Jump to content
Mathilde K

“Who is to dance at Mariinsky?”

Recommended Posts

Helene, please reread the opening paragraphs of Zozulina's article.

I didn't realize you added your translation to your original post. Thank you so much for it.

Unfortunately, what she writes does not make anymore sense to me than it did through Google translate. First she makes the analogy between this year's graduates and the graduates from three years ago, where the two graduation performance Nikiyas went to the Bolshoi and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre. They were offered corps contracts, but, at the same time, management didn't make an effort to hire them in the first place, which sounds like a contradiction. If so many graduates are languishing in the corps, I can only conclude that most top graduates start in the corps; please let me know if this is wrong, as the Mariinsky website gives only a join date and for Principals, the date of promotion to Principal.

Is the "trial period" unusual for an entering corps member, who is almost always (if not always) a Vaganova graduate? Is it insulting because she's being treated like the other graduating members of her class, or were these special terms that applied to her? This is not clear.

To put things into perspective: Mikhailovsky compared to Mariinsky is like University of Michigan compared to Harvard, and Vaganova Academy's mission always was to prepare dancers for Mariinsky — only those who couldn't were going elsewhere.

As Zozulina said about the earlier class stars, "One may think, of course, that the girls were unable to resist the temptation of dancing in the capital city. Not so: they simply chose what looked as a superior path of developing their careers, sensing the interest expressed by the art directors of the respective troupes, and the lack of that interest displayed by the management of Mariinsky Ballet, in person of its acting director Yuri Fateev."

That means that other companies made them better offers, something that the ballet equivalents of the University of Michigan -- the Mikhailovsky or the Stanislavski -- do on a regular basis to attract students who would normally head for Harvard. (The proper analogy for the Bolshoi would be Yale, which has its own advantages over Harvard and needs to offer no explanation when chosen over Harvard.) They compete for those dancers, whether through opportunity to advance quickly and dance better roles earlier, or through a management that recognizes them -- much to the chagrin of dancers already in the company who will lose opportunities to those being recruited, especially those at the Bolshoi who might expect that their competition comes from their academy, and they know the lay of the landscape -- just as the University of Michigan is more attractive to a student who might not want to leave the university with six-figure debt.

It's up to the dancers to decide whether to slog through the levels at the Mariinsky, because there are no guarantees that every top graduate who enters will rise through the ranks or get the great roles under the most competent of AD's, just as it's up to dancers at Paris Opera Ballet to subject themselves to the promotion tests, with intense competition and years where there aren't any spots. If they feel that going anywhere else is failure, then they stay in a frustrating situation. If they don't, they go to ABT like Part or SFB like Froustey.

Combine this with the fact that Zhiganshina is not just a graduate of the Vaganova Academy: she is an outstanding graduate, highly accomplished, professional and with exceptional promise. In Russia such individuals don't get offers from lesser companies, it is considered to be a different league. Mikhailovsky in recent years was simply benefiting from disastrous policies of Fateev at Mariinsky and internal strife at Bolshoi.

They obviously do get offers from "lesser" companies, because they are going to them. As Bob Dylan sang, "The Times, They Are A-Changin'." Dancers who don't fit the mold that the Artistic Director is looking for or just aren't what the company needs at the time can remain in the corps of the company they consider worthy, or they can look at the "lesser" companies or, in the case of the Bolshoi, a different Ivy, as an opportunity.

If the Bolshoi had to pay the Mariinsky (or the Vaganova Academy) for Zhiganshina's training when they hired her, it would make sense that if Fateev wasn't interested in her, he'd want her featured prominently with the company -- like baseball teams bring up minor league players as trade bait -- either to get money or another dancer-to-be-named-later, but it makes little sense to me otherwise. Fateev could have buried her rather than give her those opportunities. (He couldn't hide her from the graduation performance.) If he's so uniformly incompetent, why would she have had those roles with the main company?

It's also hard to imagine Academy head Tsiskaridze encouraging Zhiganshina to join the Bolshoi, if he thought Filin would be in charge of the company.

The Mariinsky Ballet is the Mariinsky Theatre's cash cow. The Kirov Opera, even before the breakup of the Soviet Union, when the theater's singers could freelance and earn hard currency instead of slaving in a rep company in turmoil, was not as great as the Kirov Ballet. The opera suffered long under the thumb of the ballet. With Gergiev in charge, the tables have turned. It's unfortunate that rather than simply raising the level of the opera while funding it with receipts from the ballet, he's hired someone who seems to be bringing down the ballet. The Mariinsky Ballet is like a big oil tanker, though: since the bulk of the company is so good, and the school keeps pumping out great dancers, it's much easier to change artistic directors than to build it. The Mariinsky was in a much worse situation when the Academy through a doldrums period.

If Zhiganshina's case was isolated... but it isn't, it follows a clear pattern.

If the top graduates are either leaving or wallowing in limbo once they reach the company, the pattern is that Fateev is looking for something that the Academy isn't providing.

