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  1. As far as I know, Drew, she's danced this once before. As usual I think that she's absolutely charming. Nikita Korneyev is very fine as well.
  2. Leah, I really don't. It's possible that since the site is not completely updated (Corps de Ballet not listed, for instance) that it's hopefully just an oversight. Also the new listings are just for this season. Could I offer one more thought about Maria Iliushkina ? Beyond her ‘fairy-like’ , perhaps child-like, personality is much technical prowess and beauty. This I can understand the sharp eye of Ballet Artistic Director Yuri Fateyev recognising and supporting. Her ‘fairy-like’/child-like feature is not of the ordinary. I’m very glad that the Theater and the public seem to be embracing this as well.
  3. "it seems a very good sign" indeed, Drew. I find that she has many exceptional qualities and they aren't all necessarily immediately apparent. Sometimes folks seem to pick up on them one thing at a time and do get enthusiastically supportive. I'm with them.
  4. She’s back ! Odette/Odile (Swan Lake) — May 1. (again with Nikita Korneyev) https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/playbill/2020/5/1/1_1930 The Mariinsky’s List of Dancers is slowly being updated. Coryphees, of which Maria Iliushkina is still a member, are now on the Soloist page (Corps de Ballet, for the moment, isn’t listed). The future appearances of Coryphees are also given (for the first time?) on each artist’s page. Here’s her’s (look under her photo). https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/company/ballet/soloists/coryphees/coryphees_woman/iliushkina1
  5. Most of the casting has now been completed. To get completions or updates go here and then click on the particular work. I’ll try to make changes and additions to the list above. https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/festivals/fest2019_2020/new8 Andrei Yermakov will be partnering Olga Smirnova in Giselle. Ekaterina Kondaurova and Viktoria Tereshkina will be featured in An Evening with Vladimir Shklyarov. The program and casting for A Creative Workshop of Young Choreographers is here. https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/playbill/2020/3/17/2_1930
  6. I've added some more casting above to the closing evening of the Festival, March 22. It would appear that Alina Somova will be dancing the beautiful duet from George Balanchine's Symphony in C. This could certainly be another Festival highlight. Also Yekaterina Osmolkina and Renata Shakirova should be excellent.
  7. The rest of the Festival program has been posted today. This is the entire program. Newly announced, opening night and the second to last evening will be devoted to works by Alexei Ratmansky. The two evenings will be slightly different. Both will include PIERROT LUNAIRE and CONCERTO DSCH. The second evening will be a premier, SEVEN SONATAS (Music by Domenico Scarlatti), replacing three previously created duets. The probable highlights remain Olga Smirnova “Giselle,” Diana Vishneva “Anna Karenina,” Oxana Skorik “Swan Lake” and Alina Somova “La Bayadere” with the addition of Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov the closing evening and Diana Vishneva and Vladislav Lantratov in Alexei Ratmansky’s Duet from the ballet LOST ILLUSIONS the first evening. The Young Choreographers evening (works and casting posted only in Russian for the moment), which was quite good last year, will once again include two new works by a favorite of mine, Maxim Petrov. Viktoria Brilyova, who was the delightful lead in two of his earlier, more lengthy and successful works, will be returning for one of these. Much loved soloist, Alexander Sergeev, will present a new work. His first last year was a very pleasant Jerome Robbins’ sort of creation. https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/festivals/fest2019_2020/new8 XIX INTERNATIONAL BALLET FESTIVAL MARIINSK 11–22 March 2020 ** 11 March ** ** An Evening of Ballets by Alexei Ratmansky ** Pierrot Lunaire, Concerto DSCH, duets from the ballets Cinderella, The Little Humpbacked Horse, Lost Illusions Featuring Diana Vishneva, Ekaterina Kondaurova, Vladislav Lantratov PIERROT LUNAIRE Music by Arnold Shönberg Choreographer: Alexei Ratmansky Assistant of choreographer: Elvira Tarasova Set design and costumes by Tatyana Chernova Performed by Renata Shakirova, Alexander Sergeev, Konstantin Zverev, Maxim Zyuzin Duet from the ballet CINDERELLA Music by Sergei Prokofiev Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky (2002) Costume Design by Elena Markovskaya Performed by Nadezhda Batoeva, Philipp Stepin Duet from the ballet THE LITTLE HUMPBACKED HORSE Music by Rodion Shchedrin Сhoreography by Alexei Ratmansky (2009) Costume Design by Maxim Isaev Performed by Alina Somova, Alexei Timofeyev