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elianam

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About elianam

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    fan, avid balletgoer
  • City**
    Saint Paul
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    Minnesota
  1. "Equivalent" is your term, not mine. By University of Kentucky, I mean it is an institution very different to Harvard both in terms of its location, and in terms of its nature and tradition. Other possible meanings associated with the use of the University of Kentucky are your own. And if you follow closely the casting information of the company (available on the website and on other reviews and youtube) in the last three years, combining them with the way they joined the company and the time they get promoted, you will know what I mean. This is the confusing part of the situation. Allegedly it seems that the theatre wanted to take over the academy but failed, so that the academy is independent to the company and the company is free to hire whoever it wants and the academy is free to create its own style. But what was happening at the time is Gergiev wanted to be the head of a mixture of artistic associations, Vaganova Academy included, over which he is not artistic authority. And he received stiff resistance for his attempt from those institutions. (http://www.themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/nikolai-tsiskaridze-to-head-vaganova-ballet-academy/488611.html) If we consider the Mariinsky ballet Gergiev's personal property, then the independence of the Vaganova Academy to the Mariinsky ballet means the independence of the Vaganova Academy to Gergiev. But first, what is the official source showing that Gergiev is making personal efforts to get sponsorship for the theatre? Or is he donating his personal money to the theatre? What is the percentage of that? Second, assuming that the personal effort can be specified and quantified, how much of it comes to the ballet company? If Gergiev is donating money to build the opera and the orchestra, not the ballet company, does it mean that we could still consider the ballet company his personal property, or that of Mr. Fateev, his acting director? The historical fact is when Gergiev was appointed head of the theatre, the ballet company was famous and especially for its close connection with the Vaganova Academy (any attempt to study the roaster of the company, past video recordings, reviews and programs would reveal this), and Gergiev is still ABUSING the term "Vaganova" in order to maintain his position as the head of the company, that is why he never said anything openly like "the Vaganova Academy is bad and we should hire more coaches and graduates from Perm or Kiev or Dnepropetrovsk, to change the style of the Mariinsky ballet", he does not dare to make this kind of claim because that would cost him certain amount of support from Russia. The fact is, Gergiev himself said he would make effort to protect the style of the ballet company (exemplified in his remarks on the official Mariinsky Jewels DVD, I do not have the DVD currently with me so I cannot provide the exact terms he used, but if I remembered correctly, he did mention the Vaganova, and there was nothing in his remark showing that he was trying to change the style). Even his attempt to put the Vaganova academy under his power suggests a close historical connection between the ballet company and the academy that he himself cannot ignore no matter what he wants to do to with the company. And his consideration of the Vaganova continues when the rector is changed to Tsiskaridze, an appointment he speaks highly of. (http://www.dancing-times.co.uk/dance-today-news/item/1320) To follow your logic in "Whoever appointed him can remove him, if they feel his policies or his hires are ruining a national legacy. Governments can pull funding if they don't like what he or his hire is doing. Either they agree with his policy, or haven't been convinced to take action against him", Gergiev can openly speak against the importance of Vaganova graduates if he, or his acting director, thinks none of the graduates since 2005 worth being anything more than a coryphee (with Batoeva, Shapran exceptions, but should be discussed separately) and dancers like Skorik, Shirinkina, Chebykina, and now Bondareva, worth more than they do. Either they justify what they are doing openly in words, or fulfill what they said orally into practice. If Fateev thinks the Vaganova not good for him, why still praising professors like Liudmila Safronova and having the coaches trained at the Vaganova in the company? If he still admires the Vaganova style, why not promoting student there? Another similar case can be Gergiev's praise of Ulyana Lopatkina, who worked in the company for a long time with Kurgapkina. Yet it is also during the reign of his acting director that another protegee of Kurgapkina, Evgenia Obraztsova was lost to Bolshoi because her talents no longer properly recognized in the company immediately after the passing of her coach (proof is her repertoire after the death of Kurgapkina). To me, they are being hypocritical because they know if they voice against the value of Vaganova tradition, they would lose some of their support in the government and in other institutions in the country, and they themselves would be deposed, possibly. Politics is never black and white. Zozulina's article represents an insider's voice of the reality, that of which what is happening in the company is not following its outspoken logic. And again, I do not see any necessity for the Vaganova to change in order to suit Fateev's taste, in order to have their wonderful graudates to dance decent parts on the MT stage. What they choose to do is to fight. And Fateev and Gergiev may be relying on their lies (despite of different natures) about cherishing the Vaganova tradition in order to remain on their posts. Otherwise what explains he divergence between what is happening and what they were saying?
