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Vladimir Malakhov


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#1 Marilia Tsoukia

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Posted 28 March 2002 - 09:18 AM

Hello!!!! My favorite dancer is Vladimir Malakhov. He is so great, he has a great body, he is kind of handsome and the most important is that he is a principal with American Ballet Theatre and a guest principal with Vienna State Opera Ballet. I have heard many balletonames saying that he is the Nureyev of our years!!!! Does this really stand? What is your opinion on that?:)

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 28 March 2002 - 11:28 AM

Unfortunately, I haven't seen him often enough to judge. Only Romeo (MacMillan's, with ABT, which I much admired) and a few videos. I think he's a very different type of dancer than Nureyev, but I think he was a very fine one and someone I wish I could see more often. He has danced with so many companies, and so many different roles (but only a few times each role) that I don't really have an idea of what kind of dancer he is.

Thank you for the question. I hope others who've seen Malakhov dance more often will be able to give a better picture.

#3 Drew

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Posted 29 March 2002 - 09:23 PM

I also have only seen Malakhov a few times, but those few times made a huge impression. However, I think the comparison with Nureyev is inappropriate. Nureyev had an impact and influence that spread far beyond the dance world to say nothing of his enormous impact and influence inside the dance world. I don't think Malakhov as a "phenomenon" is remotely comparable. Nureyev danced during a very different time with very different standards. Today at ABT, for example, the other male dancers include several (at least four or five) genuinely sensational virtuousi who are gifted and imaginative artists as well. Malakhov is my favorite (of which more, below), but in this context he does not stand out quite the way Nureyev did when he first defected to the west and started dancing with the Royal.

Having said that -- Malakhov is my favorite for a reason, and I think a case can be made that he is, taken altogether, the finest male ballet dancer of our time. People who refer to him as the "Nuryevev of our years" probably mean no more than that. The qualities I appreciate about Malakhov include his remarkable line -- the wonderfully full, sustained, 'stretched' quality of his movements -- and his striking stage presence. He is (in my opinion) one of the few male dancers today who know how to run across a stage or, indeed, how to walk or even stand in such a way as to command the stage entirely. His performances in the nineteenth-century repertory also show great attention to dramatic as well as dance detail. Even in an absurd, secondary role -- the expanded "Rothbart" of Mckenzie's Swan Lake -- he manages to create an entire world. His best performances are always 'complete;' I don't really know how else to put it. There is a quality of imagination that expresses itself directly in a very pure, elegant-yet-intense balletic style. (He actually reminds me more of Anthony Dowell than Nureyev -- but all great dancers are sui generis.)

I have not found him to be %100 consistent, and I suspect that his virtuoso technique is not as strong as it once was. Still, in trying to think of someone else I admire as much, who is still dancing today, I can really only come up with one name, Peter Boal, and Boal's repertory is entirely different. However, there are top European male dancers I have seen little or not at all...

#4 Marilia Tsoukia

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Posted 30 March 2002 - 06:49 AM

I agree in the fact that he cannot be compared with Nureyev because we are talking about two different dancers in different times. I strongly believe though, that he is- if not the best- one of the best male dancers in the world. He is so passionate and possesses and uses the technique such as no one else does. I went to mariinsky.com and saw some pictures from the 2nd Mariinsky Festival. Among many performances, Malakhov danced 'Manon' with Zhanna Ayupova. When I saw the photos of that performance I stood in awe by the expression on his face. I maybe very melodramatic or exaggerating but I suggest you go and see these photos and you'll remember me. He also danced one of Fokine's ballet with Ayupova again. Thank you for all your replies. I hope I get more.

#5 Paul Parish

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Posted 30 March 2002 - 04:28 PM

I've only seen Malakhov live ONCE, but I'll never forget it -- he was dancing young Adam in "The Creation of the World," with he Moscow Classical BAllet, they came through San Francisco in , oh, 1990 or so--

I had never seen a male dancer who looked so beautiful.... Nureyev was androgynous, and, in a way, Malakhov resembles him -- the same coloring, high cheekbones, large eyes, beautiful ribs, clear center, beautiful hip-bones -- but Malakhov has much longer and more beautiful legs, and the most beautiful feet I've ever seen on a guy.... he is really more refined, more elegant, both in hte body GOd gave him and in the way he uses it -- though he's still young, Nureyev, GOd grant him rest, trashed his instrument and kept on stumbling around out there.... well, let's not go there....