In those graduation clips, Zhiganshina looks much more like a Bolshoi dancer than a Mariinsky dancer. I think she's landed where she belongs.

Share this post


Link to post

Originally Zhiganshina expressed she was very keen on staying in St. Petersburg and dancing with Mariinsky after graduation. She said that in an interview http://www.worldartstoday.com/dance/russias-newest-rising-star/ The article also quotes Fateyev saying he plans to hire Ksenia in the Mariinsky for soloist work "for solo parts in Sleeping beauty, Bayadere and Le Corsaire. " A trial term corps de ballet offer seems like such a betrayal after all those promises... and after all the wonderful solo dancing Ksenia has already done on the Mariinsky stage.

Also, Zhiganshina was scheduled to dance Queen of Dryads in Mariinsky yesterday but she was apparently replaced by Chebykina? Does anyone know why? I was so disappointed. She would have been wonderful.

Share this post


Link to post

My questions still stand: were those terms different than any other Vaganova Academy graduate? If different than in years past, did the change apply as of a specific year?

Academy graduates who have been hired into the corps have been cast in soloist roles, whether or not they are slated to rise up the ranks.

She graduated in June and signed with the Bolshoi Ballet. When does she start with the Bolshoi?

Share this post


Link to post

My questions still stand: were those terms different than any other Vaganova Academy graduate? If different than in years past, did the change apply as of a specific year?

Academy graduates who have been hired into the corps have been cast in soloist roles, whether or not they are slated to rise up the ranks.

Zhiganshina is different to other Vaganova graduates in recent years in that she is the ONLY one who danced a principal part in a full-length ballet (Masha with the Nutcracker) with the Mariinsky ballet while still a Vaganova student. Not the only one in her year, but the only one in the past 19 years, because the last one I can remember is Diana Vishneva as Kitri (correct me if someone here knows someone else who did that later). None of the graduates since 2008 or earler has even danced a solo part with the company before graduation. With such a huge distinction, it is hard to suppose Zhiganshina would be pleased and satisfied to receive a contract that is merely equal to an average Vaganova graduates in her year, or even merely equal to the contracts received in previous years, since independent to the quality of dancing, she IS different to the others in terms of opportunities received from the company prior to graduation.

Personally I have problem continuing with the analogy of Harvard and Michigan because theatres in Russia does not function like academic institutions or companies in the US (that is why American ballet company is never ever comparable to Mariinsky or Bolshoi), and Paris Opera Ballet also functions differently.

Finally, I agree that Zhiganshina might be better as a Bolshoi ballerina (and I am very happy for her), but that is something related to her own quality even prior to being trained at the Vaganova. That alone does not show that it should be considered normal when a Vaganova top-graduate joins directly to the Bolshoi with better terms, for stylistically, Vaganova graduates are TRAINED to join the Mariinsky, and it is Mariinsky that has the coaches and choreographies that let them to make best use of their training through the years. Before Smirnova, I cannot remember a single Vaganova top-graduate who joined Bolshoi immediately after graduation only because the Bolshoi offers more advantageous terms. And clearly in the past 20 or 30 years no top Bolshoi graduate joined the MT. I still do not know what you mean by the thing that the MT is looking for while the academy does not possess - maybe we should open a new academy for a new Mariinsky ballet? That would be dire.

Share this post


Link to post

It's not a matter of debasing arguments: I don't understand how a company could offer corps contracts to top Vaganova graduates and simultaneously not attempt to hire them. This sounds like a contradiction to me, unless one is living in Orwell's "1984." I am trying to understand if Zhiganshina was offered what all Vaganova graduates were offered, if she was offered what all or almost all top graduates were offered, or if she was unique in being offered probationary terms. I am trying to understand why anyone, based on precedent and history, would expect different treatment for her, since it's presented as fact that she should be given preferential treatment and scandalous when she was not.

It also seems like a contradiction that Fateev is so bent on ignoring her that he gave her principal roles as a student for which dancers wait years. What explains her prominence? Did she win some special prize that forced him to give her the opportunity, or did he choose to cast her that way? If he chose to cast her that way, why, if he was planning to "humiliate" her once she graduated? If he wasn't interested in her, why not simply ignore her, as far as the main company is concerned?

As far as creating a new Academy to Fattev's standards, they don't have to, as it's been documented here that he's recruiting dancers that were trained in other schools and casting them prominently, while great Vaganova-trained talent withers on the vine. I have no idea what Tsiskaridze will produce if he makes changes to the faculty and/or curriculum, or if he'll even last long enough in the position to impact the Academy much. (I expect that he will be offered the AD position at either of the two main theaters soon.)

