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XVII Mariinsky International Ballet Festival 2017


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Here it is.


30 March  Paquita
31 March  Paquita
1 April   Romeo and Juliet
2 April   La Bayadère 
5 April  Swan Lake     The Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre
6 April  Paquita
7 April   Don Quixote
8 April   Jewels
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Thank you. Any word on what Smekalov's approach to the first two acts of Paquita will be? Recreation in the spirit of...? Elements of reconstruction? I assume they would not have chosen him for a purist reconstruction such as Ratmansky's -- but I am wondering if that means Lacotte style hommage or something in between....

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On 29 Jan 2017 at 11:58 AM, Drew said:

Thank you. Any word on what Smekalov's approach to the first two acts of Paquita will be? Recreation in the spirit of...? Elements of reconstruction? I assume they would not have chosen him for a purist reconstruction such as Ratmansky's -- but I am wondering if that means Lacotte style hommage or something in between....


You're very welcome, Drew.


I can't really answer your question and it's a good one. There's very little information about the Festival except for the schedule posted Friday. If I find out anything about Paquita I'll let you know. I saw Yuri Smekalov's "adaptation" of The Bronze Horseman last year and was very impressed with his choreography, so no matter what approach he takes there's a very good chance of having another very fine presentation.


Below are his comments about The Bronze Horseman. They do give a nice insight into his way of seeing things and perhaps a clue about what his Paquita will be.



Yuri Smekalov about The Bronze Horseman


On 31 March [2016] the XVI International MARIINSKY ballet festival opens with a premiere of the ballet The Bronze Horseman. Production choreographer Yuri Smekalov speaks about the new ballet.


The new Bronze Horseman is not a reconstruction of the ballet which was premiered in 1949 at the Kirov Theatre, it’s a new stage version of Rostislav Zakharov’s famous ballet. I developed the concept of its adaptation for modern times with a wonderful artist, the designer Andrei Sevbo. His taste, poetic nature and romantic associations with stage space, I believe, are very suitable for a ballet about St Petersburg. Having worked with performers of Rostislav Zakharov’s ballet I understood that in the duets and in the interrelationships of the characters in The Bronze Horseman there is so much that is sincere, honest and simple! I think that audiences today have been missing that. The ballet has a dramatic text, there is technically demanding dancing, and in terms of choreography we have expanded most of the solo roles. In my production I am trying to retain Zakharov’s choreographic idea, but I want to show it in a different light so that the ballet has meaning for the audience today. The most difficult thing in working on this ballet for me has been the level of responsibility. If you’re creating a completely new work then it’s the case that you’ve conceived it and you answer for it. But here I’m working on a production that was very dear to certain people, and for many the question naturally arises – why did they trust me specifically to return it to the stage? I want to produce the ballet in such a way that both the older generation and young audiences feel warmth in their hearts when they see it, I want them to see that today we are just as dedicated to our profession as those who convinced and charmed the audiences with their work were when this was the Kirov Ballet. I am responsible to all these people, I represent the younger generation, and accepting that is, arguably, the most worrying thing of all. 


Yuri Smekalov  





The only casting information is that the Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre will be performing what is probably the highlight of any Mariinsky Festival, Swan Lake. This will be the first time that an entire other company has been given this. I saw them perform at last year's Festival and they did a fine job. Swan Lake is quite a prize. 



Here are part of the Paquita credits, which you might have read, although they are somewhat hidden away. They might give you a further clue.


Music by Édouard Deldevez, Ludwig Minkus and Riccardo Drigo 
Libretto by Yuri Smekalov 

Choreography: Yuri Smekalov 
Reconstruction and staging of Marius Petipa's choreography (Act III Grand Pas): Yuri Burlak 


(Click on "Credits")




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A Mariinsky News release.




A  premier of the ballet Paquita will open the XVII International Ballet Festival Mariinsky


The XVII annual international ballet festival will run at the Mariinsky Theatre from 30 March to 9 April 2017.


