Jump to content

Xander Parish and Friends — California 12th November 2022


Recommended Posts

Quickly, for those who are still looking in tonight. The evening was absolutely lovely !  It was heart touching, beautifully performed and deservedly, very well received. It’s quite possible that it will become an ongoing thing.

 

I’ll try to write more later.

 

Added: If anyone has a particular question, I'll do my best to answer it.

 

Added, added. I chatted briefly with Xander and his wife. She’s a lovely person. Could it have been otherwise ?

 

Edited by Buddy
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The evening had a very nice feel to it. I thought that it was very personal. Each performer had a story to tell in his or her presence alone and it was a sympathetic one.

 

The evening, which lasted over three hours with one intermission, was pure performing except for about five minutes at the beginning when a large image was projected on the stage of each artist, who would offer a few comments about what they had experience and how they felt. The comments, as I perceived them, were reflective, understanding and hopeful.

 

The works presented seemed sensitive to what is going on in the part of the world that they just left. There wasn’t any uproarious  comedy, for instance, and there wasn’t acrimony either.

 

I also felt that each artist was trying his or her best. Some, according to Xander’s interview hadn’t danced since they left Russia, and you could almost feel how grateful they were to have the chance to be artists and poets again.

 

There was a fine unity to their exceptional artistry. They had all thoroughly trained in the artistic culture that they had just left (except for Christine Shevchenko, I believe) and it was so evident in just the way that they moved or how they carried themselves. Xander, himself, in his video segment, expressed his still warm feelings for the rich artistic heritage that he had just left and for all that is still good there, even though his remarkable career, and those of the others, could no longer be continued because of the actions of some there. His overall sentiment, I believe is one of hope and looking towards the future. It seems to be shared by the others who now may well have a new artistic home and voice if the company is able to continue and grow, and this seems quite possible.

 

I’ll try to get to the actual performances next.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Voilà, Sim.  😊

 

The works performed were:

 

The Ballet Class

choreographed by Xander Parish

seven female and five male dancers

 

The Nineth Wave

danced by Jacopo Tissi

 

White Swan Adagio, Swan Lake

danced by Chistine Shevchenco and Xander Parish

 

BA//CH Solo

choreographed and danced by Ilya Jivoy

 

Pas de Deux, Don Quixote

danced by Lizi Avsajanishvili and David Motta Soares

 

Intermission

 

After The Rain

danced by Andrea Lassakova and Adrian Blake Mitchell

 

Ballet 101

danced by Xander Parish

 

Pas de Deux, The Nutcracker

danced by Laura Fernandez and Boris Zhurilov

 

The Dying Swan

danced by Svetlana Bednenko

 

Pas de Deux, The Flames of Paris

danced by Joy Womack and Vsevolod Maevsky

 

Selections from Paquita

danced by Lizi Avsajanishvili, Jasmine Sophie Henry, Katia Raj, Veronika Selivanova and David Motta Soares

 

Pas de Deux, Le Corsaire

danced by Chistine Shevchenco and Jacopo Tissi

 

The ones that I really enjoyed are no surprise. The White Swan Adagio, The Dying Swan and After The Rain. I liked Xander’s The Ballet Class.

 

And, as I sometimes say, there will always be a very pleasant surprise. This time it was Selections from Paquita because of the uniformly elegant performances of the four females, three of which I’d never heard of before. I’ll try to get into some detail at another time.   

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me start once again by saying how much the evening touched my heart, from its soulful beauty and commitment to its outstanding artistry.

 

I probably have four favorite ballet works at the moment and three of them were performed beautifully here, The White Swan Adagio (Ivanov), The Swan (or Dying Swan) (Fokine) and After The Rain (Wheeldon). The forth would be the Act II Divertissement Duet from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Balanchine).

 

From the number that I’ve seen, it appears almost impossible to perform a bad White Swan Adagio or Swan, yet I would guess that it takes a great deal of ability and I’ve been fortunate enough to see many very good ones. Normally I concentrate 100% on the White Swan ballerina in this duet, sometimes to the exclusion of anything that comes after for as long as possible. Tonight Chistine Shevchenco was outstanding. I’d seen her this summer in the entire work with ABT, but I think that I liked her even more this time. First of all, she seemed so committed. When she’s like that, she’s one of the best ballet ‘actresses’ that I’ve ever seen. This time she was indeed enchanting.

 

Each exceptional White Swan that I’ve ever seen has brought something completely her own. Sometimes I have words to describe it. With Chistine Shevchenco I can only say that she had a certain strength of character and commitment that was captivating. I did sneak a couple looks at Xander. His facial expression was very supportive, in total harmony with what his partner was attempting, and his physical partnering seemed just fine as well. Together they may have been the Stars of the evening.

