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Is Alyona Kovalyova "Zvezda" material ??

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5 hours ago, Quiggin said:

I'm always curious about the arts being characterized as a neutral sublime space without political dynamics bearing down somewhere – someplace to escape to. But are they really?

I am also puzzled by the blind faith in art's supposed salutary effects, when history has shown repeatedly that terrible people can make and appreciate great art.

5 hours ago, Birdsall said:

I also think a young girl is going to say things and post pics of herself on Instagram and not quite think it through.

I have always been bothered by ballet's tendency to infantilize dancers by calling them boys and girls, the "girls" especially. Kovalyova graduated from ballet school six years ago. At what point does she cease being a "young girl"?

5 hours ago, Birdsall said:

When you see young people kissing, laughing, smiling, it is beautiful. I think our world needs that energy even if at times it seems deaf to the world. 

Yesterday the actor Anatoly Bely confirmed that he had resigned from the Moscow Art Theater and left the country. He had been open about his opposition to the war from the outset, but had decided to finish the season, despite the hate directed at him, so as not to leave the theater in a lurch. Part of his statement goes like this:

"Because I can no longer remain in a country waging a vile, unrighteous, terrible bloody war. I cannot pretend that nothing is happening, I cannot look at people laughing on café patios, I cannot listen to happy music pouring out of open doors. I cannot be silent anymore."


He is a lot older than Kovalyova, nearly 50, has adolescent children to think about and probably has more money, since film work everywhere pays better than ballet. On the other hand, it will be a lot harder for him to work abroad than it would be for a ballet dancer.

Edited by volcanohunter
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No one will or has to live up to our expectations. I am very disappointed in Anna Netrebko, but I also know some Russians view her as a traitor now that she has condemned the war and Putin stronger than she originally did. This is not a black and white issue, imo. She was being cancelled in the West when she wouldn't condemn Putin and now she's cancelled in her birth country b/c she did condemn him finally. Yes, I would love for her to have condemned the war and Putin from the beginning. Everyone loves a strong 100% ethical human being. They are very admirable.  100% ethical and perfect people are admirable, but where are they? In a movie maybe. Occasionally in real life. But I don't live in Netrebko's shoes. I don't know what it is like to make that decision when your family still lives in Russia and I have read the climate there now is even more pro-Putin than before. A young woman like Kovalyova (is she 25 or around there?) is for me still a "girl" just as a 25 year old man looks like a "boy" to me. But I am 55 and had numerous deaths in the past 3 years and feel older than I am. But that's beside the point. They look so young when I see college students (I live in a college town) and I wonder if they are high school kids most of the time ("Omg! Those university students look like they are freshmen in high school!") Anyway, I remember being 25. I lost my sister at 25 and had NO IDEA what I wanted in life, what I wanted to do with my life, went out and drank and partied too much despite tragedies around the world and despite losing my older sister. I took forever to finish my 3 Masters degrees and luckily had parents who didn't mind that I went to live in Germany and then Austria just to learn German on a whim. It is natural for 20somethings to not even think of the horrors of the world and to be wrapped up in their own little world. Yes, I remember being sad for the starving people in Africa, but I didn't do anything about it. Maybe thoughts and prayers b/c I was a dumb "boy" at 25. I think with age you start to donate to charities (I tell even my partner and mother I would rather they give donations to the needy instead of a present at Christmas or my birthday), but that is probably not what a 25 year old thinks to say (at 25 or even 30 you want the car, the laptop, the crocodile attache case for Christmas, when you are young even though there are starving people in the world), and only later do you occasionally help out in soup kitchens or go to protests or give donations big enough that hurt your wallet. Some do all this at 25. I didn't. I was selfish and I was in college and partying every other night and sleeping around and having the time of my life. I arranged most of my classes to be late so I could sleep in and took forever and took a long time to get all my degrees (back then you could take forever if you wanted....today they want you churned out and don't like you to linger). Like every young person I didn't think anything bad would happen to me in life. It is not how every young person thinks or feels, but I think it is actually quite normal for many of us. I lived in my own selfish world having fun and I don't regret it after experiencing what I have in the last 3 years. If I die today at 55 I am happy I had a lot of fun and in the last 3 years an almost intolerable amount of personal tragedy (family, friends, pets, acquaintances). Personally, I can not fault a 20something posting on social media about wanting things to be back to "normal" (and it is never normal....she will find that out the hard way), but I remember being 25 and the most important thing was which bar to go to that night and what to wear. I am male, but I can imagine being a young woman around 25 with today's social media and wanting to post the latest pic of me in a fancy dress or out to dinner at a famous restaurant. That to me is youth. I am lucky to have had a wonderful youth with little pain (except for my sister) and plenty of fun and nice things and an easy life. Now in my 50s I am experiencing such emotional pain that I never knew you could feel.....depression that makes you wake up and say, "Why didn't I die in my sleep last night?" and so I have to see positive right now. I have to see young people making their dumb mistakes and just stare in awe at the beauty of that.....the careless, frivolous 20something existence that is so DUMB yet so beautiful and glorious. It is the first time in my life that I see a young person on the street acting silly or laughing or twerking (which I normally hate) and I stop and stare in awe. That is living. That is beautiful, glorious living, and we older people are bah humbug. I am bah humbug often but I am trying to stop and see the beauty of silly youth. To me Kovalyova is just being a normal 20something when she posts on Instagram despite war and starvation. I can't judge that. Now at 55 someone should judge me if I don't care people are dying in Ukraine, but I don't judge a 20something. 


