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#301 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.

#302 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.

#303 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:16 PM

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.

#304 Cygnet

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:38 PM

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 - Posted Image.

#305 Tiara

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 01:16 AM

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?

#306 Helene

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 01:47 AM

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.

#307 Natalia

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 05:19 AM

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."

#308 amiaow

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 01:15 PM

And Somova? She certainly attracted her share of controversy!

#309 Tiara

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 01:59 PM


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.

#310 Jayne

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 05:54 PM

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

https://www.youtube....h?v=t0QTDycNHDY

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.

#311 angelica

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 06:16 PM

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.

#312 Helene

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 10:21 PM

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.

#313 Tiara

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 01:57 AM


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.

#314 Helene

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 07:39 AM

[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]

#315 Tiara

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 11:02 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.


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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