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About Birdsall

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  1. Mariinsky in London 2017

    Yes, I try to laugh too.
  2. Mariinsky in London 2017

    I guess I view the general idea of love overcoming obstacles whether in the afterlife or in this world as what I get out of it. In fact, the way the world is going I actually find the concept of finding happiness on Earth as a huge fairytale that is a beautiful dream. Many of us are contemplating jumping off a cliff like Odette and Siegfried with the way the world is currently so unbelievably disgusting, so, in my opinion, in 2017 the double suicide is more realistic so less dreamy. I am now pro-Death. Even being in a permanent sleep 6 feet under is a better world than what we live in currently. Finding happiness on Earth is the much bigger fairytale!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to DREAM so I choose Sergeyev!
  3. Mariinsky in London 2017

    I think I am one of the few who loves the Sergeyev Swan Lake more than any other version. To me the production has such a poetic and beautiful mood unlike the Royal Ballet's current version, the POB or Bolshoi. I have seen clips of the Ratmansky reconstruction and even though I find that fascinating it has a cutesy, almost childish quality I am not used to. I love the high Russian attitudes Odette does in the Sergeyev version. I do not miss mime at all because I know the story and find mime fairly boring and needless since I know the story (I know many will find that sacrilegious). I am also one of the only Americans who loves the Jester. I don't understand why people find him annoying. It is a chance for a petite male to shine. The London audiences (I heard many English people) seemed to love him. The happy ending doesn't bother me either because I think the double suicide with Odette and Siegfried together in Heaven is also a happy ending. I see no difference between being happy together on Earth or happy together in Heaven. Both endings are beautiful and result in the same thing. I actually hate the Disney World atmosphere of ABT's version! I will continue to see the Sergeyev version whenever I can. It touches me by its sheer beauty more than any other version. For me it is poetic even in the first scene watching the Mariinsky corps with their gorgeous, flowing arms.
  4. Mariinsky in London 2017

    Tereshkina's 2nd SL was even better. She and Shklyarov seem to feed off each other. She even stayed on-stage in character after her fouettes looking the man she was seducing before finishing her part of the coda. I never saw that before. Both of them looked as if they were giving the performance of their lifetimes, in my opinion. Even Tereshkina's Odette was more loving and emotional than I have seen previously. In contrast, Chebykina's SL last night was a very mixed bag. She alternated between lovely one moment and then suddenly being a caricature of a Mariinsky dancer the next moment really overdoing the swan arms. I love flowing arms which is why I love the Mariinsky, but at times Chebykina almost made me laugh out loud because she made the Swan arms look like a spoof sort of like what the Trocaderos might do! This is the second time seeing Chebykina in SL and I gave her another try hoping she had improved, and she has improved overall but I think I preferred every other ballerina much more. However, the London audience seemed to love her to death. I found her acting almost nonexistent...just a sketch of a character. The only moment of good acting is when she was Odile and laughed and threw the flowers at Siegfried. Since I was disappointed in her the first time (2 years ago in St. Petersburg) I bought a cheap nosebleed seat (but used binoculars to view her acting). If I ever return to London I will never sit in the Amphitheater section again. People brought their wine glasses in, talked during the overture, one person in my row got up and left right as the love duet was beginning causing us to stand up to let her out), although maybe she was about to have an accident). I felt like I was in a movie theater, not in an opera house! Plus, no arm rests. Luckily I was in an aisle seat so I had one arm rest unlike others in my row. But the behavior of the audience up there was surprising. More later. I am returning home today. It was very tempting to see if I could extend my stay and change my flight one day to see Osmolkina again, since she is jumping in for Skorik. She was the best Odette/Odile with Tereshkina a close second. However, I miss my dog desperately and even though my parents are in a safe place now I need to get back to check on them daily.
  5. Mariinsky in London 2017

    I knew Matvienko wasn't Vaganova trained. I think she is from Kiev or something. You might know exactly. I like her at times like as Gamzatti, and I think she is better as Odile. I guess I can understand why people view her as "grumpy," but I tend to view it more like a spicy personality who doesn't play victim or at least damsel in distress or soft/sweet very easily. I don't dislike her, and think I might actually like her in another company or in certain roles, but I do expect more flowing arms and daintiness in a Mariinsky dancer in Swan Lake. The Opera Tavern near the opera house has amazing tapas dishes!
  6. Mariinsky in London 2017