  2. Thank you for the report. And how lucky you are to witness this historical moment. I wish the MT will also take her on other tours frequently Same question: what about the minor parts? Were Nikitina and Krasnokutskaya the two swans in the second performance? It would just be amazing to see both of them, as well as Marchuk, Brileva, Batoeva, Petushkova, Bondarenko, Chereshkovich and Sodoleva all in the same performance, and of course, Yulia Stepanova.
  3. Your question is, how is it possible for a company to offer a contract and does not attempt to hire, and I used the example of Harvard professor offered contract to work in a college as research assistant to show how is it possible to offer a contract without intention to hire, and how it may appear humiliating to a person even if it is not the intention of the company to insult. I am not saying that Zhiganshina is a professor and the MT is a college. Now, considering Zhiganshina a brilliant PhD graduating from Harvard. Since we do not know the exact terms of the contract, how can you know it is a tenure-track Assistant Professorship or a temporary research assistantship? If Vaganova students is equivalent here to Harvard PhDs, what can be seen in the past few years is that until the time the article was published, none of the brilliant, newly-minded PhD graduates since 2005 received a tenure-track Assistant Professorship (maybe with the exception of Batoeva), for a tenure-track means promised promotion and recognition as long as substantial contribution is made in certain amount of time. What those excellent PhDs did in the company is more like working under contract. And in most cases, the jobs they are doing are easy jobs that a middle-school graduate can do as well. And none of them is allowed to contribute with their "new minds". At the same time, there were very few tenure-track positions offered in the past few years, and almost all of them were given to PhDs or Masters from institutions like the University of Kentucky. Even if these people all have something distinguishable, Harvard think it not enough and have them taking graduate courses with Harvard full-time professors while maintaining their tenure-track position (giving new soloists from other schools extra time to work with Vaganova-style coaches, in order to look like Vaganova ballerina, whereas Vaganova graduates do not have such priviledge). Zhiganshina is special, however, in that she was already offered chance to teach a distinguished college-level course, with approbation from the leaders in the field. Everything shows that she might be the only Harvard PhD in the recent years to receive tenure-track from Harvard, but what she gets may be something less than that, or something equal to a working contract research assistantship like previous Harvard PhDs. At the same time, she was offered a tenure-track position in Yale, so she is going to Yale. And what Zozulina, a professor from Vaganova, or "Harvard", is doing, is to voice the concern of Harvard professors for the unfair treatment of Harvard excellent PhDs in terms of their career possibilities in Harvard. However, Harvard is still a private institution, and the Board of Regents and the big patrons can decide the future of the college as long as they think it fair. Professors should move if they do not agree with the direction of the Board of Regents and the patrons. If one day, the directors want to change Harvard into a ballet academy or a music conservatory, it is very well up to them. But the Mariinsky Ballet is a national treasure of Russia, Russian people, if not for the field of ballet in general. It is not Fateev,'s or Gergiev's own personal company, and it is receiving funding from the government, so is the Vaganova academy. In the US, there is no public academic institution that enjoys a national prestige equivalent to Vaganova or Mariinsky ballet in Russia. That is why we can not assume that a Harvard example, or an equivalent example in the US, explains everything. I would say University of Sao Paulo in Latin America can be an example in this regard, or if someone knows better, an public academic institution in Russia. The logic should be that, the Vaganova does not have to change anything just to suit the personal taste of Fateev, and if Fateev has problem with the Vaganova style, he should find funding to start his own company. Gergiev himself said in the interview he gave on the DVD of Jewels that he should make effort to preserve the Vaganova tradition, and as the article of Zozulina shows, Fateev also expressed his admiration of Liudmila Safronova. But how is it possible that students who worked 6 years with Liudmila Safronova in academy, who are the prides of the professor herself, are still "working on the contract" with no verified promise of promotion and recognition. And how is it possible that Gergiev is "preserving the Vaganova tradition" when a Vaganova professor is complaining about the unfair treatment of Vaganova graduates in the company. And how is it possible that we are saying here that the Vaganova should change its tradition in order to suit the taste of Gergiev or Fateev? Zhiganshina does not have to lose weight to suit the taste of Fateev, if all the Vaganova coaches and professors think it OK, she is still a proud carrier of the merits of Vaganova training, better, or at the very least, cannot be worse than what Fateev did himself.