Creation of the world is a character ballet, and Adam is as much acting -- Malakhov was wonderfully naif, like a boyish Bambi -- as it is dancing, and he was a wonderfully imaginative actor. SO I can't compare him with someone I've seen do Swan Lake or Giselle or Dances at a Gathering -- though I'd sure like to see him DO Dances at a Gathering, and Apollo.... I do know he made me want to see him in anything

When he did grand jete, the grand battement was so long , so light, and it involved lifting and OFFERING the foot so sensitively -- but with plenty of power, it was not languid dancing, not a t all -, his front leg flew up so lightly, his torso rode the wave, and his back leg stretched out behind and followed hte curve of hte jump -- I'd never seen such a clear "up and over" leap before....

#6 Alexandra

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Posted 06 June 2002 - 12:13 PM

I've only seen Malakhov a few times, and always in acting roles (Romeo, Albrecht, etc.) I can't begin to better Paul's wonderful description of him. He's a dancer who intrigues me and whom I wish I could see more often.

Last week he danced the first movement in Symphony in C (with Paloma Herrera) and I thought he was marvelous. He *is* like a long legged Nureyev -- they have the same way of pouncing into a step -- but he can remain a part of the ensemble. He was one of eight principals, but not a STAR here, and I liked him very much for that.

The dancing itself was very clean, very elegant and very sophisticated -- and joyous. He's not well-matched with Herrera (though this is one of her best roles). He's too small for her and they just don't seem a match made in Ballet Heaven. But he partnered her beautifully.

A surprise performance, but one I'm glad I saw. Wish he was doing Oberon in Dream!

#7 Manhattnik

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Posted 06 June 2002 - 05:30 PM

A few years ago Malakhov seemed to be paired consistently with Amanda McKerrow. I was struck at the time with how well-matched they seemed to be on many levels. McKerrow is a beautiful and refined classical stylist herself, although her performances have often seemed a bit on the wan side, physically. Their acting together in Giselle or Coppelia was among the best-realized I've seen. When Malakhov's Albrecht kissed Bathilde's hand, McKerrow was standing center stage, upstage of the pair, and as Malakhov slowly, slowly, lowered his lips to Bathilde's hand, he turned his head to watch McKerrow's Giselle as he did so. This wasn't just a key moment in the narrative; it became a key Moment of the entire ballet. It was clear this Albrecht knew he was about to destroy this Giselle, and felt helpless to prevent it (McKerrow, needless to say, fell to pieces quite satisfactorily).

I don't remember if he's dancing with McKerrow at all this season, but they're well worth catching together.

A dance teacher of mine likes to remember the happy surprise she had one day discovering Malakhov in her class, and described him to me as a cross between Nureyev and Anthony Dowell. Although this sounded like hyperbole at the time (and lots of it!), she really wasn't so far over the top. He has Dowell's refinement and singing line in arabesque, as well as more then a dash of Nureyev's brilliance and power. It makes me sad that he seems lately to be cast more in second or third banana roles (I mean, Lankehndam?). It does also seem that his technique is not what it once was, but he's still as refined and graceful as ever.

While he's certainly not the only classy man at ABT (Marcelo Gomes exudes class, for instance), he's certainly the classiest, for reasons Alexandra has already mentioned.

And thanks for the beautiful description, Paul. That really does catch him to a T.

#8 Lukayev

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Posted 16 June 2002 - 05:07 PM

I recently obtained a copy of ABT's 'Le Corsaire' on videotape and was surprised at how ABT could cast such a brilliant, exquisitely refined dancer as Malakhov in the role of the slave trander Lankendem.

As my mother and I watched the ballet, we agreed that while Corella and Stiefel may jump higher and turn more than Malakhov, one can see the amount of strength that they put forth into each of their virtuostic movements. With Malakhov's dancing, there is a floating, stretched quality that masks all of the physical exertion (or lack thereof) that he goes through.

I know that the different roles that these men have in 'Le Corsaire' will affect how strenuous it can be, but I'm still convinced that for Malakhov, dancing is a piece of cake.