The claims of exceptionalism for the Mariinsky, the Mariinsky and the Bolshoi, and all Russian companies have been made many times, but the attitudes of the students at School of American Ballet are no different than those of the Vaganova graduates: almost all of them are there to dance a specific style and repertory for their affiliated companies, which are, by far, the most prestigious in the company style. Throughout their training, they've all be exposed to what the Artistic Director likes, whom he promotes, what he needs for the company at any given time, company politics, etc.,and it usually doesn't dissuade them from wanting to dance for the home company. They choose to go because it is their dream since they were a child and considered the Promised Land for their style, even if it's a bad fit or even if another company would be a better fit, offering more opportunities, a schedule less prone to injury, more opportunity to tour, etc.

At SAB, all of the graduates taken into NYCB, no matter how prominent, are offered apprenticeships first and have to make it up the ranks to Principal. (Some of them, like Kathryn Morgan, danced principal roles as apprentices.) Before NYCB understood that it was cheaper and a good tryout period and created the apprentice level, all SAB graduates started as corps members, even if like Patricia McBride or Darci Kistler, they were promoted to Soloist and Principal very quickly. If it comes to the point where top students leave because other companies make better offers than Peter Martins, perhaps he will compete contract-wise, like the Bolshoi did with Zhiganshina. From an institutional standpoint, it might be better to let one go than set a precedent. It's not as if Fateev has never hired a Vaganova-trained dancer back at a higher rank, or, like Esina, in a better situation as a guest.

Think of what it says about the Mariinsky that with all of the strife at the Bolshoi -- all of the allegations of favoritism, of unequal compensation, of selective permission to dance elsewhere to supplement a paltry salary, where five corps members are forced to share apartments -- the top Vaganova graduate chose to go there because despite getting undreamed-of opportunities as a student, she took a basic contract offer as something a noted critic and scholar described as an insult.

Share this post


Link to post

The thing is that Russia is a country different to the US - I assume it would be seemingly ridiculous to hear a Russian to criticize or comment on a company like NYCB because it does not follow a certain scheme of education created in the time of the Tsar of in the time of Soviet Union, or even in Europe or Africa or Latin America or Asia. Anyone who lives in Russia like a Russian for a substantial amount of time would know that. I suppose none of us here knows how Zhiganshina really feels, nor of the way she is connected to Zozulina, so what are the official basis to question the argument of Zozulina by following the logic of another country? This to me is either Imperialism or stupidity. And I think it is hard to argue that all ballet students have similar attitudes toward their professional life, since none of us is able to know the other's mind. My own case is that I have a teacher who opted for another profession because she thought she was no longer capable of carrying out her the style she was following - there are tons of other professional dancers who continues whatsoever with other attitudes or thoughts in mind.

On Shapran, officially, she does appear as First Soloist, but this is immediately AFTER this article, which could be, or could not be, an effect of this article (if we follow Mathilde's logic, it is very likely that it is). I find it similarly questionable why he did not hire Asylmuratova together with Shapran, why he did not hire Shapran earlier (before she is almost in a situation of running out of job or coach), and there are also other facts that leads one to doubt whether Shapran's case has nothing to do with Fateev's attitude with the Vaganova. Besides, being later than the publication of the article, it is equally questionable if Shapran's case can be used to "argue against" Zozulina.

Actually, for this topic, I think it is enough to have the original article and Mathilde's translation of it. This is not a court room and there is no need to have so many judges or lawyers who are doing nothing more than demonstrating their own "intelligence" which has nothing to do with ballet. Zozulina's article stands for a position, and like it or not, or believe it or not, we are not in the place to "classify" her points because we do not share the same perspective and the same knowledge of facts.

I don't know if I was misreading some of your words, but anything that appears to be a simple "classification" or "judgment" aiming to show that Zozulina's points have no basis or totally biased piss me off. Even if she is biased, we are no less so than she is, and it is better to reveal our own limits first before commenting on those of the others. But overall, why can't we appreciate those points like appreciating ballet itself?

Share this post


Link to post

This is a discussion board. Members are here to voice their opinions, however popular or unpopular. Whether they piss anyone off or delight them is generally of no concern, as long as the site rules are followed.

There are no sacred cows here, and even the most knowledgeable scholar with the most degrees who's been published for 50 years can be criticized, period. Alastair Macaulay can be criticized, Arlene Croce can be criticized, John Percival can be criticized, Edwin Denby can be criticized, Zozulina can be criticized. Disagreeing with a specific point or an article does not mean that the source is being dismissed wholesale: it means that the poster disagrees with a specific point or article.

I asked how Zozulina could at once say that dancers were offered corps contracts, but on the other hand management didn't try to hire them. No one has come forward to say that this is rhetorical or her Russian readers would understand that she's paraphrasing a Soviet general or administrator or referring to a famous case. Neither Zozulina nor anyone else has addressed why Fateev would cast a student so prominently with the company, but then offer her an insulting contract. No one's come forward to say that she won a prize that included performances with the Mariinsky, for example, and that it wasn't Fateev's choice.

Of course we understand that things are different in Russia: if only a noted scholar in the West could complain about a dancer's rank, and the company would respond with a promotion.