 

Svetlana Bednenko (formerly Mikhailovsky) was also very good in The Swan (or Dying Swan). In fact she was lovely and she was embraceable. I think that that description can  also extend to many of the other artists. Like some of the dancers, she also seemed to need to prove that she belonged to be there, because of the exceptional talent and recognition of some of the others. I think that she did that. In fact, I think that they all did.      

 

I feel the same about this work as I do about the White Swan Adagio. It must take a superior talent to perform, yet I, fortunately, don’t think that I’ve ever seen a bad one. I’ll now include Svetlana Bednenko in these successes. With both these roles, perhaps all, you have to commit yourself as completely as possible just for starters. Then you have to be exceptional — talented, beautiful, remarkable and captivating. Is that a lot to demand ?  Both these ballerinas did that.   

 

Andrea Laššáková and Adrian Blake Mitchell performed Christopher Wheeldon’s After The Rain. I usually feel that artists that come from the same culture relate more naturally. This would apply to Adrian Blake Mitchell from the United States and Christopher Wheeldon from England, who has also worked extensively in the US. I felt this once again in the comfortableness and understanding that Adrian Blake Mitchell had in his performance. He was artistically fine as well. Yet, Andrea Laššáková (Slovak Republic, formerly with the Mikhailovsky) handled it beautifully and convincingly. I do feel that dancers from the cultural background of the dancers that I saw yesterday can perform Western ‘lyrically beautiful works’ wonderfully. They don’t always have the same cultural understanding, but they can take it to a more purely artistic level and excel. I think that Andrea Laššáková did this.    

 

More from Xander Parish and others hopefully to be mentioned.

  • Like 8
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

You're very welcome, Jan, and thanks everyone for your kind words and interest. It’s always good to share something touching and beautiful. I’m sorry that I didn’t get a chance to mention to Xander how much interest, and I would guess well wishes, there are at the forum for him and for what he’s doing. I’m sure that he’d be very touched. I’ll look forward to seeing him and the company again before too long and I’ll try to convey this. I did mention that I post what he’s doing so he does know that we’re out there.

 

Before I mention Xander’s work and perhaps a few more things, I would like to say that the Segerstrom Cultural Center really went the distance. The entire entry area was beautifully decorated with elaborate arrangements of flowers and candles. The extremely handsome performance program book, which I was sure you would have to pay for and would gladly have done, was handed out for free. A large screen was installed outside for a free telecast. The plaza isn’t that large so I don’t think that a large crowd could have gathered, but there was a respectable number there when I went in. But as I’ve mentioned the event was an almost immediate sellout. The entire complex is modern-gorgeous as is the inside of the Concert Hall where a special stage was installed. There was no orchestra but the sound was excellent. For each performance a scene from the work was projected full size in the background. These were simple but very beautiful and impressively well constructed as was the video presentation at the beginning. They looked like real stage backgrounds except for very subtle and nicely done bits of animation, such as the silhouettes of birds flying by in the distance.

 

I’m not sure what the exact connotation of this word is for many of you, but I would have to say that the entire event really had — “Class” — in the sense of high quality and sincere intent.

 

I’ll try to get to Xander’s work and a few things more next.

 

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're welcome, Sabine, and thanks very much for the kind words.

 

As mentioned, Xander choreographed a work, The Ballet Class, for the event. It was impressively long, maybe twenty minutes, and I thought quite fine. He did not appear in it but most of the other dancers did and it was a good way of introducing everyone. He did dance a similarly themed Ballet 101 by Eric Gauthier which was nicely entertaining.

 

His The Ballet Class was created because the pianist, Behzod Abduraimov, was included in the program and wanted to play Tchaikovsky’s Children’s Album. Xander decided that he would create something centered around a ballet class. The choreography is a combination of actual class exercises and original dance sequences. The entire work has a very nice overall flow and gracefulness. I did enjoy it and think that Xander can do very well at this.

 

Without getting too deep into it, Xander, himself, artistically brings a very impressive combination of Russian classical fineness, acquired over the last twelve years, with a fine sense of British theater and Western sensibility. He was the one at the Mariinsky, along with the remarkable Yekaterina Kondaurova, who was comfortable outside the box and who was often relied on to hold loose ends and mixed programming together. In addition, he is a very graceful dancer and a very sympathetic and supportive partner. I would guess that he is still a much felt for, appreciated and now missed member of the company. I would also guess that he keeps in contact as much as possible with members of the company. I don’t follow the internet social media a great deal, but I have seen a fair amount of intra-group support and love throughout the world ballet community that does manage to cross the various boundaries of the moment.

 

As he has stated, he wants to look as hopefully as possible to the future and it would appear that he has the impressive ability, warmth and desire to succeed.

 

I would like to mention a few more highlights of the event.

