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cubanmiamiboy

Who rules today?

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35 minutes ago, Meow said:

I do not have the extensive knowledge and history of others on this forum, so I cannot really answer the topic question, but I am glad to see Obraztsova mentioned.  When I think of a "complete" ballerina, I do not look for someone who excels equally in everything.  I look for someone who is sublime in much and excellent in all.  I believe she is that.  I also look for someone who is never awkward or unsure in the management of her limbs, light in movement, has body positions that appear harmonious and fluid, and it neither wooden nor overly affected in acting or stage manner.  To me she is all of these.  I have not found all of these qualities in some other ballerinas mentioned, who often receive more attention from management and who have much merit also.  I disagree that she does not have the dramatic acting ability for many classical roles, and I do not think long limbs are necessary; it it how one uses what one has.  I do not understand how she is not more used at the Bolshoi.  I also think Cojocaru ranks highly and is exceptional. 

I'd just like to pick up the thread of dramatic acting ability in Obrazstova. When she danced R&J with Cornejo a couple of years ago, I was quite sure that right after the performance they were going to run off to City Hall ASAP and seal the deal.

 

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On 5/4/2018 at 3:41 AM, Laurent said:

While talking about "hype", Olga Smirnova may have been the most heavily promoted and hyped dancer in living memory. It took her an enormous effort to live up to that hype as she is most definitely not a naturally born dancer. From the very beginning her other qualities were far outweighing her ability to harmoniously move her limbs...”

"The era of Vishneva/Lopatkina/Zakharova" existed, I think, only for Russian expatriates writing on various ballet fora. I am not sure how much either one of them will be remembered, say, in 30 years.”

I certainly would not put Ms. Smirnova in the same gangly category of the young Alina Somova - who Mr.Vaziev himself prematurely promoted to principal.  I fault Ms. Smirnova for the dearth of acting skills (a must at Bolshoi)  but I do not find her ungraceful or unmusical.  

Edited by Jayne

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On 5/2/2018 at 7:41 AM, Fleurdelis said:

I agree with the notion that Smirnova right now is one of the best, if not the best ballerina in the world today. To me the last 15 years were clearly the era of Vishneva/Lopatkina/Zakharova, and Smirnova is their heir apparent as they have finished or are close to finishing their careers. I also see Cojocaru in a class of her own, incredible combination of  technique and acting ability, plus some magical inner glow that adds a special beauty to her dancing. But not enough of a diva quality to truly rule the ballet world.  Osipova - I recognize her absolute uniqueness and impact, but she comes short on gracefulness and finesse that a ballerina should have. Her physique is both a blessing and a curse, her technique and jumps are unorthodox and unequalled in the history of dance, but she does not have the fine form and lines, which is what for me defines a ballerina, as opposed to a broader concept of a dancer. Lacarra - I find her absolutely breathtaking, unless she dances the classics, where her style is very, hmmmm, peculiar. Yuan Yuan Tan - also in a class of her own, but I saw too little of her and do not know how she dances classical roles. Krysanova -  among the best ever in terms of classical technique and excellent in allegro roles, but does not have the adagio dimension and that ravishing bigger-than-life quality to be considered a generational ballerina. Semionova - for a long time I viewed her as potentially THE BALLERINA of her generation, but her career sort of fizzled after her departure from Berlin, I think it was a major mistake that distracted her and threw her off her path. Obraztsova - does not have the long limbs and the dramatic acting ability to be compelling in half the classical roles: Swan, Giselle, Bayadere. French ballerinas do not travel much, so I can't tell if there has been anyone there approaching anything of Sylvie Guillem's stature. There may be some great ballerinas in Japan, but once again I can't tell, because they do not travel much. I 1am hoping that Alena Kovaleva will redefine the art and prove that very tall ballerinas can too rule the ballet world, though I am beginning to get a bit worried about the trajectory of her development. I am very curious to hear about any other 18-22 year olds who may be destined for greatness these days.

As for the men, to me it has all been about Hallberg and Ivan Vasilyev, two antipodes who have reached the pinnacles of their respective emplois. But I keep hoping that that Baryshnikov and Vladimir Vasilyev somehow chance upon a fountain of youth, they would be just as magnificent by today's standards as they were during their dancing times. Polunin? Take away his bad boy image and the rock star hype surrounding him, and you are left with an example of good English schooling and often sloppy partnership. Not nearly enough for me, though almost all my friends completely lose their minds over him.

Based on hype alone, then Osipova, Polunin and Vasilyev are ahead of the rest. Sorry if I failed to mention anyone else I should have. 

