Kirov Don Q
Posted 15 July 2002 - 08:34 PM
Amazing energy and character dancing. Just amazing...
Posted 15 July 2002 - 09:43 PM
Posted 16 July 2002 - 02:48 AM
Posted 16 July 2002 - 07:05 AM
For example. Who is this Tatiana Tkachenko, who performed the Street Dance in Act I, and where can she come from? Is she even human? My God, What an incredible performance. The archetypal soubrette pushed beyond the boundaries. That step where she whips out of a chainee turn by extending her perfectly pointed right foot to the limit and then tombees into the broadest fourth position in history before reversing on a dime and then back across the stage the other way . . . I'm not sure if it's classical but it sure is wonderful.
And all the unnamed in the program Corps girls who dance those beautiful pure variations leading up to Kitri's and in between the pieces of the Grand Pas in the last act and the fireworks elsewhere. And the groups of pastel costumed corps dancers who entertain at the wedding banquet. And the dance for the entire corps at the end of the first scene.
I'm struck by how the choreography in so many of those pure variations for the female corps dancers are a lesson in how "less steps are often more" -- in how two beats or entrechats and a perfect landing in fifth position can be so much visually clearer than six beats (or whatever number) and a rushed landing. The simpler choregraphy allows you time to see the steps. I loved it. I don't ever remember a company that made me really "SEE" poses like attitude en avant like this company lets me see them. There are a host of phrases, such as ending a diagonal with a soft pliee in tendu front, the arms gesturing down, before taking off the other way -- of which I can say the same.
Interesting that, with Vishneyva, the female roles were such a range of emploi. In ABT's Don Q, Kitri is a soubrette. Not here. Here it's the Street Dancer and the flower girls (Xenia Dubrovina and Yana Serbriakova -- stunning dancers both of them) who are the soubrettes. While Kirti, as danced by Vishneyva (who is taller) is more of a Classique role. She gets the grand pas. Then you have Natalia Sologub's beautiful performance as Queen of the Dryads (also Classique, and cleaner lines then Vishneyva, her performance appropriately brought down the house) and Elena Chmil (demicharacter) as Amour.
By the conclusion, the people sitting to my left were laughing out loud in sheer good spirits, as I was. This may well have been the best thing the Kirov has done here.
Posted 16 July 2002 - 08:17 AM
WOWWEEEEEE!!!!! The culmination of 40-plus years of watching ballets. Simply spectacular. The ultimate. And the Divine Diana was just the tip of the iceberg. If I get run over by an Al-Qaida tank tomorrow I can say that I died a happy camper. That's all I have to write.
Posted 16 July 2002 - 01:10 PM
Here are my comments about the performance, starting with the negative:
The dancers were not always turned out. Often they landed a jump or finished something with their back feet not turned out at all. Their fifth positions were not perfect. The women's shoes made too much sound when they landed and the noise was distracting. Also, I like the idea of the corps getting some recognition. They were wonderful, but not only were their names not listed in the program but they didn't even get any kind of curtain call. They just stood in the back as though they were part of the scenery.
The positive- Diana Vishneva's fouttes were amazing, the most precise I have ever seen. The men had incredible elevation and they all landed softly. The corps was always in unison, and like everyone else, their extension was amazing. Also, their character dancing was joyful and they were always fun to watch. They were also very fast. I have been watching NYCB my entire life and they are known for their speed, but they certainly didn't invent it! Plus, the Kirov was extremely precise.
I am lucky to have seen the Kirov perform and I hope to see them again (maybe in Russia if I ever get there!). They were truly wonderful.
Posted 16 July 2002 - 01:43 PM
I don't think anyone says, thinks or implies that the Kirov is perfect....if you follow or research the history of posts on this board, you will find that this is very definitely the case!!!! All companies have their strengths, their lapses, their runs of not-so-great matches between repertory and dancers.
What I think has been stated here, emphatically, is that the performances we have been seeing in New York are so refreshing and yes, uplifting, because of the calibre of the dancing in the repertory they performed. It is a difference in training and a difference in emphasis--equally valid, but different.
