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Bolshoi 2020/2021 Season


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Isn't 40 the mandatory retirement age?  (Kaptsova was born in 1978, so is in her early 40's.)  If there's a mandatory retirement age, and a dancer passes it, I don't see anything cold about changing the contract status, as it means the dancer can continue to appear with the company.

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15 hours ago, Leah said:

is anyone else turned off by the Bolshoi’s practice of demoting older principals to soloist under contract status?

I am. I think everyone would have an easier time with the "retirement age" if it were applied equitably, but it's not. Unlike POB dancers, Bolshoi dancers don't have permanent contracts, with everyone required to retire at the same age. At the Bolshoi, dancer contracts typically last two or three years, and exactly when the last one expires varies depending on who knows what. Kaptsova was under 40 when she was shunted to "ballerina under contract." Zakharova is 41, but no director will relegate her to that status unless he wants to commit career suicide.

The dancers "under contract" become de facto guest artists and may continue to appear, but that depends entirely on what the leadership decides, and they lose their base salary. Merkuriev, mentioned earlier, is "under contract," but he hasn't gotten any stage time from the Bolshoi since April 2019, so a lot of good that status does him.

Edited by volcanohunter
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Do they have a mandatory requirement age?  Or a pattern of turning older dancers to contract?  Or not following any rule?

It sounds more like in The Turning Point.

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4 hours ago, Buddy said:

Sergei Filin did something similar, I believe, when he came in, ECat. Yekaterina Shipulina, maybe Maria Allash and perhaps another who had been around for awhile were made Principals. I somehow felt that his having danced during their earlier years may have had something to do with it, but that’s just a guess. Nina Kaptsova was also later made Principal. (Alexei Ratmansky before him, ‘youthened’ the company a lot.) Congratulations to Denis Savin.

On the other hand this does not seem to happen at the Mariinsky and I sometimes wish that it would -- for instance Yekaterina Osmolkina (because I once told her that she should be, for one reason  😊)

Yes - that was wonderful when Shipulina, Kaptsova, and Krysanova were all promoted within weeks of one another.  Of course, Krysanova is a bit young than the other two.  It is similar to when Isabelle Ciaravola was nominated Etoile at POB in her mid-thirties and Stella Abrera becoming principal at ABT in her mid-thirties.  These are not common practices, but when it happens it can be inspiring for other ballet dancers.

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14 hours ago, Helene said:

Do they have a mandatory requirement age?  Or a pattern of turning older dancers to contract?  Or not following any rule?

It sounds more like in The Turning Point.

At age 38 they are eligible to begin receiving their pension, which sort of absolves the theater of continuing to pay them a regular salary. However, pensions are always smaller than salaries, and because the "under contract" dancers inevitably see a drop, sometimes precipitous, in the number of performances they get, it's not a winning proposition.

Under Filin, veteran soloists, especially character dancers, were teased out of their ranks and listed separately in the weird "under contract" (i.e. resident guest artist) category. When it was done to principals Anna Antonicheva and Marianna Ryzhkina there was a public outcry at this visible relegation, and their bios were relisted among the primas. Under Vaziev there are no such niceties, and there has been a discernable pattern of promoting dancers to "replace" a "retiring" principal. When Dmitry Gudanov left at 42 (without going through the "under contract" stage), his spot was given to Vyacheslav Lopatin. When Alexander Volchkov began working "under contract" at 40, his spot went to Artemy Belyakov. Now Ruslan Skvortsov's spot has been given to Denis Savin (although since there is zero overlap in their repertoires, it can't really be described as a replacement.)

Savin is a very, very fine artist, but an unconventional principal, and at 36 he won't hold the position for very long. I think the real story here is who wasn't promoted: Igor Tsvirko. Because while Savin is a character/modern dancer, Tsvirko is a demi-caractere dancer with a substantial repertoire of leading roles Savin doesn't dance: Basilio, Solor, Rothbart, Nutcracker Prince, Conrad, Philippe, Spartacus, Ferkhad, Ivan the Terrible, even Albrecht in the Grigorovich production. By the time Savin and Mikhail Lobukhin reach 40 four years from now, Tsvirko will be in his mid 30s and it may well be too late for him. Unless, and this is highly unlikely, he will be given the spot currently held by Ekaterina Shipulina, who turns 41 next month. More likely, her place will be given to Alyona Kovalyova, and the next to Olga Marchenkova (prospects that fill me with shock-horror). I'm not a Tsvirko fan, but given the sort of repertoire he carries, especially Spartacus, and that Savin probably never expected to be made principal, this really is a body blow.