In line with tradition the opening will see a premiere – Édouard Deldevez' Paquita with additional musical numbers by Ludwig Minkus and Riccardo Drigo. Yuri Smekalov is working on the new production, while Marius Petipa's choreography of the Grand pas is being reconstructed by Yuri Burlaka. The St Petersburg premiere of the ballet Paquita in 1847 (a transfer of the Paris production at the Bolshoi (Stone) Theatre was Marius Petipa's first work as a choreographer in Russia. Having undergone several revivals, which saw the addition of individual dance numbers, the ballet remained on the playbill for a long time. In the Soviet period the full version of the ballet vanished from the repertoire – only the bravura Grand pas was retained, to this day remaining a "jewel in the crown" of ballet evenings. 

The first performances will take place at the historic Mariinsky Theatre on 30 and 31 March and 6 April.


For the fifth year in a row the festival will present projects of the Creative Workshop of Young Choreographers. Talented choreographers, so well-loved by St Petersburg – Vladimir Varnava, Ilya Zhivoi and Maxim Petrov will present their joint production Dreamers to music by the French group Daft Punk. The costumes, in a first collaboration with the Mariinsky Theatre, are being created by acclaimed Russian designer Igor Chapurin. 

The cast of the workshop's participants will be supplemented by American choreographer Garrett Smith, Brazilian dancer Guilherme Maciel and Olga Vasilieva, winner of the young choreographers' competition as part of the festival Context. Diana Vishneva (2016). Maxim Petrov will also present his second work Incantations set to music by Alexander Rabinovich-Barakovsky (4 April, Mariinsky II).


Once again the festival will host the Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre. The guest company will be performing Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, staged by Alexei Miroshnichenko (5 April, Mariinsky Theatre).


The festival's playbill will feature Mariinsky Theatre repertoire productions with guest dancers from the Bolshoi Theatre and the Dutch National Ballet – Romeo and Juliet by Sergei Prokofiev with choreography by Leonid Lavrovsky (1 April, Mariinsky II), La Bayadère by Ludwig Minkus staged by Marius Petipa and revised by Vladimir Ponomarev and Vakhtang Chabukiani with individual dances by Konstantin Sergeyev and Nikolai Zubkovsky (2 April, Mariinsky Theatre), Don Quixote by Ludwig Minkus with choreography by Alexander Gorsky after motifs of the production by Marius Petipa (7 April, Mariinsky Theatre) and Jewels by George Balanchine to music by Gabriel Fauré, Igor Stravinsky and Pyotr Tchaikovsky (8 April, Mariinsky II).


On 9 April the XVII International Ballet Festival Mariinsky will conclude with a Gala Concert, as part of which the company will present Anton Pimonov's new work, as well as a classical Divertissement featuring lead Mariinsky Theatre dancers and guest stars (Mariinsky II).  



(Thanks to Olga K at Mariinka for finding this)





What I'm most glad to see is the return of Maxim Petrov (his forth year) to The Creative Workshop of Young Choreographers. For me, his two major works have a delightful resemblance to Jerome Robbins' more cheerful creations. Along with Yuri Smekalov's Bronze Horseman, last year, his work is the perhaps the finest of all the new Russian choreography that I've seen.






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Partial casting has been posted today.


La Bayadere

Nikia: Olga Smirnova (Bolshoi Theatre) 

Solor: Semyon Chudin (Bolshoi Theatre


Romeo and Juliet 

Juliet: Nadezhda Batoeva

Romeo: Friedemann Vogel (Stuttgart Ballet)


Don Quixote

Kitri: Renata Shakirova

Basilio: Daniel Camargo (Dutch National Ballet) 


Final Night Gala 

Featuring: Nadezhda Batoeva, Ekaterina Kondaurova, Lucia Lacarra, Renata Shakirova, Viktoria Tereshkina, Cesar Corrales (English National Ballet), Daniel Camargo (Dutch National Ballet), Marlon Dino, Ernest Latypov, Alexander Sergeev, Andrei Yermakov. 


Great news !   Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin !  :D  She's always on my wish list along with Veronika Part and then Myriam Ould-Brahm, Simone Messmer....  Semyon Chudin, great talent and perfect partner.  


