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Mariinsky Ballet bringing Cinderella to Berkeley Oct 2015


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I agree, if you have the chance, go. And considering how badly the Putin government is getting along with the rest of the world, there may be no opportunities, soon. Russian ballet tours to Europe and the U.S. may cease in the near future. We shall see...

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My quick opinion about Alexei Ratmansky's Cinderella is that, like his Bright Stream, it's very dependent on who dances the female lead. It was created around Diana Vishneva and she was brilliant in it about eight years ago as a 'bravura' ballet phenomena. I do believe that the work has been slightly changed.

I would generally consider this Cinderella to be an expressively agile or 'sunshiny' role. Video clips that I've watched over the years have shown Alina Somova to be outstanding. I would think of dancers such as the theatrically remarkable Yekaterina Kondaurova (who's been given the high profile stepmother role), the lovable Anastasia Kolegova and the very young, equally lovable and theatrically versatile Yekaterina Chebykina. Another clip that I've just started watching shows how a much more quiet, graceful and lyrical approach might succeed as danced by former Mariinsky ballerina, Yevgenia Obraztsova.

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I've now watched the complete set of video clips featuring Yevgenia Obraztsova from her Mariinsky days. They've changed my perception of what she was doing but it remains an excellent interpretation. What I first saw as quietly graceful then becomes bouncy abandon including some rather deep theatrical expression. It’s quite a combination along with her lyrical flow. She’s also precious. It does show me more than ever how many ways this role can be so successfully presented. Whether intended or not it may be one of this work’s greatest strengths.

Again I’ll say that it's the person and the performance of Cinderella that will account for the success and this will be concentrated in the half hour or more of her solos and duets. They are almost a ballet within a ballet and could probably be presented very well on their own. Almost all the video clips that I’ve watched do just that with the initial court duet being the most recorded.

There is a Mezzo recording that hints at Diana Vishneva’s initial and magnificent abandon. Although the prince may be a supportive role it was Igor Kolb who made what Diana Vishneva did possible. She literally might have landed on the stage or in the audience if it weren’t for him. She was incredibly all over the place. I even considered making a special trip to New York to see what she would do next because I was certain that she could sustain this for only so long. From ongoing video accounts she has now moved into a much more artistic and theatrical extension. It’s quite excellent and certainly worth seeing, keeping in mind as she said in a recent interview, that she never wants to be the same from one day to the next.

I’ve always been fascinated with Alina Somova’s takes considering the role to have been passed on to her. I’ve also seen Daria Pavlenko’s court duet with her husband and ongoing Cinderella prince of princes, Alexander Sergeyev. Although her interpretation can be scrutinized, it definitely shows what an extra dimension her beautiful dance can add. Now I’ve watched Yevgenia Obraztsova and can see all the more possibilities. So I’m probably more inclined than ever to have another look and see what unexpected but delightful surprises might occur along with the expected and delightful.

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Please let me add Nadezhda Batoeva to my list. I'm just discovering her Cinderella on the internet and I'm enjoying it very much. I saw her Don Quixote in Saint Petersburg and I really liked her aliveness. It works very well here. Also I'm seeing subtleties in the videos that I didn't notice in Saint Petersburg. I look forward to seeing her again live to make the comparison. On the DQ video alongside Oxana Skorik, whom I love for her long lines and expansive expression among many other things, Nadezhda Batoeva seems more contained, but within this is an equally compelling interest (especially in ’bringing it all together’ highlights), loveliness, excitement and vibrancy.

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