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Bolshoi 2021/2022 Season


Buddy

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Victoria Brileva, an artist that I've much enjoyed and often mentioned at the Mariinsky, has joined the Bolshoi. It seemed that she was given more than usual this year at the Mariinsky, which was good, and I wish her much success at the Bolshoi.

"...new artists who had joined the troupe. These are Yulia Bondareva, Victoria Brileva, Arina Denisova, Elizaveta Doronina, Elizaveta Kiryakova, Maria Konkova, Eva Sergeenkova, Daria Sterligova, Sofya Ukhova, Elizaveta Chertikhina, Lina Sheveleva and Ivan Sorokin."(Google translation)

https://www.bolshoi.ru/about/press/articles/none/gathering-2021/

(thanks to Sophia at Dansomanie) 
 

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WOW!  That is exciting news for Victoria.  Thank you for the update. She is  beautiful dancer and I wish her much success at the Bolshoi!  It looks like she'll be making her debut as one of the Big Swans in Swan Lake.

Edited by ECat
To add her casting info
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1 hour ago, ECat said:

WOW!  That is exciting news for Victoria.  Thank you for the update. She is  beautiful dancer and I wish her much success at the Bolshoi!  It looks like she'll be making her debut as one of the Big Swans in Swan Lake.

I'm sure that she's lovely, ECat. She's from the Mariinsky, so I take that for granted. 😊

A characteristic that I've always enjoyed is her personality. It's charmingly adaptable and believable. Hopefully, the Bolshoi, which emphasises character, will take advantage of this.

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It was inevitable, but I am white with rage. :FIREdevil: He is completely antithetical to the Moscow style. But it's what Vaziev loves: very tall, bendy kids who flop their arms and legs around, as long as they have banana feet.

Edited by volcanohunter
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Hold on to your seatbelts !   After just posting above about the young Elizaveta Kokoreva, along comes — Eva Sergeyenkova.

Yesterday, Friday, 18 year old Eva Sergeyenkova (Corps de Ballet), first season at the Bolshoi, debuted as Odette/Odile  (Swan Lake). Artemy Belyaov was her partner.

Congratulations to her !

Google translation:

“Such debuts are rare, according to the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet Company Makhar Vaziev. It was not just the stars that came together, but the possibilities and abilities, physics, mentality.

“This is her determination, this sharpness in the profession, she wants to find herself in this image, and she does this not for show, but this is a need for her,” explained Mahar Vaziev, artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet Company.”

“ “A very hardworking student and ballerina. I don’t know when she gets tired and if she gets tired at all. She never shows or speaks,” said teacher-repetiteur, People’s Artist of Russia Maria Allash.”

“Fragile, but strong, that's what they say about Eva in the Bolshoi.”

https://smotrim.ru/article/2663913?

Google translate:  https://translate.google.com

(Thanks to Sophia at Dansomanie)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Buddy
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I have seen Sergeenkova and she fills me only with shock-horror, a example of what happens when "desirable" qualities are taken to their extreme. But Vaziev openly says that he intends to turn her into the new Zakharova: just like Zakharova made her mainstage debut under his directorship while still a student, so did Sergeenkova 25 years later, last spring as the Queen of the Dryads. Of course the young Zakharova also filled me with shock-horror, but she did move with basic coordination. Two and a half generations on, everything is that much worse. Severely hyperextended knees, feet so flexible that Sergeenkova needs to wear a very hard (hence loud) shoe with a very high vamp and a big elastic across the instep, so that on pointe her foot looks like a question mark rather than a smooth curve leading to the platform. Naturally, she can turn her pelvis inside out, but these extensions seem disconnected to her torso, her arms are angular and gawky in more taxing technical passages (though this may improve if she gains more strength), and of course there is the 210-degree, drop-crotch split jump with zero elevation. After I saw her Queen of the Dryads I determined that I would never see her in anything else. If this is the future of ballet, I quit.

What is truly distressing is that ballet fetishizes some physical qualities so much that it seems not to have noticed that they have veered into the freakish. There is no more "line," only angles and bows, harmonious alignment has been lost as spines are curved and twisted and arms placed into awkward positions to accommodate ridiculous à la secondes, rail-thin dancers with weak cores resemble marionettes whose limbs seem disconnected to their torsos.

None of this is really Sergeenkova's fault; it's the body nature gave her. But these grotesque distortions have been encouraged by her teachers, and sadly they are prized by the man who (tragically) runs the world's largest ballet company.

Edited by volcanohunter
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With all intended respect for the opinions and points of view of others, could I please offer mine about Eva Sergeyenkova.

For me, as with many Bolshoi artists, expression can be critical.

