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  1. That wasn't tough knowing that O.S. replaced Vaziev in the functions of the one who decides casting/promotion/publicity at Bolshoi. Vaziev remains, nominally, the head of the ballet company, he is concentrating on improving the quality of the corps. This is how they share their duties now.
  2. She took away Belyakov from Stepanova only recently, after those two had a series of sensational duets together. I went to Moscow to see some of them, I can confirm that those two together this can be magic.
  3. Olga Smirnova. Every Bolshoi ballerina that is being broadacst is named Olga Smirnova. They all have the same name and surname, and they all look the same.
  4. There is a very good chance it was his last appearance in the "Sleeping Beauty" at the Royal Opera House.
  5. No, it isn't. Lopatkina's shoes are on display at the Theatre Museum, next to Vishneva's and of Petersburg ballerinas of previous generations. Lopatkina is very tall, Vishneva isn't, but their shoes are both shockingly big, when compared with their predecessors.
  6. Saying that "many photographs were retouched to show a very narrow point" is misleading. The next thing we will hear, I am afraid, is that the old recordings were similarly retouched frame after frame. Enormous enlargement of the blocs is not a one person's illusion, it has happened relatively recently. I know very well from my own experience, after all I am not very young, how the blocs on the point shoes have been expanding and, having an opportunity to examine pointe shoes worn by dancers from a number of companies, over an extended period of time, I made the comment that the Royal Ballet, unfortunately, has been at the forefront of this tendency, deplored by coaches and teachers. A direct comparison of the pointe shoes used for the same role by Fonteyn and by Nuñez shows the extent of the process. I was staring at them in a state of shock accompanied by colleagues from the Vaganova Academy and from Hamburg Ballett who were visiting London.
  7. Within certain limits, yes, "any dancer is entitled to choose according to their own ...," etc. The abuse of what is allowed leads to what we are witnessing now: a catastrophic situation with the pointe shoes. Regretfully, the Royal Ballet has been at the avantgarde of this destructive movement, this is why for some London ballet goers there may be nothing to be concerned about. The photo of Margot Fonteyn posted above provides an excellent illustration of what I am talking about, one can see her pointe shoes, together with the size and the shape of the blocs. Now, compare this with the two photos of Miss Naghdi posted earlier in this thread by Rob S. You'll have a clear view of the shoes, together with the size and the shape of the blocs, worn by Naghdi in her last Aurora appearance. Another, truly shocking, comparison was on display at the Royal Opera House earlier this year: the pointes and the tutus of Fonteyn and, I believe, Nuñez, were displayed next to each other.
  8. Not so simple and, fortunately, this was never the case. What separates a great artist from an average one is not just the level of technical competence, especially if by technique one understands a narrowly defined repertory of acrobatic tricks. The more you know about ballet the better you understand that some of the greatest artists of the past couldn't do certain things or were so afraid of doing them, they wouldn't want to do them on stage. Thus, I wasn't particularly persuaded in Mark Monahan's report by his complaint about Osipova not holding the balances in Rose Adagio. Yes, they look terrific, when properly done, yet they hold no value for me if I see that Aurora's pointe shoes boast colossal blocs like, e.g., Miss Naghdi's. This will offset any esthetic pleasure I might otherwise have. For me a problem with Osipova's Aurora lies elsewhere and manifested in a way similar to her recent misreading of Raymonda, something that Monahan noticed too.
  9. Smirnova wasn't "chosen", she will be the first cast (was there ever any doubt about it?).
  10. No, it isn't your imagination, for Osipova it is normal to ignore the tempi and dance at the speed comfortable to her, ahead of the conductor. I am saying this with a heavy heart yet what Osipova did had nothing in common with the name of "Raymonda". I know, this is my own fault, because I had a misfortune to see ballet named "Raymonda" several times over the last thirty years, Kirov, Bolshoi and the Paris versions.
  11. If it is not, in fact, Vaziev who "wants", then everything else is also going to look different in your reasoning. Bolshoi used to be a jungle and we are, I am afraid, once again close to where we were before.
  12. That sounds absolutely fabulous, I realize I must have gone to a wrong theatre, in mine, Raymonda was, unfortunately, none of that. I believe that this work of Marius Petipa was meant to be a hymn to femininity, every variation of Raymonda was supposed to celebrate one of its aspects. The Raymonda I saw was glacial, straighforward, not interested in her partner, marriage, etc. It seemed as if her main objective was to prevent de Brienne from marrying somebody he would love to be with instead of being forced to be with her.
  13. One of the World's greatest ballet companies, yet there are goodly many days when the corps can be lethargic and apathetic, and a sizeable portion of the soloists lousy. I witnessed this many times during my recent visits to their home town. "Their corps members would be principals in most other companies?" Well, some are, in fact, much better, artistically speaking, than many principals in other companies, even in their own company, this has been a well known paradox of the personnel policies at the Mariinsky during the last ten years. Take, for example, Svetlana Ivanova, a glory of the modern ballet, who should be flooded with praise and awards by critics while she is, sadly, hardly ever mentioned. How often do we mention her in these pages? The praise, attention and the awards are flooded on others, some much less deserving yet very well promoted, which is a good reflections on the critics themselves, on their supposed knowledge and understanding of ballet. The majority, however of Mariinsky's corps are just corps members who are better trained than their peers in other companies, with a notable exception of the Bolshoi. To be a principal requires a lot more than technical competence.
  14. What "original novel" do you have in mind? What ballet called "Raymonda" has that "another" ending? The libretto of "Raymonda," according to what I know, was an original work of Lydia Pashkova, a well traveled literary figure of the late Imperial Era, and wasn't an adaptation of any novel. Are you perhaps talking about the 1938 Soviet production? That production discarded the original libretto and replaced it by a new one. Whatever the source of the inspiration for the authors of that production, in the context of "Raymonda", the ballet, it cannot be considered "the original novel".
  15. I am sure she isn't. Taking acting classes can make you a competent actress, the old truth is, however, that a ballet artist can show on stage only what he or she really has inside. Conscious acting cannot get you everywhere, no matter how competent it may initially seem, it will feel insincere, artificial, "manufactured" (as a friend of mine aptly said). Additionally, acting the role of a Roman courtisan poses entirely different challenges from acting a tender, pure-of-heart medieval princess. Still, Jann Parry thought that her Aegina "Not for any money could she plausibly seduce a campful of mercenary gladiators." She never had those "Vaganova" hands, in the first place, so nothing could have happened to them. Everybody in the trade is aware that her hands, wrists and shoulders, are her greatest problem. Her pedagogue at the school tried to rectify it for several years, without success. Concerning the lower half, the form of her feet is another problem and it only will get worse in the future.
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