Mathilde K

Vaganova Academy Graduation Concerts 2014

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Yesterday there was a general rehearsal and the concerts started today. In the program of the first concert I provide the names of the students dancing each piece and, for the graduating class, in parentheses also the names of their pedagogues.

The first part of the concert consisted of a 20 minute long ballet «Conservatory», based on the choreography by Bournonville. The piece is absolutely charming and the costumes stunningly beautiful. Pas de trois was danced by:

Екатерина Ялынская [Ekaterina Yalynskaya] (Васильева) as Victorina
Евгений Кузнецов [Evgeniy Kuznetsov] as Ballet master
Анастасия Лукина [Anastasia Lukina (with the final 'a' stressed)] as Elisa

Anastasia Lukina, remarkably delicate and artistic, was a real discovery of the concert. She will be graduating next year. To me Lukina outshone the established "stars", Zhiganshina and Shakirova, in terms of finesse and artistry. It is a good sign of how serious she is and how focused she is on ballet, that there are no visible traces of her presence in the internet, despite the fact that she won Mikhailovsky's Grand Prix on November 10, 2013.

After the intermission there was a Divertissement. It consisted of the following pieces.

1
Pas de quatre Розарий from «Le Réveil de Flore», a "reconstruction" by Yuri Burlaka
another long, stunningly charming classical piece danced by
Ника Цхвитария [Nika Ckhvitaria] as Flora

Анастасия Лукина [Anastasia Lukina] as Aurora

Ольга Рудницкая [Olga Rudnickaya] (Васильева) as Diana

Александра Кирная [Aleksandra Kirnaya] (Ситникова) as Hebe

Inclusion of this Pas de quatre from «Le Réveil de Flore» in the program has triple significance for the School. The printed program says that Burlaka's choreography is after Иван Хлюстин, in the West known as Ivan Clustine, a famous dancer, ballet master and pedagogue-repetiteur to Anna Pavlova.

Pavlova danced her first principal part, of Goddess Flora, in «Le Réveil de Flore». This occurred on September 10, 1900. Finally, on the same day young Agrippina Vaganova danced her first solo part, of Goddess Hebe.

2
The Sabre Dance from «Gayane»
Наталья Клишина [Natalya Klishina] (Васильева)
Марат Нафиков [Marat Nafikov] (Еникеев)


3
Chaconne (music by Handel), chor. Viktor Baranov
Екатерина Ялынская (Васильева)
Игорь Ячменёв [igor Yachmenyov] (Щеглов)


4
Children's Pas de deux (music by Tchaikovsky), chor. Marat Gaziev, reworked by Nikolai Tsiskaridze
danced delightfully by the third-graders
Ксения Андреенко [Ksenia Andreenko]
Дмитрий Задорожный [Dmitriy Zadorozhnyi]


5
Tango from the «Golden Age» (music by Shostakovich), chor. Yuri Grigorovich
Зинаида Гагарская [Zinaida Gagarskaya] (Васильева)
Леонид Леонтьев [Leonid Leontyev] (Щеглов)


6
Pas de deux Diana and Actaeon from «Esmeralda», chor. Agrippina Vaganova
Soloists:

Рената Шакирова [Renata Shakirova]
Алишер Калибай [Alisher Kalibay] (Еникеев)
— very well done, with the choreography not simplified

7
The Castanets Dance from the Soviet ballet «Laurensia» (music by Aleksandr Krein), chor. Vakhtang Chabukiani
Soloists:

Анастасия Толстая [Anastasia Tolstaya] (Ситникова)
Наиль Еникеев [Nail Yenikeev] (Еникеев)


The Grand pas from «Paquita», a feast of Russian Imperial Ballet, formed the third part of the concert. Agrippina Vaganova liked «Paquita» very much herself. It was in «Paquita» that she had finally been noticed among the ranks of the corps de ballet of the Imperial Theater. Many years later Vaganova used the Grand pas for her graduating class in 1930. This is why we have at least the Grand pas from «Paquita» preserved.

