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Maria Iliushkina — “ ”Zvezda" (Star) material ?? “

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Posted (edited)

“And Marie's the name of his latest flame” (Elvis Presley)

Hey, let’s go way out on a limb. Why not?

Unlike her ‘Vaganova sister,’Alyono Kovalyova, who was admitted to the Bolshoi and made an immediate star (justifiably in my opinion), the young Maria Iliushkina, who may actually be older, is apparently making her way up the ranks of the Mariinsky at a much slower pace.

From the very little I can see of her from a very limited number of video clips she is both lovely and precious. She moves like an angel and she radiates like a sunbeam.

Let’s see where she goes. Drew likes her. That’s a very good start. I often would want to write when I’m praising a dancer that “I don’t own stock in her so this is an unbiased opinion.” Well, if it were possible to invest in this young lady’s future I’d seriously consider it. As Mnacenani is so proud of introducing us at this forum to Alyona Kovalyova (although others claim to have spotted her early on as well), I’d be delighted to say about Maria Iliushkina someday that — “ You heard it here first! ”

Admittedly, it’s so early to make a judgement and, for me, based on so little, several very brief video clips. And I’ve seen several similar Mariinsky dancers who are equally lovely just not make it quite to the top. Will she? Does she deserve to? Let’s see.

https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/company/ballet_mt_women/iliushkina

Edited by Buddy

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And she still looks the child. Such a wonderful thing to hold on to. If she could do this along with her loveliness of art it would be quite an accomplishment.

 

With a child’s eye

Can see to fly

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Posted (edited)

" Maria Iliushkina — “ ”Zvezda" (Star) material ?? “ " -- And in certain ways, does it really matter ?

When it was announced that May Nagahisa would represent the Mariinsky at the Bolshoi TV contest (no relation to the Bolshoi Ballet Company) I was thinking that this was really going into the ranks of the very young. May Nagahisa is listed as a “Trainee” (the only one) at the Mariinsky.

And I thought, “Why not the very young Maria Iliushkina?”

I only have video clips to go on, but the thing that makes May Nagahisa special in my mind is that she has tons of personality, both in her character and in her dance. This could make her very special as a someday star and certainly as a current tv offering. I have to add that she also has the beauty, quality and fineness to make her a potentially outstanding ballerina.

So what about Maria Iliushkina, who doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast and maybe doesn’t have any knock-em-dead qualities? If anything she might be a little coltish at the moment.

I still find her highly talented and in certain ways — precious. She has, for me, a delightful, childlike manner. She doesn’t yet seem hung-up on herself. She’s just there doing what she seems to really enjoy doing.

What does go into the realm of high art is her ability to highlight, to make definitive, beautiful images and gestures.

Also she ‘floats,’ almost magically. It’s a very subtle thing. I liken it very much to what I see in Yekaterina Osmolkina. I see definite parallels. And for the same reason that Yekaterina Osmolkina doesn’t project into a wider range, may be the case for Maria Iliushkina. This may (or may not) keep them from every becoming ’superstars’ or Principals. But does it really matter? Yekaterina Osmolkina does what she does as well as anyone. She’s singularly outstanding at conveying a dreamlike artistry, which for me is the essence of ballet.

Maria Iliushkina may not have been chosen as the Mariinsky’s promising young tv offering for the same reason. Yet, for me, in her own way, she does what she does as well as anyone. She has a touch of her own fairylike magic. I’ll be curious to see where this might carry her as far as recognition is concerned. In the meantime, she’s a pleasure to experience and in certain delightful ways I hope that she never grows up.

Edited by Buddy
typo correction(s)

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Buddy, I agree with you.  Why not indeed Maria Iliushkina for the Big Ballet competition?  She is a lovely young, Vaganova trained,  ballerina.  I saw her Paquita variation when Paquita was premiered and she has beautiful arms and flow of movement and the has the most gorgeous long lines.   Love her!

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2 minutes ago, MadameP said:

Buddy, I agree with you.  Why not indeed Maria Iliushkina for the Big Ballet competition?  She is a lovely young, Vaganova trained,  ballerina.  I saw her Paquita variation when Paquita was premiered and she has beautiful arms and flow of movement and the has the most gorgeous long lines.   Love her!

Thanks for your thoughts, MadameP. I'm very glad that you like her as much as you do. If there are enough others who agree, well maybe she will be a 'star' someday.

I will say once again that the reason that I think that May Nagahisa was selected, aside from her fine technical ability and beauty , is that she projects. She's definitely a new and potentially exciting presence.

Does this make Maria Iliushkina any less beautiful or meaningful ? I think that she's just as beautiful and meaningful. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, MadameP said:

Buddy, I agree with you.  Why not indeed Maria Iliushkina for the Big Ballet competition?  She is a lovely young, Vaganova trained,  ballerina.  I saw her Paquita variation when Paquita was premiered and she has beautiful arms and flow of movement and the has the most gorgeous long lines.   Love her!

Your mentioning Paquita, MadameP, rang a bell. I recall a dancer from the final Paquita of last year's Festival making a very luminous impression. At the Festival I had totally forgotten Maria Iliushkina from some  video clips that I liked very much. So I just checked back to our posts at the time. 

  On 4/7/2017 at 1:13 PM,  MadameP said: 

"I thought tonight's group of friends was by far the best.  Maria Iliushkina, who danced the first variation, was outstanding.  She has the most exquisite long lines and was faultless - beautiful, lyrical, musical variation."

