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Flames of Paris

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(With having obtained her mother’s permission, in person) I would like to name the star of the Flames of Paris, Ulyana Ivanova, that cutest 5 year old dancer. Her mother is Marina Rudakova, the Corps de Ballet dancer on tour as well. And Ulyana gathered those flowers after every perfomance, to not let them go to waste. What a great talent and what a great consideration (and taste for beauty (of the flowers). I will wish Ulyana a successful life on and off stage !!!!

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That little girl stole the show! In Act II, she was in the back, stage left with the peasants. When peasants weren't dancing, she mimicked principals. In III, she was up-front, stage right. And she knew every step.

I saw Vasiliev Friday night and Sunday matinee. He seemed utterly exhausted by Sunday. The stage also seemed smaller than what he was used to. I found his strutting around annoying. Was that his characterization or preening for the audience?

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To California, i've seen 3 different casts, Friday night, Sat matinee, and Sunday. I LOVED Zaitsev performance: lines, technique, hight of jumps, and MUCH MUCH MORE refined portrayal. Imho, that's HOW it should be danced and how it should look like. Everything of Zaitsev time on stage was BALLET. Bravo!

which i can't say of the other Philippe, who, imho, not only needs a good coach, good body conditioner/slimmer-er, but also someone who'd teach good ballet performance manners. As it was not borderline, but (imho) beyond good taste what should be on a ballet stage. The circus (ironically) was just next door. Besides that, i'd echo others' comments that he looked exhausted by 2nd half of each of his (not even variation) but each line of variations. He needed to heavily catch the breath, and walked like a heavy-weight lifter. (I sold one of my tickets with his lead - as, i always "vote" with my dollars)

On to praising! As i have not (yet) seen the Bolshoi version, I loved this one, fast moving, fast dancing, fast ending. I loved Vaynonen choreography, nice eloquent delightful dancing, both classical and character dancing. I love the costumes, orchestra, sets (not that much the music though, except for the Basque theme). Bravo to I. Perren, M. Ugrehkelidze & K.Makhvaladze (Teresas) L.Sarafanov, V.Lebedev, A. Yakhnyuk and M.Shemiunov (what a partner!) I couldn't help noticing A. Soboleva in Equality. Both Jeannes were good (but then there were things, imho, to work on - like canbellto noticed - turn-out for fouettes, or not letting the leg hang around mid-calf). But i liked their portrayal. E.Borchenko had an off performance imho, and Cupid, V.Ignat'eva was great on Friday, with mistakes on Sunday.

Bravo to Basque dancers (goosebumps!!!), loved all character dancing, such amplitude, such power, and all in unison. The court scenes were delightful as well. Thank you Mikhailovsky.

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I was at the Novembr 16th matinee and thought Vasiliev was absolutely sensational. The part of Phillipe is a perfect role for him. I sat in Row J (orchestra section) and didn't notice any huffing or puffing and all his landings were just fine. He was very light on his feet. And his technique was just as good as the last time I saw him - which was in ABT's Le Corsaire (as Conrad) in June of 2013. When I saw Giselle on November 12th (the matinee) I noticed a few heavy landings - particularly Ivan Zaytsev who danced the peasant pas de deux. Also Zaytsev's leaps lacked elevation. I didn't see him in Flames so maybe he was having an off day on Wednesday. I have been going to ballets for over 30 years and fortunately have seen many sensational performers and I think Vasiliev was fantastic. Maybe other Ballet Talkers with the same opinion will post.

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I was at the Novembr 16th matinee and thought Vasiliev was absolutely sensational. The part of Phillipe is a perfect role for him. I sat in Row J (orchestra section) and didn't notice any huffing or puffing and all his landings were just fine. He was very light on his feet. And his technique was just as good as the last time I saw him - which was in ABT's Le Corsaire (as Conrad) in June of 2013. When I saw Giselle on November 12th (the matinee) I noticed a few heavy landings - particularly Ivan Zaytsev who danced the peasant pas de deux. Also Zaytsev's leaps lacked elevation. I didn't see him in Flames so maybe he was having an off day on Wednesday. I have been going to ballets for over 30 years and fortunately have seen many sensational performers and I think Vasiliev was fantastic. Maybe other Ballet Talkers with the same opinion will post.

Hi Colleen - I too have been going to the ballet for about 30 years, and I agree with all of your comments. I was at the Mikhailovsky performances you mentioned as well as ABT’s Le Corsaire with Vasiliev as Conrad. The last time I saw Vasiliev dance was this year in ABT’s Don Q and his technique continues to be every bit as good as the first time I saw him dance. I thought he was spectacular at the November 16th matinee, down to the two curtain calls when he jumped out in a split leap.

