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Tsis­karidze & Lopatk­ina at the Vag­an­ova Bal­let Academy


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#121 Catherine

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 01:14 AM

I have no proposals and didn't realize we were obliged to submit proposals here flowers.gif  - my job is not to solve that problem (with the 3 jobs I already have, it's plenty for me!). I just don't believe that laying a floor (of the type that you mentioned) is an option or they would have already done it at present time. Nor will it be easy to find sudden empty space that is usable. Something will have to be built or converted (renovated) unless the school is booted out of their 275-year home. It's great if the NYCB man made that floor in the US, and that was a solution there, but it isn't one here (at present time)...I don't know that the Russians have that technology or knowledge, asI have not seen it done here before. So presuming they do not have that option: is Mr Bates willing to fly to Russia, and would they hire him? Or will someone in Russia fly to the US to learn how to build it? The Sochi workforce isnt needed as the MT has their own stagehand builders. But if they do not have that knowledge, even though that proposal is great, if it is not accessible here either due to cost (visa/flight/training) or skill on site at the MT...then we're back at square one.



#122 Helene

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 02:41 AM

Ronald Bates died way too young in 1986, however, the ballet world is very small.  If Mr. Fateev knew no one to call at NYCB, he could contact Francia Russell, with whom he worked on staging Balanchine and who I'm sure would be able to make the contact.

 

There might be a patent on this technology, but it is neither top secret nor impossible to built.  When the Bolshoi came to Seattle and performed at the Paramount Theatre, someone high in admin for the theater gave a pre-curtain speech in which he lauded the Bolshoi stage crew -- they had a very short turn-around time -- and I'm sure the Mariinsky crew is just as excellent.  Whether it would be enlisted to built sub-floors and rakes, attach barres to the walls of rented space, and install new lighting and mirrors, I don't know.  (The Seattle Opera scene shop built a new door to replace a damaged one on the Seattle monorail, but that was during downtime, and, with two theaters, I'm not sure if the Mariinsky crew has much downtime.) 

 

If nothing is possible, then either the school and/or the Mariinsky Ballet will have no studio space, because the Main theater will be renovated, and all of that studio space in addition to all of the other functional spaces -- storage, workshops -- will be lost temporarily. While there will be expense, horrible inconvenience, and dissent and people will be miserable no matter which solution is chosen, I somehow doubt that the Russians are so incapable that they can't come up with a workable solution. 



#123 tamicute

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 05:01 AM

I read both Catherine and Helene mentioning raked floors which is a fact of life throughout Russian schools and ballet studios and rehearsal rooms and stage performances. Every MT1 studio and the mini-stage on the highest floor, use raked floors. Catherine probably already knows since dancers complain about it, but it never entered Gergiev's genius ballet mind, that Russian ballet is based on raked floors. MT2 stage is a flat surface with no rake and even Xander Parish, from UK, where they use flat surfaces as they do here in USA, he prefers the raked floors and does admit that the MT2 flat stage presents problems for dancers. 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. He would rather kick out school children from a  275 year old institution and Vaganova does have raked floors.. 



#124 Catherine

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 05:43 AM

Tamicute, I totally agree that Gergiev doesn't intend to make MT2 (or other) studios... the dancers I interviewed during the opening of the MT2 for the article were told in explanation for why the  MT2 *stage* itself is not raked that "since they dance on flat stages on tour, they can do it at home" -- that is the reason they were given!

 

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. What is not easy is the "back and forth" (even though they do it for touring). What is staggering (or OK, at this point, nothing is surprising) but the inconsistency, considering the MT1, the Mikhailovsky, the Conservatory and the Alexandrinsky (unless I'm mistaken) stages are all raked...--as tamicute noted, every rehearsal studio and stage in the city basically -- as well as any major Russian theatre intended for ballet/opera viewings in any city, has a raked stage, with few exceptions. Oh - but not the MT2.



#125 tamicute

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 06:09 AM

Tamicute, I totally agree that Gergiev doesn't intend to make MT2 (or other) studios... the dancers I interviewed during the opening of the MT2 for the article were told in explanation for why the  MT2 *stage* itself is not raked that "since they dance on flat stages on tour, they can do it at home" -- that is the reason they were given!

 

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. What is not easy is the "back and forth" (even though they do it for touring). What is staggering (or OK, at this point, nothing is surprising) but the inconsistency, considering the MT1, the Mikhailovsky, the Conservatory and the Alexandrinsky (unless I'm mistaken) stages are all raked...--as tamicute noted, every rehearsal studio and stage in the city basically -- as well as any major Russian theatre intended for ballet/opera viewings in any city, has a raked stage, with few exceptions. Oh - but not the MT2.

What you say, only proves Gergiev's complete lack of interest or concern for his Mariinsky dancers. No SPB professional dancer would ever have thought any major theater in SPB would have a flat stage, but then, nobody would ever have thought that Gergiev would be making ballet decisions.



#126 puppytreats

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 07:46 AM

 

 

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.



#127 Catherine

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 07:56 AM

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).



#128 volcanohunter

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 08:32 AM

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



#129 Birdsall

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 09:21 AM

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.



#130 sandik

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 10:06 AM

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.



#131 tamicute

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 10:17 AM

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.

#132 Helene

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 10:25 AM

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.

#133 Amy Reusch

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 10:56 AM

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?

#134 sandik

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:16 AM

 

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.



#135 tamicute

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:21 AM

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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