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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. 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.
  2. Then/Now photos

    Who are the dancers in the four Sugar Plum Pas?
  3. 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.
  4. Yes I finally was able to find it this morning! I will be very interested to see how Sobin Le, who won Grand Prix in Varna and has already danced major roles in eropean theatres and she is just 19. There is a video of her on YouTube doing Lise's variation at 13 that would put most professionals to shame. There are quite a few 'big names' this year. I see Popov is there, and saw the other Mariinsky dancers as well. Looks like an exciting competition. One question, has it always been just a week long? I thought I have always remembered it as 2. Anyway looking forward to watching it!
  5. Does anyone have the list of dancers competing? I've searched the website in English and in Russian and can't find it. Maybe because I'm looking on my phone? It's also not pulling up the jury other than Grigorovich. Natalia, any luck? Or MadamP?
  6. ABT 2017 Spring Season at The Met

    Ok a couple of thoughts and a general, somewhat rhetorical question. I preface this with the following: I rarely get to see ABT perform, but I do have several friends and a major coach that dance without ABT, as well as a family connection to Ratmansky. I do, however see a lot of European companies as well as galas when I can. Ok with that said: About Ratmansky. I don't love everything he does. I also don't love every last bit of Petipa, or Balanchine, or Ashton either. I've heard many dancers complain about having to work with a choreographer or perform a certain ballet. But in all my travels and with many, many friends who are dancing professionally i have personally never heard a complaint about having to work with or dance Ratmansky. Now granted I don't know every dancer on the planet, and I've heard small complaints about this or that, but the major consensus is he is giving interesting and different material for them to dance and really cares about the dancers he works with. Everything is not a masterpiece, but if inspires or gives new material then I am all for it. About guest artists: My husband grew up and danced with, for many years a principal couple recently retired from ABT (yes I know that so difficult to figure out who that might be) and the main complaint from them as well as other dancers performing major roles is the lack of coaching and the few opportunities to perform. I'm not sure how ANYONE who gets to perform a major role, if they are lucky, one time per year is supposed to develop artistry and confidence in that role no matter how gifted the coach. It should not under any circumstances take 10 years for a ballerina to truly understand what dancing O/O means and how to project that meaning to an audience. I remember reading way back in the day when ABT used to be a primarily touring company that dancers were constantly performing the standard rep as well as some mixed Rep thrown in. Was it grueling, sure. Is it hard to stay in shape on tour, most have no idea how difficult. But they had the opportunity to actually dance and grow in a role before they were required to perform it in the big leagues! I'm sad that that has all but disappeared for ABT. I think they have taken a step in the right direction in allowing their dancers to get opportunities to try out roles and to grow the talent that is there. I'm not sure I would want to be a young soloist and be expected to deliver a star quality performance at the Met my first time out. I cannot imagine the pressure. And knowing in the back of their head that this may be the only chance they will have to prove they can do it. I've been so happy to hear reports of how so many have risen to the occasion this season! That is amazing and I hope those dancers know that more experienced dancers have had to do that and failed miserably. So bravo! Ok my question: when I was in Londen recently I had time to meet with a few dancers who had performed in a gala that I somehow managed to sit through. Two of these dancers have been guest artists for ABT in the past so I asked them what their take on the lack of guest artists these past two seasons is. Both mentioned how much harder it is to secure a visa for Russian dancers trying to perform in the US due to the political climate between the US and Russia. So when I got back I asked another friend who has hosted a very large gala with dancers coming from both Bolshoi and Mariinsky for many years. It looks like this year it may not happen. He also said the same thing about difficulty obtaining visas as well as the huge rise in cost of the sponsoring agencies to secure those visas. So my question is, do you think that might have something to do without ABT's lack of guest artists, and if so do you think that if the political tensions die down that perhaps we will see a reamergance of the Russian Guests back on the ABT roster?
  7. ABT 2017 Don Quixote

