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Posts posted by drb

  1. In addition to the eight vids of Zakharova above, more of Paquita are just now being added, including Shipulina, who has been receiving great critical acclaim for this performance. Entering lexxrussia Paquita into YouTube will get you all the Zakharova plus those currently being added. [if you just enter lexxrussia you will get all those plus another 230 recent Bolshoi vids, but in chaotic order.]

  2. And in his final ballet review he went out in style, with a rave, a memory, and a pun(ch):

    ...[simkin's] effortless dancing had the glint of gold to it, and, matched by a delicious Sarah Lane, he showed the ability to make classic bravura stylistically joyous. Here were two gorgeous dancers, with Simkin brilliantly maintaining the ABT tradition of superb male dancing.

    An earlier part of that tradition was Julio Bocca, whose dancing and that of his partner, Cheryl Yeager, was one of the happiest memories I retain from Tharp's 1990 piece.

    Today, with a glittering cast led by Xiomara Reyes and Herman Cornejo, I am sure "Brief Fling" is no worse performed. Yet the simplistic classroom vocabulary and its power-driven choreography has lost much of its shock value. That, I suppose, is the danger of shock. Or schlock.

    How kind of Daniil and Sarah to give him this one, last, joy.

  3. Great dancers nowadays can dance Balanchine. But what of the dancers at the Suzanne Farrell Ballet? I'm almost embarrassed to say that critics regularly point out that they are not world-class artists. Yet their performances of Balanchine are generally well-received, to say the least. How do you explain that?

    Because her company has Balanchine "live", and "she" is forbidden to help NYCB's dancers.

  4. A nonclassical "athlete" Natalia Osipova

    What the hell is that supposed to mean?

    Hmmm.... good question! On the surface it might just be a perspective of the anti-Osipova faction (see posts in the Ismene Brown thread in writings on ballet), that for example speaks of her as "Kitri dancing Giselle"... But I think not, for the review is quite positive about her.

    Since the Izvestia review, 10 more have followed already. Most are very favorably disposed toward the ballet and to both Zakharova and Osipova. Tatiana Kuznetsov writing in Kommersant speaks of a true triumph of the new generation and calls Russian Seasons "a subtle psychological study of national character." She goes on to contrast "the heart-rending, expressive dancing of Natalia Osipova" with Svetlana Zakharova's "eloquent body and entire beauty of amorous weeping and almost religious cleanness of melodic dancing." She adds that "if pathos did not contradict the natural gift of Ratmansky, one would possibly say that Russian Seasons is the most patriotic and most piercing ballet in the history of the New Russia. Now, also, for the Bolshoi Theater, that is over."

    At any rate, one can see a video that focuses on Ms. Osipova's performance at the dress rehearsal. It is on rutube*, not youtube, and I needed to search it in Russian, so will just give the link:


    Osipova speaks, but is hard to hear her over the music, something about it being a big burden or effort for The Bolshoi to put on this ballet. When comparing her performance to that of the role's originator Sofiane Sylve, the dancing is as virtuosic, but Osipova is much more dramatic in her acting. This raises a question: how different must it be for dancers performing to vocal music when they understand the language? The same might be said for audiences viewing a ballet to vocal music when they understand the language.

    After reading all the reviews, the woman in Green is virtually ignored in Russia, while Jenifer Ringer, who created the role, was a huge part of the early American performances. Ratmansky also made a point of her selection and significance.

    *If you click the upper RHS icon you will get a quite hi-res full-screen picture. Perhaps because of this, it may be slow to load, and you may benefit by "pausing" until it has loaded. Osipova is in Red.

  5. The first review* of last night's premieres is in: by Svetlana Naborshchikova for Izvestia. The headline:

    The Clacques are Whole, and Cats are Alive: The Bolshoi's First Premieres of its 233rd Season.

    I will summarize, with some quotes. In explanation of the "Cats are Alive" the reviewer explains that at the 1847 Mariinsky premiere of Petipa's Paquita, Nikolai I rewarded the choreographer with a ruby ring with 18 diamonds; later, at its Moscow premiere, the audience rewarded him by throwing a dead cat onstage. (This time there was audience approval: no dead cats needed for throwing.) She said that Burlaka showed respect for leading ladies of the Bolshoi (compared to Ratmansky, who was often reproached for selecting others instead of the established stars), choosing them for the leading role and for the six soloist parts. But she felt the choice of Nadezhda Gracheva as lead was not justified, for reason of faulty technique, and that only Ekaterina Shipulina of the six star soloists was fully successful. Still she felt this was a good addition for The Bolshoi "if Burlaka can polish it up to diamond brilliance."