New to me, after maybe two hours of video viewing, Eva Sergeyenkova appears quite remarkable. She doesn’t always exhibit the dance aesthetic that many prize, but to my eye it’s quite effective and beautiful. Most important is her substance. She has a loveable and heart touching manner that comes from deep within and is translated admirably into her personally nuanced and finely crafted dance vocabulary.

This is a video glimpse that I’ll post because it’s officially released by the Bolshoi. She mainly appears in the white dress with the “V”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_Am_wmNPTk

This is an intentionally sympathetic documentary posted by its creator, “La Personne”, the artistically noteworthy, online ballet ‘magazine’ from Russia. At 5:55 there’s a 20 second glimpse that I like very much.   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3I4dQ2F0Y4

I greatly look forward to seeing her perform and wish her a very rewarding future.

 

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On 1/15/2022 at 2:16 PM, Drew said:

Congratulations to Kokoreva. Based on video, I believe I would love seeing her live. The Raymonda Act III variation she did in the broadcast was a WOW! for me.

I cannot agree more. This news makes me so happy as Kokoreva is a new favorite of mine at the Bolshoi. I think she more than has the potential to be come principal. Her career will be very exciting to watch.

@Buddyyour assessment of Sergeyenkova is similar to mine. Ballet, as with all performing arts, is subjective and I love that we have this space to share opinions, whether in agreement or dissenting. Today I watched a video of her Odette debut and I was impressed by her artistry at such a young age. I would like to see her Odile as well, to see how she handles the technical challenges.

Edited by ECat
Replying to another user
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1 hour ago, ECat said:

I cannot agree more. This news makes me so happy as Kokoreva is a new favorite of mine at the Bolshoi. I think she more than has the potential to be come principal. Her career will be very exciting to watch.

@Buddyyour assessment of Sergeyenkova is similar to mine. Ballet, as with all performing arts, is subjective and I love that we have this space to share opinions, whether in agreement or dissenting. Today I watched a video of her Odette debut and I was impressed by her artistry at such a young age. I would like to see her Odile as well, to see how she handles the technical challenges.

Thanks very much for your thoughts, ECat.

I also watched a video clip of Eva Sergeyenkova’s recent Odette which also included some of her Odile. Of all the clips that I’ve seen of her, this one shows the most development of character. She once again goes deep inside herself and not only produces something very personal, but also fascinating. I most enjoy her Odette type renderings, which I find to be heart touchingly loveable.

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I was in the process of trying to define Eva Sergeyenkova, when one of our Ballet Alert! friends sent me a video clip of her recent White Swan duet (Swan Lake), which is very informative and also changes my perception.

Based on a video clip of her Paquita performance from about a half year ago I was really going to emphasize ’Subtlety’ as a key element.

The Swan Lake video, on the other hand, shows some of the most expressive physicality that I’ve seen in the White Swan duet. It’s done with fine artistry and refinement, but it also involves some of the most ‘expanded shaping’ that I’ve yet seen in this duet. An example is that in the partner supported laybacks she twists her upper body more outwardly sidewise than I’ve yet seen. It’s very dramatically effective and also quite beautiful. I think that it defines this aspect of her style very well.

On the other hand, I’m very fond of her more relaxed and subtle physicality as seen in the Paquita video. Here is what I had written.

“In searching for what makes this young artist so special to many, the word Subtlety seems very important. As with many artists, their substance is not easily apparent. Maybe you just sense it.

I believe that Natalia Makarova coined the famous expression, “Limbs that sing.” This seems like more of a ‘beyond human basics’ ideal, an expression of music and musicality, something in the atmosphere.

With Eva Sergeyenkova lines and motion are also very beautiful, but perhaps in a more human way — to express human Poetry. Her very distinct physicality is used to reinforce the story and the ‘dream’ that she’s living and relating.

She has willowy lines and motion along with an expressive physicality. She doesn’t seem to be a very tall lady, but her long limbs and outreaching manner make her appear much taller.

In regard to her aspirations, she says in a video, “So many roles that I would like to perform and to live them through onstage.” “

So I’ll be most interested to see how she develops and what she choses to emphasis.  Her more dramatically sculptural approach is very exciting and beautiful, but I have to say that I’m very fond of her more subtle and airily poetic approach.

Added: On further viewing, what’s intriguing about her White Swan duet is how dominant her inner calm and reflection remain (most noticeable in her facial expression) within her sculpturally expansive dance prowess. Based on this video presentation, which I usually find to be a diminished quality representation of the live one, this is certainly one of the finest White Swan duets that I’ve ever seen. The balancing of physical drama with artistic fineness and then with such a depth of inner reflection is really quite wonderful.

