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Summer 2014 NYC & Saratoga Tour


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#151 Amour

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 09:33 PM

I have a Blu-Ray of the Mariinsky performing Balanchine's Jewels. I always find it off-putting to see Zhanna Ayupova's coal black shoes in the a Emeralds section.



#152 Mathilde K

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 12:41 AM

 

 

Now, I have been going to the ballet for close to half a century and one thing I never focused on during a performance was the bottom of dancers' shoes nor their toe boxes.  However, I found myself distracted by the coal black bottoms and toe boxes of practically all of the dancers.  It looked like they had all just been dancing in tar pits.  It was not a nice look.  I was in Row B of the Second Ring and, even without binoculars, thought they looked like "dirty shoes."  I've never seen this at NYCB or ABT or any other visiting company.   And, on a slightly different topic, the Bolshoi really does love bling, doesn't it?

 
I had that exact same experience!  I've noticed it before with Russian companies -- it seems to be a national idiosyncrasy.  Does anyone know what's behind that?  Even David Hallberg seems to have "gone over to the dark side," as the bottoms of his feet on Thursday night were nearly black as well.

I have a Blu-Ray of the Mariinsky performing Balanchine's Jewels. I always find it off-putting to see Zhanna Ayupova's coal black shoes in the a Emeralds section.

 

Not "a national idiosyncrasy", perhaps, but certainly some kind of untidiness that you observe with many Russians. For me this has been always off-putting too.



#153 naomikage

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 03:45 AM

I have no doubt that Smirnova has wonderful talent and would be a great ballerina, but each time I see her (for instance,at YAGP gala and live relay of Marco Spada) I think sometimes her en dehors is not efficient, sometimes her pivot feet tacked in. Besides that, I find no flaw with her.  



#154 maps

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 05:05 AM


 

....I join you in liking many things about this production. From a purely performance point of view I find the ballet orientation of the 'character' Brides dances to be very charming and beautiful. I also like the more streamlined feel. The swans dancing in the final act is lovely.  

 

Buddy - I am incredibly sad that I could not attend the Bolshoi Swan Lake.  I wish the Mariinsky had the character brides.  Decades ago I saw  Bolshoi Spartacus excerpts and Phrygia was on pointe.  Bessmertnova. 



#155 Fleurdelis

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 06:59 AM

Russians like their pointe shoes to be well broken in. So they first wear a new shoe pair for many days to rehearsals until they are sufficiently comfortable to be worn on stage. By that time the shoe pair gets understandably dirty. Couple this with the fact that Russians indeed have taken en masse to wearing Gaynor Mindens, which, as mentioned above, last longer, and get worn longer thus getting even dirtier. But I agree that, whatever the explanation, it is still unsightly to look at their coal-black soles and tips. Isn't there any powder or paint to mask the dirt?

 

On Grigorovich's version of Swan Lake, I must admit I am a bit puzzled by all the negativity here. I personally think this is the best version of this ballet, with all the fairy tale silliness taken out, and the plot indeed made more "streamlined", common sense and coherent. It is a clear parable about the fundamental unity of good and evil, founded on their juxtaposition, as one would not exist without the other, and the inevitable tragedy and destruction of the youthful longing for beauty and purity that is unattainable among the dark realities human existence.

 

Most importantly, I think the removal of the archaic, time consuming, incomprehensible and dull mime, while preserving the beautiful "dancing" bits of Ivanov/Petipa and inserting new dancing sequences throughout, was a definite win for Grigorovich. In ballet I want to see artistry and action expressed through dancing first and foremost, and I believe that beautiful jumps and turns are a lot more expressive, inspiring and exhilarating than then endless walking about and gesticulation.

 

And I am by no means an indiscriminate Grigorovich fan. While I see him as one of the more important choreographers of the 20th century, in addition to successes (as I see his versions of Swan Lake or Spartacus), he has had his share of works that were either mediocre or even abject failures, such as his Romeo & Juliet.



#156 danc1988

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 11:33 AM

I was not able to get standing room to today's performance after arriving at the theater at around 930AM. Only a handful of people did including a few larger groups (with friends cutting in line to join these groups), and apparently many bought more than one ticket as they stopped selling well before 40 people reached the counter. Despite the later box office open at 1130AM today, people in the front of the line said they were waiting as early as 630AM in the morning. After the standing room sold out, there was a subsequent smaller line for people to wait for cancellations -- I did not try for that but imagine there were none considering there were no late offers for this performance on Craigslist and Stubhub was sold out. To be fair, I was initially surprised to hear the unanimous rave reviews from this board for this cast considering earlier comments had criticized Chudin's acting ability and Smirnova's spotty interpretations but I suppose in the end they emerged as the "dark horse" cast, whether on their own merit or merely in contrast to the relatively choleric/melancholic and older A-cast. Would love to hear anyone's impressions of Krysanova/Hallberg last night or today's matinee after it finishes.

