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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. Fraildove

    2017/2018 season

    Drew, i totally get what you are saying. And I agree that the history of blackface in America, mainly to degrade and make fun of an entire race that was considered worthless has merit. In many, many cultures. But do remember that the Slavic people were also enslaved for hundreds of years before the US came into exsistance. Being Russian myself, and having a russian husband, the culture of Russia itself is vastly different than anywhere else in the west. The presence of any African in Russia was incredibly rare, especially in Petipa’s time. Unlike the American use of blackface, I honestly feel and believe that the use of makeup in Russian to represent Africans in ballet was meant to simply create what they could not as authentically as possible. I do find the children’s dance in Bayaderes to be much more problematic, but my husband performed that as a child and said it was explained to him and his classmates as a way to represent the character as accurately as possible and was no way treated as a farce or insult. He has never seen a black person in real life until he was on tour at 20. There are over 25 ethnic minorities in the Bolshoi alone, and although they tend to be white skinned, there is a type of racism that exists even to this day. But among nearly all of those minorities, I’m not sure if any would find using makeup to color their skin problematic. While I agree that most western cultures have an understanding of why this could be offensive to many, I think we do have a problem understanding why it isn’t offensive to many others in cultures vastly different than our own. I remember quite well the offense taken when Bayadere was broadcast in cinema, and remember discussing it with my husband. He is absolutely not racesit in any shape or form, but he did not understand the American issue with our own history and why we would be so offended (I grew up in the US,) Once I explained to him and told him about the use of blackface here, he was horrified that anyone would have ever done that. But he is adamit, as are most dancers from Russia and the former Soviet states, that never was it used to humiliate. Only to represent a race that could not be represented any other way. All cultures have terrible spots in their past. All cultures have undermined certain ethnicities. But trying to press our own culture onto another is a touchy issue and I for one do not agree with doing so. I do agree on educating and learning, which means that if I expect another culture to care about my own, then I must also care about their’s and have an open mind. I don’t have to partake in anything that offends me, but I do not expect their culture to be sensitive to my culture’s issues in the same way. I know that I would find it nearly impossible for american culture to be so sensitive to their’s that we would change for what we would consider a minor issue. And I am not calling our own issue with blackface minor. Please do not not take offense to what I’ve written. I do understand your point, and did find it odd that Lacotte chose to retain the makeup for the Nubian Princess as it was used by Petipa. But I will not project our own western ideals on an eastern culture or expect their culture to see it our way. Just as I don’t see it their way either and would be highly offended if their culture demanded that I did.
  2. I would also second Cojocaru as Aurora, and her Giselle with Nunez as Myrta is gut-wrenching. I also love Le Corsair with Altynai Asylmuratova From 1989 (former Kirov Ballet, with Galina Pankova as Gulnara) as that is what I grew up with and she is an absolute delight. For better Ted or worse, McMillan’s Romeo and Juliet (I love the one with 19 year old Allasandra Feri) is worth adding mainly for the Pas de Deux sections. For overall performance Lavrovsky’s choreography is just beautiful. Bolshoi’s production of Coppelia is brilliant! Costumes, choreography, and technique is incredible. Osipova is my favorite but Alexandrova also gave a very funny performance as well. Flames of Paris is also wonderful!
  3. Fraildove

    Sarafanov-NB of Ukraine-USA Tour 2018

    Please note that this is NOT the company! If you look closely it is a ‘concert group’ from the actual company and is not traveling with the company as the company usually tours. It is heartbreaking that people will think that this is representative of what the National ballet of Ukraine is, and I hope beyond all hope that if the magnificent main company actually does choose to tour the US while maybe on one of their Canadian or Mexican tours the US public will not choose to skip it based on a really sad use of the name. We have no idea if the AD even signed off on this without the use of the word ‘concert group’ in all of their promotional material, but we are highly doubtful. All I can say is that if the real company ever does come, do not hesitate to see them!
  4. Fraildove

    ABT 2018 La Bayadere

    Regarding schools: I will have to disagree on the assessment on what the top US schools are. The list mentioned previously was true mayb 10-15 years ago, but not now. CPYB produces decent enough dancers in what many teachers now view as a commercialized school. But in a style that attracts more Balanchine companies than classical ones. SAB has become so stylized that if the dancers are not accepted into NYCB or Miami, as well as occasionally SFB, they aren’t marketable, especially in Europe. Most company schools have started using SAB’s model in requiring or highly encouraging dancers to spend 1-2 years in the school so that the school can claim that they trained them, while in all actuality they were trained elsewhere. ABT hires and scouts all over. Schools network and bring in directors to look at their dancers their final year(s) in schools so that companies from all over can choose from the most talented pool of dancers. As a teacher, and former dancer, I would say at current, when looking at the number of graduates that receive jobs after graduation, the top schools have shifted and my top 3 pics currently would be Harid, a Houston, and PNB. SAB and SFB are still up there, but I do not believe my alma matter, Kirov, is anymore. Just my opinion!
  5. Fraildove

    The Bolshoi under Vaziev

    La Belle?!?! 😱😱😱😱
  6. Fraildove

    Is Alyona Kovalyova "Zvezda" material ??

