Birdsall

Skorik

477 posts in this topic

.... Has Somova succeeded in doing so...? I don't think so.

We wish her many blessings and happiness as a mother. (Also Terioshkina and Matvienka...and Selina!)

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Somova has improved vastly under her new coach, both in artistry and technique. The fact is that not many dancers (or actors, musicians, singers, painters, writers) can give a mature performance at 20. Those such as Guillem and Smirnova are the exception, but it seems ADs are eager to replicate that sort of rise artificially, which is bizarre and cruel. Honestly, when I watch videos of Skorik, she seems terrified, and nerves can ruin much more naturally gifted performers. Skorik is a symptom of the cancer at the Mariinsky, not the disease itself, and shouldn't be attacked as such. She's a young artist with her whole career ahead of her.

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Somova is, what, 27 now? She has barely improved IMO because her BASICS aren't there, beginning with turn out. Skorik has been hot & cold, sometimes terrible because of nerves (her first GISELLE, tech errors in other ballets, tension in facial expression when nervous) but she has the BASICS as well as a beautful line...but not klutzy-long like Somova. I hope that yesterday's opening night in Costa Mesa went well for Skorik who indeed has the potential and BASICS to be great, if she can control her nerves.

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So now that the California (Swan Lake) legs -- no pun intended -- of the Ardani tour are over, is there a consensus on how Skorik fared? It's really hard to tell in reading everyone's reports - just as 'hot or cold' as I've experienced in the past. She seems to be improving, on the whole.

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re. 'Power Trip' - hmmm...you may be onto something. Seems like it now. To me, the exclusion of Lopatkina gives me even greater concern than the elevation of Skorik. Lopatkina does 'the Baltics and Siberia Tour' while others go to California...performing HER signature ballet, no less?

I get the opposite feeling: that Lopatkina has so much clout she can 'opt-out' of a foreign tour as she wishes. I think she would rather be close to home, anyway. Compared to Vishneva, who actively seeks out opportunities outside of Russia, Lopatkina has been happy to stick with what she has, and seems quite unconcerned with becoming an international performer. She always struck me as being fairly humble, and not intensely ambitious regarding her career. She has certainly done well for herself in Russia. Perhaps that is enough.

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Does anyone know why he is "acting AD"? Are they searching for someone else who will be permanent or waiting to see how he does in his position before making him permanent?

I am not sure a "leader" should come right out and single one person out in an interview as the first person who should get more opportunities, unless it was someone everyone is talking about all over the world as the most exciting dancer to ever appear at the Mariinsky. I think he should have simply named some of the names like he did afterward. Why would he name Skorik first of all? He probably knows about all the controversy, and that makes me think he named her first and foremost as a challenge. He seems determined to prove she has what it takes. This sounds like it is all about him, not her. I think it is cruel to put an unprepared dancer on one of the world's stages and let us balletomanes pounce on her like wolves! Maybe he thinks we shouldn't, but we do, and opera lovers pounce on new singers who make mistake after mistake. It is the way of the world. I am starting to believe this is a power trip on his part.

Just wanted to answer Birdsall's question. No, the theatre is not looking for another director for the ballet troupe, nor will they. In fact, Vasiev's position was "Zavedushi" (head) of the ballet troupe, as was Vinogradov's. Fateyev's is "deputy head" but an interim or deputy director can be present for a very long "interim" and that is what everyone expects to happen.

I was surprised at the Berkeley performances how much clout the American audiences give to the printed programs. In this case, the printed literature (at least at the Berkeley stop - I haven't seen LA or DC programs so cannot comment on those) should not be taken as bible. In the case of Berkeley's programs, the list of 'Principals' bears no relation to the actual ranking of the dancers in the Mariinsky. Rather the rankings were listed in order to back up the casting decisions, not the other way around. Example: we have Kolegova and Skorik listed as principals alongside Sergeyev and Zuizin. Inside the Mariinsky they are all soloists of various levels. Perhaps a fine distinction but a difference nonetheless. Further, alllll of the men are listed as Coryphees, and all the other women as Soloists. Make of it what you will.

To boot, Konstantin Sergeyev's position was also never "artistic director', although I'm sure tour programs listed him as such. So, technically speaking the company has not had an "artistic director" that I am aware of (at least not according to official files - again, tour programs may be written differently for easier understanding by the foreign public). Gergiev wields the power and decides who, under him will "run" the ballet. His subordinates in any case answer to him and that point is one that shouldn't be overlooked.

