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Leigh Witchel

Kirov Jewels

30 posts in this topic

I do think Ayupova got better and better with each go-round. She didn't impress me much Thursday, but by Saturday night I was admiring her etched-glass delicacy. Part was good, but I agree she's not very strong; I wonder how she'll be used at ABT. Pavlenko, well, I already wrote about her!

Gumerova didn't impress me very much in Rubies or Diamonds; she really seemed to have no idea why she was there. Yet I'm fond of her. Maybe it's the mile-long legs (which she does work very, very well), or her endearingly gauche demeanor onstage. I don't know how old she is, but she seems very young and raw indeed. Once she gets some seasoning and maturity and stage smarts she could be quite the powerhouse.

I wouldn't change a thing about Vishenva's performance. She blew through Rubies like a toothy-smiled hurricane, and I think the ballet survived, and even benefited. All I could think was that Vishneva is exactly the kind of dancer Peter Martins loves -- she holds back nothing and throws caution to the winds. I wish he'd offer her a big wad of cash to jump ship, but considering how he let Meunier get away, I'm not holding my breath. There's certainly quite a Balanchine repertory at NYCB in which I'd love to see Vishneva.

As for Pavlenko, well, I'd love to see her at City Ballet, but where she might really be used to great effect is ABT. Yes, ABT's getting Part, and Part is a lovely, if limited, dancer, but Pavlenko seems to have fulfilled all the early promise she showed us here three years ago. (I mean, what other dancer has ever made Zulma's solo into something you actually notice? I still remember the chills I got down my spine from it! OK, she was pretty clueless in Apollo, but all the Kirov women were.) ABT's mix of dramatic and "pure" ballets would suit her to a T, I think, and she'd easily give Ananiashvili and Kent a run for their money as the "star" of the company. I've seldom seen a dancer command the stage the way Pavlenko does the instant she sets foot on it. Yes, she has great technique, musicality (and more taste than most other Kirov ballerinas we've seen), but she also seems to have a gift for sensing, almost intuitively, the unstated drama inherent in a given dance. I wonder how much coaching she really needed in Diamonds -- she dances it like she has always known what it's all about.

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Ok, I got bounced off the computer I was on and I'm back, if only a bit later... :)

Roma, I understand your point about Emeralds being a contained world. Part did, it appeared to me, keep things more within herself at the start on Thursday, but her natural ebulliance broke through. She's a bit like Jenifer Ringer that way -- a Society Hostess of a ballerina, as Part was described once in Ballet Review.

Part also gets my kudos for the only dancer on stage to have quiet feet! When I was seating very close for Swan Lake, I think I noticed the Freed logo on the bottom of her shoes. Maybe she has one toe in her new world and one in the old.

I was not at all happy with the trio. The men were good enough, although Korsakov lacked the brio and bounce he showed in Washington D.C., but Yana Selena appeared more interested in smiling to the audience than executing the steps correctly. On Thursday, she fell behind half a bar, it seemed. And neither woman did the deep plie on either side of the male soloist. It's a move that is later echoed throughout the ballet.

Manhattnik, Vishneva certainly is ravishing. Golub, I thought kind of showed a lack of nuance as the lead on Friday, but I still enjoyed it. And that smile...I think I'm personally acquanted with everyone of her front teeth.

And I agree about Pavlenko, she gets right at the heart of a ballet and knows where each phrase is going.

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Manhattanik, in re-reading your post, I had forgotten to add to my post that yes, there was one NYCB ballerina who "doubled up" (as Pavlenko did on closing night). It was Merrill Ashley doing both the first ballerina role in Emeralds and the ballerina in Diamonds. There may not be a printed program on this because it was shown as a slip in the program with the usual reason "because of Illness/Injury." No senior moment for me here: she danced two major roles in Jewels on the same night.

Although I couldn't tell you the year, I vividly remember it because at the time I was working at the NYCB gift shop. At the end of the evening's performance, as our troop of volunteers was making its way backstage, we spotted Merrill outside her dressing room and lavishly contgratulated her on her feat. She said words to the effect that "she half expected them to knock on her door and ask her to do Rubies." And I will tell you that she danced full out (Merrill style) during both sections. Quite a trooper and a great lady!!!

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Glad to hear Daria Pavlenko made such an impression. Interesting to note that in June 2000, during the London season, because of some acute ballerina shortage, she learned the Diamonds part in just one day.

Well, it's very nice to dream Manhattnik, yet in my opinion the only place where she really belongs is the Kirov - with all respect, but heaven forbid she should ever go to ABT :)

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