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#286 Helene

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 11:10 AM

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, "[I]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.

#287 Birdsall

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 11:36 AM

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.

#288 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.

#289 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"?

#290 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...)

#291 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.

#292 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.

#293 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.

#294 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]

#295 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.

#296 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.

#297 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.

#298 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.

#299 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.

#300 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.


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