    Osmolkina's flowing arms were absolutely divine. I wanted to write a review but the day I saw her was a whirlwind of activity. I met a fellow BA member for lunch, saw Osmolkina in the matinee, met an old high school friend for dinner whose daughter is taking part in the Royal Ballet's summer intensive program, and saw the evening performance with Matvienko. In contrast, I felt Matvienko had much stiffer arms and when she made Swan arms they were more fast and furious instead of Vaganova trained slow flowing arms. However, she did do some very good things like very fast, whipping fouettes that had an aggressive quality to them. I think she had to follow a hard act. Earlier that day Osmolkina was delicate and divine! I couldn't post Saturday night because I had to go to bed because I had hired a private tour guide to take me to Salisbury and Stonehenge and that was an all day trip. Today walking to St. Bart's the Great....I have to visit that since my name is Bart! Tonight is Tereshkina and Shklyarov...
  7. Mariinsky in London 2017

    I have been sightseeing so much so haven't had time to report on yesterday's Swan Lake. I will talk about that one and tonight's in this post. Tereshkina is a dancer who isn't my favorite Mariinsky ballerina, but whenever I see her she wins me over. I have never seen her give nothing but her all to the audience. In Swan Lake I think Odile comes easy to her. She strikes me as an extrovert and tends toward heat rather than coolness on stage, in my opinion. So her Odile is spectacular. Last night her Odette had more emotion than I have seen her do before. Technically she is always good. However, she somehow brought more to the game and it could be because the world will probably view her as the veteran "prima" now that Lopatkina is retiring. To my surprise Parish did not slow down her turns like he did in Baden-Baden in December when I saw them in Swan Lake there. Until last night my experience with him is that every time he touches a ballerina in paddle turns the ballerinas either slow down or stop completely or almost get knocked over by his assistance. I am glad to see he has improved, and this morning I woke up to read he has been promoted to principal. It was not announced last night. You would think since he is British performing in London Fateyev would have announced it to make the British audience feel like they witnessed a special evening. Tereshkina is the best turner in the company and one turn she did as Odette ending in coup de pied was so elegant it took my breath away. Tonight Kondaurova was better than I expected. Like Tereshkina (although for totally different reasons) she strikes me as a more natural Odile than Odette. I think she would look fabulous at the Bolshoi but at the Mariinsky among the elegant, ultra feminine dancers she has (for me) a bit of a heavy handed aura. She tries her best to be regal and there are many moments when I say, "That was lovely!" but overall I don't but her as Odette. To me she looks like a diva playing Odette. Not experiencing Odette's plight. With all that said I liked her better than I thought I would. In fact, this is the first time I have seen her in a full length role where she didn't make a mistake! I feel like I sort of "get" why some people like her after tonight. Until tonight I didn't really understand it. Ivanchenko tonight was phoning it in worse than usual. I consider him a dancer who has all the goods but simply can't be bothered to give his all. However, in contrast to Parish, Ivanchenko is a terrific partner making every ballerina he partners look her best!!! Okay, this trip is a reward for taking over my elderly parents' lives, moving them near me, securing their finances, etc. I took a leave of absence from my job in March to do all this and they are safe and gaining weight (they were not eating). This Mariinsky London tour is my reward. I am enjoying the trip immensely. So posting this as I drink a bottle of wine so I can sleep. Taking care of my parents since March has made sleep nearly impossible except 3 hours. I always slept 8 hours before. So hoping I sleep tonight (close to finishing the wine) so tomorrow's double bill (Osmolkina's matinee SL and Matvienko in the evening) will be doable!!! Please let me sleep at least 5 hours!!!!!
  8. Mariinsky in London 2017

