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.
...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....
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.