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Mashinka

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About Mashinka

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Long time ballet fan and former modern dance administrator
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    London UK

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  1. I agree, once he had been exposed, other women came forward with their complaints, up to and including rape. He was in line to be the next French president, that never happened, ironic that the two incumbents of the post since that incident have been useless, with the lowest approval rating in history. Macron currently has a mere twenty per cent last time I looked, though his mishandling of the yellow vest protesters may have driven him down further.
  2. Good point. Strauss Kahn was finally caught out in the US despite a history of abusing women in France.
  3. I asked an expert regarding the Italian fouettes. He says the DQ dances them in the choreography attributed to Petipa used by the Maryinsky however they weren't in the Bolshoi's traditional Gorsky version despite certain Dulcineas choosing to perform them, e,g, Maximova, N. Pavlova. So it seems who dances what is now a matter of choice at the Bolshoi, as last week's Don Q's proved.
  4. That's pretty much what I expected, European attitudes do tend to be a lot different in these cases.
  5. I was led to believe that originally the Bolshoi planned to bring Bayaderka, but switched to Don Q because the RB was dancing it this past season, only thing is, the RB was dancing Don Q. too, so I don't understand their reasoning. Comparisons are inevitable. Acosta's production isn't that much liked, despite the fact that it's the first at the RB to be successful. The Bolshoi's version isn't that great either, inferior in my opinion to what the Mariinsky has. However with the chance to see dancers new to me in the leading roles, I finished up seeing three of the four performances. Opening night with Shrainer and Tsvirko didn't quite deliver. He was good, a near perfect Basilio played with considerable humour, but something wasn't right between him and Shrainer in the lifts, something I also noticed when they were paired in Spartacus. She danced well enough but couldn't bring the role to life, a friend commented that she was midweek matinee material and on that showing I'm afraid I agree. Friday night was Ekaterina Krysanova and David Motta Soarez and this was a stellar performance. Soarez is a very young dancer but totally at ease on stage, if he had nerves, they didn't show. He dances well, room for improvement, yes, but impressive all the same. I should mention he's also good looking, Brazilian eye candy in fact, he went down very well indeed. As for Krysanova she sparkled from start to finish and even for this seen it all before fouette watcher, I have to say her speed was quite awesome and she remained virtually on the spot throughout. The chemistry with Soarez was quite vibrant and they looked an excellent match. One curious incident that I noticed was that she was absent in act two when her father comes looking for her, she is supposed to be sitting on her chair in the corner hiding her face with a fane while her girlfriends spread out their skirts to conceal her further. On this occasion Lorenzo shoves past the friends to find no one there and had to improvise some business with the chairs: very odd.. At the curtain calls Soarez knelt before Krysanova gazing up at her with a look of adoration and the large bloom from her bouquet she handed him, he brandished as a trophy between his teeth. Could it be the beginning of an exciting stage partnership? I very much hope so. I have very little to add to Madame P's critique of the Sevenard/Belyakov performance, it was a very accomplished Kitri from a dancer so young, but I do wish I could have seen her in a more purely classical role. Sevenard made her debut in London about three years ago dancing Fairy Doll with a group of Vaganova students and people who saw her then turned up to see how her career is progressing , I consider her more than just promising. I would have preferred to have seen Belyakov in something more classical too, he would make a fine Jean de Brienne for example, but he found a lot of comedy in Basilio and his technique is amazing. The Bolshoi used to have a better Don Q than this one, for me it's too frantic with all the background cloak waving and the irritating multiple castanets. The second act comes off worst with the interminable Spanish skirt waving and that absurd jig. The gypsy dances appeared curtailed, didn't there used to be a young man dancing a super fast number with a whip? There isn't now. Last time around the Dryad Queens were embarrassingly bad, they've improved, but not by that much and one left out the fiendish Italian fouettes altogether, perhaps like me she finds them vulgar. The fact is the RB can do a lot better, no one got within spitting distance of Fumi Kaneko in that role. They really should have stuck with La Bayadere.
  6. The last time he sang in London, in Traviata, he had to be prompted. I think he should call it a day too.
  7. Last night I went to Swan Lake to see Alyona kovalyova, she has a whole thread about her here so I wanted to take a look for myself. Not having seen the Grigorovich production for years, I suppose I had pushed it's horrors to the back of my mind, but it really is pretty grim. It wasn't well danced either, the pas de trois ladies, particularly the first, were off the music for their solos and the third act national dances were performed very indifferently. In the white act one of the big swans was unable to perform a satisfactory rond de jambe en l'air. The principals kovalyova and Jacopo Tissi, delivered up to a point, but couldn't save what was for me an acutely disappointing evening. kovalyova is a very attractive dancer but her height works against her, to me she wasn't in full control of her long limbs and I wondered if she had come to the role too soon, or indeed that it isn't her role at all. In the black act she pretty much mastered the difficulties apart from a couple of small hiccups, but her sweet, pretty face seemed unable to harden into a look appropriate for cruel Odile. I was also seeing her partner, Tissi, for the first time and I actually rather liked him, in fact I found his assured dancing a highlight of the evening. He has an innate elegance but also performs with typically Russian expansiveness. On reflection, he wasn't much of an actor last night, but taken all round it was a classy performance, he's tall but sadly he isn't tall enough to be the ideal partner for kovalyova, ideally she needs someone of the stature of a Kenneth Greve, though sadly I don't think there is currently anyone out there of that height. After the black act I called it a day, but that is a reflection on the production rather than the dancer and of course an excerpt from act four is actually performed in act three. What did I like best? the corps de ballet in act two, quite superb and without question the stars of the evening.