Again, here are some glimpses of her Paquita performance that I posted above with her inner poetry perhaps most evident in the last few seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_Am_wmNPTk

Edited by Buddy
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Some more musings about the 2021 student/2022 Odette-Odile, Eva Sergeyenkova.

Some, I suppose, start by watching the feet. Since this is dance, this is perfectly reasonable, perhaps most meaningful for them. I tend to start more by watching the face. It’s all a matter of personal preference.

With Eva Sergeyenkova, the face remains primary for me. Whereas Olga Smirnova, whom I consider an excellent dramatist, seems to be constantly aware of her effect on the audience, Eva Sergeyenkova, often, with a seemingly total lack of self-consciousness, goes deep within herself. At her best, she presents a wonderful sort of inner expression. I remember Wendy Whelan once being quoted as saying that the thing that she prizes most is when she finds that inner place during an elevated performance where the audience completely disappears.

As much as I enjoy female solos, in Swan Lake for instance, it’s always the Duet that I find most embracing. Yet, for the first time that I can recall, the solo following the White Swan duet, as performed by Eva Sergeyenkova, is perhaps even more compelling. Here she seems to have the chance to completely enter her own private world of self-discovery and self-expression. The result is a one-of-a-kind artistic depth and loveliness. Her dance prowess and dance beauty, in my opinion, are used to reinforce this.

So, if she’s indeed on her way to becoming one of the great phenomena of the ballet world, why is it ?  She’s extremely mature for her age and I think that one result is the development of her inner self and this may be the answer. I would say that two of the greatest, Anna Pavlova and Galina Ulanova, might be considered transcendant in their expression. Olga Smirnova might be considered a mistress of the real world. Eva Sergeyenkova, in her development, might become the mistress of the inner self, the inner beauty. It will be interesting to see.

Added: Again, this quote from the ballet company’s Artistic Director, Makhar Vaziev. (Google translation)

“This is her determination, this sharpness in the profession, she wants to find herself in this image, and she does this not for show, but this is a need for her.”

Added added:

Related to this: “What is the difference between an actor and a dancer in regard to ‘portrayal’ ?”

An actor is often trying to most realistically present a character. A dancer, such as a ballet dancer, is perhaps trying more to present and express an ideal. A respected choreographer once said that his job was to make dancers look like gods and goddesses.

 

Edited by Buddy
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Eva Sergeyenkova just promoted to First Soloist !

( from Corps de Ballet ! )

Congratulations !

Google translation:

“Eva Sergeenkova is the first soloist of the Bolshoi Ballet. Congratulations !  And on George Balanchine's birthday after the ballet Jewels.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/CZCzAdMofRs/

(Bolshoi media personage Katerina Novikova Instagram) 

(thanks to posts at BalletcoForum and Dansomanie )

 

Edited by Buddy
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Thanks, Naomikage, for your thoughts. I guess that we just place different values and different ideas about beauty on different elements. Fair enough.

It’s official. I actually thought that it was a bigger jump than it was. I didn’t realise that the Bolshoi doesn’t have a Coryphee level above Corps de Ballet like the Mariinsky and forgot about Leading Soloists (a step above First Soloists). Still impressive.

https://2011.bolshoi.ru/en/persons/ballet/soloist/

(thanks to Enya at Dansomanie)

Edited by Buddy
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On 1/16/2022 at 8:40 AM, volcanohunter said:

None of this is really Sergeenkova's fault; it's the body nature gave her. But these grotesque distortions have been encouraged by her teachers, and sadly they are prized by the man who (tragically) runs the world's largest ballet company.

The Bolshoi has bought into the aesthetics of rhythmic gymnastics for its female dancers,  it's not just Zakharova and Sergeenkova.  The corps looks like an ensemble of beautiful clones,  with very little personality on view.  Sergeenkova is lovely,  but a bit remote,  and disconcertingly unyouthful for a teenager.  She's a bit mysterious,  which is a plus in my opinion.  But Classic Arts Television has been running old films of Plisetskaya,  Maximova and other Soviet era stars,  and that brand of passionate artistry is apparently in short supply in the Bolshoi of today.

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In the video I have seen (of her Swan Lake and of Diamonds), Sergeenkova seems less gymnastic/uncoordinated than some of the other super flexible dancers I have seen--less ultra skinny in her legs too. I do see the extra band she has on her shoes and I find it slightly distracting. (It's as if I'm watching a rehearsal.) But I liked the fact that, on video at any rate, her recent Diamonds was without tragedy airs -- and I was intrigued by the way she really seemed to look at her partner and respond to his presence.

The Bolshoi of the 60s/70s is long gone--like the NYCB of that era. Vaziev may be injecting more of his own aesthetic into the company (for good or ill) vis-a-vis his more immediate predecessors but the company he came into was already a different one from the Bolshoi of Maximova etc.

