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Laurent

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Everything posted by Laurent

  1. Laurent

    Vaganova Academy Graduation, 2018

    Tereshkina observed every single accent, this alone is a rarity today; her exaggerated, ostentatious, manner, however, made her less appealing in my eyes than, for example, Khoreva, who was dancing one of the variations (said to be from the late 19th century ballet Gretna-Green (!?!) but, in reality, being the Dulcinea variation of Dudinskaya).
  2. Laurent

    Vaganova Academy Graduation, 2018

    That's the whole problem: your opinions are not of your own making. The photograph was most likely intended by a journalist to look provocative yet any ballet lover should immediately recognize that it comes from a rehearsal of the Valse of Snowflakes from the Nutcracker, a ballet danced by the Vaganova Academy every year.
  3. Vikharev's Fille mal gardée is not a reconstruction in the proper sense of the word, and Vikharev himself was admitting this in 2015. Let's begin from the video clip you posted: it doesn't represent a reconstructed Petipa-Ivanov choreography, it is the final Pas de deux by Gorsky from the Moscow production of la Fille mal gardée, with later, Soviet times, extensions. Vikharev borrowed fragments from a number of disparate sources; he interpolated a pas de deux from Bournonville's Kermessen i Brügge into the Field scene; the resulting choreographic text was diverse and nonhomogenous. Was this the reason to make it even more of a mélange of all sorts of things by designing decorations and costumes inspired by van Gogh, and by inserting into the ballet the class from Bournonville's Konservatoriet, I don't know. The final result, however, is a production that by no means is a reconstruction of the Petipa-Ivanov's, or any other version, of la Fille mal gardée and, apparently, wasn't meant to be.
  4. Laurent

    Vaganova Academy Graduation, 2018

    One judges a man by his deeds, not by his image in the (social) media.
  5. This is the "Naiad and Fisherman", a reconstruction (?) by Yuri Burlaka, not Vikharev's "La fille mal gardée" which, by the way, is not a reconstruction but a conglomerate of a lot of things.
  6. I don't remember the date of the planned premiere, if I remember correctly, it is planned for the Fall. This will not be a "reconstruction" in any sense of the word. Even the score will be new. A lot more interesting and relevant was a recent staging of le grand pas des étoiles from this ballet by Danil Salimbaev, presented twice at the Cheboksary Ballet Festival this year.
  7. Laurent

    Khoreva, Bulanova

    Anastasia Nuykina is yet another star of the graduating class at the Vaganova Academy, at a similar level as Maria Khoreva. The difference is: she doesn't post a photo on Instagram every five minutes, as a result she is known only to the pedagogues and ballet professionals. Maria Bulanova's main strength is rotation. She spent only three years at the Academy. A year ago it was Maria Petukhova who was the leader, ahead of Khoreva, alas, her physical development didn't help her. This is a very strong year, there are several other excellent-to-very good girls and an unusual number of really good boys. A promising 6-grader, Anastasia Smirnova, will be highlighted tomorrow in a difficult pas de deux, in the third graduation concert; for a 6-th grader she is already fantastic. Most impressive is, however, the overall level of competence, it reminds the best times at École de danse a couple of decades ago, when the likes of Christiane Vaussard were alive (literally nothing of the former glory remains today in Paris, ballet is dying there).
  8. Laurent

    The Lilac Fairy

    Can I ask you which photographs did you see? The ones that are preserved at the Theatrical Museum in Petersburg? Those are all staged, they show Médora, Conrad and Birbanto in the dramatic pantomime scene thought to preserve the original Petersburg staging of Le Corsaire by Jules Perrot. It is entirely possible that Marie Petipa used such a pantomime excerpt for one of her concert numbers. More precisely, from the second act of Paquita. On the 4 February of 1901, Marie Petipa, in her bénéfice on the occasion of 25 years of her service at the Imperial Theatres, danced the second act of Paquita; as you know, it is pantomime plus a stylized Spanish dance. This was the only time she danced Paquita that season. She never danced the whole ballet. The most up to date study of the history of Sleeping Beauty at Mariinsky was published in Vestnik of the Vaganova Academy, 2017, N°2 (49) , pp. 31-60. Several pages are devoted to what we know about the Lilac fairy variation.
  9. Laurent