Lucia Lacarra appeared years ago at a Gala and I've not seen her since, but I've always liked her. Great to see her name again. Always really good to see Alexander Sergeev. He and his Principal dancer wife, Daria Pavlenko, whom I wish we could see a lot more of, are both wonderfully warm and highly talented. 


The two younger names, Nadezhda Batoeva and Renata Shakirova, have been given a lot recently. Nadezhda Batoeva has been a bundle of sunshine when I've seen her and Renata Shakirova, whom I'm not sure that I've seen on stage, has been very impressive on the internet (The Bolshoi Ballet contest, etc.) for her portrayal ability, flexibility of style and dancing prowess. Look forward to seeing both of them.


Swan Lake is always a/the gem performance. Usually guests are given at least one of the leads. This year it's been given to an entire guest company, the Perm Ballet, a first and quite an honor.


Some of the highlight performances over the years start with Alina Cojocaru's amazing year after year (six?) leading roles in the full length classics. Ulyana Lopatkina's Swan Lake (2006) may have been the finest I've ever seen. Other outstanding Swan Lakes include Gillian Murphy (2008) (actually six? Swan Lakes that Festival), Viktoria Tereshkina (2009), Yekaterina Kondaurova (2011), Alina Somova (2012), Olga Esina (2013), Oksana Skorik (2014),  Anastasia Kolegova (2014).... Svetlana Zakharova's Giselle (2013), I wrote at the time, might have the best best performance of "Anything!" that I've ever seen. Yekaterina Kondaurova's evening (2013), performing all the leads in Jewels, was an amazing feat of stage versatility, endurance and dance beauty. Alina Somova's Fokine's Swan (2014) was a remarkable rendering, perhaps the finest of her performances that I've seen. Yekaterina Osmolkina's Giselle last year was exceptionally beautiful. George Balanchine's Symphony in C and Ballet Imperial are always gorgeously performed and wonderful inclusions. There's much, much more that I haven't had a chance to mention.


This will hopefully be my thirteenth Festival in a row. I've loved them all, some glowing in certain areas, some in others. Usually the performances are outstanding with the artists giving their all and doing as well as I've ever seen them. There's something very special about the Festival. That's why I keep going back, year after year -- gratefully !



Correction made above: Oksana Skorik danced her Swan Lake in 2014, not 2012, which was the year that Alina Somova danced it with an outstanding performance. Anastasia Kolegova, an absolute sweetheart, also danced hers that year as posted.








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While waiting for more official Festival news I've been going through some of the things that I've written about previous Festivals. In addition to the highlights mentioned above, I also recall some overall events that I prize along with memories of other artists.


The premier presentations of the Mariinsky nuanced Le Parc really effected me. I was swept away by the work's artistic 'genius' and by the very sophisticated and refined way that it was interpreted. The work has a transcendental quality beautifully interspersing Mozart with surrealism.


Somewhat related to my feelings about Le Parc is the progression of Diana Vishneva. At one of the first Fesitvals that I attended around 2005 she did one of her excerpts from Alexei Ratmansky's Cinderella. Her flights across the stage into the arms of Igor Kolb and the flips in and out of his arms were absolutely breathtaking. As she's matured, her emphasis has shifted to expression and experimentation. Her performance of A Woman In A Room (2014) entered into the transcendental and experimental realm that I sensed with Le Parc. I felt that if anyone could carry the historic refinement of ballet dancing into the realm of modern art, she could be the one. I still follow her direction with great interest.


Another highlight event was the Gala in honor of the famous Mariinsky teacher and coach, Gennady Selyutsky, in 2012. The cast included some of the most famous Mariinksy related names and their performances were of the highest order.


Looking back at my first comments (2007) I was very taken by how much I equated the dancers' artistry with their real life selves. I considered them to be one of the nicest group of individuals that I'd ever had the pleasure of communicating with and I equated their outstanding performances with their niceness, considering them to be almost inseparable. I still feel much the same.


My contact with the artists has been almost completely confined to compliments at the final night Festival receptions, where my very limited Russian has helped somewhat. My only other contact has been an occasional fews words from sightings in the audience. When I describe a human quality that I admire in one of these remarkable artists it's almost always one that I feel is also highly reflected in their artistry.