  4. Nothing in the paragraph says that Fateev "wanted" to insult Zhiganshina. The word "humiliating" can be read as Zozulina's own opinion or Zhiganshina's feeling, of which we can never know. Contract alone is not sufficient proof of attempting to hire someone. She may be hired because her talents are properly recognized, or can be hired only as any other good Vaganova graduate. Zhiganshina is not an average good Vaganova student, she is a distinguished one whose previous experience makes it natural to expect more upon graduation. It is like a college offering a contract to a full-time professor from Harvard to be lecturer or research assistant, something a graduate student can do as well. The college is not attempting to hire the professor because this job has few to do with his experience, intelligence and knowledge, and the college does not even care if the professor would accept this contract or not, because it is very likely that this professor will not. I agree with Mathilde's previous comment that Fateev may like Zhiganshina less because she gained some weight recently. No matter what his concern was, and no matter what was behind Zhiganshina's previous opportunities at the MT stage, what the fact shows is that Fateev is still not having something clear in mind, whether or not, and how to hire Vaganova graduates, especially those on the top, who do not want to be treated like the previous top graduates who are still fighting among the corps because opportunities go to people from other places. I am curious to see what kind of contract Fateev will offer to Shakirova, who based on the opportunities she already had, makes it also natural for her to expect more upon graduation. Olga Smirnova's recent interview in Dance Magazine tells how she felt when making the choice to go to the Bolshoi. She was also offered the contract, but "found the atmosphere uninviting". This can be equally taken as not making an attempt to hire, if no one cares if she wants to stay or not. (http://www.dancemagazine.com/issues/June-2014/The-New-Girl) I use the term "piss me off" to express my feeling at that moment so as not to appear like offending someone intentionally. But now I know that I don't have to think too much in this regard because as long as we follow the rules, we don't have to feel sorry for anyone else' feeling here. (Delete this part if you think it inappropriate, but I just thought I should explain that I was not asking for someone to care about my feelings)
  5. The thing is that Russia is a country different to the US - I assume it would be seemingly ridiculous to hear a Russian to criticize or comment on a company like NYCB because it does not follow a certain scheme of education created in the time of the Tsar of in the time of Soviet Union, or even in Europe or Africa or Latin America or Asia. Anyone who lives in Russia like a Russian for a substantial amount of time would know that. I suppose none of us here knows how Zhiganshina really feels, nor of the way she is connected to Zozulina, so what are the official basis to question the argument of Zozulina by following the logic of another country? This to me is either Imperialism or stupidity. And I think it is hard to argue that all ballet students have similar attitudes toward their professional life, since none of us is able to know the other's mind. My own case is that I have a teacher who opted for another profession because she thought she was no longer capable of carrying out her the style she was following - there are tons of other professional dancers who continues whatsoever with other attitudes or thoughts in mind. On Shapran, officially, she does appear as First Soloist, but this is immediately AFTER this article, which could be, or could not be, an effect of this article (if we follow Mathilde's logic, it is very likely that it is). I find it similarly questionable why he did not hire Asylmuratova together with Shapran, why he did not hire Shapran earlier (before she is almost in a situation of running out of job or coach), and there are also other facts that leads one to doubt whether Shapran's case has nothing to do with Fateev's attitude with the Vaganova. Besides, being later than the publication of the article, it is equally questionable if Shapran's case can be used to "argue against" Zozulina. Actually, for this topic, I think it is enough to have the original article and Mathilde's translation of it. This is not a court room and there is no need to have so many judges or lawyers who are doing nothing more than demonstrating their own "intelligence" which has nothing to do with ballet. Zozulina's article stands for a position, and like it or not, or believe it or not, we are not in the place to "classify" her points because we do not share the same perspective and the same knowledge of facts. I don't know if I was misreading some of your words, but anything that appears to be a simple "classification" or "judgment" aiming to show that Zozulina's points have no basis or totally biased piss me off. Even if she is biased, we are no less so than she is, and it is better to reveal our own limits first before commenting on those of the others. But overall, why can't we appreciate those points like appreciating ballet itself?