Duet from the ballet LOST ILLUSIONS Music by Leonid Desyatnikov Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky Performed by Diana Vishneva, Vladislav Lantratov CONCERTO DSCH Music by Dmitry Shostakovich Choreographer: Alexei Ratmansky Assistant Choreographer: Tatiana Ratmanskaya Lighting Designer: Mark Stanley Costume Designer: Holly Hynes Performed by Ekaterina Kondaurova, Andrei Yermakov and ballet dancers ** 12 March ** ** La Bayadère ** ballet in three acts Nikia: Alina Somova Gamzatti: Anastasia Matvienko Solor: Timur Askerov The Golden Idol: Victor Caixeta Trio of Shades: Vlada Borodulina, Alexandra Khiteeva, May Nagahisa ** 13 March ** ** An Evening with Vladimir Shklyarov ** Palimpsest (premiere -- Choreography: Yuri Smekalov) Vladimir Shklyarov Le Jeune homme et la mort Ekaterina Kondaurova and Vladimir Shklyarov Diamonds Viktoria Tereshkina and Vladimir Shklyarov ** 14 March ** ** Daphnis et Chloé ** one-act ballet ** The Sleeping Beauty ** ballet-féerie in three acts with a prologue and an apotheosis Princess Aurora: Lauren Cuthbertson Prince Désiré: Xander Parish The Lilac Fairy: Anastasia Kolegova The Diamond Fairy: Anastasia Nuikina Carabosse the Wicked Fairy: Islom Baimuradov Princess Florine: May Nagahisa Bluebird: Alexei Timofeyev ** 15 March ** ** Swan Lake ** fantasy ballet in three acts (four scenes) Odette-Odile: Nadezhda Batoeva Siegfried: Philipp Stepin von Rothbart: Roman Belyakov The Prince’s Friends: Vlada Borodulina, Anastasia Nuikina, Victor Caixeta The Jester: Yaroslav Baibordin ** Swan Lake ** fantasy ballet in three acts (four scenes) Odette-Odile: Oxana Skorik Siegfried: Germain Louvet von Rothbart: Andrei Yermakov The Prince’s Friends: Alexandra Khiteeva, May Nagahisa, Alexei Timofeyev The Jester: Vladislav Shumakov ** 17 March ** ** A Creative Workshop of Young Choreographers ** https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/playbill/2020/3/17/2_1930 ** 18 March ** ** Giselle ** fantasy ballet in two acts Giselle: Olga Smirnova Count Albrecht: Andrei Yermakov Hans: Yuri Smekalov Myrtha: Yekaterina Chebykina Classical duet: Valeria Martynyuk, Vasily Tkachenko ** 19 March ** ** Honouring great dancers of the 20th century. Vaslav Nijinsky ** Schéhérazade. Le Sacre du printemps one act ballets Featuring Viktoria Tereshkina, Kimin Kim, Tatiana Tkachenko ** 20 March ** ** Anna Karenina ** ballet in two acts after the novel by Lev Tolstoy Featuring Diana Vishneva, Konstantin Zverev ** 21 March ** ** An Evening of Ballets by Alexei Ratmansky ** Pierrot Lunaire. Seven sonatas (premiere). Concerto DSCH Featuring Viktoria Tereshkina, Kimin Kim, Xander Parish PIERROT LUNAIRE Music by Arnold Shönberg Choreographer: Alexei Ratmansky Assistant of choreographer: Elvira Tarasova Set design and costumes by Tatyana Chernova Performed by Viktoria Tereshkina, Alexander Sergeev, Konstantin Zverev, Maxim Zyuzin SEVEN SONATAS (premiere) Music by Domenico Scarlatti Choreographer: Alexei Ratmansky Piano: Alexandra Zhilina Full cast to be announced at a later date CONCERTO DSCH Music by Dmitry Shostakovich Choreographer: Alexei Ratmansky Assistant Choreographer: Tatiana Ratmanskaya Lighting Designer: Mark Stanley Costume Designer: Holly Hynes Performed by May Nagahisa, Xander Parish, Nadezhda Batoeva, Kimin Kim, Vasily Tkachenko ** 22 March ** ** Close of the XIX International Ballet Festival MARIINSKY ** Divertissement Elena Yevseyeva and David Zaleyev Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov Maria Khoreva and Vladimir Shklyarov Ekaterina Kondaurova and Roman Belyakov Léonore Baulac and Germain Louvet Viktoria Tereshkina and Alexander Sergeev Le Jeune homme et la mort Kimin Kim and Eleonora Abbagnato Symphony in C Yekaterina Osmolkina Alina Somova Renata Shakirova David Zaleyev Maxim Zyuzin Philipp Stepin
  8. More Giselle debuts, last Thursday, and a lot of ’Then and Now.’ From a very few video clips a rather fascinating kaleidoscope. First of all, and very unusual for me being a woman-centric / ballerina-centric observer — is A Man. Yevgeny Konovalov (Second Soloist) debuting as Count Albrecht. From some very quick glimpses he’s perhaps the most interesting male ballet dancer that I’ve seen in terms of portrayal and theater prowess. He looks perfect for the Shakespearean stage. I’ll be very interested in seeing much more of him if only for this although he does seem to be a fine dancer. Anastasia Lukina (Second Soloist) is quite good debuting as Giselle. Juxtaposed are the Wilis, Anastasia Kolegova (Mytha), Maria Iliushkina (Mona), X. Fateyeva (new to me, Zulma) and Svetlana Ivanova (lead ’chorus’ Wili). I’ve recently been commenting on the ’sunshine’ ballerinas that I really enjoy. They are luminous and can make ‘heavies’ like Odile (Swan Lake) and Gamzatti (La Bayadere) almost loveable — yet totally believable. Anastasia Kolegova was perhaps the first