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  1. The Bolshoi under Vaziev

    ** Mnacenani **, just in case you haven't heard of her -- Alyona Kovalyova -- here is some suggested reading. ** Started by Mnacenani **, March 13 ◦ Is Alyona Kovalyova "Zvezda" material ?? 1 2 3 http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/42333-is-alyona-kovalyova-zvezda-material/ ** Started by Mnacenani **, July 9 Recent Alyona Kovalyova Interview http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/42758-recent-alyona-kovalyova-interview/ ** Started by Mnacenani **, September 17 ◦ Alyona Kovalyova Swan Lake Debut 1 2 http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/42954-alyona-kovalyova-swan-lake-debut/ ** Started by Mnacenani **, September 24 Alyona Kovalyova Interview-Swan Lake Debut http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/42970-alyona-kovalyova-interview-swan-lake-debut/
  2. The Bolshoi under Vaziev

    In the case of Alyona Kovalyova, needless to say I'm delighted although I was hoping for Principal (Балерины (Ballerinas, women)) (Премьеры (Premiers, men)), but fair is fair. Still a few steps to go....Principals, Leading Soloists, First Soloists, Soloists.
  3. St Petersburg - November 2017

    Great to hear all these names again. I hope that you're having a very good time. I would love to get to the Festival in March, my fourteenth in a row. If I do I'll be traveling all the way from California, a first. That's dedication.....but I consider myself very fortunate. Alina Somova has always been a favorite. I think that she has even more exceptional potential. It's just a matter of her sitting still long enough to show it all at one time. I do congratulate her on the birth of her second child(?) and their care is what should come first. About the Mariinsky's "Le Parc." I've seen Yekaterina Kondaurova and Viktoria Tereshkina perform it and they handled it beautifully. I've seen video glimpses of the Paris Opera's version and I think that the Mariinsky gives it a lovely refinement that makes it an exceptional work. The "swinging kiss" seems to be a crowd pleaser, but I agree about such things as "the wit of many of the girls dancing as courtiers" being my favorites. I like Alexander Sergeev very much in anything. Thinking out loud for a moment, it's fascinating to see the Vaganova/Mariinsky presence at the Bolshoi these days, especially Alyona Kovalyova, who based on my very limited video viewing may well be the most beautiful ballerina in the world and perhaps my favorite. And then there's the absolutely amazing Olga Smirnova, whom I hope to see at a gala in two weeks. And on and on the list can go. Both companies are so fortunate to have such great dancers. The Mariinsky seems to have a endless wealth.
  4. St Petersburg - November 2017

    That was very nice of you. By the way, you should see the amount of flowers that this young lady can accumulate in an evening. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-WoJ0qlcmoPY/VBAiJLyuSZI/AAAAAAAAjKI/e1XAGOvdPbM/s1600/Ekaterina%2BKondaurova.jpg Added comment: In response to something that Canbelto mentioned at another timely topic, I also thought that David Hallberg was sure to join the Mariinsky. I believe that it was after I saw him dance Swan Lake with Yekaterina Kondaurova in St. Petersburg that I was sure that it would happen.
  5. Is Alyona Kovalyova "Zvezda" material ??

    I continue to watch this video and I continue to be more impressed. She has some absolutely beautiful qualities. Her linear fineness is really lovely. I compare her with Olga Smirnova and Oxana Skorik, both also relatively young. Olga Smirnova is a phenomenon. She's has a complete and remarkable stage presence, much more so when I saw her perform La Bayadere earlier this year than I've ever seen on video. This may well carry her to all-time greatness. For the moment I would describe Oxana Skorik and Alyona Kovalyova as pure dancers -- exceptionally beautiful ones ! This, I continue to feel, is more a Mariinsky characteristic. It may not ignite a response such as Olga Smirnova can because it's more subtle, but in the world of dreamlike artistry it's the essence. More and more, I like Alyona Kovalyova's linearity. She extends into space, perhaps like no other. It's lovely. Her hands carry this even further. They add wonderful expression and extensiveness. They, at times, give her a sense of taking flight. Olga Chenchikova, in the video, offers her some ideas on the positioning of her fingers. I think that this will be very helpful. I continue to maintain that Oxana Skorik has the most beautiful hands of all the current ballerinas that I've seen. If Alyona Kovalyova can move more in this direction it will add considerably to her already remarkable beauty. Ulyana Lopatkina, probably the epitome of dance fineness, has what Natalia Makarova described as limbs that sing. Aliveness seems to breath from her every pore. I've never seen this done as well by anyone else. It's a quality that future dancers may strive for. I'll be very interested to see how Olga Smirnova, Oxana Skorik and Alyona Kovalyova develop. Will Olga Smirnova continue as a most beautiful 'expressionist' dancer (considered more a Bolshoi characteristic) and explorer or will she reach more into her Vaganova background, emphasising pure fineness? Will Oxana Skorik become more expressive, which I've seen her do with very good results, or continue to do what she's doing so well, emphasise her pure beauty? Alyona Kovalyova is just starting and her fineness is so remarkable that I'd be very happy to see her stay exactly where she is. Also, as I've suggested before, her youthfulness is priceless. As she grows in ability I hope that she holds on to this as much as possible. It adds wonderful aliveness and heart touching warmth to her outstanding gracefulness.
  6. Flames of Paris / Thu 28 September

