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assoluta

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  1. Pas de Quatre made a very good point: improperly learned pointe technique often leads to serious injuries already at the school level, how many girls' dreams of becoming a professional dancer were ruined by a stress bones fracture, for example? This is one of the reasons why at the leading schools children were in the past not allowed on pointes before reaching certain age. This said, however, doesn't invalidate the point made earlier, that professional dancing on pointes is a serious hazard for ballerinas health.
  2. No, Janet, this "development" has nothing to do with health. Pointe shoes, and ballet proper, from the modern perspective, so obsessed with health matters, should be considered extremely unhealthy. Just wait until some militant activist politicians come up with a law proposal that outlaws selling and distributing pointe shoes (not unlike selling and distributing "controlled substances"). The tragic situation, I am not afraid to say that, with the recent degeneration of the pointe shoe, is to primarily make it easier, and, for many, even feasible, to perform what was previously considered (very) difficult and what could have be done by a very select group of ballerinas. Compare the pointe shoes worn by Margot Fonteyn with the ones worn by most of our principals Anno Domini 2019.
  3. ... smaller new Bolshoi theater ... The "New Stage" (rather than "new Bolshoi theatre") is located in the old historical building vis-a-vis.
  4. "Esmeralda" is performed at the Samara Theatre where Yuri Burlaka is Artistic Director. They showed their "Esmeralda" earlier this year in Moscow.
  5. Yuri Burlaka produced a new version of "Esmeralda", more faithful to the original, according to what I know. This is why his earlier effort at Bolshoi is put to rest.
  6. It may surprise you but they are already so extreme and, yes, they do disfigure the feet of some dancers in a very obvious way. The trend is spelling a catastrophe to ballet education, by the way.
  7. The shoes used nowadays by the majority of our principals and soloists, unfortunately, boast outrageously big blocs (I am not talking about the sewing which may look ugly as it does in certain brands). Not only this completely disfigures the feet, it also gives a huge (and unfair) advantage in performing what was previously considered technically impossible or very difficult. A number of my colleagues in the profession notice this with great regret. The bad example is now spreading like a disease through ballet schools everywhere. We are facing a total extinction of a pointe shoe as it was known for generations of great artists.
  8. I wouldn't be so sure that "the Russian companies pale by comparison with the home team". Reading the above, gives an impression that ballet for some of us is a circus act where one-handed lifts and 'scissor jumps' are a determining factor. For some Ivan Vasiliev may be an ultimate ballet dancer, for me, and a lot of others, he is unbearable to watch on the ballet stage. One more thing, practically all of our principals and soloists nowadays dance in the pointe shoes that are a travesty of what the pointe shoes were and should be, while in those "Russian companies that pale by comparison", we still can appreciate, at least among some dancers, feet not disfigured by those terrible shoes that should have never been allowed in ballet, because they not only look ugly but they are also, to say it bluntly, a form of cheating comparable to doping in sports. Then, there is a serious issue with shoulders and hands whose form as displayed by our dancers is oftentimes simply painful to watch. Is the erosion of standards so great that no competent Royal Ballet coach can instruct our principals and soloists in what is right, and what is an absolute no-no? Just a few questions to ponder...
  9. I think, I feel obliged to say some good words for Ovcharenko's Siegfried. I am afraid, we are accustomed to (and spoiled by) too much of athletic, over-done, male dancing, it makes us prone to dismissing a subdued manner of acting as "blank". I do not feel that Siegfried must necessarily "command the stage". As to Stepanova's Odette - this was a very fresh, sublimely tender, interpretation, with the purest, classical lines, free of any angularity and extreme mannerisms that disfigure interpretations by certain ballerinas. Her Odette is an emanation of goodness, warmth, and vulnerability. The word "steely" doesn't come to my mind when I think of her Odile, rather as being enticing, alluring, cheerful, the kind that young men are tempted by most. Stepanova's ability to inhabit the characters she portrays, her technical ease, plus her exceptional musicality, were all amply present yesterday as well.
  10. Bessmertnova had something tragic about her. Her most memorable role, Giselle, moved me beyond description. I always felt a special sympathy towards Kaptsova, yet her recent Phrygia (with Tsvirko, Belyakov and Stepanova) was no more than a shadow of what I expected.
  11. Zakharova was, indeed "in an entirely different class". I am puzzled by some of the dance writers not being able to see through Smirnova's mannerisms and deformations she embelishes her dancing of classics with, as means to draw away attention from the fact that she simply has atrocious shoulders and wrists.
  12. You made a number of perceptive observations. Rehearsals open to public are more often than not, yet another form of publicity affairs. Real work is done elsewhere. It is there where one has a chance to have a close look at various dancers, to observe their qualities.
  13. Not only they do but they dance it often: more than 200 times in the first 16 years since the the 1981 premiere.
  14. I think it isn't Shostakovich, it is the choreography, infinitely inferior to the music. I saw "Shostakovich Trilogy" before and I didn't think much of its Red Square May Day parade group displays of gymnastics.
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