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Kennedy Center Jan 2015- Rite of Spring and others

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Aurora generally isn't a role given to such a tall ballerina as Lopatkina. The tall ballerinas are usually given Lilac Fairy. Given her stature, I don't think the role of Aurora would have necessrily fit with her physique. I don't equate the fact that Lopatkina hasn't done Aurora with a black mark on her career as a prima ballerina.

Yes! I wish I could find the quote, but now I can't, but Lopatkina herself is on record as saying she would not dance Aurora, because she considered it a role not suitable for her. If I remember correctly, she was referring to her height, as she considered it was a role for shorter dancers than she is, and dancers of a different physical type. I always felt it was a shame, as she has such a pure technique. Anyway, I wish some other dancers would refrain from dancing roles not suitable for them! :-)

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There is a tradition of major dancers performing the Lilac Fairy -- as indeed there should be in my opinion -- including Bergsma and Nunez at the Royal. Though I realize it also gets cast with soloists, albeit often soloists perceived as up-and-coming. The Mariinsky (for better and, sometimes, for worse) respects "emploi;" Obratzsova never got Odette/Odile there, though she has elsewhere. In an earlier era Baryshnikov defected partly because he knew his physique would pose limitations of repertory if he stayed...

No-one has to like any particular ballerina--and no-one will like every ballerina whatever the reputation; sometimes when I am not as enthusiastic about a ballet dancer adored by others--and experienced dance goers to boot (eg to make Amy feel less lonely on this thread, Assylmuratova whom I liked but did not adore as so many others did) I suspect that I may be the one with the limitations! Anyway, I think there is lively discussion here today because, for many of those who DO admire her Lopatkina is not just any "admirable" ballerina, but really on a special and rare plane. For me, a life-changing ballerina. And her qualities (again, speaking for myself) are qualities that define something about ballet, so that our love of her dancing touches on our very love of ballet. In that context, it would never occur to me to think less of her because her career took her to Lilac Fairy not Aurora or because she is more remarkable in some major roles than others.

This doesn't keep me from admiring/liking/loving other, very different ballerinas with other, very different qualities. But Lopatkina I own is in my pantheon of the all time greats that I have been fortunate enough to see. Missing her performances on the Mariinsky's current U.S. tour (to return to the topic of this thread) has been well nigh physically painful for me. But as Amy said -- for all kinds of reasons, sometimes one can't just pick up and see the performances one would hope to see.

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Sorry but I only have a Ph.D. in economics, not Ballet Studies. However, I've been following the Mariinsky live since the 1982 Paris tour. I have to back YID; Uliana Lopatkina is an artist of the highest order, offering much more than solid technique. She is even grander now than she was when I lived in StP and witnessed her first Giselle (Myrtha and G) and Nikiya. Her performances in DC on opening night (Swan and Paquita) were nothing short of divine...ageless! I hope that I don't have to wait another 33 years to see another ideal Kirov-Mariinsky ballerina.

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There is a tradition of major dancers performing the Lilac Fairy -- as indeed there should be in my opinion -- including Bergsma and Nunez at the Royal. Though I realize it also gets cast with soloists, albeit often soloists perceived as up-and-coming. The Mariinsky (for better and, sometimes, for worse) respects "emploi;" Obratzsova never got Odette/Odile there, though she has elsewhere. In an earlier era Baryshnikov defected partly because he knew his physique would pose limitations of repertory if he stayed...

No-one has to like any particular ballerina--and no-one will like every ballerina whatever the reputation; sometimes when I am not as enthusiastic about a ballet dancer adored by others--and experienced dance goers to boot (eg to make Amy feel less lonely on this thread, Assylmuratova whom I liked but did not adore as so many others did) I suspect that I may be the one with the limitations! Anyway, I think there is lively discussion here today because, for many of those who DO admire her Lopatkina is not just any "admirable" ballerina, but really on a special and rare plane. For me, a life-changing ballerina. And her qualities (again, speaking for myself) are qualities that define something about ballet, so that our love of her dancing touches on our very love of ballet. In that context, it would never occur to me to think less of her because her career took her to Lilac Fairy not Aurora or because she is more remarkable in some roles than others.

This doesn't keep me from admiring/liking/loving other, very different ballerinas with other, very different qualities. But Lopatkina I own is in my pantheon of the all time greats that I have been fortunate enough to see. Missing her performances on the Mariinsky's current U.S. tour (to...uh...get back to topic of this thread) has been well nigh physically painful for me. But as Amy said -- for all kinds of reasons, sometimes one can't just pick up and see the performances one would hope to see.

