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Yuri Vladimirov


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Awhile back I watched a film of IVAN THE TERRIBLE danced by the Bolshoi starring Natalia Bessmertnova and Yuri Vladimirov. Vladimirov's performance was striking, but it's been difficult to find any information on his career. Did Grigorovich choreograph IVAN on Vladimirov and what other roles were in his repertoire?



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Awhile back I watched a film of IVAN THE TERRIBLE danced by the Bolshoi starring Natalia Bessmertnova and Yuri Vladimirov.  Vladimirov's performance was striking, but it's been difficult to find any information on his career.  Did Grigorovich choreograph IVAN on Vladimirov and what other roles were in his repertoire?



In 1975 Grigorovich choreographed IVAN on Vladimir Vasiliev :) and he danced the premiere and subsequent performances. I have never come across any information on Vladimirov, but he was of the same generation as the late Alexander Gudonov, circa mid-late '70s.

Some backstage trivia regarding IVAN THE TERRIBLE: Vasiliev felt that the role of Ivan was "kitchy." He told G. Smakov in an interview for "The Greatest Russian Dancers" that "..... it (IVAN) was more interesting than Grigorovich's second version of "Sleeping Beauty" which was simply a waste of time." Shortly thereafter, there was a huge falling out between Vasiliev and Grigorovich over his next socialist ballet "Angara" and thus began the slow exodus and estrangement of Volodya and Katya from the Bolshoi, culminating in their forced retirement by Grigorovich in 1987. To his credit, Vasiliev wanted to grow as an artist and develop his career as a choreographer. Grigorovich retaliated with setting up obstacles and backstage politics. Vasiliev felt that Grigorovich was typecasting him as the "Ultimate Alpha Soviet Male" ie. Spartacus, Ivan et al. He too wanted artistic freedom, but he fought for change at home - not by defecting. Vasiliev

was a member of the Supreme Soviet and the Bolshoi Art Committee and beloved by the powers that were and the masses. Therefore he and Katya could not be gotten rid of so easily. Because of their priviledged status, in the interim until their retirement from dancing, Volodya and Katya travelled freely. They toured extensively throughout the world, premiering ballets, doing films, t.v. and guesting with other companies, while appearing infrequently in their home theatre. Gennady Smakov, covers this difficult time thoroughly in his essay on Vasiliev, and briefly mentions it in the essay on Maximova in the same book.

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Dear Jane,

The Russian word for ‘opening night’ is ‘premyera’, i.e. premiere. As usual ‘premyera’ is danced by the best cast. However, if three casts are prepared, all first three performances will be called – semi-officially – “premyera”. So, the 'second premiere' means the second performance of the new production.

After reading the above enquiry about Yuri Vladimirov I looked through my quite extensive library of books on ballet and discovered that I almost don’t have any records about him. But I remember that dancer very well.

A pupil of the legendary (at least in Russia) Alexei Yermolayev Yuri graduated in 1962 and became Gold medalist of two international competitions – in Moscow and in Varna, and also won a Nijinsky Prize in Paris. While dancing as a principal in the Bolshoi at the same time with Vassilyev, M.Liepa, M.Lavrovsky he was not pushed into shade by them. Although not a very refined dancer Vladimirov was most daring and athletic and an excellent partner. His partnership with Nina Sorokina was remarkable, absolutely virtuosic, be it Spartacus/Phrygia or Diana & Acteon.

There were two roles in which I think he was absolutely superior – Ivan the Terrible and the Peasant at the station in Plissetskaya’s “Anna Karenina”. The Peasant was not a leading role but Tolstoi attached a special significance to this character in his novel, and Vladimirov brilliantly expressed it.

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Thankyou, Coda.

I believe Vladimirov also danced the first night of Ivan the Terrible in New York; and I notice that his name was still on the list Principals when the Bolshoi came to London in 1986, though the programme doesn't include a biography of him so I assume he didn't come on the tour. (Mukhamedov was doing Ivan by then.)

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On the 1989 Bolshoi tour Vladimirov already came to London as a coach and gave a talk at the Pavlova Society.

In 1990, he headed two prolonged UK tours by a group of Bolshoi's dancers, which included Bessmertnova, Vasyuchenko, Bylova and others. They danced in about 30 to 40 venues all over the country, with approximately the same repertoire almost every night. In those divertissments Vladimirov always danced Adagio from "Spartacus" with Natalia Arkhipova.

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Yuri Vladimirov began to emerge at the Bolshoi in the 1960s.

London first saw him at the Bolshoi's six week Royal Festival Hall season in 1965 when he created a sensation as a soloist in 'School of Ballet' with daredevil leaps, and in 'Flames of Paris' pas de deux with his wife, ballerina Nina Sorokina.

He also created the role of leading shepherd in Grigorovitch's Spartacus - the one who does the thrilling high double leg kicks - and repeated this at all five of the first London performances of Spartak. He can be seen in this role in the film (now on DVD) starring Vasiliev.


