Birdsall

Skorik

477 posts in this topic

One positive thing about having such a technical failure up front and center is that the real ballerinas' strengths shine even more. I usually show her up and coming videos to my French friend to teach him how to easily detect horrendous technique even as a neophyte. Now, the issue would get very dangerous when buying tickets if given a short period of time to be able to visit the company...

Fateev laughing...? Probably, but I can't imagine being in the skin of Skorik herself. I doubt that she herself thinks that, even if placed, she honestly deserves the position. There are many years ahead, I suspect, of countless videos and public bashing of the woman.

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Unfortunately, Skoryk will go forward because Fateev wills it - regardless of improvement or lack thereof.

I look to the graduation performances for hope. One trend is undeniable: The talented graduates are increasingly opting to start their careers elsewhere. That is something that can't be spun or finessed away by the management.

Svetlana Zakharova, Natalia Sologub, Olga Esina, Elizaveta Cheprasova, (who recently made her debut as "Giselle" in Kiev when she couldn't get that role at the Mariinsky), and the Matvienkos (from time to time) all of them have moved on. In the mid 80s - early 90s generation, Irina Schapsits, Anna Polikarpova, Larissa Lezhnina left the Mariinsky Theatre. IMO these ladies were a "lost" generation in the (then) Kirov Ballet. They were three of what I called the Mighty Five Graduates: Ayupova and Makhalina were the other two graduates at that time, and were the only ones who stayed. Polikarpova went to Hamburg, Lezhnina went to Amsterdam, and Schapsits went freelance. At the time, Lara Lezhnina was, IMO as big a loss to the company in 1994 as Obraztsova was in 2012. Yulia Makhalina and Zhanna Ayupova became primas but they have been banned from coaching at the Mariinsky. Their style is considered passe and irrelevant by the current management. Indeed, their's isn't the current style of the company. Their style is what the Imperial Mariinsky/Kirov is famous for. Here's the thing: Many of the teachers at the Vaganova Academy are aging now. Artistic Director Altynai Asylmuratova is trying very hard to preserve A. Vaganova's principles.

As a result of these losses, the company's true "style-links" have departed, and with them priceless knowledge and guidance. Ayupova and Makhalina both have much knowledge to impart, but they aren't considered valuabale assets. Ayupova now coaches at the Mikhailovsky but Makhalina remains on the Principal roster and is mostly inactive. Where does the Mariinsky Ballet go from here? As long as Yuri Fateev is at the helm - wallbash.gif.

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Cygnet, I agree completely with everything you say, and also see the problems at Mariinsky as having one root: Yuri Fateev. The loss of both Makhalina and Ayupova as coaches is downright inexplicable. Two wonderful ballerinas, who exemplfied all that is best in the Kirov tradition, and they are unable to pass on the legacy of their training to the younger generation of ballerinas. It is inexplicable. To the list of those dancers who have been "lost" are the supremely talented graduates Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran, Viktor Lebedev and Sergei Strelkov, all of whom chose to dance elsewhere. And, particularly with the current desperately poor male principal roster, the losses of Leo Sarafanov and Mikhail Lobukhin were also devastating.

Fateev has a wonderful depth of talent in his company, but he chooses to ignore it and instead promote one vastly inferior ballerina: Oxana Skorik. It seems we are all banging our heads against a brick wall complaining about her, but complain we must. If nobody complained, there would never even be a chance of change.

