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Quinten

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About Quinten

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    fan, balletgoer
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  1. Quinten

    Yulia Stepanova

    😊
  2. Quinten

    Yulia Stepanova

    A better quality video of Nikiya's monologue:
  3. Quinten

    Yulia Stepanova

    It was a New Years gala at the Kremlin, if that helps.
  4. Quinten

    Yulia Stepanova

    Yulia danced La Bayadere last night with Egor Geraschenko (debut). I had some reservations about Geraschenko, having seen some clips of him looking kind of clumsy and unsure in partnering, but he did a great job. Big jumps, very masculine, strong yet sensitive to and caring of his Nikiya. They looked great together. This is potentially an excellent partnership and I hope management sees fit to cast them together in the future so they can further develop this partnership. The numerous any clips on Instagram and YouTube show that Yulia has refined and sharpened her characterization. In the first act, she is obviously joyful and in love, almost skipping about in her duet with Solor. She adores him, it's obvious! In the second act the three sections of the monologue are distinct in terms of emotion, pacing and emphasis, her body visibly alternating between aching despair and almost hysterical hope. The dance with the basket (some call it the happy dance) was crisp and explosively energetic, a woman over the moon with the mistaken belief that she is loved after all. The ensuing death scene, in contrast, is tragic beyond tears. The third act was at her usual high standard, the dance with scarf being perhaps the technical high point. It's such a pleasure to see her natural gentleness and femininity now emerging for all to experience. She IS the merciful, forgiving Nikiya. She has had some excellent coaching and has obviously worked hard on all aspects of her dancing, with wonderful results. Congratulations to her, to Egor and to the coaches!
  5. Quinten

    Bolshoi La Bayadere in Cinema January 2018

    Here is the full length trailer for Bolshoi's La Bayadere featuring Yulia Stepanova dancing Nikiya's monologue, or most of it. Oddly, Olga Smirnova narrates this clip. (Normally, the featured ballerina both dances and narrates the trailer.) Under the title it says, "voice of Olga Smirnova, Prima Ballerina". Yulia is not credited in the video, although she is the only person dancing for the entire 2:40 of the clip. It would have been easy to add "dancer Yulia Stepanova, Prima Ballerina". (There's a blurb on YouTube below the video that eventually clarifies who is dancing in the video, but in some of the other versions in other languages that explanation doesn't appear). I can't imagine why Bolshoi would not want to identify one its own prima ballerinas as the actual dancer in the clip. Or are they trying to fool the public into thinking it's Olga Smirnova they're seeing in the clip? Bizarre. Here's the clip:
  6. Quinten

    Bolshoi La Bayadere in Cinema January 2018

    @Buddy nobody’s suggesting she’s not a wonderful dancer.
  7. Quinten

    Bolshoi La Bayadere in Cinema January 2018

    Never having heard of Dmitri Kostov, I googled and soon descended into the Bolshoi version of "you can't make up this kind of stuff": During the trial of the men accused of the acid attack on Sergei Filin, as reported by the Guardian, "Filin's assistant, Dilyara Timergazina, also gave evidence on Tuesday. She denied Dmitrichenko's claims that Filin had had affairs with a number of ballerinas and handed out leading roles "through his bedsheets". In particular, Dmitrichenko accused Filin of having an affair with Olga Smirnova, a star ballerina at the Bolshoi who accompanied him to a theatre performance on the night of the attack. Timergazina said she was certain that Filin was not having an affair with Smirnova, who is also her daughter-in-law." https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/nov/12/bolshoi-theatre-acid-attack-sergei-filin?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487 This testimony cleared Olga's name, but reveals that Timergazina, the mother of Smirnova's husband Dmitri Kostov, was working for Filin at the time of the acid attack, and that Dmitrichenko, among others, perceived favoritism towards Smirnova. Dmitrichenko thought the perceived favoritism was due to sexual favors, but according to the mother-in-law, it was not. Maybe Dmitrichenko was completely wrong, that there was no undue favoritism because after all Filin brought Olga to the Bolshoi and why wouldn't he provide her the best opportunities and best press? But it's also possible that Olga's opportunities/press were enhanced by her mother-in-law's proximity to the AD. Based on common experience, know it can be very helpful to have a family members positioned near levers of power, but in the case of Smirnova we'll probably never know for sure, either way.
  8. Quinten

    Bolshoi La Bayadere in Cinema January 2018

    Marketing through traditional and social media unfortunately rules virtually everything in the public sphere these days, from politics to art. Some of it is naturally generated by public interest in personalities, to which those personalities respond as individuals in seemingly innocuous Facebook and Instagram-type postings. This is basically how Stepanova utilizes social media. (Some of her fans over the years have engaged in more aggressive promotion with a profoundly negative effect on her image.) On Instagram she is @yuliastepanova_bt where she posts both ballet and non-ballet related images and responds to fan posts in her own words, personally thanking/responding to each person who comments. Stepanova apparently has no apparatus at this time for enhancing her traditional media image, and her positive English language press seems to come from writers unconnected with her in any way (eg Bachtrack and Beckmesser's Quill). Smirnova, in contrast, has a media operation that places positive mentions, reviews and photos in print/online publications (as described in a previous post) and creates carefully crafted social media posts. Her Instagram presence @leka.spb.ballet is tightly controlled, has few non-ballet posts and does not seem to be in her own voice for the most part. (In a couple of recent posts she seems to be moving towards a more informal approach, a clever thing to do). In my opinion the Smirnova "phenomenon" (which is not about her achievement as a dancer though supported by it) is due in large part to her (or her management's) understanding of media and her early (in her career) adoption of a media strategy that has made her seem the inevitable successor to Zakharova. Divas throughout history (eg Callas, Pavlova, Sarah Bernhardt) have achieved that status through knowing how to project an image and work the press. Modern media makes it possible for amateurs to compete for public attention, but those who use it with professional skill wind up as the winners, at least in the short run.
  9. Quinten

