Mathilde K

“Who is to dance at Mariinsky?”

112 posts in this topic

Finally, particularly troubling is the constant neglect by the management of artistic capabilities of Yulia Stepanova, likely the most notable and talented among the young dancers of the passed five years. Her difficult, constantly obstructed climbing up the career ladder eloquently speaks that ‘something is rotten in the state of Denmark’.

This is where the article loses me. Stepanova has been given Odette/Odile and is headed to London where her performance is highly anticipated. Also set to dance the Firebird. Seems like her career is exactly where it should be.

As I said, from what I've seen Stepanova is a wonderful artist and she doesn't need to be dragged into this kind of yellow journalism.

She is "not "given" anything. Her roles are in most cases "stop-gaps". I hope you understand what that means in a theater. Fateev has been recently in a desperate need for soloists. Mariinsky's repertoire is massive. A ballet nearly every night every week, sometimes twice a day. It generates the revenue for Gergiev. Whatever his motives for promoting mediocrity, he knows who can dance in the company well, who cannot. He knows Stepanova is capable to do well any part, no matter how demanding, and this is why he uses her as an "insurance policy" in case there is some urgent need. I can only suggest you read the article again, more carefully.

The situation at the Mariinsky Ballet has been such an anomaly that you are entitled to think that all the described facts are not true, just don't call it "yellow journalism". It is neither "journalism", nor "yellow." The person who wrote that has proper credentials. Not less than Yuri Fateev himself.

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She is "not "given" anything. Her roles are in most cases "stop-gaps". I hope you understand what that means in a theater. Fateev has been recently in a desperate need for soloists. Mariinsky's repertoire is massive. A ballet nearly every night every week, sometimes twice a day. It generates the revenue for Gergiev. He is not an idiot, he knows who can dance well, who cannot. I can only suggest you read the article again, more carefully.

The situation at the Mariinsky Ballet has been such an anomaly that you are entitled to think that all the described facts are not true, just don't call it "yellow journalism". It is neither "journalism", nor "yellow." The person who wrote that has proper credentials. Not less than Yuri Fateev himself.

I understand what a stopgap means. But I don't see how this applies to Stepanova. Fact is O/O is a role usually given to dancers on the principal track. There are so many dancers that have been stubbornly denied O/O. "Stopgap" would be asking Stepanova to jump into the third shade variation because Dancer X got injured.

I'm not saying the facts aren't "true," but I've also read enough of these Russian diatribes bemoaning the lack of opportunities for their favorite dancer to take them with heavy shovelfuls of salt. There's plenty of heartbreak among the Mariinsky but Stepanova's story is not a sob story. She's young, she's getting opportunities, her career is going places.

Now talk about Daria Pavlenko or Ekaterina Osmolkina and we might have a real story of dancers who got dropped like lepers in the Fateev administration.

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Here is a biography of the author from the Vaganova Academy's official website:

www.vaganova.ru/files/Zozulina_SV(1).doc

I found that too. Unfortunately this must be some random old file that was never updated.

I'm sorry, but I don't read Russian and don't have a Cyrilic translator at hand -- could someone here please give this poor woman a name?

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I added to the translation the information about the author.

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Just out of curiosity, how many years was Skorik in the corps de ballet for before Fateyev starting giving her all those principal roles?

Because I know that Yulia Stepanova had been in the the corps de ballet for about 3 years before making her Lilac Fairy début in December 2012 and Maria Shirinkina was in the corps de ballet for 5 years before she was promoted to second soloist in 2011, which was also the year her husband, Vladimir Shklyarov was promoted to principal.

Anyone know how long Skorik was in the corps de ballet for?