I must beg to differ with you on the issue of placement--I thought that, as a whole, the line and placement of the dancers was exemplary--usually the very *last* thing the Kirov dancers are criticised for is lack of turnout!!!
The Met stage is notorious for noisy shoes--unfortunate, but true. There was an amusing thread here last year on the thundering Wilis in Giselle.....;)
I think it is great that we have such an enthusiastic reception for the company---it doesn't negate the accomplishment of dancers in other companies or imply criticism of other types of training---the cadre of SAB summer program students there for Don Q last night were shrieking as loudly as anyone---
it is GOOD to see other styles, other treatments, other dancers---more power to them: that is one of the aims of art--a heightened awareness through a shared experience.
Posted 16 July 2002 - 07:15 PM
I saw her last year in St Petes during the 1st Mariinsky Ballet Festival. She was quite good and the audience loved her especially in Suite from Laurencia.
Posted 16 July 2002 - 11:30 PM
And again speaking of male dancers - who was Espada? Once I saw Islom Baymuradov in this role and he was wonderful.
Posted 17 July 2002 - 12:21 AM
Yes, it brought the house down.
Posted 17 July 2002 - 04:07 AM
And the Gypsy Leader was stupendous - Nikolai Zubkovsky. My goodness, I could go on and on. It was a performance for the ages, truly.
After the giddiness...I find one tiny complaint: too bad that the Kirov could not bring over the Vaganova Academy kids. The Act II 'marionettes episode' - the row of little cupids - the kids in the Act I toreador scene - ALL were cut. But it is preferable to cut those performances than to bring in under-rehearsed local children & try to plop them into the scenes. But I did miss that heavenly line of Little Cupids in the Dryad Scene!!! One has to go to the Mariinsky Theater to see this.
Posted 17 July 2002 - 06:20 AM
Posted 17 July 2002 - 08:01 AM
"The whole performance (except for some of the side roles) seemed designed only to impress the audience, not to tell the story, and I felt like I was being smacked on the head."
But this is how I generally view Don Q, and it is not a ballet in which I ever find much depth--not that I expect it...I go for the circus. (Which means that I seldom see it willingly)--however, I was sorry to miss this as I am sure the character dancing was wonderful.....
in any case, it seems to have been a popular choice for presentation on this tour
Posted 17 July 2002 - 03:57 PM
However, I've never seen a 1000-volt performance of Don Q before. I've only seen tepid Spaniards and miserable, uncomfortable Gypsies. The Kirov makes a real case for the Gorsky production - they look like they love every moment of it, and it shows. I was more than willing to forgive the issues with both principals, because I think they might have been a by-product of the emotional "pitch" of the evening. In a crazy way, it reminded me of a completely fierce Drag performance; there's meticulous professionalism underneath, but the magic seemed to be all about belief in oneself and in the material. The character dancers particularly the male gypsy and Mercedes (Galina Rakhmanova, I think) exemplified this; they hurled themselves into every step.
Mercedes in this version is reduced to a cameo role in the Inn scene in Act III; in other versions she might also do the pointework the Street Dancer does in Act I. Instead of acting as if she had a diminished part, though, Rakhmanova made it into a show-stopping number. She's got one trick, which she also used as one of the Spanish dancers in Swan Lake, which is the ability to practically fold herself in half to the back, but it's a doozy. And she uses it. And when Espada lifts her up on the table, she performs some sort of Flamenco/Character/Who-knows-what freakout that was a dance of the joyously possessed. I really loved the excessive nature of the production.
To consider our discussion of mime and story in full-length ballets, it's interesting to note that the Kirov brought two mid-century productions as well as the Bayadere. In Swan Lake and in Don Q, the mime is pared out. I miss it tremendously in Swan Lake, but I think they make a better case for the deletion of the story in Don Q, perhaps because the Don is a peripheral character to the action of the ballet. For me, in Swan Lake the deletion of the mime made Siegfried and Odette opaque. In Don Q, I don't feel like I'd get a different picture of Kitri and Basilio, and part of the energy of the production was the wave of one dance after another and the energy of the crowds.
Posted 17 July 2002 - 04:05 PM
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