    Russian Seasons does not need polishing. It resembles the structures of wooden Russian architecture: parts without gaps are matched to each other, and the whole is impressive, ideally refined into the landscape provided by the stylish yellow-red-green design of Galina Solovyeva and music of Leonid Desyatnikov (originally written for violinist Gidon Kremer): [the music's] luster, elegance [combined] with originally rough material can be defined as a conflict of interest. Ratmansky went the same way, elegant classical dance combined with folk movement... however, instead of conflict of interest he created full harmony: the balance of the West with the "Russian"--with merriment to exhaustion and grief to rage--they were formed into order. Maybe so also the history of Russian soul, not likely to find its way to heaven...

    For the same reason the main character--the classical Prima Zakharova--turned out an organic marvel, mourning her husband, deceased in war. A nonclassical "athlete" Natalia Osipova without problems alternated domestic [Russian] excess with western restraint. All 12 dancers performed well.

    Claquers, who tired out throats for Paquita, were able to rest at Season's curtain. "Bravo!" Russian-European Ratmansky and his team, cried voices of the ordinary spectators.

    * http://www.izvestia.ru/culture/article3122615/

  6. Tonight Alexei Ratmansky's final program as AD premiered (on December 28th there will be a Farewell Gala for him). It began with the premiere of his successor Yuri Burlaka's reconstruction of the Grand Pas from Paquita (including many discoveries), followed by the company debut of his NYCB masterpiece Russian Seasons, and concluded with Balanchine's Symphony in C. Russia's betatvc gave a video preview based on two dress rehearsal performances. In the 3+ minute news program we first see Mr. Burlaka's work, then Mr. Ratmansky's. At 2'35" that is Natalia Osipova flying in, dressed in red.


    The text of the broadcast is printed on the page, so you can copy/paste into Google. Remarks by Russian Seasons composer Leonid Desyatnikov: "The only thing I did not really like is that between sections there are breaks because of applause... if the audience applauds, as if at a sporting event, it destroys the integrity of the perception of a work." To which the announcer responds "... judging from the enthusiastic audience behavior for the dress rehearsal, fears of the maestro are not in vain."

    Here is the casting listed by the Bolshoi, preceded with names of the ballet's NYCB role creators. Subsequent cast changes listed within parentheses:

    Yellow-orange (later white) Whelan/Evans: Zhakharova (Shipulina)/Merkuriev (Yachmennikov)

    Red Sylve (Krohn)/Ramasar: Osipova (Meskova)/Savin (Volchkov)

    Green Ringer (Rutherford)/J. Stafford: Shipulina (Kobakhidze)/Dmitrichenko (Vodopetov)

    Blue Dronova/Suozzi: Rebetskaya (Goryacheva)/Lantratov (Koryagin)

    Violet-purple A. Stafford/Henrickson: Krysanova (Alizade)/Tsvirko

    Magenta-burgundy Pazcoquin/Carmena: Nikulina (Stashkevich)/Lopatin (Matvakhov)

  7. I saw Ms. Somova in quite a few performances last Spring at City Center. They ranged from as bad as people say to very, very promising. When I entered Somova Terekhova into that obvious video place, there was an 8 part set of Tatiana Terekhova teaching Alina and partner Fadeyev Don Quixote. This looks like big changes are around the corner for Ms. Somova. They also seem like nice people. Yet it is strange that an unfinished artist is promoted before the remarkable pair Obraztsova and "Big Red" Kondaurova. But then, as mentioned many times elsewhere on BT, Part and Reichlen are yet to be principals. It isn't only in Russia.

  8. After all the excitement about ABT's new choreographer-in-residence and the announcement of his June Prokofiev premiere, perhaps it is time to anticipate Alexei Ratmansky's On the Dnieper. Prokofiev's 1932 40 minute ballet in two scenes (Opus 51) is programatic, with 12 segments. Four years later came his Romeo and Juliet, longer, with 52 segments. To my ear the earlier work "sounds" very similar to the latter, in orchestration and style.

