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About Fraildove

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    teacher, former professional
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  1. Watching the Olympics

    Buddy, I couldn’t have said it better! I’ve been watching Medvedeva since she burst on the scene as a 16 year old and the first words that came to mind was ‘old, Russian soul’. She had the jumps in spades but always managed to integrate them in her performance, never jumping just to jump or dropping style or musicality while jumping. I don’t follow skating but she made such an enormous impression I did start keeping up with her and in all honesty she was really what motivated me to watch this year’s olympics. I was disheartened when she broke the bone in her foot in Nov, then livid at the thought that the Russian ban would keep her out of the olympics. Her letter to the IOC was incredibly heartfelt and passionate, way beyond what I hear from most 18 year olds! I do think she should have been scored higher in the free skate, and had she not switched her triple to the first half of the program she probably would have regardless. I don’t think her Anna Karenina program is the best one she has had although I loved it! I think it may have been a touch harder to relate to for many, especially those that don’t know the story (the horror 😱)! Zagitova was fun to watch although I hated the ‘tutu’ she wore for both. It looked too much like the Tutus my 4 year old students wear! I also felt that she could have done herself a huge favor with some ballet coaching for her Don Q. It shows that dressing up as a Ballerina does not one make. Just ask the teammate that needed no tutu to convey true balletic artistry on ice!
  2. Joy Womack

    Not to mention that referring to professional dancers in US companies as ‘professional student’ isn’t going to endear her to many, even if they understand her point. It’s the disdain in her tone and wording. When ‘clearing up’ the 1st American in Bolshoi school she still fails to remember Michael Shannon who was there before they ever had an international division. And there were others taken into the Russian program before her. So maybe she needs to say the first in the Russian division after they started dividing! I was also taken aback when she claimed that she was more or less shocked when the reporter she spoke to actually reported her story. Because I always thought that you only spoke to the press if you didn’t want your story to be reported. Last thing, she still claims that she was taken into the Kremlin as a principal instead of as a first soloist and that it was laziness from the corps members and their complaints that caused the company to stop her from filming. My first question is why would she be taking class with the corps de ballet? Usually in Russian companies the soloists and Principals have class either together or with their own coach. As a former dancer, I highly doubt that it was the laziness that showed on video that caused the complaints of her fellow dancers. I suspect, considering that when I took daily class it was to condition my body and work on areas that needed to be worked on, that their complaints had to do with the privateness (excuse my new word) that most feel class should be and that if the knew they would be performing for an audience via Youtube then perhaps they would have chosen a different class. I would never have wanted an audience to see me at anything but my best and I could not work on things the way I would need to in a class of I knew that I had an audience. Even if she can and chooses to doesn’t mean her company should be expected to. There were so many places where she contradicted herself as well, like saying that she wanted to be anywhere but in the spotlight after the Bolshoi scandal and then saying she started putting videos on YouTube so that she could be heard??? The more she talks the less I believe her. She did make some good points about state funding for the arts, the responsibilities that teachers have to their students and that not everyone should become a teachers hit the mark. Then saying she wanted to become a lobbyist for state ballet funding told me again that she is very naieve or just really out of touch. ' I wish her luck in Korea. I’m not optimistic though that she will find herself in a terribly different situation than what she left, or that she will be any more successful there than she was at Bolshoi or Kremlin.
  3. Which dancer do you most wish you'd seen live?

