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Perm Ballet in Detroit, Michigan

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Tchaikovsky Ballet Theatre aka Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre

Detroit Opera House

26 March 2010 7:30

Sleeping Beauty

Choreography M. Petipa

Set and Costume Design V. Okunev

Ballet Artistic Director Alexei Miroshnichenko


Aurora Maria Menshikova

Desiré Ivan Mikhalev

(casting announced before the performance)

Program lists all the casts for each role.

When you go to YouTube and write in: "Perm Ballet Sleeping Beauty", almost all you get

are clips of Maria Menshikova as Aurora or as one the Prologue fairies. (Also there are one or two clips of Araptova, who is not listed or does not appear in the Detroit performance). From this I assume Menshikova is the darling of the moment -or she has the most devoted fans.

She is a darling for her prodigious technical accomplishments, a zest for dancing, and lovely lines and an almost ideal physique for classical dance, long neck, long legs, articulate feet.

(The only other dancer listed in the program for the casting of Aurora is Natalia Moiseeva-Poleschuk, who, additionally, is the only listed female principal in the program notes).

In my first impression of the Perm Ballet, I found the quality of the dancers, from soloists to the ensemble performers, outstanding for their classical refinement and youthfulness. In fact, this is the first time I found the Garland Dance totally absorbing for the precision and the care every dancer invested in this Petipa paragon of dancer-and-prop ballabile.

In the Prologue one notices the fairies and their retinues enter the stage off-pointe -as in the Vikharev Mariinsky reconstruction- and, furthermore, one sees, early on, the eight lilac-tutued attendants in formations of four, facing each other, sur-la-demi-pointe in their pointe shoes.

The six fairies execute their single pirouettes, serially, as in the reconstruction, with the support of male attendants.

The fairy variations, all, had a vitality of controlled energy, with a youthful fastidiousness to detail

and correctness. One longed for a little abandon. That comes with time.

This seems to me to be a really young company with uniform and exceptional technical training.

Ms. Menshikova gave full renditions of the Rose Adage, the Vision scene and the Wedding pas de deux; the Vision scene perhaps lacked a sense of otherworldliness and mystery, one that hopefully will be added, with experience, as a dimension of her artistry.

The Lilac Fairy (could be either Ekaterina Guschina or Natalya Makina) was authoritative, exuded warmth in her personality and danced brightly.

The jewels (diamond, sapphire, emerald) and gold fairy variations and trio of the third act were a particular high point of exciting dancing- so energized the dancers gave the impression of being accompanied by live music. Particularly impressive were the sustained landings of the grand jetés

in arabesques en fondu during the trio and the brisk liveliness of the variations.

The Bluebird pas de deux was outstanding as well, with an elegant Florine and a soaring and youthful Blue Bird. I liked them both very much.

The set and costume designs credited to V. Okunev, gave me the impression of having been gathered from various sources; some of the costumes simply clashed with others. The costumes of the King and Queen were simply…not regal. The costumes and boots of the four male suitors of Aurora were just campy.

A spot-on costume was that of Carabosse- lime-green-chartreuse dress with white lace and a satiny dark grey cape that billowed as if with malevolence.

The thing that makes this company outstanding are the gifted dancers.

I'd like to see them next with full orchestra.

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chiapuris, I join leonid in thanking you for the fine review. I am very glad that you enjoyed the performance as much as you did. I also saw a similar performance of "Sleeping Beauty' by the Kiev Ballet and had many of the same feelings.

I appreciate very much the extent of your knowledge, your constant search for more knowledge, your interest in detail and above all your love of the art which motivates this. Your feeing for the beauty and the 'soul' of the art and the performances as well as the craft is a very fine quality.

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