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Comparing Generations


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#1 writer

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:55 AM

[Admin note: Posts 1-7 on this topic were originally posted in the Mariinsky 2012-13 season thread, but it was too good a topic to not break out into its own thread. Thank you, writer!]

I often watch clips of the MT and the Bolshoi from the 1980's and earlier. The technique and the body type has changed so much, I daresay a dancer who had the same body and technique as Maya Plisetskaya would not be accepted into the company these days. The technique seems to be in some sort of transition.

#2 Natalia

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:56 AM

And yet, writer, I've seen clips of Plisetskaya performing grand-jete-en tournant -- higher and more spirited than many men -- and I think that her technique and brio would be hailed today. If she were in her prime now (2013), she would be just fine - tallish, long-limbed but 20lbs lighter. I have the feeling that the greats of 50-60 years ago would be great now but only slimmer, in the case of the women.

Youskevich & Alonso would be battling Osipova/Vasiliev or Hallberg/Murphy right now, if the 'seniors' were at their prime in 2013. I would even venture to guess that the Youskevich & Alonso would be the #1 stars right now.

#3 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:54 AM

I would even venture to guess that the Youskevich & Alonso would be the #1 stars right now.


Amen to that. There was certainly no room for weaknesses then.

#4 Tara

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 02:55 PM

I often watch clips of the MT and the Bolshoi from the 1980's and earlier. The technique and the body type has changed so much, I daresay a dancer who had the same body and technique as Maya Plisetskaya would not be accepted into the company these days. The technique seems to be in some sort of transition.


Not just the company but I'd venture further and say their feeder school(s) would also reject the great Maya's body type as well. And frankly, in the last 10 years they would likely reject even a young Makarova as well for she was very proportioned rather than ALL legs prototype being favored over any and every other type regardless of talent or readiness. A sad but very unfortunate truth.

#5 canbelto

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:40 PM

Well speaking of Grand Pas Classique watch Komleva and Soloviev absolutely sail through it:



#6 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:31 PM

and speaking of cynthia gregory and fernando bujones..no cigarette tho....



#7 Buddy

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:56 PM

Well speaking of Grand Pas Classique watch Komleva and Soloviev absolutely sail through it:


Thanks canbelto. What a delight !

[font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][size=4]Haven't really had a chance to really get into the Cynthia Gregory and Fernando Bujones one yet.[/size][/font]

#8 Helene

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:10 PM

I found this on YouTube; "Grand pas Classique. Different generations of dancers. Choreography. Technique. Dance.", a compilation of five ballerinas performing the same variation, was posted yesterday. The five ballerinas are:

Oksana Skorik.
Diana Vishneva.
Elisabeth Platel.
Gabriela Komleva.
Marina Kondratieva.



First impressions: I particularly loved Komleva's version; I found it charming and evocative of Petipa female characters. Kondratieva didn't charm me as much, but in that fiendish diagonal of turns from plie/attitude front/plie/turn, the way she went up and made each turn bloom following the music phrase was great. I can't bear the extensions that Skorik and Vishneva do in this, but I hadn't realized how strong Skorik's feet were before. Platel is very proper, but I prefer a little more salt and pepper.

#9 writer

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:43 PM

Great video. It really shows how the desired 'look' has changed.

#10 Buddy

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:48 PM

[font=Helvetica][size=4]Thanks, Helen. I was thinking of adding Diana Vishneva for comparison, but didn't want to overload the topic. Elisabeth Platel's version I've been watching for years.[/size][/font]

[font=Helvetica][size=4]So let's bring Olga along as well.[/size][/font]
[font=Helvetica][size=4]
[/size][/font]

#11 canbelto

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:18 PM

Here's another comparison. In this case, very similar type dancers, same company, same schooling. It's very cool to see how Maya Plisetskaya and Natalia Osipova are like "sisters": they have the same strong ankles, the elevation, the aggressive attack.

Regarding thinness, I actually think that most dancers of previous generations were as thin as today's dancers, or almost as thin. If you looked at many of them offstage, they were absolutely tiny and bony. And we know from their memoirs that the pressure to be thin was as present back then as it was now. There were a few dancers that were more chubby (Lynn Seymour, Galina Ulanova) but they were exceptions even in their time. The difference I think is the cut of the tutus. Tutus back then I notice tended to be very frilly, and have a poofy shape. Nowadays tutus are usually cut in a way to give the illusion of a severely tapered waste (they do this by a plunging neckline that in olden days probably would have been considered immodest), and the tutu skirt is larger and flatter, which makes the legs (particularly the thighs) look thinner.

I noticed this effect of the modern tutu when I watched the "reconstructions" that generally have a more old-fashioned costume design. The womens' figures looked less sleek and streamlined, and everyone looked "larger." Not FAT but they definitely look a lot different than when they are in modern-cut tutus.

Anyway, back to topic:

Natalia Osipova:



Maya Plisetskaya:



#12 Buddy

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:37 PM

[font=Helvetica][size=4]Canbelto, getting back to your original Gabriella Komleva and Yuri Soloviev video for a moment, in essence I think that artists like these two may transcend generational differences. [/size][/font]In part I mean that they would be just as compelling on a stage today as they were back then.

[second sentence added later]

#13 writer

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:03 PM

Osipova is probably the closest in energy to Plisetskaya. There is just something about her!

The tutus have definitely changed shape. It don't think it is just weight thas has changed. There is more of a preference for hyperextended legs and high arches. These were not absolutely necessary. In fact, hyperextended legs and high arched feet are actually weaker.

#14 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:40 PM

I found this on YouTube; "Grand pas Classique. Different generations of dancers. Choreography. Technique. Dance.", a compilation of five ballerinas performing the same variation, was posted yesterday. The five ballerinas are:

Oksana Skorik.
Diana Vishneva.
Elisabeth Platel.
Gabriela Komleva.
Marina Kondratieva.

http://youtu.be/l3Z97nC2nX8

First impressions: I particularly loved Komleva's version; I found it charming and evocative of Petipa female characters. Kondratieva didn't charm me as much, but in that fiendish diagonal of turns from plie/attitude front/plie/turn, the way she went up and made each turn bloom following the music phrase was great. I can't bear the extensions that Skorik and Vishneva do in this, but I hadn't realized how strong Skorik's feet were before. Platel is very proper, but I prefer a little more salt and pepper.


My definitive Pas Classique.



#15 Buddy

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:35 PM

So great to see Rolando Sarabia again, Cristian. I've lost track of him completely. I thought that he could be one of the all time greats, and I told him so once, but…? I hope he's doing well.

Lorna Feijoo -- and I thought that I was watching Viengsay Valdés. I was all set to tell you how I tracked her down in the halls of the Mariinsky to tell how her well I thought that she did. I think that she's precious, but that story has to wait for another time. Nice job, Lorna and Rolando.

[added comment]

Very interesting thoughts about costumes and everything, canbelto.

[corrected the spelling of Rolando Sarabia's last name. Inexcusable Posted Image ]


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