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Turandot

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About Turandot

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    fan, former student
  • City**
    Los Angeles
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    California
  1. Used to be a Misty Copeland fan when I saw her in The Firebird. But her work in classical repertoire is subpar for someone with prima ballerina aspirations. Copeland's artistic merits are not great enough to overcome deficiencies in technique. She is not in that league of dancers whose artistry rises above weakness in certain minor aspect of technique. Every prima ballerina has weakness, singular not plural, and yet the individual artistry not only compensates but rises above it. In fact these ballerinas are preferable to watch than technically- outstanding automatrons doing the steps perfectly but devoid of essence of dance. Copeland is both technically and artistically unfinished even at this stage in her career. I do not fault dancers who self-promote in social media. Ballet needs all the help it can garner today in order to appeal to bigger audience. I do however take issues with overinflating one's own background and/ or capabilities. But Copeland is not the only one doing this, though she may be in my view the most egregious example. Simkin bills himself as principal dancer but is his CV really principal caliber? Copeland's publicity machine successfully made her the most famous American ballerina today in the minds of the public. She is the ballet equivalent of Andrea Bocelli or Katherine Jenkins. She is the epitome of classical ballerina the same way that Bocelli and Jenkins are archetype tenor and soprano respectively. Palatable and fine for public consumption on a shallow level, but to seasoned fans and professionals they are not representative of the art form at its most essential and definitive. Hopefully a segment of Copeland's fans will take the time to learn further about ballet as serious art form, instead of being cheerleaders for a narrative-driven story of a ballet personality. Ballet personality is when the dancer's personal narrative highjacks the actual dancer narrative i.e. Anastasia Volochkova on the Russian side of things. Fame and personality subjugate the dance art, what's left is a shallow shell of what was once promising.
  2. Novikova and Obraztsova are very different types of dancers in my view, only similarity is that both 5'4" and under dancers dance BIG which is a good thing. Novikova almost two inches taller than Obraztsova, I think Novikova is Vishneva's height. Novikova dances in a more sleek, gymnastics emphasis than Obraztsova's softer, more academic yet dramatic style. There's nothing wrong with Obraztsova leaving for a company with an Artistic Director who appreciates her talents more so than Mariinsky. Novikova could have done the same in order to dance more roles if she had wanted to. Both have great technique but with different kinds of artistry and presence, but I think Obraztsova excels in dramatic roles like Juiet and also Romantic roles like Sylphide much more than Novikova. Novikova is brilliant in her recent foray into modern ballets such as Le Parc, absolutely fantastic. Both are great Auroras but it really depends again on what type of Aurora fits your taste. In this video I do not like Novikova's tendency to employ extensions as a way to phrase passages in classical ballets, it's predictable and not in Aurora's character. https://youtu.be/_Y0ROuf04U0?t=1m57s Just for comparison, here is the "softer" Obraztsova in the atrocious Bolshoi production. https://youtu.be/Gm41MFu5VOM
  3. Opinions are varied in Swan Lake. But the more acceptable opinion today is the tall and very thin ballerina as Odette/ Odile. That reflects unnecessary rigidity to some like me. I am glad Bolshoi does not seem to be as rigid as Mariinsky Ballet. You say you prefer swan like port de bras, however that is defined, and also long wing-like arms as prerequisites. I certainly don't think your preference incorrect. Certain star ballerinas are not to my liking but that's just due to personal tastes. I think Zakharova has a tendency of dancing every role in the same Zakharova way. For this reason I will skip her Bolshoi Swan Lake in the tour. The same predictable extensions often at expense of phrasing even though she is an absolutely beautiful dancer with gorgeous technique. Since Ms. Obraztsova was brought up for criticism by you, she is obviously a dancer you dislike enough to repeat the opinion that every role she dances is basically Juliet. But you don't offer anything to explain why, because from what I've seen this is not true. Not arguing about her, it's about sharing reasons for having certain views. I think the Trocks would take it as compliment that their Odette is referred to as Bird Queen. Where in my post did I compare Lopatkina, Tereshkina, and Zakharova to the Trocks? Long, wing-like arms flapping meaninglessly is what some long limbed ballerinas like Ms. Skorik take to extreme. That's what I was trying to get across. My bad.
  4. Joseph Gorak deserves a promotion and more roles in my opinion. Gemma Bond is seemingly a lifer in the corps and too much time may have passed for her to climb the soloist ladder.
  5. Quite interesting indeed. Though to be fair, Hallberg has earned goodwill for his years with ABT. I believe he joined in 2000. Natalia Osipova never gave ABT the impression that she was committed to the company on full time basis when she joined since she was splitting time between two companies from the beginning. Also both ABT and Mikhailovsky were using Osipova to sell tickets. With Hallberg I don't see the same thing. On top of this, Hallberg's case differs in that he had years with ABT before splitting time with Bolshoi. I also have a hunch that ABT may like Hallberg being associated with Bolshoi plus the prestige that comes with it by proxy to ABT. Kevin McKenzie likes Russian dancers after all.
  6. Also I forgot to point out, Naomikage, that I disagree with your opinion about great Odette/ Odiles be mainly dependent on how much physically they resemble a bird. Margot Fonteyn was a most wonderful Odette/ Odile because she was able to convey a story with her regal styling not because her limbs approached crane-like, avian proportions. If it's an Odette trying to do imitation of a bird queen, then I will go watch the Trocks.