I don't hate Lopatkina; I just don't agree that she's one of the greats and the reason is because she is very classical and fluid and has beautiful lines, but that's really it. That's all she really is when she's on stage and as a result, she never brings any personality or expressiveness. That's why people think she's overrated and find her boring and I can see what they mean. I just watched a clip from last year of her as Medora in the Le Jardin Anime scene from Le Corsaire to see if maybe I misjudged her... I hadn't. Her classical style, fluidity and lovely lines were all there, but the corps de ballet was much more exciting than she was!

So that's why I feel the way I do about her in case people were wondering and you don't have to agree with me! No one has to agree with me. I know she's very classical and fluid, etc and I know that she's an adagio ballerina, but for me, she's just too technical. I also don't like how she always tends to dance very slow; one thing I've learned in recent years is that slowing music down in ballet is really bad and I know people praise Lopatkina's slow dancing, but I think it's awful.

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I'm pretty sure that there's a thread specifically about emploi, but I'm in the middle of a project and don't have time to dig -- my hometown company has a number of tall dancers, and so we often get tall women in traditionally short roles. One of my favorite Auroras (only saw her on video) was Cynthia Gregory -- we've watched her Rose Adagio here on BA a couple of times. A wonderful example of using technical skill to create a character.

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To Amy and mimsyb - when was the last time you saw Lopatkina dance live? from the audience in the theater?

and certainly Lopatkina is not a ballerina that says (acts like), "look at me" - it's not her culture nor her.

I have seen her dying swan in 2008 at NYC City Center and now at the Kennedy center, and both times she made me cry. it was a very intimate portrayal of dying swan, and i felt almost as if i am trespassing the privacy of a dying creature. Her swan was not fighting for life with falls or swaps of wings but more with her feet and something inside of her body that was refusing but can't help death.

I didn't see the Mariinsky this time around at BAM, but did see Lopatkina at the Met (several times) during their previous visit. Don't get me wrong. I am very much a Lopatkina fan; I find her splendid. I was only commenting on what I saw vis a vis the two film clips. Lopatkina seemed to be "outside" the role, while Pavlova seemed to totally embody the swan. MO

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Just for fun, I fished out my DVD "Kirov Classics" to watch Paquita to compare it to what we saw at the Kennedy Center. Filmed around 1990, the Paquita leads are Julia Makhalina and Igor Zelensky. Larissa Lezhnina does the 4th variation and Vinogradov was the AD. Boy, watching this you can see the old Vaganova epaulement has now totally vanished (except maybe in Brileva). Most striking is the use of the head. Back then it was lifted up and back (really pretty far back). Now, seeing that is a rarity. In the PDT, one of the women in the DVD does a series of brise volées. I don't recall seeing that at the Kennedy Center. And Lezhnina is gorgeous in the 4th variation (as always); so much better than Marchuk was at the Kennedy Center. Of course Lezhnina was a principal and Marchuk (who is lovely) is, I believe, a coryphee. Back then, legs are lower, balances a bit less sustained. But seeing this made me feel sad about the current state of the Mariinsky. But of course, NYCB has also changed how it dances radically in 25 years. I guess time moves on, styles change and ballet is a living art. Still, I'm feeling nostalgic.

Amour, Selina *did* perform the brise volees in her variation in the pas de trois.

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Okay, people, I edited out a bunch of shark jumping.

We exist to discuss ballet, not each other, and not the discussion. There is no "years of watching" or academic credentials criterion for stating an opinion about a dancer or ballet, and your opinions of each others' right to comment and how you rank their opinions have no place here. Your opinion of a dancer, ballet, etc. is what matters. If you think a post has violated policy, use the "Report" button, and the Moderators will review it.

There is also no "starting a fuss": everything stated here can be disagreed with, and discussion boards are not places to be if you don't like being disagreed with by one or many. That's what blogs (with comments turned off) are for. The only exception is the rare occasion when disagreement becomes a stalker-like pattern by a poster of swooping in with an agenda and toddler-like behavior that is disruptive, which is not the case here.

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Is Yana Selina one of the dancers in this Paquita pas de Trois?

Ballet alert inspired me to watch some Pavlova clips and noticed her high extension well above 90 at various points in choreography and of the extended leg in tour jete landings.

Are there any Pavlova videos that have been adjusted for frames and speed to remove the jerkiness?

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Yes, maps. Selina dances the 2nd female solo in the pas de trois in the Dec 31, 2009, telecast.

