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Natalia

'Gayane' and other USSR-era films on VAI

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Video Artists International (VAI) seems to be on a wonderful 'kick' releasing many Soviet-ers treasures from Russia and other USSR republics! Amazon.com has just posted the Anisimova/Khachaturian full-evening ballet 'Gayaneh' (or 'Gayne') among various VAI ballet offerings to be released in July 2007. They also include a 'Baiser de la Fee,' the original Yuri Vladimirov 'Ivan the Terrible,' Maximova-Vasiliev in 'Fragments from a Biography,' etc, etc.

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This page lists some more exciting future releases, like Alonso's Giselle and the Sleeping Beauty with Sizova and Soloviev!

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This page lists some more exciting future releases, like Alonso's Giselle and the Sleeping Beauty with Sizova and Soloviev!

Thanks for the list, canbelto! Both the Alonso Giselle and SB with Sizova were long-ago released to the general public on VHS. Of course, it is nice to know that they are being reissued in DVD for folks who have not had a chance to acquire the tapes.

My excitement about the latest slew of VAI releases -- such as Gayaneh -- is that they have never-ever been released before commercially, in any form (VHS or DVD).

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Does anyone know if the Anisimova/Khachaturian full-evening ballet 'Gayaneh' is the same as the excerpts on the VAI Khachaturian documentary? Thanks in advance!

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Since making the original posting, I've found out that the Gayane is by the Riga, Latvia, troupe, as it stars their 'prima' of the 1970s and 80s, Larisa Tuisova.

I haven't seen the VAI Khachaturian documentary, so don't know about the excerpts.

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I'm the opposite: I have seen the Khachaturian doc. but not the Anisimova/Khach. Gayne. (I have this amazing doc. on tape so if you wanted to tell me the excerpts on the film...)

BTW this doc. is my favourite favorite. I love this doc. more than Ballet Russes. I could watch it all night and never get bored! Plus, I admire Aram greatly. It's truly a treasure to have. :flowers:

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I contacted VAI and found out that the "Gayne" DVD they're releasing features the Latvian ballet and was broadcast on Soviet Television. The producer of the “Khachaturian” documentary did not know where the “Gayne” excerpts came from, only saying it was a “folk” troupe.

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I just contacted VAI about their new ballet releases. VAI has no plans for a release of Ivan the Terrible at this juncture. Fragments of a Biography is now available for purchase. It is coupled with Trapeze, also starring Maximova and Vasiliev. We are also negotiating for a release of Romeo and Juliet with Maximova and Vasiliev.

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The Ivan the Terrible w/ Yuri Vladimirov is already out. Sorry, it's by Kultur, not VAI. Try 'DVD - ballet ' at the Amazon.com search engine.

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The Ivan the Terrible w/ Yuri Vladimirov is already out. Sorry, it's by Kultur, not VAI. Try 'DVD - ballet ' at the Amazon.com search engine.

Thanks Natalia. Ivan The Terrible will be released on Kultur.com and Amazon.com on July 31.

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I doubt that Riga’s “Gayane” is the one by Anisimova. Another version of Khachaturyan’s ballet was mounted there in 1976 by Boris Eiffman. It was one of his first choreographic works and as far as I know it was filmed. I also read before that Khachaturyan liked this interpretation of his music.

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I received and watched the GAYNE video a couple of weeks ago. Ina was correct in that the main performance on this DVD is the Eifman version, filmed at the Bolshoi Theater, performed by the Latvian troupe ca 1980. It's OK -- a delightful chance to see a version -- any version -- of the ballet with most of Khachaturian's glorious score. BUT the piece de resistance of this DVD is the complete final act of the original Anissimova version filmed ca-1965 as performed by the Bolshoi Ballet, with orchestra conducted by the composer. Ten WOWs to that! Not to be missed by anyone who adores balletic-character dancing, 'Soviet style'! Guaranteed depression-buster for any ballet lover who may be feeling the blues at any time!

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BUT the piece de resistance of this DVD is the complete final act of the original Anissimova version filmed ca-1965 as performed by the Bolshoi Ballet, with orchestra conducted by the composer. Ten WOWs to that! Not to be missed by anyone who adores balletic-character dancing, 'Soviet style'! Guaranteed depression-buster for any ballet lover who may be feeling the blues at any time!

I bought this dvd and got so excited after seeing the Anisimova version that I rushed to BT and was thrilled to read Natalia's post.

I hadn't realized that Anisimova had been one of the greatest Russian character dancers as well as a choreographer. In fact Stupnikov writes, "With the exception perhaps of Irina Gensler, Anisimova was the last great character dancer on the Soviet stage. Later generations have tried to imitate her, but they have only proven very good copies, not the original."

He also writes:

"As a choreographer, Anisimova attained creative maturity in Gayane--her most famous work--where her mastery of character dance was united with a classicism that made for a complete and convincing artistic whole. Her best productions confirmed the significance of national dance, and showed its ability to resolve the potential conflict between "classical" and "character styles in a single ballet."

"And indeed, since her day the role of character dance in the Soviet Union has become something of a problem; sadly, choreographers like Grigorovich, Belsky, or Vinogradov have not used it in the way that Russia had grown accustomed to--in the way that Petipa, for instance used it. In Grigorovich's Swan Lake, therefore, pointe shoes have replaced heeled character shoes in all of the national dances. It is certainly interesting to see the Mazurka or the Spanish dance performed on pointe; but it seems a strange tendency in late twentieth-century Russian choreography to ignore, or dismiss, character dancing."

from Igor Stupnikov in The International dictionary of Ballet, page 35

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Thanks, innopac, for your expression of joy at the Annisimova portion of this DVD and for the Stupnikov quotation. However, I disagree with Stupnikov's assertion that Gensler was "the last" of the great Soviet character dancers. How about Yuliana Malkhasyants of the current Bolshoi troupe? Perhaps Stupnikov was thinking only of Leningrad-St. Petersburg.

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Thanks, innopac, for your expression of joy at the Annisimova portion of this DVD and for the Stupnikov quotation. However, I disagree with Stupnikov's assertion that Gensler was "the last" of the great Soviet character dancers. How about Yuliana Malkhasyants of the current Bolshoi troupe? Perhaps Stupnikov was thinking only of Leningrad-St. Petersburg.

Natalia, Stupnikov is just trying to make a point and he's right: character dancing in Russia is a dying art. Of course, Malkhasyants is a tremendous artist. It would be interesting to find out if during her career as dancer (which is now coming to an end) anybody ever created something substantial for her?

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Marc, I seem to recall that Kasatkina-Vasiliev created a Rite of Spring for her ca 1980. Also, she had a substantial dancing role in the reconstructed opera Mlada (along with Ananiashvili).

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However, I disagree with Stupnikov's assertion that Gensler was "the last" of the great Soviet character dancers. How about Yuliana Malkhasyants of the current Bolshoi troupe? Perhaps Stupnikov was thinking only of Leningrad-St. Petersburg.

The dictionary was published in 1993 so it isn't very up to date.

Youtube has a 2 part documentary, Character dance at the Bolshoi Theatre, and the Gipsy Dance from Don Quixote with Yuliana Malkhasyants.

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