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I saw the Nikya of Zakharova when she came to NY, and I recently saw the Asylmuratova video of Bayadere. Zakharova reminded me a lot of Asylmuratova. It wasnt just the physical resemblance, although both are tall and have dark features and look a lot alike. It wasnt the obvious training either, although both have wonderful long extensions, and that arched, arched back. But it was more like their persona -- how they seem mysterious, cold, icy, exotic, yet passionate at the same time.

Am I the only one who sees the similarity between the two wonderful dancers?

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Moiseyeva coached them; this may count for the similarities. Unfortunately, I've never seen Z dance and I would love to see her to compare notes. From the photos I've seen and the reviews I've read, Z has incredible extension without sacrificing control. She's also a dancer who polarizes because of this ability. Some people think its fabulous, while others think it distorts the design and distracts. Canbelto, IYO does this ability have a good or bad effect on her Nikiya in particular, and her technique in general?

I saw Altynai live in Bayadere, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty (Sergueyev's production) Paquita et al., and I have the the RB Bayadere tape. In Act 3 A always struck me as an angry Nikiya, with the sweeping force in her arms and steely port de bras. The effect was bracing - like a cold shower. Then, suddenly she was weightless in the six lifts in the pdd. For me, that was a huge contrast between the spiritual and emotional aspect of Nikiya's character. Here was a Shade that resented being murdered and Solor's betrayal - and she got the opportunity to vent that anger. Her control in the pirouettes of the scarf variation was excellent. In retrospect, A's technique and stage persona accomplished great effects with little fuss. Her performance was effortless. If Z was anything like this, I'd say she's building on a very good foundation.

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I have seen Zakharova in performance and Asylmuratova on tape. Personally I find them very, totally different dancers. Asylmuratova has dark hair and eyes, and her face has a slight Oriental air about it- high cheekbones, slanted eyes- while Zakharova is blonde and blue-eyed with a very Slav look. Asylmuratova is shorter in stature than Zakharova and her legs have more muscle tone. Zakharova places greater emphasis on her technique, while Asylmuratova is a much more dramatic dancer, she focuses more on telling a story.

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