    Bolshoi La Bayadere in Cinema January 2018

    You're right of course, Drew. I don't think I said that Olga was not dedicated to her art, which obviously she is, but rather that her drive to become assoluta is primary, perhaps even more important to her than dancing. While Stepanova is also driven, seeking excellence at great cost, she has said she doesn't want to be a star, she just wants to dance. It's a matter of priorities. That's the distinction I was trying to make. I do think it's sad that she was not given the Bayadere broadcast, or the lead in any broadcast since she joined the company in 2015. (Her largest role was Lilac Fairy). All the other primas have been broadcast in lead roles -- this was her long-awaited chance and luck was not with her. I also think it's sad that she was cast only once in December, as a last minute replacement for Zakharova in Carmen, graciously helping Belyakov with his hastily prepared debut. Most of her performances this year have not been on the Bolshoi stage, but on tour (China, Japan, Korea, Turkey or in privately arranged appearances (London Swan Lake, Dortmund, Novosibirsk SL, Israel Bayadere). It's sad that Bolshoi is putting on fewer performances of the classics in which she excels. Maybe not a true "hard luck case" because she is after all a Bolshoi prima with all the perks, but still, for a woman who only wants to dance and seems to love her home stage, pretty sad.
  10. Quinten

    Bolshoi La Bayadere in Cinema January 2018

    @MadameP your points are well taken. I think I should have used the term "media operation" rather than "claque", because of course Olga has no need of an in-theatre claque. And I'm definitely not saying that Olga personally directs all the actions taken by her media operation, which would include not only her management but also free lancers. These days, an effective media operation is essential to success, and Olga's is very successful both outside and inside the Bolshoi. Many of Bolshoi's promotional materials including the Bolshoi Theatre Magazine Online https://www.bolshoi.ru/upload/medialibrary/bbb/bbbe9d446576cd9b1616335011c282f3.pdf and the English language Bolshoi News http://bolshoinews.com/images/Newsletter/2018_2019/issue03.pdf feature photos of Olga and reports of her Bolshoi performances and international engagements. The reports are somewhat slanted in her favor: for example, the report of the Korea SL tour last summer mentions only Smirnova, leaving out Stepanova and Kovaleva, who were also there. Other dancers including Lantratov, Zakharova, Kovaleva, etc. are prominently represented in these publications. In contrast, Yulia is rarely mentioned, perhaps in a cast or birthday listing, and I have yet to see a photograph of her, which is odd considering how photogenic she is. The foreign press is kinder to her. This lack of coverage in the Moscow press may reflect the fact that Yulia has not had an effective media team more than anything else and this is impacting her ability to convey the image of a prima ballerina and to garner the roles she deserves. It's too bad that sheer talent and ability are not enough to prevail against or perhaps even survive a colleague's successful media campaign. It would be nice if they could give her some room.
  11. Quinten

    Bolshoi La Bayadere in Cinema January 2018

    LOL like Bolshoi never casts dancers who aren't actually that good. Stepanova would be a refreshing change, an artist who can actually do the steps.
  12. Quinten

    Bolshoi La Bayadere in Cinema January 2018

    Both ballerinas are equipped for the role. Ballet lovers may prefer one over the other or find both equally pleasing. However, significant differences between them have produced this head scratching replacement. One ballerina is known to be extremely ambitious, very well connected and supported by a claque on social media and irl apparently willing to forward her career by any means. The other ballerina, far more humble and dedicated to her art for sake of the art, is only now developing a fan base in Moscow after a rough start not of her own doing, but has a passionate international following. The former will undoubtedly achieve her goal of assoluta of the Bolshoi but it is the latter who will find her way into the hearts of people all over the world. What quality one lacks the other provides. Both ballerinas can share that big stage without one destroying the other if the Bolshoi exerts firm control to treat both fairly.
  13. Quinten

    Bolshoi La Bayadere in Cinema January 2018

    The published casting confirms what Smirnova preemptively recorded on her website, that she will dance Nikiya on the broadcast. Interestingly, her Solor will be Artemy Belyakov and Gamzatti will be danced by Olga Marchenkova. Here are some interesting facts: In 2016, 2017 and 2018, Olga has danced Nikiya on the BT stage 6 times. Her Solor has been Semyon Chudin 5 times (the 6th was Tissi) and she has never danced this role with Belyakov. During these same years, Yulia danced the role 6 times. She debuted in the Belyakov/Marchenkova combination and repeated that once, had two outings with Lantratov and two with Lobukhin. Smirnova rarely dances with anybody but Chudin, especially in the classics, so why is Smirnova dancing with Belyakov on the broadcast, and not Chudin? Chudin is healthy and dancing, so it's not that he's unavailable. In my opinion, it is because the cast for the broadcast at first replicated earlier Stepanova/Belyakov/Marchenkova casting. Smirnova was having none of that, clearly. The powers that be couldn't change the entire cast, or perhaps had promised Belyakov he could do it, so instead they booted Stepanova off. In virtually every ballet company politics impacts casting, and that's what happened here. Here's a clip of what we will be missing in the Shadows scene (the entire video is worth viewing not only for Stepanova's dancing but also the great Bolshoi corps and orchestra):
  14. Quinten

    Bolshoi La Bayadere in Cinema January 2018

    I'll let the ballerina speak for herself, in dance.
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