Share this post


Link to post

Alastair Macaulay can be criticized, Arlene Croce can be criticized, John Percival can be criticized, Edwin Denby can be criticized, Zozulina can be criticized.

Unlike Macaulay, Croce and Denby, Zozulina is not a journalist. She is primarily a scholar, a pedagogue, as well as an insider in all the matters related to Mariinsky, Vaganova Academy, and ballet in Petersburg. The situation she is describing is well known to most people who have been following closely Mariinsky. The only ‘novelty’ is that a person of her stature has finally spoken out on this issue.

Share this post


Link to post

And yet, no one has answered why Fateev would cast Zhiganshina so prominently in the Company if he wanted to insult her, or how a company can offer dancer corps contracts, but not attempt to hire them, since Zozulina made no mention of any provisional terms for the dancers from several years ago.

Share this post


Link to post

And yet, no one has answered why Fateev would cast Zhiganshina so prominently in the Company if he wanted to insult her, or how a company can offer dancer corps contracts, but not attempt to hire them, since Zozulina made no mention of any provisional terms for the dancers from several years ago.

Nothing in the paragraph says that Fateev "wanted" to insult Zhiganshina. The word "humiliating" can be read as Zozulina's own opinion or Zhiganshina's feeling, of which we can never know.

Contract alone is not sufficient proof of attempting to hire someone. She may be hired because her talents are properly recognized, or can be hired only as any other good Vaganova graduate. Zhiganshina is not an average good Vaganova student, she is a distinguished one whose previous experience makes it natural to expect more upon graduation. It is like a college offering a contract to a full-time professor from Harvard to be lecturer or research assistant, something a graduate student can do as well. The college is not attempting to hire the professor because this job has few to do with his experience, intelligence and knowledge, and the college does not even care if the professor would accept this contract or not, because it is very likely that this professor will not.

I agree with Mathilde's previous comment that Fateev may like Zhiganshina less because she gained some weight recently. No matter what his concern was, and no matter what was behind Zhiganshina's previous opportunities at the MT stage, what the fact shows is that Fateev is still not having something clear in mind, whether or not, and how to hire Vaganova graduates, especially those on the top, who do not want to be treated like the previous top graduates who are still fighting among the corps because opportunities go to people from other places. I am curious to see what kind of contract Fateev will offer to Shakirova, who based on the opportunities she already had, makes it also natural for her to expect more upon graduation.

Olga Smirnova's recent interview in Dance Magazine tells how she felt when making the choice to go to the Bolshoi. She was also offered the contract, but "found the atmosphere uninviting". This can be equally taken as not making an attempt to hire, if no one cares if she wants to stay or not. (http://www.dancemagazine.com/issues/June-2014/The-New-Girl)

I use the term "piss me off" to express my feeling at that moment so as not to appear like offending someone intentionally. But now I know that I don't have to think too much in this regard because as long as we follow the rules, we don't have to feel sorry for anyone else' feeling here. (Delete this part if you think it inappropriate, but I just thought I should explain that I was not asking for someone to care about my feelings)

Share this post


Link to post

On the contrary, it's like Harvard offering a tenure-track Assistant Professorship to a particularly brilliant and gifted newly-minted Harvard PhD, because full professorships are granted either to those who've gone through the tenure track or who are leaders in their field, which newly minted PhD's, however brilliant, are not. Another university might offer that PhD an Associate Professorship (with tenure), a well-funded lab or his or her own, a less competitive and political career path, and/or a more congenial work environment to snag him or her from Harvard, even if s/he's never wanted to be anywhere but Harvard, has been educated there for a decade, has deep roots in the area and to the institution, and has mentors who are watching his or her back, but sees that only one in 12 of the department's Assistant professors ever get tenure and that the powerful department head marginalizes the PhD's subject matter or methodology.

Any Vaganova graduate has had years to see what Fateev prizes and what his or her career trajectory and working conditions are likely to be, and that future, with rare exception, has been grim for Vaganova graduates at the Mariinsky under Fateev, which, to me, is the main point behind Zozulina's article as well as detailed documentation in this thread.

I don't see any previous reference to Zhiganshina's weight, and after seeing her in her very recent graduation video, if Fateev is concerned about it, it's another reason for her to run far away as fast as she can.

Share this post


Link to post

And yet, no one has answered why Fateev would cast Zhiganshina so prominently in the Company if he wanted to insult her, or how a company can offer dancer corps contracts, but not attempt to hire them, since Zozulina made no mention of any provisional terms for the dancers from several years ago.

Your question is, how is it possible for a company to offer a contract and does not attempt to hire, and I used the example of Harvard professor offered contract to work in a college as research assistant to show how is it possible to offer a contract without intention to hire, and how it may appear humiliating to a person even if it is not the intention of the company to insult. I am not saying that Zhiganshina is a professor and the MT is a college.