  8. No, it isn't, sexual harassment of women is universal. Adult women cope with it. The worst type is by strangers, incidents in the workplace you cope with and if there's no redress you leave. In that respect being an opera singer is no different to being an office cleaner, sort out the problem or go.
  9. Firstly one shouldn't conflate sexual abuse of children with knee squeezing. Child sex abuse is serious, these accusations sound frivolous to me and accusations by a bunch of nobodies (I assume, not many names provided) saying their careers suffered though acquaintance with him would have to be proved in court. So far I hear nothing that would. At the opera House this evening, incredulity and irritation, though one opera buff's explanation of why it's all tosh, gave me the biggest laughs I've had in a long time. Trying to think who is famous enough and rich enough to become the next victim in the arts world.
  10. I actually see his point to some extent, if these women were so offended at his alleged behaviour, why didn't they complain at the time? Jumping on a bandwagon perhaps? We've had a lot of these historical cases in Britain of late and they are failing spectacularly, what's more accusers are now likely to face counter prosecutions, one is likely to go to prison for a very, very long time. What do they seek to gain? Compensation is most likely as I imagine old Placido has a bob or two in the bank, or is it more insidious and they want to tarnish his career because they were failures in their own?
  11. Were he still alive, Rudolf Nureyev would have answered that question.
  12. My advice is the opposite to Birdsall's, as I am a fraction under five foot five, I avoid the front stalls as they aren't raked, Personally I like the circle best, for a lot of classical ballets I prefer to look down to appreciate the floor patterns. Generally though the sight lines are good throughout the auditorium.
  13. Monday's performance opened with former RB director Monica Mason giving a curtain speech in tribute to the recently deceased impresario, Victor Hocchauser, there was also a brief biography of his remarkable career in the giveaway cast sheets. Wholly appropriate for such a titan of the classical arts world. Opening with Spartacus proved the right choice as it is a big audience pleaser and in the three performances I've seen so far there was a lot to admire. On opening night Denis Rodkin danced the title role and although up to now I've liked him best in princely roles he gave Spartacus his all, his intensity and burning eyes stay in the memory, but it's a killer of a role and I felt he was flagging a little in places. Denisova, his Phrygia couldn't match Rodkin's passion, she looked nervous and her acting was a look of permanent anxiety. Perhaps it would have been wiser to put a more experienced dancer in the role. In the other female lead Zakharova was very good if you ignored her ugly jetes, Aegina has always been one of her best roles and she throws herself into it with vigour. Artemy Belyakov danced Crassus as an out and out maniac, relentlessly insane from start to finish, if he could give more thought to his acting he could make this role his own because his actual dancing was phenomenal. I don't think he has danced a leading role in London before and people I spoke to were overwhelmed by what they saw, extrovert technique in a role every bit as tough as the title role. He made himself a lot of fans on Monday night. On Tuesday Igor Tsvirko took on the lead, Tsvirko is popular in London, not just for his performances in the last London Bolshoi season, but because he has been appearing in one off galas here too (I have a fond memory of him in Flames of Paris at the Savoy Theatre). Tsvirko is of similar height and build to the role's creator, Vladimir Vasiliev, and the choreography fits him like a glove, his elevation is jaw dropping and he can act too. His partnering was faultless, but I did feel his Phrygia, Maria Vingradova, was a little too tall to be his ideal partner. She was however far more convincing in the role than Denisova the night before. I also felt that Smirnova was a bit too tall for Ovcharenko as well, but apart from that they were utterly convincing as Aegina and Crassus. A scheming amoral pair that shared a ruthless nature. Smirnova was perhaps more sexually aware in the role than others I've seen and brought a real erotic charge to the scene where she corrupts Spartacus's men. Too often the pole/thyrsus dance can look ridiculous, but not with Smirnova, a girl who clearly understands the phallic significance of that particular prop. Mikhail Luboukin was the third Spartacus, more gritty than heroic and ultimately more moving in the role, his final scene really tugged at the heartstrings. His elevation wasn't as great as the other two but his tremendous speed and stamina made up for that. His Phrygia, Nikulina, was the best of the three by far and you felt her tragedy was almost as great as his. Crassus was played by Ruslan Skvortsev whose acting was superb, a haughty patrician unable to restrain his blood lust, less virtuosic than the others dancing Crassus, his nuanced approach to the role compensated for that, but he wasn't helped by the vulgar posturing of Shipulina who simply couldn't compete with Zakharova and above all Smirnova. A word about the orchestra, wonderful, exciting playing. There is a lot of brass in Spartacus and I never once heard a wrong note. As the playing and conducting of the RB's orchestra becomes progressively worse year on year, getting to hear faultless playing becomes a real pleasure. Lots more performances to go, I'm crossing my fingers that the standard will match what I've seen so far.
  14. Presumably she agreed to the make up as part of the role, she is after all portraying a cat, not a person. Actually Ms Hayward is relatively fair skinned under stage lighting, her African background must have surprised many. She's sensational, gorgeous and a true ballerina to her fingertips.
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