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Mariinsky 2018-2019 Season

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Oxana Skorik has returned from maternity leave and yesterday performed the third couple, with Andrei Yermakov, from Jerome Robbins’ In The Night. There’s a video clip of part of this.

Needless to say she’s entered a new crossroads in her life. Already, and not surprisingly, she shows an added warmth and maturity. I would wish her as much happiness and success as possible.

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Posted (edited)

Towards the beginning of the video clip, Andrei Yermakov cradles her in a circling lift. She looks like a child herself being embraced. It’s possibly the loveliest moment of the dance and seems touchingly appropriate. In the Night, with its focus on couples in love and very beautiful music, is a fine choice for her return.

Next Wednesday she’s scheduled to perform Swan Lake.

Added thought:

I think that we’re seeing a new person here. It will hopefully be a beautiful experience for herself and for everyone who follows her exceptional artistry.

Edited by Buddy

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Olga Smirnova will be performing 'Carmen' on the 26th, which will be exciting, seeing as she pulled out of 'Giselle' during the festival. 

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Due to injury, the Sklyarov Gala has been postponed and 'Swan Lake' will be performed instead. 

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Two nice video glimpses.

One is Viktoria Tereshkina recently dancing Carmen Suite. Perhaps the most worthwhile parts to this work are the opening Habanera solo and the dance with the toreador. They are rich in dramatic artistry. She continues to show a very fine development and maturity in characterisation and expression Both her facial and physical expression are quite noteworthy. Her Carmen is very well modulated and convincing. The required dramatic temperament fits her very well. She uses it with a fine subtlety and sympathetically embracing aura.

At her side, Alexander Sergeev, in such works as this and Don Quixote, continues to hone his ’Latin’ temperament. His is always a highly likeable and accomplished presence.

And speaking of….Video Two is his wife, retired Mariinsky Principal, Daria Pavlenko, dancing The Swan (Fokine). This seems to be a non-Mariinsky Gala performance. She’s a loveable and wonderfully talented ballerina. It’s always a pleasure to see her.

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I’ve continued to watch the brief video clip of Viktoria Tereshkina’s recent Carmen with fascination -- the Habanera solo and the dance with the toreador.  Is this really her ?!

Remarkably performed — And darn ‘sensual.’

I wrote: “Both her facial and physical expression are quite noteworthy.” — or said somewhat differently — A good example of why men have been chasing after women for how many millions of years.

Edited by Buddy

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There’s a place for all sort of things.

July 5 the Mariinsky performed Wayne McGregor’s Infra. It’s a highly animated and demanding physical work. I tend to love a gentle lyricism that’s the basis of the Mariinsky art.

A video clip has some excerpts, probably featuring some of the more lyrical moments. What I like most are the performances by Oxana Skorik and Viktoria Tereshkina. Viktoria Tereshkina is developing a wonderful sense of expression. It’s based on a new naturalness that allows her to very impressively expand her range and substance. Here she does a fine interpretation.

Oxana Skorik with her Mariinsky fineness, certainly aided by her extreme flexibility, does a beautifully poetic performance. She enters into a style that is far from her’s and the Mariinsky’s norm and goes commendably beyond what I’ve seen her do with this sort of thing.

I don’t know Wayne McGregor’s style or philosophy. I’ve only seen his work once and that was Infra performed by the Mariinsky several years ago. His company along with members of London’s Royal Ballet will be presenting his new computer aided work in Los Angeles this weekend. Based on the Mariinsky video clips and the fact that I’m somewhat near LA I got a ticket. I’ll be interested to compare this with the Mariinsky interpretations of his work.

Moves — a key element in this year’s Mariinsky Festival. As I often write, it’s the Mariinsky dreamlike flow that I love so much. Abstract(?)motion? With Wayne McGregor it seems to have substance and meaning. Contrasting with flow is detail. I continue to love my viewings of George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act II Duet as performed by Alegra Kent and Jacques d’Amboise where each move seems to be a monumental statement rather that the more flowing interpretations that I usually prize most.

So Wayne McGregor seems to be about Moves, highly demanding ones. I should have more feeling about this after next Saturday. I do like very much  what Oxana Skorik and Viktoria Tereshkina have done. They’ve gone well and commendably outside their norm.

 

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What is compelling in Wayne McGregor, mentioned in yesterday’s post, is the statement of human expression.