On the contrary, it's like Harvard offering a tenure-track Assistant Professorship to a particularly brilliant and gifted newly-minted Harvard PhD, because full professorships are granted either to those who've gone through the tenure track or who are leaders in their field, which newly minted PhD's, however brilliant, are not.

Now, considering Zhiganshina a brilliant PhD graduating from Harvard. Since we do not know the exact terms of the contract, how can you know it is a tenure-track Assistant Professorship or a temporary research assistantship? If Vaganova students is equivalent here to Harvard PhDs, what can be seen in the past few years is that until the time the article was published, none of the brilliant, newly-minded PhD graduates since 2005 received a tenure-track Assistant Professorship (maybe with the exception of Batoeva), for a tenure-track means promised promotion and recognition as long as substantial contribution is made in certain amount of time. What those excellent PhDs did in the company is more like working under contract. And in most cases, the jobs they are doing are easy jobs that a middle-school graduate can do as well. And none of them is allowed to contribute with their "new minds". At the same time, there were very few tenure-track positions offered in the past few years, and almost all of them were given to PhDs or Masters from institutions like the University of Kentucky. Even if these people all have something distinguishable, Harvard think it not enough and have them taking graduate courses with Harvard full-time professors while maintaining their tenure-track position (giving new soloists from other schools extra time to work with Vaganova-style coaches, in order to look like Vaganova ballerina, whereas Vaganova graduates do not have such priviledge).

Zhiganshina is special, however, in that she was already offered chance to teach a distinguished college-level course, with approbation from the leaders in the field. Everything shows that she might be the only Harvard PhD in the recent years to receive tenure-track from Harvard, but what she gets may be something less than that, or something equal to a working contract research assistantship like previous Harvard PhDs. At the same time, she was offered a tenure-track position in Yale, so she is going to Yale. And what Zozulina, a professor from Vaganova, or "Harvard", is doing, is to voice the concern of Harvard professors for the unfair treatment of Harvard excellent PhDs in terms of their career possibilities in Harvard.

However, Harvard is still a private institution, and the Board of Regents and the big patrons can decide the future of the college as long as they think it fair. Professors should move if they do not agree with the direction of the Board of Regents and the patrons. If one day, the directors want to change Harvard into a ballet academy or a music conservatory, it is very well up to them. But the Mariinsky Ballet is a national treasure of Russia, Russian people, if not for the field of ballet in general. It is not Fateev,'s or Gergiev's own personal company, and it is receiving funding from the government, so is the Vaganova academy. In the US, there is no public academic institution that enjoys a national prestige equivalent to Vaganova or Mariinsky ballet in Russia. That is why we can not assume that a Harvard example, or an equivalent example in the US, explains everything. I would say University of Sao Paulo in Latin America can be an example in this regard, or if someone knows better, an public academic institution in Russia.

The logic should be that, the Vaganova does not have to change anything just to suit the personal taste of Fateev, and if Fateev has problem with the Vaganova style, he should find funding to start his own company. Gergiev himself said in the interview he gave on the DVD of Jewels that he should make effort to preserve the Vaganova tradition, and as the article of Zozulina shows, Fateev also expressed his admiration of Liudmila Safronova. But how is it possible that students who worked 6 years with Liudmila Safronova in academy, who are the prides of the professor herself, are still "working on the contract" with no verified promise of promotion and recognition. And how is it possible that Gergiev is "preserving the Vaganova tradition" when a Vaganova professor is complaining about the unfair treatment of Vaganova graduates in the company. And how is it possible that we are saying here that the Vaganova should change its tradition in order to suit the taste of Gergiev or Fateev? Zhiganshina does not have to lose weight to suit the taste of Fateev, if all the Vaganova coaches and professors think it OK, she is still a proud carrier of the merits of Vaganova training, better, or at the very least, cannot be worse than what Fateev did himself.

Share this post


Link to post

It would be interesting to know what terms are generally offered to top graduates? I know that Vishneva (her graduate profile being very similar to Zhiganshinas) was promoted to principal within just one year after joining the company...but did she still first join as a corps de ballet member?

As for Ksenias weight gain, I honestly didn't even notice it myself. She is still very petite.

Share this post


Link to post

I didn't realize Fateev was taking the graduating students from schools that are the equivalent of the University of Kentucky and offering them Soloist positions in the Mariinsky.

If I followed the news stories correctly, there was an attempt to have the Academy come under the auspices of the Theatre, allegedly (as posited by official sources) to take over the Academy's studios for the Mariinsky while the old theater is renovated, and it failed. The Theatre doesn't control the Academy, and the Academy can continue to produce dancers according to its own standards. It can't, at least at this point, force the Mariinsky Ballet to compete for or to use the Academy's graduates or to prevent them from hiring from the outside.

The Mariinsky is a company that is funded by governments, corporate sponsors, and private individuals, some as a result Gergiev's personal efforts. Gergiev was appointed the head of the Mariinsky Theatre. Whoever appointed him can remove him, if they feel his policies or his hires are ruining a national legacy. Governments can pull funding if they don't like what he or his hire is doing. Either they agree with his policy, or haven't been convinced to take action against him.