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Maybe the program was compiled and the clerk who was in charge of formatting and printing the programs out in Berkeley messed it up. Or do you think that was a Mariinsky decision to rank dancers differently in the program?

Hypothetically, can it be concluded that if an ultra wealthy donor wanted a dancer to move up the ranks and promised big donations in return Gergiev might order Fateyev to promote certain dancers? Just asking out of curiosity. I guess what I am asking is not whether that's possible (anything is possible in this world), but is it probable?

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Hypothetically, can it be concluded that if an ultra wealthy donor wanted a dancer to move up the ranks and promised big donations in return Gergiev might order Fateyev to promote certain dancers? Just asking out of curiosity. I guess what I am asking is not whether that's possible (anything is possible in this world), but is it probable?

Yes.

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Hypothetically, can it be concluded that if an ultra wealthy donor wanted a dancer to move up the ranks and promised big donations in return Gergiev might order Fateyev to promote certain dancers? Just asking out of curiosity. I guess what I am asking is not whether that's possible (anything is possible in this world), but is it probable?

Yes.

Mashinka is spot-on. It can even happen not just for promos but to add a dancer to the corps de ballet because of commercial backing.

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I guess that is how it works everywhere to varying degrees. It is often who you know or what extras you bring to the table rather than just pure talent. Sad.

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I guess that is how it works everywhere to varying degrees. It is often who you know or what extras you bring to the table rather than just pure talent. Sad.

Right now my mind wanders in times and places..and videos, trying to guess who could had been an earlier case...

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I guess that is how it works everywhere to varying degrees. It is often who you know or what extras you bring to the table rather than just pure talent. Sad.

Right now my mind wanders in times and places..and videos, trying to guess who could had been an earlier case...

That might be a good discussion for a whole topic all on its own!!!!

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I've seen this in the programs at the Kennedy Center also. I saw Le Corsaire several years back and they had Novikova (She was only coryphee at the time) as a Principal and T. Tkachenko also as a principal. I think they look at who is dancing principal roles on that tour and then go from there.

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I guess that is how it works everywhere to varying degrees. It is often who you know or what extras you bring to the table rather than just pure talent. Sad.

And especially sad when as a result the genuinely talented are overlooked.

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I guess that is how it works everywhere to varying degrees. It is often who you know or what extras you bring to the table rather than just pure talent. Sad.

Indeed, Birdsall. Unfortunately, in some locales (not the USA, that I am aware), the "extras" that must be brought to the table are in the form of CA$H. I have worked in countries so corrupt that jobs inside Customs ministries or agencies must be bought, the 'rationale' being that once the employee lands a job in customs, s/he can write her/his own ticket in 'earnings.'

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I guess that is how it works everywhere to varying degrees. It is often who you know or what extras you bring to the table rather than just pure talent. Sad.

And especially sad when as a result the genuinely talented are overlooked.

I can imagine that some of the dancers in the corps and other ranks who seem to be stuck get very discouraged. I have seen Svetlana Ivanova in The Young Lady and the Hooligan and loved her and was not really aware of her. I just use that person as an example. She seemed like an amazing dancer and actress just seeing her once. She's not really a superstar b/c I looked and saw she is a Coryphee! The Mariinsky site says she joined the Mariinsky in 1993. In about a year she will have been with the company for 20 years and only reached the rank of a Coryphee! That amazes me! Maybe a dancer can be happy at that ranking if she has a full life with a wonderful family, etc (I don't know anything about her), but it amazes me how some shoot up the ranks so quickly while others seem forgotten. Maybe this happens everywhere. But for talented dancers it must seem so unjust at times.

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.....Svetlana Ivanova .....a Coryphee! The Mariinsky site says she joined the Mariinsky in 1993. ....

Ivanova graduated in 1996, in the class of Inna Zubkovskaya (along with Tatyana Nekipelova-Bazhitova, another choryphee). So she is not quite as old as the MT webside would have you believe. :) Still, you make a good point.

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I agree it's all too easy for talented dancers to stagnate in the murky depths of the Mariinsky ranking system. Another coryphee I like myself is Xenia Ostreikovskaya, just three years younger than Ivanova, and a lovely pure classical ballerina who I think could have progressed further than she did. In the Gergiev/Fateyev regime, it seems the motto is "Life is not Fair," unless a dancer is one of the favoured, privileged few, and then the motto is "I Can Do No Wrong."