Edited by volcanohunter
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Savin must have been 12 when we saw him in Seattle :)  How time flies.

Is there a formal number at the top rank(s) at the Bolshoi?  It seems like there is in Paris even below etoile, since they have those internal competition/auditions for lower ranks only when there are spots available.  For many American companies we start anticipating promotions whenever we hear about retirements, mostly because of budget constraints and to keep some percentage balance among the ranks.  But those numbers fluctuate, and NYCB seems to run on its own internal metrics that change over time.  (Or maybe you just have to be there to understand the internal logic.)  At Pacific Northwest Ballet, for example, the difference between 45 and 50 dancers is more than a 10% increase or a 10% drop, depending on which way you look at it, and that is a significant different for promotion opportunities, even if half of those positions might go to graduates of PNBS as apprenticeships.

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1 hour ago, volcanohunter said:

 

More likely, her place will be given to Alyona Kovalyova, and the next to Olga Marchenkova (prospects that fill me with shock-horror). 

I am in total agreement with you on Olga Marchenkova.  In my opinion, Margarita Shrayner should be next in line.  

 

Congratulations to all of the promoted dancers!

 

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2 hours ago, Leah said:

Didn’t Tsvirko leave the company altogether and then come back? I got the impression that his relationship with management might not be the healthiest.

Yes, he spent some time in Budapest as a principal dancer but returned to the Bolshoi, evidently to have his teeth kicked in. He is now 31 and will have to decide whether he can wait another four years, especially since Vaziev has ageist notions about casting certain ballets. (That's not my opinion; he has said so in the press.)

1 hour ago, ECat said:

 In my opinion, Margarita Shrayner should be next in line.  

She seems to have a somewhat rocky relationship with management as well. I remember a stretch when she was withdrawn from all her performances of leading roles, but left in the minor ones. She's also on her third coach already. (Not a fan myself.)

1 hour ago, Helene said:

Is there a formal number at the top rank(s) at the Bolshoi?  It seems like there is in Paris even below etoile, since they have those internal competition/auditions for lower ranks only when there are spots available. 

Things are nowhere near as orderly at the Bolshoi, and promotions that skip over ranks are fairly common under Vaziev. But current management appears to believe that there should be no more than 8 principal women and 8 principal men at a time. This has not always been the case; a few years ago there were more of them. But there have been bottlenecks of dancers waiting for promotions along the way. The classes of 1996-98 produced 7 principals, and some, like Kaptsova and Shipulina, had to wait quite a while for their promotions. 2002-03 is another block of dancers at the top.

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A quick glance (3:33)

“On September 10, 11 and 13, the premiere of four one-act ballets under the general title "Four characters in search of a plot" took place on the New stage.

“The idea of the project came from the Bolshoi ballet Director Makhar Vaziev, during the quarantine period in April 2020. After viewing a large number of videos and consulting with colleagues, M. Vaziev chose four young choreographers from different countries.

“Our artists presented "The ninth wave" by Bryan Arias, "Just" by Simone Valastro, "Fading" by Dimo Milev and "Silentium" by Martin Chaix.”

(Thanks to Sophia at Dansomanie)

 

 

Edited by Buddy
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On 10/5/2020 at 4:08 PM, volcanohunter said:

At age 38 they are eligible to begin receiving their pension, which sort of absolves the theater of continuing to pay them a regular salary. However, pensions are always smaller than salaries, and because the "under contract" dancers inevitably see a drop, sometimes precipitous, in the number of performances they get, it's not a winning proposition.