Soloists:

Ксения Жиганшина [Ksenia Zhiganshina] (Васильева)
Виталий Амелишко [Vitaliy Amelishko] (Щеглов) both very professional

Pas de trois:
Тамара Гимадиева [Tamara Gimadieva] (Васильева)

Александра Дементьева [Aleksandra Dementyeva] (Ситникова)
Романбек Бейшеналиев [Romanbek Beishenaliev] (Щеглов)

Variations:

1st variation (from «La Vestale»)
Алена Ковалева [Aliona Kovaliova] (6 grade)

2nd variation (Queen of the Waters from «The Little Humpbacked Horse»):

Анастасия Лукина (8 grade)

3rd variation (from «Le Roi Candaule»):
Ника Цхвитария (8 grade)

Two girls wearing gold tutu:

Зинаида Гагарская

Александра Кирная

Two girls wearing lilac tutu:

Ника Цхвитария

Deborah Davis (an American student)

Two girls wearing azure tutu:

Virginia (a student from Brazil, I don't know her last name)

Альбина Сатеналиева

and children in the Polish Dance. Principals in most professional companies would love to be able to do the fouettés the way Zhiganshina did in the coda yet in terms of artistry Kovaliova, Lukina and Ckhvitaria were more refined.

Excellent program and preparation of students overall, and a veritable treasure for any lover of la danse classique. I have been to many ballet school concerts at various ballet schools around the world but this one has been certainly among the most artistically satisfying showcases I ever saw. Most companies would be proud to show it as their regular repertoire offering.

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Thanks for this report...

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Apologies for supplementing my own post. Here, I believe, is the Paquita (thanks to Tugarin-2) -- always a 'Mariinsky/Vaganova' touchstone:

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

(Other performances from the program also available and easy to find once one gets to any one of them.)

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What happened to Svetlana Strebko? Isn't she graduating this year as well?

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What happened to Svetlana Strebko? Isn't she graduating this year as well?

Svetlana Strebko was injured and is still recovering. She is to graduate next year in what should be an outstanding graduating year, with Renata Shakirova, Olga Makarova and Nika Tskhvitaria also graduating.

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In Konservatoriat there were two women: one had a pink ribbon (around her waist, with a big bow in the back) and the other a silvery lilac. Which was Lukina?

It was interesting to see the continuum: the Tango was a pure character piece, and it was hard to believe these were students. Gagarskaya reminds me of ice dancer Elena Ilinykh, and I found Leontyev compelling. Diana and Actaeon is so tricky, because there's a lot of character that has to be conveyed through carriage and style more than stylized choreography. Shakirova had a great combination of grandeur and playfulness, with a lot of ease and aplomb in between the big movement. Again, I might have guessed a young soloist, but not a student. Zhiganshina has presence to burn, and her core is like the crazy Cuban ballerinas who never get knocked off center.

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When the curtain rises, Lukina is on the left, in front of 9 ballerinas grouped in three rows, Yalynskaya is on the right, in front of a similar group of 9 ballerinas. Anastasia is dark blond, slim, with innocent smile.

Concerning Shakirova: over the last two years Renata has been given multiple opportunities to perform with the Mariinsky troupe (she is expected to dance, for example, on July 17 in Concerto DSCH). This explains the level of assuredness and ease she is displaying on stage.

.. .. ..

In the second concert that took place on June 14, I will note only the changes compared to the first concert.

Anastasia Lukina was replaced by Olga Rudnickaya in Консерватория and Evgeniy Kuznetsov — by Герман Борсай [German Borsay].

In Розарий, the part of Goddess Diana was danced this time by Aleksandra Dementieva, and of Hebe — by Ekaterina Yalynskaya.

Tango was placed second in Divertissement, directly after Розарий, then came Children's Pas de deux, performed to thunderous applause by third-graders Дарья Устюжанина [Darya Ustiuzhanina] and Иван Поддубняк [ivan Poddubniak].