So to prove my point, I also took a look at a video made in Soviet-era Russia called '30 Variations'. It was thirty variations danced by various principals/soloists, and a very young Malakhov was among them. Even at such an early age, he had the most beautiful suspended lines out of all those in the static-laced video. One could not find an ounce of a tense, strained look in his face or in his dancing. It completely knocked me away when he proceeded, in one of the variations, to do some entrechat-sixes, and I looked around the screen desperately for wires carrying him over the ground. I couldn't, and to this day I am still wondering how he dances like he does. :)

--Luka

#9 cargill

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Posted 17 June 2002 - 08:34 AM

Unfortunately, Malakhov and McKerrow are not dancing Giselle together this season. I agree with Manhatnick--the moment when Malakhov bent down to kiss Bathilde's hand was one of the most vivid theatrical moments I can remember. Their Giselles to me will be my model of how individual and moving that story can be. And in the second act, he just seemed to be so tightly wound, just begging for one last chance to see her and explain. I get choked up just thinking about him. I do like him as the slave owner, though. He is the only one I have seen who can dance it expressivley, who can make is solo say something and not just look difficult. Watching him go down into those deep plies and then spring up again just seemed to sum up his character so perfectly.

#10 Manhattnik

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Posted 17 June 2002 - 10:30 AM

Watching him go down into those deep plies and then spring up again just seemed to sum up his character so perfectly.

My knee-joints would always pop in sympathy. They're aching now just thinking about it.

Part of the thrill is that Malakhov makes it all look so easy, springing up into that soutenu like it was nothing at all!

Sometimes when I'm in a flippant mood I wonder if Bournonville (or was it Beck) was so fond of tossing in similar steps to keep the young whippersnappers at bay -- "Heh. You think you're hot stuff? You get the solo with the grande plies. Let's see how cocky you you are after your knees blow out!"

#11 Alexandra

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Posted 17 June 2002 - 10:34 AM

Manhattnik, I think that was one of the steps that 19th century dancers tossed off all the time! There was one of Bournonville's men -- I can't remember who, but it was in the 1850s or '60s, Middle Bournonville -- who had something terrible happen to his kneecap . It's in Theatre Life -- Mr. B I had never heard of that injury. I have no idea if it's related, but....

Malakhov also puts those deep plies into La Sylphide, I've been told -- I've never seen it. So did Peter Schaufuss, but so did Poul Gnatt, the James of the late 1940s and early 1950s. I can't date them before that, but the second solo in Napoli II (Beck, as you pointed out) uses them and about 100 years ago now.

#12 Marilia Tsoukia

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Posted 10 July 2002 - 01:46 AM

Hello!!! I read at malakhov.com that Vladimir was appointed artistic director of Staatsopern Ballet (I don't know if I have spelt it correctly). That is very good but does it mean that he will leave ABT or he will retire from dancing in general? Does he want to ensure his future by asssuming this position because he is going to retire? In his letter at this ballet's website, he was mentioning that he will also dance in certain pieces. I don't know. If he 's going to retire I will just die... What, he is only 34!!!!! If you have any news please do tell me. Bye!!!!

#13 Alexandra

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Posted 10 July 2002 - 05:58 AM

I can't be of much help, I'm afraid -- I hope someone else will know more. Malakov's appointment was announced several months ago -- very quietly. It doesn't necessarily mean he will stop dancing :)

#14 Katja

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Posted 14 July 2002 - 07:30 AM

On the website of Berlin State Opera it says that Malakhov is appointed as Artistic Director and Principal Dancer. Also, in the interview he gave during last Mariinsky festival, he said that he will continue dancing, mainly in Berlin, with ABT, and at the Vienna State Opera, but not with Stuttgart Ballet. He also mentioned Tokyo Ballet where, I guess, he is a Principal Guest. I am sure he will and I hope he will continue dancing. He is 34, but I can be wrong here, but were not Nureyev and Baryshnikov about the same age when they started directing? And kept on dancing.

#15 Alexandra

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Posted 14 July 2002 - 09:03 AM

Katja, I think you can count on any dancer of Malakhov's calibre dancing as long as he is able :) Baryshnikov did dance while he was director of ABT, and, as I'm sure you know, Nureyev never stopped :) I think he was considerably older than 34 when he took on Paris Opera, but he'd been staging ballets from the time he was in his mid-twenties.


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