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I was at the Novembr 16th matinee and thought Vasiliev was absolutely sensational. The part of Phillipe is a perfect role for him. I sat in Row J (orchestra section) and didn't notice any huffing or puffing and all his landings were just fine. He was very light on his feet. And his technique was just as good as the last time I saw him - which was in ABT's Le Corsaire (as Conrad) in June of 2013. When I saw Giselle on November 12th (the matinee) I noticed a few heavy landings - particularly Ivan Zaytsev who danced the peasant pas de deux. Also Zaytsev's leaps lacked elevation. I didn't see him in Flames so maybe he was having an off day on Wednesday. I have been going to ballets for over 30 years and fortunately have seen many sensational performers and I think Vasiliev was fantastic. Maybe other Ballet Talkers with the same opinion will post.

Hi Colleen - I too have been going to the ballet for about 30 years, and I agree with all of your comments. I was at the Mikhailovsky performances you mentioned as well as ABT’s Le Corsaire with Vasiliev as Conrad. The last time I saw Vasiliev dance was this year in ABT’s Don Q and his technique continues to be every bit as good as the first time I saw him dance. I thought he was spectacular at the November 16th matinee, down to the two curtain calls when he jumped out in a split leap.

I saw that Le Corsaire performance too! I believe the casting was Osipova/Vasiliev/Simkin (as Ali) There was a partnering mistake at the end of Act III's pas de deux but other than that it was close to perfection. Normally Ali overshadows Conrad but not in this case! I admit that Vasiliev's form was cleaner back than but he still has those amazing jumps and stage presence. I'm looking forward to seeing him and Natalia in DonQ this weekend!

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Here's a brief clip that someone was able to take of Vasiliev and Bondareva in Flames at the Koch.

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The Flames of Paris at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

November 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Jeanne - Oksana Bondareva Philippe - Ivan Vasiliev
Diana Mireille - Irina Perren Antoine Mistral - Leonid Sarafanov

Conductor - Pavel Bubelnikov

November 29 at 2 p.m.

Jeanne - Angelina Vorontsova Philippe - Ivan Zaitsev
Diana Mireille - Irina Perren Antoine Mistral - Mario Labrador

Conductor - Valentin Bogdanov

November 29 at 7:30 p.m.

Jeanne - Oksana Bondareva Philippe - Ivan Vasiliev
Diana Mireille - Ekaterina Borchenko Antoine Mistral - Victor Lebedev

Conductor - Pavel Bubelnikov

November 30 at 2 p.m.

Jeanne - Angelina Vorontsova Philippe - Ivan Vasiliev
Diana Mireille - Irina Perren Antoine Mistral - Leonid Sarafanov

Conductor - Pavel Bubelnikov

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I attended the 7:30 November 29 performance at Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa. Almost everything I could state has already been eloquently discussed in previous comments about previous performances elsewhere. I can add that rarely have I seen a ballet audience so completely captivated from beginning to end as happened last night. The audience was truly "with" the dancers in spirit throughout, and with increasing intensity as the evening went on--electrifying! Some numbers were performed through continuous applause; and never have I heard so much enthusiastic vociferation from an Orange County audience as I heard last night. Yes, at times Vasiliev's strutting irritated me . . . but I contented myself by thinking that it was appropriate to the character he was portraying: To lead the masses, Philippe needs to have a dynamic, magnetic, self-starting personality. If Vasiliev himself is like that, well, it's a perfect marriage between dancer and part, and if that's what it takes for this sort of ability to hold the audience in the palm of his hand, then more power to him. The position of my seat is such that I can see into the wings; and, yes indeed, I noticed and thought at the time that Vasiliev was very out-of-breath, and for a longer period of time than I'd have expected. But he'd pull it together moments later for his appearance onstage. Part of the court sequence reminded me in tone of the dance of the Roman patricians in Spartacus--coolly and beautifully elegant; and the little court ballet was especially delightful. Flames of Paris is wonderfully entertaining beginning to end. It may not have the deep characterization nor the delving into the profound questions of Life which touch us deeply; but it compensates through its confident vigor and choreographic fireworks.

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Is the problem smoking for Mr. Vasiliev, or his muscular composition?

His thick physical appearance reminds me of an Olympic sprinter. They are known for enormous musculature that is heavily fast twitch fiber. This small twitch fiber muscle allows for fast reflexes, jumping, etc. However, the fast twitch fiber fills the body with lactic acid, which tires the body quickly. This is why sprinters cannot be successful long distance runners. And the reverse is true as well. A long distance runner has a "lean" look, and if his muscles are measured, show extraordinary slow-twitch fiber. When exercising, the slow-twitch fiber doesn't produce lactic acid, and when the (minority) fast-twitch fiber muscle does produce lactic acid, the slow-twitch fiber converts it into energy which increases endurance.

I suspect Mr. Vasiliev has "encouraged" his fast-twitch fiber muscles through his choices in training plans (probably lots of weight lifting), rather than any focus on "encouraging" slow-twitch fiber (swimming, erging, distance running, etc).

That said, he could also be a smoker, which may will of course affect his stamina negatively.

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Is the problem smoking for Mr. Vasiliev, or his muscular composition?

That said, he could also be a smoker, which may will of course affect his stamina negatively.

He is definitely a smoker. He lights up outside the theater regularly. Lots of dancers smoke, but it seems to be taking a toll on his breathing.

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