For anyone who might be interested in the casts for the year when the Festival actually performed six Swan Lakes (one is the norm).




Sat, 15 Mar 2008, 19:00 

Swan Lake  

Diana Vishnjova 

Jerve Moro 

Sun, 16 Mar 2008, 19:00 

Swan Lake

Gillian Murphy 

Andrian Fadeev 

Tue, 18 Mar 2008, 19:00 

Swan Lake 

Maria Alexandrova (Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow) 

Danila Korsuntsev 

Wed, 19 Mar 2008, 19:00 

Swan Lake 

Viktorija Tereshkina 

Anhel Korejja 

Thu, 20 Mar 2008, 19:00 

Swan Lake 

Tamara Roho 

Igor Kolb 

Fri, 21 Mar 2008, 19:00 

Swan Lake 

Ulyana Lopatkina 

Roberto Bolle (La Scala, London Royal Ballet)


(Thanks so much to our dear friend, chiapuris)









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This is what the Mariinsky posted on its FB page re the new (and it is new) Paquita:


"Preparing for the premiere at the Historic Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre - in exactly one month XVII International Mariinsky Ballet Festival will present the new version of Paquita, choreography by Yuri Smekalov! This is not a revival of the 19th century production, created in Paris by the ballet-master Joseph Mazilier and which was performed in St Petersburg from 1847 with choreography by Marius Petipa. Choreographer Yuri Smekalov is working on a new three-act ballet using his own libretto based on the plot of the novella La gitanilla by Cervantes."

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6 minutes ago, Fosca said:

The new Paquita will tour to Baden-Baden/Germany in December - no link yet, they publish their programme in April.


That is good news. I might return to Baden-Baden for the Mariinsky tour. I had not visited my friends or spoken German in 25 years, and it was so much fun to be back after so long.

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Some casting appeared today!  Amongst other dancers now listed on the playbill, Olesya Novikova dances Gamzatti in the Smirnova/Chudin Bayadere!  She is a WONDERFUL ballerina!  This promises to be an outstanding Bayadere!  And Nadia Batoeva will be partnered by Filipp Stepin in Romeo and Juliet - this is a great dancing AND acting cast!  

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And....a few more.



Yekaterina Osmolkina   :)  Sounds Wonderful   Emeralds 

Anastasia Kolegova      :)  Love to see this        Emeralds

Yekaterina Chebykina   :)  Should be very interesting  Diamonds  

Xander Parish                :)  Excellent                             Diamonds 





There is the type of Balanchine where I think that the Mariinsky really shines.

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Olesya Novikova -- Gamzatti 


She's so beautiful and during the last several Festivals she so put her heart into her performances. Will be fascinating to see how she handles this one. I've seen some very sympathetic Gamzattis, Maria Allash at the Bolshoi being the most recent.



Being on the stage with a poetic  sea of expression such as Olga Smirnova will be quite an event.

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In an interview, not long ago, Olga Smirnova said that one of the things that made an impression on her in her recent work outside the Bolshoi, was the idea of relating to everyone on the stage. She said that ballet dancers tend to mainly concentrate on themselves.


Being a person who seems to reflect on and take such things seriously, I'll be very interested to see if and how this is noticeable in the powerful interactions between Nikia (herself) and Gamzatti (Olesya Novikova) in the La Bayadere performance.



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Announced today.


Paquita: Ekaterina Kondaurova, Viktoria Tereshkina, Oxana Skorik 
Andres: Timur Askerov, Andrei Yermakov, Xander Parish



(Congratulations to Sophia at Dansomanie for getting there ahead of  me :))




It looks like a fairly nice distribution of dancers this year, with no particular dancer, group or philosophy being emphasised. Seems fine to me. Xander Parish is the only dancer that I've noticed so far being given two major appearances, Paquita and Diamonds. Congratulations! The only differences are the giving of Swan Lake to another company, a very noticeable first, and the broadening scope of The Young Choreographers evening, probably a good thing. 


