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?