 

I suppose I should also join in criticizing the festival for its poor management of ticket sales and the information pertaining to the sales. The ADA seats for Swan Lake and Don Q were each released roughly a week before the respective performance dates but no warning or announcement was given. Also because they wouldn't release anything firm regarding standing room until opening day, and nothing official on the web site even afterwards, I saw numerous people waste hours of time in futility today. One shouldn't have to resort to indirect sources such as forums to get important information and exercise brute persistence with some trial-and-error just to attend one of these performances, especially with a company as well-known as the Bolshoi not having been here for 9 years.

 

Onwards to Don Q.



#157 California

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 02:42 PM

 

Russians like their pointe shoes to be well broken in. So they first wear a new shoe pair for many days to rehearsals until they are sufficiently comfortable to be worn on stage. By that time the shoe pair gets understandably dirty. Couple this with the fact that Russians indeed have taken en masse to wearing Gaynor Mindens, which, as mentioned above, last longer, and get worn longer thus getting even dirtier. But I agree that, whatever the explanation, it is still unsightly to look at their coal-black soles and tips. Isn't there any powder or paint to mask the dirt?


This sort of makes sense. But this week, it seemed that the higher the rank, the cleaner the shoes. Principals all seemed to be wearing new or nearly new shoes, soloists fairly new, and corps atrocious. I still wonder if the allotment to the corps is pretty stingy, which partly explains this. Also, in a recent interview, Gillian Murphy said that even though her Gaynor Mindens last a long time, she still likes to wear a new pair at performances, so they're nice and clean.

#158 California

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 02:56 PM

 

Would love to hear anyone's impressions of Krysanova/Hallberg last night or today's matinee after it finishes.


It seemed to me Saturday night that these two hadn't danced together very much and/or had precious little rehearsal time. The partnering seemed unusually tentative and he had to scooch a little to be in the right position several times. His lifts really look like he's struggling, no matter the partner. Perhaps he needs to do some upper-body work...Greatest American male ballet dancer in history? Not yet!

Krysanova's fouette sequence was the most spectacular of the week: several turns in second with right leg straight to the side thrown in near the beginning, then multiples, at breakneck speed. She seems to have decided that it's impossible to match the music, so full steam ahead with the turns. Same thing with the entrechat/passe sequence (not sure if that's the right terminology) near the end of the white swan PdD in Act II -- incredibly fast, music be damned. But I confess that it's fun to see.

#159 Ekaterina

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 03:10 PM

Sorry for my English, I don't know it and use a translation program.

I read your reviews and shocked to the core. What happened on that tour? To the fact that in America don't like Grigorovich, we have long been accustomed, but the artists... (but in my opinion, Grigorovich has long been on the choreographic Olympus, even after the legend of Love). Could anyone not like Zaharova, she is someone who does not even believe that it deserves to be a prima ballerina at Bolshoi? I can not believe. Just wanted to see the company ABT. Apparently we are in Moscow understand nothing or blind.

Also wanted to say that I never saw in Bolshoi dirty shoes. Our artists are writing in facebook, that scene dirty and very hard, all sore feet. In don Quixote recommend to see Krysanova, in my opinion Katya now is the best Kitri.

Whose version is Swan Lake from you?

Thank you in advance. thanks.GIF flowers.gif



#160 California

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 03:29 PM

 

Also wanted to say that I never saw in Bolshoi dirty shoes. Our artists are writing in facebook, that scene dirty and very hard, all sore feet.


This is very puzzling. That stage meets Balanchine's demanding standards for "spring," and the NYCB rehearsal studios (which I assume Bolshoi is using) are over in the new Rose building, which also has great floors for NYCB. I don't know if anyone on this board is familiar with the stage floors at both Bolshoi and Lincoln Center to compare, but I would have thought Balanchine's theater would meet the highest standards in this regard (although it's apparently not as big as the Bolshoi stage).

One difference we have heard about is that Russian stages are "raked," while American stages are flat. But that doesn't explain the complaint about hardness. Nor dirty shoes. NYCB dancers get many pairs of new Freeds each week, so we are used to seeing spotless shoes in performance (as we saw with the Bolshoi principals). This might be a matter of what we are used to seeing in that theater from American companies.

