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NPR Reports on Bolshoi Upheaval


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Gregory Feifer reports from Moscow on the recent ups and downs and ups of the Bolshoi Ballet. Included are interviews with Alexei Ratmansky, Nikolai Tsiskaridze (criticizing Ratmansky, but apparently feeling secure enough to do so) and Ludmilla Semenyaka (supporting Ratmansky). A very interesting and engaging report.

You can access the audio --> here.

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Thank you for the link, carbro.

I know we all crave ballet coverage from the media, but it's not like Ratmansky's directorsip is all that new, and I hate when they get it wrong: Ratmansky inherited the Donnellan Romeo and Juliet from his predecessor, and it hardly indicative of the scope of his programming. The report mentioned his own choreography once, from an arts critic, but no descriptions or indication that Bright Stream, for example, has gotten fine reviews.

If this was going to be tied to the closure of the Bolshoi Theatre, they might have done some actual reporting about what this means to the company and the dancers.

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The report talked about several years' recent history as if it were up-to- the-minute news. It also gave a not-positive impression of Ratmansky's

directorship more by implication (Tsiskaridze's comments) than by statement.

What I found inaccurate is the impression that the company is on a downslide.

I think the opposite is closer to the actual facts. The company, in my view, is a testament to the health and well-being of classical dance.

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I seem to remember a recent interview with Ratmansky in which he stated that he liked a third of the company, tolerated another third and would like to sack the rest. Not surprising that some of the troops are feeling mutinous.

If moral is shaky, it doesn’t show and I agree with Chiapuris that the company is in terrific form at the moment so Ratmansky must be doing something right.

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The audience at tonight's premiere of Mr. Ratmansky's Russian Seasons for New York City Ballet more than made up for NPR's journalistic embarrassment. His new work was greeted with sustained applause and cheers, reaching maximum volume each time Ratmansky appeared for a bow. And the dancers looked radiantly happy with what he'd just given them. If Bolshoi doesn't want him, ...!

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Embarrassing piece of pseudo-journalism.

Particularly the Tsiskaridze quote (more or less saying he'd long been the face of the company and should have gotten Ratmansky's job) should have made a reporter think twice whether the Bolshoi was really going down, or whether one or two dancers had an ego problem.

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Embarrassing piece of pseudo-journalism.

Particularly the Tsiskaridze quote (more or less saying he'd long been the face of the company and should have gotten Ratmansky's job) should have made a reporter think twice whether the Bolshoi was really going down, or whether one or two dancers had an ego problem.

Ego problem? Tsiskaridze? Nah! :)

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Embarrassing piece of pseudo-journalism.

Particularly the Tsiskaridze quote (more or less saying he'd long been the face of the company and should have gotten Ratmansky's job) should have made a reporter think twice whether the Bolshoi was really going down, or whether one or two dancers had an ego problem.

Yes, it seems to me that the biggest problem is that Tsiskaridze's nose is out of joint.

I don't know if it is all due to Ratmansky but I see a huge improvement. If you compare the 1989(or88)

Swan Lake video or the Bayadere from around the same period with the Pharaoh's Daughter and some other recent performances, the degree of improvement is really. really impressive as Mashinka and Chiapuris have pointed out.

I would guess that there is also a "new broom" situation, which always unsettles people.

Interesting that Semenyaka speaks out for change.

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I can't listen to the audio - would somebody let me know the gist of what is being said by the various parties?
The story is prompted by the impending closing (for extensive renovations) of the Bolshoi Theater, but it focuses on an evaluation of Ratmansky.

As richard53dog points out, there are those who like the changes. And there are those who don't. I agree with Richard that the company is looking mighty fine of late -- or at least they were last summer.

For me, the biggest surpise was the chesty depth of Semenyaka's voice. Quickly, off the top of my head, I'd compare it to Elizabeth Ashley's, but more mumbly.

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Actually, carbro, the Bolshoi Theater closing is not impending.

It's been closed since summer of 2005.

Performances since then have taken place at the New Stage, the smaller theater on the side of the Bolshoi.

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I hope you'll expand on that, WindFlyer. What have you seen them do? Who danced? Do you have any favorite Bolshoi dancers? Ballets?

I also hope you'll post an introduction on our Welcome Page, perhaps how you came to love ballet, or what brought you to us.

Thanks! :wub:

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