    Where to start... By that time her incredible jump was no longer there, but the softness of her preparation and landings when she did were effortless. She had more turnout than any dancer I’ve seen even now and oh my how she used it. In her adagio her extension was still flawless, with barely any shifting in sher hips or back when doing grand rond de jambe. Her ecarte derrière was could be so far back when she exaggerated, which was rarely, that it was nearly to arabesque without any opening of the hip. In 1st position her feet were beyond 180 degrees and her knees in plié were over her toes. It often left our class shaking our head in disbelief and wondering how we could ever live up to that. From the moment I met her I was struck by her gentleness, a perfect lady she was always. Very feminine and conservative but very wise and opinionated when she needed to be. I was lucky enough to have her as a coach for Aurora and I can recite nearly word for word her insights and corrections. I kept them in a notebook. She was very logical and wanted movement to mean something more than just dancing. Granted this is just how I saw her and interpreted her words and actione. I know of others that might disagree on her personality traits, but I doubt anyone would argue her elegance while demonstrating her class. And a very artistic class she taught!
  4. Which dancer do you most wish you'd seen live?

    Kirkland and Farrell would be my top two, add to that Sizova (one of my teachers and if her performance was anything like her class demonstrations I can just imagine), Soloviev, and Ulanova I would be in heaven.
  5. Gomes and ABT

    Aran grew a great deal and from standing next to him, I would guess at least 6’, maybe even 6’1. My husband is 5’11 and Aran was taller than him. It was one of the reasons his progress slowed as a teen. He had an enormous growth spurt that caused him to have to relearn where his center was as well as how to turn and jump given his new height. He has improved greatly and I hope he can finally reach the potential everyone saw in him as an 11 and 12 year old very petit young dancer. And such a nice person!
  6. Veronika Part leaving ABT

    Poor Veronika. That partner was too small for her and I think caused her to dance with so much hesitation in her movement. She also looks not in the greatest of shape that I’ve seen, although that costume was doing her no favors. For such a gorgeous woman and gracious performer to have been so undervalued and misstreated... well it’s beyond sad. Her variation looked much closer to the real ballerina that Part is. But the adagio was not a true representation of what she is normally on the stage. Heartbreaking and such a loss for ABT. I hope beyond hope she finds somewhere to dance that will appreciate and use her gifts in the way they should have been used for years.
  7. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Speaking as a former dancer recently ‘retired’ but one still teaching and coaching, fear of backlash would be on anyone’s mind, but not really for the reasons listed, and not just in regards to the future NYCB director(s). As someone said, the ballet world is like a very disfunctional family, a very small one. And if a dancer vocally acuseses, or makes ‘trouble’, any future artistic director that might audition said dancer if that dancer were to leave might take a pass because it isn’t worth the headache. They could be viewed as one who isn’t afraid to make waves, or one that will not hesitate to call out wrongdoing. Both of which is not considered an asset, especially to female dancers. And it’s sad that that might stop someone from being hired. Dancers generally only have a 1 year contract, so there is already a constant worry, maybe only in the back of the mind, of not having a contract renewed. And if a dancer finds themselves needing to audition again, perceived reputation will play a part. I will continue to hope that dancers speaking out will be upheld and helped, but any change is very slow coming in the ballet world. If ADs already feel under the microscope, in all likelihood they won’t risk their on necks on a dancer that may or may not have caused a fellow AD to already loose theirs.
  8. Gomes and ABT

