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Buddy

2017 -- 2018 Season

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Posted (edited)

A video has been posted with the 2017-2018 debuts of Renata Shakirova.

Shirin (Legend of Love), Shurale, Gulnare (Le Corsaire), Grand pas variation (Raymonda),  Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Allegro Vivace (Symphony in C), Cinderella (by Ratmansky) and Gold Bells Dance (Legend of Love).

She’s a remarkably fine dancer. She’s also a bundle of sunshine in each one. In real life (from personal and video clip glances) she seems unable to hold back a smile.So what happens when she has to enter more 'serious' dramatic waters? I’ve seen her do it and she’s quite capable. What I personally would love to see her do, like the young and delightfully smiling Maria Iliushkina and the more veteran Anastasia Kolegova, is navigate these waters with a continued sunny radiance. A personal thing, perhaps, but something that I prize. I’ve seen interpretations of some of the heaviest character parts that have still brought a feeling of warmth, understanding, love and a smile to my face. I think that she can do this if she wishes.

Edited by Buddy
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Posted (edited)

I read that last night's performance of Anna Karenina with Daria Pavlenko in the leading role, was the last performance of Pavlenko after 22 years dancing for Mariinsky Theatre.   A video of her bows was uploaded:

 

 

Edited by MadameP

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Posted (edited)

I’ve just watched an eight minute (approx.) video clip of the three young Vaganova graduates Maria Khoreva, Anastasia Nuikina, Daria Ionova  and Xander Parish performing George Balanchine’s Apollo. I also watched the first twenty minutes or so, through Apollo’s solo, of a 1968 performance of George Balanchine’s own company — Suzanne Farrell, Peter Martins, Marnee Morris and Karin Von Aroldingen. I’m sure that this video or something very similar is required viewing for anyone attempting this work.

I’m not that familiar with George Balanchine’s works and I’ve only seen this on video, maybe once or twice before. These two performances are, not unexpectedly, so different. This is a work that I feel you would have to have George Balanchine sitting there directing to come close to the intent or impact of the original.

The thing that stands out most for me in the NYC Ballet performance is the impact and interest of motion. This is what I also appreciate most in the performances of Maria Khoreva and Anastasia Nuikina. Totally different from the NYC Ballet, but the interest is there as well as an excitement and quality.

Xander Parish is once again totally different from Peter Martins, but I enjoy his interpretation. First of all, he’s culturally closest to the source and it shows. He’s more comfortable and familiar with it. Secondly, it’s the first time that I’ve seen him display this much of his own imagination. As I’ve mentioned before I think that he has a fine sense of theater, perhaps again because of his cultural background.

The Mariinsky’s strength with works by George Balanchine, or anything else, for me, is in it’s lyrical interpretations. This work is perhaps the most demanding. Parts of this performance do click for me. I’ll be very interested to see how the Mariinsky develops it.

Added: I just finished watching the NYC Ballet video. What a remarkably fine work this is. What comes after what I wrote about is some lovely and powerful emotion, lyrically beautiful dancing and much more. I’d really like to see how Maria Khoreva and Xander Parish handled the poetically lovely, sculpturally encompassing and physically demanding duet. They both seem quite capable of a very fine interpretation.

Added added: Just watched the Calliope variation (solo) performed by Zhanna Ayupova. Her’s is a very lovely and poetic ‘Mariinsky style’ interpretation that gives a fine idea of how beautifully the Mariinsky could do with the entire work. 

And one more: Having just viewed most of the version featuring Jacques d'Amboise, I would say the Mariinsky performance is  closer to this in its looser manner. 

 

Edited by Buddy
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On 7/29/2018 at 4:58 AM, MadameP said:

I read that last night's performance of Anna Karenina with Daria Pavlenko in the leading role, was the last performance of Pavlenko after 22 years dancing for Mariinsky Theatre.   A video of her bows was uploaded:

 

 

Thanks. Pavlenko is lucky. This is more than was given to Lopatkina, whose departure was simply announced. No chance for the public to cheer and say thanks.

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1 hour ago, CharlieH said:

Thanks. Pavlenko is lucky. This is more than was given to Lopatkina, whose departure was simply announced. No chance for the public to cheer and say thanks.

Agree.  

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 I don't want to negate your feelings about whether Daria Pavlenko and Ulyana Lopatkina should have received more in house recognition. I've often stated that I would have liked to have seen a lot more of Daria Pavlenko.

