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Kennedy Center Jan 2015- Rite of Spring and others

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Birdsall, I wouldn't care how she hops. Shapran's greatness is all sbout her PERFUME for romanticism, as well as proportions and beauty that recall images of Spessivtseva. No emaciated flexnatic here, while delivering beautiful technique. Best 'Kalkabrino solo' in Paquita I've seen...even tops Kondaurova's fine interpretation...those arms, use of face and neck, divine arched feet. It's all about the aura and perfume. Yes, there are at least TWO great up-and-coming ballerinas on earth: Shapran and the RDB's Ida Praetorius.

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It is wonderful news that the pas de trois is included. I didn't think it would be. My partner is treating me to this trip as an early Birthday present (while he stays home to take care of the dog), so I am going Friday-Sunday.

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Anyone who doesn't want to see "Sacre" has the option of taking Balanchine's sage advice and closing their eyes and enjoying a concert, in this case one of the greatest scores ever written.

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Or, since Sacre is the opening ballet on the program, arrive at the theater in time for the first intermission in order to skip Sacre entirely..

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It is wonderful news that the pas de trois is included. I didn't think it would be. My partner is treating me to this trip as an early Birthday present (while he stays home to take care of the dog), so I am going Friday-Sunday.

Now that is a gift -- the trip, and taking over the chores!

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I was disappointed by Shapran. This was my first time seeing her live, and to me she was totally forgettable in Spectre. No charm or projection to the audience. For the girl, Spectre can be a kind of throwaway role unless you get a great dancer who can really make something of it and hold her own, and Shapran did not do that for me. I didn't see any aura -- I saw a very young dancer focused on the getting the steps right the entire time, and who sat in the steps rather than bringing movement or energy to them. I guess pose is the best way I can describe it -- she went from beautiful pose to beautiful pose rather than dancing. A lot of not most young dancers are like that, but given all the buzz around her I would have expected her to have grown beyond that by now.

I did like her more in Paquita. I'm slightly tempted to go see her do The Swan just to see if she can make something of it, since there are basically no steps there.

I loved Marchuk, and I also liked Asaben. The pd3 was also excellent.

Pavlenko was amazing in Rite. Such a waste that's all she's doing.

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Anyone who doesn't want to see "Sacre" has the option of taking Balanchine's sage advice and closing their eyes and enjoying a concert, in this case one of the greatest scores ever written.

Exactly what I did yesterday during segments of Sacre. Twice. It is a background visual [with interesting costumes and backdrops] to the music. I wish Pavlenko would dance this week in one of the many Paquita Variations. Fateyeev states the Kennedy Center requested the Rite of Spring: http://sputniknews.com/art_living/20150128/1017453908.html

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Or, since Sacre is the opening ballet on the program, arrive at the theater in time for the first intermission in order to skip Sacre entirely..

Last night, the first intermission began at 8:15pm and ended at about 8:35pm.

Alas, the ticket costs the same. No bargain discount for late arrival.

Closing one 'a eyes and listening to the score is no solution for people who dislike dissonant music. It's not tuneful. Not exactly a toe tapper, although there is a lot of stomping, for sure.

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More thoughts on the Tuesday opening night:

Cinnamonswirl, I totally agree about Oksana Marchuk being a standout soloist among the PAQUITA variations (Pavillon d'Armide solo with celeste accompaniment); beautifully controlled and adorably sweet aura. Oksana is a lovely doe-eyed blonde with a charming smile, reminding me of Lezhnina in this solo. Interestingly, she also danced one of the two demi-solo 'glitter girls' in golden tutus...so she bowed twice after the performance - with her 'glitter' partner, then stepping forward with a bow for her solo. I feel for her this week, quickly changing tutus twice at every show...from Gold Glitter Girl, to the red/white Pavillon-solo tutu, then back to Gold Glitter for the finale!

Ivannikova delivered a lovely 1st solo (Little Humpbacked Horse water goddess), with exception of end of Italian fouett├ęs. Anastasia Matvienko, while an elegant presence, could not muster the soaring jetes that one expects to see in the opening diagonal of the 5th solo (from A3 of Petipa's full Paquita); Matvieko kicks the front leg way-up high and back leg is low...not a natural soarer.

