Birdsall

Two dancers; Two approaches to a role...

32 posts in this topic

Two different body types as well... Can't say I was crazy about either.

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Martinyuk is clearly the better actress as well, although her arm positions on the final pass were somewhat sloppy.

Skorik, wow I don't quite know what to say. I wonder if the drive to be so supremely thin robs her of energy, and the muscle needed to hold positions, give the choreography some panache, etc. She doesn't hold any of her positions with any authority. It's pretty easy to find a youtube video of this done properly.

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Martynyuk is a great Kitri - full of panache, brilliant speed and footwork, and having so much fun - whereas Skorik just makes the viewer feel tired along with her. Her variation is so slow, and walking to start her pirouette diagonale??? Had she forgotten she was Kitri? She should not be doing this role at all - she is completely unsuited for it, but then she should not be doing so many roles. Mariinsky management is greatly at fault for promoting this inferior ballerina at the expense of so many more worthy ones.

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I've always preferred the more petite, zippier and 'cuter' ballerinas as Kitri so, naturally, my preferrence is for Martinyuk, who totally captured the gusto of the heroine. (Osipova, Obraztsova, Cojocaru and Vishneva are other faves of mine in the role.) Skorik is totally miscast in this. Absurd...just as it would be absurd to cast other tall, utra-thin adagio specialists as Kitri. Could anyone imagine Lopatkina in this? Of course not.

Birdsall, it's not a matter of 'Mariinsky Style' vs any other style. It's a matter of moronic casting.

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I It's a matter of moronic casting.

Couldn't agree more. Why pick Skorik at all? What about Stepanova, Batoeva, Nikitina, Marchuk, Krasnokutskaya, Petushkova, Adzhamova ... there are so many wonderful ballerinas who had the necessary speed, jump, brilliance, personality for Kitri. Skorik has none of these qualities. Nikitina has a far more brilliant technique and all the requisite qualities for a Kitri yet she has had no principal role debuts at all, or even secondary role debuts, despite being a coryphee. Why is Mariinsky management giving this one ballerina every principal role in its repertoire and then allowing her to dance it so many times? How many Odette/Odiles did she dance last season? How many other debuts in the role were there? What about the opportunities for other dancers? They must all be totally demoralized by their lack of opportunity and be wondering what on earth they must do to get roles. Why Skorik?

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I guess my point was that Skorik is being treated as a versatile dancer who can do anything, and I have a feeling we are going to see more debuts. I don't think this is going to be the last Kitri. From what I have heard previous Artistic Directors knew the emploi of each dancer. I read under another topic on emploi that this is even part of Vaganova training....emploi is an important part of training dancers, and somehow that concept has been thrown out of the window for some dancers. When you watch videos of the old Kirov you see so much excellence sort of like what Martynyuk shows nowadays (in my opinion). This is not Skorik's fault in the end. It is administration. What is going on is so depressing.

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I went back and found the topic "emploi" under aesthetic issues and read posts I only skimmed a while back. Quite a fascinating discussion there. I guess there was always some casting against type but that usually happens when the person is extraordinary and the audience is basically demanding it.

You have this phenomenon (doing away with the Fach system) in opera also where Cecilia Bartoli will soon have a recording of Norma out. She has already sung it in concert and will sing it also in Salzburg (I believe staged this time). This is really a jaw dropping and mindboggling case of total miscasting, but the PR claims she is going back to what Bellini intended. Well, no one can really know what he intended. As far as tradition goes, this is a potential Party Record.

And I actually like many things Bartoli has done in the past, especially her forays into obscure baroque arias.

Anyway, the topic on emploi has pros and cons of emploi. Sometimes it actually works when someone is cast against type. But other times it does not. I don't think Kondaurova would be right for Kitri, but she would at least have the spitfire personality and might actually pull it off.

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...although her arm positions on the final pass were somewhat sloppy.

I didn't like either one, but Martinyuk's elbows were the most egregious violation of classical style.

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Another two approaches...happy.png

Edited to add: Re watching Skorik, I realize that during the final diagonal she was as in on the verge to stop altogether, or fall....the last pirouettes were painful to watch.

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Thanks for posting those two dancers also! It is fascinating to compare and contrast.

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Yes, those pirouettes hurt. Boring to watch and seemingly miserable for Skorik to dance. I would maybe take her as Odette, but Fateyev seems to forget that Odette is not the whole art form -- particularly seeing as the same dancer is then required to dance a dramatically different role. Odette is fairly inconsequential to me, and I'd argue for varying degrees of this sentiment in anyone who loves ballet. Who would want nothing but lovely Odettes? I'd be bored to tears.

