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Bolshoi N.Am. -'Raymonda' reviews/comments


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As the much-anticipated 2004 North American tour of the Bolshoi Ballet begins this week, I've started threads in which all of us who attend performances may input our comments & reviews. Here's the one for 'Raymonda,' which opens the run this coming Wednesday (Oct 6) in Boston. 'Raymonda' will also be performed in Mexico City, Berkeley & Chicago.

I look forward to reading all of your observations!

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The tour opened last night in Boston, with this ballet. Any 'BalletAlerters' there? Please let us know your thoughts!

The two reviews in the Boston newspapers (posted by Ari in the 'Links' forum, October 7 thread) are real downers; one of them is headlined 'Bolshoi Bombs in Boston.' Ouch! Was it THAT bad?

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I was really looking forward to seeing Raymonda because I'd only ever seen variations from it. The problem was there was not much personality, no sparkle. The Bolshoi women were lovely dancers. The men were forgettable unfortunately.

I saw The Pharoah's Daughter in London with Zakharova (I thought she was stunning). Though my view was obstructed, the company seemed to be in much finer form in London.

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I was there and I was stunned by the poor reviews the Gracheva, Filin, Belogolovtsev cast of Raymonda received in the Boston papers. I couldn’t disagree more strongly, especially with regard to Gracheva. She was exquisite. And the audience was quite appreciative.

This Raymonda is a tale of courtly love that unfolds slowly like a beautiful, intricate, richly layered tapestry. The scenery is a bit austere, and there were a few “star wars” touches to some of the crusaders costumes, but nothing like the Disney meets Miami Vice costumes & scenery ABT brought us.

Gracheva and Filin brought out many of the themes that we normally associate with ballets like the Sleeping Beauty - the continuity of a royal line, respect for court traditions - and the maintenance and defense of a culture, a way of life. Gracheva’s technique was superb, and she and Filin brought out all the richness and nuance of the story through their dancing. Filin showed a wonderful clean line and high leaps, he was a very dashing knight. Gracheva had rock solid technique - wonderful, secure balances, high extensions and the most gorgeous phrasing & musicality I’ve seen in a long time. She is a true classicist - regal, royal, majestic, but she also radiated warmth. Her back & torso were wonderfully straight and centered, and her arms were beautiful. She has an amazing ability to slow down time, to present a series of steps, perfectly articulated and crystalline and fit perfectly within the musical phrase. She never appeared rushed, her dancing was lush and plush and she gave each movement it’s full measure. She did not distort the music in any way, yet she danced as if she had all the time in the world. I remember hearing a description of Ulanova “like cream pouring from a pitcher”. I’m not comparing the two dancers, but that’s the feeling I got from Gracheva.

The only flaw I could see in Gracheva’s portrayal is that Raymonda is supposed to be a young girl, and she did not look young. I also saw her in Don Q, and there it was apparent that speed & turns are not her strong point but none of that came into play in Raymonda. She and Filin had wonderful chemistry from the start, and by the end of the ballet they just radiated the glow of a regal couple who were not only very much in love, but one whose union had an air of inevitability about it.

I also saw Maria Allash with Alexander Volchkov and Rinat Arifulin. What a difference, they were a totally lackluster 2nd cast. Allash looked young and beautiful, and her dancing had a certain delicacy to it, but none of Gracheva’s grandeur or graciousness, no phrasing or plastique. Also there was no feeling of growth in her characterization. She and Vochkov had absolutely no chemistry between them, they danced like strangers and with no regard to the story (let alone a back story). As if in response to the lead couple the whole production seemed very flat the second night, and the audience response was noticably muted compared to the first night.

All of the supporting roles were well done. Alexandrova and Shipulina were the first cast Clemence &Henriette. MA looked like a dancer of great promise but Shipulina was the one I really loved. In addition to Nelli Kobakhidze, Ekaterina Krysanova really impressed me. Both Abderakhmans were effective and all of the character dancers were great - the Saracen couple (both casts), spanish dance, czardas and especially Anna Antropova & Gregory Geraskin’s mazurka.