Even a slight reclaiming and definite acknowledgement of Olga Smirnova -- the lead in Bayadere. She also got a Kitri gala excerpt last year.


I've sensed over the years that there is a sense of goodwill, comradery and mutual respect at the Festivals. Svetlana Zakharova, for one, after she left the Mariinsky for the Bolshoi, was invited back several times, and even drafted as a last minute replacement to which, it seems, she generously responded.

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On 3/16/2017 at 4:24 AM, Buddy said:

Olesya Novikova -- Gamzatti

She's so beautiful and during the last several Festivals she so put her heart into her performances. Will be fascinating to see how she handles this one.


Have never seen Novikova live yet, and neither Aksana Skorik who I am tracking. Had tix for Legend of Love on 28th Feb

with both Novikova and Skorik cast, was in Moscow couple of days before to see Ivan the Terrible at the Balshoy but had to

return home from Moscow ..... so frustrating. And once again will not be able to go to the Mariinsky ballet festival week, will

be holed up at a trade show in Frankfurt doing PR and chatting up our principals ....... :crying::crying:

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Click on performance for casting.
30 March  Paquita
31 March  Paquita
1 April   Romeo and Juliet
2 April   La Bayadère 
5 April  Swan Lake   The Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre
6 April  Paquita
7 April   Don Quixote
8 April   Jewels
9 April  Ballet gala 
Recently posted
Ballet gala 
This will include, once again, another George Balanchine -- Symphony in C -- which has always been a beautiful presentation.
Yekaterina Osmolkina has been replaced by Anastasia Lukina in Emeralds but can still be seen in Symphony in C.



This is the current casting.


30 March  Paquita


Roles are being rehearsed by (the names of the artists are listed alphabetically):

Paquita: Ekaterina Kondaurova, Viktoria Tereshkina, Oxana Skorik 

Andres: Timur Askerov, Andrei Yermakov, Xander Parish


31 March  Paquita


1 April   Romeo and Juliet


Juliet: Nadezhda Batoeva 

Tybalt: Alexander Romanchikov 

Romeo: Philipp Stepin 

Mercutio: Alexander Sergeev


2 April   La Bayadère 


Nikia: Olga Smirnova (Bolshoi Theatre) 

Solor: Semyon Chudin (Bolshoi Theatre) 

Gamzatti: Olesya Novikova


4 April   A Creative Workshop of Young Choreographers 


I. Tromba Lontana

Choreography by Maxim Petrov

Music by John Adams 

Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin

Performed by Oxana Skorik and Philipp Stepin 


II. Redundantly

Choreography by Olga Vasilieva

Music by Nils Frahm

Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin

Performed by Nelli Smirnova and Andrei Arseniev 


III. Shelter – 2016 

Choreography by Guilherme Maciel

Music by Camille Saint-Saens

Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin

Costume Designer: Guilherme Maciel

Performed by Anastasia Lukina and Guilherme Maciel


IV. For a Sweeter Look

Choreography by Guilherme Maciel

Music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin

Costume Designer: Guilherme Maciel

Performed by the Mariinsky Ballet soloists and corps de ballet


V. Celestial 

Choreography by Garrett Smith

Music by Antonio Vivaldi, Thomas Tallis

Costume Designer: Monica Guerra

Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin

Performed by Sofia Ivanova-Skoblikova, Valeria Martynyuk, Yekaterina Osmolkina, Yana Selina, Alexander Sergeev, Vasily Tkachenko, Maxim Zyuzin


VI. Dreamers

Choreography by Maxim Petrov, Vladimir Varnava, Ilya Zhivoi

Music by Daft Punk (arrangements by Vladislav Ivanov) 

Costumes by Igor Chapurin

Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin

Produced and Directed by Sergei Danilian

1. Beyond

Choreography by Maxim Petrov 

Performed by Yekaterina Ivannikova and Konstantin Zverev

2. Within

Choreography by Vladimir Varnava 

Performed by Ekaterina Kondaurova 

Piano: Andrei Gugnin

3. Motherboard

Choreography by Ilya Zhivoi 

Performed by Yekaterina Chebykina, Yulia Kobzar, Zlata Yalinich, Yevgeny Konovalov, Vasily Tkachenko, Maxim Zyuzin