But there might also be a cultural issue here. Altnai Asylmuratova, when she was to retire from the Mariinsky (not the Vaganova), stated that there would be no big display. She said that Russians simply don't make a big deal out of saying goodby. I've experienced this personally.

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Posted (edited)

I’ve continued to be very interested in the Mariinsky approach to George Balanchine’s Apollo. There’s a video of parts of Apollo with Zhanna Ayupova as Calliope, Patricia Barker as Polyhymnia, Isabelle Guérin as Terpsichore and Nilas Martins as Apollo. They all give very fine performances showing their respective styles.

The comparison that interests me the most is that of Patricia Barker and Zhanna Ayupova. Patricia Barker seems so right on in understanding and displaying George Balanchine’s intent. Yet Zhanna Ayupova really touches me. I admit that my bias is towards the Mariinsky style throughout all my ballet viewing and here I think that Zhanna Ayupova has done a wonderful Mariinsky style rendering. Of all the video viewing that I mentioned in my above post, it’s still her appearance that I come back to the most. It has a Mariinsky ‘enchantment’ and for me it works just fine here.

In regard to the recent Mariinsky performance with the young Vaganova graduates, my main feeling is that they are still quite young. Sometimes this is an advantage because they are more open to different approaches. Maria Khoreva may have a lot of promise in this regard. She seems to have range as well as very fine talent. With such ‘more flexible’ artists (perhaps led by Yekaterina Kondaurova and including other younger ones such as Renata Shakirova and Yekaterina Chebukina) the Mariinsky could produce some impressive results.

Yet Zhanna Ayupova, in my mind, is pure Mariinsky and she dazzles in Apollo. She also adds her own very special poetry, but with a Mariinsky sensitivity. So again I look forward to seeing what kind of ‘magic’ the Mariinsky can do with works such as Apollo.

Added thought: Maybe 'fate' has placed her where she is at the Vaganova.           

 

Edited by Buddy
spelling correction

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6 hours ago, CharlieH said:

Thanks. Pavlenko is lucky. This is more than was given to Lopatkina, whose departure was simply announced. No chance for the public to cheer and say thanks.

 

5 hours ago, MadameP said:

Agree.  

 

Things seem to be changing, Makhalina and Pavlenko got decent farewells. A lovely change for once. But I must remind you that Lopatkina was simply unable to dance again after her hip surgery, more than a managment decision it was a health issue. Sadly. 😭

 

 

Now there is a place in the principal ranks and it should be filled by Osmolkina or Novikova but I doubt it will happen, I fear it might be Shakirova or ....Chebikyna. 

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, Colette said:

 

 

Things seem to be changing, Makhalina and Pavlenko got decent farewells. A lovely change for once. But I must remind you that Lopatkina was simply unable to dance again after her hip surgery, more than a managment decision it was a health issue. Sadly. 😭

 

 

Now there is a place in the principal ranks and it should be filled by Osmolkina or Novikova but I doubt it will happen, I fear it might be Shakirova or ....Chebikyna. 

Makhalina still dances very occasionally - once a season.  There was a special Lopatkina "evening" during her last season, but no official farewell performance.  So sad.  Chebykina and Shakirova are both second soloists: I think it is more likely that a first soloist would be promoted to principal, .  

Edited by MadameP

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1 minute ago, MadameP said:

Chebykina and Shakirova are both second soloists: one of the current first soloists is more likely.  

Not necessarily. May Nagahisa went from apprentice straight up to 2nd Soloist. The old order can be thrown out the window!

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27 minutes ago, CharlieH said:

Not necessarily. May Nagahisa went from apprentice straight up to 2nd Soloist. The old order can be thrown out the window!

Shakirova does not have either Odette/Odile or Nikiya in her repertoire.  In my opinion, she is no Aurora, although she now has that role in her repertoire. She is no Raymonda. I don't think she is principal calibre although I like her very much, and I do not believe Chebykina is principal calibre either.  For me, both are good soloists, but not principals.  As for Nagahisa, I still defend all those Vaganova corps and coryphee girls who were overlooked in favour of her... 

Edited by MadameP

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Posted (edited)

Anything goes with Yuri Fateev!

So Makhalina’s anniversary gala on Dec 18, 2016, was a “Farewell”? It was never billed as such...

https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/playbill/2016/12/18/1_1930

Makhalina is still on the Principals roster. Not that she has danced much since that gala.