I do continue to have very mixed feeling about his ‘aesthetic.’ All the extreme stretching and jerking  just doesn’t seem healthy, unless some physical therapist can point out otherwise.

But again I have to truly commend Oxana Skorik and Viktoria Tereshkina. Viktoria Tereshkina, with very fine expression and artistry, fully commits herself. Oxana Skorik takes all the extreme  physicality and turns it into a Mariinsky dreamscape of flow and poetry.

One element that I must really commend in Wayne McGregor’s presentation, exhibited remarkably well by Oxana Skorik, is  his momentary images of goddess-like beauty that capture the ’transcendent grandeur’ of a woman.

Edited by Buddy

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Perhaps(?) I should qualify my concern about the extreme physicality demanded by Wayne McGregor. Apparently (according to quotes on an internet video) the Mariinsky dancers, as was his intent, personalised the motions. Surprisingly, they used a very high level of intensity. When I looked at several video clips of the Royal Ballet, where he works, although the positions are extreme the motion is more gentle.

Of all the comments I’ve read about Wayne McGregor’s style this brief description of his Chroma posted by the Royal Ballet seems to best describe his style, overall.

“Wayne McGregor's Chroma explores the drama of the human body and its ability to communicate extremes of thought and emotion.”

And I'll say once more that I thought that Oxana Skorik and Viktoria Tereshkina, in particular, did this admirably.

Edited by Buddy

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7 minutes ago, Buddy said:

 

This was a duplication of the previous post. 

Edited by Buddy

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I admire your open-mindedness, but I would have thought you could feel comfortable sticking to your guns on McGregor. The ‘extremes’ of his idiom seem to me to raise several questions .... 

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7 hours ago, Drew said:

I admire your open-mindedness, but I would have thought you could feel comfortable sticking to your guns on McGregor. The ‘extremes’ of his idiom seem to me to raise several questions .... 

Thanks so much, Drew, for your comment. I'll write some more if you promise to respond.  😊

Here’s an excerpt from Wayne McGregor’s Chroma performed at the Royal Ballet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SMmL6kIx-w

It’s the most animated McGregor that I’ve seen on the internet. Viktoria Tereshkina goes beyond. I’d like to show it here but prefer not to post unofficial videos.. Yekaterina Kondaurova is still probably the only dancer at the Mariinsky who could make this look effortless. Viktoria Tereshkina has tension, but it’s dramatically exciting and meaningful. Oxana Skorik glides through the more lyrical extremes as if she were floating on a cloud. Brava! And by the way, this ballerina-centric observer does like Alexander Sergeev’s sensitive partnering of her, although I’m don’t have the capacity to give it the viewing that it deserves with my normal 100% attention span on the ballerina.

I’ll hopefully be seeing the latest Wayne McGregor this Saturday in LA. I do find the few internet excerpts of Infra and Chroma to have a fascination.

 

Edited by Buddy
Corrected smiley

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I don't have a lot to add to my original comment. I think the dancers of the Royal who work with McGregor regularly made a great case for his Infra when they brought it a few years ago--and Woolf Works, which I have only seen on video, seems to offers much of interest. The two other McGregor works that I have seen (Engram and Eden, Eden) have both set themselves within ambitious intellectual contexts and I admire intellectual ambition. But I still stand by my original comment....I don't think McGregor's work is above some serious questions on the part of lovers of classical ballet. (Or lovers of dance.) And I have been puzzled by his fallback explanation in response to one of the criticisms--the criticism of the violent distortions of women's bodies on display in a great many of his works--to which he responded that it is just a matter of formal experimentation, lines and shapes. He is a choreography who constantly invites one to think about philosophical/literary/scientific frameworks and interpretation, and whose choreography in Infra for instance has "allusions" not only to urban anomie and modern technology, but to explicit sexual acts including oral sex--but when challenged on how he deploys women's bodies in his works, suddenly plays the formalist? 

For obvious reasons I hesitate to compare the Royal's dancers in McGregor with the Mariinsky's whose McGregor performances I have only seen on youtube fragments. Certainly the Royal's dancers have the advantage-- when it comes to McGregor's choreography--of working with him regularly.  I will look out for your thoughts on the Dante Project.

