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  1. Not all of her casting wishes were met by the Royal Ballet management. She had to work with what she had at her disposal. I hope this is not addressed at me, as I never said (or believed) anything like that. I didn't say anything at all about the recent Berlin "Bayadère". Above I responded to the unfounded claim that the Stepanov notation "proved that Marius Petipa's choreography was very musical". It could not prove it do to its intrinsic limitations, apart from the fact that many numbers are, simply, partly notated or had not been notated at all. Moreover, notation of some numbers is ambiguous.
  2. If "he choreographed on the melody" (whatever this is supposed to mean) is a proof of "Petipa's choreography was very musical", then every choreographer must be similarly considered "very musical". Notated sheets in the Harvard collection can hardly provide a proof of it due to the nature of the notation. I am not even alluding to the fact that the actual sheets are often partially notated. We are short of 24, if one wants to be factually correct, because, ideally, there should be 48 of "ombres"; this wasn't Makarova's choice, however, this was dictated by the necessity. Royal Ballet is a surprisingly small company, it doesn't have even 32 competent corps de ballet danseuses.
  3. "Petipa's musicality" meant as a historical reality or as a balletomane's fantasy? Are you aware that "musicality" was not considered by his near-contemporaries like Lopukhov, whose direct descendant was Balanchine, to be one of the strong sides of Marius Petipa's choreography?
  4. This recording is not The fact Makarova coached doesn't mean she was happy with the result. I don't want to go into the technical details to harm the dancer but whoever had the idea to post this recording on the internet made more harm than good to her and didn't help the reputation of the company either. Unfortunately the press/publicity departments of even the biggest companies often employ people who have little or no professional knowledge of ballet.
  5. I agree with cubanmiamiboy, it was "obvious" to anybody who had the slightest knowledge of the company and Balanchine's devotion to his Muses. If during the Romantic period ballet placed Womanhood at its centre, then in Twentieth Century it was Balanchine who continued this worshipful attitude to feminity expressed through movement and gesture.
  6. Laurent

    Maria Khoreva

    If Nagahisa, you feel, is “vastly inferior", then what to say about Lukina? She must then feel hopeless. Yet seeing so much of Khoreva, and also seeing very tentative recent performances by Lukina, I still must say that Lukina's artistry, if not her technique, is colossal compared not only to Khoreva but, in fact, to the majority of active dancers today. With Lukina I have an immediate feeling that I am in presence of High Art, with Khoreva (and she has her moments of high artistry), I don't have that feeling, in general. In fact, and I said that elsewhere, none of the "magnificent four”, who graduated from Academy Vaganova this year, artistically seems to be as compelling as, for example, Khiteeva, or, Nastia Smirnova, who may not have made that much of an impression in the Vaganova Prix, and there are some anatomical problems that may be affecting her future career, yet, when she is on the floor, she radiates. Compared to what I saw in June, it seems Khoreva made the greatest progress of the four I mentioned, she has had many weeks of high level coaching the other three hadn't. This is why Nuykina, which was as impressive and possibly more interesting in the future, looked rather pale compared to Khoreva, in the Suite en blanc that was broadcast. My view, from the perspective of Paris, on the Suite en blanc that we saw, is that the choreographic conventions of Lifar, with their different phrasing and articulation, feel rather awkward to Vaganova trained students, and there was no one who would explain and correct certain things, and made sure that those things are implemented (in spite of Maina Gielgud being there). Thus, I was more impressed by natural movement and gestures of Khiteeva in her Flora variation, than by any of the girl soloists of Suite en blanc.
  7. Laurent

    Maria Khoreva

    I am very fond of Khoreva, but I think Nagahisa possesses artistry to a much higher degree. "Manufacturing" Khoreva's career by means of the social media aggressive presence and promotion, I am afraid, will backfire, and I am not talking about petty resentment some may feel, I am talking about the young danseuse's artistic development. This whole attitude of premeditated, well-planned, "shaping" every aspect of you, from your own body being being literally moulded to the "optimal" shape in every limb, to daily "shaping" one's image in the media, I feel increasingly uneasy about it. Manufacturing a dancer like we manufacture "genetically modified food"? To have an optimal look, shape and taste? Is this the way of the future for manufacturing the most successful dancers? I hope not.
  8. Laurent

    Maria Khoreva

    Two (out of four) assertions in this single sentence are false. So much for relying on "Women's fitness" in ballet matters.
  9. https://library.harvard.edu/events/step-back-seeing-ballets-future-past If the previous was not very well informed, this is an embarrassing blunder.
  10. "A symposium shedding new light on Petipa's formative years in France?" The author may not be aware that Marius Petipa was not formed in France, his ballet education took place in Belgium, his career at Bordeaux was short and undistinguished to the point that he later himself wanted "not to remember it" at all. It was only in Madrid that he made some impression and was given an opportunity to partner a distinguished dancer (Marie Guy-Stéphan). Still, Madrid was then ballet backwater (today it is a ballet desert).
  11. Laurent