It is a long ballet, especially the first act, and it can flounder without great performances from the leading couple. Gracheva & Filin kept me mesmerized throughout their performance but, to be fair, I did overhear a couple of comments like silly & boring, and someone voiced a complaint about the first act that I found interesting. They said that “nothing happened for the last 35 minutes”. In a way they were right, there’s very little narrative progression, but each one of those gorgeous variations illuminates the development of Raymonda’s character, of her relationship to the court and with Jeanne de Brienne. I don’t think I would recommend Raymonda to anyone who doesn’t absolutely love classical ballet. Anyone who has a hard time sitting through a traditional version of Sleeping Beauty or Swan Lake should skip Raymonda. But if you love 19th century classical ballet - this is a combination of pure Petipa and the kind of character dancing Russian companies are justly famous for.

The only thing I agree with the critics on - the male quartet of soloists in the third act was ragged, very much below the level I expected

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Thank you for the wonderful review , nysusan. That's the Gracheva I know & admire, for sure. I was wondering if the newspaper reviewers were so put-off by the cumbersome plot that it tainted their thoughts on the lead soloists.

jbtlse - This is a relatively young set of soloists & corps. In reviewing the Boston roster, I can now tell that the majority of seasoned soloists (mid- & coryphee level) AND corps de ballet stayed behind in Moscow. The Olga Suvorovs, Nina Kaptsovas, Andrei Bolotins and Dmitri Gudanovs are not here.

On the positive side: Perhaps the Ratmansky regime is being generous to all dancers, allowing many who missed the UK tour to do the North Am tour? That is great, as every major tour allows dancers to earn more-per-performance than s/he would earn back home. In olden days, the corps de ballet & coryphee-level soloists were always the same, for every tour.

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Just a few comments. Dmitry Gudanov was promoted to a principal in the end of last season. Normally he does not take part in the ballets, which are touring

US now. He is engaged in the performances in Moscow. When the major part of the company is on tour, we have here in Moscow ballets, which are not very crowded – mostly “Giselle” and “La Sylphide”. Gudanov, one of our best romantic dancers, is engaged in both.

In general the rank and the scale of the company allows both touring and home performances with preservation of the quality. At least I hope it happens this time too. The rest is the matter of taste and preferences. For example I think “Raymonda” to be one of the gems of the classics in spite of the quality of the story ( it is either bad or very bad – depending on the staging). But I am ready to accept it for the sake of the richness of dancing and music. New “R&J” is not among my favorites, but it’s construction is very theatrical and the dancers have a chance to manifest their dramatic skills. The weakest point, as I see it, is choreography, especially in solos and duets. This is my personal opinion, and I am eager to learn how it all looks for the ballet lovers overseas.

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Thanks for this, ina. Happy to hear that Gudanov has finally made principal! I have very mixed feelings about the 'R&J' -- it is 'total theater' (good) but it SHOULD also be a romantic ballet, with beautiful pas de deux between the hero & heroine. Maybe our first-time US audiences can tell us if it works on both levels? I have my opinion but I would rather hear from our first-time viewers.

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I'm just moving these review-links here, as they relate to 'Raymonda,' and not 'Giselle':

Copied over from Links:

The Bolshoi Ballet opened its North American tour last night in Boston.

Christine Temin in the Boston Globe


"There's another act?" my companion asked after we'd reached what could have passed for an ending. There is another act, and it's the reason to see "Raymonda." After all the preening and parading are over, after the Infidels have been chased away, there's the wedding, where all pretense of plot is abandoned. Thank goodness. The dancing wakes up.

As Raymonda, Nadezhda Gracheva was skilled but mannered, as if she'd performed the part a few too many times. Her partner, Sergey Filin, was a more dynamic presence. As the smitten Saracen, Dmitry Belogolovtsev looked like he'd studied Rudolf Valentino movies. The hokiest moment was the pas de deux for Raymonda and the Saracen: It's tough to reject an unwanted suitor convincingly when he's holding you up as you pirouette, and Gracheva and Belogolovtsev didn't manage the effect.

Theodore Bale in the Boston Herald


American ballet companies rarely perform the full-length "Raymonda,'' so Bank of America Celebrity Series' presentation of the legendary Bolshoi Ballet and Orchestra in this 19th century classic seemed like an overdue treat for Boston.

Unfortunately, this is a production one has to work hard to enjoy. It's perplexing, because the Bolshoi dancers are without doubt extraordinary artists, and the musicians more than capable. The sets and costumes are lavish. So why is this "Raymonda'' a mostly neutral experience?

The problem rests with Yury Grigorovich's average choreography (with "extracts,'' whatever that means, from the original production by Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky) as well as Glazunov's forgettable score. One becomes easily tired of these dull, meandering melodies and the lack of musical variation. Tchaikovsky this is not.