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It seems that there is no official information to be found about the circumstances in which Skorik joined the MT. Information on her wikipedia page shows that she joined in 2007 as a coryphee, but previous discussions on this forum show that her name did not appear on the MT website until 2008, and I cannot remember if she was listed as coryphee or corp de ballet at the time. A youtube video of her debut in Queen of Dryad (seem to be her first significant solo part in the company) was published in June of 2009 and this seems to be the performance on June 14 in 2009 (http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/playbill/2009/6/14/1_1900/). And on July 10 in 2009 of the same year she danced Lilac Fairy. This also seems to be a debut as I cannot find earlier she was not listed in that role in earlier Sleeping Beauty performances according to the archive of the MT website. Her O/O debut was in May of 2011 with Askerov but before that she danced with Korsuntsev in a gala. It was around the same time when she was promoted to second soloist, but I cannot remember correctly which month. She stayed there for less than a season before advancing to first soloist.

Under Vaziev she was receiving minor solo parts along with a number of Vaganova graduates, but it was under Fateyev that she started to receive, and continuously, big parts, one after another.

Shirinkina seems to be promoted together with Maria Chugai and a number of young dancers to coryphee before Vaziev left the company. And she was getting more opportunities in her first seasons with the company (such as one of the fairies in 3rd Act Sleeping Beauty in her first season, shown in the New Year's Eve gala) than Stepanova, Batoeva and the like. This is difficult to comment on this, however, because during Vaziev's time young dancers were having more opportunities in general.

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Just out of curiosity, how many years was Skorik in the corps de ballet for before Fateyev starting giving her all those principal roles?

Because I know that Yulia Stepanova had been in the the corps de ballet for about 3 years before making her Lilac Fairy début in December 2012 and Maria Shirinkina was in the corps de ballet for 5 years before she was promoted to second soloist in 2011, which was also the year her husband, Vladimir Shklyarov was promoted to principal.

Anyone know how long Skorik was in the corps de ballet for?

For the 2006/2007 Vaganova year, Vaganova added an extra year to their required graduation policies, so girls like Anastasia Nikitina did not graduate in 2007 but in 2008. Niktiina is 4 months younger than Oxana Skorik, who graduated in Perm in 2007, shortly after reaching age 18. Makhar Vaziev was Mariinsky ACTING ballet director in 2007 and hired Skorik as corps de ballet girl.

In June 2008, Fateyev replaced Vaziev as acting ballet director. Under Vaziev, Skorik had danced nothing , except corps de ballet work in her one year under Vaziev. On March 5, 2009, during Fateyev's first full season as Mariinsky acting ballet director, Fateyev gave Skorik, her first solo role, as Monna in Giselle. Fateyev has shown that few debuts take place at Mariinsky in a season, but when they do, he will give several debuts in the same performance, as he did on March 5, when Anastasia Petushkova made her Myrtha debut. Petushkova was a 2006 Vaganova graduate coryphee, dancing Myrtha to corps de ballet Skroik's Monna debut. Petushkova's path has kept her as a coryphee and only Gamzatti among her classical solo roles, although Zarema is important.

From Skorik's Monna debut in her first season under Fateyev, soon Bayadere 3rd shade and Swan Lake two swans were added to her resume. On June 14, 2009, three months after her Monna debut, Skorik danced her first significant role as Queen of the Dryads in Don Quixote. That performance was filmed by a Russian and fragments of it are shown on Youtube , including Skorik's full Dryad solo.

One month later, Fateyev was so impressed with Skorik's Queen of Dryad, that he gave her the role of Lilac Fairy on July 10, 2009. She finished her first season under Fateyev and second season at Mariinsky, by adding these solo roles to her resume, Lilac Fairy, Queen of Dryads, 3rd Shade, Monna, Two Swans.

It is interesting that Skorik made her Lilac fairy debut shortly after turning 20 years old in her second season. Skorik was born in April 1989 and Stepanova was born in October 1989, but Stepanova graduated at Vaganova two years after Skorik graduated at Perm. Stepanova had rave reviews for her Lilac Fairy performance in the complete prologue program of the 2009 Vaganova graduation ceremonies. Skorik made her Mariinsky Lilac Fairy debut, one month after Stepanova's Vaganova Lilac Fairy performance. Ballet fans and ballet critics impressed by Stepanova's Lilac fairy, expected her to perform that role early in her Mariinsky career, but as you stated, her debut was in December 2012, in her fourth season at Mariinsky at age 23, three years older than when Skorik made her Mariinsky Lilac fairy debut.