Under Filin, veteran soloists, especially character dancers, were teased out of their ranks and listed separately in the weird "under contract" (i.e. resident guest artist) category. When it was done to principals Anna Antonicheva and Marianna Ryzhkina there was a public outcry at this visible relegation, and their bios were relisted among the primas. Under Vaziev there are no such niceties, and there has been a discernable pattern of promoting dancers to "replace" a "retiring" principal. When Dmitry Gudanov left at 42 (without going through the "under contract" stage), his spot was given to Vyacheslav Lopatin. When Alexander Volchkov began working "under contract" at 40, his spot went to Artemy Belyakov. Now Ruslan Skvortsov's spot has been given to Denis Savin (although since there is zero overlap in their repertoires, it can't really be described as a replacement.)

Savin is a very, very fine artist, but an unconventional principal, and at 36 he won't hold the position for very long. I think the real story here is who wasn't promoted: Igor Tsvirko. Because while Savin is a character/modern dancer, Tsvirko is a demi-caractere dancer with a substantial repertoire of leading roles Savin doesn't dance: Basilio, Solor, Rothbart, Nutcracker Prince, Conrad, Philippe, Spartacus, Ferkhad, Ivan the Terrible, even Albrecht in the Grigorovich production. By the time Savin and Mikhail Lobukhin reach 40 four years from now, Tsvirko will be in his mid 30s and it may well be too late for him. Unless, and this is highly unlikely, he will be given the spot currently held by Ekaterina Shipulina, who turns 41 next month. More likely, her place will be given to Alyona Kovalyova, and the next to Olga Marchenkova (prospects that fill me with shock-horror). I'm not a Tsvirko fan, but given the sort of repertoire he carries, especially Spartacus, and that Savin probably never expected to be made principal, this really is a body blow.

Agree!   Savin is a fine artist, but I don't believe he deserved to be principal as much as Tsvirko did - and like you, I am not a Tsvirko fan, but in terms of the body of his repertoire, he was by far more deserving of the promotion.  

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Elizaveta Kokoreva, whom I mentioned that I liked very much in videos from a Novosibirsk gala about a month ago debuted as Kitri (Don Quixote) today at the Bolshoi.  She performed with Alexei Putintsev. Both are still in the Corps de Ballet. From what I can see in an instagram type final ovations clip they were very well received.

Added comment: The theatre is using the two occupied seats and then a space arrangement. You can see the audience and how many are using face masks in this picture.

https://disk.yandex.com/d/JfDqqNzFtwOyaA/IMG_1899.JPG?w=1

 

Edited by Buddy
Second paragraph deleted
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@Buddy I hav eno doubt that they had a successful debut.  Elizaveta Kokoreva especially as seen in this Raymonda variation.  From seeing this, I'd say she has a bright future!  

 

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All subtitled in english.

You can see ballet director Makhar Vaziev rehearsing at [now at 1:38:40]. This is for public consumption. You can judge for yourself what you think of his manner. I quite honestly wish that he would ease up a bit. (Added thought -- Having just watched the interview preceding the previously filmed rehearsal you see another side as well. It's of a man who really does love his art and does have a charmingly, pleasant and humorous side. He also probably believes that he has to be tough, often, to get the best results. I would continue to maintain that this doesn't have to be the case and that a more gentle approach could produce fine results and a healthy, warm atmosphere.)

The one that I'm very interested in at the moment is Olga Smirnova with Ruslan Skvortsov at [now at 2:16:45].. It's always fascinating to watch her. They are coached by Maria Allash. She has a pleasant manner, yet seems quite effective. (Added comment -- Following this, at [now at 2:31:10], is a sympathetic and interesting interview with Olga Smirnova. She says that everyone  knows that there's a daily risk at this time, but that the artists really do want to perform and that all precautions possible are being taken.)

Ana Turazashvili and Vladislav Lantratov do a fine job hosting. I've always liked her, especially from her days performing Emeralds. She also speaks beautiful english and that's quite a dress. As a matter of fact, I think that I might be in love with her.  😊

"You will see fragments of rehearsals for the performances "The sleeping beauty "(rehearsed by Anastasia Denisova and Egor Gerashchenko),"Swan lake "(rehearsed by Olga Marchenkova and Artem Ovcharenko),"The Nutcracker "(the Bolshoi corps de ballet),"Onegin" (rehearsed by Olga Smirnova and Ruslan Skvortsov). 
There will be morning classes of people's artists of Russia Bolshoi ballet masters-repetiteurs Nadezhda Gracheva and Alexander Vetrov. 
 