Share this post


Link to post

I didn't realize Fateev was taking the graduating students from schools that are the equivalent of the University of Kentucky and offering them Soloist positions in the Mariinsky.

"Equivalent" is your term, not mine. By University of Kentucky, I mean it is an institution very different to Harvard both in terms of its location, and in terms of its nature and tradition. Other possible meanings associated with the use of the University of Kentucky are your own. And if you follow closely the casting information of the company (available on the website and on other reviews and youtube) in the last three years, combining them with the way they joined the company and the time they get promoted, you will know what I mean.

If I followed the news stories correctly, there was an attempt to have the Academy come under the auspices of the Theatre, allegedly (as posited by official sources) to take over the Academy's studios for the Mariinsky while the old theater is renovated, and it failed. The Theatre doesn't control the Academy, and the Academy can continue to produce dancers according to its own standards. It can't, at least at this point, force the Mariinsky Ballet to compete for or to use the Academy's graduates or to prevent them from hiring from the outside.

The Mariinsky is a company that is funded by governments, corporate sponsors, and private individuals, some as a result Gergiev's personal efforts. Gergiev was appointed the head of the Mariinsky Theatre. Whoever appointed him can remove him, if they feel his policies or his hires are ruining a national legacy. Governments can pull funding if they don't like what he or his hire is doing. Either they agree with his policy, or haven't been convinced to take action against him.

This is the confusing part of the situation. Allegedly it seems that the theatre wanted to take over the academy but failed, so that the academy is independent to the company and the company is free to hire whoever it wants and the academy is free to create its own style. But what was happening at the time is Gergiev wanted to be the head of a mixture of artistic associations, Vaganova Academy included, over which he is not artistic authority. And he received stiff resistance for his attempt from those institutions. (http://www.themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/nikolai-tsiskaridze-to-head-vaganova-ballet-academy/488611.html) If we consider the Mariinsky ballet Gergiev's personal property, then the independence of the Vaganova Academy to the Mariinsky ballet means the independence of the Vaganova Academy to Gergiev.

But first, what is the official source showing that Gergiev is making personal efforts to get sponsorship for the theatre? Or is he donating his personal money to the theatre? What is the percentage of that? Second, assuming that the personal effort can be specified and quantified, how much of it comes to the ballet company? If Gergiev is donating money to build the opera and the orchestra, not the ballet company, does it mean that we could still consider the ballet company his personal property, or that of Mr. Fateev, his acting director? The historical fact is when Gergiev was appointed head of the theatre, the ballet company was famous and especially for its close connection with the Vaganova Academy (any attempt to study the roaster of the company, past video recordings, reviews and programs would reveal this), and Gergiev is still ABUSING the term "Vaganova" in order to maintain his position as the head of the company, that is why he never said anything openly like "the Vaganova Academy is bad and we should hire more coaches and graduates from Perm or Kiev or Dnepropetrovsk, to change the style of the Mariinsky ballet", he does not dare to make this kind of claim because that would cost him certain amount of support from Russia.

The fact is, Gergiev himself said he would make effort to protect the style of the ballet company (exemplified in his remarks on the official Mariinsky Jewels DVD, I do not have the DVD currently with me so I cannot provide the exact terms he used, but if I remembered correctly, he did mention the Vaganova, and there was nothing in his remark showing that he was trying to change the style). Even his attempt to put the Vaganova academy under his power suggests a close historical connection between the ballet company and the academy that he himself cannot ignore no matter what he wants to do to with the company. And his consideration of the Vaganova continues when the rector is changed to Tsiskaridze, an appointment he speaks highly of. (http://www.dancing-times.co.uk/dance-today-news/item/1320)

To follow your logic in "Whoever appointed him can remove him, if they feel his policies or his hires are ruining a national legacy. Governments can pull funding if they don't like what he or his hire is doing. Either they agree with his policy, or haven't been convinced to take action against him", Gergiev can openly speak against the importance of Vaganova graduates if he, or his acting director, thinks none of the graduates since 2005 worth being anything more than a coryphee (with Batoeva, Shapran exceptions, but should be discussed separately) and dancers like Skorik, Shirinkina, Chebykina, and now Bondareva, worth more than they do. Either they justify what they are doing openly in words, or fulfill what they said orally into practice. If Fateev thinks the Vaganova not good for him, why still praising professors like Liudmila Safronova and having the coaches trained at the Vaganova in the company? If he still admires the Vaganova style, why not promoting student there? Another similar case can be Gergiev's praise of Ulyana Lopatkina, who worked in the company for a long time with Kurgapkina. Yet it is also during the reign of his acting director that another protegee of Kurgapkina, Evgenia Obraztsova was lost to Bolshoi because her talents no longer properly recognized in the company immediately after the passing of her coach (proof is her repertoire after the death of Kurgapkina).