 

You mentioned a key point vital for this discussion, which is how international are or aren't this dancers. From what one can gather in biographies and autobiographies, one key element for the most famous, generation- defining dancers of the past to have come down in history as such wasn't sometimes a superb technique, but rather an ample exposure to transcontinental audiences, companies, dancing styles and choreographers. I'm basically thinking of Danilova and Lifar...who, even if according to many of her peers were not exactly amazing technicians, were able to explore an ample array of the dancing spectrum to a vast international audience....and for a long time-( I believe longevity plays a VERY important role too). Others who were great technicians also benefited from this same international career in a variety of styles-( Markova, Alonso, Nureyev). Hence, Peck is in a great disadvantage with, let's say, Osipova.

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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No one has mentioned Nina Ananashvili, who I believe was the greatest dancer of her generation.

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34 minutes ago, angelica said:

No one has mentioned Nina Ananashvili, who I believe was the greatest dancer of her generation.

You are so right.

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1 hour ago, angelica said:

No one has mentioned Nina Ananashvili, who I believe was the greatest dancer of her generation.

Being the greatest of a generation is a big statement. I can't know what to say. Suzanne Farrell was one of the greatest artists I've ever seen in any field. Did she "rule"? I don't know how to begin to answer that question.

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34 minutes ago, vipa said:

Being the greatest of a generation is a big statement. I can't know what to say. Suzanne Farrell was one of the greatest artists I've ever seen in any field. Did she "rule"? I don't know how to begin to answer that question.

Well....Farrell definitely ruled in NYC. Now..at the same time there were other dancers out there from her generation who probably had a more international exposure-(which is probably the same  situation with Peck today). Back in the 60's, 70's, early 80's Soviet ballerinas were still pretty much enclosed, and hence didn't have the opportunity to become international rulers. Great Cuban ballerinas were dancing, but sadly....very few saw them.  If I were to mention names from that generation I would give Fracci and Makarova-(even though I believe Sizova or Komleva were superior).

Nina, yes... definitely a ruler, but she has retired already. I'm trying to get those from today-today. 

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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7 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

Great Cuban ballerinas were dancing, but sadly....very few saw them

Would appreciate hearing your view on Adiarys Almeida today. Never saw her live, missed seeing her when she danced Kitri at the Kremlin Festival last year when I was there but had already booked something else ..... sigh !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R9fo4cKgNY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOWhG1wtJdE

 

Edited by mnacenani
factual correction x 2

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12 hours ago, mnacenani said:

Would appreciate hearing your view on Adiarys Almeida today. Never saw her live, missed seeing her when she danced Kitri at the Kremlin Festival last year when I was there but had already booked something else ..... sigh !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R9fo4cKgNY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOWhG1wtJdE

 

Your typical Cuban ballerina, pretty much in the lines of Xiomara Reyes or Viengsay Valdes. Short, legs of steel, great turner, fouettes and pirouettes for ages... always on spot...but not within the general likeness of current elongated, willowy Russian prototype.

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I would have to say Sarah Lamb of The Royal. I think she can do anything and everything. 

Edited by Fleurfairy

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How about Marianela Nuñez...? Is she enough international ...? enough versatile...? Young enough to be a current  technical competition of Osipova or Peck...?

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I have had the opportunity to watch some of The Royal Ballet Principals and Soloists during my recent stay in London and I have to say there is some AMAZING talent in that company but sadly those dancers have no international exposure at all and are unknown outside the UK. I can only hope that through the worldwide cinema relay those dancers will also become known internationally. The partnership between two amazing and very popular dancers, Principal ballerina Yasmine Naghdi and First Soloist Matthew Ball, ( as seen on the Royal Ballet advertising poster for international screening in 2019) will hopefully start to change that. https://www.roh.org.uk/showings/romeo-and-juliet-live-2019

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8 minutes ago, Katia Kapustin said:

I have had the opportunity to watch some of The Royal Ballet Principals and Soloists during my recent stay in London and I have to say there is some AMAZING talent in that company but sadly those dancers have no international exposure at all and are unknown outside the UK. I can only hope that through the worldwide cinema relay those dancers will also become known internationally. The partnership between two amazing and very popular dancers, Principal ballerina Yasmine Naghdi and First Soloist Matthew Ball, ( as seen on the Royal Ballet advertising poster for international screening in 2019) will hopefully start to change that. https://www.roh.org.uk/showings/romeo-and-juliet-live-2019

Talent shows within 10 seconds. Am sure Naghdi has loads of it, not so sure about Ball but will keep an open mind.

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On 5/9/2018 at 9:05 PM, cubanmiamiboy said:

How about Marianela Nuñez...? Is she enough international ...? enough versatile...? Young enough to be a current  technical competition of Osipova or Peck...?

Apologies as I am coming rather late to this discussion.  I happen to love that Marianela Nunez was mentioned.  Also Obratsova and Krysanova.  I would like to add Tereshinka to the list as well.  It is a difficult thing to choose just one current female "Ruler of ballet".  There are so many aspects that go into it that everyone has mentioned.  For me personally I think Tereshinka is quite versatile.  Perhaps the romantic style may not be her strong suit though.