    Its Paris Opera premiere by Serge Lifar was a flop, despite admiration for the score (by Stravinsky, among others). Lifar chose to ignore the scenario, treating it as an abstract suite of dances. The scenario:


    Scene 1: The Meeting

    Scene 1: Mime Scene

    Scene 1: Pas de deux

    Scene 1: Variation for the First Dancer

    Scene 2: Betrothal

    Scene 2: Bridegroom's Dance

    Scene 2: Bride's Dance

    Scene 2: Men's Dance

    Scene 2: The Fight

    Scene 2: Mime Scene


    ABT is apparently willing to give Mr. Ratmansky impressive support for his company debut, as signified by signing the husband and wife duo Semyon Pastukh (sets) and Galina Solovyeva (costumes). Mr. Pastukh won Golden Masks (Russia's Cultural "Oscar") for Semyon Kotko (Prokofiev's opera shown in New York in 2006 by the Opera of the Mariinsky Theater) and for Alexei Ratmansky's ballet The Bolt. It will certainly be interesting to see where, between strict narrative and the sublime subtlety of Russian Seasons, the choreographer places his new work.

    The Dnieper, a river in the Ukraine, attained a far different identity 11 years after the ballet's Lifar premiere. In late 1943 The Dnieper Line, on which Hitler had ordered his army to stand or die, was pierced by the Red Army. I wonder if this might somehow resonate in the new ballet?

  9. They are back! According to Ardani's press announcement (in Russian) they will dance in Eastern Russia and the Ukraine, November 11-25, 2008. The Kings are ABT's Hallberg and Carreno, NYCB's De Luz, and Bolshoi's Tsiskaridze and Gudanov. As an aside, the release states that Sir Anthony Dowell is coaching David Hallberg in Ashton's Dance of the Blessed Spirits

    There is a long segment of Hallberg, Carreno, De Luz and Tsiskaridze dancing Wheeldon's For Four on Russia's RuTube (NOT their YouTube):


    I hope that it is OK to post the RuTube link itself, since I could not arrive at the video searching in English. I found both the release and the link on the Russian Forum associated with the Bolshoi Theater. It would be great if someone who sees this could post about it!

  10. ...

    Forgive my ignorance but I don't see how it could possibly be lost. I am old enough to have seen it in its last ABT performances. Surely there are still enough people around who performed it.

    Also, again forgive my ignorance, why would it be such an expensive project? It can't possibly compare to the cost of some other projects (I'm thinking of that work in which Carmina Burana was coupled with another piece ...).

    I would love to see Tudor's R&J again. This City Center season was pretty sold out, as far as I could see. Perhaps there is an audience for it. I would love a longer City Center season for ABT, but that is a different topic.

    Agree, Vipa. But Joan Acocella (see Nov. 10 Links) did get some answers:

    ... One’s first thought on looking at this duet is: Why can’t A.B.T. revive the whole ballet? When I put that question to Kevin McKenzie, the company’s artistic director, he answered that he would love to. Not long after he took over the company, in 1992, he said, he hired someone to research the possibility of remounting the ballet. The report he got was that, while most of the choreography was recoverable (there is a lot of early film, and also notation, of the ballet), the cost of re-creating Berman’s opulent sets and costumes would be prohibitive—well over two million dollars today.
  11. Well, what if it isn't lost?

    Then, according to Mr. McKenzie's opening remarks it would be very expensive to remount. I suppose some risk/reward analysis would come into play. It was not particularly popular in its time, and has been replaced by a cash cow. On the other hand that was then, and now Tudor is seeming to be well-received.

    So, what if it isn't lost? Last Feb 8, at the post-performance discussion at the NYTB Tudor show there was a lot of talk about R + J. From the stage, not very encouraging at first, but many in audience seemed to know (or know of) this part, that part and so on, until a consensus seemed to develop this might really be recoverable, at least in major part. Now all these folk looked like experts, seemed trustworthy, appeared to know each other,... So maybe this thread is asking the wrong question. If everyone got together, perhaps NYTB is the place to support in an effort to bring it back. What I saw of Tudor there was as valuable as Tudor at ABT. And probably might cost them a penny on ABT's dollar. Even I. Even now. Could contribute to such a cause.

    OK, I'll go hide, don't want to be a party-pooper!

  12. One possibility is ABT, since they danced at the White House in 1962 for the 35th president, and President-elect Obama is the most inspirational leader since JFK.