Edited by Drew
To fix grammatical ambiguity

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54 minutes ago, Drew said:

I don't have a lot to add to my original comment. I think the dancers of the Royal who work with McGregor regularly made a great case for his Infra when they brought it a few years ago--and Woolf Works, which I have only seen on video, seems to offers much of interest. The two other McGregor works that I have seen (Engram and Eden, Eden) have both set themselves within ambitious intellectual contexts and I admire intellectual ambition. But I still stand by my original comment....I don't think McGregor's work is above some serious questions on the part of lovers of classical ballet. (Or lovers of dance.) And I have been puzzled by his fallback explanation in response to one of the criticisms--the criticism that the violent distortions of women's bodies on display in a great many of his works is just a matter of formal experimentation, lines and shapes. He is a choreography who constantly invites one to think about philosophical/literary/scientific frameworks and interpretation, and whose choreography in Infra for instance has "allusions" not only to urban anomie and modern technology, but to explicit sexual acts including oral sex--but when challenged on how he deploys women's bodies in his works, suddenly plays the formalist? 

For obvious reasons I hesitate to compare the Royal's dancers in McGregor with the Mariinsky's whose McGregor performances I have only seen on youtube fragments. Certainly the Royal's dancers have the advantage-- when it comes to McGregor's choreography--of working with him regularly.  I will look out for your thoughts on the Dante Project.

Thanks again so much, Drew.

I'm totally new to Wayne McGregor except for what I've recently seen on the internet and a full Mariinsky performance of Infra which I stated looked like a very good case for pilates. It looked darn hard to do.

Ballet is full of physical extremes and I wish it were otherwise. My love is for its beautiful enchantment. Not logically supportable, but true.

I stand against any abuse of women. Viktoria Tereshkina from what I can gather has taken it upon herself to push the physical limits even further and knowing the little that I do about her integrity, I commend her for it. She's made an excellent artistic statement. She and the other dancers are all highly tuned athletes as well as artists and can do this, but I personally wouldn't make it a habit.  Because of this, I'm not totally convinced that "violent distortions of women's bodies " is a valid criticism of Wayne McGregor. I've seen similar in Balanchine, Robbins and maybe even Swan Lake and I don't really like it depending on degree and intent and would argue for a more natural approach across the board.

I certainly appreciate your concern and would be more than willing to agree with you if I see more evidence. For the moment my jury is still out and I do find some exceptional artistic merit in such works as Infra.

I look forward hopefully to any more of your insights and comments as I always feel that they are intelligent, fair and caring.

Have a great evening.  😊

Edited by Buddy
Corrected smiley

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1 hour ago, Drew said:

I don't have a lot to add to my original comment. I think the dancers of the Royal who work with McGregor regularly made a great case for his Infra when they brought it a few years ago--and Woolf Works, which I have only seen on video, seems to offers much of interest. The two other McGregor works that I have seen (Engram and Eden, Eden) have both set themselves within ambitious intellectual contexts and I admire intellectual ambition. But I still stand by my original comment....I don't think McGregor's work is above some serious questions on the part of lovers of classical ballet. (Or lovers of dance.) And I have been puzzled by his fallback explanation in response to one of the criticisms--the criticism that the violent distortions of women's bodies on display in a great many of his works is just a matter of formal experimentation, lines and shapes. He is a choreography who constantly invites one to think about philosophical/literary/scientific frameworks and interpretation, and whose choreography in Infra for instance has "allusions" not only to urban anomie and modern technology, but to explicit sexual acts including oral sex--but when challenged on how he deploys women's bodies in his works, suddenly plays the formalist? 

For obvious reasons I hesitate to compare the Royal's dancers in McGregor with the Mariinsky's whose McGregor performances I have only seen on youtube fragments. Certainly the Royal's dancers have the advantage-- when it comes to McGregor's choreography--of working with him regularly.  I will look out for your thoughts on the Dante Project.

Maybe I'm just somewhat numb to this sort of thing in dance, Drew.

Please keep "sticking to your guns" if this is what you really feel is the right thing to do. 

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Edited by Buddy

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McGregor's work often seems to me to be in line with the same kind of physical experimentation that William Forsythe continues to pursue.  Performers are frequently enthralled by the kinetic challenge, and many speak of doing some of their best work in that context.  (David Dawson is another choreographer who seems to ask for a similar physicality)

Honestly, the idea that it's dangerous for performers to work in that way has been leveled at choreographers from Fokine onwards.  Ballet is fundamentally unnatural, as are many other dance forms (not to mention sports). 

The Ailey company performed Chroma in their recent broadcast from Lincoln Center, and looked spectacular in it.  I wish that someone would bring that film out on DVD, but I don't think it's happening any time soon.

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