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Svetlana Lunkina in Swan Lake


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On February 2 Svetlana Lunkina made her debut as Odette-Odile in Swan Lake. I really enjoyed her performance but she was the most strange Odette I ever saw. I usually expect Odette to have authority (she is princess after all!) and some warmth. Lunkina was thin, fragile and frozen in her grief. Her still white face looked like a mask of sorrow, and her unhappiness was scaring – she looked almost like a Death!

Lunkina’s Odile was more traditional and more suited her personality. She is very beautiful dancer, with mild plastique and exceptional grace, and she showed that qualities to the advantage. She paid a lot of attention to the Prince (her Odette almost never noticed him), she was supercilious and playful – poor Prince have no chance against her! Her technique was not very secure but I dont mind – her stage presence was strong.

In the last lake scene Lunkina was white and unhappy again but showed more warmth. Her death in the end was touching.

The role of Prince Seigfried was danced by Konstantin Ivanov. His acting was convincing and his arms elegant, but the movements of his legs looked sloppy.

Morihiro Ivata received great applauses as the Jester. Maria Alexandrova as Spanish Bride and Ekaterina Shipulina as Polish Bride was beautiful.

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Welcome, Inga, and thank you very much for posting this! I hope we'll be hearing from you often. There are quite a few people on this site eager for news about performances at the Bolshoi.

I was especially interested to read about Lunkina, a ballerina whom I've not yet seen. She hasn't been on the company's last three visits to Washington and we are very curious about her. I loved your description of her white swan (and I have to say I like it that you didn't care that her technique was shaky!)

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Yes Marc, Lunkina scheduled to dance Esmeralda in Roland Petit’s Notre Dame de Paris on February 15 with Nicolai Tsiskaridze as Quasimodo and young Ruslan Skvortsov as Frollo (no official info about Phoebus).

I think Lunkina’s technique never was as strong as that of Galina Stepanenko or Maria Alexandrova but she have bright personality and ability to act. Her personages usually are pensive and lyrical but in the last season she showed strong will that looks very interesting in contrast with her fragility. Her Lisa in Roland Petit’s Dame Pique, who is by the plot a poor relation of old woman who sold her soul to Devil, also looked mysterious, as if she is private to some awful secret. In La Syphide (she made her debut last April with beautiful Sergei Filin as James) she looked light and at the same time sensual, chemistry with her partner was great. Last June I also saw her Giselle with Nicolai Tsiskaridze – in the second act Svetlana showed such a temperament that Myrtha apparently will have a serious rival for her throne! Alexandra, if you’ll have opportunity to see Lunkina, be ready to everything


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Inga is right, sometimes you come over things you are not prepared for. For example I hardly could imagine Lun'kina as Odille, but in this role she demonstraated some character and was almost convincing, though technically far from perfect. In contrast to this I was ready for a sort of revelation in the part of Odette, but to be frank I was dissapointed. As a whole Lun'kina's performance looked for me more like a well learned lesson than a piece of art, though I am sure that her appearance, beautiful lines and schooling are very promising. I also think that the time for this debut wasn't chosen well. Svetlana had to rehearse two difficult major roles of entirely diiferent technique at the same (short) time. It's not her fault, of course, but her coach (Maximova) had to take that into consideration. I also want to point out that Maximova, whom I just adore as a ballerina, danced "Swan Lake" not more than several times (I guess it was not considered a suitable role for her). But here in the Bolshoi there is a practice to have ONE coach for everything rather than different coaches for different ballets. This system seems to me rather controversial.

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Thank you, Inga and Ina, for these clarifications. By the sound of it, Lunkina’s debut in "Swan Lake" made the same impression as when Alina Cojocaru first danced this ballet at Covent Garden earlier this season. In her case, there was also this feeling that she wasn’t entirely ready for it yet, that it looked more like a lesson learned, leaving little space for spontaneity etc. However, we shouldn’t forget what a tough nut this ballet presents for these young dancers, hardly ever turning into a total success at a debut but rather being a career-long challenge for a ballerina. Let’s hope that Lunkina will be given a chance to grow into the role.

Interesting point you make, Ina, about the coaching system at the Bolshoi, raising the question whether it makes sense to have coaches teaching a role which they hardly ever or even never danced, let alone possessed it in such way to be in the right position to reveal all its secrets to their pupils? We have similar examples like that at the Kirov (Chenchikova coaching Dumchenko in "Chopiniana" and "Romeo and Juliet" for instance).

A problem facing Lunkina at the Bolshoi might be that from the very start of her career (especially by then director Vasiliev and his wife Maximova) she has been catalogued as the quintessential romantic dancer, the frail, dreamy looking ballerina born to dance "Giselle", "Sylphide", "Chopiniana". Up to a point this could be correct, although in my view there is also something of a solid classicist in her, the ballerina which should be at her best in roles like Aurora, Raymonda, Paquita, the dream sequence in "Don Quixote" etc. and I think it would be a shame not to let her explore and develop this part of the repertory as well.

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You'll find many antipseudofreudians here -- as far as "Swan Lakes" and other 19th century ballets are concerned. To many Americans brought up on the old Royal Ballet version or productions derived from it, both the Grigorovich and the Bourmeister seem especially wrongheaded. The main point seems to be to get rid of every scrap of Petipa, and the secondary one is that the audience is too stupid and unimaginative to understand what is going on.

But then, it's hard to find a traditional production these days.

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balletstar811, I saw the link. Lunkina and Gudanov didnt danced La Spectre in Moscow in last years to the sorrow of their fans who just saw the photos and read reviews.

On the http://www.memimiracle.com/movies/petersburg/cast.htm is bios of the movie actors of “StPeterburg-Cannes Express” including Lunkina, and there is enigmatic remark that Svetlana “will next perform as a prima ballerina at the La Scala Di Milano Theatre in Italy”. I wonder is it mean that she will guest with the La Scala Ballet? May be somebody know anything about it?

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Though this post began many months ago, I read over all the comments again... Lunkina has indeed been marked as the perfect lyrical dancer. I was reading a review on her performance of Giselle, and it was apprently perfect -- sorrowful, wonderful acting and grace. Then I read about her as Kitri in Don Q, and it seems she can shine in other, more "peppy" roles. The article said that the audience was going wild throughout the entire thing. I am interested to see her rise in the ballet world.

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