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. . . Glazunov's forgettable score. One becomes easily tired of these dull, meandering melodies and the lack of musical variation. Tchaikovsky this is not.

Sorry if I go slightly off topic here, but re: the score, is Mr. Bale being a little petty ? OK, the Bolshoi production isn't his cup of tea. Its true that "Raymonda" as a ballet score isn't "Sleeping Beauty," but it does have some lovely segments. Glazunov wasn't as prolific as the master (Tchaikovsky), but its obvious that he was greatly influenced by his approach to ballet composition.

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The entire review shows Mr. Bale's naivete with ballet and its history. He gave no concrete reasons --such as technical faults -- why the evening's performance was so poor, in his mind. He'd probably never heard of Glazunov until that performance.

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re: the Bale review - I agree, it should be taken with a grain of salt. I love Glazunov's score for Raymonda, I Iisten to parts of it all the time. I think it contains some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. And I can't tell you how many times I have watched those Dudinskaya/Sergeyev and Kolpakova/ Semenov Raymonda excerpts. The reviewer made it clear that he didn't like the music or the choreography, so I didn't really give his opinion much credence. After trashing the music & choreography it wasn't surprising to me that he didn't like the performances either.

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  . . . I can't tell you how many times I have watched those Dudinskaya/Sergeyev and Kolpakova/ Semenov Raymonda excerpts.

Ditto that nysusan! Grigorovich's version is good, but Sergueyev's is best. There's

100% more jumping and dancing for Raymonda in Petersburg than in

the Bolshoi version. (IMHO the Maryinsky Act 3 has the most paprika :wink:) .

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I saw Raymonda in Berkeley on Sunday afternoon. I haven't been smitten like this since the first time I saw Liebeslieder Walzer in 1986. Each act has more dancing than many full-lengths. (I now understand the temptation ABT had to condense it). It was like going into a fabric store and finding yard after yard of beautiful, vibrant brocades, silks, satins, velvets, and lace. I was smiling non-stop for hours afterward, even on BART and at the airport, and that never happens.

I've heard the plot described as both thin and convoluted. I thought it was very straightforward: Act I: A young noblewoman is betrothed to a young knight. All is happy until he is called away to fight on a crusade. (Dressed completely in white.) After they part, she has a dream about him that morphs into a nightmare of sorts: she's pursued by a strange man, and she wakes anxiously. Much dancing to establish the court and the relationships. Act II: Somewhat like Penelope when Odysseus is away, Raymond is pressured by her aunt, the Countess, to accept the attentions of a wealthy Saracen. When she rejects him after he makes quite a show of it, he tries to abduct her. Just in time, her betrothed shows up with his knights. (With not a spot on his white costume.) The King (of Hungary) tells the two men to settle this through single combat. (Still no spots.) The young knight is victorious, and pledges his love to her. Among other things, big spectacle of dance as the Saracen shows off his riches, and a wonderful classical pas de deux to end the act. Act III: Wedding celebration. Lots of dancing to celebrate wedding.

What I found interesting about the plot is that the King of Hungary, Andrew II, one of whose wives was a French woman, and who led Crusades, did not capture the Saracen and have him killed after extolling the superiority of Christendom, nor did he encourage a full-scale battle, neither of which would have changed the scene much dramatically. Nor did he simply "reward" Jean de Brienne with Raymonda after a Crusade well done. He let the knight, Jean de Brienne, fight the Saracen, Abderakhman, as an equal. The ballet itself does not treat Abderakhman as an equal, though, but as a stock Easterner character with the combination of virility, fury, despotism, and foolish machismo depicted in Rossini's L'Italiana in Algieri and Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio.

Anna Antonicheva danced Raymonda. I'm of two minds about her: much of her dancing was exquisite, particularly the scarf dance and the wonderful pas de six showcasing Raymond and her two friends, danced beautifully by Olga Stebletsova and Maria Allash, and Abderakhman. I thought the entire dream scene enchanting, as the curtain rose to show the corps, with their blue-grey tutus, in a pattern that looked like a flower from where I was sitting, and lit at twilight. Antonicheva has lovely lines and at her best, sweep, but I felt like she faded in and out of the performance a bit during the classical parts of the first two acts. As a character, while she was a very nice, well-brought up young woman, I didn't really feel that she conveyed much pathos. The paucity of mime didn't help: for example at the beginning of Act II, clearly she is not happy that her Aunt wants her to take the Saracen seriously and couldn't care less about the absent Jean de Brienne or Raymonda's feelings for him, but without mime Raymond has little way of conveying this, other than to look a bit subdued. Antonicheva's Raymonda became a much more interesting person in Act III, showing a lot of spark in the character-driven choreography.

