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#286 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:20 PM

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.

#287 California

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:22 PM

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"?

#288 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:25 PM

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

#289 Birdsall

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:50 PM

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.

#290 Cygnet

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 02:33 PM

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.

#291 Jayne

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 04:20 PM

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.

#292 Helene

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 04:34 PM

[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]

#293 Helene

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 10:02 PM

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.

#294 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:32 AM

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.

#295 Tiara

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:52 AM

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.

#296 Tiara

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 02:03 AM

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.

#297 Birdsall

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 03:39 AM

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

#298 Natalia

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 03:43 AM

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.

#299 Birdsall

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 03:51 AM

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.

#300 Helene

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 08:31 AM

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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