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Stars of Russian Ballet Ann Arbor MI Power Center Theatre August 18

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stars of russian ballet

Power Center Theatre, Ann Arbor Michigan

Sat. August 18, 2012 7pm

The “Stars”:

Carmen Olga Pavlova Andrey Ivanov

La Bayadere Keenan Kampa Sergei Sidorsky

Diving into the Lilacs [YurI Possokhov] Marie Kochetkova G Nedvigin

Diana & Actaeon Patricia Jhou (Berlin B) Joseph Phillips (ABT)

After the Rain Coutney Richardson Ernesto Boada (Royal B/Flanders)

Pas d’Esclave Olga Pavlova Andrei Ivanov

Sweet Spell of Oblivion Courtney Richardson Ernesto Boada

Don Q pdd Alisa Sodaleva Sergei Sidorsky

Contradiction [solo] Sergei Sidorsky

Grand Pas Classique Alisa Sodaleva Anton Korsakov

Tschaikovsky PDD MarIa Kochetkova Guennadi Nedvigin

Scheherezade pdd Olga Pavlova Anton Korsakov

Le Corsaire pdd Patricia Jhou Joseph Phillips

Giselle act 2 pdd Keenan Kampa Xander Parish

A week-end newspaper preview mentioned of the Stars of the Russian Ballet and its producers, Sergei and Jessica Rayevsky, (the Academy of Russian Classical Ballet),as planning “a series of special gala performances with a cast internationally recognized guest artists.....before transitioning into a full-time resident company”.

Moreover, the school sponsored a ’Russian ballet Intensive’ from Aug 5-17; so two groups, of two dozen students each, danced a character dance of recital quality and another two dozen soft- shoed and ‘toe’ -shoed students essayed a section of Landers’ Etudes with a loud din of Czerny’s music amped for a rock concert.

Anyway, by any criterion of acoustical ‘soundness’ , the sound volume of the entire concert is inexcusable. It could have been the work of the contracted sound engineers...

i was looking forward to the appearances of Keenan Kampa and Patricia Zhou in the concert . I mean to say that, if Olga Smirnova were appearing in concert in the U.S., at this stage of the game.............wow!

At any rate, I’ll mention the performers that singled themselves, in my view, in enthusiasm, artistry, and passion.

First and foremost, Maria Kochetkova and Guennadi Nedvigin were convincingly paired

in the psychological turmoil of Diving into the Lilacs (Yuri Possokhov/Shostakovich). Their technical acuity melded into oneness with their feeling beings. An astonishing performance!

Their next appearance was the joyous Tschaikovsky’s Pas de Deux of Balanchine.

Elegant and energetic, they traced with precision the musical journey as they dance it. In the variation, Ms Kochetkova danced thrillingly the gargouillade, and any treasures the cornucopia that Mr B. has spread out. Bravi to them.

The second couple, which came from their own theatre , are Courtney Richardson and Ernesto Boada (Royal Ballet/Flanders). their first appearance, After the Rain(C. Wheeldon), they were magnetic, absorbed within the Part music and whole with it. I had never seen them and it was a real pleasure. Ms Richardson is an artist of first quality and Mr Boada is a peerless classicist. The second piece they appeared in , is David Dawson's contemporary choreography with pointe work, Sweet Spell of Oblivion ( J. Bach).

David Dawson writes of his ballet on his website: '"There are moments when the past stands beside us and the present can be reflected in it for a short time. In such an instant the past transforms into a new existence, always carrying in itself the notion of a future the notion of ‘being a human’ - and at the same time it always celebrates the technical perfection and virtuosity of a dancer........ the human aspect will always be part of each artistic creation - .......For me oblivion is a place, which is free, a place of dreaming, an apparent place without name, a place outside of time. " The dancers are electrifying in the percussive preludes of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier. Clad in silvery-grey they seem alone , existential,, and alive with muscle and heartbeat but dependent on each other. The dancers are remarkable:Kudos. And so is the mysterious piece they helped to create.

Keenan Kampa appears as Gamzatti in Bayadere and Sergei Sidorsky as Solor in the wedding pdd. Mr Sidorsky in the program is described: "He has performed with the legendary Russian ballerinas of Bolshoi and Mariinsky.Is that the reason he is a cavalier for Ms Kampa? He is a slender man that looked like a refined pubescent with the get-up of Solor's white satin pajamas and rhinestones. Keenan Kampa was elegant but with an overblown tutu as if it's reconstructed to the 1800's Gamzatti's variation is out of bounds without moorings. That's not Ms Kampa's fault.

Kampa's second appearance as Giselle was more auspicious.Her Albrecht was Alexander Parish (the only appearance in the concert). I have not seen Parish since he joined the Mariinsky. Parish is a noble presence, courtly. Kampa gave a refined study suitable for her age, prescient for the launching. Parish and Kampa belong to Mariinsky's heritage.

Patricia Zhou of Berlin and Joseph Phillips of ABT are the whiz kids who get to tackle Vaganova's Diana & Acteon--- the darling of competitions. Ms Zhou gave a careful reading of the text:defining intricate nuances, epaulement, and lastly, deportment of serene aplomb. She is a pleasant performer and perhaps dynamism will develop through time.

In her Corsaire appearance, more dynamism would bring ballon where it is needed. Joseph Phillips is a whiz kid.

One tiny complaint: On Gsovsky's Grand Pas Classique, in the first series Korsakov places after lifting Sodaleva on balance and immediately goes next to her and does a double tour to the knee, 4 times. This never happens. The next series has the female dancer diagonally developpe releve ala quatrierme twice and on pointe, the developpe releve a la seconde on pointe and pirouette This is repeated 4 times. Ms Sodaleva could not repeat without half pointe. The rest was mashed potatoes. I went home and found Utube and searched for Korsakov.and Grand Pas Classique. The video had been made in Japan and featured Viktoria Tereshkina.The Gsovsky choreography was perfect and Tereshkina and Korsakov were excellent.

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It's so nice to hear about Richardson and Boada of Royal Flanders Ballet. I saw them in a performance of "Apollo" in Gent in 2008, and I was impressed with both of them. I can picture them in "After the Rain", PDD. I'm also thrilled to hear about Kochetkova and Nedvigin, two of my favorite dancers at San Francisco Ballet.

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So happy to read of Courney Richardson. She was a beautiful child with a driving force behind everything she did at a very young age. I only had the pleasure of working with her a few times when she was a child but to this day she remains in my memory as a shining example of what every teach loves in a student. So very happy to read of her success. I know her family and ballet teacher were all in Ann Arbor watching with such pride. :-)

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