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About avesraggiana

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Retired semi-professional dancer, Fan.
  • City**
    San Diego and Chicago
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    CA and IL

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  1. I finally, finally managed to watch the entire thirty minute clip. The tone of the whole coaching session was set wirhin the first two minutes. Lopatkina has just finished the series of supported developees devant followed by a deep, falling backbend into Siegfried's arms and Makarova interrupts them and says to Lopatkina, "you're very business-like". With that withering observation, the battle of diva-wills was on. The truth is, Makarova was absolutely spot on. For all its formal beauty and avian mannerisms, Lopatkina's Odette has always struck me as a study in over-coaching and a
  2. One Makarova touch I do miss, that I've never since another ballerina do, is Odette's very first entrance in Act II. Captured on video, the music builds, Siegfried points his crossbow upstage and aims, the audience holds its collective breath and then really, waterfowl-like, Makarova alights on the stage with a run-run-run-grand jete, landing in fourth croise, her head down in a forward bend. It's really an arresting moment and it's easy to visualize a swan breaking her descent and alighting on a lake. Nobody else seems to do this, with the Russian ballerinas favouring instead a bent-knee,
  3. I clicked on the video link but it was not available. I watched a two minute clip on youtube and even that short video, I could sense Lopatkina's resistance. She would have been wiser to make use of Makarova's suggestions. I think it would have softened her interpretation of Odette considerably, making her Odette more "organic", more full-bodied.
  4. I've never been a fan of Lopatkina's, and I've seen her live and on the 2006 DVD. I do agree wholeheartedly with you, however. For a ballerina as prodigiously talented as Lopatkina and for whom Swan Lake has become a signature role, I hope, I really, really, hope that before her career ends, she will free herself from that truly vexing and totally unnecessary Soviet-era "happy ending". I agree with your observation that Lopatkina doesn't believe in it herself and isn't very successful in hiding it. It's been over twenty years since Glasnost and the break up of the Soviet Union. You wou
  5. I've never seen Plisetskaya's Odile, sadly for me. The best Odile I've seen from a dramatic point of view is oddly enough, Makarova, which might sound like I'm contradicting you. I saw Makarova live, in Swan Lake only once but I've watched her video performance with Anthony Dowell many, many times. And I have to tell you, I haven't seen an Odile surpassing her from the point of view of dramatic power, ever. I'm speaking now of the younger crop of ballerinas. They all have the looks, the turns, the balances, the high extensions but none I've seen seem to be able to inhabit the role comple
  6. I'm still partial to any production with the tragic ending, which I believe, is what the music calls for. The least problematic Act IV double-suicide I've seen is captured in the Makarova-Dowell Royal Ballet Swan Lake video from 1982. They both just run in a diagonal and exit upstage with one final grand jete. Very simple, no possibility of getting tripped up while climbing steps to the top of a rocky cliff and then jumping off. This is how many tragic-ending Swan Lakes manage the double suicide and I don't think it works very well. First, it stops the momentum of the action, and it looks
  7. Simon, Thanks for your reply, all your points are very well taken. I’ve decided that trying to explain the difference in what I see in that video clip, to people who do not know the difference, and who don’t care, is trying to convert them and I’m simply not about to expend any energy doing that. It’s probably why I’ve not responded to that question. I don’t think I could articulate my thoughts in such a way that would not seem confrontational, intellectually arrogant or snobby. Until I do, I’ll stay out of the fray. Arnel
  8. Thanks, Diane. I was coming around to the same conclusion as yourself. Ballet is more about the emphasis, than the technique. If the point of the performance is to tell a story or evoke a mood or emotion, and the body is being used to convey it in the most beautiful and expressive way possible, then it’s ballet. If the point of the performance is astound us with physical daring and hold us breathless with acrobatic stunts as you put it, then it’s not. Of course the elements of suspense and thrill are present in both, and this is where it gets tricky. How many of us have held our breath, w
  9. I'm looking forward to it, too. Suzanne Farrell's company must be bigger than I had originally imagined. Diamonds is a big-cast ballet. Not to take anything away from Ms. Farrell, who I know originated the ballerina role, the most impressive performances of "Jewels" that I've witnessed in the last five years have been by the Kirov/Maryinsky and the Paris Opera Ballet. The least impressive and most sloppy and disappointing, by the New York City Ballet. Wendy Whelan fought mightily to save the ballerina role and mostly succeeded. Her overweight and out of condition partner, Nilas Martin
  10. I've come in for quite a beating from the other posters on this video clip. The video shows a truly impressive acrobatic, circus, contortionist performance, set to Act Four music from Swan Lake. It's astounding, actually, what these acrobats can do, particularly the lead female, performing in a white unitard and pointe shoes, and turning and balancing on her partner's head! The point I made and for which I've been getting criticism is that, for all its impressiveness, this was still not ballet. I was accused of being elitist, snobby, and arrogant for determining what was art and what was
  11. Did Yulia Makhalina retire in the end, or is she left just to languish too?
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