Asaben (Amour solo fm Don Q) was a disappointment, as she fell off point during the mid-way diagonal of pique turns. The other big disappointment for me was a somewhat raggedy Batoeva in the pas de trois solo (Demi pointe in what should have been a diagonal of piques on pointe); however, I loved her high floating jetes in the entree. On the other hand, Jana Selina was perfect in her pas de trois solo! (I've already reported the greatness of Filip Stepin as the male member of the Pas de trois.)

The three pairs of 'glitter girls' dancing in the midst of the corps segments were very good, with each duo featuring one blonde and one brunette. The ones who I identified are:

Blue tutus: Ostreikovskaya & Brileva

Salmon-pink tutus: Androsova & ???????

Gold tutus: Marchuk & Lavrinenko

Was that really Daria Pavlenko out there as the Chosen Maiden in SACRE? The Chosen Maiden wears a white mumu and heavy clown-like makeup - and was barely lit - that it could have been Minnie Mouse performing, from what I could tell. Waste of the century.

In SPECTRE, Vladimir Schklyarov was fine - especially the entrance and exit jetes over the window - but he did not wow me...not really a fireworks dancer with sinewy manner in this role, as was Farouk Ruzimatov 20 years ago, for ex. Besides, this was, for me, a rare Spectre in which the character of The Girl is the overpowering figure. It shouldn't be that way. I suspect that this will not be the case when Kim Kimin essays the role in other performances. (Reports, please...hint hint!)

The only problem with Lopatkina's SWAN was that the brief-but-precious solo was barely lit...very muted spotlight. We truly saw her face only during the bows. Her interpretation was truly beautiful - extraordinary!

Ivanchenko was an ok partner to Lopatkina in PAQUITA, although he seemed to have troubles with the 2nd of two presage lifts during the adagio, putting Lopatkina down early. His solo was sloppy, not worthy of this company, sorry to report. On the other hand, the Paquita corps was magnificent, dancing as one...much-much sharper than at City Center in 2008. Nina Ukhova must be back as the coach of the female corps de ballet for this ballet. Three cheers for that!

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Since the KC website is still not listing the Paquita Pas de Trois dancers, here they are (as per the playbill):

[uPDATE: Nikitina out with injury. Replace 'Nikitina' with 'Gonchar' below.]

Jan 27 - Selina, Batoeva, Stepin

Jan 28 - Nikitina, Smirnova, Latypov

Jan 29 - Selina, Batoeva , V. Tkachenko

Jan 30 - Nikitina, Smirnova, Stepin

Jan 31 mat - Selina, Batoeva, Tkachenko

Jan 31 eve - Nikitina, Smirnova, Stepin

Feb 1 (only a matinee this day...closing) - Selina, Batoeva, Latypov

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Oh my! all those 'Sacre' naysayers would have been right at home in that Paris audience of 1913. For the past month I have been engrossed with the ballet---I am doing a talk on

it in a few weeks. There is a lot more to it than a weary ho-humhappy.png

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I believe Marchuk had the costume changes. During open rehearsal all I spoke with noted the poor lighting for the Swan. From tier 1 Skoryk almost seemed as if she was behind a scrim although in the orchestra we could see Lopatkina.

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Thanks, Maps! Even though a company member who is our acquaintance swore that the order of names in KennCen playbill was 100% correct. Grrr....

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I attended the performances Weds Jan 28 and Thurs Jan 29.

Wednesday:

I thought Rite of Spring might be interesting as part of a special "themed" evening placing it in a context. It was probably ambitious and bold to lead with it this way on a bill with Swan and Spectre and Paquita. Many in the audience seemed unprepared for it, and were bewildered and disappointed. I wish I had read up on it beforehand. But honestly I did get tired of it, and was relieved when it ended. On the other hand, I find myself thinking about it off and on, and wondering about it, so it was provocative.

In Spectre Yana Selina was charming and expressive. She always stands out to me in this company. There are so many dancers with show-stopping extensions and fouettes and technical fireworks, and yet Selina is memorable for her dancing, the way she actually moves. She has an old-fashioned polish and poise, beautiful use of upper body and head and arms, and something very feminine. In Spectre I thought she projected well and seemed like a very strong actress to boot.

In Paquita Pas de Trois I thought Ernest Latypov was a standout for beautifully clean and impressive technique, easy elevation, nice lines and a boyishly modest stage presence. His variation was flawless and elegant. If he had been more "showy" in his manner he may have had more response from the audience. For me it was the most memorable male dancing of the evening. He seems like one to watch.

