PetitDi

Tsis­karidze & Lopatk­ina at the Vag­an­ova Bal­let Academy

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For Westerners, the rake takes a huge toll on joints when you are at first not used to it, but once you are used to it (as Xander noted) it can be a preferable option.

How is it preferable? It sounds so scary and dizzying.

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Well it's preferable when doing a manege or diagonale and heading *downstage* ahem wink1.gif because the momentum takes you forward faster and in jumps you seem to go higher since, as you travel forward (downstage), the floor is lower than it was where you took off from the jump (due to the grade). I can't personally say it's preferable when running upstage though (because you're running uphill)...

From an audience's point of view it's also preferable because you can see everyone on stage, up to the girl in the last row. In the West this is achieved mostly by grading the orchestra seats...but still, from the orchestra you look at the stage and it's one level, so the "girls in the back" can get lost from view more easily. It depends of course on the hall, where you're sitting, but overall the sight lines are better, i find, in theatres with raked stages (better for the audience I mean).

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Now the Ministry of Culture is establishing an advisory council on "choreographic art and education." It is to be organized by the Moscow Ballet School's Marina Leonova, and she would like it to include Ulyana Lopatkina and Maria Alexandrova. Its members are to be active dancers and artistic directors of ballet companies and schools--no fans, managers or journalists. On the whole Leonova believes that Russian ballet schools pay too much attention to general education, stating that prospective employers are interested in dancing ability and not "an A in physics." Leonova was informed of her new assignment a half hour before the press conference announcing the council's creation.

The ministry says that it understands the importance of making decisions openly and transparently to prevent misunderstanding.

The ministry is now saying that Asylmuratova had initially declined to work with Tsiskaridze, at which point the alternate candidacy of Lopatkina was proposed. However after "long discussions" it was decided that all Vaganova vice rectors would remain at their posts for the present. The ministry's secretary Grigory Ivliev said: "When we began to look deeper into the situation, we saw that combining work at the Academy with work as an active ballerina would be fairly difficult...Therefore, the matter of the candidacy of Ulyana Lopatkina will be decided after the election [of the rector], when all the details will be clear."

http://izvestia.ru/news/560184

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I wonder if this means that they will put pressure on Ulyana Lopatkina to retire from the stage. Or maybe they did not expect the uproar all this has created, so they are backpedaling and maybe there is hope Asylmuratova will stay.

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Well it's preferable when doing a manege or diagonale and heading *downstage* ahem wink1.gif because the momentum takes you forward faster and in jumps you seem to go higher since, as you travel forward (downstage), the floor is lower than it was where you took off from the jump (due to the grade). I can't personally say it's preferable when running upstage though (because you're running uphill)...

Biomechanically, it's harder on the body in both directions (think about your own experiences walking up and down a hill, compared to walking on a flat surface). It's preferable to the dancers only in that it's what they are accustomed to.

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Biomechanically, it's harder on the body in both directions (think about your own experiences walking up and down a hill, compared to walking on a flat surface). It's preferable to the dancers only in that it's what they are accustomed to.

Xander Parish is accustomed to the flat floor, but has stated that he feels more comfortable and prefers the raked floor. There must have been a reason that raked floors became the only types of floors in Russia. Maybe it was these raked floors that held the secret to the great jumps of Nijinsky, Soloviev and Vasiliev, not explained in biomechanics.

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I am convinced that Gergiev has no interest in spending money for dancers to have more rehearsal studios or raked floors, so the Helene/Catherine conversation is a waste of time since Master (not Maestro) Gergiev has no intention of making MT2 ballet studios.

Neither of us said anything about the M-II studios apart from the Mariinsky continuing to use the one studio they have and already use or suggested that Gergiev would give up opera facilites in the new house for the ballet or school, so I don't understand this comment.