As for Martinyuk, I love the way she dances Kitri. To hell with 100% perfect classical form in variations like this. I prefer an energetic, almost character approach. If the dancer is very proper, very fussy, I almost certainly won't enjoy their Kitri. The thing about Skorik is that she isn't energetic, and she isn't proper either. I can't imagine anything I'd like her in...except maybe Odette.

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During the "Big Ballet" show on Russian TV I remember Azari Plisetsky scolding Kristina Andreeva from Kazan for allowing her elbows to droop slightly during a sequence of turns. I am, frankly, astonished that at the Mariinsky it's now considered okay to press the elbows into the sides of the torso while turning. If dancers like Tatyana Terekhova and Nina Ananiashvili could support their arms while turning super quickly, I don't see why we can't expect the same of the current generation.

But I'll admit that ungainly elbows during pirouettes are a pet peeve of mine. It drives me insane in Tamara Rojo, Paloma Herrera and Gillian Murphy, too. I don't care if they do quadruple pirouettes in the process, if a dancer's arms are an afterthought, the art is diminished.

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Martynyuk usually has terrific arms. I think it is because she is playing castanets and getting into character.

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To hell with 100% perfect classical form in variations like this. I prefer an energetic, almost character approach. If the dancer is very proper, very fussy, I almost certainly won't enjoy their Kitri. The thing about Skorik is that she isn't energetic, and she isn't proper either. I can't imagine anything I'd like her in...except maybe Odette.
After considering this, I agree with you, trieste. I'll take a wild Kitri any day of the week over a careful Kitri. Even if the arms are out of position, if I'm watching live in the audience I probably won't notice as much as on youtube. I think I'd just enjoy myself too much, because I would be so involved in the characters, music and organic dancing. I don't even mind the occasional fall if the dancer is going lights-out to entertain me!

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I watched the video link on the Tanaquil Le Clercq thread. Robbins comments on her versatility and the roles he made on her required 5 or 6 dancers to fill.

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Trieste, i can not agree with this general proposition: "Odette is fairly inconsequential to me, and I'd argue for varying degrees of this sentiment in anyone who loves ballet."

I do not think many would agree that Odette is inconsequential. Odile is just a diabolical parody of Odette. Odile does not even exist in Balanchine's version of the ballet.

I do certainly grant that Skorik is not a good Kitri; she must have outrageous energy, she must embody the idea of the irrepressible. Osipova rules in that respect -- Look at the elevation in her jumps, the extension and amplitude of her leaps, the way they come from the toes.

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I believe what Trieste was trying to say is that Fateyev keeps saying Skorik is an amazing Odette, and Trieste was trying to say she/he doesn't understand a ballerina being only good at Odette and nothing else, because Odette would not make or break a ballerina for Trieste (sorry about naming over and over but I don't know which pronoun to use).

At least that is how I interpreted her/his comments. I could be wrong. Trieste can let us know.

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What I saw of Skorik on that Don Q video is disturbing - she is SO wrong for the role, both in her technique, her style and her temperament. She looks weak, tired & flat.

She's no great Odette, either. Swan Lake is the only thing I've seen her in live and while she hits some beautiful poses, there's really nothing in between them. That's not my idea of a great Odette.

It's a shame what the "new Marinsky style" has devolved into

When it comes to Kitri, I also want a dancer with great energy and a great jump. My favorites live have been Osipova and Dvorovenko. My all time favorite (on film) is Ninel Kargapkina. I looked for a video on youtube to post here, but I couldn't find one. She does it on a VHS called Classic Kirov Performances.

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One thing strikes me about Malika Sabirova - her torso is WAY forward, tilted forward from the hips almost throughout the variation. Today's dancers are far more "upright"...

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Here is a new compare/contrast video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPASA_mUwZs

Could anybody please explain what happened to Skorik's right foot at 5.05?

Her weak foot gave up on her. Gosh...is there a complete performance where she doesn't stumble, falls or something...? yucky.gif

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One thing strikes me about Malika Sabirova - her torso is WAY forward, tilted forward from the hips almost throughout the variation. Today's dancers are far more "upright"...

Was that common back in the Soviet era? I do notice differences between historical footage and today's style. It seems also that things are taken slower in general, although not usually as slow as Skorik's Kitri. But when you watch historical footage of something like Sleeping Beauty it almost seems comically fast because I am not used to such speed. I guess speed was valued more during that period and slower movement is more valued in our time. Maybe it goes in waves.

I know in opera there have been times when less vibrato in baroque opera, for example, was the norm. Nowadays most singers use more vibrato in baroque, because it is what we want (sounds warmer and fuller). In fact most people can't stand straight/white tone singing nowadays.

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