PetitDi

Tsis­karidze & Lopatk­ina at the Vag­an­ova Bal­let Academy

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Strangely, I get a strong feeling it might not be the school itself that created the page. I know Google Translate isn't perfect, but is it likely that an institution's official page would link to articles strongly critical of new leadership?

[Admin note: Anyone can create a Facebook page and call it what they like. Until there is a statement from the school that the new site calling itself "Vaganova Academy" and created in the last 24 hours is, indeed, an official page of the Vaganova Academy, links to it and info from it are unofficial sources and will be removed.]

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All ballet schools in Russia use the Vaganova system AFAIK, therefore certainly Tsiskaridze and Lopatkina would have been trained according to the same principles. However, if Tsiskaridze's comments about the Mariinsky/Vaganova Academy "graveyard" are true, he probably will be looking to revolutionize things and break from tradition. Lopatkina would see herself as the custodian of the purest fount of the Vaganova school. Mr. Tsiskaridze being her boss and having authority over her would make her position more untenable if they have fundamental differences in their interpretation of what constitutes proper Vaganova schooling. Both are strong-willed, are big stars with large egos but with very different personal styles. I cannot see Lopatkina submitting herself to Tsiskaridze easily.

I also wonder about Vishneva's comment about the rector of the school having good morals since that person must interact with children. That comment must reflect on Tsiskaridze since he is now the rector and Vishneva is criticizing his appointment. We have heard reports of his manipulating the dancers he coached at the Bolshoi (i.e. Anzhelina Vorontsova). There were criticisms of his teaching skills and personal ethics as a coach at the Bolshoi.

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He has enemies in Russia that are media savvy, he seemed to have been well liked when he taught in Paris.

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Teaching in Paris and being the Rector of the Vaganova school are very different things. As far as being media-savvy, Tsiskaridze had his own TV show/platform -- I don't know if ths is possible with his new position and has been the "go-to" interview/comments on TV and in print.

As far as the "graveyard" of the Vaganova/Mariinsky, again, Pawlick's book is illuminating. I wouldn't assume the details of what Tsiskaridze means by this until he makes them clear.

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After many critical appraisals of Tsiskaridze's appointment, Yulia Makhalina has given him her support. "I fully and completely support Kolya, because I know that he is fanatically devoted to art, very educated and demanding of himself, and his service to Terpsichore cannot be doubted for a second." She also added: "The appointment of Tsiskaridze was the government's decision, right? If the government appointed Kolya, then it knows what it's doing." However, she is also struck by the sudden nature of the change, and disagrees with the decision to replace Asylmuratova with Lopatkina in light of the fact that Lopatkina is still performing actively. She refuses to venture a guess about whether the Vaganova staff will vote to approve Tsiskaridze's appointment, but she believes they ought to assist him rather than going to war against him.

http://izvestia.ru/news/559897

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I didn't realize the staff would have to agree to his appointment. I thought they were stuck with whatever the Culture Ministry/government decided to do.

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I didn't realize the staff would have to agree to his appointment. I thought they were stuck with whatever the Culture Ministry/government decided to do.

Some articles said that the rector's appointment would mean that all of the staff of the Vaganova's contracts would expire and be up to the rector to renew. So ... they can agree to this appointment, or be dismissed, or resign.

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Some articles said that the rector's appointment would mean that all of the staff of the Vaganova's contracts would expire and be up to the rector to renew. So ... they can agree to this appointment, or be dismissed, or resign.

Appointment as in nomination? Then, that sounds like a sentence Orwell could have written. If it means approved appointment, then if they don't approve he would have nothing to say about their contracts, unless the next approved Rector was a puppet. If they don't succeed in blocking his approval, then he could retaliate by refusing to renew their contracts.

She also added: "The appointment of Tsiskaridze was the government's decision, right? If the government appointed Kolya, then it knows what it's doing."

Right.

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Some articles said that the rector's appointment would mean that all of the staff of the Vaganova's contracts would expire and be up to the rector to renew. So ... they can agree to this appointment, or be dismissed, or resign.

Appointment as in nomination? Then, that sounds like a sentence Orwell could have written. If it means approved appointment, then if they don't approve he would have nothing to say about their contracts, unless the next approved Rector was a puppet. If they don't succeed in blocking his approval, then he could retaliate by refusing to renew their contracts.

Vera Dorofeeva resigned, so the articles (I can't find them now) say that all contracts have thus expired and are up to the incoming rector (Tsiskaridze) to renew or terminate. So basically ... they're already fired unless they approve.