Gergiev's logic about the studio space is solid: it's an excellent idea to be able to practice tour rep an a flat floor when preparing for a tour, which they didn't have until M-II was built; however given the limited amount of space for the ballet in M-II, there's an argument that it's a nice-to-have and a misuse of limited space. That is a completely different issue than we're discussing, which is that when the Main theater is shut down for reno, the net amount of studio space for the ballet and the school plummets. They cannot train and rehearse the company and train the students in the total amount of space left. They can send nearly the entire Mariinsky Balet on tour for the duration, or they can shut down the school, but if they want to keep the ballet and the school running in St. Petersburg, they are going to have to find and outfit other space in St. Petersburgh or use the sudios in the school 24x7. As far as I know, that device Hermione Granger has where she can be in two paces simultaneous is still a figment of JK Rawlings' imagination, and there's no getting around the laws of physics.

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If the raked stage is closed down, and the company touring, wouldn't having a non raked studio better for the duration of the reconstruction?

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Biomechanically, it's harder on the body in both directions (think about your own experiences walking up and down a hill, compared to walking on a flat surface). It's preferable to the dancers only in that it's what they are accustomed to.

Xander Parish is accustomed to the flat floor, but has stated that he feels more comfortable and prefers the raked floor. There must have been a reason that raked floors became the only types of floors in Russia. Maybe it was these raked floors that held the secret to the great jumps of Nijinsky, Soloviev and Vasiliev, not explained in biomechanics.

Some people may indeed prefer one kind of floor over another -- I'm just talking about bones and muscles.

Raked stages (and studios) were the standard when the facilities in Moscow and St Petersburg were first developed -- there wasn't really a choice between flat and raked made at the time. The ballets that have been choreographed for those theaters, and the curricula that have been developed for those studios naturally worked with the environment at hand, so on one level, yes, the performances that we've seen from those artists were indeed influenced by the floor underneath them. But honestly, the floor is just one element of many.

There have been a number of studies done about the biomechanics of dancing on raked and flat stages and there are some pretty impressive differences in the use of deep core muscles in stabilization. But bottom line, the big problem comes when you have to shift from one to the other, which makes your concerns about this upcoming transition very timely.

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There have been a number of studies done about the biomechanics of dancing on raked and flat stages and there are some pretty impressive differences in the use of deep core muscles in stabilization. But bottom line, the big problem comes when you have to shift from one to the other, which makes your concerns about this upcoming transition very timely.

Thank you Sandik for enlightening me on studies I never knew.

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If the raked stage is closed down, and the company touring, wouldn't having a non raked studio better for the duration of the reconstruction?

Aside from the fact that the only stage on which the Mariinsky Ballet will perform in St. Petersburg during the reno -- unless Gergiev plans on taking over another stage that is raked -- it makes more sense for the studios in which they practice to be flat, at least in the short-term, so the dancers don't have to go back-and-forth. Long-term, though, I don't know how hard it would be to re-adjust to the rake after years of flat floors. (One of the reasons the Bolshoi reno took so long was that they found that the foundation was rotting, and who knows what they'll find when they open up the Mariinsky and how long the renos will take.)

The younger students need to get their foundations for performing on a raked stage; the ones closer to graduation will perform exclusively on flat floors for the beginning of their careers if they join the Company.

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If the raked stage is closed down, and the company touring, wouldn't having a non raked studio better for the duration of the reconstruction?

I was unaware that once MT1 is restored, that Mariinsky Ballet will become a touring circus.

They already have a few acts in place

1. Contortionist act - Somova, Vasnetsova

2. Trampoline act - Ivkin

3. Duet aerials with the giant throwing the midget - Romanchikov, Martynuk

4. Pin the tail on the donkey - Fateyev

5. the world's most obnoxious musician - Gergiev .

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When's the MT1 renovation scheduled to start? And how long the renovation is going to last (I assume the actual time will last at least 50% longer than the scheduled one)?

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End of 2014 is the supposed start date. I haven't seen a timeline for expected completion.

Hence the school's concern about the timing of the Dorofeeva outster.

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I hope NYC is a stop of the Mariinsky road tour during renovations.

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If the raked stage is closed down, and the company touring, wouldn't having a non raked studio better for the duration of the reconstruction?

I was unaware that once MT1 is restored, that Mariinsky Ballet will become a touring circus.