    I agree... so much of Italian Foutees is a natural coordination and rhythm. They were always very easy for me (I actually think that might have to do with me playing around with it in the studio at age 11 before I knew it was supposed to be hard! So much in ballet is made more difficult by overthinking). I do think for most dancers Italian Fouettes are more difficult due to the change in balance on the supporting leg. I'm very hyperextended and that had little effect, although I was not blessed with incredibly high insteps. Generally, high insteps make pointe work more difficult due to lack of strength. You have to work very hard to develop strength and also to maintain it. That being said, I do find it troubling that there are continued reports of ABT ballerinas having such difficulties with this particular step. Not to mention to be continually cast in a role that requires them make zero sense. With the talent level in ABT, surely they have a few dancers who could dance the role beautifully in spite of not being a principal. Are the dancers cast as Queen of the Dryads really a huge draw for those buying tickets? I wouldn't really think so and tend to think many would appreciate seeing up and coming talent in a debutant type role. Wasting resources seems to be a specialty of ABT
  8. Clement Crisp — Olga Smirnova

    Somova is 5'6, maybe 5'7. I'm almost 5'5 and she is just a hair taller than me.
  9. Humming Giselle score...?

    Haha funny you asked this. According to my husband I've been known to hum parts of Giselle in my sleep. I guess having danced it many times I know the score backwards and forwards so it is a bit of an unfair advantage. I love the music and the ballet.
  10. Pavel Dmitrichenko - Back In Class

    Unreal. Just stunned.
  11. Dancer's Walk & Morton's Toe

    Morton's Toe isn't any more a hinderence than a big toe longer and all other toes tapering off. In both cases it is one toe that takes the primary contact with the platform of a pointe shoe and therefore steps are taken to help distribute weight to other toes as well. This is done by wearing more tapered shoes, for Morton's toe building up the big toe to be even with the 2nd toe, etc. I have very tapered toes and would sometimes use a makeup wedge that women use to apply foundation in order to help alleviate pressure on my big toe. Of course, dancers with the first 3 toes even have the easiest time with weight distribution in their shoes, but lack of it doesn't mean someone will not become a 'top-notch' ballerina As far as a dancer's walk, when applied to ballet, I think it has to do with how one carries themselves. I was actually at a company audition where the AD asked each of us to walk across the floor on the diagonal and made cuts from there, before even a plie was danced. I've heard that has been repeated by other directors many times and recently. It can be quite unsettling to those cut trying to figure out why, as much as it was to those of us not cut, also trying to figure out why. Most AD's have in mind what they are looking for, even if it may not be easily expressed in words. The natural way someone carries themselves can help indicate how that person may or may not move when actually performing steps. For a female dancer, one of the HARDEST things to master is to simply walk and run in pointe shoes. It really is incredibly difficult!
  12. Esmeralda

    It is so amazing to know that Mr. Danton, soon to turn 98, is still teaching and coaching and instilling his vast amounts of knowledge to anyone wishing to learn. He is truly a jewel in current ballet and it's history. His insight into La Esmeralda as well as many other classical ballets is truly astounding. I do hope those who intend to restage or revive the old Petipa ballets would seek him out. What an incredible resource he could be!
  13. Pavel Dmitrichenko Released On Parole

    This make me almost physically ill! I guess having a husband who has known Filin for many years, plus the interaction I've had with him, and even more so the way he treated my son doesn't make me a very unbiased observer. But even if Dmitrichenko was a patsy, as many people believe, he still deserved to finish his sentence. This whole plot nearly destroyed a man's career and for what? Because a few members of the Bolshoi thought they should have been the director or should have better roles etc? He had an opportunity to do the right thing but instead he decided to fight dirty. I cannot even imagine what Filin and his family are going through. So very sad
  14. The Bolshoi under Vaziev

