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2016 Vaganova Acad. Graduation Performances

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This year's series of performances will feature a revival of the Legat brothers' FAIRY DOLL, staged by Tsiskaridze (tweaking K. Sergeyev's 1989 version). The three other works on the bill will include ballets from the operas LIFE FOR THE TSAR ("Polish Ball" scene, staged by Irina Gensler) and RUSLAN & LUDMILLA (Naina's Garden scene by Fokine, staged by Tsiskaridze), as well as Nijinska's BOLERO (staged by Andris Liepa).

The Facebook poster/Liepa Foundation, for the Moscow performance:


This mirrors the three Mariinsky performances, as per the theater's website playbill:


Details available only in Russian, so far.

I note a heavier-than-usual emphasis on character/national dance. The longest work on view, the one-hr-long FAIRY DOLL, has a good mix of classical and "national" or "character" dancing. Absolutely no Petipa this year. I'm wondering if the Academy may not be expecting to graduate more than one or two classicists to the Mariinsky troupe this year?

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The 2016 Vaganova graduation performances have come & gone. Many documents are already on YouTube, such as...

Fairy Doll exc (pas 3; full thing also available if you dig) starring one of this year's top female grads, Alena Kovaleva:


Pt 2 of same:


Alena in just her solo:


Ruslan & Ludmilla garden scene:


Pt 2 of the same:


Life for the Tsar ball dances & Nijinska's Bolero can be viewed in this report from Rossiya TV:


...and in another report about the special performance in Moscow:


ABT's seamstresses should carefully study the gorgeous puffy tutus in the Ruslan & Ludmilla ballet. ABT needs to properly craft 1890s/early-20th-C classical tutus so that they don't flop like cocktail dresses!!!

Edited by Natalia
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A film of the full performance at the Kremlin theatre:

Haven't watched it entirely yet, but it's very interesting to see the Nijinska choreography for Ravel's Boléro. I wonder how they preserved it until today..

edit: the description of the video says this was filmed at the Kremlin, but the curtain in between the ballets is clearly that of the Mariinsky theatre.

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When the Maris Liepa Foundation brought their revival of Nijinska's Bolero to London it was said to be reproduced from original sketches and photographs and notes made by Bronislava Nijinska provided by her grand daughter. The ballet was staged with the help of Hilary Mitchell a student of Nina Yushkevich, a ballet dancer and choreographer from Nijinska's company. I suppose it depends on how many people you think might be engaged in restoring lost ballets from the early twentieth century and Nijinska's in particular but I would be surprised if the performance shown here does not derive from that source as well.

I don't have a particularly strong recall of what we were shown in London. I recall discussing it with a friend and we agreed that some of the grouping of the corps looked like Nijinska but we were more dubious about the choreography for the lead dancer but then the ballet was created for the Ida Rubinstein company and Ida Rubinstein was not a trained dancer.There are elements in the choreography for the lead dancer in this recording that look different from what I recall seeing in the theatre and yet they are familiar. Those familiar elements are in the dancer's epaulement which are curiously close to some elements of the epaulement that Ashton included in his own version of the Spanish dance in act 3 Swan Lake which is preserved on the Dowell Markarova recording of the ballet . Ashton and Billy Chappell had both danced in the Rubinstein company and that is where Ashton met Nijinska and was permitted to watch her in the rehearsal studio.

As for the difference between the choreography for the female lead shown in the recording of Bolero and what I saw in theatre that may well be attributable to the circumstances in which it was performed and the dancers performing it.The recording shows dancers in a graduation performance and as such is likely to conform to what has been set as the restored text which they had been taught. The performance in the theatre was given by an experienced dancer who for whatever reason seemed to be dancing in a style that looked closely related to the sort of Spanish dancing epaulement that is seen in the Bolshoi's Don Q and it did not look much like Nijinska.

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DS is in the performance - very proud to be the only international student with a 'solo' role- you can see him at 1:18 in his fairy doll role. He was also one of the 3 soloists in the Bolero (the one all in red with a red cloak) although not in this filmed performance (he shared the role alternately).

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