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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. Fraildove

    The Bolshoi under Vaziev

    La Belle?!?! 😱😱😱😱
  2. Fraildove

    Is Alyona Kovalyova "Zvezda" material ??

    Yes, I did. Will edit the post now!
  3. Fraildove

    Is Alyona Kovalyova "Zvezda" material ??

    I haven’t commented on this thread, but have been following it since she was in the Prix de Lausanne and did not pass to finals. She has such a beautiful instrument for ballet and she is definitely unique. What worries me is that Vaziev is pushing her on to the stage in major roles way before she is ready. He did the same with Somova and it was a disaster when the Mariinsky went on tour. She was thrust forward for all of the international critics and they had a field day picking her apart because she was so underdeveloped. There are so many areas technically in which she is weak, hands (especially) and armsat the top of the list. Why he feels the need to push her in major roles, which almost all of you who have seen her have prefaced that her performances were not perfect although lovely? Part of the amazing art of ballet is starting in secondary roles while major ones are being coached behind the scenes meticulously so that when they are finally ready to put before the critics, the dancer has a loaded arsenal. It allows a dancer to grow artistically, make mistakes, and experiment when it doesn’t count so that they present a finished product when it does. In Somova’s case, so many were turned off by her earlier performances that they all out avoided her performances after she had changed coaches and addressed her technical and artistic issues. She lost a very large potential fan base because of being thrown to the wolves. Dancers do not cast themselves in roles (unless you are Zakharova of course 😂). She is young and hungry. And with loads of talent. But as mentioned up thread and even with video, even the prima’s themselves, Zakharova and Lopatkina were dancing secondary roles in order to really grow. And both were much more technically assured at the same age as Alyona is now. I truly hope that that she has a coach that will force her to address the things that might stand in the way of her reaching her full potential in the near future. I’m just afraid that having the same director and coach that a young Somova had that history might just repeat itself. I have shown her videos to my husband as well as several other former dancers and teachers, mostly all Russian, and they all have the same opinion that I hold. She was not ready for Etudes, Diamonds, Swan Lake, and to a slight lesser degree, Bayadere. But we all see just how much potential she has. I guess we can only watch and wait.
  4. Yes, most galas have a sponsor or impresario for the really large galas with big names. I was teaching ballet at the same time so my income was secure in that way. I always did several weeks of Nutcrackers, plus other full length ballets (which usually paid more), and maybe 3 or 4 galas. It was great supplemental income. I had insurance through my teaching, otherwise it would have been much harder.
  5. As far as freelancing, fees paid to artists performing in galas can range. I’ve never performed in a gala for less than $1500, plus travel and per dium, and I’ve ‘no name’ on a who’s who scale so to speak. And that is on the low end. And that was usually for two pas de deuxs. When you have a name established on an international scale like Masha does, the fees she commands can be quite a lot. And it is not the performing that keeps a dancer in top condition. It is class. And again, when you have a big name, finding a company or master to take class with daily is not difficult and is usually free. Not so for most free-lance dancers. When dancers tour with large full-length ballets is when most dancers get out of shape. They cannot train consistently, they loose rest time, they don’t have the conveniences of cooking and being at home etc. Also, it can be very hard to stay relevant as a freelance dancer if you have not already engrained yourself on an international scale. Males that are good partners can usually get freelance jobs by partnering students in school productions of Nutcracker and the like. But again, without being an actual ‘star’ paying for classes to keep yourself in peak condition can often times eat any earnings you make which will necessitate the need for a second job.
  6. Fraildove

    Ballone Choreography in a Variation

    The dream scene from Don quixote, where Cupid leads Don Q around (in Russian productions with little Cupid’s) with the dryads has many ballones.
  7. Fraildove

    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!
  8. Fraildove

    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.
  9. Fraildove

    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!
  10. Fraildove

    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.
  11. Fraildove

    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!
  12. Fraildove

    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.
  13. Fraildove

    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.
  14. Fraildove

    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.
  15. 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.