    Another would be ABC, since the American Ballet Company danced at the White House for the current president, as noted (on Ballet talk) from the official White House announcement, and President-elect Obama has suggested he wants to have a politically inclusive administration.

    I do like the Chicago-association with the Joffrey, too.

  13. Some of the above names being unfamiliar, I checked this week's mailing from NYCB vs their on-site list of dancers.

    New since the mailing:

    Megan Johnson

    Lydia Wellington

    New enough to still lack site biographies, but on both lists:

    Darius Barnes

    Zachary Catazaro

    Cameron Dieck

    Russell Janzen

    Matthew Renko

    Joshua Thew

    No longer listed on site:

    Max van der Sterre





    Hopefully Adams, Bachman, Barker, Finlay from Rock's list will soon appear on-site.

  14. Friday, October 31, 2008

    The Tudor Gala

    There was a sign warning that there'd be no intermission in the hour-and-a-half program. Very strange decision, given the greying sector of ABT's audience... At the end, 105 minutes later, it was such a true tribute to Gillian Murphy--whose Hagar earned a Swan Lake-like triumph from a roaring crowd--that (at least from where I sat in the mid-mezzanine) the exit doors mostly remained closed for quite a long while!

    Films preceded each ballet, perhaps a good influence of Morphoses? The first dance was Continuo, staged by Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner. While Tudor cheats by using Pachelbel's Canon, this was a winning lyrical piece for three couples. And Mr. McKenzie showed too-long missing courage in giving us an all corps cast: Nicole Graniero/Daniel Mantei, Zhong-Jing Fang/Kenneth Easter (subbing for Hammoudi) and Katherine Williams/Gray Davis. They all seized the moment to impress. And what a dancer this Katherine Williams is! A blonde beauty with a wondrously expressive, flexible back. Jardin aux Lilas followed, but not quite what it should be, when Caroline/Her Lover (Kent/Stearns) seem less passionate than Husband/ex-Mistress (Zhurbin/Boone)... Xiomara Reyes and Gennadi Saveliev danced the bedroom PdD from the Tudor/Delius R + J. Back then I didn't like the whole ballet (had expected something like I'd seen the Bolshoi dance). But Xiomara really sold me on this! She definitely wasn't that other Juliet, but instead the fragile non-operatic one of Tudor. And so, when Romeo left, she stood aside the bed and did that little helpless foot-clicking hopeless hop, and onto the bed for that longing stretch to where her Romeo had gone. Mr. McKenzie just prior had told us that it would be hopelessly expensive to mount the whole ballet.

    After the novelty old-star turn of Judgment of Paris, Kathleen Moore, Martine van Hamel, Bonnie Mathis, Kevin McKenzie, Victor Barbee, came The Real Thing.

    The evening ended with Gillian Murphy's Hagar. A Pillar of Fire that made the point that ABT must not dump its Tudor rep. The sisters were Maria Bystrova, Gillian Murphy and Marian Butler. Marcelo Gomes, a master of villainy, was the exploitive neighbor, and David Hallberg was Hagar's dream-made-manifest. Who would have thought ABT's flashiest trickster (more than that, of course) would become THE great actress among its permanent principal dancers? Never a hint of histrionics, telling it all through Tudor's dance, one long riveting arc of power. The crowd must have made her think she'd just finished Odette-Odile. It takes a ballerina to save a choreographer. ABT here had one of each. Cherish them both.

  15. The big draw October 23, Thursday night, was the program's finale, Balanchine's Theme and Variations. Despite injury concerns voiced in these pages, Herman Cornejo did partner ABT's Mariinskette, Sarah Lane. In size and presentation, they are a special match. While he is now arguably the company's primo virtuoso, his younger partner is herself quickly developing into principal material. This night she wore her crown as if born to it. Ms. Lane was truly regal, not some acted hauteur, but at ease in it. She did not sell the role to us, no grinning or pushing, rather just the natural grace of being in Mr. B's steps. Her dance, beginning flanked by ballerinas on either side, built its steady spell to prepare us for the following duet. Much of the partnering went well, just one tiny foul up, until the very end. Then Mr. Cornejo could not quite get her up on his shoulder for the final pose, so that she had to kind of slide down, propped at his side on an angle. This may have well been the "injury part", for otherwise so much of his partnering seemed secure tonight.