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We all know life is unfair, and I think we might be okay with some going up the ranks faster than others more deserving (afterall, artistry is a subjective thing....I will think one dancer deserving while someone else will disagree).....but I think we'd be happier if the flight up were not like a speeding train for some while the others are left behind for so long.

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We all know life is unfair, and I think we might be okay with some going up the ranks faster than others more deserving (afterall, artistry is a subjective thing....I will think one dancer deserving while someone else will disagree).....but I think we'd be happier if the flight up were not like a speeding train for some while the others are left behind for so long.

Exactly! I can think of some appropriate proverbs here ... "He who pays the piper calls the tune" or "Never look a gift horse in the mouth."

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...We all know life is unfair, and I think we might be okay with some going up the ranks faster than others more deserving (afterall, artistry is a subjective thing....
Per Yuri Fateev's endorsement of Skoryk, (and her most famous, or shall I say, infamous, immediate predecessor), the characteristics that he favors and looks for are indeed subjective. Physical characteristics trump technique, talent and artistry. His view is the prevailing aesthetic in the company right now. Once he has decided to "Mr. Lermontov" a young dancer, one must understand that what you're watching unfold is an experiment. It's an experiment that's being conducted on the dancer, and on us, the audience. This is the same play with new actors.

Here's the thing. Fateev will hype a dancer at home, frequently cast that dancer, and build up that dancer in the media before a major tour. This will build curiosity, put a new name out there to generate chatter for publicity, and to sell tickets. That's nothing unsual. A new wunderkind is promo'd to the hilt, and then, whatever the outcome, he lets the chips fall where they may without changing course. This is key: He doesn't change course, and that's the problem. For example, I reference the opening night of the Mariinsky at Covent Garden on August 9, 2009 with the Lavrovsky, "Romeo & Juliet." The media hype preceded the media fallout after the first night. There were a few critics who grasped for excuses, but the consensus was near unanimous. Each leading Mariinsky ballerina who appeared after opening night, mounted a collective salvage operation for the engagement after the opening night Juliet made her debut in the role, then put the period on the engagement as Aurora.

Fast forward: October 2012, prior to the U.S. tour he's short two principals and another 1st soloist due to pregnancies. How does he cover the absent dancers? Fortunately, he has two able dancers, a prima (highly capable), and another 1st soloist,

2/3 of whom divided the "Lakes," with Oxana. Here's the problem. Fateev majors in the minors, acknowledges the superficial as

important (his Swan Queen's ideal physique), and, without looking ahead to the future, doesn't seem interested in developing those he doesn't favor or meet his criteria. There are many people in the company who are highly capable of stepping up to leading roles, and yet are never cast nor packed for a major tour. Life's vicissitudes - such as multiple pregnancies can and do happen. As Director of the ballet (interim or permanent), it's part of the job to at least be prepared for things like this. Under the circumstances, Fateev coped as well as can be expected. But what if he didn't have Kondaurova or Kolegova to step in? Both

Lopatkina and Vishneva were unavailable. Dasha Pavlenko (still) hasn't resumed O/O, so what would've been his options? Perhaps this situation might be a management wake up call.

As Catherine stated earlier, everyone who works in the Mariinsky Theatre is subordinate to Maestro Gergiev. It's been obvious,

(at least to me), for years that he's quite happy with the Ballet's condition. Additionally, he's extremely happy with the affirmative stance that Fateev takes as 'yes man' re Maestro's leadership and policies. In the case of Skoryk, I haven't seen her live, however, based on the reports posted here, and having read different official reviews, I believe that she does have potential. However, right now, it seems that she isn't ripe for the rank of 1st Soloist, let alone ready for primetime in leading roles, nor the central assignment on opening nights. That said, she requires alot of guidance and preparation, just like anyone; especially someone who has been Fateev-tapped for Principal Dancer. If she can't deliver when it counts, she needs to be held back until and unless she can do so - and with consistency.

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I wonder if all the teachers/coaches could have a meeting with Fateyev and Gergiev and express concern about quality and the hours spent helping dancers not quite ready vs. the lack of hours spent coaching excellent dancers who deserve more coaching to perfect roles. Maybe the coaches do not want to speak up or they already have and feel it is like talking to a brick wall.