In Skorik's 2nd season under Fateyev and 3rd Mariinsky season, she performed Lilac Fairy in the Kenendy Center in 2 different performance during the Mariinsky Sleeping Beauty week in February 2010, when Washington received it's worst snowstorm ever. In the Kennedy Canter programs, two ballerinas made their Princess Florine debut, Maya Dumchenko, who had danced Aurora many times, plus Skorik. In the 2010 Mariinsky festival Sleeping Beauty, Skorik danced her first significant Mariinsky festival solo role, as Princess Florine, a role which she had danced at Kennedy Center in February.

On July 6, 2010, Skorik danced her first major role as Giselle and once again Petushkova was Myrtha, so their positions had changed drastically in one year.

She ended her 2nd season under Fateyev with two new additions, Florine and the very important Giselle.

On May 14, 2011, Skorik made her Odette/Odile debut, seven days before the other Perm ballerina, Maria Shirinkina, made her Juliet debut on May 21. Like Lilac Fairy, Skorik was three years ahead of similar aged, Yulia Stepanova, who has yet to dance these important classical roles danced by Skorik, Giselle, Nikiya, Kitri, Raymonda, Medora, and Masha in Nutcracker. Also, four years have passed since Skorik's first good classical solo role , Florine, in the Mariinsky Festival. Now her Mariinsky festival classical full length ballet resume includes in order, Florine (in only Sleeping Beauty of 2010 and only Sleeping Beauty at Mariinsky Festival in 2011, last one performed at Festival), Queen of Dryads (2011, 2013), Nikiya (2013). Odette/Odile (2014). Yulia Stepanova's Mariinsky Festival classical full length ballet resume is completely empty with not one classical role danced at Mariinsky Festival.

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Vaziev's wife, Olga Chenchikova, graduated from Perm. This is the likely reason why Vaziev took the graduates from Perm, Shirinkina, then Skoryk. If Skoryk indeed was already given solo parts under Vaziev, then she must have arrived in 2007, since at the end of May of 2008, Fateev was appointed the Acting Director.

He extended his care over the two Permians from the start. The fact that Skoryk for her Swan lake Adagio debut was given the most dependable partner (Korsuntsev), is a good indication of Fateev's intentions re. Skoryk. In comparison, he deprived Stepanova of the opportunity to try herself in the Pas de deux and variations from the «Swan Lake» before her debut. Then made her debut doubly difficult by giving her an inexperienced debutant as her partner.

Even more telling is the list of the soloists selected by Fateev for that Brilliant Divertissement gala (Dec 2, 2010) where Skoryk was dancing the Swan Lake Adagio with Korsuntsev:

Lopatkina, Novikova, Tereshkina, Kolegova, Kondaurova and... Shirinkina, Skoryk — nobody else.

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It seems that there is no official information to be found about the circumstances in which Skorik joined the MT. Information on her wikipedia page shows that she joined in 2007 as a coryphee, but previous discussions on this forum show that her name did not appear on the MT website until 2008, and I cannot remember if she was listed as coryphee or corp de ballet at the time.

Hmmm, that's a bit odd regarding there's no information as to how Skorik joined the company.

Although, I've read that Maria Shirinkina is more or less down in Perm Ballet School history because she was the first student from the school to be immediately accepted into the Mariinsky after graduation. And she was dancing roles like one of the Jewel Fairies in Sleeping Beauty during her first season? Well that's not too bad; those sort of minor roles are acceptable for young corps de ballet members and coryphees. I do know that she was dancing the role of Diana in The Awakening of Flora in her second season; the 2008 recording of The Awakening of Flora with Ekaterina Osmolkina as Flora features a young Maria Shirinkina as Diana. She was either just 20 or 21 at the time and she did have two very slight wobbles, but nothing too serious and nothing that affected the performance. She was certainly more fortunate than Ekaterina Petina, who danced Hebe in that same performance because unfortunately at one point during the performance, Petina actually fell off pointe.