    The program started with Antony Tudor's The Leaves are Fading, and while no lead can match the role's muse Gelsey Kirkland, Xiomara Reyes, partnered by Gennadi Saveliev, could have had more breadth and breath in her dancing, just, say, a wistful sigh... Still, there is much to love in the corps work in this ballet, and it was a mostly young group, principal Michele Wiles beaming in their midst. From my seat upstairs I could not ID the young woman partnered by Roman Zhurbin, but she was wonderful and I hope someone will tell me her name.

    In the middle was Jiri Kylian's Overgrown Path. I remember not liking this brooding ballet of a father's loss of his daughter (the composer Janacek's Olga, age 21, of a long and lingering disease) nearly three decades ago, performed by the choreographer's company. It seemed to offer no new movement ideas from the then young and richly creative Kylian. But when Kevin McKenzie took over ABT it was on his short list of works to put on. 15 years later he finally got his wish. And he did everything he could to make it succeed. A cast of stars (no need to relist as there's a massive review of it's pre-NYC perfomance by Marga on another BT thread). It seems that Hee Seo (always a joy in Tudor and, it now seems, in Tudor-like dances) danced in place of announced Misty Copeland. Olga, Gillian Murphy dressed in black, haunted the dance right from the beginning. Marcelo Gomes seemed the father-figure, roaming through memories of his girl's life. Julie Kent was especially moving, and nowhere more than in In Tears with Gennadi Saveliev and Jared Matthews, dancing the trio that leads to the work's finale. Here the grieving father finally faces the hardest memory, his daughter dies in his arms and vanishes into a black void in rear center stage. Janacek's music (the score is for solo piano) for this scene, titled the barn owl has not flown away, reaches Schumann-like depth. But as the father's daughter dies so doe his art. The ballet ends with grieving cast on stage, in silence.

    Kylian's assistant Roslyn Anderson has done a wonderful job preparing these dancers. They capture deep human feelings, and have given Kevin McKenzie a much deserved deeply moving performance of this work that he loves.

  16. While the Mariinsky Prima Ballerina does not find 35 (October 23) to be any special milestone, she granted Izvestia a particularly long interview with Svetlana Naborschikova that the paper titled Ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina: "The fate of former dancers - psychological death" I will summarize parts and quote others. Especially when she gets philosophical, i.e., almost always, I apologize for my inadequate translation.


    (Even if you don't read Russian it is worth the click to view an extensive (11) photo set.)

    After discussing upcoming events, including galas in the dancer's honor (she preferred not to discuss what she would dance, wanting the audience to be surprised), she began talking about what she would like to do in the future. "I want to dance modern ballets. They permit one to express the power of human experience..." She wants to be open to experimentation and finds that classical ballet performances require a rigid beauty; inside she finds a mass of unused energy.

    We all wear a holiness

    When asked how she felt about being called an icon of Russian ballet she becomes philosophical and finds that this applies to dancers more generally, that there is a hope, desire, even a prerequisite longing for a higher state. "We all wear a sainthood, it manifests in varying degrees within dancers, but this potential is placed in each of us." Perhaps people who speak in terms of icons are particularly sensitive to art and they are formulating a feeling they may have experienced during a performance. When asked whether living almost her entire artistic life this way is easy, she said that conforming to this high level is always difficult, doing this work with soul and body... "Choose the way. Do not deviate. The internal goal is always important... the perfect image coincides with my inner desires." But she cautions about basing goals on ideals, speaking of a simple human task of living and moving forward. She warns of idolizing creation, it can be like a disease when people blindly love someone or something, their actions aimed only at the loved subject, and she would not like to be like that, but instead respects the talent of every person, although it is possible to bow in admiration of someone.

    Asked for examples of artists to whom she bows in admiration she answers

    I can think of a lot of them. The composer Rodion Shchedrin. Yuri Bashmet. Mikhail Baryshnikov--not as a genius of dance, but as a man who continues his creative life, opening up the talents of others. I was in his New York arts center. Young directors and choreographers are freed to rehearse, perform. This left an indelible impression on me.

    There is then a long discussion of living in St. Petersburg. She was born in the Crimea and in her early years she found the city cold, with poverty, decay and terror--all this deepened by her loneliness away from parents while spending eight years at the ballet school. However the city's revival has changed that and now its beauty amazes her. She speaks of the city in terms of Peter. And still only feels like a guest in Peter's house. When Moscow is mentioned the interviewer recalls seeing her at the golden wedding celebration of Rodion Shchedrin and Maya Plisetskaya.