    I had my doubts Renata Shakirova could pull off a good Kitri, but she was full of life and energy all night long and performed the Dudinskaya variation in the dream scene. It looks really hard to do the alternating pique turns in a diagonal in this variation but she did them well. Her fouettes were great with many doubles. At the very end of the night after Basilio holds her in a balance on one leg, and she quickly kneels as he stands her back leg slipped but she saved the tiny mishap by switching very quickly into a move like when Odette folds into the floor. That shows professionalism to think on your feet and turn a mistake/mishap into a moment to do something else that works! The audience genuinely loved her, and she did give a great performance. Maybe not as good as Batoeva last night but still very good! Vladimir Shklyarov danced as if he wanted to prove his worth at the Mariinsky. He looked in better shape than I have ever seen him, and he gave his all in every scene. In Act 1 when Basilio lifts Kitri twice by the knuckles and lifts her in the air and sets her down, Shklyarov lifted her higher than I have ever seen anyone lift Kitri in that moment. It was amazing! Later he held her forever in the one handed lifts. I never thought Roman Belyakov was anything special until I saw him tonight. He was a great Espada and looks very tall. He might be able to replace Korsuntsev and Ivanchenko when they retire as the tall males who are able to partner tall ballerinas. Nika Tskhvitaria was a complete delight as the Street Dancer. Loved her personality and high attitudes! The big surprise of the evening for me was Oleg Demchenko as the Gypsy! All I can say is, "Wow!!!!" His jumps, energy, and acrobatics made this small role seem important. He turned a small role into a star turn! I never saw a more exciting Gypsy man than Demchenko! I liked Ekaterina Chebykina as Queen of the Dryads better than I did last night when she danced the Street Dancer. The crowd loved her too. I think her fingers and arms are sometimes wild and uncontrolled but she was on better behavior tonight although I saw some splayed fingers. Overall, I really thought Shakirova was more like a soubrette who didn't have a sassy Kitri in her, but she did. Pleasantly surprised and enjoyed seeing the Dudinskaya variation in person!
  9. Nadezhda Batoeva was the star of the performance I saw tonight (or last night since it is 1am here in London). Her acting was perfect as Kitri....very feminine but with spice to her. She wasn't afraid to show off a bit holding some fabulous balances (a la seconde, coup de pied, in arabesque, in attitude, doing piques). Never were these balances vulgar (didn't change the choreography...simply fit them in)...she held long enough to impress but not long enough to be too showy. Her fouettes were great (many doubles interspersed with singles and then mostly singles. She traveled a bit while doing them but since she traveled in a straight line downstage it did not look bad. That was a very minor quibble. Otherwise a fabulous performance! Fillip Stepin was also great as Basilio. He may not be the type to make your jaw drop like Vasiliev's wildness, because he does everything with elegance. He did bring Batoeva down early on the first one handed lift but he more than made up for it with a second long held lift that excited the crowd as Batoeva shook her tambourine! Alexander Sergeyev was fabulous as always as Espada. I love his backbends as he twirls the cape in a diagonal across the stage. Ekaterina Chebykina was the Street Dancer. For me personally she is a maddening dancer. One moment she's doing something quite nicely and the next she's being more of a gymnast. It is hard to explain. She just doesn't seem to have the elegant Vaganova qualities. Ekaterina Ivannikova was a fabulous Queen of the Dryads. Her Italian fouettes en dedans were beautiful. This is a dancer I like that doesn't seem to be cast as much as she should. Tamara Gimadieva was a charming and sweet Cupid with flowing arms. I missed Don Quixote and Sancho Panza entering on a horse and donkey respectively, although I suspected the animals would be left out. I thought maybe they would borrow a horse and donkey from an English farmer. Somehow it is anticlimactic after the corps runs around acting like a major person is coming for Don Quixote and Sancho Panza to simply walk out! I also missed the little cupids but I knew the Mariinsky wasn't going to bring Vaganova students on tour but hoped some Royal Ballet students might be used. Overall, a wonderful performance! I love the pairing of Batoeva and Stepin. They looked like young, good looking lovers! Hope they keep dancing together!
  10. I agree. It was very thoughtful, and I learned a lot while reading it.
  11. ABT has a new website!

    I definitely always buy my tickets online. With most companies you can now choose the exact seat you want and sometimes they give a view of the stage from the seat. It is very helpful. I am slightly claustrophobic, so I always try to sit on an aisle and that way I am also assured of at least one arm rest plus less feelings of being cramped between people. To get a good aisle seat that isn't way off to the side you have to buy as soon as tickets go on sale on the website. There are also certain opera or ballet stars where I would prefer to sit closer, some where I would sit farther away. In his heyday (1980s, 90s) and even as late as maybe 2010 when Domingo was still singing tenor (instead of now singing as a VERY mediocre baritone) I would have paid top price to make sure I have a seat exactly where I want to sit. Now if I know Domingo is singing I would buy a seat in the nose bleed section if I didn't actually run the other way! I am amazed how much cheaper ballet tickets are compared to opera tickets, so parterre box which is painful to buy for opera is amazingly cheap for ABT shows. So if I can go online and buy a parterre seat in the front row of a box (the seats behind the front row appear to be for people with no legs) I will buy it, so that I don't get stuck with a lousy seat at the last minute.
  12. Congratulations to Nadezhda Batoeva. She is now listed as a First Soloist on the Mariinsky website. Well deserved......
  13. It is sort of sad that the really only exciting and interesting casting decions are the Gamzattis......Tereshkina as Nikiya will be technically excellent especially in turns (scarf variation especially), but overall ho hum casting for Nikiya, in my personal opinion. But one of the few upwardly mobile Mariinsky ballerinas Batoeva as Gamzatti should be very interesting, and Kolegova might be a very interesting Gamzatti as well. The corps will be the star of these performances, I suspect. Not sure I will fly up for this particular tour. Spending my money on the Mariinsky's London tour instead for many Swan Lakes and a couple of DQs.
  14. Then/Now photos

    Thanks for all these comparison pics. I enjoy them!
  15. Yulia Stepanova

    Yulia Stepanova’s June 11 «Swan Lake» with a young up-and-coming dancer Mikhail Kryuchkov as The Evil Genius. Pay attention to 7:51—-7:58 . An ideal arabesque, pure textbook Vaganova Method, both legs ideally aligned in the same plane with her body. This is very rare.