They already have a few acts in place

1. Contortionist act - Somova, Vasnetsova

2. Trampoline act - Ivkin

3. Duet aerials with the giant throwing the midget - Romanchikov, Martynuk

4. Pin the tail on the donkey - Fateyev

5. the world's most obnoxious musician - Gergiev .

Not forgetting Don Quixote's horse, Sancho Panza's donkey who would also like to be considered for a novelty act, and the Bolshoi's Esmeralda goat would also like a new home.

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If the Mariinsky Ballet takes over the Academy's studios or finds alternate studio space in St. Petersburg, there will be no need for touring to increase.

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Maybe my memory is failing me, but I vaguely recall a statement by Acting AD Fatayev in an interview that the Mariinsky Ballet would increase touring of the various Russian provinces during the M1 reno. Am I mis-remembering?

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The question would be, what would Fateev mean by increased touring? Does it mean that the ~ half of the company that tours now will tour more, or more of the company will tour?

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As perhaps a somewhat brighter aside, where else in the world would a debate over the appointment of the head of a dance school actively involve the office of the president of the country ?

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As perhaps a somewhat brighter aside, where else in the world would a debate over the appointment of the head of a dance school actively involve the office of the president of the country ?

Unfortunately, this governance from above proves the Russia's addiction to totalitarianism. The top cultural institutions are treated as a part of the ruling Court.

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As perhaps a somewhat brighter aside, where else in the world would a debate over the appointment of the head of a dance school actively involve the office of the president of the country ?

It is not the bright side, but the dark side of the political situation in Russia. President Obama does not appoint the director of the Metropolitan Opera House, but President Putin in 1995 appointed his friend, Gergiev, as director of Mariinsky Theater. In 2000, Bolshoi director, Vladimir Vasiliev, the most famous Russian dancer, who did not defect, heard on the radio that Putin had issued the removal of Vasiliev as Bolshoi director. Recently, Putin ordered the removal of Iskanov as Bolshoi Theater director and many believe that it was Zakharova's influence on Putin, who caused Iskanov's removal. Lastly, Gergiev's influence with Putin, who appointed him as Mariinsky director, made Putin order the Ministry of Culture to remove the decades long director of Museum of Arts History, one of 3 insititutions which Gergiev desired to join with Mariinsky, under his control. Gergiev with the orders from Putin to the Minister of Culture, removed the director to the dismay of all employees and hired a director with no previous experience in the Arts. Now Gergiev, once again using the Minister of culture, under the orders of Putin, issued the removal of the Vaganova main director, Dorofeeva, and has Asylmuratova hanging in limbo.

You can see all of this story on Youtube in this video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKtoH41hMTs

This video was put on the Vaganova website home page (or maybe Vaganova facebook page) by Mariinsky dancer, Ilya Kuznetsov, who has severely criticized Gergiev for his wrong doing.

Most definitely this does not show the bright side of Russia, but the evil dark side where great people in their positions are removed because of the desires of others who have close relationships with President Putin.

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I can understand the political aspects that are being discussed here and I don't mean to dismiss them. My point was mainly to call attention to the popular importance and love of a particular art form in a particular country.

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I can understand the political aspects that are being discussed here and I don't mean to dismiss them. My point was mainly to call attention to the importance and love of a particular art form in a particular country.

It is not the love of an art form, but the reality that in Russia anything can be manipulated. As an example, there might be a wealthy and powerful businessman who operates a garbage service, who has a rival interfering with his dominance of that garbage business. If he has a strong friendship with Putin or any other high ranking politician, his rival will be removed from his position through a variety of possibilities.

I would not consider that as the importance of the art form of garbage pickup in Russia, but political friends doing favors. That is all that is happening with ballet in Russia, but the key is that the arts are big money in Russia and likely to get Putin's attention.

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I can't quote Buddy from this device, but reading his question was reminded of Napoleon's influence on the Paris Opera Ballet...

"Napoleon took control of the company in 1802 and with the declaration of the French Empire in 1804 renamed the company the Académie Impériale de Musique." ~ Wikipedia's Paris Opera entry

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