 

Thank you as this is a most interesting discussion!

 

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Based on the 5* UK newspapers and magazine reviews of The Royal Ballet's "Sleeping Beauty", many feel Principal ballerina Yasmine Naghdi surely is a technical competitor to Osipova ( but two very different Principal dancers). Yasmine Naghdi has a crystal clear, clean, very neat and superb technic, combined with immense control and beautiful artistry this has set her apart amongst the current roster of Principal ballerinas at The Royal Ballet.  She is not yet sufficiently known on the international circuit but her performances last season in San Francisco and Tokyo, and her current triumph dancing Aurora in Sleeping Beauty are set to change this. Many have commented after her recent Opening Night performance that she has certainly joined the ranks of Prima Ballerinas. 

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I've been reading this thread with great interest. Rulers in my view are few and far between.  When I began my regular ballet going in the 1960's there could be no question of who ruled, it was Fonteyn and Nureyev, a kind of balletic William and Mary.  Since then I would say only Sylvie Guillem created the nearest level of interest as those two, but many of us decried the influence she had on technique and blame her for the introduction of the vile six o'clock extension.

I like and admire the majority of the names put forward here, but apart from one, I can't see a present or future ruler among those names.  A couple I haven't actually seen in the flesh, the clip of the oft mentioned Ms Peck is indeed awesome.  There are few French names and no Danes at all, possibly because they don't tour, Americans and Cubans are a rare treat in the UK these days.

So who rules?  At this moment only Natalia Osipova.  She ticks the boxes of having both an international reputation and an extraordinary versatility, not many have both Giselle and Kitri as their most admired roles and Osipova is adventurous in her choices of repertoire.  Too adventurous perhaps as her increasing forays into the modern style takes her away from what most would consider her best roles.  She certainly has her detractors, the greats always do, but she has the compelling stage presence that marks her out as a star, above all a passion for dance that communicates itself to an audience and that is where so many others can be found wanting.

The name of Elena Glurdjidze doesn't appear in the previous posts.  I'm not surprised as she didn't have an international career and has stopped dancing now anyway, but please spare a moment to read what the critic Luke Jennings had to say about her.  When she was dancing she may not have ruled the world but lovely, unsung Elena certainly ruled my heart and perhaps that is what matters most. 

 

"People ask me what has been the best thing that I’ve seen, and of course there is no “best”. But if you were to ask me which experience I’d most like to repeat, I think I know. It was a weekday matinee in 2007, and English National Ballet were dancing their traditional version of Giselle, with Elena Glurdjidze in the title role. Then 32, Glurdjidze had studied at the Vaganova Academy in St Petersburg, and had learned Giselle from her teacher, the great Lyubov Kunakova. Her performance reminded me of why I first fell in love with ballet. Nothing she did was technically extraordinary, nothing was showy, her legs hardly ever rose above the horizontal. But such was her transparency, so profound was her identification with the role, that you couldn’t really see the dancing. All was character, all was emotion, all was story. Glurdjidze stopped time, and that is what great dancing can do"

 

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I'm coming late to this discussion. The comparisons some of us have made with "best" opera singers (or pianists, or organists, or cellists etc. etc.?) are apt; and there seems to be a general agreement that it is an impossible question to answer. It depends on what you are looking for.

I'm insufficiently knowledgeable about ballet to make authoritative claims for any dancer. But I think there are revealing comparisons with music.

So, as a musician I have often asked myself comparable questions, but posed slightly differently:  e.g. "If you had to take one composer and leave all the rest, who would it be?" (My unequivocal answer would be Bach.) And there are umpteen variations on that, such as "If you had to take the symphonies of one composer from the twentieth century and leave all the rest, who would it be?" (Sibelius); "One composer from the last half of the twentieth century?" (Ligeti) etc. etc. Asking oneself such questions makes one think harder about justifying the answer. Personal preferences are central of course, but the validity of an answer beyond such preference depends on defence; and that's where it gets especially interesting, because it makes one think critically of one's own responses, and helps identify values.

In that respect what stands out from this discussion is that versatility is an especially prized quality in a dancer; but also there is the expressive power epitomised in the quote (November 24) by  Mashinka, when writing about Elena Glurdjidze in Giselle:

Nothing she did was technically extraordinary, nothing was showy, her legs hardly ever rose above the horizontal. But such was her transparency, so profound was her identification with the role, that you couldn’t really see the dancing. All was character, all was emotion, all was story. Glurdjidze stopped time, and that is what great dancing can do"

Others in this forum have said comparable things about other dancers; but this comment seems to capture an essential quality of any performing artist who rules -- or at least, who rules on any level primarily concerned with art.

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