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  1. Interesting to read all your takes on Bolshoi's La Bayadere. I truly enjoyed the sheer spectacle of it, all the color, costumes, and divertissements. The corps de ballet and most of the soloists were great. However, I felt the love story got kind of lost, partly because of the amount of time devoted to other things but mainly because the lovers did not seem all that interested in each other. Belyakov is a wonderful dancer -- those jumps! --- and a very elegant figure, but he seemed to be in a world of his own. He didn't look like he was in love. Smirnova is a cold dancer and so brittle looking I felt she might shatter into ice shards if she fell, which thankfully she didn't. She too is elegant (they were well matched in coolness and elegance) but sadly, the camera is not her friend -- she probably looks better in the theatre. I did appreciate her pacing and musical accents and the general high technical level but her lack of connection with anybody else on stage was disappointing. She does not usually dance with Belyakov so I suppose the two of them were focussed on getting through without mistakes and this probably made it difficult to enter fully into character. As for Gamzatti, I'm mystified why Bolshoi chose a corps de ballet member with questionable technique and over the top acting skills instead of one of the many magnificent Bolshoi Gamzattis like Allash, Shipulina, Vinogradova, and Kretova, to name a few. The production was good but could've easily been wonderful with a better cast.
  2. Thanks for the welcome, Janet. I've been lurking quite some time now and thought it time now to jump in.
  3. Yes, it is odd. Belyakov and Marchenkova have normally been cast with Stepanova, who also is the featured ballerina in the trailers. All three are relatively tall while replacement Smirnova is on a smaller scale. We'll see how it looks at the movies but I have my reservations. To your point, Bolshoi casting decision guidelines in general seem to be (1) director favorites (2) sponsor favorites (3) suitability for the role. Official Bolshoi theatre trailer wherein Smirnova narrates and (uncredited) Stepanova dances:
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