    2017 -- 2018 Season

    Disgraceful? Ridiculous? Two hours ago the best perhaps in recent memory graduation concert has ended. As a spectacle it was an equivalent of three shows at l'Opéra, Royal Ballet, or at any American company, with the exception of New York City Ballet.
  10. Choreographically, "Coppélia" of Marius Petipa leaves little doubt that it is inferior to that of Saint-Léon's, if Sergueï Vikharev faithfully restored it from the notation; there was quite a bit of talk about it in the corridors of the recent Moscow Petipa conference. Margaux Shrainer was, in my eyes, an ideal Swanilda, fresh, youthful, light, and bright as sun light. I saw all four casts over the last couple of weeks, Shrainer twice, and Shrainer turned out to be the best choice overall. I don't also recall seeing Artem Ovcharenko in a better form recently, and he was a good match for Margaux. Hardly anybody disappointed. A lovely performance of a light, entertaining ballet whose choreography could have more finesse. Heavyweights Osipova, Alexandrova as Swanilda ?? Well, this ballet is about something entirely different.
  11. Laurent

    The Bolshoi under Vaziev

    After returning from Moscow and answering a colleague asking about my impressions regarding the current state of Bolchoï, I found myself saying: don't be surprised if Shrainer is a better dancer than Smirnova, more naturally gifted, more harmonious, possessing a natural feeling for movement, something that Smirnova lacks, and this is, after all, among the most important qualities for a dancer. In her Coppélia two days ago, Shrainer demonstrated that she was making a real progress with her technique. We will see whether she is able to repeat her Friday success in the broadcast today. And, last but not least, she isn't plagued by those broken, angular lines that Smirnova has never been able to eradicate, in spite of all her efforts, and her pedagogues at the Vaganova Academy and later at Bolchoï.
  12. Laurent

    Petipa Gala

    Pagliero and Heymann are consummate artists. I don't know what has happened in Moscow, the rake of the stage or something else ? Don't make sweeping judgements based on a gala performance of some showcase piece. Ballet is not about it. In fact, Marius Petipa, Michel Fokine, hated the circus tricks introduced by Italian touring ballerinas that contaminated and deformed ballet, which are today mistaken by many so called ballet fans to be the ballet itself. Ballet is not about the number of entrechats six or fouettés. Otherwise Anna Pavlova and Galina Ulanova would not be ballet artists according to your criteria. It is about the harmony of body movement and the beauty of lines, it is about movement filled with meaning. I saw Pagliero and Heymann on many occasions, Heymann, actually, has no counterparts in Russia, in terms of finesse of his dancing. There are as many talented children in France or in America who dream of becoming ballet artists as in Russia. The real problem is with the coterie of ballet troupe directors and unscrupulous newspaper critics praising mediocrity, and preventing the public from seeing that the king has no clothes, like the recent two weeks of mediocrity on display in San Francisco. I had hard time finding a single critic saying that only one out of 12 works presented was actually good, a few were bearable, and the rest — from bad to dismally bad (sorry, Mr Pita and Mr Dawson). Nothing of the kind, the whole venue got mostly good press, as if San Francisco for two weeks became the capital of the world ballet. This is what is killing ballet in the West, what deforms the dancers, makes them incompetent in classics. There is every sign that ballet is dying in the West, and the only kind of "ballet" left will be those ugly, futile contortions performed by muscular athletes and praised by rotten critics.
  13. Laurent

    The Bolshoi under Vaziev

    I saw Tchapkina today as "Prayer" in Coppélia and I didn't see anything criminal, actually I quite liked her. She is very distinctive. Shrainer's Swanilda was, by the way, excellent, and Shrainer — radiant, light, artistic. Swanilda and Sylphide are her best parts so far, she is developing into a lovely artiste. There was a prolonged ovation in the third act after she completed a series of variations. Nonsense about the death of Bolchoï makes me laugh. It's the exact opposite. I experienced four days of joy, night after night, observing happy dancers who are still able to dance what is, actually, ballet. Maybe the last place on the planet where you can witness it. So refreshing, compared to every company in the West I know.
  14. Laurent

    "Harlequinade" 2018.

