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Ekaterina Kondaurova


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Ekaterina Kondaurova was beautiful beyond beautiful in Mikhail Shemiakin's (controversial) Nutcracker, choreographed by Kirill Siminov. The Arabian Dance stopped my heart and it forgot to beat again until she was safely back in her snake-urn and transported out of my sight. I am a very, very old man, and ballet has been a theme in my life, and I have previously been exposed to absolutely gorgeous ballerinae—even red-haired ones—but this creature, be she human or be she cobra, captured my very soul.

So of course I had to research the web and learn all that I could about her. She was born in Moscow in 1982, but does anyone know her birthday? I am simply curious. I suppose the more so because I haven't been able to find much biographical information about her. Perhaps it is mostly in Russian.

I know that God enjoys making gorgeous pink-and-green sunsets, and steely-blue dragonflies with see-through wings, and birds with sequin rainbow-feathers. And I know God is good with kinetic things, like rushing streams and soaring eagles and invisible winds that bend palm trees over ocean beaches. I suppose it should not surprise me that God maybe spends a little extra time, now and then, on creating a ballerina who impersonates a rather exquisitely beautiful cobra, and makes it so difficult for me to continue watching the Nutcracker—even though I loved it—beyond her slithering back into her urn. No, the child in me (and the old, old man) want to watch the Arabian, over and over again.

(Not to mention that Ekaterina has incidentally contributed a great deal to the general well-being of snakes, whom people will never discredit again.)

Her birthday? Thank you.

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Thank you, Peggy. There are two moments in her Arabian that are as graceful as the rest, but additionally they are downright "cute"! It sounds funny to say that. But watch her actually stepping out of the urn, and later stepping back in again. Grace personified, yes, but maybe because these are the only moments when some definite activity must be achieved, beyond the pure aesthetic dance form, there is this teensy little extra subtlety in those movements. Perhaps we feel her brain focus on the necessity of those steps.

There was an entire book written, and a very good one, quite scientific, about the way we think and process certain pieces of knowledge. I think it was called The Barmaid's Brain (or something like that) because it included the way a waitress will continually bring orders to myriad people, every order different, and she will keep somewhere in her mind all the details of those orders. When the place is very busy, and the waitress is very good, where is that information stored in the brain? It is not stored where our knowledge of grammar, or our knowledge of continents and countries, is stored.

When a ballerina—any dancer—performs an intricate, sustained dance on stage, she is not thinking: "Now I must do this movement." She is executing every motion from some more spiritual connection with the dance, so her brain is alive and aware, but her motions come from a knowledge within her arms, her legs, her entire psyche. She is in tune with something we don't understand—but we certainly feel it. One of my favourite ballerinas described to me how she connected to a vertical, invisible shaft of energy, which came down from the heavens and went into the earth beneath her feet; the vertical line passed through the crown of her head and through the soles of her feet and it carried her, she said, in every move. She felt that gravity was not the same within that shaft of energy. Actually she taught me to feel some of that connection, so that in walking down the sidewalk, maybe carrying groceries, I have never been quite the same since. Well, I'm sure every dancer has a very good idea of what I'm talking about.

So, returning to our beautiful cobra, this ethereal creature slithers within this sublime energy, and her entire dance is a celebration of that connection with the cosmos or physics or God, or whatever words we use but which fail to say what we sense in watching her. This is the pure art form. The teensy, teensy smile within that grace is in her two seconds of actually having to execute the step-overs to exit and enter her urn. There are two milliseconds when we, the humble, mortal audience, can share some fractal of what must be in her mind—just a glimpse—because, unlike the rest of the dance, these two movements are necessary. They are the stems on the roses.

Okay, I'm totally off topic, and I've said nothing new. My apologies. Anybody else know her birthday? Thanks again, Peggy.

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I bought Mariinsky Nutcracker BR with Golub almost on a whim. Saw in the leaflet that Kondaurova danced Queen of the Snowflakes. Nice! Went to view the waltzes. I can see why the dance of the Snowflakes is open to controversy. Also, saw the final waltz, saw some dancer in a strange green outfit :blink: that departed with a very pretty jump. Intrigued, went again to the leaflet, something about snake charmers. Intrigued, went to watch that dance, and... YES!! Kondaurova in all her dancer glory*!

Carson, I understand you. Pity she is married :wink: . Also, you may want to check this video of her in Swan Lake. One of the first, if not the first I've seen her smiling in scene, as Odette.

*a little bit too contemporary for my taste, it should be said. But as I like Guillem in contemporary roles, Kondaurova too. She is breathtaking in Forsythe's In the Middle..., according to a poor resolution YT video. I'm spoiled by 1080-lines HD.

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