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Tiara

Mariinsky's Yuri Fateyev's Opinion on Vaganova Graduates in Dancing Times Interview

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I read the interview of Yuri Fateyev in The Dancing Times recently and was shocked by his answer to this question.  What do others think about it?   

 

Igor Stupnikov:  Many leading company dancers are not graduates of the Vaganova Academy. Does this indicate that the Academy does not produce enough dancers to fill vacancies? Or is it that not all graduates meet the high standards of the company?

 

Yuri Fateyev:  The Vaganova Academy is an excellent nursery for dancers and produces many professional artists every year. The majority of them are good for the corps de ballet, with some for the higher rank of coryphee. However, the Mariinsky needs more talented dancers with individual qualities who can perform leading roles in the classics. It is, I think, a problem for any company in the world. The thing is that nowadays parents prefer to send their children to all kinds of sports-gymnastics, skating, football. 

 

It is from Dancing Times (Dec. 2014 issue)

Edited by Tiara

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The question is, why would a man in Fateyev's position condemn Vaganova and its graduates so publicly, given the long and productive relationship between the school and the Mariinsky?  If indeed the school was not producing talented graduates (which many would dispute), shouldn't Fateyev give the new rector a chance to demonstrate improvement before Fateyev condemns current students? And how does a statement denigrating Vaganova graduates, who make up the majority of the great Mariinsky corps, help the Mariinsky company? Does he really want them all to quit and search for more opportunity elsewhere?

 

None of this makes any logical sense, so something else must be going on.  I'm no expert on Russian politics, but I would guess that Fateyev (who is only the acting artistic director) is under pressure by the political establishment and/or wealthy donors to demonstrate his loyalty to their (warped) opinions about ballet.  Perhaps there are centers of power in Perm (where Fateyev's favored dancers come from) or other provincial areas that must be appeased (for political reasons) by featuring their dancers in St. Petersburg.  Perhaps certain wealthy businessmen are only willing to underwrite dancers who fit a particular physical ideal that not all Vaganova graduates exhibit.  Fateyev's statement in Dancing Times may have been crafted solely for the purpose of demonstrating his political correctness to powerful people within Russia. 

 

It will be interesting to see whether/how the Vaganova rector reacts to this interview.  

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The good ones go elsewhere these days. As suggested above, rotten politics are causing severe problems. Opera gets many new productions but ballet is being neglected under the present management of Gergiev

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The good ones go elsewhere these days. As suggested above, rotten politics are causing severe problems. Opera gets many new productions but ballet is being neglected under the present management of Gergiev

I agree that the ballet company is neglected under Gergeiv, obviously because his interests lie with the orchestra and the opera company, yet often the prices of ballet tickets are more expensive than those of opera tickets in St Petersburg, and the Mariinsky is more internationally renowned for its ballet company than its opera company.   It seems he should be paying more attention to what his second-in-command, Yuri FAteyev, is saying: seems Fateyev is bent on destroying the reputation of the Vaganova graduates in his company on the worldwide platform.  

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I find it interesting that Fateyev refers to the difficulty that companies have recruiting dancers of suitable quality to dance major roles because of the competing interests of football, gymnastics and football. It's much easier and safer to say that, than to say well actually we have had a number of outstanding graduates from the Vaganova but they have all decided to go to the Bolshoi because they know that Mr Gergiev is only interested in the Mariinsky Ballet as a cash cow.

 

I seem to recall the rector in one of his more lucid moments, while he was bemoaning the fact that Russian artists no longer won artistic competitions as a matter of course,expressing concern that the Russian state no longer engaged in active dance talent spotting across the country which in the past had ensured that children with the greatest potential had become students at the greatest Russian ballet schools.He seemed to be calling for the re-establishment of this system to ensure that Russian ballet was restored to its rightful position of world dominance. In the meantime while he waits for the national talent scouting system to be reintroduced it will do him no harm if the populace at large come to believe that the Vaganova was not producing dancers of any quality under the old regime because it will bolster his position by justifying his appointment.  If, by some happy chance, one or two outstanding dancers should emerge from the Academy at the end of his first year in office that will, no doubt, be cited as proof of his abilities as teacher and leader and provide further evidence of the appropriateness of his appointment.It won't matter that the bulk of the work was done by those he replaced.

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Mr Gergiev is only interested in the Mariinsky Ballet as a cash cow.

I guess the same can be said about the Mikhailovsky and Mr Kekhman.

There is a number of new operas presented/scheduled at the Mikhailovsky this season, but not a single new ballet either staged or scheduled to be staged (except a one-act Class Concert presented in September, and this IMO is not enough) and under these circumstances Messerer strives to keep the Company's level on the rise. 

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Wow, what a future for her if taken up by the right AD. Quite uplifting for a Sunday morning.

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Here is an example of a Vaganova student who will be graduating in 2015, Anastasia Lukina performing in the Mariinsky/Vaganova Nutcracker.  Honestly, Mr. Fateyev, is she suited only for the corps?  

http://youtu.be/tFdC4yb8JrQ

 

What is the context of this beautiful performance? Are the other dancers also students?

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What is the context of this beautiful performance? Are the other dancers also students?

I believe they are all students of the Vaganova Ballet Academy, and that there are each year several Nutcracker performances on the Mariinsky stage, each featuring different Vaganova students.  Excerpts of various such performances were published on YouTube in December and January.  If you click on the YouTube icon in the lower right hand corner of this video (thus going to YouTube), you'll see a list of related videos, some of which will be Vaganova Nutcrackers.  

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Lovely dancing and she hasn't even graduated yet!!

 

Looking at some of the outstanding graduates of recent years from the Vaganova school I would have to disagree with him.

Whether or not they go on to dance with other companies they are still being produced by this school.

 

I do hear that some wonderfully talented dancers languish in the corps there for far too long not sure why this is ......one can only guess ....and probably happens in other ballet companies too.

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I believe they are all students of the Vaganova Ballet Academy, and that there are each year several Nutcracker performances on the Mariinsky stage, each featuring different Vaganova students...    

Thanks for this information and for the YouTube link. May I apologise to yourself and to the moderators, for neglecting to edit out the embedded link in your post when I quoted it. I presume that I wasted "bandwidth" by not doing so.

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On 17/01/2015 at 19:05, Balletomanewithoutacause said:

Here is an example of a Vaganova student who will be graduating in 2015, Anastasia Lukina performing in the Mariinsky/Vaganova Nutcracker.  Honestly, Mr. Fateyev, is she suited only for the corps?  

http://youtu.be/tFdC4yb8JrQ

She is currently a second soloist at Mariinsky.

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On 05/01/2015 at 20:27, