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Tsis­karidze & Lopatk­ina at the Vag­an­ova Bal­let Academy


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#106 Helene

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 02:31 PM

Using Google Translate:

 

The left button translates to "Read the petition"

 

Edited to remove Google translation with a link to Ismene Brown's blog, where there's a real translation, and the section about the Rector's duties:

 

http://www.ismeneb.c...n_to_Putin.html

 

The whole cultural community has great respect for the outstanding artistic talent of People's Artist of Russia Nikolai Tsiskaridze, former principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet.  He is not only an exception dancer, but also a public favorite, and valued by a wide public as a "media personality."  However, the position of Rector of the Academy requires the candidate a whole range of other qualities.  The Rector of the Academy of Russian Ballet is the official who answers for the administrative, educational and economic process in an institute of higher education where over 600 students are training, and where about 100 teachers are working.   The Rector direct the entire training process both on specialist and general subjects; in the current regime he also decides daily management issues; he coordinates personnel policy and issues about the social protection of the employees; he constantly monitors the maintenance of the Academy's huge housekeeping operation which includes not only the teaching establishment but also the pupils' living quarters.  All  this not only demands knowledge of the intricacies of the dancing profession and enthusiasm for it, but a great experience of administration.  We note particularly another feature of the Academy: it includes a secondary school besides the upper school, so the Rector must have a wide scope of knowledge of working with children.



#107 Ilya

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 06:30 PM

Ballet critic Tatyana Kuznetsova chimes in with an article entitled "Moscow's Foot" in Kommersant,
http://kommersant.ru/doc/2331981
 
Among other things, the article answers the question posted here regarding Gergiev's remark on the quality of ballet education in St Petersburg.  It also makes rather obvious conjectures of what Vishneva meant by moral character, namely, the recent and not-so-recent shameless statements made by Tsiskaridze.
 
My translation of the preamble to the article:
The main news item of the last week was the appointment of Nikolay Tsiskaridze as the acting rector of St Petersburg's Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet.  Tatyana Kuznetsova writes about the undercurrents of this decision and the reaction to it of the ballet community.
 
My translation of the text of the article itself:
The change of authorities at the St Petersburg Academy was done in the best Russian traditions, being similar in style to a special forces operation.  First, there was an information leak.  On Saturday October 27, the news media reported that Nikolay Tsiskaridze was appointed rector of the Academy, citing a source at the Ministry of Culture.  Deputy Minister of the Culture Grigory Ivliev immediately refuted this information, saying that, on the contrary, the contract with the current rector of the Academy, Vera Dorofeyeva, had recently been renewed.  Minister, Medinsky, put it more ambiguously: "Nikolay Maksimovich [translator's note: "Maksimovich" is Tsiskaridze's patronymic] will not remain without a job." And added: "There exist many rumors."  On Monday October 28, the "rumor" turned out to be a fact.  Deputy Minister Ivliev now refuted his own self, relating those same news media about the appointment of Tsiskaridze as the rector of the Vaganova Academy.  Half an hour later a briefing of Vladimir Medinsky was held within its walls, at which the minister personally introduced Nikolay Tsiskaridze as the acting rector to the faculty and journalists.  At the same time, a new artistic director was appointed (according to the bylaws of the Academy, the artistic director that deals with all the creative matters, can only be its graduate): People's Artist of Russia Ulyana Lopatkina replaced People's Artist of Russia Altynai Asylmuratova who had been working since 2000.  The prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theater agreed to this (over the phone, since she was touring) on the condition that she would continue dancing on the stage of the Mariinsky.
 
It's curious that, while firing the leaders of Academy, the minister did not voice any complaints against them---on the contrary, he promised to nominate them for government awards.  The paradox was explained by Vera Dorofeyeva who, according to her words, found out about her firing an hour before the meeting.  At the briefing she openly announced that her departure is the payment for the independence of the Academy.  The uncompromising leader was a tough defender of the autonomy of the ballet school from the claims of the Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theater Valery Gergiev.  The latter desperately needs additional square footage.  The reason is that the gigantic new Mariinsky-2 has only one ballet rehearsal studio and, when the historic building closes for renovation, the company whose size was increased by Gergiev's dictate will simply have no space to rehearse.  Whereas it looks like Nikolay Tsiskaridze will not stand up to Maestro Gergiev.  On the day of his appointment he said in an interview that theater artists who rehearse inside academies is a an ancient practice (although he forgot to mention that during those ancient times ballet schools had four times as few students as now).
 
