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Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet Theatre

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When I first read bart's post on the Moscow troupe, I got confused thinking that we had seen the same company, but no... What I saw was the Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet Theatre, another small touring troupe of 12 Russians directed by Miss Marina Madvetskaya. I couldn't help by think how history is just repeating itself... groups of struggling Russian dancers trying to make a living out of their homeland using the never failing catch of their famous, legendary training. I also wonder if some of the names that were in the program were real, or if that other tradition of russianizing names is also coming back. It would be interesting to find out.

Anyway...this was an "interesting" production. It was, as the majority of the ex-soviet Nutcrackers, based on Vainonen's. Now, the problem came when I opened the program and saw this: "Music by Peter Tchaikovsky, with additional music by Shirley Evans: "Pretty Snowflakes" :wink: . Oh, Mon Dieu...! Some Shirley Evans next to Tchaikovsky...It had been said already... the end is certainly coming.

To make a long story short, I was to find out that that wherever this company goes, they have to team up with local sources in order to be able to put on with some type of Corps for certain scenes-(in this case basically the party goers, the ever omnipresent mice and angels, the snowflakes...AND THE "PRETTY SNOWFLAKES" :pinch: ). So a local ballet school did the honors. But let's not talk about the crimes that I was able to witness and endure...I was REALLY on the verge of suffering a myocardial infarction, so this is a point to be better off out of this little review.

So first things first. The heart and soul of this production was its leading ballerina: Miss Natalia Romanova-(such a regal name!). She danced NON STOPPING during the entire ballet. She had to carry on the roles of Clara-(here a full pointe danced one), the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy. The program listed her peer Natalia Davidova as one of the females of the Pas de Trois-(Marzipan's Merlitons), but I would have sworn that it was Romanova back onstage. Miss Romanova was a true delight to watch. She possess this beautiful epaulement, so particular from Kirov ballerinas...her upper body-(back, neck, head)- elongated to its maximum point. She had a VERY strong technique...very precise turns, soft landings and delicate port de bras. Her physique reminded me that of Katya Maximova-(RIP). I couldn't really detect flows on her dancing...if anything, perhaps a too marked emphasis in projecting the always perfect posture-(at some point perhaps a little too stiff)...something that I also notice in the latest Mariinsky videos I've seen.

I was able to compare what I saw with the DVD I own of the Vainonen's work-(the 1994 Mariinsky Production with Larissa Lezhina and Victor Baranov)-and I must say they left the most important chunks of his choreography intact-(the Chinese/Arabian/Russian divertissements, the Pas de Trois-(Mirlitons)-, the Waltz of the Flowers and the Danse de la Fee Dragee-(SPFPDD), Miss Romanova's partner was Nikolai Blankov...a capable dancer who did his best, but wasn't up to his ballerina's higher displays of technique.

Scenery was not lavish, but decent. The end had Clara waking up from her dream while holding her toy.

Aside from the killing insertions of local "talent", on and all I did enjoy this performance, just realizing that this season I've been able to see the three major takes on this ballet: Ivanov/Fedorova-(CCBM), Vainonen's-(SPCBT)-and Balanchine's-(MCB). Not bad at all.

Au Revoir Mr. Nutcracker!!! See ya next year...!

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But, Cristian, the title is so ... how can I do it justice? .... PRETTY.

Your description of Romanova is admirable. Perhaps the Moscow Classical Ballet should hire her to give lessons, since her strengths -- especially epaulement, port de bras, and strong technique in general -- seem to be precisely the area of MCB's greatest weakness.

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I came across this by accident today, on russianballetvideos.com, at the bottom of the page:

This video, "Classical Ballet Gala" is of the new company called "The Saint-Petersburg Classic Ballet Theatre of Marina Medvetskaya". It is an Award Winning company from Saint-Petersburg, Russia and features ballet artists trained at the Vaganova Ballet Academy. Among these artists is featured Natalia Romanova, one of the last trained pupils of Natalia Dudinskaya.
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