  7. Naomikage, yes I have seen the Bolshoi version of Swan Lake, five times to be precise. In my over thirty years of ballet experience both as serious student to regular attendance of shows mainly here in New York, I find the Grigorovich version to be the least inspired. The lack of mime scenes while emphasizing on the most bombastic stylings typical of Grigorovich are what made this version a no go for me. An extremely long limbed and very, very thin ballerina does have the advantage of carving out certain illusions on the stage in certain roles better. But that is by nature of their physical gifts. This does not mean however that a classically proportioned and petite ballerina is unable to give same illusion of fluidity or generosity in movement. You can have a tall and thin ballerina with limbs all over the place and have no natural sense of actual dance, like Oxana Skorik even with all the so called advantages in physique she has. How a ballerina moves as a dancer, the quality of her movements, use of rhythm and music in phrasing, ability to shape a character, charisma, etc..are not restrictive as long as she has classical proportions.
  8. Judging from videos I liked Miss Obraztsova very much in Swan Lake so my opinion is different from yours. Cojocaru is another petite Odette/ Odile. Cojocaru has similar, petite build and proportions most naturally suited to Aurora, Juliet, and Giselle. It is unusual today to see petite Odette/ Odiles but Cojocaru, if we are judging by videos on youtube, was great in my opinion in both roles from the short clips we see. It is also a modern phenomenon that Odette/ Odiles are tall, very thin, and longer limbed than classical proportions. Bolshoi lets Maria Alexandrova dance it and she was not your typical wispy Odette/Odile again judging by videos. Not as big in build as Sara Mearns ( I love Sara btw ) but definitely not thin by Russian standards it seems. There is nothing wrong with Odette/ Odile who is not rail thin too. My point is, a ballerina should not be denied the ballet solely due to "short limbs" as you say which is also up for debate in the case of Obraztsova, Cojocaru and others. Perhaps short as compared to the Polina Senionovas of the world. I would agree to that if that is what you mean. What I want to see in Swan Lake is whether the ballerina can tell a story or at least give a great take on even just one of the dual roles.
  9. Forgive me if this question has been addressed elsewhere in related threads. But my question is this, why was it considered okay for Bolshoi Ballet dancers to not attend regular class? In the links above, Dmitrichenko rebelled against Filin making class attendance a must. For those who do not attend, Mr. Filin wished to impose fines. Dmitrichenko was particularly incensed about this rule. I thought major companies such as NYCB and others all have stipulations about class attendance, mandatory and what is excusable, spelled out in contracts. I am very surprised that a company like the Bolshoi did not have such requirement. If dancers there were used to such laxity, no wonder many supported Mr. Dmitrichenko fighting for their so-called rights.
  10. My impression of Womack trying to come across as a forgiving person stems from two things. First, she insists that she will not divulge the identity of the coach who mentioned the $10k bribe, because she still respects this coach. Womack seems to be portraying herself as a loyal person in that regard. She wants to somehow come across as a loyal person even as she, in a disloyal way, accuses Bolshoi staff of serious crimes. This type of behavior fits the definition of passive-aggressiveness. Being a concerned whistleblower means you should be ready to provide evidence on record. There is no half hearted way of being the whistleblower unless the real intent is not to serve warning to others, but to gain sympathy and publicity for your own plight. I also think it is funny that there are now two famous American so-called whistleblowers taking up residence in Russia. Snowden and Womack.
  11. I have very little sympathy for Joy Womack on this matter. Once she makes a serious accusation against the Bolshoi, then she should be prepared to follow through with it completely. She is trying to come across as both a forgiving person AND a pure victim in her media blitz. Womack comes across as passive-aggressive. If she had wanted to make her claims in such non-specific ways then she should have made them anonymously. That would not have bothered me as much as the self-serving way she is going about doing it. What gives Womack, or any professional of any profession for that matter, the idea that you can just make a blanket accusation against your ex-employers and expect to walk away without blowback? Highly unprofessional and quite illegal depending on severity of accusations. For instance, what if it was a disgruntled, young surgeon at a world-renowned hospital, and she decides to quit or was fired from the hospital. Upon leaving, she publicly accuses the hospital team of surgeons of personally taking bribes from wealthy patients. But she refuses to give names of those unethical surgeons. There isn't a public relations director who wouldn't be threatening the ex- surgeon with lawsuits unless she provides specifics through official and/ or legal means. Fact is, Bolshoi is a world-renowned company and one which is undergoing a hit to its brand. Maybe due to Bolshoi's diminished reputation as a workplace, Womack feels she can get away with trashing its reputation further on her way out? I do not understand why dancers or even young dancers such as Womack, should be excused from conducting themselves in professional manners. Just because they are dancers? Dancers are like other employees of big corporations or well-known brand names. If they choose to bring bad publicity to the brand, then they should be able to back their claims up. Otherwise they should expect to be challenged on their reasons for trying to damage the reputation of their former employer. Womack tries too hard to become a sensation overnight. There is a recent trend of young dancers who haven't done much of anything but are already more famous than actual well-reviewed professionals. Many promote themselves on youtube, tumblr, and Facebook in distasteful ways, such as proclaiming or have others proclaim them to be the greatest of whatever or what-not. These girls are often still in school or just out of school, Womack certainly stands out in this regard, as does the Russian girl Xenia Zhiganshina and maybe Keenan Kampa to a slighter degree. It is not like they are already well-regarded soloist dancers trying to connect with fans by posting updates on their season and shows. Actually come to think of it, I already knew of Womack before watching her dance via videos on youtube, and that's through her other social media promotions. She has promoted herself as THE American at the Bolshoi Ballet for so long. Blaming the Bolshoi for her lack of advancement there may be the only way she has to save face, for not becoming a failure in the eyes of her many followers or fans.
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