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I just watched a video clip of one of her recent performances. She’s so lovely an artist and I’m rather happy for her being made a Principal. It doesn’t seem that long ago that she was accepted to the Bolshoi after being refused at the Mariinsky (upon graduating its school as a distinguished student) because she was too tall (it’s said) and not certain of finding any good company.

She’s probably been slightly accelerated to the top because of the very sad departure of Olga Smirnova with the extremely young and highly talented Eva Sergeyenkova most likely to be promoted as well. Yet, she seems to be fitting into her new prominence with a youthful surety and delicate fineness that will certainly be contrasted to the multidimensional artistry and excitement that Eva Sergeyenkova will offer.

Edited by Buddy
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Buddy, when I saw Kovalyova as Nikiya on the Bolshoi's tour of Milan, I was surprised at the unexpected feeling I got. It was like this lovely young person totally in love. It was youth......her exuberance, in my opinion, made a difference compared to the other two Nikiyas (Smirnova and Zakharova). It made the story come alive. It was like a breath of fresh air. She probably has been promoted too early and with that comes nervousness and mistakes, but if she gives some people pleasure then she's done her job. I have only seen her live that one time and do not actually follow her that much, but that night I sat up and watched. I saw someone who loves what she is doing. That makes a huge difference for me. 

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I haven't commented on this forum for ages, but just read many of the above pages and they make me so sad.  I don't want to say too much, but Yes, we are going through terrible times but need there be so much negativity?   There are many dancers who many people don't like/don't think are deserving of promotion/think should act in a certain way.  How wonderful it would be if the whole world and every event could be ordered as every person would like.  It is impossible.  There are many dancers I love who never rose above corps level.  There are some who were promoted who never should have been - but this is my OPINION.  Our opinions are all different.   Nobody knows what is going on in someone else's life, or what is in their mind, even if they may say something publicly.   How many are there in throughout the world who dare not speak out against the war for fear of retribution.  Who can blame them?  It's easy for us all to say what somebody else should do, but could we do it ourselves?    I think Alyona Kovalyova's comment is entirely natural - who doesn't want things go to "back to normal" or live in a war fee world?  Why should she feel she has to say anything else because others have done?  We are all individual - and yes, she IS young and will learn the hard way that there is no normal. As for her dancing, of course she is quite beautiful to look at with extraordinarily long lines.  I have seen her dance a few times, and yes, she doesn't have the strongest pointe work, so hops en pointe are not her forte, but she does have stage presence, those beautiful lines, natural acting.  I remember others in the past who had weak hops en pointe, those who had ugly extensions, those who couldn't jump.  Those dancers were criticised then, and now it seems there is another person to pick on.  Kovalyova  obviously fitted Vaziev's vision of a principal ballerina and that's her luck and his prerogative to decide on his rankings.  Personally, I do find her over-tall, and therefore problematic to cast, but that also is my opinion.  I think it's very sad that there is so much criticism of so many dancers.  

Edited by MadameP
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