"Guests of the broadcast: Anna Nikulina, Olga Smirnova, Artem Ovcharenko, Denis Savin, Alexei Putintsev and ballet director Makhar Vaziev. We also will move backstage of Perm opera and Ballet Theatre. "

 

 

(Thanks to Sophia at Dansomanie)

Edited by Buddy
Somehow the timing was changed. I've corrected it above.
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On 9/29/2020 at 9:48 PM, Lizzy said:

Curious, Lantratov was the coach in the video. Do senior principals normally work as coaches as well as dancers? 

Lizzy, in the Bolshoi World Ballet Day presentation yesterday Vladislav Lantratov said that he's coaching for the first time and enjoying it. He said that the reason that he's doing it is so that the more elderly coaches can stay home during the virus. Seems like a very sensible and understanding decision on his part and the company's.

(I still can't get these to go away)

On 10/4/2020 at 3:32 PM, Buddy said:

 

 

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Anyone notice that very beautiful lady translating into very fine english all the interviews with Vladislav Lantratov, the only live part of the Bolshoi’s World Ballet Day presentation two days ago ?  I’m sure you did.

So who is Ana Turazashvili.

She’s built a profile.

She has an Instagram site. She has a Youtube site (nice for me because it’s a source of official videos (her own) that I can post). She does physical yoga, very sensible with all the physical extremes that a ballet dancer must accomplish. She also has done a video add in the Russian Vogue and does interviews.

She’s had no leads that I know of, but does the Lilac Fairy and other important and beautiful Soloist parts.

She has lovely, long lines and other fine dance qualities. Here she is.

 

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43 minutes ago, ECat said:

@Buddy she is beautiful indeed!  Other important roles she's danced include Gulnare in Le Corsaire and Princess Mary in A Hero of Our Time.  https://www.bolshoi.ru/en/persons/ballet/1297/

I was kind of thinking (and hoping) that you’d drop by. Thanks for your thoughts and additions, especially since we agree a lot.  😊

By the way, I’m quite impressed by the artistic quality in the making of this video. Any thoughts from our more visible ‘technical’ experts, Quiggin, Pherank, anyone ?   Among her other fine qualities, it seems that Ana Turazashvili keeps good artistic company as well.

 

Edited by Buddy
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I liked the key shot but I'm less and less into montage – cutting – effects and side shots these days.

But I was quite taken with Ana Turazashvili's Emeralds, posted a few years back, the quiet lassitude of it. A little like when a fisherman lets out a line. 

There was also a tutorial with her in it on a World Ballet Day past.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsAO05roO6M

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3 hours ago, Buddy said:

I was kind of thinking (and hoping) that you’d drop by. Thanks for your thoughts and additions, especially since we agree a lot.  😊

By the way, I’m quite impressed by the artistic quality in the making of this video. Any thoughts from our more visible ‘technical’ experts, Quiggin, Pherank, anyone ?   Among her other fine qualities, it seems that Ana Turazashvili keeps good artistic company as well.

 

I've been so busy watching all of the World Ballet Day videos and absorbing all of the beauty.  My favorite parts are watching the company classes.  Bolshoi's livestream was phenomenal.  

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1 hour ago, ECat said:

I've been so busy watching all of the World Ballet Day videos and absorbing all of the beauty.  My favorite parts are watching the company classes.  Bolshoi's livestream was phenomenal.  

Thanks, ECat. The Nadezhda Gracheva class, the Olga Smirnova with Ruslan Skvortsov rehearsal and the live interviews are probably my favorites for the day as well. I’ve watched each of them several times.

Thanks, Quiggin, for your response. I think that I understand what you’re saying. It’s perhaps the same reason that my favorite parts of ballet are the key, crystallised adagios. The Fokine “Swan” performed in the posted video of Ana Turazashvili is one of the finest.

I still feel that the video has a lot of artistic interest. I’m really enjoying it. And it shows her many qualities quite effectively. I also feel that Ana Turazashvili could have a fine career, even worldwide because of her excellent english, in front of the camera, but I’ll certainly settle for her ballet loveliness.

 

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