There are unfortunately just so many problems "in the system" at the moment. The Vaganova study programme is now 9 years instead of 8 and so the dancers who graduate into the company do so at a later age, some of them 21, and the dancers who the management seem to prefer are the tall, skinny, leggy ones, regardless of talent. We do look to the graduation performances each year with hope, and this year there is one dancer who I believe we can pin our hopes on, and also, she represents the Kirov/Mariinsky legacy as her teacher is Veronika Ivanova, herself a beautiful pure stylist - and this is her first graduation class. Sofya Ivanova-Skoblikova is a lovely dancer, a great technician with real presence and personality on stage and the most beautiful arms and movement. Last year as an undergraduate she danced the Fairy of Dolls and she was absolutely superb. I think she is definitely one to watch. Assylmuratova's own daughter, Anastasia Zaklinskaya, also graduates this year. Also in evidence at the graduation performances will be Ksenia Zhiganshina and Svetlana Strebko - two more talented young ballerinas. Vaganova Academy can still produce fabulous, beautifully trained representatives in the Vaganova tradition, and really it is up to Fateev to use them as they deserve. That he does not is truly iniquitous. Unfortunately for her, Ivanova is a short ballerina, and given Fateev's preference for tall ballerinas, I already worry that this lovely dancer will not be given the chance she should be.

I do feel that all is not lost, as the wonderful legacy is still there, and there are still wonderful dancers coming through - but Yuri Fateev needs to see sense and either resign or change his casting policy. Does he really want to go down in history as the man who single-handedly destroyed the centuries old Mariinsky tradition, because that is exactly what he is doing?

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I think Fateev's predecessor did significant damage on his own. Skorik is not the first long-limbed, big-extensioned, thin dancer promoted by Mariinsky management.

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I think Fateev's predecessor did significant damage on his own. Skorik is not the first long-limbed, big-extensioned, thin dancer promoted by Mariinsky management.

True. The difference is that others -- Mezentseva, Lopatkina and Zakharova, for starters -- were (are) talented and technically adept from the get-go. "Limbs alone don't do it."

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And Somova? She certainly attracted her share of controversy!

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I think Fateev's predecessor did significant damage on his own. Skorik is not the first long-limbed, big-extensioned, thin dancer promoted by Mariinsky management.

True. The difference is that others -- Mezentseva, Lopatkina and Zakharova, for starters -- were (are) talented and technically adept from the get-go. "Limbs alone don't do it."

Exactly so. Oxana Skorik is about as far from Mezentseva, Lopatkina and Zakharova as it is possible to get, and none of those three ballerinas were ever so consistently miscast as Skorik has been, and continues to be.

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Here is a link to show the contrasts between the "new" Mariinsky aesthetic, vs the old;

Could someone please show me how to imbed the youtube links? i know it involves the My Media button, but I can't figure out how to use it to imbed the link.

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Could someone please show me how to imbed the youtube links? i know it involves the My Media button, but I can't figure out how to use it to imbed the link.

I actually prefer the links because the embedded videos take longer to load than simply clicking on the links.

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It isn't clear to me why some YouTube links show up as imbedded and others don't. I never do anything but copy and paste links, and all but one or two have been displayed as embedded videos.

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With regard to Skorik representing the "new" Mariinsky aesthetic - well, this is an interesting point. Fateev is actually considered by many of the dancers to be an unforgiving person, so I think that if he had total freedom concerning Skorik, he would not have allowed her to carry on making one terrible mistake after another. I believe there are some other factors at play here. And Fateev may prefer tall, skinny, leggy girls, but this is only his preference, and I believe that once he leaves, this "look" will no longer become so desired, simply because there are just too many girls within the company who do not fit this look, and whose talent cannot be ignored. True talent cannot be ignored forever.

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[Admin beanie on]

There are places on the internet where it's fine to post unsubstantiated allegations. This isn't one of them.

Either cite official sources, or don't post the "info" here.

[Admin beanie off]

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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.

Unfortunately, this is also what is happening on the male roster, with Mickey Mouse frequently cast in the lead. The principal ranks are decidedly lacklustre, with aging dancers repeatedly cast, such as Ivanchenko, while the new and up and coming talent is denied its chances. On June 6th the new 3D Swan Lake will be seen by millions, and in the role of Siegfried will be Timur Askerov, who in my opinion is a very average dancer, characterized by stiff upper body, lack of expression and no acting ability. He is not even a true representative of the Vaganova/Mariinsky tradition, having graduated from the Baku School of Dance in 2008. Daria Pavlenko in her recent letter to the Minister of Culture, widely quoted, complained about the iniquitous system inside the Mariinsky, where dancers often are able to buy roles, penalized for various misdemeanours, and many gifted dancers not given roles, while the favoured few flourish.