It is not surprising that Valery Gergiev enthusiastically supported that change of the Academy's leadership, calling the new appointments "a virtuoso human resource solution".  Minister Medinsky indeed slipped between Scylla and Charybdis like a virtuoso, i.e., between the necessity to find employment for Nikolay Tsiskaridze (who, as is claimed by people in the know, has sponsors in high places) and the necessity to satisfy the wishes of Valery Gergiev who is friendly with the President.
 
As to the Maestro, his idea to unite the Mariinsky Theater, the Vaganova Academy, the St Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, and the Russian Institute of the Art History, expressed in a personal letter to Vladimir Putin, met with bitter resistance of practically everyone in the arts and culture.  It looks like after this he tamed his appetite and focused on the Academy.  In mid-October during a meeting with President's Cultural Advisor Vladimir Tolstoy, the conductor expressed dissatisfaction withe the quality of the St Petersburg ballet education. This remark addressed to the best ballet school of the country whose graduates occupy leading positions in many of the world's companies, caused ballet professionals present at that meeting to be greatly perplexed. Now, however, Valery Gergiev is publicly clarifying his position, and it now is somewhat different from his initial position.  Allegedly he did not propose the unification --- the Ministry of Culture got confused --- and he does not have any claims to the Vaganova Academy, as Mariinsky-2 allegedly has five rehearsal halls (perhaps he was counting the halls for the chorus, orchestra, opera rehearsals, and the performance hall), whereas he was only speaking about the shortcomings of the ballet education in order to refine the relationship between the theater and the school.  However, the result is still that the leaders of the Vaganova Academy were dismissed by the end of the month.
 
It turned out to be more difficult to find employment for Nikolay Tsiskaridze (who became unemployed on June 30, after the then General Manager of the Bolshoi Theater Anatoly Iksanov did not renew both his artistic and teaching contracts), than to satisfy Maestro Gergiev.  Not every management role would satisfy the former Bolshoi principal: his attention was only focused on the Bolshoi Ballet, the Mariinsky Ballet, and the Vaganova Academy.  Tsiskaridze would not agree to, for example, the non-prestigious Kremlin Ballet and, indignant at the discussions of his employment search, thundered at the inquirers: "What do they want? To push me out of the country? Should I name those who would like this to happen?"  And although no one abroad has invited him (apart from Charles Jude who invited the artist to dance in provincial Bordeaux), the threat of his leaving the country probably worked.
 
However, it looks like the hope of heading the Bolshoi was not abandoned during the entire summer either by the dancer or by his omnipotent circle of supporters, because in September the Minister of Culture had to personally meet with Tsiskaridze.  After that, Vladimir Medinsky called the new General Director of the Bolshoi Theater, Vladimir Urin, with a proposal to organize a farewell performance for the People's Artist.  Urin, a diplomat, supported the idea with all the noticeable enthusiasm.  He related to the correspondent of "Vesti" that he met with Nikolay Tsiskaridze three times and offered him three benefit performances.  However, the General Director was stubbornly refusing to sign a full employment contract, citing a difficult moral climate at the theater.  The issue of the benefit performances was hanging in the air, until in mid-September visibly irritated Tsiskaridze publicly announced that he no longer wanted to dance.  After the fiasco with the Bolshoi and the never-officially-expressed but quite obvious lack of desire on Gergiev's part to appoint Tsiskaridze the Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Ballet, all that remained for him was the Vaganova Academy.
 
Not many appreciated the virtuosity of this human resource decision.  Besides the interested Valery Gergiev, the resourceful General Director of the Mikhailovsky Theater Vladimir Kekhman, Maria Leonova (the Rector of the Moscow Ballet Academy) who breathed a sigh of relief, and St Petersburg's officials, the theater director Lev Dodin and choreographer Boris Eifman who recently opened his own Dance Academy in St Petersburg expressed their happiness with Tsiskaridze's appointment in the official media.  "Theaters of Moscow and St Petersburg, even very big ones, are experiencing a huge human resource shortage, there are not enough artists.  This problem has ripened a long time ago, and it is time to solve it," complained Eifman, without, however, explaining how the change of the rector could lead to the increase in the number of graduates, especially if rehearsal studios are taken away from them.  Among the less famous persons, the principal of the Mikhailovsky Theater and a graduate of the Kiev Academy, Leonid Sarafanov, expressed optimism.
 
The rest of the ballet world met the news of the new rector with hostility. This does not just mean the despondent teachers of the Academy who feel at a loss and who have created their mournful and protesting page on social networks.  Twitter, blogs, forums both Russian and international, are full of panic: "What a terrible choice!", "What will happen to the Academy!"  The issue is not just that fact that St Petersburgians were offended with an appointment of a Moscovite: the antagonism of the two schools has its roots in history, while the superiority of the St Petersburg teaching methods has never been in doubt, as a rule.  During two centuries St Peterburgians-Leningradites were being sent to Moscow in order to strengthen the Moscow ballet, and they held key positions at the school as well---for example, in the 1930s, when the remarkable teacher Victor Semenov was appointed head of the Moscow Academy.  However, in the entire history of the Russian ballet theater there has never been a precedent for a Moscovite to head the St Petersburg ballet school.  In addition, the graduate of the Moscow Ballet Academy Nikolay Tsiskaridze possesses neither any serious experience of working with children, nor, as one might suppose from the hastiness of the appointment, any substantive program of methodological reforms.
 
However, those offended by the ministerial decision were mostly outraged not by this, but rather by the cynical unceremoniousness of how the human resource revolution was conducted and the personality of its main character.  The ballerina Diana Vishneva reduced everyone's groans to a crisp formula, saying publicly: "It's painful to recognize that the change of the leadership in our legendary school could become a chip in someone's games that have nothing to do with the Academy."  She added: "Also one cannot forget that a school is, above all, children, and its leader must be morally irreproachable."
 
This is perhaps the key question.  Indeed, it looks like Nikolay Tsiskaridze might be lacking some moral irreproachability.  A person who, from the TV screen, calls his colleagues "curs" and expresses the wish to shoot them to death with a machine gun, is hardly fit to be an ideal executive.  To this can be added public insults at the Artistic Director Ratmansky, the Bolshoi teachers, and the artists of the company.  One could also recall baseless revelation of Nikolay Tsiskaridze about "gold paint" and "plastic material" at the restored Bolshoi, after which all the viewing public started to scrape the gilded fretwork in the boxes. As well as the letter of the cultural icons to Vladimir Putin, organized by the artist himself, proposing to appoint him the General Director of the company.  And a very strange reaction to Sergei Filin's injuries: Nikolay Tsiskaridze, self-appointed expert of chemistry and ophthalmology, nevertheless publicly doubted both the diagnosis of the doctors (both Russian and German) and their motives.  Incidentally, this hard-to-explain callousness towards his Artistic Director shocked not so much the Russian public as the international one: judging from the international publications, Tsiskaridze's reputation abroad is now irredeemably undermined.
 
At home, all the scandals started by the People's Artist have been attributed to his short temper and truth-seeking.  However, Rudolph Nureyev also had an obnoxious personality.  Which did not prevent him from commanding tremendous respect and being in high demand in the ballet world.
 
In Tsiskaridze's case the issue is not just his personality (although it causes apprehension, especially in the context of a children's school).  The issue is also in the fact that the former Bolshoi principal and teacher does not have as high a rating in the professional circles as his worshippers and sponsors think. It is not superfluous to ask the question of why an artist of this caliber who became unemployed was not bombarded with invitations from all the ends of a fairly well-knit ballet world.  A logical answer is that perhaps he is not really needed.  First, Nikolay Tsiskaridze is not a choreographer.  He hasn't showed himself as a good leader because he hasn't lead anything.  As a repetiteur of a ballet company, he was a disaster: the ballet "The Lesson" which was entrusted to his care, disappeared from the repertory; "The Pharaoh's Daughter" which was last time given almost a year ago, turned out to be in a disorderly state. Nikolay Tsiskaridze's teaching accomplishments at the Bolshoi are quite questionable.  It is known that the first one of his three students, Artem Ovcharenko, was ready to flee from him to another company, and only excelled after switching to another teacher.  The second, Denis Rodkin, under Tsiskaridze's instruction danced the leading role in "The Pharaoh's Daughter" half-dead, like a zombi, whereas his best parts---Spartacus and Kurbski---were prepared with other teachers.  The third, Angelina Vorontsova, who was talked about as a future star even before she graduated, at the Bolshoi under the tutelage of her teacher Nikolay Tsiskaridze started to dance less cleanly and more sloppily than at school.
 
What awaits the Vaganova Academy under the new Rector, besides a possible loss of independence or equally possibly communal co-existence with the artists of the Mariinsky company?  Perhaps financial well-being.  Nikolay Tsiskaridze was received by city officials and showered with kindness.  The Vice Governor of St Petersburg Vassily Kichedzhi already promised to house the students from the Teaching Department of the Academy at the city dormitories.  One can forecast the grants for the teachers and perhaps the increase of the Academy's budget---Nikolay Tsiskaridze, supported by his sponsors, is sure to get on well with high-ranking officials. It's known for sure that the responsibilities of a rector will be not just expanded but changed: Nikolay Tsiskaridze, the first dancer in history occupying this administrative position, will not restrict himself to financial and operational activities, as has been the custom in St Petersburg for centuries.  It is possible that the new rector will not want to teach the children, however, without doubt, he will teach the teachers: it has already been announced that Nikolay Tsiskaridze will "determine the artistic policy of the famous school."  Especially given the fact that the new artistic director of the Vaganova Academy, Lopatkina, who is remaining a principal with the Mariinsky, will surely not have time for this.  As a reference, when the brilliant ballerina Altynai Asylmuratova was offered this position in 1999, it was demanded of her that she leave the stage.  And so she did---at the age of 38.  It seems that no one is concerned with her fate now.  On the other hand, the unbendable former rector Vera Dorofeyeva already received an excellent offer  from Vladimir Kekhman: starting in November, she will be the Deputy General Director of the Mikhailovsky Theater.
 
Even though in order to become a full-fledged rector Nikolay Tsiskaridze still needs to go through a voting procedure, it seems that officials do not doubt its favorable outcome.  Not because they think that the teachers are submissive or unprincipled---on the contrary, they believe the teachers to be decent and noble, as the hostages of any conflict will be the students.  And the school?  In 275 years, it survived wars and revolutions.  It will survive the new Rector as well.

#108 Helene

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 07:28 PM

Ilya, thank you so much for translating that massive article :flowers:

 

Kuznetsova doesn't pull many punches, does she...



#109 Catherine

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 10:31 PM

 While I'd expect touring to increase -- the M-II could have a hundred ballet studios, but not be able to use them if they're in Paris or Berkeley -- in fact Dorofeeva doesn't believe this is so: she believes that the Mariinsky ballet will take over the school studios.

Do you think the school will shut itself down during the renos, if the Maroinsky takes over the school studios during the reno? I find that highly unlikely, and I don't think it's a stretch that another space with high enough ceilings will be found either for the school or the company or to be shared by both and outfitted with barres and floors.

The initial word was that the ballet would be on tour 100% of the time and therefore not need space in MT2 when touring, and MT1 would be closed down.

However as is well known, 100% of the ballet troupe does not go on tour.  It is ALWAYS divided in half (or 70/30, or 60/40). Half remain -- the Zhelonkinas of the troupe, the ones who become part of the "home base" group -- and the other half tour. That then overlooks the issue that *when the company is on tour there are still over 100 dancers left at home who need space for company class and rehearsals on a daily basis*. Just because you see the Mariinsky listed in Paris or Berkeley doesn't mean that that's the entire troupe or even most of it - just to clarify that point.

 

The school cannot shut down as it is a government institution first of all, and second of all, there are children being educated there from 8am to 8pm throughout the school year, if not in the studios then in their academic classes. That includes students of paying parents, and it includes students whose parents are not in Russia and who are paying for their education there.



#110 Helene

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 10:48 PM

We're very aware that during tours the entire Mariinsky Ballet does not go on them, and we spend lots of bandwidth arguing about who came and who was left behind.  A quick glance at the roster in our programs shows that we get at most 60% of the troupe for most tours.

 

The choices are not shut down the school or not give space to the Mariinsky Ballet during the reno:  the school could be moved into another space, with classrooms and ballet studios fitted into the space, just as, if by some miracle Gergiev does not win this war, the Mariinsky Ballet will not shut down because their studios are under renovation:  they will move into some space.



#111 Jayne

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 11:52 PM

The exterior may leave little to be desired, but they knew what they were getting when they hired this firm just by looking at the Four Seasons Center and the rest of its portfolio.  I don't see why anyone was surprised:  planting a building in St. Petersburg, a very European city, is completely different than creating a building to blend into downtown Toronto.   It was not a forward-looking building like the l'Opera Bastille, whatever one thinks of it, or like the Guggenheim:  the Mariinsky got a building that could have blended into many North American downtowns.  That's what Diamond and Schmitt Architects does:

 

http://www.dsai.ca/

 

AJ Diamond & friends seem capable of building glass boxes and not much else.

 

I am reminded of Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park" where the fashionable set wish to "set improvements" on their estates, simply for the sake of "improving" things, rather than to preserve the beauty of the existing buildings and landscape.  

 

Perhaps Ms Lopatkina and Mr Tsiskaridze will succeed in getting MII revamped to better support ballet (but I doubt it).



#112 Catherine

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 12:40 AM

We're very aware that during tours the entire Mariinsky Ballet does not go on them, and we spend lots of bandwidth arguing about who came and who was left behind.  A quick glance at the roster in our programs shows that we get at most 60% of the troupe for most tours.

 

The choices are not shut down the school or not give space to the Mariinsky Ballet during the reno:  the school could be moved into another space, with classrooms and ballet studios fitted into the space, just as, if by some miracle Gergiev does not win this war, the Mariinsky Ballet will not shut down because their studios are under renovation:  they will move into some space.

Ah Ok, from your post I was not clear that you understood that :-)    "the M-II could have a hundred ballet studios, but not be able to use them if they're in Paris or Berkeley"

 

The reality though is that the school is too huge -- I know there are some readers and posters on this forum who have also seen the new renovations inside, as have I -- to simply relocate in its entirety. Too huge in terms of student body, teaching classrooms, dormitories, not to mention the actual ballet studios. It's immense in terms of square footage. Offhand there is not an equivalent space (in terms of metrage) that is empty at present time in the city of Saint Petersburg. So yes, in theory it could be relocated but to where? Something would have to be built and that doesn't happen overnight either.. (witness 7 years of the MT2!)  I think complicating the issue is that the Conservatory is currently closed for renovations. The talk about 3 yrs ago was that when the MT1 closes, the dancers could use Conservatory studios (which are woefully inadequate in terms of size and floor quality etc but - they are studios). But that's not an option now and for the foreseeable future (until it reopens).



#113 kbarber

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 03:46 AM

Latest twist in the saga: Asylmuratova is back! (Google-translated from gazeta.ru
http://www.gazeta.ru...n_3303445.shtml
Tsiskaridze extended the contract with the artistic director of the Vaganova Academy Altynay Asylmuratova
05.11.2013, 13:56 | « BBC »

Acting Rector of the Academy of Russian Ballet . St. Petersburg Vaganova Tsiskaridze signed a contract with the artistic director of the Academy Altynay Asylmuratova the extension of a school , reports RIA " Novosti". In a statement Tsiskaridze adds that such a personnel decision was made "for the sake of continuity of the educational process ."

Tsiskaridze was appointed rector of the Vaganova Academy in late October , at the same time it was announced that artistic director of the Academy to be a ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina Mariinsky Theatre . According to the explanations of the Ministry of Culture , the candidate Lopatkina was only recommended , and the decision to appoint her to the post remains for the rector. Election of the Rector of the Academy to be held in the near future .

The teaching staff of the Academy of Russian Ballet . Vaganova , as well as artists of the Mariinsky Ballet wrote an open letter to reconsider the decision to appoint new leaders Nikolai Tsiskaridze and Ulyana Lopatkina . The letter notes that the voluntary , but the unexpected departure of well-deserved rest rector of Faith Dorofeeva and artistic director of the Academy of Altynay Asylmuratova " irreparable damage to all the administrative and creativity institutions, interrupts the continuity of traditions and schools is unacceptable , if not criminal decision."

" Please leave the teachers at the academy Altynay Abduahimovnu heard in the early days of my work. I heard it . But the main reason for her appointment - continuity and continuity of the educational process. All other rectors also continue to perform their duties , "- said in a statement Tsiskaridze .

The Ministry of Culture confirmed that the agreement with Asylmuratova was extended in full, it is the artistic director and provost at the Vaganova Academy.

#114 Ilya

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 04:28 AM

The press secretary of the Vaganova Academy Yulia Telepina is quoted here http://calendar.font...u/articles/1122 as saying that all the deputy rectors of the Academy, including Asylmuratova, have now become acting deputy rectors until the elections of the new rector who will then make all the human resource decisions.

 

My guess is that Asylmuratova is going to be dismissed from her positions as the artistic director and deputy rector once Tsiskaridze is voted in as the rector.



#115 Ilya

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 04:54 AM

The following article quotes the Minister of Culture on Kolpakova's involvement, as well as Kolpakova herself:

http://www.itogi.ru/.../44/195548.html

 

As usual, the minister seems to be incapable of telling the truth.

 

My translation of two sentences from the sixth paragraph of the article:

After the meeting at the Vaganova Academy, Vladimir Medinsky told the media that the Ministry of Culture reached an agreement with the legendary prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theater Irina Kolpakova who is now a teacher with the American Ballet Theatre in New York.  Irina Aleksandrovna [translator's note: Aleksandrovna is Kolpakova's patronymic] will occasionally come to St Petersburg to help manage the Ballet Academy.

 

My translation of the very last paragraph on the page:

Irina Kolpakova, People's Artist of the USSR:

"I was very glad to hear the news of Nikolay Tsiskaridze's appointment. I am sure that the Academy will gain from his becoming the rector.  I don't share the opinion that a solid manager should head the Vaganova Academy. The issues of, let's say, mops, can be solved by a person whose position is a deputy for management.  Nikolay is a true, high professional of the ballet world who knows very well both the Moscow and St Petersburg schools.  Exactly such an authoritative creative leader should be seen as the rector of the Academy.  As to myself, no one has called me and no one has offered anything.  I mean not any officials, representatives of the Ministry of Culture.  Since a very long time ago Valery Abisalovich [translator's note: Abisalovich is Gergiev's patronymic] has been having very general conversations with me on the topic of the future of the Academy; however, we have not discussed with him anything concrete.  I would like to use this opportunity to refute the allegations that I have emigrated.  I work in the US on a contract which is renewed annually, and I spend much time in Russia, as previously."



#116 Catherine

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 05:08 AM

The article about the pro-rector is slightly incorrect. Altynai and all the other pro-rectors' contracts are extended *only until* December 31, 2013. The press incorrectly published that news (same mistake in Lenta.ru as in Gazeta.ru apparently).  At that point, unless Tsiskaridze is NOT appointed full director (he is "acting director" until the elections), then all pro-rectors are dismissed and Lopatkina is slotted into Asylmuratova's position.



#117 Catherine

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 05:10 AM

The press secretary of the Vaganova Academy Yulia Telepina is quoted here http://calendar.font...u/articles/1122 as saying that all the deputy rectors of the Academy, including Asylmuratova, have now become acting deputy rectors until the elections of the new rector who will then make all the human resource decisions.

 

My guess is that Asylmuratova is going to be dismissed from her positions as the artistic director and deputy rector once Tsiskaridze is voted in as the rector.

Agree with your last sentence Ilya -- but let's hope we are wrong ermm.gif



#118 Helene

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 03:07 PM

The reality though is that the school is too huge -- I know there are some readers and posters on this forum who have also seen the new renovations inside, as have I -- to simply relocate in its entirety. Too huge in terms of student body, teaching classrooms, dormitories, not to mention the actual ballet studios. It's immense in terms of square footage. Offhand there is not an equivalent space (in terms of metrage) that is empty at present time in the city of Saint Petersburg. So yes, in theory it could be relocated but to where? Something would have to be built and that doesn't happen overnight either.. (witness 7 years of the MT2!)  I think complicating the issue is that the Conservatory is currently closed for renovations. The talk about 3 yrs ago was that when the MT1 closes, the dancers could use Conservatory studios (which are woefully inadequate in terms of size and floor quality etc but - they are studios). But that's not an option now and for the foreseeable future (until it reopens).

 

If the Mariinsky takes over the studios in the Vaganova school, then there are several choices if no alternate space(s) is found:

 

1.  Either the students in the school or the parts of the Mariinsky Ballet not on tour use the studios during the midnight shift, or both split the midnight shift.

 

2.  Either the amount of lesson time or rehearsal/coaching time for one or the other is lessened.

 

3.  Either the school is shut down or the Mariinsky splits into multiple tour groups, leaving just enough people home to be able to be coached and to rehearse in a single large studio at the M-II -- in any configuration, because they could add temporary floor-to-ceiling dividers, like we had in my high school gym.

 

There's no such thing as no space in St. Petersburg, given the amount of government and oligarchical interest in both the school and the company.  With enough interest, space could be made, or, more likely, spaces could be made.  They don't have to build a building:  they have to build out studios.   Dance companies travel with portable floors, which could be installed in just about any building:  they have until then end of 2014, and there will be all of those out-of-work contractors once the Sochi Games begins, the ones who aren't dismantling, moving, and re-assembling half of the buildings after the Olympics end. 