    ....and get to see many, many wonderful Bolshoi and Mariinsky performances.
  7. Alyona Kovalyova Swan Lake Debut

    And back to hands and arms for a moment. I can see how keeping the hands under control is very important for a long armed dancer. It's hard for me to tell how well Alyona Kovalyova is doing this from the distant, but critical, video clips that I've seen. She did impress me very much with what I first saw. I feel that shorter dancers really have to add expression to their hands and arms to compensate. Alyona Kovalyova is also quite linear, especially in her back. This seems to work very well in many respects, maybe akin to a one mast sailing ship that glides and adjusts so magnificently over the waves. Her resulting sculptural beauty is captivating in its pose and motion. She floats, transitions and positions with wonderful timing and emphasis. She has a very quiet back. Her head placements add sculpture and drama to beautifully counterpoint this. It's a lovely balance. I've commented on the same thing in Olga Smirnova. Perhaps it's a Vaganova characteristic, but I can't recall it as much in anyone else. In Catherine Pawlick's interview, posted elsewhere, Alyona Kovalyova states that her mother got her into ballet because it produces lovely posture in any young girl. It couldn't be more true than in her case. A contrasting quality that I like very much is a softer, pliant and relaxed back. Yekaterina Osmolkina has this as does Olga Smirnova. Probably a combination of the two would be ideal. Olga Smirnova, for me, has perhaps the desired physical balance in appearance. She's not as tall and thin as many ballerinas, which gives them a sculptural fineness, but she has a very healthy look. Her arms aren't extremely long which makes them easier to control, yet she uses them with exceptional beauty and expression. Added: Something that seems increasingly interesting is how Alyona Kovalyova uses the placement of her head. Her back seems to float. It's her center. Her head also seems to float and yet direct and carry the rest of her body. Its positioning, the tension in her neck, the focusing of her eyes, even the expression on her face help to accomplish this. Once again similar to what I've seen in Olga Smirnova. Part of what I'm saying is taken from looking at this video clip posted elsewhere by Mnacenani, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=_JqlNY7JiCE
  8. Is Alyona Kovalyova "Zvezda" material ??