Back to the matter of the next Principal lady - 

Fateev seems to spring these on us before major international tours. I can see this happening with Shakirova - whatever her rank now - just before the Corsaire tour to Washington DC next April...giving her additional cachet just before opening night in DC. Hmm? 🤔 

Edited by CharlieH

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Yes, Yuri Fateev is a law unto himself. And Makhalina does still dance on average once or twice a season- certainly not enough to justify her principal status.  

 

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1 minute ago, MadameP said:

Yes, Yuri Fateev is a law unto himself. And Makhalina does still dance on average once or twice a season- certainly not enough to justify her principal status.  

 

Got it. I just edited (added to) my earlier post with a “Shakirova Theory.”

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Shouldn't two principal openings come up (or 3 if Makhalina finally retires)? Lopatkina announced her official retirement but continues to be listed on the Mariinsky website as a principal. Now Pavlenko has retired officially. So that gives room for 2 new principals.

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1 hour ago, MadameP said:

Shakirova does not have either Odette/Odile or Nikiya in her repertoire.  In my opinion, she is no Aurora, although she now has that role in her repertoire. She is no Raymonda. I don't think she is principal calibre although I like her very much, and I do not believe Chebykina is principal calibre either.  For me, both are good soloists, but not principals.  As for Nagahisa, I still defend all those Vaganova corps and coryphee girls who were overlooked in favour of her... 

ITA with you. She is a wonderful dancer in lighthearted soubrette roles; was greatest as Laurencia, at her graduation. Natural Kitri.  Nice Masha and Peasant pdd but really being pushed.

Sr management at the theatre doesn’t seem to favor dancers associated with the late Sergei Vikharev, which is why I hold little hope for Osmolkina and Novikova. This is similar to what happened with Zubkovskaya’s students (Part, Ivanova, Nekipelova) after Zubkovskaya died...coach no longer around to lobby for her dancers’ advancement. 

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Makhalina's performance was her "benefit performance" and official retirement from the Mariinsky, Igor Kolb also said on Instagram that "Yulia is done dancing at the Mariinsky". She does continues to dance in galas, as well as being a coach at the Mikhailovsky. 

 

So yes, there should be room for 2 or 3 promotions, Osmolkina, Novikova and Ivanova/Ostreikovskaya. Never gonna happen under Fateyev. 

 

The Mariinsky website needs some serious update, I would not trust in it at all, even Irina Golub is still listed, for christ's sake! 

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...AND Andrei Batalov as Guest Artist. Really?

I would understand if the English version of the roster is lagging behind but the Russian?! 

Yet, they update the Corps de  Ballet page, eg, Khoreva and other newbies listed, Androssova and other recent retirees out. 

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Posted (edited)

Can I get back to George Balanchine's Apollo once again. Why?  Because it's a masterpiece and it's 'stylistic' place at the Mariinsky fascinates me. 

Probably the two most famous interpretations were by Jacques d'Amboise and Peter Martins. After several essentially first time video viewings I see Jacques d'Amboise's interpretation as being more about gestures. And athleticism is noticeable. He once said that George Balanchine used him to represent himself, a dancing Balanchine. I sense this. Peter Martins may have changed it. His presentation does have a certain subtlety.   

One of the main things, for me, about the Mariinsky is subtlety. So how do you bring George Balanchine's often more animated abstract/expressionism and the Mariinsky's quiet lyricism together?

Here are some quotes from the Balanchine side. 

George Balanchine  "I saw that gestures, the basic material of the choreographer, have family relations, like different shades in painting and different tones in music.”

“Mr. B. says that dancers are poets of gesture,” Mr. Villella said, “and watching him move through ‘Apollo’ made understand that.” (He performed it himself to show Edward Villella)  

" Mr. Martins, who became a permanent member of the New York City Ballet in 1970, commented particularly on the athletic aspect of “Apollo” and then mused about the ultimate challenge to the interpreter of the hero. Finally, he said, “You have to try to project sense of character development in very subdued way.” "

https://www.nytimes.com/1979/04/29/archives/the-life-and-times-of-balanchines-apollo-the-life-and-times-of.html

“You have to try to project sense of character development in very subdued way.” 