My response: 

"Backtracking somewhat to the excellent third evening of Paquita, I agree that all the variations were very good and that Maria Iliushkina, who performed the first, was "outstanding." I found her to be absolutely charming. She had the most loveable facial expression and her dancing beautifully echoed this." 

http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/42180-xvii-mariinsky-international-ballet-festival-2017/?page=3

Wow !  What a most interesting confirmation of our current admiration. I do truly hope that she can hold on to that sunshiny 'aura.' It was something very special !

Edited by Buddy
last sentence(s) and several words of clarification added

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Could I just touch on the subject of ‘Sunshiny’ for a moment more. Maria Iliushkina is possibly the best example in ballet that I’ve come across, having now recalled her vibrant Paquita solo from last year’s Festival. She was delightful.

Anastasia Kolegova has always represented this to me as well as anyone. The first time that I saw her she performed Odette/Odile (Swan Lake) and I was, yes, delighted. I wasn’t prepared for a bundle of sunshine to be the artistically ‘sacred’ Swan Queen. I thought that she handled it wonderfully and meaningfully. She’s always smiling, inside or out. When she has to be a ‘heavy’ she somehow navigates it with dramatic fineness.

But what about pure sunshine? There are certain artists, that if they just did one style, would be as great as another who could do the whole range. For instance, if Veronika Part just did a handful of Swan Lakes each year (although she’s capable of much more) I think that it would justify keeping her in a company, even as its star.

Well, I would also say that if Maria Iliushkina could continue to do what I saw her do in her radiantly, carefree solo at the Mariinsky Festival I’d be happy if she never had to do a ‘serious’ role ever. Not very common in ballet, for sure — but true.

 

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There are some lovely video clips of Maria Iliushkina as the Lilac Fairy (The Sleeping Beauty) in the Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre’s performances this month at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg. Of their four Sleeping Beauties she danced Princess Florine (Blue Bird duet) in the first two and the Lilac Fairy yesterday and today. She is the only St. Petersburg name that I recognize.

She’s so lovely. I like to make comparisons between her and the Bolshoi’s very young Vaganova graduate, Alyona Kovalyova. Alyona Kovalyova has had instant success whereas Maria Iliushkina is still in the Corps de Ballet.

 For me, Alyona Kovalyova with her long lined beauty and figure is immediately recognizable as being very special. Maria Iliushkina is a more subtle affair. She doesn’t have the same compelling long lines (but she could). What she has is basic loveliness and a phrasing of exceptional detail that is captivating. 

Also she has something that is very precious. She still has a youthful delight that I hope she will always have. This combined with artistic fineness makes her very noteworthy. 

I think that the Primorsky dancers have a lovely airiness and charm, worthy of the Mariinsky. I could probably get to like this company very much. And I do like the Sergeev version. It reflects decades of fine-tuning in it’s basic beauty and enchantment. 

Hopefully these appearances are another sign of recognition for Maria Iliushkina and we'll  see a lot more of her.


 

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Hopefully these appearances are another sign of recognition for Maria Iliushkina and we'll  see a lot more of her.

Far more likely this is a sign that while the rest of the Mariinsky troupe is on vacations, somebody had to toil: the show must go on while there are not enough of qualified dancers to make it happen.

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A few spots of technical unease notwithstanding, I thought Iliushkina looked beautiful in these excerpts from her Lilac Fairy performance ... I had wondered if her appearance with the Primorsky troupe meant she was going to depart or be sent away from the (St. Petersburg) Mariinsky to their "Primorsky" theater, but if Laurent is correct then at least I can hope that is not the case. I would be happy to see her develop and go from strength to strength at the Mariinsky--in St. Petersburg.

 

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However Iliushkina got her Lilac Fairy, nevertheless it was an important debut and good news for her. I think she is a lovely, lyrical ballerina and hopefully she will dance the role with the main Mariinsky troupe soon. 

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Posted (edited)

Not to belabor the point, but I will. At the 2017 Mariinsky Festival, in the final performance of Paquita,  the face of Maria Iliushkina during the solos was perhaps the brightest burst of sunshine that I've ever seen on a ballet stage.

“Know that I will love you 

Someday I will love you very well”

(From a respectfully artistic and grandfatherly distance 😊)

[slightly altered Joni Mitchell]

 

 

 

Edited by Buddy

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Posted (edited)

I’ve been watching the video clips of The Sleeping Beauty. There’s one sequence that really attracts me. She appears as the Lilac Fairy in her full gown as the entire court is carrying the entranced Aurora up the stairs. It’s a monumental scene full of lavish costumes, a grand set and lots of regal posturing.

Maria Iliushkina has to hold the center of attention and she’s not an outwardly commanding presence like an Olga Smirnova. She’s childlike and airy. Yet in the middle of all this pomp she has to take prominence with her somewhat off to the side of things dancing as the grand parade is carrying the reclined Aurora off in another direction.

I can’t recall a more vulnerable feeling in all my ballet viewing. She succeeds with loveliness and a sense of vulnerable innocence. I think that this is characteristic of her entire performance and of her in general. This is perhaps her ‘magic.’

Edited by Buddy

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Just had a quick internet video glance and she's looking more beautiful than ever. Here's hoping.

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