 

Edited by Buddy
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I mentioned a sense of community in my previous post and I think that this was very evident at the event. First of all was Xander Parish’s concern for the wellbeing of the others who had been displaced. Another, perhaps, is the support of the Segerstrom cultural group. Also, the appearance of those who had already managed to secure themselves new and comfortable positions, such as Jacopo Tissi, should be appreciated. And I would have to include ABT’s Chistine Shevchenco.

 

Both Jacopo Tissi and David Motta Soares performed very well, as expected, and added fine substance to the program. But I have to add, that all the artists did impressively well. There was a uniform sense of fineness and professionalism throughout the entire program.

 

I particularly enjoyed Ilya Jivoy’s (Russia, formerly with the Mariinsky) appearance in the brief work that he created. It had a folk dance excitement and agility that was very clever and entertaining. I’d never seen him dance at the Mariinsky, although I have seen some of his works, and I was quite impressed. He had been working outside Russia for awhile, but finally left completely because of his personal feelings and the fact that his wife is from Ukraine. I do think that his time spent outside Russia has added to the scope and quality of his choreography.

 

There were so many fine performances, but I’ll just note several more.

 

I mentioned that a surprise highlight for me was the four women in the Selections from Paquita. They were not the already well known artists but they were uniformly excellent. Still one artist stands out in my mind and she might have been one of them. I just remember her being notably lovely. I and the man sitting next to me found ourselves instinctively applauding throughout her performance.

 

I recall the airy fineness of one of the male dancers and it might have been Vsevolod Maevsky in The Flames of Paris. Joy Womack also appeared in this with fine artistry and vitality. In addition, she did a very solid set of fouetté turns with a very impressive number of doubles.

 

The closing Pas de Deux from Le Corsaire danced by Chistine Shevchenco and Jacopo Tissi was also a major highlight. They are acknowledged stars and their exceptional ability was apparent.

 

All in all it was what I had hoped for. I will try to keep the beauty and good feeling of the evening with me as long as I can and greatly look forward to the next time when it all might happen again.

 

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just found this part of the introduction to the evening’s program by Elizabeth Segerstrom, who with her late husband, Henry T. Segerstrom, created the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. I think that it’s well worth including.

 

“Reunited in Dance — a collection of dancers united in their experience of having been displaced by the war, but united too in their shared heritage in perhaps the world’s preeminent dance culture — brings to Orange County more than their passion, their art and their dedication. They bring us a reminder that the arts can unite, heal and be a positive force in troubling times. This is the principle upon which Segerstrom Center for the Arts was founded.”

 

Also from the program book.

 

“Dance can represent the touch of history: how we react when history shifts violently, and how we respond — whether with further violence or with empathy and imagination.”

 

 

Edited by Buddy
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for such detailed reports. I admit it made me shed a tear though, for all the talented dancers stranded in foreign land...it's just so sad.  I thoroughly understand how happy they must have been to reunite, and finally to PERFORM again. Lots of admiration for Xander and the Segerstrom Center!!!! I wish we had such support from an arts center for ballet in Germany.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Sabine.

 

I’ve read most of the beautifully and thoughtfully presented program book and it would appear, although I didn’t see it definitely stated, that the Segerstrom Center for the Arts does intend to be the home for a significant new classical dance company. For one thing, the general discussion chapter essentially outlines the history of European and Russian related classical dance with notable references to Sergei Diaghilev and with mention of the Segerstrom Center throughout the program, including the dancers comments, their profiles taking up about half of the program.

 

What for me was most evident during the evening performance was a heartfelt artistry of the highest quality.   

 

I think that what the Segerstrom Center wants all this to represent and stand for is expressed in the two quotes that I previously posted.

 

“Reunited in Dance — a collection of dancers united in their experience of having been displaced by the war, but united too in their shared heritage in perhaps the world’s preeminent dance culture — brings to Orange County more than their passion, their art and their dedication. They bring us a reminder that the arts can unite, heal and be a positive force in troubling times. This is the principle upon which Segerstrom Center for the Arts was founded.”  --  (Elizabeth Segerstrom)

 

“Dance can represent the touch of history: how we react when history shifts violently, and how we respond — whether with further violence or with empathy and imagination.”  --  (Ian Kelly)

 

Another thing that I noticed during the evening was that there wasn’t necessarily a dominant Star performer. It was a company of uniformly fine artists. Indeed, Xander Parish is a remarkable artist and is central to all this and some of the others are very noteworthy, but it still seemed like an evening that belonged to everyone.