 

Will it be expensive?  Yes:  change in general is expensive, and in a well-run project, which I can't say the reno will be, the tasks and costs of change are built into the reno project.  It was expensive for San Francisco Opera to find temporary spaces all over downtown SF when War Memorial Opera House was renovated for seismic improvements.  I saw "Aida" at the Civic Auditorium; I'm having no luck finding out where I saw "Turandot" a month later.  San Francisco Ballet performed at two smaller (under 1000-seat) venues for most of their seasons during the renos, at the Palace of Fine Arts -- way out of downtown -- and Yerba Buena gardens, in the then not gentrified SOMA, with the season-ending "Swan Lake" in Berkeley.  Pacific Northwest Ballet and Seattle Opera performed at a semi-renovated hockey rink while the Opera House (later McCaw Hall) was gutted. The Opera's studios aren't very close to McCaw Hall -- there's a highway in between the two areas -- and Pacific Northwest Ballet's school and studios were built out at the Good Shepherd Center in another non-adjacent neighborhood with a required commute until they moved into the Phelps Center next door to the Opera House (as it was then called) in the 1990's. 

 

It was expensive and, without government or oligarchical sponsorship or the possibility of lucrative tour opportunities, deeply hurt each company financially.  It took years to get out of the financial holes for both.  It was hardly ideal.  However, they had to create or adjust to new performing spaces, while the Vaganova School and Mariinsky Ballet are looking for rehearsal and lesson spaces, and those spaces don't have to be in the same place.  With this degrade the experience, be costly, put yet another burden on over-worked dancers, if they don't take over the school?  Will it anger the parents, especially the ones paying big bucks for something else, assuming the students are pushed out?  Will it be inconvenient, affect institutional cohesion, need far more energy to schedule, manage, ensure the safety of the students?  Will it it take out more time of an already packed day commute from space to space, assuming multiple venues?  Absolutely. 

 

From a practical standpoint, though, it is doable, because, the facts are: the Main theater will be renovated, the studios in it will not be available during the time of the reno, and there will a net reduction of space.  The alternative is to send the Mariinsky on tour for most of the time and take away their need for studio space in St. Petersburg or to relocate the studios temporarily, however sub-obtimal and expensive.  No amount of anguish about it will change that.



#119 Catherine

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:31 PM

Again though, you mention the studio space will not be needed if the company is on tour -- but that leaves behind another 100+ dancers who do require space.

Also, there are not sprung floors available on which "portable" floors (I presume you mean Marley?) could be placed. Not to mention the issue, either that studio floors here are raked. Those require specific measurements and angles -- a raked floor as far as I know is not a portable item, it has to be built from scratch. So on both accounts, that results in construction - unless you want to ask dancers to jump on cement, which will just result in injury. Finally the issue of transportation, if these studios are not next door to the current performing venue, you have a massive transportation issue for dancers who have:

1) company class at 10am "somewhere in the city" (based on your plan)
2) a stage rehearsal at 12 noon on the main stage per current practices

3) other rehearsals from 3-6pm across the city (see point 1)

4) a performance at 7pm back at the stage.

The time lost in transportation, in winter conditions especially, not to mention how to dress for -15C temperatures in the January through March season (undress/redress/undress - warm up again? undress/redress, back on the bus...) are not easily or practically overcome.

 

You wrote they have until the end of 2014...why 2014 (??)



#120 Helene

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 09:27 PM

I meant one of the options is that all but a skeletal group for which the single M-II studio is adequate would be forced to tour. If Gergiev were able to make more money splitting the Marrinsky into two touring groups with a single production given by a small group at home, I wouldn't be that .surprised to see it.happen even if it had never happened before.

Also, Ronald Bates, who worked at .NYCB for a long time and was a master of flooring solutions, created a traveling sprung floor for the company. It is possibly to lay such a floor in most level spaces, and just about any existing floor can be leveled. It's not cheap, but it's already been a solution for decades.

Of course there would be some construction needed, but a dedicated building is not necessary, nor is any other type of permanent construction, and there will be quite a workforce available after Sochi.

It will be a mess of scheduling, no doubt about it, which is one of the reasons I'm sure why the school will be booted.

I'm not sure what your proposal is to adress the fact that in a little over a year the entire studio space at the Main theater will be lost. Perhaps you'd be willing to tell us.


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