I liked Sergey Filin's Jean de Brienne very much: he had clean lines and was open and attentive to his Raymonda, while showing enough moxie to convince that he was a formidable knight. After winning the battle in Act II, and after a public scene with lots of rushing around by the beaten Saracens, the way in which he quietly knelt and kissed Raymonda's hands was one of the most romantic pieces of theater I've ever seen. In the Dream Sequence, Dmitry Belogolovtsev's Abderakhman started out a bit watery, much like his Basilio in Don Quixote; this character would have no chance against Filin's Jean de Brienne. He really picked it up in the second act, where he was a formidable, if a bit campy, foe, with a combination of passion and lust for Raymonda, ultimately throwing himself at her feet, dead, but with great dramatic flourish. Ksenia Sorokina and Alexander Petukhov danced the Saracen duet in Act II boldly, in technicolor, leading swirling masses of Abderakhman's court.

The Act III character dances were vivid yet contrasting, with the Mazurka led by Anna Antropova and Georgy Geraskin with upright, aristocratic carriage, and the Hungarian performed deep in the knees and sultry by a treasure, Yulianna Malkhasyants, and Timofey Lavrenyuk. The Grand Pas de Deux that followed was danced quite joyfully, like a giant weight had lifted, and Raymond could come into her own.

Two young women were standouts: Nelli Kobakhidze, who popped out of the Act III corps, and especially Ekaterina Krysanova, who, in superb performances of the Second Variation in the Dream Sequence and the variation in the Grand Pas, infused her phrasing with a remarkable energy that was different from any of the other dancers I've seen in the Company. By not committing to a direction until the last minute, yet never distorting the phrase, she created a sense of the unexpected and a vibrancy that fueled the most consistently alive classical dancing of the afternoon.

And to think that there's an even better version at the Maryinsky!

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Please remember that this is one of the few ballets that has actual historical characters. Jean de Brienne was the real Crusader King of Jerusalem, and although he was married several times, once to a French noblewoman, none of them was named "Raymonda". He hung out mostly in Constantinople. Although most productions make King Andrew II a sort of senior statesman, de Brienne had about 25 years on him, and treated him like a kid. I don't believe Raymonda is well-served by telescoping characters, one into another.

Poor old King Andy seems to have been overshadowed by the women in his life. His first wife was Gertrude of Meran, who had an in with the Teutonic Knights, the same bunch of soldier-monks that Alexander Nevsky threw out of Russia in the 15th century, and his second wife was Yolande de Courtenay. Andrew II is chiefly remembered today as the father of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. Still, no Raymondas.

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The Bolshoi Ballet’s production of Raymonda (11/12/04) in Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre was a revelation for me. Raymonda can be said to be a balletomane’s favorite work for the reasons that:

1) It is a storehouse of Petipa come down to us through the work of all the conservators who have kept the variations and the ballabiles from disappearing.

2) It is a vehicle ‘par excellence’ for the display of classical dancing.

3) It has a great score (Glazunov), even if it is your belief that Tchaikovsky’s scores are unsurpassed.

The revelation for me was that the production of some 170 minutes had not a dull minute in it. (Well, OK, maybe just a FEW minutes of the superfluous ‘click clack’ dances of the retinue of Abderrakhman in the second act.) Mime as a conveyor of story-telling is minimized, and the chief means of expression is through dancing, principally danse d’ecole, supplemented by character/national/social styles.

Another revelation for me was that Raymonda served as an excellent vehicle for the dancing of Nadezhda Gracheva, showing off her gifts to maximum effect. I had seen Ms Gracheva as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake (in Detroit) and as Aurora in Sleeping Beauty

(in Moscow), and I had decided that I just could not appreciate her art. During this performance of Raymonda it struck me that Ms Gracheva may have an affinity for the music of Glazunov, because unlike my earlier (somewhat negative) impressions of her, I found her dancing crystalline and unmannered.

Her arabesques impressed me as one of the high accomplishments of dancing on contemporary stages. They are so pure they seem like feats of virtuosity reaching a stage of nonchalance. I guess I’m a convert.

Ruslan Skvortsov as Jean was a gallant partner and a confident, virtuosic performer.

