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Buddy

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  1. I’ve been watching the video clips of The Sleeping Beauty. There’s one sequence that really attracts me. She appears as the Lilac Fairy in her full gown as the entire court is carrying the entranced Aurora up the stairs. It’s a monumental scene full of lavish costumes, a grand set and lots of regal posturing. Maria Iliushkina has to hold the center of attention and she’s not an outwardly commanding presence like an Olga Smirnova. She’s childlike and airy. Yet in the middle of all this pomp she has to take prominence with her somewhat off to the side of things dancing as the grand parade is carrying the reclined Aurora off in another direction. I can’t recall a more vulnerable feeling in all my ballet viewing. She succeeds with loveliness and a sense of vulnerable innocence. I think that this is characteristic of her entire performance and of her in general. This is perhaps her ‘magic.’
  2. Buddy

    Vaganova Academy Graduation, 2018

    Maria Petukhova I’ve had some time this morning to watch video clips of some of the ‘ballerinas’ that currently most captivate me because of their lyrical loveliness. This is the quality that I probably prize most. They are Oxana Skorik, Olga Smirnova (based on her recent Pharaoh’s Daughter), Zhanna Ayupova (from an old Apollo performance), Alyona Kovalyova, Maria Iliushkina and Maria Horeva (Khoreva). And I just finished watching Maria Petukhova. I mentioned in my previous post that I thought that she was perhaps the loveliest dancer of the recent Vaganova graduates. Based on what I’ve just been watching I think that she’s as lovely as all the dancers mentioned above. One quality that sets her apart is extremely lovely flow of motion. She floats like a velvet cloud. I’ll say once again that I hope that the Bolshoi takes her. It had the very commendable insight to welcome and quickly feature Olga Smirnova and Alyona Kovalyova. I do think that she could probably lose just a little weight. Laurent has mentioned that there might be other physical issues. Whatever the Mariinsky’s reservations were about Maria Petukhova I would hope that the Bolshoi could find a way to succeed with her. They’re certainly doing it with Alyona Kovalyova. In any case, if she can maintain this beauty, I think that she would be a gem wherever she goes.
  3. Not to belabor the point, but I will. At the 2017 Mariinsky Festival, in the final performance of Paquita, the face of Maria Iliushkina during the solos was perhaps the brightest burst of sunshine that I've ever seen on a ballet stage. “Know that I will love you Someday I will love you very well” (From a respectfully artistic and grandfatherly distance 😊) [slightly altered Joni Mitchell]
  4. Hi Pherank, I really have no idea. Could well be Venus or a womb, etc. Looks like a life cycle, maybe, referring to Henry Segerstrom. I always have the feeling that if the Mariinsky wants something done out of the ordinary they just give it to Yekaterina Kondaurova, no collaboration required. In my opinion she can make anything work, especially outside the Mariinsky norm. I guess my post was meant to highlight the two different theatrical approaches and views about life that revolved around Sergei Danilian, Henry Segerstrom (his life and in this instance his theater) and Vladimir Varnava. "Dreamers" being the much more uplifting and perhaps successful.
  5. Another possible interesting footnote. In memory of the passing away of Henry Segerstrom in 2015 Sergei Danilian was commissioned to produce and direct “Dreamers” which was performed at the Young Choreographers evening at the 2017 Mariinsky Festival. This was a rather upbeat work which Sergei Danilian explained was to commemorate all the cultural good that Henry Segerstrom had done and to focus on the joy in his life. I liked it very much. Vladmlir Varnava choreographed one of the segments, “Within.” It featured Yekaterina Kondaurova and I rather liked it. Folks who saw Isadora might be interested in comparing the two. The entire work can seen starting at 1:28:50. Vladmlir Varnava’s “Within” starts at 1:36:30. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXILEnsBSrY (posted by the Mariinsky)
  6. This will explain the Lenin appearance. "Many of the people in Isadora’s life, both famous and obscure, will be represented too, Danilian said. “You will meet her family – her father, mother, sister, brother, and her child, which she lost. She even encounters Lenin as an angel.” An angel? “Yes, because for her he was an angel. He created a country where everyone was equal, at least ideally.” " "As a committed leftist and an atheist, Duncan fit in well in the Soviet Union." https://www.presstelegram.com/2018/08/02/russian-ballet-star-brings-dance-pioneer-isadora-duncan-to-life-in-world-premiere/ An interesting footnote. When I was in Moscow for the first and only time a few years ago I walked by Lenin's tomb. There was a time when visiting this was like going to Mecca. The lines to get in were huge. When I saw it, there was no one there. It was well maintained but I think that it was closed. How times change.
  7. Buddy