Edited by Drew
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Re: Elizaveta Kokoreva - she and Dmitry Smilevsky just knocked my socks off in today's Pathe cinema broadcast of the Bolshoi's performance of Jewels. They played the lead couple in Rubies and the ease, the crystalline clarity, the musicality. Really extraordinary! I thought they seemed quite at ease with Balanchine style. They seemed to be romping with the choreography: smooth, quick, and clear shapes, and somehow made everyone else's dancing look a touch effortful by comparison. Kokoreva is an absolutely stunning talent and Smilevsky matched her - I loved them together.

Emeralds was lovely, with the cinematic closeups lingering on Evgenia Obrazstova's exquisitely beautiful face - it never hurts to be gorgeous as well as a strong dancer. But I also very much liked the dancing of super-slender Anastasia Denisova. Diamonds well presented too (Svetlana Zakharova, Jacopo Tissi). Wonderful costuming. I especially liked how the Emerald bodices didn't have a flat edge at the waist, but were slightly tapered. (NYCB's boxy Emerald bodices can make a 90-pound waif look like she has no waistline.)

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And I just watched Eva Sergeyenkova’s “Diamonds” (with Artemy Belyakov) and it also “knocked my socks off.” Thanks very much to the person who sent it to me.

Yes, there may be some stretching and such in her physicality, but for me it just reinforces the magnificence of her overall statement.

I have to describe it as A Heart and Soul performance of the highest calibre.

Edited by Buddy
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4 hours ago, Drew said:

The Bolshoi of the 60s/70s is long gone--like the NYCB of that era. Vaziev may be injecting more of his own aesthetic into the company (for good or ill) vis-a-vis his predecessors but the company he came into was already a different one from the Bolshoi of Maximova etc.

I agree that the style of that era is long gone and looks archaic to our eyes now.  But where's the sheer joy of moving to music?  I hope that hasn't become extinct.  The current crop moves from one pretty pose to another,  giving us plenty of time to admire their ultra high extensions and impressively arched feet,  but that's not enough.  Maybe I've been looking at too many videos of class work and coaching sessions.  There's not enough performance quality in their work. Obviously video can only give us an approximation of a stage performance,  but Sergeenkova is not exciting to me.

Edited by On Pointe
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1 hour ago, On Pointe said:

I agree that the style of that era is long gone and looks archaic to our eyes now.  But where's the sheer joy of moving to music?  I hope that hasn't become extinct.  The current crop moves from one pretty pose to another,  giving us plenty of time to admire their ultra high extensions and impressively arched feet,  but that's not enough.  Maybe I've been looking at too many videos of class work and coaching sessions.  There's not enough performance quality in their work. Obviously video can only give us an approximation of a stage performance,  but Sergeenkova is not exciting to me.

I guess I'm a little more optimistic about the company than you are, but I can't deny I've occasionally had similar concerns. Unlike some who are posting, I see the company live very little. But in 2019 I was at one live performance of the Grigorovich Swan Lake (London tour) that was going fine--without being all that compelling--when Tikhomirova took the stage as the Neopolitan Princess in the ballroom scene. The difference between her and the other dancers was palpable--she danced her solo with such life and rhythmic energy that the other dancers looked faded and dull. I enjoyed her performance but it almost depressed me because they all should have been dancing like that! I gather she isn't likely to progress beyond the soloist stage (VolcanoHunter has reported elsewhere on Tikhomirova's lack of success carrying the evening in principal roles and she isn't getting cast in them now anyway), but certainly she danced with what I thought was "the sheer joy of moving to music."

That said, my tastes are pretty eclectic: obviously, I don't dislike everything I get glimpses of happening under Vaziev and I am looking forward to seeing what happens with Sergeenkova.

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7 hours ago, Drew said:

....when Tikhomirova took the stage as the Neopolitan Princess in the ballroom scene....she danced her solo with such life and rhythmic energy....

That said, my tastes are pretty eclectic: obviously, I don't dislike everything I get glimpses of happening under Vaziev and I am looking forward to seeing what happens with Sergeenkova.

I also like what I’ve seen of Anna Tikhomirova, very much, Drew.

I can remember older videos with the Mariinsky Corps de Ballet. One, I believe, featured Alla Sizova in The Sleeping Beauty. In particular segments The Corps de Ballet had a vibrance, a special something, that I’ve hardly ever seen since. It was wonderful. But — I’ve also seen many, many wonderful performances by today’s Bolshoi and Mariinsky Corps de Ballet. They’re just different.

As for Eva Sergeyenkova, I’m in awe of what she’s capable of doing.

 

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