 

If I really wanted to imagine one possibility for the future, not based on any current facts, I could see a company of essentially equally outstanding artists, with Xander Parish being the guiding person and highly acknowledged artist. I could  see a company that could be a balance of purely classical and variations of this. I could see someone like Olga Smirnova interacting and contributing. And further off in the future, someone like the Mariinsky’s Kimin Kim, who in addition to his remarkable dance prowess is also developing an impressively artistic stage presence.

 

I think that there’s a great deal of hope and promise here.

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This could go in so many directions. It could take on Diaghilev proportions and dimensions.

 

Still, I’m so glad to have seen it at its beginning, when it was just 18 from the world’s most beautiful dancers once again able to do what they love doing — creating beauty.

 

It’s a world of wonderful enchantment. It was a performance that touched me deeply with artistry and emotion. One that several days later I still want to keep on living.

 

Whatever direction it all goes I wish it much success.

 

 

Edited by Buddy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that it might be enlightening to post this. It’s from Xander Parish as printed in the program.

 

“I knew I couldn’t stay, knowing what was happening and not do anything — or that, even worse, my staying might be taken as my complicity or support, as I’d always been ’the British dancer at the Mariinsky.’  So I’d become if I stayed, this propaganda poster boy, and I just couldn’t.”

 

My deepest feeling also have to go out to Xander Parish’s wife), Anastasia Demidova, (Russia, formerly with the Mariinsky) (and similar partners) who agreed to this and to leaving her homeland.

 

I’m sure that the others have similar feelings to relate. I hope that maybe they are now finding some stability in their lives and that the future is as kind to them as is possible.

 

Edited by Buddy
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, FionaE said:

Sad sad situation 

 

thank you for all your info and insights @Buddy

 

You’re welcome, Fiona, and yes it is. Yet, there is the possibility that if this takes on a Diaghilev dimension that it could become the artistic adventure of their lives. This surely isn’t how you would want it to have happened, but there could be something artistically exciting resulting. Apparently an ongoing program is in place. Let’s see what happens. At least, it appears that these artists do have some sort of roof over their heads. It could be a very impressive one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess that I have to keep tempering what I write, Fiona. As exciting as a new era of Diaghilev might be, what to me was so wonderful about the evening was the heartfelt quality. It was a quiet, soulful sort of beauty. That’s what stays in my memory and what I most feel. Xander Parish and Ilya Jivoy both showed this as well in the two works that they choreographed. The thing that most attracted me about the Mariinsky Ballet Festivals over the years, has not been innovation, but again an exceptional heartfelt quality.

 

The program states that the Segerstrom Center for The Arts wants to establish “a safe haven” for these artists. It also states that it holds this art form and these artists in the highest esteem. So what’s the best format to do this ?  The Center seems to be sincerely and enthusiastically committed. Let’s see what happens.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, Jeannette said:

Thanks, Buddy.

How was Lizi Avsajanishvili in this gala? Did she dance the Don Q pdd?

 

 

Hi, Jeannette.

 

Lizi Avsajanishvili did very well. She did indeed dance in the  Don Q pdd with David Motta Soares and was lovely. More interesting is that she was one of the four women in The Selections from Paquita that I keep mentioning. It was a performance that sort of came from out of nowhere with the lesser known women, and, for me, was one of the most solid and convincing of the evening.

 

How she and the other younger members develop might have a lot to do with Xander Parish. If he is indeed the guiding force, then there could be some very fine results. He’s easy going and very likeable. For a few seconds in the video clip that I posted four days ago you can see that while he’s coaching. And he has a great deal of capability. To give you an example, this is something that I wrote in my posts about the 2019 Mariinsky Ballet Festival:

 

“He had five major appearances in the last five days of the Festival !  He did most of the dancing in the last section of the Young Choreographers evening, Ilya Shivoi’s I’m Not Scared — 50 minutes long !  He was the male lead in The Sleeping Beauty. He partnered Maria Koreva very well in what I consider the best performance of the Festival, the duet from Diamonds. He seemed to be everywhere. Bravo, Xander ! 😊

 

I think that he has the ability to bring out the best in young artists such as Lizi Avsajanishvili. He has twelve years of some of the finest classical training in the world. He also has a very good sense of style and appropriateness and a fine sense of theater and expression. His very sympathetic and supportive partnering of Christine Shevchenko in the White Swan Adagio from Swan Lake was as good as I’ve seen him do, perhaps as good as I’ve seen anyone do. Away from others' influences he might develop his own highly impressive artistic manner. This in combination with excellent classicism hopefully will be very helpful to the other dancers and the success of the company.

 

 

 

Edited by Buddy
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well done to Xander on what sounds like a very successful event! I hope he can do one with some/all of the dancers  in London- he would receive a lot of support. If he could do a smaller scale in Yorkshire near his and his sister’s old ballet school, that would be so inspiring for the community and for the dance students in the school. Am also glad his wife Anastasia danced in this event. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...