He also has striking good looks. This was a pairing that magnified the gifts of the two dancers—synergy at work.

The first act seemed beautifully put together, with the introductory scenes flowing, with a steady pace, into the dream scene. The early scenes gave us the dancing of Maria Alaxandrova (Clemence) and Ekaterina Shipulina (Henriette). It was exciting to see them dance in unison. Their partnered work, as well as the adage with Ms Gracheva were first-rate.

The dream scene (there’s always a dream scene; why? is it because dreams are outside logic?) had many riches but I’ll mention only two- my two favorite Bolshoi K’s.

Ms Kobakhidze in the first variation, and the young Ms Krysanova in the second variation, are the most convincing signs that ballet is alive and well and thriving and has a bright future (or ought to).

Both have a musical intelligence that lifts their dancing from entertainment into art.

But art of what? Ballet, for me, is the explication in art of the human body with the principles of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Ballet’s concern is in displaying

the complexity and intricacy of Vitruvian humanity- the structure of the physical body.

(It’s not about ecology, or the torment of the soul, or mothers-in-law. Its subject matter is as much a concern of 21st c. humanity as it was a concern in any other century; its central subject is not passé).

In the second act, Dmitry Belogolovtsev, as Aberrrakhman, created a menacing anti-hero with bravura dancing of high quality. In his retinue, Yulia Lunkina and Denis Medvedev were a colorful pair in blue feathers, fire-birdish, in an ‘orientale’duet. Maria Isplatovskaya and Anna Balukova were exotic with long black hair and red costumes in a Spanish dance.

In the third act, I’ll only mention some standouts:

a) The male pas de quatre with well-synchronized young dancers for the double tours section, all with secure and generous demi-plie landings. A joy.

b) The Grand Pas variation of Ms Krysanova. She covered what seemed like every inch of the stage, as if claiming it as her rightful domain. Exciting dancing.

c) The Grand Hungarian Dance led by Yulianna Malkhsyants and Timofey Lavenyuk with authority and style.

d) Lastly, Ms Gracheva’s Grand pas variation was an elegant study of economy in art – where all flourishes and non-essentials are discarded, so that only the brightly etched core of the choreographic line remains.

Thanks to one and all in the Bolshoi Ballet!

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Chiapuris, I'm so glad you were able to give us that review. My only response is: Yeah, what she said.

I am speechless with wonder over the detail and richness of your review. I was there, and I didn't see (or, I don't remember) half that stuff!

I liked it too. Though, I'm still marveling over the fact that Raymonda shows up at court in a tutu when everyone else is in luscious period costume, and no one bats an eye. Some things about ballet are just too weird to interpret logically.

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Thanks Treefrog.

I guess the convention of having the leading lady in tutu while all the rest are

in "luscious period costume, and no one bats an eye" is just a convention that

lets the audience know who to keep their eyes on. There is no logical interpretation!

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Hey all --

Thanks for all your WONDERFUL reports --

Raymonda was thrilling for me, I could have seen it every day for a week -- well, I might have gotten bored during Grigoriev's corps work in Act 2, but he left so much fabulous Petipa in his version, there were tasty intricacies in there that made me quite wild with delight, over and over. The dancers looked in many cases very young, and eager and delighted with their tasks and enormously talented and SO ready to get out there. The 2 Misses K made me bravo them in the dream sequence -- the arabesque hops of the former and the cabrioles of the latter were so musical, so delightful, I could not believe I'd seen something for real that so closely corresponded to the way I'd WANT to see them

I wrote a review of it for DanceViewtimes, which I hope you'll check out -- it's at


So I won't say all that all over again --

But I will say that Allash had a very good day Sat afternoon and danced with more joy and spirit than Antonicheva did the night before. She got happy in her toe-hops and really DANCED, like the kids were doing.

Volchkov is a thrilling dancer -- his Act 3 variation included a diagonal with a fouette-saute, where with the back leg in arabesque he brought the standing foot up to passe in mid air and then LANDED the jump on the knee -- calm as Fadeyechev, and he did it perfectly 3 times. But he is not very big next to Allash; he's slender, especially in the thigh, and I was a little worried about the big lifts -- and at the end of Act 2, the big Soviet overhead press-lift at the end of her pas de deux with Jean (after Abderakhman has been despatched) began to come undone as he carried her, one-handed, the whole diagonal of the stage; she was sliding forward, but neither betrayed any anxiety, and Volchkov managed to get her near the front corner and subside onto his knees as he gently but noticeably dropped her; whereupon she pushed herself up with her hands, smiled at him as if to say "You ARE my savior" -- and suddenly we in love with them both. A huge emotion swept through the house. Such spontaneous graciousness, such modesty, such exemplary behavior in front of all the children in the house that afternoon (the Russian families had come out in force) -- you felt like you'd just seen a revelation of the old traditions. Now that's chivalry.