    ABT Fan I feel the same way! A few hours on the slopes with my phone in my locker and I come back and see this?!?! I just don’t know to even say. I wish ABT would have just announced his resignation without this cloud hanging over it. If it had nothing to do with his employment, and he resigned whether by ultimatum or by choice, why put that in the press release? Is ABT trying to absolve itself so much as to let such a beloved dancer at least deal with things in a civial court (or settlement) or criminal setting? Could then not a statement be issued that he resigned when the allegation was brought up and since it was directly involving ABT we allowed him his resignation and to deal with all accusations as an adult citizen has the right to do? Or would that now be considered sweeping it under the rug? I still hope, as I do with any of these allegations, that it turns out not to be true so that no victim was harmed and the accused can rebuild with a clear name. But if true, an individual is still innocent until proven guilty in this country unless we are now setting up workplace tribunals. Heart wrenching no matter which way you look at it.
  9. I have a question and an antidotal comment both reguarding La Bayadere. First, doesn’t the Mariinsky and Bolshoi still use blackface when performing this at home? Although I don’t believe the Russians have ever thought of this as ‘blackface’ in the sense that we do here as Americans. my second note is an interesting point my husband made when a lot of controversy arose over the Bolshoi’s broadcast of Bayadere and the black paint. He had no idea why people would be offended as this was never meant to be offensive or degrading. It was used, especially during the soviet period because a) there were no people of color in the major ballet schools or companies, and b) out of wanting to accurately portray the setting. In the story the children with the bronze idol were young black slave children. So most people never gave it a second thought to using makeup and paint to fully portray the characters. The same goes for the idol, himself. I am am not using this as an excuse or am I saying that in our culture this is anything but ok. Just trying to note the differences when living in a closed of, nearly homogeneous society that had to use makeup when playing anything but Caucasian characters. It was not in an effort to demoralize or make fun the way blackface was in the US. I just found his observation interesting and it gave me another point of view to think about. Not agree with but at least to understand.
  10. I would so love to see Tudor’s R&J. I can only imagine the lyricism in his version. The Harlots in MacMillian’s drove me nuts. And I really hated being tossed around like a rag doll in the death scene because I could never imagine Romeo handling Juliet like that, not to mention it hurt on many occasions. I’ve never been able to see Cranko’s complete version but I do like his balcony Pas, which sadly is all I have seen. Juliet was always my favorite role to dance, having gotten to perform it from a young age until I stopped performing. I think being able to dance it at different phases in my life made it all the more dear. I used to have a hard time deciding which role, between Giselle and Juliet was my favorite. Now though having been off the stage for 7 years I find it is Juliet that I have more dreams about.
  11. Obratzova is a stunning Juliet, as well as Giselle, and aurora. When I saw her in London at the Russian Gala this past March, she still seemed a bit out of shape from having her twins. Wondering if she is dancing at full power now, or still limiting her performances in order to spend time with her family. Ive never danced Lavrovsky’s version and of R&J, only the MacMillan. The intricate Pas de Deux in the MacMillan are so icredible to perform but I was never crazy about the rest of the ballet. Parts, yes. I’ve seen Lavrovsky’s several times and have always gotten much more out of it overall with the characterizations reading better and less ‘filler’. Just my openion. I have a hard time ever believing any one dancer owns a role, especially when not having seen a wide range of interpretations. There are certain dancers hat appeal to me more than others, and certain types I prefer in specific roles, but for me, part of what makes ballet such an amazing art is what individual dancers can bring to the role without changing the choreogrpher’s intent. I’ve had many experiences of going into a performance not really caring for a dancer and come out shocked by what I’ve seen. I try and appreciate everyone that attempts a leading role. You become so vulnerable when you give everything to an audience. Months and months of preparation for a maddening 2 hours on stage and you are beyond drained by the end. I came offstage very often in tears, not from injury or a bad performance, but because I was so emotionally spent. I guess having been on the stage gives you a slightly different perspective when in the audience than others who never performed. Yes, I have favorites who I like to see, but 99% of the time I will see a ballet regardless of who is dancing because I know there will be aspects that I will love, even if the principals aren’t my style. Just some thoughts, not trying to admonish anyone else’s motivation for seeing ballet. Goodness knows we need more people to grow an interest in the art form!
  12. 2017/2018 season

    Keep an eye out for Tatiana Osipova. Clips from her graduation performance of Odette and her photos are ravishingly beautiful. And of course Sevenard. Any others I'm missing?
  13. Joy Womack