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I'm feeling less and less interested in visiting the company after all this reports...

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I'm confused ,.. Who is Mickey Mouse?

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I think the idea thet Fateev is reading BA! or any message board/forum and making decisions to spite us is way off the mark. Whatever we think about Artistic Directors, they have pretty demanding day jobs and a lot on their minds besides us.

On the other hand, the two-year-old in the row in front of me on the train is crying simply to torture me-me-me, and underneath it all, he's laughing at me-me-me ;)

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Fortunately I think the Mariinsky will survive Fateyev's management of the ballet artistic side. As Helene has noted, we don't have to watch it. And the Mikhailovsky will not have to look too far to poach wonderful dancers for their stage (especially since Osipova / Vasiliev are now only performing occasionally as guest artists).

I really liked that snippet of Marchyuk dancing DQ, would love to see Messerer get the AD job at the Mik and lure over the neglected classical Vaganova dancers.

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I've just finished reading this thread and watching the videos embedded in it and am very bothered that someone has made such an effort to produce a compilation video of Skorik's flubs.

I think it's just plain cruel, no matter the reason or the impassioned discourse surrounding the post with the video.

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Fortunately I think the Mariinsky will survive Fateyev's management of the ballet artistic side. As Helene has noted, we don't have to watch it. And the Mikhailovsky will not have to look too far to poach wonderful dancers for their stage (especially since Osipova / Vasiliev are now only performing occasionally as guest artists).

I really liked that snippet of Marchyuk dancing DQ, would love to see Messerer get the AD job at the Mik and lure over the neglected classical Vaganova dancers.

I love watching Oksana Marchuk - she is one of my favourites, and a beautiful classical ballerina with an imcomparable, radiant presence on stage. When I watch Mariinsky I always look out for her, but it is not hard, since her gifts make her very noticeable on stage! I would hate for her to leave Mariinsky though - wahtever problems it may be having, it is still the greatest ballet company in the world, and the greatest stage for the greatest dancers!

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Awhile back someone asked me if I could be more specific about what it is that I like so much in Oxana Skorik's dancing. It's the way she holds herself, the beautiful motion of her arms and hands, her beautiful motion in general, and on and on. I don't tend to analyze it too closely, preferring just to enjoy it greatly. Also, for me, the beauty is in the totality. If a performance isn't flawless it doesn't detract, for me, if the totality remains so overwhelmingly lovely and the beautiful foundation from which it is derived is made so apparent.

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In my experience, great companies--even at their 'height--have always had some controversial casting and even, from the point of view of fans and critics, occasionally genuinely scandalous casting. That said, some cases are more egregious than others or indeed just plain sadder than others in terms of dancers put forward AND dancers held back. (Ann Jenner anyone?)

I have been trying to refrain from coming to a judgment about Skorik based on youtube, but it's hard not to draw some preliminary conclusions especially with so many reports from fans who do not like her dancing. I confess I was relieved to see she wasn't cast in the performances I have tickets for this year and, now that some last minute, unannounced casting changes have been reported for at least one White Nights performance, I am plenty uneasy I'm going to see her anyway.

I should think Fateyev indifferent to what is being said on social media about his decision making--and, in a way, he should be. On principle, artistic directors should be primarily artistic directors--and leave it to Hollywood to change the ending of movies based on focus groups etc.. Of course, that does NOT make them above criticism by fans/spectators. Nor is there any guarantee of the quality of a particular artistic director. I'm not saying they are always right (!!). Additionally, Fateyev, whatever his own failings, has Gergiev--and god knows who else--to contend with as well.

