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Canada's Bravo network will air Strictly Bolshoi on Saturday, December 6, at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT.

This film follows the world's most sought-after ballet choreographer, Christopher Wheeldon, as he becomes the first Englishman invited to create a new work for Moscow's prestigious Bolshoi Ballet.

www.bravo.ca

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This documentary was shown on British TV over Christmas last year and is absolutely fascinating. It was made by the Ballet Boyz. I would highly recommend watching it.

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Yes, the documentary is fascinating, and Anastasia Yatsenko in particular dances beautifully. But, oh my, the portrait of Nikolai Tsiskaridze that emerges is not flattering.

Most of all I was happy that a complete performances of Misericordes was included. Much as I love dance documentaries, my greatest frustration is not being able to see ballets in their entirety, so thanks to the makers for showing us the finished product.

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It was a wonderful show indeed volcanohunter, thank you so much for the heads up!!

mom2

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I finally managed to watch the entire thing on YouTube. I would agree that the documentary is marvelously entertaining for reasons which have nothing to do with Chris Wheeldon's finished ballet, Misericordes. All honors go to the Ballet Boyz for not producing a glorified fan video about Wheeldon.

A few more reflections:

1) The best part of the documentary is the scene where the Boyz lay into Chris Wheeldon -- in a humorous way -- for wasting so much time on an ill-advised attempt to make a ballet based on Hamlet. (He subsequently reverts back to semi-abstract territory with Misericordes.) The scene is funny but there is an undercurrent of tension there when Wheeldon rather tartly explains that he can't give the Boys any credit for his dance in the official program.

2) Nicolai Tsiskaridze borders on the ridiculous with his petulant behavior although it is kind of funny to see Chris Wheeldon become progressively more annoyed as Tsiskaridze busts out all his diva mannerisms. No surprise he has a framed portrait of Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in his living room!

3) Alexei Ratmansky enthuses about how Misericordes shows off the dancers' personalities better than the standard Bolshoi repertory does. I had the opposite reaction -- the dance looked like the standard, one-size-fits-all Chris Wheedon production superimposed on the dancers. I didn't get any sense of the dancers' personalities or of a lingering trace of Hamlet or of anything, really. The dance showed off the awe-inspiring musculature and flexibility of the Bolshoi dancers well enough but I couldn't help thinking that it was little more than a novelty in the greater history of the Bolshoi. Wherever the way forward for the Bolshoi lies I don't think it will be found in the abstract contortionism of Chris Wheeldon.

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I, too, watched it on YouTube and agree with all miliosr's comments.

I also enjoyed those late night conversations over tea (or..?), the excursion to St. Petersburg, and Wheeldon's own "talking head" (literally) interjections. In short, I'm glad it wasn't just a doc of class, rehearsal, ballet. But, like that picture of Cromwell, good to see 'warts and all' of everyone and not a "puff piece".

PS. I don't think "to sleep perchance to dream" is the most famous Hamlet quote, as Wheeldon says in the film; but rather, "To be or not to be?"

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Canada's Bravo network will air Strictly Bolshoi on Saturday, December 6, at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT.
This film follows the world's most sought-after ballet choreographer, Christopher Wheeldon, as he becomes the first Englishman invited to create a new work for Moscow's prestigious Bolshoi Ballet.

www.bravo.ca

I watched a video tape of this some time ago. Possibly from Bravo. It is a fascinating documentary but I cannot understand why, just WHY a well known and young choreographer would arrive in Moscow and at their invitation no less, to choreograph a ballet for the BOLSHOI (what an honor) and not be fully PREPARED! It seems to me that if you are invited to stage even a short piece for the most famous and greatest ballet company on the face of the earth such as the Bolshoi, you would spend months ahead of time preparing down to the last detail and arrive ready to go. I would be surprised if the Bolshoi would even invite him back after he wasted not only dancer's time but many rubles after costumes and a set was prepared for him at no little expense. I wonder, has he even learned a lesson from all this?

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But, oh my, the portrait of Nikolai Tsiskaridze that emerges is not flattering.

I thought it was fun seeing a good, old fashioned hissy fit in all its glory. I sometimes wonder where all the 'artistic temperament' has gone; apparently Tsiskaridze is the current keeper of the flame :wallbash: .

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But, oh my, the portrait of Nikolai Tsiskaridze that emerges is not flattering.

I thought it was fun seeing a good, old fashioned hissy fit in all its glory. I sometimes wonder where all the 'artistic temperament' has gone; apparently Tsiskaridze is the current keeper of the flame :) .

I recall seeing a long interview with Nicki as part of the extras for the Petit Pique Dame DVD. He was amazingly self absorbed there; I love how he almost went as far as referring to himself in the third person, which is the height of diva-dom. I also loved how he referred to himself as a "young artist"; it's how I always think of him now. He is certainly the keeper of the flame, he might want to keep a fire extinguisher handy for those flare ups, though. :wallbash:

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I loved Tsiskaridze's hissy fit in "Strictly Bolshoi" when he realized that Wheeldon's work wasn't going to be an old-fashioned star vehicle. It was entertaining, and I also in a way had to admire his candid reactions. I feel like many ballet documentaries feel very scripted and canned, with many stars saying pat truisms about art and hard work and dedication. (The recent film "Ballerina" was like this.) Tsiskaridze brings the entertainment.

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I thought the portrait of Wheeldon that emerged was less flattering. I probably would have been as frustrated as Tsiskaridze (though perhaps with different, less vain reasons!) with how Wheeldon was handling the rehearsal process. However, I appreciate Tsiskaridze as a good old-fashioned diva, among many other reasons.

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