#161 abatt

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 04:13 PM

The festival doesn/t have anything to do with standing room policy or policy re release of the ADA seats.  That was Koch theater management.  The very same issues arise re release of ADA seats for NYCB.



#162 volcanohunter

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 04:14 PM

It seemed to me Saturday night that these two hadn't danced together very much and/or had precious little rehearsal time. The partnering seemed unusually tentative and he had to scooch a little to be in the right position several times. His lifts really look like he's struggling, no matter the partner. Perhaps he needs to do some upper-body work...Greatest American male ballet dancer in history? Not yet!

 

Krysanova and Hallberg have danced together before, and last autumn they performed Swan Lake together on tour in Singapore. However, she wasn't originally scheduled to dance any Odette-Odiles in New York, so presumably they had not spent all that much time rehearsing together recently. I have to say, though, that if Hallberg has difficulty lifting Polina Semionova's 175 cm, I don't think he would have fared all that well with Ekaterina Shipulina's 173 cm either. Krysanova, at least, is a little bit smaller. I don't think there's any excuse.



#163 Amour

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 04:53 PM

Could anyone not like Zaharova, she is someone who does not even believe that it deserves to be a prima ballerina at Bolshoi? I can not believe. Just wanted to see the company ABT. Apparently we are in Moscow understand nothing or blind.


I have to say that my understanding is that Zakharova left the Mariinsky for the Bolshoi because she refused to take their critiques about her dancing (her ultra high and not classical extensions, musicality,etc.). I, for one, am not impressed by flexibility alone. In a ballet, especially Swan Lake, I expect to see some dramatic interpretation. I truly felt that Zakharova has not grown at all as a dramatic artist in the same way that someone like Diana Vishneva (who is adored here) has. It really seemed like she was "phoning it in" and expecting the audience to love her based on her reputation alone. I also feel she is a very unmusical dancer. In sum I continue to be of the opinion it was a very disappointing and boring performance from her (and David Hallberg as well).

I would like to say that not every Bolshoi performance has been reviewed harshly. I saw Semyon Chudin and Olga Smirnova later in the week in Swan Lake and thought they were FANTASTIC. I believe others on this forum who saw them felt similarly. I believe they are two artists who exceed anyone we have here in the U.S. I have also read very positive things about Krysanova's Swan Lake. Unfortunately, because none of these three artists were in the Bolshoi first cast, they did not receive a review (at least yet) from the NYC press.

I would also like to add that I do not believe anyone believes ABT has a good production of Swan Lake (I like the Mariinsky best) or that the company is without major problems. It is just that expectations for the Bolshoi (and any Russian company) are exceedingly high, especially after an absence of 9 years. I think we are all thinking Don Q.wii be much more of a success.

#164 Amour

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 05:15 PM

I truly do not know what to make of David Hallberg. He came into the ABT season late and, IMO, gave a very unimpressive showing in Giselle with Alina Cojocaru (those brise voles). Then he left early to rest a foot injury. I thought his Siegfried with the Bolshoi on Tuesday was similarly very unimpressive. From what I have read about the Krysanova/Hallberg Swan Lake, he also struggled with her as well (not just Zakharova). Is he still injured? Is he not being pushed enough at the Bolshoi? This is not the same dancer who used to wow me at ABT.



#165 danc1988

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 05:30 PM

I'll elaborate a little bit on what I previously said in that I very much admire Zakharova, I think she has much fire beneath her cool façade and has dramatic flair extending far beyond her impeccable technique. However Z/Hallberg is at best for me a weak and awkward partnership, while Z/Bolle worked for me, as did Z/Uvarov. I like to think of  personalities in terms of the four temperaments, Z is frequently seen as the archetypical "choleric", Osipova the "sanguine", etc. For the men I view Hallberg as "melancholic", while Bolle and Uvarov are "phlegmatic". For me when you try to have a "choleric" woman dance with a "melancholic" man in Swan Lake it just doesn't work, it is disruptive to the delicate balance between the genders in this or any other heteronormative ballet and leaves the audience feeling disoriented and cold. This is why I left Thursday night obviously seeing that Zakharova did phenomenally well but also with an empty feeling. Maybe I am not being PC here but let me be clear I don't think Hallberg is any less of a man just he is poorly paired with Z and better with, say, Osipova. So for me there is not going to be any solution to the chemistry problem that's far more serious than the also serious, but more superficial issues with lifting and the controversial production.

I am sure Don Q especially the Krysanova performance, if anything like the videos, will be fabulous! And after reading all the comments, I'm now really sad that I missed seeing Smirnova/Chudin.




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