    Nina Kaptsova

    She "wasn't demoted to soloist", she was retired. Bolchoï, like Opéra national de Paris, is a state institution. In Russia the retirement age for dancers is 38, for the dancers of the Russian Imperial Theatres it was 36 (the mandatory 20-year service period was counted for the élèves of the Imperial Ballet School from the age of 16), and it was quite rigorously observed. The principal who retired from service could continue appearing on stage at the theatre where she "served" for 20 years, under contract. Otherwise she was free to travel and make as many guest appearances as she pleased.
  12. Laurent

    Marcos Morau's Carmen

    This is what you will see now in many, perhaps most, places: embarrassingly inept choreography, shallow provocations, vulgarity of every kind, are "met with applause and cheers". This is what you will see now happening in the venerable interiors of Palais Garnier in Paris. I am afraid a lot more of this is ahead of us. Speaking up about this becomes almost an act of courage.
  13. Laurent

    Yulia Stepanova

    Our perception has a tendency to depend on what kind of attitude do we come with. If one believes "I am not going to like it", one usually doesn't. For this reason, if I decide to see a production, I leave all my preconceptions and aversions aside. This is how a professional critic (in theory) approaches a piece he is going to report on. If he is unable to, he should refrain from writing about it. Personally, I do not care much about the 1-st Scene, I don't know a single production today that would do justice to it. The scenery in the remaining three scenes of Grigorovitch's production I find satisfactory, and in the swan scenes even quite intriguing. I am at a loss when I hear complaints about the decorations or the costumes from the people who in 9 out of 10 ballets they attend, they are presented with mostly bare stage, sometimes enlivened by some ugly simplistic shapes. These are the realities of the modern Western stage design, which is today in the hands of people with no culture, no taste, no knowledge of the past, for whom the canons of classical harmony must feel like the language of ancient inscriptions of which they have zero comprehension and no regard for.
  14. Laurent

    Yulia Stepanova

    Grigorovitch's second version of Swan Lake is remarkably cohesive: Odette is certainly not an "illusion", it personifies the ideal of Purity and Beauty, spiritual and bodily, something that Prince is longing for and not finding in the real world surrounding him. Thus he rejects the real and devotes his soul to the ideal met in his dreams, the ideal that is, as it often happens, oppressed by the the Evil. The Evil Spirit cannot stand souls purified and uplifted by Purity and Beauty, thus he sets up Prince's downfall: he arrives in disguise to the Palace with Odile, whose purpose is to make Prince believe she is his dream materialized while leading him astray. For this reason, an aggressively "sexy", "vampish", or vulgar, Odile, which is unfortunately very common to see, is a contradiction. In the tragic aftermath of Prince's involuntary betrayal, the long lyrical sequence danced by the swans, before the arrival of heart-broken Odette, is an intermède that doesn't propagate the line of dramatic development. In view of this Grigorovitch's decision to omit it is logical. I can't see how you reached your conclusion that Grigorovitch "seems much more interested in Siegfried's relationship to the evil genius than to Odette". Siegfried has no more relationship to the Evil Genius in Grigorovitch's version than a chevalier of medieval romance has to a dragon he fights against. I don't share your other view either, to the effect that it is "an uphill battle for any ballerina, even the finest, to create a a truly profoundly moving Odette/Odile". Two years ago I saw 25 Swan Lakes within less than 12 months, in various redactions. The one Odette/Odile that moved me profoundly, more than any other (most didn't move at all, to be honest, some were empty nad off-putting), was, actually, dancing Grigorovitch's version (November 2016 at Bolchoï). Another strong point of Grigorovitch's version is a sequence of national dances, it is a departure from the custom but in the sprit that Marius Petipa might have had approved. The national dances in the Noureev's Paris version are weak, for example, as they are in nearly all versions produced in the West.
  15. Laurent

    Svetlana Zakharova

    A Russian colleague of mine told me that Svetlana Zakharova, answering a question in a recent interview why she was absent from social media, said that when the social media appeared this was interesting, it provided an opportunity to the artist to communicate directly with all. However, social media gave also an opportunity to certain individuals to write bad things. Myself I can add, that it really doesn't matter whether there is any reason or not, the most sublime performance can be reviled, few people are competent to understand whether there is any truth in it. https://ru.calameo.com/read/005666085c46995869b79