    Yes, I did. Will edit the post now!
  7. Fraildove

    Is Alyona Kovalyova "Zvezda" material ??

    I haven’t commented on this thread, but have been following it since she was in the Prix de Lausanne and did not pass to finals. She has such a beautiful instrument for ballet and she is definitely unique. What worries me is that Vaziev is pushing her on to the stage in major roles way before she is ready. He did the same with Somova and it was a disaster when the Mariinsky went on tour. She was thrust forward for all of the international critics and they had a field day picking her apart because she was so underdeveloped. There are so many areas technically in which she is weak, hands (especially) and armsat the top of the list. Why he feels the need to push her in major roles, which almost all of you who have seen her have prefaced that her performances were not perfect although lovely? Part of the amazing art of ballet is starting in secondary roles while major ones are being coached behind the scenes meticulously so that when they are finally ready to put before the critics, the dancer has a loaded arsenal. It allows a dancer to grow artistically, make mistakes, and experiment when it doesn’t count so that they present a finished product when it does. In Somova’s case, so many were turned off by her earlier performances that they all out avoided her performances after she had changed coaches and addressed her technical and artistic issues. She lost a very large potential fan base because of being thrown to the wolves. Dancers do not cast themselves in roles (unless you are Zakharova of course 😂). She is young and hungry. And with loads of talent. But as mentioned up thread and even with video, even the prima’s themselves, Zakharova and Lopatkina were dancing secondary roles in order to really grow. And both were much more technically assured at the same age as Alyona is now. I truly hope that that she has a coach that will force her to address the things that might stand in the way of her reaching her full potential in the near future. I’m just afraid that having the same director and coach that a young Somova had that history might just repeat itself. I have shown her videos to my husband as well as several other former dancers and teachers, mostly all Russian, and they all have the same opinion that I hold. She was not ready for Etudes, Diamonds, Swan Lake, and to a slight lesser degree, Bayadere. But we all see just how much potential she has. I guess we can only watch and wait.
  8. Yes, most galas have a sponsor or impresario for the really large galas with big names. I was teaching ballet at the same time so my income was secure in that way. I always did several weeks of Nutcrackers, plus other full length ballets (which usually paid more), and maybe 3 or 4 galas. It was great supplemental income. I had insurance through my teaching, otherwise it would have been much harder.
  9. As far as freelancing, fees paid to artists performing in galas can range. I’ve never performed in a gala for less than $1500, plus travel and per dium, and I’ve ‘no name’ on a who’s who scale so to speak. And that is on the low end. And that was usually for two pas de deuxs. When you have a name established on an international scale like Masha does, the fees she commands can be quite a lot. And it is not the performing that keeps a dancer in top condition. It is class. And again, when you have a big name, finding a company or master to take class with daily is not difficult and is usually free. Not so for most free-lance dancers. When dancers tour with large full-length ballets is when most dancers get out of shape. They cannot train consistently, they loose rest time, they don’t have the conveniences of cooking and being at home etc. Also, it can be very hard to stay relevant as a freelance dancer if you have not already engrained yourself on an international scale. Males that are good partners can usually get freelance jobs by partnering students in school productions of Nutcracker and the like. But again, without being an actual ‘star’ paying for classes to keep yourself in peak condition can often times eat any earnings you make which will necessitate the need for a second job.
  10. Fraildove

    Ballone Choreography in a Variation

    The dream scene from Don quixote, where Cupid leads Don Q around (in Russian productions with little Cupid’s) with the dryads has many ballones.
  11. Fraildove