Peter Martins' Apollo has a Michelangelo quality. He is godlike, giantesquely powerful, yet totally sensitive. Interestingly related to this, I see the touching of his and Terpsichore's fingers as a literal take from Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam (Mankind)).

So enter here the Mariinsky -- Zhanna Ayupova and now Xander Parish and the very young Maria Khoreva. What do they have in common? Mariinsky style. Quiet poetry, lyricism and fineness.

But there's something else -- Character. As abstract as George Balanchine is supposed to be, there's remarkable expression here. Suzanne Farrell exudes it without any drama. So within the 'abstract motion' of George Balanchine there can be remarkably compelling expression in the form of emotional shading. And there's also the face. A face that's not emphasized, perhaps, but still the key to unspoken emotion and meaning. Xander Parish does a commendable job with his very personal, Mariinsky shaded and understated interpretation.

Maria Khoreva and Suzanne Farrell? Worlds apart, perhaps. Suzanne Farrell had a wonderful understanding of George Balanchine's intent plus she radiated her own 
inner light and warmth. And she was only 22 (at the time of this video, 1968). Maria Khoreva shows her fine Mariinsky dance and personal range with some insights into what she could someday make of this role. 

Zhanna Ayupova, for me, showed what a wonder the Mariinsky could make of it all. 


 

Edited by Buddy
one slight word change

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Like others, I am plenty intrigued about the influx of talent from the Vaganova academy to the Mariinsky this year. And have seen some video of Khoreva I think is "to die for." Also of Bulanova who has been dancing other featured roles at the Mariinsky this summer, though she wasn't cast in Apollo. But in the video excerpts of Apollo that have appeared on youtube, I thought both Khoreva and Nuikina rather overdid the facial expressions; it got a little too 'cutesy' for my taste.  That may be inexperience or it may be the way they were taught. Or it may be a quirk of my own taste not to care for it.

(Ayupova was one of my favorite Mariinsky ballerinas--haven't had a chance to re-watch the Apollo performance with her that Buddy mentioned above. But in Petipa and Fokine!)

Edited by Drew

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And back to Balanchine. And again, why?

How his work can fit into the Mariinsky framework continues to fascinate me with each new viewing of his Apollo and of unrelated ballet dancers from Russia. Why not go to the Balanchine forums? Because my perspective is from a Mariinsky orientation. I love its style and it sets a standard and reference for all my ballet viewing.

I’ve written how Zhanna Ayupova’s Calliope shows what a wonderful way the Mariinsky could approach the entire Apollo and perhaps Balanchine in general.

My focus is also on the ballerina. Apollo is supposedly focussed on the dancer of Apollo. Yet I’m very much drawn to Suzanne Farrell’s Terpsichore Duet. I see a lot of resemblance between her and Zhanna Ayupova in her lovely lyricism. I find this more interesting in that George Balanchine has made this 1968 video version more hard edge and abstract than the 1960 one featuring Jacques d’Amboise. I think that he simply let Suzanne Farrell’s natural lyricism take precedent in the Duet which for me is the highlight of this work as it is in all my ballet viewing. It’s where the ballerina is presented the most beautifully. He could have had her dancing much more ‘hard edge’ but he didn’t.

So where does this take us? I suppose that I’m looking for the lyricism and poetry in George Balanchine that would bring him closer to the Mariinsky sense of beauty. It’s apparent in his ‘Mariinsky tributes’ such as Symphony in C or Diamonds. Yet the 1968 Apollo (and continued I assume) is a venture into abstraction. Thus Suzanne Farrell’s lovely lyricism in the Duet and even Peter Martin’s underlying sensitivity throughout, shows a more poetic sort of ‘Balanchine.’ It’s something that I would like to search more for in my Balanchine viewing as I would in how the Mariinsky deals with it and which works it choses.

One more quick comment about Zhanna Ayupova’s Calliope. It’s a very fine poetic statement. It’s very Mariinsky, it’s directly related to the 1960 version, and it also shows her exceptional interpretive ability. She doesn’t carry on a mime discussion but she uses remarkable mime expression throughout her dancing. This may be the first time that I’ve noticed such a thing in ‘classically oriented,’  non-Character dance. Of course, the Balanchine choreography is responsible, but how she carries it into the realm of the ‘classical, lyrical’  is her own doing. In this respect she made her performance a one of a kind masterpiece and perhaps even a new form of dance beauty.

 

 

Edited by Buddy

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