In fact if you haven't seen it, here's the performance here, but watch it for the ballet, not the performance of the dancers. This ballet is an absolute masterpiece! I love it! And keep an eye out for the billy goat; he gives a great performance lol.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4vZLOSN8hU&list=UUQcLsuqPqujmXteg6zGht6w

Now I don't know if this was during Vaziev or Fateyev's era - I assume it was Vaziev's era seeing as how Fateyev hates reconstructions. And I have to say that in terms of what Fateyev has been doing to the dancers, the way he's been messing them around, it is really bad management. He said he was aiming to bring in the new generation of dancers and if that's true, that's very noble of him, but he's been completely going about it the wrong way. You do not give dancers certain roles before they're technically ready, you just don't! And you don't promote certain dancers because they're your favourite nor do you leave very talented dancers in the lower ranks, especially the ones who should be principals!

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Amy, Shirinkina danced Amor in the Mariinsky Festival Don Quixote in 2007 with Osipova/Sarafanov in her first season.

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Amy, Shirinkina danced Amor in the Mariinsky Festival Don Quixote in 2007 with Osipova/Sarafanov in her first season.

Oh right and did you see that performance?

Oh and btw Bart, how are you doing now in terms of your injury? You feeling any better?

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Good news: Kristina Shapran is now First Soloist with the Mariinsky. Congratulations for her!

But in my opinion, this is so not fair for Vasnetsova, Adzhamova, Nikitina, Stepanova, Batoeva, Krasnokutskaya, and Marchuk. I wonder if Fateyev placed her only because of her fame, because he would not even hire Shapran as coryphee or second soloist 3 years ago.

Does it mean that every Vaganova top graduate in the future should join Bolshoi as a soloist, or join a secondary theatre to be a principal, before they come back to Mariinsky qualified to be soloist?

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Good news: Kristina Shapran is now First Soloist with the Mariinsky. Congratulations for her! (...)

The first dramatic result of the appearance of the article perhaps? A few days ago she was Coryphée.

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Hopefully it is so and a sign of change of policy. I am still praying for the promotion of Stepanova and of other competent dancers.

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As am I and if someone was to replace Fateyev any time soon, I actually keep wondering if it would be ideal to demote Askerov and Skorik back the corps de ballet so they can start again from scratch and rework their ways up the ranks fairly this time.

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At the very least Yulia deserves to be Second Soloist by now, and she has already contributed so much to the theatre, no less than several principals, not only just with her exceptional talent. But since Bondareva's placement is not announced yet, the names of the new comers is also not updated, I wonder it takes time to enter information on the website. If Stepanova is indeed to be taken to London, there should be promotion sooner or later.

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There are several videos online of Shapran at the Stanislavsky, and also of a quite recent Giselle at the Mikhailovsky, but I have to say I'm not very impressed. Of course, when looking at the videos of her Vaganova exams, the potential is certainly there, but it unfortunately doesn't really show imo.

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To put certain facts in a proper perspective: Yulia Stepanova's repeat «Swan Lake» was the 40th «Swan Lake» danced by Mariinsky this season! Twenty two were danced when Mariinsky was touring abroad (5 Italy, 3 China, 3 Germany, 4 Denmark, 7 USA), 4 were performed on the new stage, and 14 at the old Mariinsky Theater.

Stepanova danced 2 and, if I am not mistaken, she was the only Mariinsky ballerina and a Vaganova graduate who graduated in the last 10 years and was allowed by Fateev to dance any of these 40 «Swan Lakes»! Truly mind boggling.

After the London tour one will be able to say that exactly 3 out of 49 most recent Mariinsky «Swan Lakes» were danced by a Mariinsky ballerina who graduated from the Vaganova Academy after 2003, and that unique and uniquely "privileged" by the management ballerina was Yulia Stepanova.

So, yes, I agree with canbelto, "her career is exactly where it should be", the article is nothing more than "yellow journalism" and "a Stepanova claque diatribe", while its author "sounds like a well-paid off critic".