I wish I'd seen Gracheva.

And now I know I want to see the Kirov's version.

PS Probably Allash wasn't helping Volchkov enough in that lift -- it came at the very end of the second act, and both were surely tired. It takes incredible abs to hold the legs out horizontal with support only under the lower back....

The thing that impressed me though, was the way neither of them let blame enter into the question, and the way he went to the floor for her -- as in ballroom dancing; it's always the gentleman's fault.

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After generating mixed reviews on both coasts, would the Bolshoi be too tired, bored, or injured to produce good performances here? I went to the 12th November (Gracheva, Skvortsov, Belogolovtsev) and 13th November evening (Antonicheva, Filin, Klevtsov) performances of Raymonda, partly because, while Glazunov isn't Tchaikovsky, it isn't Minkus, either, and partly because I had such a good time watching ABT's Raymonda in New York in June. (The second reason turned out to be silly.) I was impressed right away by the excellence of the Bolshoi orchestra, and only wished it weren't made to sound thick and shrill when loud by the totally unnecessary amplification inflicted on pit orchestras by the Auditorium Theatre in recent years.

But when the curtain went up, I was delighted by the excellent strong lighting, which was weaker upstage, giving a very agreeable impression of depth, but making everyone rounded and present, not flattened. The drops reminded me of pastel chalk drawings on dark paper, and the corps tutus in the Dream scene, with their thin layer of gauzy black over white harmonized very well with the drops, making the most handsome stage picture of the evening. (The Dream was lit in blue here, not in the green that annoyed Rita Felciano in the Bay area, according to her review on Dance View Times.)

As the evening unfolded, both I and my dancer companion on Saturday prefered the choreography of Acts I and III to most of II: "Broadway," my friend said, although it had its moments.

So, could they still dance? I had a better time watching Antonicheva and Filin than Gracheva and Skvortsov; while Gracheva had lovely moments - lots of them, actually, it's such a big role - Antonicheva seemed to me consistently better - clearer, crisper, more enlivened. And Filin's consistently clean line, already noted here, gave his dancing big effect. "He's good!" said my companion. Much of this company, we noticed, looks "loose" in the sense that limbs are not so energized and controlled from the center of the body, but Filin is one of the superb exceptions. And Belogolovtsev seemed to me more effective than Klevtsov in what is, after all, an unsympathetic role.

But Krysanova! What vitality! What bouyancy! Luckily she and Antropova as well as Alexandrova danced both evenings. My companion's sharp dancer's eyes noticed Krysanova "rolls through the foot" going on and off pointe, while Antonicheva seemed to move her foot from the ankle. I think this helps to account for this demi's bouyancy. As my companion remarked at the end, "What kind of a company is it where the demis are better than the principals?"

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"What kind of a company is it where the demis are better than the principals?"

I enjoyed your review of the two Raymondas, Jack Reed.

As for your friend's question, I think it suggests a company that gives us a lot to look forward in the future.

My understanding of the comment that Krysanova rolls through the foot to reach point, is that generally the Bolshoi dancers favor shoes whose construction leads to a quick rise on point without the intermediate rolling of the foot and then quickly down; unlike the tradition of French training [and SAB and other schools], of through the foot rise to point.

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"What kind of a company is it where the demis are better than the principals?"

Well, it's true, Krysanova WAS fabulous.

But.... Raymonda is a MUCH more difficult role than Krysanova's -- it's generally admitted to be the most difficult ballerina role of all. She does so much unsupported dancing. Raymonda has 6 or 7 solos in every style, they exploit every aspect of the techniquefrom big jumps to hops on pointe to hops in deep arabesque fondu to extremely exposed solo adagio -- she piques to arabesque, rolls down into fondu with the back leg at 100 degrees, then steps straight backwards onto pointe in passe, rolls down into fondu, repeats that, then takes one tiny extra step and repeats ALL THAT on the other side, at an extremely slow tempo. And that's only the adage.

IMHO it's actually a sign of a great company when those who perform supporting roles are particularly delightful in brightening their corners.

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