    Marius Petipa was a master of arranging children's ensembles. Use of children in ballet is ”excessive" only when they are poorly prepared, which happens, unfortunately, today in nearly all productions except those staged with students of the very best ballet schools. Second, participants of the 19-th century reconstructions often have a dim idea, and even less feeling, what they are actually enacting and how should they move around the stage. These is a mobile phone generation.
  15. For ballet scholars, with accreditation for journalists. If you open the link in your post, it says in big lettering "international research conference". The word 'research' is repeated three times in the opening paragraphs.
  16. It is important to understand that Legnani was dancing Raymonda in 1898 while Preobrajenska was rehearsing it in 1903, she was thus to dance a new production; in all such cases altering and adapting the text for a new soloist was a standard practice.
  17. The conference is not meant to be for a general audience. The venue rotates daily but on a any given day is at a single place.
  18. Laurent

    The Lilac Fairy

    You remember it correctly, even thought it was found only decades later that the author was Lopukhov. Lopukhov in his memoirs contributed to the confusion regarding exactly when he did it. There are indications that Egprova was dancing the variation already in 1913, perhaps earlier. This is the famous Lilac fairy variation as we know it today. A few years earlier, Pavlova and Karsavina danced a different, shorter variation, apparently to the music from the Prologue's coda.
  19. Laurent

    The Lilac Fairy

    The accounts you quoted are later, from after 1900, when Marie Petipa was quite advanced in age. The contradiction is only apparent if one realizes that Pavlova and Karsavina, when they were doing Lilac fairy, were dancing a different variation from the variation preserved at Harvard. I found three difficulties in what Doug wrote above ("in Corsaire, they were "second" cast to Legnani and Gerdt in 1899"). First, it is clearly stated in the contemporary press reports that when in January 1899 Marius Petipa brought up reprise of Le Corsaire for the bénéfice of Legnani, he did it by altering previous choreographic text and making it significantly more challenging. If "Marie Petipa" was indeed "second cast", she most definitely would have to dance a different text from Legnani. Second, the very phrase "second cast" raised my eyebrows. In Paris throughout the 19th century most definitely no such notion as the second, third, and so on, casts, existed. This came much later. In what sense "Marie Petipa" could be “second cast”, with Legnani being the first, in not clear to me. Most importantly, however, in the official documents like the Annual Reports of the Imperial Theatres for the 1898/1899 and 1899/1900 seasons, Marie Petipa is said to have performed the following roles: 1898/1899: La Fille du pharaon (Fisherman's wife, 13 times) ; Mlada (Princess Voïslava, 1) ; La Halte de cavalerie (Maria, 3 times) ; Sleeping Beauty (Lilac fairy, 3 times) 1899/1900: Les Saisons (Bacchante, once) ; La Fille du pharaon (Fisherman's wife, 4 times) ; Les Épreuves de Damis (Isabelle, 2 times) ; La Halte de cavalerie (Maria, 3 times) ; Sleeping Beauty (Lilac fairy, 4 times) plus lots of small appearances, both in ballets and operas. Médora is not mentioned once. At the same time, for Pierina Legnani the role of Médora is reported 9 times for the 1899/1900 season and 4 times for the 1899/1900 season. During those two seasons, Le Corsaire was performed precisely 9 and, respectively, 4 times. Nobody besides Legnani could dance the principal part.
  20. Laurent

    The Lilac Fairy

    There is no need to invoke any contrived explanations, even less so, "to rehabilitate Marie Petipa as a major Mariinsky performer" in view of what the serious "students" of the history of Imperial Ballet in Petersburg have already known, and for a long time. The following quote from an article by ballet critic N.Fedorov, published in the issue N° 40 for the year 1900 of the journal Theatre and Art, speaks to us with the immediacy of facts, not imputed "assumptions": (1re means "première"; it was customary to distinguish between dancers with the same last names, by ordinals, thus "Pavlova 2me" stood for "Anna Pavlova", etc.) One need not, however, to be familiar with the sources, in order to form a clear idea about Marie Petipa, the dancer. The testimony to the limitations of Marie Petipa as a classical dancer is first of all attested by the very text of her Lilac fairy prepared for her by her own father, who was aiming at demonstrating the best the dancer could do, as was the established custom then. And this was when Marie Petipa was 33, i.e., at the height of her powers.
  21. Laurent