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I reread this whole thread, and if you go back to page 3 of this alexaa1a gives a history of what does seem like Skorik's meteoric rise, and when you compare it to Stepanova the two stories are completely different. This was fascinating reading, because it gives a lot of insight into what is going on, especially when you couple it with Mathilde K.'s info.

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Has Fateev ever made any public comments on the topic of promotions and his methodology? And has he ever said anything about hiring from other schools -- for example, has he ever said he's trying to diversify the company? I'm not suggesting that that would be a good reason for talented dancers being overlooked. On the contrary, I'm sympathetic to the points made in Zozulina's piece. I'm just wondering if he's ever even tried to offer an explanation.

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Has Fateev ever made any public comments on the topic of promotions and his methodology? And has he ever said anything about hiring from other schools -- for example, has he ever said he's trying to diversify the company? I'm not suggesting that that would be a good reason for talented dancers being overlooked. On the contrary, I'm sympathetic to the points made in Zozulina's piece. I'm just wondering if he's ever even tried to offer an explanation.

Everyone I know is totally puzzled by his methods. Everyone I knows says that someone with zero background in dance would make better choices than he has made at times. No body seems to understand him.

Beyond promoting or not promoting this or that dancer, the other concern is that he gives so few chances to young dancers. It makes more sense to let young dancers study and dance all the smaller roles (like the Prince's friends in Swan Lake or the peasant pas de deux in Giselle) on a rotating basis, so you are not stuck if someone gets injured. Same with the bigger roles. Apparently, the reason for no casting info for August is due to the London tour (which has casting info available), but there are so few who can jump into the roles b/c many of the stars are out of town. If he were allowing all dancers plenty of opportunities he would not be in the August mess he is in.

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Beyond promoting or not promoting this or that dancer, the other concern is that he gives so few chances to young dancers.

Except for those very few who, like Skoryk (Perm), Chebykina (Kiev), are given everything, irrespective of whether they can handle it or not. Chebykina who joined the company this season has been given by Fateev this month alone:

July 12: Gamzatti

July 16: Queen of the Dryads

July 25: Myrtha

July 29: Queen of the Dryads

July 30: Queen of the Dryads

Just one month! In one month she gets more from Fateev than what he gave to nearly any Vaganova graduate of the last 10 years since he was appointed 6 years ago!

For her «Swan Lake» debut Fateev gave her Ivanchenko, one of the most reliable and experienced partners of the company, not an inexperienced debutant.

A beginner, in her first year at Mariinsky she has been given by Fateev:

Giselle (Myrtha)

Swan Lake (Odette-Odile)

La Bayadère (Gamzatti)

Don Quixote (Queen of the Dryads)

Balanchine's Jewels (Diamonds)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hippolita),

Sylvia (Diana, Ceres)

Cinderella (Khudyshka (one of the Ugly Sisters))

Is she considered to be another Pavlova or Ulanova in the making? If yes, I am totally unaware of that.

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To put certain facts in a proper perspective: Yulia Stepanova's repeat «Swan Lake» was the 40th «Swan Lake» danced by Mariinsky this season! Twenty two were danced when Mariinsky was touring abroad (5 Italy, 3 China, 3 Germany, 4 Denmark, 7 USA), 4 were performed on the new stage, and 14 at the old Mariinsky Theater.

Stepanova danced 2 and, if I am not mistaken, she was the only Mariinsky ballerina and a Vaganova graduate who graduated in the last 10 years and was allowed by Fateev to dance any of these 40 «Swan Lakes»! Truly mind boggling.

After the London tour one will be able to say that exactly 3 out of 49 most recent Mariinsky «Swan Lakes» were danced by a Mariinsky ballerina who graduated from the Vaganova Academy after 2003, and that unique and uniquely "privileged" by the management ballerina was Yulia Stepanova.

So, yes, I agree with canbelto, "her career is exactly where it should be", the article is nothing more than "yellow journalism" and "a Stepanova claque diatribe", while its author "sounds like a well-paid off critic".

I've read enough of these "Why isn't ____ dancing enough?" diatribes from "revered" critics in Russia to take them with a grain of salt. Every dancer has a right to drum up publicity, but I personally find these kind of sob stories tacky.

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