    Watching the Olympics

    Buddy, I couldn’t have said it better! I’ve been watching Medvedeva since she burst on the scene as a 16 year old and the first words that came to mind was ‘old, Russian soul’. She had the jumps in spades but always managed to integrate them in her performance, never jumping just to jump or dropping style or musicality while jumping. I don’t follow skating but she made such an enormous impression I did start keeping up with her and in all honesty she was really what motivated me to watch this year’s olympics. I was disheartened when she broke the bone in her foot in Nov, then livid at the thought that the Russian ban would keep her out of the olympics. Her letter to the IOC was incredibly heartfelt and passionate, way beyond what I hear from most 18 year olds! I do think she should have been scored higher in the free skate, and had she not switched her triple to the first half of the program she probably would have regardless. I don’t think her Anna Karenina program is the best one she has had although I loved it! I think it may have been a touch harder to relate to for many, especially those that don’t know the story (the horror 😱)! Zagitova was fun to watch although I hated the ‘tutu’ she wore for both. It looked too much like the Tutus my 4 year old students wear! I also felt that she could have done herself a huge favor with some ballet coaching for her Don Q. It shows that dressing up as a Ballerina does not one make. Just ask the teammate that needed no tutu to convey true balletic artistry on ice!
  12. Fraildove

    Joy Womack

    Not to mention that referring to professional dancers in US companies as ‘professional student’ isn’t going to endear her to many, even if they understand her point. It’s the disdain in her tone and wording. When ‘clearing up’ the 1st American in Bolshoi school she still fails to remember Michael Shannon who was there before they ever had an international division. And there were others taken into the Russian program before her. So maybe she needs to say the first in the Russian division after they started dividing! I was also taken aback when she claimed that she was more or less shocked when the reporter she spoke to actually reported her story. Because I always thought that you only spoke to the press if you didn’t want your story to be reported. Last thing, she still claims that she was taken into the Kremlin as a principal instead of as a first soloist and that it was laziness from the corps members and their complaints that caused the company to stop her from filming. My first question is why would she be taking class with the corps de ballet? Usually in Russian companies the soloists and Principals have class either together or with their own coach. As a former dancer, I highly doubt that it was the laziness that showed on video that caused the complaints of her fellow dancers. I suspect, considering that when I took daily class it was to condition my body and work on areas that needed to be worked on, that their complaints had to do with the privateness (excuse my new word) that most feel class should be and that if the knew they would be performing for an audience via Youtube then perhaps they would have chosen a different class. I would never have wanted an audience to see me at anything but my best and I could not work on things the way I would need to in a class of I knew that I had an audience. Even if she can and chooses to doesn’t mean her company should be expected to. There were so many places where she contradicted herself as well, like saying that she wanted to be anywhere but in the spotlight after the Bolshoi scandal and then saying she started putting videos on YouTube so that she could be heard??? The more she talks the less I believe her. She did make some good points about state funding for the arts, the responsibilities that teachers have to their students and that not everyone should become a teachers hit the mark. Then saying she wanted to become a lobbyist for state ballet funding told me again that she is very naieve or just really out of touch. ' I wish her luck in Korea. I’m not optimistic though that she will find herself in a terribly different situation than what she left, or that she will be any more successful there than she was at Bolshoi or Kremlin.
  13. Fraildove

    Which dancer do you most wish you'd seen live?

    Where to start... By that time her incredible jump was no longer there, but the softness of her preparation and landings when she did were effortless. She had more turnout than any dancer I’ve seen even now and oh my how she used it. In her adagio her extension was still flawless, with barely any shifting in sher hips or back when doing grand rond de jambe. Her ecarte derrière was could be so far back when she exaggerated, which was rarely, that it was nearly to arabesque without any opening of the hip. In 1st position her feet were beyond 180 degrees and her knees in plié were over her toes. It often left our class shaking our head in disbelief and wondering how we could ever live up to that. From the moment I met her I was struck by her gentleness, a perfect lady she was always. Very feminine and conservative but very wise and opinionated when she needed to be. I was lucky enough to have her as a coach for Aurora and I can recite nearly word for word her insights and corrections. I kept them in a notebook. She was very logical and wanted movement to mean something more than just dancing. Granted this is just how I saw her and interpreted her words and actione. I know of others that might disagree on her personality traits, but I doubt anyone would argue her elegance while demonstrating her class. And a very artistic class she taught!
  14. Fraildove

    Which dancer do you most wish you'd seen live?

    Kirkland and Farrell would be my top two, add to that Sizova (one of my teachers and if her performance was anything like her class demonstrations I can just imagine), Soloviev, and Ulanova I would be in heaven.
  15. Fraildove

    Gomes and ABT

    Aran grew a great deal and from standing next to him, I would guess at least 6’, maybe even 6’1. My husband is 5’11 and Aran was taller than him. It was one of the reasons his progress slowed as a teen. He had an enormous growth spurt that caused him to have to relearn where his center was as well as how to turn and jump given his new height. He has improved greatly and I hope he can finally reach the potential everyone saw in him as an 11 and 12 year old very petit young dancer. And such a nice person!