In the Sabre Dance that came next (Chaconne wasn't performed), Natalya Klishina was this time paired with Елисей Стрелавин [Elisey Strelavin].

Zinaida Gagarskaya and Leonid Leontyev were the soloists in the Castanets Dance from «Laurensia».

In the Grand pas from «Paquita», the only change occurred in Pas de trois : Марат Нафиков [Marat Nafikov] replaced Romanbek Beishenaliev. According to the printed program Christina Harward (an American student, Кристина Харвард in Cyrillic) was supposed to dance in place of Tamara Gimadieva but she didn't.

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On June 24 the graduation ceremony took place at the Tsarskoye Selo palace outside Petersburg. One can acquaint oneself with the graduating students by watching the video:

Almost all girls graduating with bachelor's degree are seated in the front row (these are the students who passed the exam at the end of the 7th grade and were admitted into a two year program leading to the degree; others graduate at the end of the 7th grade). Among the former ones four girls and two boys graduated with distinction: Shamala Guseinova, Aleksandra Dementieva, Svetlana Russkikh, Ksenia Zhiganshina, Leonid Leontiev, Nail Yenikeyev.

The following photograph may be helpful for identification purposes:

1013425593.jpg

from left to right: Tamara Gimadieva (fabulous ball dress), Ekaterina Yalynskaya, Zinaida Gagarskaya, Ksenia Zhiganshina, Olga Rudnickaya, Shamala Guseinova (pale green dress), Natalya Klishina (dark green dress), Christina Harward (American, long red hair), Esther Dyer (a foreign student, not sure about the spelling), Deborah Davis (American, long blond hair, very slim), Berin Kocabaşoğlu (Turkish student), and Aleksandra Kirnaya (red dress) is the last visible on the right. Further to the right were seated Anastasia Tolstaya (beautiful white dress) and Aleksandra Dementieva (ample red hair) who are not visible. Finally, Svetlana Russkikh, was seated in the second row.

After the ceremony a ball promenade took place. At the beginning one can see Christina Harward In the front row partnered by Vitali Amielishko (Byelarus). The promenade ends with a stately Polonaise.

And today, June 26, one more celebration and one more concert: the 135-th anniversary of Agrippina Vaganova's birth is being celebrated at the Hermitage Theatre.

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Thank you so much for the photo and the ID's.

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How often do Vaganova graduates get hired by companies outside the former Soviet bloc right out of school?

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The Russian students (and a number of non Russian too) are generally hired by Mariinsky, Mikhailovsky or Eifman. They rarely need to look for employment abroad when they look as good as in this photograph (taken during an actual class earlier this year):

994704257.jpg

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I wish Ekaterina Yalynskaya could go to Royal Danish Ballet for one of their summer exchanges. I thought she looked idiomatic in "Konservatoriat."

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On June 24 the graduation ceremony took place at the Tsarskoye Selo......

from left to right: ..... Deborah Davis (American, long blond hair, very slim), .....

Congratulations to Deborah Davis, a graduate of Washington, DC's own Kirov Academy of Ballet in May 2013. I remember Deborah's extraordinarily beautiful 'White Swan pdd' last year in DC as well as her Lilac Fairy in the Winter 2012/13 school performances. She absolutely fits that Kirov-Mariinsky style and 'look.' Wishing her all the best in her professional future. smile.png

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As I mentioned two days ago, the Academy of Russian Ballet had yet another celebration on June 26, the 135-th anniversary of Agrippina Vaganova's birth. It took place in the lovely interiors of the Hermitage Theatre in Petersburg. In the hall of the theatre there was an exhibition of rare artifacts, some exhibited for the first time, many from the personal collection of Nikolai Fyodorov, who has been living for the last 15 years in the apartment where Vaganova had once lived. On stage once again we could enjoy charming Pas de quatre from «Le Réveil de Flore» ("reconstructed" by Yuri Burlaka). One needs to be reminded that the part of Goddess Hebe in «Le Réveil de Flore» was the first solo part of Vaganova. The cast: Anastasia Lukina (Aurora), Aleksandra Dementieva (Diana), Ekaterina Yalynskaya (Hebe), Nika Ckhvitaria (Flora).