Kondaurova was regal in Paquita, and really uses her epaulement and neck and head. It was my first time seeing Yermakov. He had some great jumps and a certain energy and attack that was missing elsewhere in the evening.

Kristina Shapran was exquisite in her Paquita variation. She uses her arms and head and eyes, and the music, and really had a glow in this one.

There were some promising-looking soloists in Paquita whom I had not seen before. One is a blonde, maybe it is Asaben?

Thursday:

I had never seen Oxana Skorik before and The Swan is so brief and special that it's a tricky piece from which to know a dancer. She has beautiful lines and a supple back, but I wasn't really moved. Maybe I was not receptive enough.

The corps seemed better in Paquita than it had been the night before when the spacings were a bit messy. Anastasia Matvienko is a technical force and it's great to see her strength and to watch her do it all. She did single fouettes but they were fast and secure and she finished well with a double. She had a rather business-like way about her and was technically impressive with pleasing lines, and dynamic, but I would say she was proud, rather than charismatic. Maybe I need to see her in something else.

The Pas de Trois was good. Vasily Tkachenko had some nice elevation and was strong and handled the variation very nicely. He seemed on top of it all, capable and buoyant. Selina and Batoeva were both good. These three worked well together and the variation was a little more "fun" than the night before.

In general I wasn't really wowed by anything on this visit. My lasting impressions are probably Latypov for the promise he shows, and Selina for her consistently lovely dancing and the ability it seems she has an actress, and Shapran for her glow in Paquita.

I forgot to mention: In Thursday's Paquita, Anastasia Matvienko did the jumping grand jetes variation in addition to her role as female lead. She didn't change costume, just did the jumping variation in her regal tutu and crown. She also did the variation the night before when Kondaurova was Paquita lead.

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Thanks, Kika. It's interesting that you didn't mention the male dancers who essayed 'the Rose' in SPECTRE but, rather, the Girl (Selina). I also failed to mention the man in my initial report of Tuesday's SPECTRE, I was so overtaken by Shapran, not Schklyarov.

I'm wondering if Kim Kimin performed on Wednesday, as scheduled, but was underwhelming?

Hurrah for Latypov, who was incredible at his graduation performance a couple of years ago. :)

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Natalia, Kimin did dance Spectre on Wednesday, as scheduled. I don't want to say he was underwhelming exactly. It's just that I had seen him in rehearsals lfor other roles ast year, and maybe my expectations were high. On this visit many of the dancers looked like they were "spent". Also Spectre needs a kind of fabulous compelling presence from the male lead, and an ease.

Regarding Latypov: he looks like he is in a special category. It's exciting to spot someone who seems to have such promise. He is still somewhat coltish, but a pleasure for the fine classical technique.

The casting list on the Ken Cen website is at odds with the playbill/program. Which is to be believed?

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Birdsall, I wouldn't care how she hops. Shapran's greatness is all sbout her PERFUME for romanticism, as well as proportions and beauty that recall images of Spessivtseva. No emaciated flexnatic here, while delivering beautiful technique. Best 'Kalkabrino solo' in Paquita I've seen...even tops Kondaurova's fine interpretation...those arms, use of face and neck, divine arched feet. It's all about the aura and perfume. Yes, there are at least TWO great up-and-coming ballerinas on earth: Shapran and the RDB's Ida Praetorius.

I am glad that Kristina Shapran delivered a technically proficient variation when you saw her, but I think she has deficiencies in several areas. I saw her Medora when she was still with Mikhailovsky, and she fell out of several of her turns in her variation, and also came off pointe. I also saw her Lilac Fairy at Mariinsky Theatre, where she was still having problems with her turns, and in particular, her Italian fouettes. Yes, she has an aura and charisma onstage and is a good actress, but she does need to strengthen her technique. If she can do this, then she will deserve her first soloist status, but at the moment, it is a mystery to me why she was brought in as a first soloist, when there are many ranked below her whose technique is better, and who also have allure on stage. Having said that, I do like her as a ballerina, but I think coryphee or maybe second soloist would have been a more appropriate rank for her until she has improved her technique.

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Thanks for the clarifications on Kim, etc. The playbill jibed with the KC web listings for last Tuesday but that doesn't mean that the casting will correspond to who actually appears on stage.