    Buddy, It's very interesting that you say Zakharova has done a wonderful job of merging both Mariinsky and Bolshoi. Here is why... My husband studied all 8 years in Kyiv with the same male teacher who taught Sarafanov, Matvienko and many, many others that my production weary brain is not coming up with at the moment (our small company premiers Coppelia in 4 days and lack of sleep is par for the course for me! Can't believe I still enjoy it year after year! But imparting a beautiful legacy and art on such young, hungry students is all the encouragement I need to soldier on). Anyway, Zakharova, as well as Cojocaru, spent all but their last year in Kyiv as well, with Zakharova of course going to Vaganova for her 8th, and Cojocaru to the Royal for hers. I was trained completely from age 10 by Vaganova teachers imported straight out of the Vaganova academy, with 3 major ballerinas having coached me in several major roles. Sizova, Kolpakova, and Osipenko. This was a few short years after the Kirov Academy was founded in DC (which only Sizova was on faculty in that list. The others were outside the school) and the old guard running things like nothing had changed other than geography. (On a side note... True Vaganova training in the US is almost 99% impossible since usually most US parents would not want to be seperated from their 10 year olds to send them away to vocational school for ballet. It's also nearly unheard of for 10 year olds here to take ballet 6 days per week and having to pass very rigorous artistic and medical exams for entrance with the continued possibility of being accessed out of the program if not developing up to such I ncredibly high standards. I was very, very lucky to have started ballet at 9.5 years old and put in class 6 days per week the following year.) When I met my husband, we had been asked to do a guesting by a director who knew us well, although we had never met before. I'm actually surprised I agreed in the first place as partnering is built on trust and trust rarely would take place in the 4 rehearsal days provided before the performance. We favored each other in looks, body type, and temperament and I again was incredibly lucky. After that initial pairing we continued to dance together almost exclusively until medical issues finally proved too insurmountable for me to continue performing. When I started really observing him while we took class together, I noticed small, very subtle differences in his training than mine, and I do not mean male/female differences. It was very interesting to see him not just work but more so in how he taught. The more I observed the more convinced I was that he wasn't trained like either Russian school although extremely close to it, but a melding of sorts between the two. Not as charged or spirited like Bolshoi, not as elegant and super refined like Mariinsky. And it was and still is beautiful to see. When we started to actually try to pinpoint the technical proponents the clearer the differences became. I've had the same impression when I saw Zakharova in class back when she had not that long ago switched to the Bolshoi. Dvorovenko and Belerserkovsky the same. Sarafonov the same. And while neither of us will back down on what we feel is actually correct, we have had much fun being able to offers our students a little bit of both. The only Kyiv trained ballerina that I've seen that breaks this prototype for me is Cojocaru and that is because she is a creation all her on seemingly pulling all the many aspects that the different schools taught her and fine tuning what exactly worked for her. I've always been partial to the Mariinsky, which is no surprise. Or I should say the Mariinsky prior to the current director... But by dancing and teaching with my husband I found a new perspective on what I thought I liked, but especially what I knew I disliked about the Marrinsky dancers. And what I appreciated from the Bolshoi that I was never able to define until seeing what can be done when mixed together. I suspect that since all three 'styles' were so close in actually methodology and its original founding technique it has allowed for this to take place. It is something that I don't think could happen anywhere else since each technique is so different. Like Paris Opera and Royal Danish. Complementary yes but melding??? I feel that would be like cherry picking the best of each which has proven many times over isn't advisable. Yes of course ballet has evolved from the original founding, and each system works beautifully because it teaches the entire body in harmony with itself and not disjointed. On a side note, have you ever noticed the same type of 'best of both worlds' from dancers from Perm? From my perspective the Perm school is closer to the Mariinsky style and Kyiv to the Bolshoi, if only by a fraction. Saying that, it's curious how many ex-Kyiv dancers eventually ended up in the Mariinsky. They tried very hard to convince my husband to finish his last year at Vaganova, which he refused to consider. and which others jumped on for, in his estimation, the pedigree that the St Petersburg school could give. Sarafonov made the same choice as did Matvienko. Or maybe it was because they had found themselves with the good fortune to have a wonderful teacher at their disposal for their final 3 years in school. Sorry this was so long winded!
  15. I think his comments about being too old and broken refer to the fact that he felt he had maybe one or two more years left. Starting over in a new company isn't realistic at that point because it would be counter productive to a new artistic director to invest time, energy, and casting into a dancer that will not produce results for very long. I think in general that is why dancers in their mid 30's rarely change companies. There are many more things to consider when moving to a new company besides performing a few more years. The effort it takes to learn a new rep, having coaches invest time in a dancer who will not be there for very long when that time can be used to help bring a younger dancer up through the ranks, a dancer who has many years to devote and give back to the company (baring injury or artistic changes). Occasionally, if there is a budget for it, and sadly in most cases for US companies there isn't, a dancer of soloist or principal status who can no longer physically maintain principal roles will move on to character roles in the same company. Or take a position behind scenes in the school or company itself. It's rare that a dancer here would be kept on the roster if they are unlikely to be able to perform at that level. You will see that sometimes in the major Russian companies, but it's usually just honorary and the dancer rarely performs.