However, I do wonder if the Mariinsky social media staff read message boards at least occasionally -- I did notice their Facebook page (at least the English language one) recently had a long entry about how the whole Mariinsky complex was being used during one evening, listing all the performances at the different theaters. It could have been exactly a riposte to some discussions on another thread of this forum. And of course, "social media" is their job. But even that may be assuming too much...and I think much of what is said on message boards, Facebook, twitter etc. is also being said in traditional press outlets.

Obviously Fateyev knows that Skorik has raised hackles. For whatever reason (good or bad), he is still casting her prominently.

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If anyone has a problem.with any post, please click the "report" button, and the Moderators will review.

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I've just finished reading this thread and watching the videos embedded in it and am very bothered that someone has made such an effort to produce a compilation video of Skorik's flubs.

I think it's just plain cruel, no matter the reason or the impassioned discourse surrounding the post with the video.

I think the person was so completely frustrated after seeing mess ups every single time. You might still not agree with it, and that is your right, but if a person has seen her mess up 20 out of 20 performances he has attended and then since the video she has messed up at almost every performance or simplified the choreography in order to get through it (on one of the most important stages in the world), well, that person got upset and is doubly upset since there are more deserving ballerinas who are not getting the chances she is getting.

But as Helene has pointed out, life (and the ballet world) is not fair. There is little we can do about it.

I think youtube is just part of modern life for public figures, and ballet dancers at world class stages are going to have to learn to deal with it. I don't see this any differently than the compilation videos New Yorkers have made on youtube of Tiki Barber's dropped passes, etc.

If Peter Boal repeatedly cast a mediocre dancer in prominent roles, and she stumbled in 20+ performances consistantly - I'd point it out on Ballet Alert as well. I understand there are dancers who "go for broke" and stumble (Patricia Barker did early in her career as well) but she was still brilliant on stage - even in her early 20's.

The link I posted to the Dryads comparison is interesting because all 3 dancers shown are in their 20's when filmed. Makhalina was a complete dancer even then, she was 100% in control, serene and made everything look light and assured. Even if she had made a mistake, the rest of her dancing, "like a Duchess on vacation" to quote the Washington Post, was extraordinary.

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Back to Skorik: I sure hope that she improves her technique because she is blessed with so many natural attributes.

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I think youtube is just part of modern life for public figures, and ballet dancers at world class stages are going to have to learn to deal with it. I don't see this any differently than the compilation videos New Yorkers have made on youtube of Tiki Barber's dropped passes, etc.

If Peter Boal repeatedly cast a mediocre dancer in prominent roles, and she stumbled in 20+ performances consistantly - I'd point it out on Ballet Alert as well. I understand there are dancers who "go for broke" and stumble (Patricia Barker did early in her career as well) but she was still brilliant on stage - even in her early 20's.

The link I posted to the Dryads comparison is interesting because all 3 dancers shown are in their 20's when filmed. Makhalina was a complete dancer even then, she was 100% in control, serene and made everything look light and assured. Even if she had made a mistake, the rest of her dancing, "like a Duchess on vacation" to quote the Washington Post, was extraordinary.

You bring up a really good point. I have seen Tereshkina stumble a couple of times in otherwise amazing performances, so, yes, even great dancers make mistakes. Everyone is human. But a stumble or coming off pointe for a split second once in a while (once out of 20 performances) is totally understandable and excusable. Falls happen too. No big deal when it is an unusual occurrence. For example, if a person made a compilation of mistakes made by Lopatkina who has danced hundreds of performances and given so much satisfaction to people over the years.....well, I think, THAT would really be nitpicking and would require doing a very wide search to come up with just a handful of mistakes. It would require going through hundreds of videos just to "get" her and zap her. That isn't what happened with the video in question. The person did not search wide and far and long for those clips. The clips were plentiful and this person did not use all that were available.

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