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The Bolshoi under Vaziev

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Oh, I was confused since I saw a video of the graduation performance where she danced the lead role. Thank you!

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The Bolshoi site has been updated and photos have been inserted for the new corps members: Ladina, Kovalyova, and Ledyakh.  Kamil Yangurazov also moves out of the Opera corps into the ballet corps. No bios yet though. 

 

No soloists have appeared to have been removed (some of the corps were removed earlier) and so far, no promotions announced.  I'm wondering if, going by Vaziev's earlier comments, he is looking to remove some people before he makes any promotions. 

Edited by Deflope

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I see David Hallberg is still listed as a principal. One continues to wonder and hope.

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The troupe page is updated to reflect the promotion. Andrei Merkuriev's bio is now gone. 

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Merkuriev left the Mariinsky under Vaziev, no?  

 

I hope he will join another company. 

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Merkuriev is still scheduled to dance Espada in Don Quixote on September 25, and his bio page gives him as that strange "soloist, working under the contract" title, although typically dancers aren't moved to that category until they pass age 40. Perhaps it's an oversight on the part of the webmaster, who moved Denis Medvedev's link, but forgot to move Merkuriev's. Or perhaps that Don Quixote will be his last hurrah.

 

I think the chances of Merkuriev joining another company at age 38 are slim. I don't know that Vaziev is the primary reason for the change in his fortunes either. Merkuriev has been getting limited stage time for the past 2-3 seasons.

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After watching the World Ballet Day stream I came away with great sympathy for any dancer who has to work under Vaziev. What a dreadful man. Rude, churlish, boorish, coarse in the way he expresses himself. I don't know whether he would treat senior dancers in the same way, but his "teasing" of the younger dancers preparing to dance "Emeralds" came across not as jocular but as bullying. For example. when Xenia Zhiganshina slipped toward the end of her variation, he said something to the effect of: "I knew it. It wouldn't be Zhiganshina without a flub up." His corrections were nearly always the same. Some, like insisting that everyone dance with greater rhythmic accuracy seemed fair enough, and his encouragement to "dance, dance!" is uncontroversial. He seemed to have certain preoccupations for women dancers, particularly very precise footwork (Okay), dancing more expansively (Perhaps), and always lifting legs higher (Ugh). Vaziev's criticism-to-praise ratio seems to be about 9:1. I don't know how the dancers stand it. 

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Oh so that was Vazlev who was so loquacious at the Bolshoi company class and Emeralds rehearsal. Thanks for the description of his comments. He seemed to insist at class that he would indeed be a presence and would have some keen insights, but whatever was translated (Maryinsky is a woman, Bolshoi is for men) seemed less interesting than the interviews with teachers in previous segment at ballet school. I did find him fascinating to watch though. He had a mishievously disappointed, slightly hurt look on his face, like a character in a play who has been neglected and is trying to regain ground. That said his Emeralds rehearsal looked better to me than other non-NYCB versions. (I just wish the first dancer didn't smile during her solo.)

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I loved Ksenia Zhiganshina in her Emeralds rehearsal - and I think Vaziev was just teasing her.  It seemed to me he was very friendly with her.  

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Well to put it in perspective I used to participate in a sport where the rate of criticism to praise was sbout the same (9 to 1).  Yet we knew our coach was trying to make us better.  Criticism comes with the territory and athletes (and dancers) expect to be pushed hard every work day.  

 

Also I think blunt criticism is part of normal ballet culture in Russia.  The polite manners that the British are known for, and positive reinforcement in American sports culture (especially women) are not so common everywhere else.  

 

 

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I don't know the inner workings of the Miami City Ballet when Edward Villella was there, but the dancers always seemed remarkably relaxed and happy. They also performed brilliantly, which seemed to support the idea that you don't have to be uncomfortable and pressured to produce greatness.

 

I do recall an article, which I could possibly retrieve if necessary, where Vaziev says that he would never humiliate one of his artists. I hope that this is the case. I've seen him at several Mariinsky Festival receptions and an after performance stage discussion and he always seemed relaxed, pleasant and complimentary to his artists. At the receptions, the dancers also seemed quite relaxed and appreciative in his presence.

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Vaziev was very critical of Turazashvili's duet during a live worldwide webcast, although I'm not sure that rises to the level of humiliation, in light of the fact that his comments weren't being translated.

 

In a TV feature about one of the Bolshoi's coaches, a principal in his charge specifically said that "he never screams," which perhaps implies that some coaches do scream during rehearsals, but it also suggests that the "tough love" approach is not universal in Russian ballet companies. 

Edited by volcanohunter

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21 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

Vaziev was very critical of Turazashvili's duet during a live worldwide webcast, although I'm not sure that rises to the level of humiliation, in light of the fact that his comments weren't being translated.

 

In a TV feature about one of the Bolshoi's coaches, a principal in his charge specifically said that "he never screams," which perhaps implies that some coaches do scream during rehearsals, but it also suggests that the "tough love" approach is not universal in Russian ballet companies. 

 

Volcanohunter, I have heard that the "tough love" approach can exist with some coaches. I've also read comments about loving coaches, both inside and outside Russia, whose artists have achieved exceptional results. These coaches seem to be much loved and highly respected and appreciated in return by the artists.

 

Added comment:

 

I also read an interview with a famous dancer from Russia who implied that it wasn't necessarily easy, but that Vaziev would give you a chance to pursue your own direction and challenges. He could also be communicated with, which was not always the case with others, the artist felt. Vaziev, in recent interviews, has said that he is very willing to give artists a chance 'to prove themselves.'  

Edited by Buddy
several thoughts added

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On 10/4/2016 at 9:37 PM, Helene said:

Taking out one company at a time.

 

Unfortunately for the Bolshoi, taking out one A.D. at a time, is also true.  I agree with volcanohunter's observations.

What I saw wasn't very encouraging; however, Vaziev is trying to reset, re-adjust and get his bearings.  The Bolshoi

is an entirely different animal than the Mariinsky or La Scala.

 

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Years ago when I was at school we had a very tough no nonsense language teacher who replaced a far older rather laissez faire one. Much later when she had got us working at the level she expected she explained that she had deliberately adopted the no nonsense style with us as she had found that it was possible to reassert authority with a group who you had initially subjected to strict discipline and then given a bit of freedom but that it was impossible to assert discipline over a group who had not been subjected to it in the initial stages of the teacher pupil relationship. I wonder whether, given the circumstances in which he took over at the Bolshoi and the state that the company was in at the time, Mr Vaziev's has based his management technique on a similar premise? I always think that it is very difficult to interpret accurately the true nature of the boss worker relationship in an organisation with which I am unfamiliar even though the whole thing is being conducted in my own language and I am aware of the general societal norms of acceptable behaviour.  I think that it is even more difficult to assess this when the individuals are communicating in a foreign language and I am ignorant of both the general societal norms and the organisation's own culture. 

Edited by Ashton Fan

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From the way he treated the young Somova, also caught on film, when he was the head of the Mariinsky, I tend to doubt this is driven by the company he is running.

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Maria Alexandrova has made an Instagram post which implies that she has left the company. She was to have danced Myrtha on February 19, but has now been replaced.

 

 

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To me, this feels rather a devastating loss. A great Bolshoi ballerina . . .

 

 

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