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Since Ivanova came up (I brought her up), a friend sent me an article on her. It seems to explain why she is still a Coryphee. She has had an interruption and seems to put her personal life at the top of her priorities (which is a good thing) and is also taking pedagogy classes, so it sounds like she has a full life. I'm glad to hear that. I'm assuming I can post this link, since it is something we were discussing. I was very heartened to read that someone who seemed "stuck" in the lower ranks actually seems to be having a fullfilling life anyway.

http://www.ballet-dance.com/200702/articles/Ivanova2006.html

To get back to the topic....someone told me he saw Skorik in California and she has worked hard to improve her technique. He says there are still issues though. But it is nice to know. It sounds like she's a Fateyev favorite, and so we are going to see a lot of her. So we have to be glad that she's improving.

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It is likely that almost everyone on this thread with experience seeing the Mariinsky over the years has had experiences similar to mine--experiences that, for me, give these discussions a quality of unreality. Though, indeed, I have only been able to see the company very sporadically over the years...

Certainly, when I first saw the Kirov in the early 80's one thing that struck me was that although they had a lot of principal dancers I did not quite 'get' (including dancers much admired in the Soviet Union such as Mezentzeva), I never doubted I was seeing serious, skilled artists in complete command of what they were doing. I never had to make allowances or create a back story to explain what I was seeing, praise someone for having 'improved' or focus on potential--EVEN when I scrunched up my brow in puzzlement and thought -- "so, that's what a non-defecting Kirov ballerina looks like...not what I imagined exactly."

Everyone on stage, as a friend of mine said, "knew what it was supposed to look like" and, as it went without saying, had the skills to make it look that way. (This was in Petipa and Fokine I should underline.) And, in Pacquita, say, up and down the line, one soloist was better than the last: a display of as high quality classical dancing as I had ever seen. I had some favorites but never worried twice about the "cast"--certainly not when it came to the company's women: whoever was dancing and whatever the role, she was sure to know what she was doing and be doing it at the highest level.

Then, at the end of 80's I saw a performance on tour where that was not entirely true. I remember the exact moment in Pacquita when someone seemed to lose their poise and dance with less than perfect security and I was--at the time, without irony--SHOCKED! shocked that such a thing was possible at the Kirov...Some on this board may remember too towards the very end of the Vinogradov era, some fans were puzzled by the Makhalina phenomenon which was attributed to favoritism and an inexplicable taste for hyper-extended limbs: little did we imagine what was coming.

The season with the reconstructed Sleeping Beauty at the Met was the first, ironically enough, to break the spell for me. I would take Sergeyev danced the way they used to dance almost any time over the reconstruction the way they were dancing it at the Met. I saw not one but two less than ideal Auroras in the company of Sizova, Kolpakova, in more recent memory, Lezhnina. (Of course I wouldn't mind seeing the reconstruction danced ... the way they used to dance.)

I actually have seen Somova (everyone's exhibit A for the prosecution) give what I judged a lovely and, indeed, very appealing performance in Ratmansky and a quite nice one in Balanchine (allowing that the Mariinsky's Balanchine is not my favorite) ... but it's really unspeakably depressing that a company that once had such incomparably high standards in the pre-Balanchine era classics is so out of touch with its legacy that fans find themselves debating just how much allowance should be made for ballerina x or whether ballerina y even deserves principal roles. Moreover these are fans who don't necessarily see eye to eye on everything: it's not simply one clique that happens to hate one dancer.

However, I will say that as my narrative above suggests I think the problem is about more than a couple of controversial dancers--dancers about whom there is still some range of opinion--and precedes the current regime and, perhaps, includes something strange in the company's own relation to its "post-Soviet" moment: including how it decides what parts of the Soviet legacy are to be kept, what revised or chucked altogether, and generally what modern ballet at the Mariinsky should look like (other than Balanchine as a rather obvious choice of choreographer) -- perhaps, too, in its relation to how the company should be financed -- etc.

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Thanks for posting that article about ivanova -- i saw her in the cygnets' dance in Berkeley and thougth she was visionary beautiful. I didn't know who it was, but asked Catherine Pawlick who that was [first cygnet out] and she identified her as "my friend Ivanova." Beautiful coupes, beautiful pas de chats.... like gelsey kirkland's, beautiful.

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