that I noticed. I saw her twice as Odette-Odile (Swan Lake) and was delighted at how this vibrant, and yes, ’sensual,’ little bundle of smilingness could actually do a compelling Swan Lake. Now comes the recent Odette-Odile debut of the joyful Maria Iliushkina. And more recently the very fine Giselle debut of the highly vibrant Renata Shakirova. So in this Giselle the original ’sunshine’ ballerina (from my viewing experience), Anastasia Kolegova, is dancing alongside the very young Maria Iliushkina (Mona). And to make it more interesting for me is that her Mona from several years ago was the first time that I really noticed Maria Iliushkina. To add more interest, the superbly classical Svetlana Ivanova is leading the Wilis in the background. The maker of these video clips seemed to have quite a time deciding on whom to focus on. I felt the same.
  9. The Winners are…. 1. Marco Masciari (Italy) 17.7 years 2. Ava Arbuckle (USA) 15.1 years 3. João Vitor Santana (Brazil) 17.7 years 4. Lin Zhang (China) 17.4 years 17.4 years 5. Chaeyeon Kang (South Korea) 15.11 years 6. Matei Holeleu (Romania) 18.1 years 7. Vitor Augusto Vaz (Brazil) 15.3 years 8. Yuyan Wang (China) 17.8 years also Best Young Talent: [probably NUREYEV FOUNDATION - Artistry] Ava Arbuckle – (USA) Contemporary Dance Prize: Marco Masciari (Italy) Best Swiss Candidate: Matei Holeleu (Romania) Audience Favourite: Catarina Pires – (Portugal) 17.11 years Audience Favourite (web): Yuyan Wang – (China) (Thanks to capybara at Balletco) Of personal interest and delight…. *** Ava Arbuckle *** USA 15.1 Years old, dance the Awakening of Flora and Abstract. Winner of two awards BOURSE JEUNE ESPOIR (Young Hopeful Award) NUREYEV FOUNDATION (Artistry) She’s received fine comments from all over the internet. From this video clip she looks lovely. Almost Russian 😀 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4PxtevZItE Ava Arbuckle, 14, trains at Elite Classical Coaching in Frisco, TX. She's no stranger to competitions; last year she took home second place for Junior Women at the Youth America Grand Prix New York Finals and won the Grishko Model Search Contest. (Point Magazine)
  10. Renata Shakirova made her debut last Friday as Giselle. Maxim Zyuzin was her partner. Along with Maria Iliushkina she’s one of my favorite ‘sunshine’ ballerinas. She’s also known for her dance prowess. So how does this work with Giselle, especially in the sublime Act II ? As with Maria Iliushkina (based on a video clip from a non-Mariinsky gala performance) it works just fine. Her lovely brightness shines through beautifully in the village scenes of Act I. In the ‘ethereal’ Act II she’s equally lovely. In the last several minutes she offers her most touching expression, very worthy of any Giselle portrayal. Here’s a lengthy Facebook video (I’m assuming from her own site). What do you think ? https://m.facebook.com/groups/832444423510358/permalink/2746298332124948/ (Thanks to ElenaK at Dansomanie)
  11. Since I discovered it for myself several years ago, I always keep coming back to the video of her and Jacques D'Amboise's Act II Divertissement of "A Midsummer Night's Dream”. Helene posted it here, the second post of this discussion. Posted February 12, 2017 At this time there is too much beautiful ‘magic’ in this performance for me to want to try to explain it. Instead I would like to recall these comments. There are others as well that are very fine. One word that appears twice is “Poet.” cubanmiamiboy Posted February 12, 2017 What is with Allegra Kent that makes this section [from Symphony in C]....almost surreal..???. There is something on her which I can't quite describe...that comes from within and out. She dances this all the way from her face to her fingers. There is as if she truly inhabits the music...as if she BECOMES the music itself. Very rarely I have seen a ballerina that is able to transmit almost a hypnotic quality to the choreography. DanielBenton Posted February 12, 2017 A poet friend of mine, upon seeing the 1973 Berlin video of Allegra in the Symphony in C 2nd movement, said she has a nobility about her...Her autobiographical book referenced above shows her to be an extremely intelligent, articulate, and very witty observer of herself…. KarenAG Posted February 12, 2017 I have many feelings and thoughts about Allegra - she is one of the most poignant figures in ballet and particularly NYCB history. I think of her as a poet. Drew Posted February 13, 2017 I only saw Kent a couple of times, but remember her as always haunting, magical, distinctive...whatever the role. A very special ballerina. atm711 Posted February 14, 2017 I have always loved and responded to Kent's 'other world'. Added: For me, this performance give images of and touches on what might be the Elevated and the Sublime in life. ( I also feel that Jacques D'Amboise is exceptional here.)