    Isadora starring Natalia Osipova

    Here’s the only Isadora review that I’ve found, Mnacenani. http://dancetabs.com/2018/08/natalia-osipova-isadora-a-tribute-to-isadora-duncan-in-two-acts-costa-mesa/ Mashinka, here’s an interview from the Financial Times. As I mentioned, I hope to be at her Pure Dance program. ”All that being said, Osipova is playing slightly safer this time by anchoring the evening with classical works featuring two of her closest collaborators. One of them, Hallberg, will join her for three of the pieces, including a pas de deux from Antony Tudor’s The Leaves Are Fading; the other, Alexei Ratmansky, former director of the Bolshoi Ballet, has written a new commission for the pair.” https://www.ft.com/content/8b1f9946-9a50-11e8-88de-49c908b1f264 If this doesn’t work try googling 'FT Natalia Osipova'. (Thanks to BalletcoForum for both these)
  8. Buddy

    Isadora starring Natalia Osipova

    Because of the very long drive, the preview descriptions and one review I’ve decided not to attend today’s performance, which I was hoping to comment on. It could be brilliant and I do like the apparent final scene of transcendence idea, but the rest sounds just a bit too heavy/gloomy once again and it's a lovely sunny day. I still have a ticket to see her Pure Dance program at the Saddlers Wells in London next month. I look forward to it.
  9. There are some lovely video clips of Maria Iliushkina as the Lilac Fairy (The Sleeping Beauty) in the Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre’s performances this month at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg. Of their four Sleeping Beauties she danced Princess Florine (Blue Bird duet) in the first two and the Lilac Fairy yesterday and today. She is the only St. Petersburg name that I recognize. She’s so lovely. I like to make comparisons between her and the Bolshoi’s very young Vaganova graduate, Alyona Kovalyova. Alyona Kovalyova has had instant success whereas Maria Iliushkina is still in the Corps de Ballet. For me, Alyona Kovalyova with her long lined beauty and figure is immediately recognizable as being very special. Maria Iliushkina is a more subtle affair. She doesn’t have the same compelling long lines (but she could). What she has is basic loveliness and a phrasing of exceptional detail that is captivating. Also she has something that is very precious. She still has a youthful delight that I hope she will always have. This combined with artistic fineness makes her very noteworthy. I think that the Primorsky dancers have a lovely airiness and charm, worthy of the Mariinsky. I could probably get to like this company very much. And I do like the Sergeev version. It reflects decades of fine-tuning in it’s basic beauty and enchantment. Hopefully these appearances are another sign of recognition for Maria Iliushkina and we'll see a lot more of her.
  10. Buddy