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Are there any Pavlova videos that have been adjusted for frames and speed to remove the jerkiness?

Not to my knowledge, but Robert Greskovic would be the one to ask.

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Well that's fine, you're entitled to your own opinions. I have heard that she has improved very recently; it's just a shame it's happened so late in her career, but there are dancers who are better than her I think and well, can you really call a ballerina a prima if she hasn't danced Aurora

I read an interview with Lopatkina where she specifically said she did not think herself suitable for Aurora in SB because she's too tall. She has chosen not to dance the role for that reason.

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There was a cable TV documentary maybe 15 years ago called "Fighting over Fokine" where his granddaughter Isabelle Fokine staged The Swan and Polovtsian Dances and maybe also Scheherazade for the (then) Kirov from Fokine's notes and other materials in his archive. There was a "bible" for The Swan which included Fokines's wife in photographs of each pose. She asserted that all current versions, including Lopatkina's were "improvisations" that had little to do with the original. She also maintained that Markova's version was not the original, although I don't recall whether she said anything about Pavlova's, though she did say that Diaghalev changed Fokine's ballets during his lifetime, to which he objected.

I recall that there was a lot of opposition from the Kirov dancers to changing steps that they considered traditional and eventually she taught Yulia Makhalina the original version, which was contrasted with Lopatkina's. I found this video of Makhalina in the Swan from 2013. It doesn't state which version it is, but it sure isn't the Lopatkina version!

https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KLqIWBw89UfXMArfr7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTByZWc0dGJtBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDMQ--?p=yulia+makhalina+dying+swan&vid=2e745afa08bade5154d297e4120a21c9&l=2%3A53&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts2.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.608006505860501025%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DcX_JkJUWg6Y&tit=The+Dying+Swan+-+Yulia+Makhalina&c=0&sigr=11bjhstt3&sigt=110nbo6jo&sigi=11rrv0vcv&age=1377313955&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=mozilla&tt=b

nysusan, I saw that same program. Wow, it was a showdown between most of the Mariinsky (who were very hostile) and Isabelle Fokine. I thought Isabelle made it clear she simply wouldn't let the Fokine works be performed if she didn't approve of how they were being danced. And there is a huge difference between Makhalina's Swan and Lopatkina's. Maybe Isabelle gave up the fight (also you can't be everywhere to monitor everything). I prefer Makhalina's version to Lopatkina's

About Lopatkina, I think she is a life altering ballerina but she doesn't do everything well. Balanchine, for example. She dances the Diamonds PDD from Jewels as if it were Swan Lake. Blech, no. But generally, I think she chooses her roles carefully, ones that suit her. You don't really see her doing contemporary work, as Kondaurova does. But that's fine. No dancer is good at everything, and everyone has things they excel at. I will only say the Odette she did at BAM was SO wonderful, IMO. Much better than the already excellent SL she did in London in August. And I love how she makes every role so unique. I'm just sorry that unless I go to StP I may never see her dance live again:(

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can you really call a ballerina a prima if she hasn't danced Aurora?

My vote is, of course you can. It's the quality of dancing that determines a prima ballerina, and although the dancer must assuredly embrace a wide range of roles, I don't think there's a checklist where you have to tick off every one. I don't believe that Alessandra Ferri danced either DonQ or Swan Lake (and please correct me if I'm wrong), but in my view she is certainly a prima ballerina.

Ulyana Lopatkina's dancing as Odette at BAM was so extraordinary in every dimension, the house hushed in communal awe, that if she isn't considered a prima ballerina, who dancing today would be? Veronika Part, I believe, and certainly a few others, but to omit Lopatkina because she doesn't dance Aurora seems to me a non-issue.

This is slightly off-topic, but what about Suzanne Farrell, Maria Kowroski, and other great dancers at NYCB? Are they denied the title of prima because their repertoire doesn't include the Petipa classics?

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can you really call a ballerina a prima if she hasn't danced Aurora?

My vote is, of course you can. It's the quality of dancing that determines a prima ballerina, and although the dancer must assuredly embrace a wide range of roles, I don't think there's a checklist where you have to tick off every one. I don't believe that Alessandra Ferri danced either DonQ or Swan Lake (and please correct me if I'm wrong), but in my view she is certainly a prima ballerina.

Ulyana Lopatkina's dancing as Odette at BAM was so extraordinary in every dimension, the house hushed in communal awe, that if she isn't considered a prima ballerina, who dancing today would be? Veronika Part, I believe, and certainly a few others, but to omit Lopatkina because she doesn't dance Aurora seems to me a non-issue.

