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About Sacto1654

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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  1. I just finished seeing the film on DVD and I find it fascinating the extraordinary competitiveness for various dancers to get various dancing roles. You can tell that Ulyana Lopatkina--who had just come back from a serious ankle injury during the film's production--had a lot of clout with the Mariinsky Theatre management. I can really see Lopatkina becoming Director of Ballet at the Mariinsky after her dancing career ends--that's how influential she has become. However, I am hoping that Normand does a sequel documentary, because right now I would love to see more into the newer, fast rising s
  2. What I find interesting about Taranda's political troubles was the contrast with what happened to Maya Plisetskaya during the same period in the 1980's. If I remember correctly from postings here, Plisetskaya--was spending time in Spain by the 1980's--wanted to attend a ballet gala in New York City where Mikhail Baryshnikov and (I believe) Rudolf Nureyev danced, but was told not to go by the the Soviet Embassy in Spain. But somehow she did did attend that gala, probably because it would have caused an ugly PR mess if the Soviets tried to stop her from attending that gala.
  3. Lopatkina, in my opinion, is probably one of the few Mariinsky Ballet dancers that have a strong deference to the legacy of Natalia Dudinskaya (Lopatkina being among the last students directly trained by her), arguably the greatest ballet instructor in the history of the Vaganova Academy after 1950. After all, Dudinskaya was trained directly by Agrippina Vaganova herself in the 1920's and had a pretty distinguished dancing career herself, which unfortunately was cut short due to Dudinskaya's physical fraility. It will be very interesting to see what Lopatkina will do in the future. Will she
  4. It will be VERY interesting to see what kind of choreography Alexei Ratmansky will do with the new version of Little Humpbacked Horse. I'm hoping it won't be something radical, especially given the finicky audience in Saint Petersburg so used to the "Kirov" style as defined by Konstantin Sergeyev. If the Mariinsky Ballet was still interested in doing "reconstructions" I think the old early 1900's version of Paquita should be near the top of the list. Pierre Lacotte's reconstruction for the Paris Opera Ballet is NOT truly authentic because Lacotte didn't use the original choreography (which fo
  5. There are a number of ballets in the Sergeyev Collection at Harvard University that should be revived. I for one would LOVE to see the original Petipa production of Paquita revived, which fortunately we have a full notation of.
  6. If they ever revive The Bronze Horseman it will be a Bolshoi production. Despite what all the people in Saint Petersburg think, it was the Bolshoi version of this ballet that is best remembered by old-time Russian balletomanes (I believe Stalin favored this version, too).
  7. I for one would LOVE to see someone film Raymonda in the 1948 Konstantin Sergeyev version with one Ulyana Lopatkina in the lead role. Raymonda (in my humble opinion! ) is perhaps one of Lopatkina's signature dancing roles outside of Medora in Le Corsaire and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake.
  8. Anyway, in the end there are just as many variants of The Nutcracker as weeds in my backyard in summer. As such, you can't describe the "best" version, because even the two "reference" versions I mentioned (the 1934 Vainonen version and the 1954 Balanchine version) have their own strengths and weaknesses. By the way, the reason why I mentioned Swan Lake in this discussion is that most versions performed today are pretty much very close to the 1895 Petipa/Ivanov version in terms of plot line, despite all the different versions of the end of the ballet. That's why the 1953 Bourmeister version
  9. You're welcome. At least with two other famous Tchaikovsky ballets, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, we pretty much have a good idea of what how the story more or less goes in the most commonly-produced versions (despite all the divergent versions of the ballet's end, almost everything else about most versions of Swan Lake have a lot in common in terms of plot points). Because the story of the lead character (Maria or Masha) in the Vainonen version is quite different than the story of the lead character (Clara) in the Balanchine version, trying to compare various different versions of The Nut
  10. I think one issue with trying to appreciate The Nutcracker is the fact there are two very distinct "reference" variants (in my humble opinion! ), the Vainonen version from 1934 and the Balanchine version from 1954. There is no Sugar Plum Fairy in the original Vainonen version, if I remember correctly. Americans are so ingrained by the Balanchine version and its subsequent variants that anything different is going to confuse the viewer. I believe Europeans are more used to the Vainonen version, so they might not be used to the Balanchine version.
  11. And with her new hairdo, no longer a Sandra Bullock impersonator.
  12. Speaking of our dear "Masha," I just saw online pictures of her at a signing in Japan just a few days ago as part of the Bolshoi's current tour of the country. You can see these pictures on this web site: http://bolshoi-ballet.seesaa.net/category/4430960-1.html It's small wonder why I almost didn't recognize her at all! Alexandrova has drastically changed her hairdo and if it weren't for her giveaway eyes you would have thought she was a completely different person.
  13. What I find very interesting was that the character of Benno was in the original Reisinger-choreographed version from 1876, but is completely missing from the two "reference" versions known in Russia today (the Konstantin Sergeyev 1950 variant of the original Petipa/Ivanov 1895 version and the Vladimir Bourmeister version from 1953). I think that change was done because Benno is pretty much a superfluous character in the ballet itself by Russian standards.
  14. If I remember correctly, the 32 fouettes in the "Black Swan pas de deux" from Act II of the Petipa/Ivanov version (Act III as it's known in the West) was put in to showcase the dancing ability of Pierina Legnani, who was the prima ballerina assoluta of the Imperial Mariinsky Ballet at the time it was first performed in 1895--she was one of the first ballerinas to do all 32 fouettes without stopping. It's so hard to do that I've only seen a very small of ballerinas on video do it: Ulyana Lopatkina and Svetlana Zakharova on DVD home video, Alicia Alonso, Maria Alexandrova, and a couple of other
  15. Anyone here fluent enough in Russian to translate the articles drb posted?
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