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Two dancers; Two approaches to a role...


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#16 Jayne

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 09:21 PM

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!

#17 maps

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 09:39 AM

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.



#18 Paul Parish

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 09:08 PM

Trieste, i can not agree with this general proposition: "[font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][size=4]Odette is fairly inconsequential to me, and I'd argue for varying degrees of this sentiment in anyone who loves ballet."[/size][/font]

[font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][size=4]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.[/size][/font]

[font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][size=4]I do certainly grant that Skorik is not a good Ki[/size][/font]tri; [font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif"][size=4] she must have outrageous energy, she must embody the idea of the irrepressible. [/size][/font] Osipova rules[font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif"][size=4] in that respect -- Look at the elevation in her jumps, the extension and amplitude of her leaps, the way they come from the toes.[/size][/font]

#19 Birdsall

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 03:59 AM

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.

#20 nysusan

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 05:17 AM

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.

#21 Birdsall

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 12:45 PM

Here is a new compare/contrast video:



#22 Catherine

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:59 AM

One thing strikes me about [font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]Malika Sabirova - her torso is WAY forward, tilted forward from the hips almost throughout the variation. Today's dancers are far more "upright"...[/size][/font]

#23 fififi

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 04:45 AM

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?

#24 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 05:21 AM


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...? Posted Image

#25 Birdsall

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 05:29 AM

One thing strikes me about [font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]Malika Sabirova - her torso is WAY forward, tilted forward from the hips almost throughout the variation. Today's dancers are far more "upright"...[/size][/font]


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.

#26 Catherine

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 05:50 AM

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.


I'll share my opinion - I dont know that there's a definitive answer to your question Birdsall, but I think it was more common then, yes. I have noticed it in Kurgapkina's dancing and maybe to a lesser extent, Maximova? There is no technical explanation for this though, and in watching the video above, I was dying to see here just straighten up her back and not tilt forward...it started to bother me visually. Of course maybe it was the camera angle but I dont think so, as it was evident in all of her clips. It could be too that our eyes (at least mine) are trained on 21st century (or I should say, post-1960s) dancers. So when we see shorter, faster, our eyes are not used to it? I know what you mean by the sheer *speed* in some Soviet ballet films *especially* in chaine turns, it actually looks humanly impossible that the dancer would turn so fast, as if the film was artificially sped up at that point. But I am told that is really they way they did it. Note however: releves were lower and so were retire passes. So you can't take 21st century positioning (retire-passe above the knee on a high releve) and put it at Soviet-era speed. At least I can't say I've ever seen that live, or on film.

Tempi are slower now bc dancers are taller. Kurgapkina was 5 feet tall if that (looked more like 4'8" to me when I met her). I read Makarova is about 5'3". Skorik is about 5'8 and Lopatkina is 5'10. Kondaurova is also around 5'8". The taller the person - male or female -- the faster the limbs have to move in order to keep up to the same tempo that someone 6 or 12 inches shorter is dancing. The result is the muscles have to work harder to get the same result. It's easier for long-limbed dancers, male or female, to dance at slower tempi because the fast-twitch muscle fibers do not function in the same way-- there is more length for synapses to travel. Height differential affects speed. A taller dancer also has to start a phrase (movement) sooner in order to finish on time, while a shorter dancer can start the same phrase "with the music." It may be a matter of milliseconds but the difference is felt strongly in class during petit allegro or adagio. I've often seen shorter dancers during adagio wait one count and then lift their leg in one count, whereas the taller one will start one long slowwww motion and fill out the entire phrase of music. They are different movement qualities, and timing plays into it (I hope I'm making sense as it's hard to describe w/o a visual).

But that is a separate issue to the spine-forward stance. And my guess is that this is also done to give greater speed. If you're "over" your legs, as they say, it's easier to move fast without fumbling. You're not pulling your torso forward, your torso is pulling you forward -- it makes the dance easier on the dancer...

#27 Birdsall

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 06:05 AM

Interesting that things change and it makes sense that changing one thing causes changes in another way.

#28 Mashinka

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 06:30 AM

Very good points from Catherine, especially regarding height. The ballerinas of the Imperial era were very short indeed, as were a lot of the men and these were the dancers the great ballets were created for. It used to be the case that tall dancers were weeded out during training but it seems the aesthetic has changed.

The last dancer I saw who turned into a blur at the end of her chaine turns was Ananiashvili. While never commonplace, quite a few had that level of speed.

#29 Drew

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:31 PM


One thing strikes me about [font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]Malika Sabirova - her torso is WAY forward, tilted forward from the hips almost throughout the variation. Today's dancers are far more "upright"...[/size][/font]


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.



Off topic . but I could not resist responding to this because I love clear, pure more or less vibrato-less singing. It moves me like nothing else in opera or lieder. I have actually had to "learn" to enjoy vibrato!

I agree that Maximova also had a little something of that torso "leaned forward" look of Malika Sabirova, at least in the Don Q variations I have seen on tape, but not so exaggerated.

(It's interesting that Balanchine who often preferred and promoted tall dancers and even spoke about this in interviews also demanded speed in his ballets.)

#30 Birdsall

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:53 PM

Drew, are you sure you like vibrato-less singing? If so, you would like boys' choirs or early counter tenors (before they became mainstream and sang with more vibrato). You might also like Emma Kirby. I think you probably mean little vibrato. Some people like very little, but most people want some amount of vibrato. Too much vibrato is a tremolo and faulty singing if the singer can not control how much vibrato. That might be what you don't like in a singer, and, if so, that is something that is annoying, but white tones (no vibrato) in singing are like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.


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