  6. Zhiganshina is different to other Vaganova graduates in recent years in that she is the ONLY one who danced a principal part in a full-length ballet (Masha with the Nutcracker) with the Mariinsky ballet while still a Vaganova student. Not the only one in her year, but the only one in the past 19 years, because the last one I can remember is Diana Vishneva as Kitri (correct me if someone here knows someone else who did that later). None of the graduates since 2008 or earler has even danced a solo part with the company before graduation. With such a huge distinction, it is hard to suppose Zhiganshina would be pleased and satisfied to receive a contract that is merely equal to an average Vaganova graduates in her year, or even merely equal to the contracts received in previous years, since independent to the quality of dancing, she IS different to the others in terms of opportunities received from the company prior to graduation. Personally I have problem continuing with the analogy of Harvard and Michigan because theatres in Russia does not function like academic institutions or companies in the US (that is why American ballet company is never ever comparable to Mariinsky or Bolshoi), and Paris Opera Ballet also functions differently. Finally, I agree that Zhiganshina might be better as a Bolshoi ballerina (and I am very happy for her), but that is something related to her own quality even prior to being trained at the Vaganova. That alone does not show that it should be considered normal when a Vaganova top-graduate joins directly to the Bolshoi with better terms, for stylistically, Vaganova graduates are TRAINED to join the Mariinsky, and it is Mariinsky that has the coaches and choreographies that let them to make best use of their training through the years. Before Smirnova, I cannot remember a single Vaganova top-graduate who joined Bolshoi immediately after graduation only because the Bolshoi offers more advantageous terms. And clearly in the past 20 or 30 years no top Bolshoi graduate joined the MT. I still do not know what you mean by the thing that the MT is looking for while the academy does not possess - maybe we should open a new academy for a new Mariinsky ballet? That would be dire.
  7. While I agree with your main points, the problem in Mariinsky ballet seems indeed to be more intricated. Even if it is indeed mainly because of the need of "modernized" type of body, there are also many Vaganova graduates with slim bodies, long-limbs and legs and neck, and hyper extensions and beautiful feets who joined the company in the recent years (for the phenomenon of Guillem also influenced the aesthetic evaluation of the Vaganova academy, to a certain extent). There would have been less controversies if these dancers are pushed forward together with Skorik, Chebykina, etc..But the reality is, only those from other schools with certain kind of body-type is pushed, and the fact that the company is not getting in coaches from other schools, but insist in their acquiring "Vaganova" style (with more rehearsal time and excellent coaches) after joining the company raises further doubt about the reason behind it. For if it is indeed the artistic potential of those dancers that is recognized in the theatre, their former schools should be given credit for the creation and development of their capacity and style. If they want to reeducate those dancers to acquire the Vaganova style, why not sending them to train in the academy for one or two years before giving them big opportunities? I am particularly curious why dancers like Pavlenko, Gumerova, Osmolkina are no longer being cast in major classical parts, they had certain the type of body favoured in the company, and partially because of this (the other part being their education and artistic capacity) they were frequently seen in leading parts when they were young. And wasn't the plea for more opportunities for older dancers one of the major official reasons for the departure of Vaziev? Fateyev seems to have slowed down the promotion of young dancers initially in order to meet this "requirement" of Gergiev, but now what is happening is that young dancers from other schools are placed in front of both the older dancers and the younger dancers who graduated from Vaganova. Skorik and Askerov are exemplary of this phenomenon, and there is also Kim Kimin, Zaleyev, Parish, Shirinkina, Chebykina, Keenan Kampa. I don't mean that these are all problematic dancers, but they are all placed in more advantageous position than Vaganova graduates upon joining the theatre. And graduates who joined the theatre between 2005 and 2010 are not really "young" anymore. (I am running out of time so I will not find the source for Gergiev's words that older dancers should have more opportunities to appear on stage, but I am pretty sure there is evidence to be found in this regard, I will post them later)
  8. At the very least Yulia deserves to be Second Soloist by now, and she has already contributed so much to the theatre, no less than several principals, not only just with her exceptional talent. But since Bondareva's placement is not announced yet, the names of the new comers is also not updated, I wonder it takes time to enter information on the website. If Stepanova is indeed to be taken to London, there should be promotion sooner or later.
  9. Hopefully it is so and a sign of change of policy. I am still praying for the promotion of Stepanova and of other competent dancers.