4. Lose yourself to Dance

Choreography by Maxim Petrov, Vladimir Varnava, Ilya Zhivoi

Performed by the Mariinsky Ballet soloists and corps de ballet

The Renaissance Percussion ensemble 

Conductor: Arseny Shuplyakov

St Petersburg TV and Radio Children's Chorus 

Principal Chorus Master: Igor Gribkov


5 April  Swan Lake  


The Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre


6 April  Paquita


7 April   Don Quixote


Kitri: Renata Shakirova 

Basilio: Daniel Camargo (Dutch National Ballet) 

Gamache: Dmitry Pykhachov 

Espada: Ivan Oskorbin 

Street Dancer: Nadezhda Gonchar 

Flower-Sellers: Sofia Ivanova-Skoblikova and Shamala Guseinova 

The Queen of the Dryads: Yekaterina Osmolkina


8 April   Jewels


I. Emeralds 

Anastasia Lukina and Fuad Mamedov
Anastasia Kolegova and Roman Belyakov

II. Rubies 

Iana Salenko (Berliner Staatsballett) and Steven McRae (The Royal Ballet) 

Yekaterina Ivannikova

Piano: Lyudmila Sveshnikova

III. Diamonds 

Yekaterina Chebykina and Xander Parish


9 April  Ballet gala 


I. The Cat on the Tree. PREMIERE 

Music by Nico Muhly, Teitur Lassen 

Choreography by Anton Pimonov

Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin

Costume Designer: Arina Boganova


Viktoria Tereshkina и Alexander Sergeev 

Ekaterina Kondaurova and Andrei Yermakov 

Nadezhda Batoeva and Ernest Latypov 


II. Divertissement

Featuring Nadezhda Batoeva, Anastasia Kolegova, Lucia Lacarra, Anastasia Matvienko, Renata Shakirova, Marlon Dino, Daniel Camargo (Dutch National Ballet), Cesar Corrales, Denis Matvienko 


III. Symphony in C 

Music by Georges Bizet 

Choreography by George Balanchine 

Staging by Colleen Neary 

Costume design by Irina Press


Yekaterina Osmolkina and Maxim Zyuzin 

Oxana Skorik and Yevgeny Ivanchenko 

Elena Yevseyeva and Philipp Stepin

Nadezhda Gonchar and Alexei Timofeyev





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So within several weeks one enters into a dream

And so unlike a ballet dancer

One drags one's feet in the silken earth

So as to bring time into suspension as much as one is capable of

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There's a beautiful flow in life. The clouds in the sky. The waves in the ocean. The children at play. The dreams in one's heart. 

Sometimes it's expressed in dance.

Why ?

Dancing can make us happy !

Dancing can be beautiful.
Dancing can be ourselves.

So each year Saint Petersburg has a Festival of ballet dance. It has its own definite style, its own definite beauty.

It's a lyrical dance. Only one type, but one of the most developed, most refined and in many ways one of the most beautiful.

Thus it can become a place to dream and hopefully a place to launch future and even more beautiful dreams.

The Festival, folks in the streets, stars in the sky -- it can all become part of the same thing.

A beautiful flow. A beautiful dream.

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In about a week it all starts.


Some of the things that I'm truly looking forward to.


Olga Smirnova (w/ Semyon Chudin) -- La Bayadere

She's simply A Phenomenon.


Oxana Skorik -- She's possibly the most beautiful dancer at this Festival.

Tromba Lontana (Maxim Petrov)
Symphony in C

I'm not sure if she gets the beautiful duet in Symphony in C. I would hope that it's her or Yekaterina Osmolkina. That she's working with the brilliant young choreographer, Maxim Petrov, could be exciting and more experimental. He's using John Adams' music so it might be more traditional. We'll see. 


Yekaterina Osmolkina -- Another absolutely beautiful dancer with remarkably mature artistry. Her Giselle at last year's Festival was a masterpiece highlight.