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This is all fascinating, and terrible, to me. Back to the Bad Old Days? Or is this the new century kicking in? (there's no answer to those questions except time, of course.) My heart goes out to the artists in St. Petersburg.

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How could they be entitled to vote if they've been fired?

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http://www.ismeneb.com/Blog/Entries/2013/10/29_Asylmuratova_said_to_be_still_considering_options.html

"The dismissal of the Rector automatically terminates the contracts of her deputies, including the artistic director."

I'm not sure how many teachers are considered deputies, but it sounds like their contracts are terminated until they are renewed by the new Rector? An offer you can't refuse.

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If the contracts of "pro-rectors" expire automatically when the rector leaves his post, it would not necessarily follow that all instructors would find themselves in that boat. According to the Russian version of the Academy's web site, the school has six vice-rectors: Altynai Asylmuratova (artistic director), Alexei Fomkin (pedagogy and methodology), Tatiana Golovina (academic, educational and social work), Vyacheslav Isakov (research and development), Galina Taupeko (administration) and Olga Abramova (international relations).

http://www.vaganova.ru/page.php?id=20&pid=19

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The voting by staff is not to occur until next *summer*. News sources suggested January but the pedagogues here have told me it is closer to summer 2014. That's a LONG time (a full academic year essentially) before anything can be adjusted.

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That explains Tsiskaridze's position that teachers who've started the year should finish the year. By next summer, maybe he thinks they'll like the way he's running things and the staff he's chosen, and if he decides, the deputies he re-hires.

It also means the voters will have nothing to say about it if Dorofeeva's prediction comes true and Gergiev takes over the studios for the Mariinsky during the main theater reno.

Dorofeeva has started a new job with the Mikhailovsky already. It's not surprising she was removed from the Vaganova site.

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In an interview Tsiskaridze said that through the 1970's the Kirov used studios at the school. Does anyone know if that's correct? Or what it involved? I'm asking because I'm trying to understand how "bad" it is for the company to use the school's studios when/if Mariinsky I is renovated. Of course, something that worked in the past may not be appropriate or practicable now, but I haven't altogether been able to understand why this issue, in particular, has become such a huge casus belli. I understand the ballet world's distrust of Gergiev (I share it), but however independent the school is--it still is proud of its role as the feeder school for the Mariinsky. They are linked institutions.

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Yes, Drew, the company used the academy's studios until the major renovation to the Kirov Theatre added all of today's studios; I thought that it was in the late-60s, not 70s. The 'new' studios are in the long wing to the left of the main entrance of the theatre (when facing the facade).

But wait a moment: Doesn't the sparkling new Mariinsky II theatre contain beautiful new studios for both ballet and opera?

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Supposedly the Marrinsky II ballet studios were skimped on. I'm not sure about the opera facilities.

It's also a very different situation from the '60's and '70's, no? Fewer ballets to rehearse, fewer tours, not being the cash cow to fund the opera on a slave-driver schedule.

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My understanding was indeed that Mariinsky II, as per Natalia's ironic allusion, has no studios for the ballet company-only new facilities for the opera. Of course, that's a problem, even shameful given the historic centrality of the ballet to the Mariinsky theater. But that doesn't entirely explain to me why leaders of the school should be so adamantly opposed to the idea of the company using its studios during the planned Mariinsky I renovation--given the historic precedent and indeed given that it would presumably be temporary. That is, only until the studios in Mariinsky I were renovated. (Admitedly, that's likely to be a long "temporary.") I assume that they have reasons for their dismay other than anger about the Mariinsky II situation, reasons having to do with the organization of the school etc. But it keeps being mentioned as a kind of absolute outrage that the company would use the school studios -- and I confess that puzzles me a little.

Edited to add: reading this over, it occurred to me that the atmosphere of anxiety of Gerviev's grand unification plan may be fueling antagonism to the idea of the company using the school's spaces. In other words, anything that smacks of "consolidation" is distrusted on the face of it. But I would be interested if there are other thoughts/information about this issue.

Further edited to add: I was corrected below--at any rate Mariinsky II has one ballet studio.

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I thought the M-II had warm-up studios, but I may have mis-read that.

I think the school thinks that it will be squeezed out this time, giving the increased demands of the ballet. It won't be a co-mingling. I'm guessing that in any case, some private money could be found to find space to create temporary studios for either the company or school, but for the students, it's important for them to be in the historic studios, with all of the history, the portaits, and the ghosts to instill a sense of continuity.

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Most interviewees have mentioned that Mariinsky-II has a single ballet studio.

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... but for the students, it's important for them to be in the historic studios, with all of the history, the portaits, and the ghosts to instill a sense of continuity.

Absolutely agree ...

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