    For me, this union is unique. Two legends with the same fate. History is full of examples where one bright personality destroyed another. But in this case, two unique people were able to coexist with each other, inspire each other. The fact that I live at the same time with them, that I can communicate with them, hear the composer perform his works - is already happiness. My seat was next to where the prima Maya Mikhailovna sat, and next - Rodion Konstantinovich. An interesting experience, touching their human energy! To feel they are near. Whew - shoulder to shoulder ... I am convinced that Shchedrin is the absolutely brilliant contemporary Russian composer. Hard to understand, but he very deeply reflects the essence of today's Russian man. We are unable to define what we have, but the works of Shchedrin is it, and he does not need verbal explanations.

    Asked if she could imagine herself dancing onstage at 82, as Maya Plisetskaya just did, she answered that she had not yet thought about it, that she tries to live today. When then asked what is next for her, when the day comes to leave ballet:

    This is not an easy issue for me, and for many of my colleagues. Since the age of 10 years, our life - ballet. All is put into its service.. And when the term of the instrument, your trained body, ends the question arises: how to apply your professional skills next? What to do? Teachers are not required in great quantities. Profession of choreographer - a special talent. And in the end? Psychological death. I dreamed all my life to paint, design, to master foreign languages, but not far enough. I now no longer am of an age to desire to make a new profession. So, what are you - spent, but not nearly the material ready for recycling? [she then discusses this problem in other countries]. The tragedy of Retired Persons...

    This eventually leads to the rumors a while ago that she might lead the Mariinsky Ballet.

    Rumors are rumors. With regard to the specific facts, to date, I am prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theater. We have the theater's artistic director Valery Gergiev, and the acting head of the ballet troupe is Yuri Fateev. Now the question is who will become the ballet's artistic director. It is expected that this should be a choreographer. Certainly I do not have enough to be an artistic director: lack leadership impact on the level of artistic process. The questions are many - what to perform... the importance of acting for the dancers. They must act. Otherwise, ballet crumbles... It requires sense. [otherwise] it becomes like a sporting event, but without the inherent "sport" and the desire for victory. So why spend time on this spectacle? For example, I dance parts in known ballets. I am more interested in their emotional content, the drama of all the participants in the performance. To ensure that the art of ballet is of human concern, is part of the routine, day-to-day responsibilities of a company's leader. This is in addition to the primary goal - to create new productions, search for interesting choreographers ... In short, what constitutes artistic direction.

    When asked whether Valery Gergiev does not want to share authority, Ms. Lopatkina says "I don't have such an impression. He is searching. Finding an artistic director for a company with the scope of the Mariinsky Theater is a heavy task."

    The interview concludes with a "blitz" of short questions.

    Q: What are the weaknesses you're willing to forgive in yourself?

    A: Restlessness.

    Q: What quality do you most value in women?

    A: Kindness, wisdom, patience.

    Q: And in men?

    A: Generosity, responsibility.

    Q: Your idea of happiness?

    A: The love inside you and the love of you.

  17. Pravda reports:

    Diana Vishneva's apartment was robbed of valuables totaling 20,000,000 rubles* while she was on tour in America. Among the stolen items were two diamond watches, various jewelry, designer dresses by Dior and others...

    Vishneva maintains that the robbery was committed between 29 September and 21 October - it was during this time that the dancer was in America. After returning, she found the front door of her apartment open and the lock broken....

    English translation from Pravda:

    *$742,721 according to Yahoo's currency converter

  18. fyi, assuming the link works:


    there was an additional segment on TODAY this a.m. w/all three boys now cast of BILLY ELLIOT on Broadway, if i get a link of that i'll post it here as well.

    Here's the other segment, where all three do an extended song & dance, Electricity, from the show:


  19. It's a v-e-r-y slow loader, bart, but worth the wait to see a beautiful home page. However, it isn't so easy to read the linked names.

    I think the following link cuts through the two layers of pretty pictures to the article list:


    (there's an obvious click to the rest of the alphabet)

    And this should get you through to the Kobborg Sylphide piece, which is full of history and even shows how difficult a job Alexei Ratmansky had running the Bolshoi:


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