Dryad Mistress (Don Quixote)
Symphony in C 
Celestial (Young Choreographer: Garrett Smith) 

Xander Parish -- A Prince


What more can be said than the two primary works that he's been given. 


Yuri Smekalov -- Choreographer for much of the new Paquita.

I thought that his Bronze Horseman last year was an exciting, world class effort. Really hope to see the same this year. 


Maxim Petrov -- Brilliant and highly entertaining young choreographer.

Young Choreographer evening:

Tromba Lontana (music John Adams) 
Beyond  (music: Daft Punk)

Lose yourself to Dance (shared two other young choreographers) (music: Daft Punk)

His two longer works (about 20 minutes each) at the first two Young Choreographer performances were absolute highlights for me. The use of music by the French group Daft Punk implies something different and experimental. It's something that he could do very well. He's extremely clever and capable with a fine sense of entertainment and international perspective.


There' so much more. In addition, surprise, brilliant performances always happen.



Complete casting for Paquita can be found here.


(Click on the event. Thanks once again to Sophia at Dansomanie)



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Nadia Batoeva and Filipp Stepin will be wonderful in Romeo and Juliet - Filipp Stepin is a great Romeo as I have seen - both have great acting skills, and wonderful techniques.   Filipp Stepin has arguably the best technique at Mariinsky Theatre, with beautiful clean footwork and lovely arms and head.  He does not get the international recognition he deserves.  I have seen him and Batoeva in so many roles and this exposure in the Mariinsky Festival is well deserved, but I can't help wondering why he was not cast in Paquita.  He would have been an excellent choice.  Some of the Paquita casting is very strange to my eyes.  We shall see ... I hope for some nice solos in the Grand Pas at least.  The Bayadere casting of SMirnova/Chudin is fabulous of course, and not least because their Gamzatti is the magnificent Olesya Novikova.  I also think Renata Shakirova is a lovely Kitri.  She does have that infectious vivacity and naturally happy personality, expressive face, good jump that make her ideal for this role.   I loved her Katerina in the Stone Flower.  I think it is an interesting Festival, but the casting is very uneven.  

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Some Enchanted Evening.


While floating home tonight I also heard an absolutely beautiful jazz-pop singer.




Very Enjoyable


It was a very fine performance. Paquita is a bit of a show as it was apparently intended. The Grand Pas dancing was indeed. A 'show' in the hands of the Mariinsky also becomes great art.


There's a rather complete description in the beautiful, written program as to what it's all about, which I'll try to look through. The Grand Pas is by now a classic, well known to a lot of us. I've only watched the Yulia Makhalina video, which I really like. Tonight's version has a much more youthful feel. At times you think that you're watching high school kids until you realise how absolutely perfect the artistry is.


Two first acts were created by Yuri Smekalov and they work just fine. He has a particular style, rather animated. Tonight the legs were particularly noticeable, with high kicks and very crisp motion. There's also interesting combinations of leg movement and some exciting lifts.


The Grand Pas dancing is apparently tweaked to make it more like the original by Yuri Burlaka. His intentions are explained in the program. For me, it seems essentially like the Yulia Makhalina video, which I haven't studied or seen in quite awhile. Yelena Yevseyeva's excellent solo #5 did look somewhat different. Also the hand of Yuri Smekalov seemed present in the more animated, youthful feeling.


Viktoria Tereshkina was excellent. She fit Yuri Smekalov's style very well and at times was as elegant and refined as I've ever seen her.


The Children's Mazurka(?) was precious.


Natalia, the sets and costumes are beautiful.


Based on what I saw tonight I greatly look forward to Renata Shakirova's Don Quixote.


There's much, much more. There's also two more performances, so I hope to be able to cover other things at other times. 


Well she's walking through the clouds
With a circus mind
That's running wild
Butterflies and zebras and moonbeams
And fairy tales, 


That's all she ever thinks about

Riding with the wind


(Jimi Hendrix)


Well it's kind of like that.










