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Alena Kovaleva — Some Thoughts from NYC

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I’ve not read such raves for a newcomer since the arrival of Olga Smirnova so I feel compelled to pass them on. These are by two NYC reviewers who are not necessarily easy to impress. They refer to the Lincoln Center performances of George Balanchine’s Diamonds about a week ago.


Robert Gotlieb


“Not so the Bolshoi corps in their “Diamonds,” which came brilliantly alive. This “Diamonds” really glittered. Yet everything in this performance paled in comparison to the ravishing splendor of 18-year-old Alena Kovaleva in the lead role. It was her debut—for all I know, the first time she’s had such a major opportunity in anything. She’s tall, dark, willowy, beautiful. And she’s technically impressive, but you hardly notice because she’s so winning, so gently secure, so obviously happy to be dancing. If she was nervous, it didn’t show. If she was daunted, you’d never know it. She wasn’t Farrell, she wasn’t Odette, she was a magical new creature. The audience had never heard of her, but from her first moment, there was a collective holding of breath, and at the end, a wild, heartfelt ovation; really, a burst of love. Gimmick had been transformed into glory.”



(thanks dirac)



And about Olga Smirnova these days at the same series, Joan Acocella had this to say.


Olga Smirnova as the ballerina in “Diamonds”: she had danced that role many times, but on this occasion she apparently decided that she was going to become everything that anyone could ever want from a great Russian ballerina. 



(thanks again dirac)







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I very much wish I could have seen both these ballerinas in Jewels.


Just a side note: Volcanohunter mentioned on another thread that Gottlieb was wrong about this being Kovaleva's debut in Jewels -- and she has had one or two other major opportunities also.  I suppose Gottlieb is well past the point of sweating details, though I rather wish he would. Of course, she is still a very young and relatively untried ballerina, and it was exciting to read Gottlieb's response to her...)

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