Three recent publications by the Academy were presented: a book on Vaganova, a reissue of her Fundamentals of Classical Dance resembling the original edition of 1934, a book devoted to Natalya Dudinskaya and, finally, the first volume of the Chronicle of Ballet in Petersburg. It documents day by day all the events of ballet life in Petersburg from its beginnings to the end of the 18th Century, illustrating it with numerous quotes by witnesses of those events.

In an intermission between the ballet pieces shown on stage, Andrei Kuznetsov, the son of Tatyana Vecheslova (who was one of the earliest and most famous among Vaganova's students, unsurpassed as Esmeralda), touchingly told the story of a meeting he had many years ago with Baryshnikov in New York after 18 years of not seeing each other. On that occasion Baryshnikov gave him the guitar that belonged to Balanchine. The guitar that must have belonged before to some Russian emigré was acquired by young Balanchine in Paris in 1920-ties. Kuznetsov finished his story by donating the guitar to the museum at the Academy.

The following short videonews is worth taking a look at even if one doesn't understand Russian.

http://www.rtr.spb.ru/vesti/vesti_2014/upload/27-6-2014/Vaganova.mp4

We see Goddess Aurora (Anastasia Lukina) on the stage of the Hermitage Theatre and then we hear the telling words of the commentary: руки должны дышать и говорить (the hands should breathe and speak)...

Then we hear one of the last direct students of Vaganova, Lyudmila Safronova, saying about Vaganova: "she was very authoritative, very strong, her character was very strong". Safronova, a celebrated pedagogue of the Academy, seemingly still full of energy, had her last class graduated five years ago (Nadiezhda Batoeva and Yulia Stepanova were in that class). Unfortunately, she was denied by the former artistic director of the Academy taking charge of another class afterwards. Later we see Safronova in the front row together with two other students of Vaganova: Irina Gensler and Marina Pomeranceva.

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Zhiganshina and Klishina will be heading to Moscow: Zhiganshina joining the ballet troupe of Bolshoi as a soloist, Klishina — will be joining МАМТ (the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater). Amielishko, Dementieva, Gimadieva, Guseinova and Russkikh have been chosen by Mariinsky, Rudnickaya — by Mikhailovsky, and Yalynskaya — by the Jakobson's Ballet Theatre, whereas Gagarskaya and Leontiev are heading to Eifman.

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Although I didn't notice any diminishment of the Vaganova port a bras, I have to say I wasn't thrilled to hear Tsiskaridze had the students dance part of a Grigorovich ballet (Golden Age). I still think bringing him in to replace Altynai was a terrible idea that will eventually have repercussions.

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Tsiskaridze did not replace Asylmuratova. He replaced Dorofeeva, the lady who had no connection to ballet.

Grigorovich's connection to Leningrad' ballet is at least as strong as to Bolshoi: he was born in Leningrad, he graduated from the Vaganova Academy, his dancer's career was entirely on the stage of Kirov, and he was formed as a choreographer in Leningrad. His most successful choreography, not just in my opinion, was the ballet done for Kirov: «The Legend of Love» . It has stayed in the repertoire of Kirov/Mariinsky since then. Barely two days ago it was danced at Mariinsky by Lopatkina, Novikova and Ivanchenko as principals.

Grigorovich's «Tango» was a duet danced by 2 (two) graduating students. Compared to other pieces on a much grander scale it was a minor item in the program.

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Zhiganshina is heading to Bolshoi. Amielishko, Dementieva, Gimadieva, Guseinova and Russkikh have been chosen by Mariinsky, Rudnickaya — by Mikhailovsky, and Yalynskaya — by the Jakobson's Ballet Theatre, whereas Gagarskaya and Leontiev are heading to Eifman.