This is slightly off-topic, but what about Suzanne Farrell, Maria Kowroski, and other great dancers at NYCB? Are they denied the title of prima because their repertoire doesn't include the Petipa classics?

Yeah you're right, sure Alessandra Ferri is actually a Prima Ballerina Assoluta; I think some people might feel that Aurora is the most iconic ballerina role, or at least one of them, so that's where this argument would come from.

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There was a cable TV documentary maybe 15 years ago called "Fighting over Fokine" where his granddaughter Isabelle Fokine staged The Swan and Polovtsian Dances and maybe also Scheherazade for the (then) Kirov from Fokine's notes and other materials in his archive. There was a "bible" for The Swan which included Fokines's wife in photographs of each pose. She asserted that all current versions, including Lopatkina's were "improvisations" that had little to do with the original. She also maintained that Markova's version was not the original, although I don't recall whether she said anything about Pavlova's, though she did say that Diaghalev changed Fokine's ballets during his lifetime, to which he objected.

I recall that there was a lot of opposition from the Kirov dancers to changing steps that they considered traditional and eventually she taught Yulia Makhalina the original version, which was contrasted with Lopatkina's. I found this video of Makhalina in the Swan from 2013. It doesn't state which version it is, but it sure isn't the Lopatkina version!

https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KLqIWBw89UfXMArfr7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTByZWc0dGJtBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDMQ--?p=yulia+makhalina+dying+swan&vid=2e745afa08bade5154d297e4120a21c9&l=2%3A53&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts2.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.608006505860501025%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DcX_JkJUWg6Y&tit=The+Dying+Swan+-+Yulia+Makhalina&c=0&sigr=11bjhstt3&sigt=110nbo6jo&sigi=11rrv0vcv&age=1377313955&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=mozilla&tt=b

nysusan, I saw that same program. Wow, it was a showdown between most of the Mariinsky (who were very hostile) and Isabelle Fokine. I thought Isabelle made it clear she simply wouldn't let the Fokine works be performed if she didn't approve of how they were being danced. And there is a huge difference between Makhalina's Swan and Lopatkina's. Maybe Isabelle gave up the fight (also you can't be everywhere to monitor everything). I prefer Makhalina's version to Lopatkina's

About Lopatkina, I think she is a life altering ballerina but she doesn't do everything well. Balanchine, for example. She dances the Diamonds PDD from Jewels as if it were Swan Lake. Blech, no. But generally, I think she chooses her roles carefully, ones that suit her. You don't really see her doing contemporary work, as Kondaurova does. But that's fine. No dancer is good at everything, and everyone has things they excel at. I will only say the Odette she did at BAM was SO wonderful, IMO. Much better than the already excellent SL she did in London in August. And I love how she makes every role so unique. I'm just sorry that unless I go to StP I may never see her dance live again:(

GO! :-) You should go to St Petersburg - to see Lopatkina dance there is to see her where she truly belongs. And regarding contemporary ballets, I suppose it depends on what exactly we call a contemporary ballet, but she was wonderful in Hans Van Manen's Trois Gnossienes (with Andrei Ermakov) and also Five Tangos and Variations for Two Couples. She has also danced Forsythe's In the Middle Somewhat Elevated. Other choreographers might be considered more neo-classical than modern or contemporary and I am never sure where to draw the line, but she has certainly danced in many ballets choreographed ... more recently! :-)

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Lest we forget Lopatkina dancing the contemporary comic work, Le Grand Pas de Deux, with eyeglasses and red pocket book!

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It looks like the Mariinsky Ballet may be in talks with the Kennedy Center for a longer run next season:

http://sputniknews.com/art_living/20150128/1017453908.html

This is fine but written in such a 'party line' style it's risible. So the great hit of the recent KC run was SACRE....really? So what will we get for two weeks next season? Let me guess: an evening of Forsythe ballets, another mixed bill to includes LES NOCES, and yet another bucket splash of CInDERELLA scaffolding? Would it be too much to ask for full RAYMONDA and a mixed bill of two great Vikharev reconstructions not yet seen in the US: FLORA'S AWAKENING and CARNAVAL?

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My hope is that if they do a longer run they are more likely to bring two different programs instead of just one, so they could bring a classical ballet and a contemporary one at the same time sort of how they alternated Swan Lake with Cinderella and the mixed Chopin bill in NY recently.

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