  12. Thank you very much, California. Here’s a recent interview with Olga Smirnova in Russian. Starting about midway she discusses this Giselle. (I used a Google translation and it seems pretty good. If you just translate a couple paragraphs at a time, I think that you get a more accurate result. The less you put in at one time, probably the better). She says a few interesting things about the production. Somewhere, someone asked whether she had much of her own input into her interpretation. Here she states that Alexei Ratmansky was in charge of every detail of the entire production. She says that he first had her do a run-through as she would do it. Then he introduced what he already had in mind and that is how it was done. He told her that he wanted to see how she would do it and then he would better understand how to guide her to his intent. This doesn’t exclude the possibility that if he liked what he saw her do he might use it, but apparently he stuck to his original concepts, for the most part, throughout the entire production. She says that she respects him greatly for his ability to do this. She does add that in some of the source material the Wilis were actually bacchanal-like. In fact, Giselle was supposed to do a seductive dance to lure Albrecht away from his shelter. The possibility of using this sort of interpretation was abandoned during the course of the rehearsals. Considering that this solo/duet is perhaps the most beautiful part of current productions, this was probably a very good decision. https://www.lapersonne.com/post/olga-smirnova-bolshoi-theatre/ (Thanks to Ballet Friends forum from Russia)
  13. Yesterday a child came out to wonder -- Caught a dragonfly inside a jar Fearful when the sky was full of thunder -- And tearful at the falling of a star *** And the seasons they go round and round — And the painted ponies go up and down *** We're captive on the carousel of time -- We can't return we can only look behind -- From where we came And go round and round and round -- In the circle game (The Circle Game — Joni Mitchell) So welcome to the sometimes astonishing world of show business, or high art, or ballet or in this instance the Mariinsky Ballet. Posted today is a video clip of Anastasia Nuykina (debut?) as Gamzatti, who does just fine. Opening the scene are four background dancers. Sometimes I skip this. But what’s happening here!? Is that the Odette-Odile (Swan Lake) from several weeks ago, perhaps the most coveted role in all ballet, dancing around behind with three other ‘chorus’ dancers. Yes, it’s Maria Iliushkina — And what a little burst of unassuming Sunshine she once again is ! Well what can I really say? Her trajectory has been as predictable as a tadpole in a pond of water. Have you ever tried to catch one? Whither Thou Goest Next ? Background ‘chorus’ dancer or the most precious Giselle yet ? Wherever this might be, it’s an adventure in Sunshine, Loveability, Beauty and Pure Talent.
  14. Doug, this is very interesting. I think that we’re all so used to the “1930s40s” image that it completely colors our reaction to this Giselle. This Giselle is not necessarily the total innocent that we are used to. I would still maintain that her Act II ‘spirit' identity has established her total ‘goodness.’ She has now transcended. But as Helene has stated, her pointing Albrecht back to Bathilde, may involve her desire for her own final cleansing as well. Where will she go from here? Total conjecture perhaps. Helene has offered one possibility. Others have offered more ideas. I’ve never really thought about it before. I guess I still like the idea that she’s retained an earthly connection in pointing Albrecht back to Bathilde.They are all now united perhaps in a continuation of love. Perhaps she lives on in some ideal state. It’s all open to interpretation, but this is one that I could embrace. I do think that the inclusion of Bathilde at the end adds a very poetic and possibly uplifting conclusion to the story that we’re used to. Added: Drew, thanks for your ongoing thoughts and clarification.
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