Wow, Zhiganshina to the Bolshoi, that's a surprise!

Although, come to think of it I had read a comment to that effect on her instagram (or vk?) but I assumed it was tongue-in-cheek (my Russian's not very good).

I guess those Mariinsky performances and the holiday with Fateyev to Florida weren't enough to get her to sign on.

In any case, I wish her and the rest of them all the best for the start of their careers.

Do you happen to know where Klishina is going?

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Zhiganshina's decision to go to the Bolshoi for me was expected as she was offered much better conditions. Klishina will be joining МАМТ (the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre at Moscow).

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Just a small correction, Vera Alexevna Dorofeeva had worked at Vaganova Academy for many years, as an administrator. She was a much loved persona in the Academy, who may never have studied ballet, but her job was purely administrative. She ran the business end of the school and she did it well. Asylmuratova was the Artistic Director and truly the one who needed to know ballet. Dorofeeva, and her predecessor, N. Nadirov were expected to be good business people. Having worked with and for both, I can attest, they both were excellent at their jobs at the Academy. Things may have changed since my departure from the Academy in 1995, however to describe Vera Alexeevna Dorofeeva as " the lady who had no connection to ballet" is not exactly true as she had been working her way from the bottom up at Vaganova Academy since the 1980s at least. That is a long history working with one organization. Knowing Dorofeeva I am happy to report she knew and loved ballet but showed great respect for the artist and how much they knew simply because the artist had spent a lifetime in the world of ballet.

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Just a small correction, Vera Alexevna Dorofeeva had worked at Vaganova Academy for many years, as an administrator. She was a much loved persona in the Academy, who may never have studied ballet, but her job was purely administrative. (...), and her predecessor, N. Nadirov were expected to be good business people.

Oh, yes, they were good "business" people. Both of them.

When Nadirov, an officer of KGB, was appointed the head of the Vaganova school in 1986, he brought Dorofeeva who, like him, had no relation to ballet.When he was leaving the school, by that time called "Academy", to become a deputy minister of Culture in 2004, he anointed trusted Dorofeeva to be the next head of the Vaganova Academy. Dorofeeva continued in the same vain, she brought to the Academy Mr. Isakov, like her not related in any way to ballet — his expertise was rather in the penitentiary system. Isakov became her deputy at the Academy and that was just a beginning of the career not only of Isakov but also of Mr. Fomkin who became a second deputy of Dorofeeva, and this "trinity" has been in charge of the Academy until Dorofeeva was sent into retirement last Fall. Fomkin was anointed by Dorofeeva to be her successor, like Dorofeeva had been earlier anointed by Nadirov. Before that happened, however, they managed to get rid of a number of people at the Academy.

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Zhiganshina and Klishina will be heading to Moscow: Zhiganshina joining the ballet troupe of Bolshoi as a soloist, Klishina — will be joining МАМТ (the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater). Amielishko, Dementieva, Gimadieva, Guseinova and Russkikh have been chosen by Mariinsky, Rudnickaya — by Mikhailovsky, and Yalynskaya — by the Jakobson's Ballet Theatre, whereas Gagarskaya and Leontiev are heading to Eifman.

Will Zhiganshina be on the summer tour?

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This is not really the correct forum to discuss the inner workings of Vaganova Academy from the 1980s to the present day. I will bow out of the conversation. However, I am quite aware of the history of the development of the school/Academy/Institute. Thank you for your contribution to the discussion.

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Great to hear that Zhiganshina will be joining the Bolshoi. Although I lament the loss of the MT, but I've always feel that Bolshoi suits her style better, and they must already have prepared a program for her development in the company, like what happened to Olga Smirnova.

Does anyone here know who will be her teacher at the Bolshoi?

And congratulations to all the others for their jobs! flowers.gif

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