To me, they are being hypocritical because they know if they voice against the value of Vaganova tradition, they would lose some of their support in the government and in other institutions in the country, and they themselves would be deposed, possibly. Politics is never black and white. Zozulina's article represents an insider's voice of the reality, that of which what is happening in the company is not following its outspoken logic. And again, I do not see any necessity for the Vaganova to change in order to suit Fateev's taste, in order to have their wonderful graudates to dance decent parts on the MT stage. What they choose to do is to fight. And Fateev and Gergiev may be relying on their lies (despite of different natures) about cherishing the Vaganova tradition in order to remain on their posts. Otherwise what explains he divergence between what is happening and what they were saying?

Share this post


Link to post

Anyone in a position of authority could see with their eyes the kind of dancer who is cast and who goes on tours and the kind of dancers who are not and languish in the corps. No matter what Fateev or Gergiev says or doesn't say, what is on stage speaks volumes and directly to the worldwide public, through live performances, videos, or just following the casting on the website.

Gergiev is not a Czar. If the people who appoint and the governments and sponsors -- private and corporate -- who fund him don't like what they see, they can do something about it. If they won't, then the Vaganova graduates, looking at the company, will make their choices between the Mariinsky or other companies.

Share this post


Link to post

Anyone in a position of authority could see with their eyes the kind of dancer who is cast and who goes on tours and the kind of dancers who are not and languish in the corps. No matter what Fateev or Gergiev say or doesn't say, what is in stage speaks volumes and directly to the worldwide public, through live performances, videos, or just following the casting on the website.

Those "in a position of authority", unfortunately, rarely care about nor have the eyes to see what's going on. Very differently from the audience: yesterday after the first White act I heard ROH balletomanes around me angrily asking "why is this girl not dancing "Apollo", why others who are bland and uninspiring are given multiple performances and not her?" They seemed to be genuinely puzzled.

Share this post


Link to post

Tiara, I am so glad you were able to go to the matinee after all. I know you were unsure whether you would get a ticket to it once they switched Stepanova's performances. One of my favorite moments in the Swan Lake love duet is when the ballerina lifts her right leg and falls backwards into Siegfried's one arm as she lowers her leg to meet the other one. I love to watch how the ballerina moves her arms after she falls. It is just a minor moment to most people, but Yulia Stepanova's arms and hands are like seaweed flowing in the ocean current. She makes that moment so beautiful, and these details are what I look for in a ballerina. It is very easy to miss, but for me it underscores how much detail has been put into her interpretation.

Share this post


Link to post

The translated article states at the end: "For example, the third and the most difficult variation in “The Kingdom of the Shades” is danced by Stepanova essentially flawlessly. This is why it has been selected for being recorded."

Does this mean they are coming out with a DVD of this ballet? I have the previous version with Komleva/Terekhova. I hope they do not choose to record Skorik as Nikiya, I can think of many others who should be preserved in this role for posterity (my ideal would be Vishneva, but failing that, I'd prefer Lopatkina). I searched to see if this was posted about but couldn't find anything, perhaps there was a problem in my search terms.

As far as the rest of the discussion in this thread, I think it's just very embarrassing (or should be) for the MT, to have recent top Vaganova graduates choose to go elsewhere because they are not valued at the Mariinsky. I won't say anything more, as it has been discussed pretty well already.

Share this post


Link to post

Teryoshkina has been selected as Nikiya, Matvienko as Gamzatti. Teryoshkina - a superb technician but with little in terms of the 'image creation' ability. She has danced 40 principal parts this season (while Lopatkina has been given very little). I reached the point of oversaturation with her. Matvienko (a graduate of Kiev) bland though techically sound. I lost hope that her dancing could ever move me.

One of my favorite moments in the Swan Lake love duet is when the ballerina lifts her right leg and falls backwards into Siegfried's one arm as she lowers her leg to meet the other one. I love to watch how the ballerina moves her arms after she falls. It is just a minor moment to most people, but Yulia Stepanova's arms and hands are like seaweed flowing in the ocean current. She makes that moment so beautiful, and these details are what I look for in a ballerina. It is very easy to miss, but for me it underscores how much detail has been put into her interpretation.

That was indeed extraordinary on July 6. Yesterday Xander was a bit late catching Yulia the first time she was falling, so the image produced wasn't as ethereally beautiful.

Share this post


Link to post

The translated article states at the end: "For example, the third and the most difficult variation in “The Kingdom of the Shades” is danced by Stepanova essentially flawlessly. This is why it has been selected for being recorded."

Does this mean they are coming out with a DVD of this ballet? I have the previous version with Komleva/Terekhova. I hope they do not choose to record Skorik as Nikiya, I can think of many others who should be preserved in this role for posterity (my ideal would be Vishneva, but failing that, I'd prefer Lopatkina). I searched to see if this was posted about but couldn't find anything, perhaps there was a problem in my search terms.