    So how is the Mariinsky's most potentially beautiful ballerina doing today ? I hope that I'm not pushing this Mariinsky thing too far, but it's exactly how I feel and I couldn't think of a finer compliment. So here's a look as posted elsewhere at Ballet Alert! by Mnacenani. This was streamed on the internet by the Bolshoi a few days ago. I could watch this over and over and probably will because it's the best glimpse I've seen yet of what she's capable of. The flow, the transitions, the postures..... Absolutely Wonderful ! No one that I've ever seen has the aliveness of limbs (especially the arms) of Ulyana Lopatkina and that makes her one of the very greatest. In general beauty, Oxana Skorik is her heir apparent at the Mariinsky and Alyona Kovalyova may be also but she's doing it at the Bolshoi. Both these basically, remarkably beautiful dancers are worth following with the most appreciative attention. There's so much to be seen in this video, which is hopefully just the beginning. Added: I would include Yekaterina Osmolkina in this grouping, although she's been around awhile and is not a tall long limbed dancer.
  9. Charlie, what hath thee started here ? Watching Olga Smirnova and Suzanne Farrell some more in Diamonds I would simply say that Olga Smirnova gives it a lovely 'Russian' lyricism and would liken Suzanne Farrell (assumingly under the guidance of George Balanchine) to a somewhat 'Picasso-esque' creation of compelling images. Possibly come back tomorrow for a totally different assessment. Would anyone like to discuss further George Balanchine references/resemblances to the Russian classics ? I still feel that exploration of the Swan Lake connection is perhaps the most powerful and interesting and should be continued, but there might be others also worth looking at. Any other ideas for the Festival ? I would once again add Alyona Kovalyova to my wish list and would love seeing Olga Smirnova as a regular guest following in the footsteps of Alina Cojocaru. I continue to hope for Veronika Part. The Miami City Ballet (with a significant Simone Messmer presence) might be able to make an exciting Balanchine connection. Something great featuring Yekaterina Osmolkina would be fine as well.
  10. Thanks for this, Mnacenani. I've watched about half and I get a hint as to what all the fuss was about in NYC. She has beautiful qualities. One thing that I've wanted to say is that her youthfulness is precious. I'd say to her, "Take your time in becoming world's greatest dancer. Just love where you're at right now."
  11. Interesting, Drew. Without returning to the Olga Smirnova video, which I was about to do, I find Olga Smirnova to be absolutely "in the moment" in regard to presentation. I feel that she has studied and structured everything to the finest detail beforehand, but once she's out there she has her 'eye' on the audience dominantly. She can go inside herself, she makes her presentation, but she's monitoring and controlling the response as much as possible. Totally "in the moment" in this respect. On the other hand she's stated that, "I find it difficult to reflect on the categories of audience love. For me, my relationship with myself is more important..... "One and the same performance can not be performed in the same way: new nuances appear, in some places a new understanding and understanding appears, and this process is endless..... "But I'm not saying that the viewers view me indifferently. It is not true. But the most important, all the same - inside." (Google translation) https://www.elle.ru/celebrities/interview/olga-smirnova-tolko-kogda-balet-stanovitsya-smyislom-jizni-v-nem-mojno-chego-to-dobitsya/ I'll certainly try to watch both ballerinas more carefully in this respect. It's a wonderful quality to have. Veronika Part seems to control everything without giving you a clue as to how she does it. Helene, I'll try to see Carla Korbes on video. I have to agree with Drew so far that dancers from Russia have a more or less monopoly on Swan Lake. Thanks, Mnacenani, for your post. Thanks, everyone for the very interesting posts, well worth further thought and response.
  12. I think that you're even more devoted than I am. Have any favorites ? When I focus on a ballerina I try to find her doing the Swan Lake duet and often don't go beyond. Internet availability, about the only way to see a current dancer, can be very limited. For the moment my fascination is with Alyona Kovalyova, who can only be seen for several minutes doing other Odette/Odile segments. Other favorites are Yekaterina Osmolkina and Oxana Skorik. There's very little good stuff for Olga Smirnova and Veronika Part, who dance this magnificently. Ulyana Lopatkina is one of the greatest, but doesn't quite come across on tape like I saw her on stage. She's the best I've seen. Galina Ulanova is perhaps the best to be recorded and Anna Pavlova surely would be. And Swan Lake was the only ballet to ever be performed six times at one Mariinsky Festival.
  13. It's a quiet Sunday so could I please go on some more ? Who would you prefer in Diamonds, Suzanne Farrell/Peter Martins or Olga Smirnova/Semyen Chudin? I couldn’t decide. I enjoy trying to figure out what it’s about. It’s possible that the choreographers (Swan Lake and Diamonds) simply had a general concept and put together what looked and felt beautiful, maybe much more. Here’s my first shot at what it could be. Both ballerinas seem to be discovering themselves and both seem to be deciding how they are going to relate to their partner/lover. In the Suzanne Farrell/Peter Martins the motion seems more defined and prominent. If it’s about flight, then Suzanne Farrell is learning how. She is aided completely by Peter Martins. When she leans back (collapses?) he keeps her from falling. She recovers confidently. Finally with that kick (that I certainly wouldn’t want to get in the way of) she asserts her total self assurance and takes flight. In the end, she is totally self secure and makes her commitment to her partner with love and gratitude. Olga Smirnova seems more involved with life and it’s discovery. Her development is in discovering its joy and her place — loving, sensual, sharing. Again, aided by her partner, she grows. When she falls back is it more of a swoon, a revery? Finally she also gratefully and lovingly acknowledges him from a state of total self assurance and self fulfilment. Seem acceptable? Your guess is surely as good as mine. Tomorrow I might see it slightly differently. And above all, I try not to let my preconceptions interfere with new discovery and overall appreciation and enjoyment.
  14. Alyona Kovalyova Interview-Swan Lake Debut

    I've noticed this too. It's a hand position that I've seen fleetingly in many ballerinas and have assumed that it's standard. Not the best connotation from my background, but a totally different context for these artists.
  15. Okay, a somewhat heart-searching question for me. If you had to chose between Swan Lake's Odette duet and Diamonds, which would you chose. I'd have to go with Swan Lake. Anyone else ?