    Vaganova Academy Graduation, 2018

    I’m really more and more impressed with Maria Horeva (Khoreva) with each video viewing. Not only does she have all the fineness that you would expect from a prominent Vaganova graduate, but she also has range, part of which is her remarkable portrayal ability. But I still don’t want to lose slight of Maria Petukhova, whom I think might be the loveliest dancer of the recent graduates. I do really hope that the Bolshoi takes her. It got Olga Smirnova and the very young Alyona Kovalyova, whom I consider to be perhaps the finest ballerinas today, especially in regard to their young ages. If anyone knows anymore about Maria Petukhova please post about it.
  11. Thanks, Charlie. This is all news to me. I’m glad to know that it’s not my fantasy perception. Do you have any idea who introduced this interpretation? But yes, with her anyway, for me, it works just fine. I think that it might be less noticeable in her duet than in her solo. And at the last few moments of the duet, and earlier, she has a facial expression that suggests almost sublime reverie. These moments, for me, are almost magical, and show a prowess of expression, that I find quite remarkable for someone so young.
  12. I mentioned that I thought that Maria Horeva (Mariinsky site spelling) did a very fine job with her Terpsichore solo, but perhaps will understand the character better in time. I still feel that this is true, but I’m not sure that understanding the character better would actually improve the performance. She’s chosen a delightfully playful approach, her own, and I think that it works just fine. I have no idea if she’ll appear in New York, but I sort of wish that she would. Added: In her duet, which someone at Ballet Alert! sent me, thanks again so much, I feel that she’s very charming and her dance is absolutely fine and lovely. Also she has a more developed facial approach, which I think is very impressive.
  13. Thanks, Jack. I’m glad too that she’s happy at MCB and also wish that I could see her a lot more than I have. I’ve only had glimpses of what she’s capable of, which is pretty amazing, and look forward to the day when I can see a completely developed performance. Many actually.
  14. I would think that Xander is a good choice because of his cultural familiarity. He also looks like a young Apollo. With time he can make it even better. Yekaterina Kondaurova is always my choice for anything outside familiar Mariinsky waters. She would probably be the best in interpreting Terpsichore. Yet for the high point duet (in my opinion), because of its beautiful loveliness, there are many who could give it a shot. Kristina Shapran was cast for one night at the Mariinsky and she could be a very good choice. Maria Horeva, who just graduated from the Vaganova, did the second night. Part of this can be seen on video. Of the three young graduates who performed that night, I’m becoming more fond of what she did. She had a lovely, delightful and creative sense of dance in her solo. The duet isn’t on the internet, but I’d love to see it. She may have a ways to go in grasping the character, but I somehow think that she would have brought a smile to George Balanchine’s face. She does to mine.
  15. Buddy

    2017 -- 2018 Season

    And back to Balanchine. And again, why? How his work can fit into the Mariinsky framework continues to fascinate me with each new viewing of his Apollo and of unrelated ballet dancers from Russia. Why not go to the Balanchine forums? Because my perspective is from a Mariinsky orientation. I love its style and it sets a standard and reference for all my ballet viewing. I’ve written how Zhanna Ayupova’s Calliope shows what a wonderful way the Mariinsky could approach the entire Apollo and perhaps Balanchine in general. My focus is also on the ballerina. Apollo is supposedly focussed on the dancer of Apollo. Yet I’m very much drawn to Suzanne Farrell’s Terpsichore Duet. I see a lot of resemblance between her and Zhanna Ayupova in her lovely lyricism. I find this more interesting in that George Balanchine has made this 1968 video version more hard edge and abstract than the 1960 one featuring Jacques d’Amboise. I think that he simply let Suzanne Farrell’s natural lyricism take precedent in the Duet which for me is the highlight of this work as it is in all my ballet viewing. It’s where the ballerina is presented the most beautifully. He could have had her dancing much more ‘hard edge’ but he didn’t. So where does this take us? I suppose that I’m looking for the lyricism and poetry in George Balanchine that would bring him closer to the Mariinsky sense of beauty. It’s apparent in his ‘Mariinsky tributes’ such as Symphony in C or Diamonds. Yet the 1968 Apollo (and continued I assume) is a venture into abstraction. Thus Suzanne Farrell’s lovely lyricism in the Duet and even Peter Martin’s underlying sensitivity throughout, shows a more poetic sort of ‘Balanchine.’ It’s something that I would like to search more for in my Balanchine viewing as I would in how the Mariinsky deals with it and which works it choses. One more quick comment about Zhanna Ayupova’s Calliope. It’s a very fine poetic statement. It’s very Mariinsky, it’s directly related to the 1960 version, and it also shows her exceptional interpretive ability. She doesn’t carry on a mime discussion but she uses remarkable mime expression throughout her dancing. This may be the first time that I’ve noticed such a thing in ‘classically oriented,’ non-Character dance. Of course, the Balanchine choreography is responsible, but how she carries it into the realm of the ‘classical, lyrical’ is her own doing. In this respect she made her performance a one of a kind masterpiece and perhaps even a new form of dance beauty.
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