    Just saw POB in July. Their corps in Sylphide was incredible. Not Mariinsky incredible (there is no company that compares imo) but a close 2nd. All the dancers performing, except one had come up through the school and it really showed. As much as I enjoy Hannah O'Neille it is very obvious she trained somewhere else. Her mannerisms and stage persona stuck out like a soar thumb in the cohesive sense even though I did enjoy her Effie. One of the things I've always loved is watching a company with a distinct style and cohesiveness from Corps to principal. Having trained my entire life in the Vaganova method of course I'm a bit biased toward the Russian companies. But it I think we have strayed way off topic? Or maybe others think differently. Whichever. Nzoia, when you were talking about giving her a break about schematics I would agree and did, when she first started stretching the truth back before she graduated. Now, it's really hard to believe as a 23 year old she hasn't figured out the difference between truth and lies. I know for a fact several company members telling her about the 'principal' mistake. She still refused to change it. And it was announced both in English and Russian about the diploma and Laureate at the awards, not to mention several different people, including one dancer who was very generous to her back in Varna, commenting on how her continued stretching the truth lessens the achievements of the dancers who actually received these awards and placements. I do not think anyone here is saying she is not talented. But I for one find her a lot less talented than she thinks of herself. Could she become what is in her head, maybe. I don't have a crystal ball. But she is making it harder and harder on herself by the continued drama, falsehoods, and public statements about coworkers and her company. I am friends with several directors as well as dancers in ABT. I've heard directly from many of them that they wouldn't hire her for anything because they see her as disloyal and a loose cannon. And that she has done herself. It is really rather sad. Hopefully she will grow up a little in the next few years and make herself a little more marketable.
  14. Then/Now photos

    Who are the dancers in the four Sugar Plum Pas?
  15. Joy Womack

    Sorry I'm so late commenting. One thought and one interesting observation. Someone asked why she still does all these competitions? Usually it is to gain exposure from other directors and to build your resume, or in the case of having three Mariinsky dancers already highly admired, it's because the company they work for are sponsoring those dancers to add more visibility to the company and show 'dominance' over other companies. But what has me thinking that Joy had an entirely different motivation for entering this particular competition (by the way she is now in korea competing at the Korean International Ballet Competition... ?)? I have an inclination that encouraged by her silver in Varna, her promotion at the Kremlin, I think she truly felt she would be able to win gold and prove to everyone at the Bolshoi she was right and they were not. She would be vindicated. This is hinted at in one of blogs when she talks about dancing at the Stanislavskiy in a tribute to her teacher, who had won an award. She describe how *Yulia Makhalina (99% positive that is who she said, I just cant make myself to go back and watch it) and how she told Joy that Joy was the only real prima on the stage and the only real artist. Um I find that a tad unbelievable and even if true, once again she purposefully alienates her colleagues by claiming how an icon in Russian ballet confirmed her own belief about her talent and superiority. She then goes on to say how Filin was the one who had to present her teacher the award, and how vindicated they both felt by this, that she has come full circle, and that what I'm assuming she assumed must have been a slight humiliation for Sergei, which I seriously doubt as that is far from the character of a man I've know for many years, was deserved by him missing what she could have contributed to the Bolshoi. I also found it interesting that even with the majority of the judges being associated with the Bolshoi, she chose to have her bio for the competition still repeating her story of having been a soloist there and being the first American. The stone cold faces of the jury, especially noted after a very 'un-russian' interpretation of Sleeping Beauty, said volumes. And what was the deal with her tutu in don q? The overlay was flopping around that it became a total distraction and something that is very easily fixed. After she received an honorable mention and diploma there has been almost total radio silence. Which once again makes me think that she was totally unprepared for the outcome. So the observation goes back to her constantly stretching the truth to a breaking point. In a twitter feed that has now been deleted and on her Facebook she claimed that she was a Laureate of the competition which she is not (and I double checked with my husband to make sure my translation was accurate. He won a bronze medal at another major international competition and he confirmed that Laureate is bestowed specifically to medal winners and anyone the judges deam appropriate. The diploma is something different). She is a diploma holder. By her claiming this it diminishes her colleagues' accomplishments and once again looks like she needs a serious reality check. She was called out on this discrepancy by one of the dancers who did medal. I continue to follow her her every now and again because I still have hope that maybe something will click. So far I've been sadly disappointed and very sad for her.