  10. Good news: Kristina Shapran is now First Soloist with the Mariinsky. Congratulations for her! But in my opinion, this is so not fair for Vasnetsova, Adzhamova, Nikitina, Stepanova, Batoeva, Krasnokutskaya, and Marchuk. I wonder if Fateyev placed her only because of her fame, because he would not even hire Shapran as coryphee or second soloist 3 years ago. Does it mean that every Vaganova top graduate in the future should join Bolshoi as a soloist, or join a secondary theatre to be a principal, before they come back to Mariinsky qualified to be soloist?
  11. It seems that there is no official information to be found about the circumstances in which Skorik joined the MT. Information on her wikipedia page shows that she joined in 2007 as a coryphee, but previous discussions on this forum show that her name did not appear on the MT website until 2008, and I cannot remember if she was listed as coryphee or corp de ballet at the time. A youtube video of her debut in Queen of Dryad (seem to be her first significant solo part in the company) was published in June of 2009 and this seems to be the performance on June 14 in 2009 (http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/playbill/2009/6/14/1_1900/). And on July 10 in 2009 of the same year she danced Lilac Fairy. This also seems to be a debut as I cannot find earlier she was not listed in that role in earlier Sleeping Beauty performances according to the archive of the MT website. Her O/O debut was in May of 2011 with Askerov but before that she danced with Korsuntsev in a gala. It was around the same time when she was promoted to second soloist, but I cannot remember correctly which month. She stayed there for less than a season before advancing to first soloist. Under Vaziev she was receiving minor solo parts along with a number of Vaganova graduates, but it was under Fateyev that she started to receive, and continuously, big parts, one after another. Shirinkina seems to be promoted together with Maria Chugai and a number of young dancers to coryphee before Vaziev left the company. And she was getting more opportunities in her first seasons with the company (such as one of the fairies in 3rd Act Sleeping Beauty in her first season, shown in the New Year's Eve gala) than Stepanova, Batoeva and the like. This is difficult to comment on this, however, because during Vaziev's time young dancers were having more opportunities in general.
  12. Mathilde, is this the part of the project you were referring to? http://www.kultiversum.de/Tanz-Aktuell/menschen-persoenlich-14.html
  13. Thank you for the clarification! Talking about art, journalism, politics, and market together is always risky to a certain extent, especially considering the change of artistic atmosphere in Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. And the involvement of a professional German journal, a US journal, or a Russian journal often have different meanings and results. I don't want Stepanova's case to be taken blindly as a simple marketing strategy or a propaganda commisioned by some rich god-fathers, for art is not a simple commodity and a Russian ballerina is not the same as a ballerina in the US or in Western Europe. Of professional opinions, I will leave them to the scholars, which the author seems to be one. Personally, it seems to me that if Stepanova is a ballerina who priviledges stardom, money and fame over artistic values, there are easier pathes to follow. And also personally, I take Skorik's case as a failure of an involvement of western media. For excellent Vaganova graduates all deserve bigger roles in Mariinsky, and excellent graduates from other schools also deserve chances in the theatre, as long as developed and pushed properly. And a serious ballerina's career should not be "joked with" or trivialized for purposes other than ballet.
  14. I don't agree. That was what I was afraid of when first seeing this article, for it put Yulia Stepanova, a modest, humble, dedicated, hard-working, and above all, a talented ballerina, in the spotlight. The article is talking about a reality on the way Vaganova top grads are treated in the theatre, and Yulia is singled out only because she is exceptional as a dancer and as a person, and bears the tradition created in the Vaganova that makes the Mariinsky ballet unique for so long. If there is no Yulia, it is equally easy to write in the same way about many other Vaganova top grads buries in the corp-de-ballet at the Mariinsky for so long (In fact, every top graduate from the Vaganova since 2004), to address to the same situation discussed in the article. Every true ballet lover should speak with respect when talking about dancers like Yulia Stepanova, or Daria Vasnetsova, or every Vaganova top-graduate fighting among the corps, and every sympathetic articles written about them. Even if one is a fan of Skorik or Chebykina, one should recognize the efforts hidden in those excellent ballerinas who at least deserve equal opportunities on an artistic level, unless one likes this or that ballerina for a reason that has nothing to do with ballet. And if I am a fan of any of them, I would blame the administration equally for bringing them into the center of controversy.
  15. Here is a biography of the author from the Vaganova Academy's official website: www.vaganova.ru/files/Zozulina_SV(1).doc
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