Now I wonder if they reversed the 3rd and 4th Paquita solo variations on certain days (Marchuk vs Asaben)? On my night (Tuesday), a brunette with 'big smile/teeth' danced 3rd (Amour, DonQ) and a pale light blonde with doe eyes danced the 4th (Pavillon d'Armide). Based on the printed order of dancers, assuming that the toothy brunette is Marchuk and the pale blonde is Asaben. [uPDATE: We've since found out the playbill reversed the order. Asaben danced the 3rd solo and Marchuk is the blonde who danced the 4th.]

MmeP, on my night, Shapran's variation on Paquita (the floating 'Kalkabrino') was a miracle of Terpsichore. The technical delivery, finesse, poetry, her glorious proportions..hubby & I were blown over and we've seen so many great adagio dancers in this particular variation, from Kunakova, Makhalina to Kondaurova recently and Shapran is the best on so many levels. Maybe she 's a 'hot or cold ' dancer and we happened to catch her on a hot night?

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Thanks for the clarifications on Kim, etc. The playbill jibed with the KC web listings for last Tuesday but that doesn't mean that the casting will correspond to who actually appears on stage.

Now I wonder if they reversed the 3rd and 4th Paquita solo variations on certain days (Marchuk vs Asaben)? On my night (Tuesday), a brunette with 'big smile/teeth' danced 3rd (Amour, DonQ) and a pale light blonde with doe eyes danced the 4th (Pavillon d'Armide). I'm assuming that the toothy brunette is Marchuk and the pale blonde is Asaben.

Marchuk has blonde hair and is short - about 5 foot 3 or 4 nches tall. Asaben is shorter than her if I remember correctly and has darker hair.

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Thanks for the clarifications on Kim, etc. The playbill jibed with the KC web listings for last Tuesday but that doesn't mean that the casting will correspond to who actually appears on stage.

Now I wonder if they reversed the 3rd and 4th Paquita solo variations on certain days (Marchuk vs Asaben)? On my night (Tuesday), a brunette with 'big smile/teeth' danced 3rd (Amour, DonQ) and a pale light blonde with doe eyes danced the 4th (Pavillon d'Armide). I'm assuming that the toothy brunette is Marchuk and the pale blonde is Asaben.

Marchuk has blonde hair and is short - about 5 foot 3 or 4 nches tall. Asaben is shorter than her if I remember correctly and has darker hair.
Now I'm really confused, LOL! Both of the ladies in question are about the same height...the brunette with big teeth who danced Amour maybe a tad taller than the blonde who danced Pavillon. All that I can say now: BLONDIE was best! [uPDATE: Confirmed that our 'blondie' is Marchuk!]

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If anyone can supply some photographs from the performances then that would settle it! :-)

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Here's a link to a video of the curtain call on Jan 27. Perhaps you all can identify the dancers:

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My own 2 quick cents. I was luck as some (very few other) New Yorkers to make it to Kennedy Center on 1/27. Amtrak was late for the 1st act. but my true purpose was to see Ulyana Lopatkina (I will see the Rite of Spring twice on Saturday). I am glad i "gambled" and travelled despite of shut-down subways and cancelled buses and amtrak. It was WORTH IT. Her dying swan is so touching and moving, pure magic, so simple, but so powerful. Made me cry. I was witnessing an intimate death of a live creature. Very emotional (I sat very close in the orchestra)

And she was a Huge delight to watch in Paquita, i can't get my eyes off her, not noticing the rest of the dancers. She was regal, confident and jubilant, radiating joy, pleasure of dancing and sharing positive (and perfectly technically executed) excitement of dancing.

And she made her fans happy by seeing them at the stage door in her full costume. What a treat, during and after the performance. Please bring her back to the US again!!!

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The casting list on the Ken Cen website is at odds with the playbill/program. Which is to be believed?

The playbill is totall screwed up in terms of pages. Our Friday night performance was correct for the first 2 pieces (Sacre and Spectre) but followed by a page from what appears to be Saturday evening's performance. The usher confirmed the mistake. But you had to recognize some of the performers to know the playbill was wrong.

Also, Natalia, Nikitina was injured in NY and is out. Tonight our insert said she was replaced in the Paquita PDT by Nadezhda Gonchar.

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Do you still have a program from that night? There are no mistakes, dancers all listed correctly for the 27th. The problems are in the other performances.

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