As far as the rest of the discussion in this thread, I think it's just very embarrassing (or should be) for the MT, to have recent top Vaganova graduates choose to go elsewhere because they are not valued at the Mariinsky. I won't say anything more, as it has been discussed pretty well already.

Elena,

I was at three Bayaderes that were filmed this summer. On July 12 Kolegova danced Nikiya with Askerov as Solor and Gergiev conducted. On July 13 and 14 both these nights Tereshkina danced Nikiya with Shklarov and Boris Gruzin conducted. All three nights cameras were filming from various angles (cameras placed in various areas around the theatre). My box had most of the seats removed due to needing to put a camera in it, so I assume they knew ahead of time and did not allow anyone to buy the seats that they removed.

In Europe the July 14th performance was telecast into movie theaters in some countries, I believe. So maybe all that filming was just for the broadcast and no dvd will emerge.

However, it seems very strange to film 3 different nights with two nights with the same exact cast and one night had different lead dancers but same supporting cast.

So I have no idea what is going on. Maybe the Kolegova night was filmed in case they needed more footage of the supporting people. I have no idea.

Originally Gergiev was slated to conduct on July 12 and 14 but not on the 13th. That was also very confusing.

Usually any ballet dvd released by the Mariinsky is conducted by Gergiev.

We might get a dvd with Kolegova and Gergiev conducting. Or we might get a dvd of Tereshkina with Gruzin conducting. Or there may never be a dvd released.

But if one is released it will probably be with either Tereshkina or Kolegova because they were the two Nikiyas that were being filmed those 3 nights. So don't worry. Skorik was not filmed. I originally assumed Tereshkina was getting a dvd of her Nikiya, but since Gergiev only conducted Kolegova, maybe she will get a dvd. If they do not release a dvd of one of those nights it seems very odd to do all that filming.

For opera lovers out there, the cameraman told me that War and Peace was also being filmed at Mariinsky II.

Bart

Share this post


Link to post

Tiara, I am so glad you were able to go to the matinee after all. I know you were unsure whether you would get a ticket to it once they switched Stepanova's performances. One of my favorite moments in the Swan Lake love duet is when the ballerina lifts her right leg and falls backwards into Siegfried's one arm as she lowers her leg to meet the other one. I love to watch how the ballerina moves her arms after she falls. It is just a minor moment to most people, but Yulia Stepanova's arms and hands are like seaweed flowing in the ocean current. She makes that moment so beautiful, and these details are what I look for in a ballerina. It is very easy to miss, but for me it underscores how much detail has been put into her interpretation.

Yes. it was a performance of just so many beautiful details and I was sitting near enough to the stage to be able to see all her expressions. Completely mesmerizing!

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for the information all!

I would prefer a Lopatkina Nikiya above the others mentioned as the possible casts (if it even gets released). Oh well... Tereshkina and Kolegova are better than Skorik, so at least there's that.

I wonder if Lopatkina is dancing less because she is choosing to wind down her career, or because she is being given less opportunities. I would imagine she has more say than other dancers there, aside from Vishneva perhaps.

Share this post


Link to post

With special exceptions, I do not feel that foreigners belong in Mariinsky Ballet. Their training and style is so different. Where my feelings against foreigners is most evident is when the Japanese dancer, Kumiko Ishii, is on the stage. Her technique is too weak and her lack of sufficient Vaganova training is much too obvious. I refused to see Kampa dance Kitri, even at the cost of missing Stepanova dance Dryad.

For me, any dancer, who had their most important early years of ballet training, not at Vaganova, and in schools like where Kampa and Ishii trained, which are different to the Vaganova style, these dancers do not belong in Mariinsky Ballet. Dancers like Haley Schwanz who had her early training with Vaganova graduate, Angelina Armeskaya, from the Children of Theatrer Street movie, at the Washington Kirov Academy, fit in well at Vaganova and would have fit in at Mariinsky because her early training years were in the proper Vaganova style. Vaganova has great teachers in SPB, but they cannot break the bad habits brought up from improper training in the early years and Haley Schwanz had the proper training and would have been a wonderful Vaganova style ballerina at Mariinsky, but she joined Malakov's Berlin Ballet.

Share this post


Link to post

Unfortunately, Vaganova needs foreign money because it is no longer the Soviet Union where the Soviet government supported Vaganova. Now Vaganova needs the foreign money. However, Vaganova does not currently allow foreign students to enter in first year, so dancers not going to Kirov Academy in Washington or anything similar, are at a serious disadvantage.

Even Kirov Academy has changed drastically for the worse since now many current teachers are not Vaganova graduates and are training their students very different to the Vaganova style. When Vinogradov started the Kirov Academy it was like the SPB Vaganova school with Vaganova graduates teaching, but now there are German teachers brought up in Germany, who know nothing about the Vaganova style and they are not training their students in the Vaganova style. The Kirov Academy does have some Vaganova grads teaching, but it no longer is 100% Vaganova grad teachers.

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...