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Does anyone out there do those sissone failli in the Bluebird Variation the way Vladimirov did in this youtube clip?

With the virtuoso male dancers we have today, does anyone else get the same seeming illusion of flight out of this simple step? There's something in his line... the way he waits until the last instant to open the arabesque and the line he acheives in it when he does... it's beautiful and impressive, even these many years later...

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he was certainly...energetic, shall we say? :wub:

As I watched the clip I found myself thinking; "If this is the way he does Bluebird, what in the world must his Spartacus have looked like??"

Here's a clip, with Bessmertnona. Unfortunately, it's just the adagio.

Is this the same "Vladimirov" on the following brief clip? There's no other identification in the video text.

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I understand the "line" comment, but I actually think, given his physique, that he had quite a sense of line, just not of the type we see now... no reticent danseur noble, of course, but there is a very definite sense of line in his sissone failli and in his port de bras in the entrechat six. I've seen many male dancers with more plastique and yet less sense of line of the jump... I do think there is a masculine line and it is different from feminine line...

Still, the question remains... who today displays that kind of line in the sissone failli? (I'd buy a ticket to see it) (or even a youtube link would be interesting...)

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I don't like his form much, but I DO like his trajectories.

THat sissonne-failli ought to be a temps de poisson, with a beautiful arching shape in the air and arms en couronne -- but I've seen it done with even less style by some very clean male dancers who turn it into nothing more than a preparation for a really big assemble. It's quite neglected at SFB, where the Sleeping Beauty is otherwise rather stylishly done.

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Yes, he's got that hypo knee thing happening, the tension in the neck/shoulders, some not quite stretched ankles, etc. but the focus on elevation is admirable...

How similar was his form to his Bolshoi contemporaries? (Answers.com has him as born in 1942, graduated the Bolshoi's school in 1962) http://www.answers.com/topic/yuri-vladimir...t=entertainment Those black & white videos make the footage look older, almost as if he were Ulanova's contemporary... but obviously not (she was born in 1910). Erik Bruhn's form was far better and he was born in 1928. Is Vladimirov's style respresentative of the Bolshoi of the 1960s?

Here's his Acteon

Not crazy about the bounce out of the grand jete en tournant, but that next step (what is that thing?).... I want to say he hesitates in mid-air but it's an illusion again. What is that thing?

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Thank you again Amy Reausch. I love the energy and lightness of the jump. He is a contemporary of M. Lavrovsky. Mr. Lavrovsky had the same freedom and spirit. I agree totally with you about the sissonne failli in Bluebird. I would love to see a dancer do it that way on stage. :shake:

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the Soviet heroic style had its propaganda uses, and they didn't fit too closely with Balanchine's aestheti-- in fact, he "got it" with htose guys and hated it.

BUT Paul Taylor kind liked the hunky heroic look, and so did actually Martha Graham, though she didn't go so much for letting the guys steal the show; Gerald Arpino could have used him. In an earlier day, Ted Shawnwould have loved him. Jerom Robbins could use him in the Walpurgisnachty flamboyant section of The Seasons.

Vladimirov looks magnificent when hthe line is not heavily turned-out; Acteon shows the beauty of a turned-in line and movements that go to the knee, and Vladimirov is wonderfully sculptural thgughout htat variation.

I DO have a problem with his lines, and his technique in more classical pieces like Bluebird; in those sissonne faillis, his loft is marvelous, ity's GREAT the way he goes UP-- but it';s the coming down: in the landings his back collapses as his standing leg goes into fondu; he moves out of it qukcly and makes a strong recovery into the assemble that follows, so hte pitch forward is very fleeting, but still, it's ugly.

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It's GREAT the way he goes UP-
I'm confused about this. The elevation is power are impressive. But doesn't it look overly effortful, in the bluebird and the other YouTube video, assuming that is the same "Vladimirov"? I can't take my eyes away from the way he uses his arms and shoulders to project himself into the air. I feel like I can actually hear a "grunt" as he rises.

"Flamoyant" comes from the French word for "flame" and has a neutral meaning when used as a descriptive in architecture. But isn't it a perjorative when it comes to classical dancing?

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Yes, it does seem like with all that effort going up, he could have been coached to exert equal determination in the landing... but maybe he's so focused on going up that there's no room left for the landing.. :) ? I'm beginning to wonder if jumping wasn't more a 19th century hallmark than a 20th century choreographic element. I'm not sure why... whether the demand for increased flexibility initially came with a cost in elevation or what...

What has become of the Soviet heroic style... has it turned into dance-drama like Eifman? Or has it been thoroughly rejected with the rest of the soviet ideology?

Balanchine seemed to use Villella in pieces with jumps and d'Ambosie could really get to flying around... but.. .maybe it's just that I don't usually think of male solos when I think of Balanchine. It's odd, because I seem to remember there was something to do with jumping in Balanchine the dancer... wasn't there?

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