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I too went to the opening night of Paquita, which, as Buddy says, was very well received by the audience.  It is a long evening ballet - over 3 hours with 2 intermissions, and the sets and costumes are indeed very beautiful.  Last night's opening cast was Viktoria Tereshkina as Paquita and Timur Askerov as Andres.  There are good roles for Paquita's friend, Cristina, danced by Elena Yevseyeva on the opening night, and also Carducha (Renata Shakirova) who dances in the second act., in what is more of a dramatic role with solo.  There is also much dancing for corps and coryphees, both male and female, so this is a good whole company vehicle.  To cut a long story line short, Paquita is abducted by gypsies as a tiny child, raised by them, falls in love with Andres, who gets thrown into prison, and then is rediscovered as the long lost daughter of nobility !   The famous grand pas is the final act of the ballet, the wedding celebrations of Paquita and Andres.  There are also four good roles for Paquita's friends, last night Zlata Yalanich, Yekaterina Ivannikova, Anastasia Lukina and Nadezhda Gonchar.  


In my opinion, Viktoria Tereshkina danced well, but to me she seemed a little muted in her interpretation.  There is much gypsy flavoured dancing, with distinctive hand positioning and she didn't do anything actually wrong, and technically she was irreproachable, but to me the more effervescent Yevseyeva as her friend, drew the eye more.  I did think Timur Askerov was miscast.  He is a well proportioned dancer with actually beautiful lines, but his personality does not project.  In the first act, Andres is "taught" the tricks of the trade by gypsies, in what is supposed to be a comedic section of the ballet - how to steal a goblet, how to a lasso a (pantomime!) horse and he was completely lost in  this comedic part.  HOWEVER, in the pas de trios with Tereshkina and Evseeva, he showed off those beautiful lines and stretched knees in some lovely sissones and accurately landed entrechats and also good partnering.  This pas de trios is commonly seen as part of the grand pas, but here it is in Burlaka's staging in the second act.  The orchestration is different, and the dancers are not in classical tutus.  Both Tereshkina and Evseeva were outstanding in this.


The grand pas was magnificent! The children's mazurka is always a scene stealer, but there were many delights in this section.  It was a pleasure of see Viktoria Krasnokutskaya and Anastasia Nikitina among the grand pas dancers - they are two lovely corpyhees who are rarely cast.  The variations are danced by Paquita herself, Evseeva as Cristina, the four friends and Andres, and the programme gave the source of each variation.  For anyone familiar with the more frequently danced variations in the grand pas, the only one seen REGULARLY in this was the first one - the "melancholy" one! - danced by Anna Pavlova in the ballet Kind Candaules, and here danced with lovely flow of movement by the very pretty Anastasia Lukina.  Outstanding among the variations were Ivannikova and Evseeva, with Zlata Yalinich also producing some good arm work in her variation.  The variation for Paquita herself has much gypsy stylised arms and hands and this seems entirely apt as Paquita recalls her gypsy upbringing.  Timur Askerov also danced well, both in his variation and all the partnered sections.  He really is suitable only for prince type roles, in my opinion, and variations where he can show off his high, easy jump.  The grand pas picks up tempo towards the end, with the Vaganova children returning and the climax of this section the series of fouettes performed by Paquita.  Tereshkina did single, single double three times with hands on hips for the doubles, and then singles to the end.  These were fast and accurate.  Brava to her!  


At the end of the ballet a whole sea of flowers suspended on strings descend from above - very difficult to describe but so pretty!  There were numerous bows and as well as the conductor, Yuri Smekalov came on stage to receive his well deserved applause, kissing each female soloist in turn, with also a number of other staff who assisted in the staging and coaching.  All in all, I loved the grand pas, but there were some other sections of the ballet, that I thought did not work as well, but this is inevitable, and I think Yuri Smekalov is much to be congratulated on this addition to the Mariinsky repertoire.  I wonder what Kondaurova/Ermakov and Kolegova/Parish will make of it!  

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Thanks for these reports. I find the project of ersatz - or pastiche - revivals sort of problematic.  (I've never been a fan of Lacotte.) But I can't imagine an evening that ends with the grand pas from Paquita that I wouldn't enjoy very much!  I'm eager to hear about the other casts and, indeed, the rest of the festival --what you are able to see that is. 

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