    Petipa Gala

    Is she ?! More biased and partisan newspaper ballet critic is hard to come by. Not that anybody in Paris cares about Madame Kousnetsova, but her calumnies about l'Opéra and some of its best dancers, including Myriam Ould-Braham that you seem to adore, written as a retaliation for Paris "rejecting Ratmansky's «Les Illusions perdues »", reverberated here for a while. I was at the spectacle that Kousnetsova trashed, so I know the actual meaning of her "always saying it as it is". For not initiated: Mme Kousnetsova is a number one champion of Ratmansky. Her infatuation with everything contemporary paired with her disdain for classics may have given Madame Tchernomourova (the person responsible for the repertoire policy at Bolchoï) the wrong idea about what is right. I am afraid, also Mme Tchernomourova may consider Kousnetsova a "national treasure". I can only imagine what would have happened to Bolchoï if Kousnetsova, a failed classical dancer like Brigitte Lefèvre, was named the director of the company: something comparable to what Mme Lefèvre achieved at l'Opéra.
  22. Laurent

    The Lilac Fairy

    A quick summary of views of our Russian colleagues who studied the history of "Sleeping Beauty". Some know the subject rather well (you'll have an ample opportunity to discuss this and other questions with all of them in a day or two). A quick summary of views of our Russian colleagues who studied the history of "Sleeping Beauty". Some know the subject rather well (you'll have an ample opportunity to discuss this and other questions with all of them in a day or two). A quick summary of views of our Russian colleagues who studied the history of "Sleeping Beauty". Some know the subject rather well (you'll have an ample opportunity to discuss this and other questions with all of them in a day or two). A quick summary of views of our Russian colleagues who studied the history of "Sleeping Beauty". Some know the subject rather well (you'll have an ample opportunity to discuss this and other questions with all of them in a day or two). A quick summary of views of our Russian colleagues who studied the history of "Sleeping Beauty". Some know the subject rather well (you'll have an ample opportunity to discuss this and other questions with all of them in a day or two).
  23. Laurent

    The Lilac Fairy

    In the 1890 première. This is what we owe to the Harvard Collection. For many years even this wasn't certain because, if I am correct, the Lilac Fairy variation wasn't mentioned in reports by Saint-Petersbourg ballet critics. This is all the more telling as, compared, for example, to the Parisian press, those reports of Petersbourg critics often sound as pedantic accounts of what the dancer did. There is much evidence that the Lilac Fairy variation in the Prologue was dropped some time after the première; exactly when? this is what somebody with a complete command of Saint-Petersbourg press of the last decade of the 19th century can say authoritatively. Marius Petipa's daughter was born in 1857, soon she was also likely too old to dance pointe variations. To those who are fascinated by the question of the choreographic text of the original Lilac fairy: remember that the text would be different, probably very different, if Marius Petipa were to make it on a dancer other than his "home-trained" daughter.
  24. Laurent

    2017 -- 2018 Season

    Raymonda takes its inspiration from a French « roman de chevalerie ». The female protagonists of such chivalric romances had noble feelings and thoughts, were pure of heart, and delicate of demeanor. I invite you to taste what kind of persons they were by spending an evening with a sample work of that genre. If you are unable to follow the medieval French or the language of Provence, locate a quality English translation. There are some, my recommendation goes with those published in the 19th century in England. It's worth it. It will provide you with a greater appreciation of the ballet next time you see it.
  25. Laurent

    Ratmansky's Paquita

    I can imagine that ballet classics can be poorly done (a vivid recent example, grossly inadequate in nearly every way "Sleeping Beaty" by San Francisco Ballet), but "boring", "old fashioned" ?!? Are you speaking for the typical Munich audience? What is considered to be a "crowd pleaser" in Munich today?
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