are dismantled that the center falls out, like the lost generation of Russian figure skaters. It doesn't mean being happy that a major joy has been taken away. However, company management isn't hired or supervised by public or expert opinion, and, in general, is accountable to their higher-ups, who care to the extent they care and agree with us and act upon it to the extent that they do.

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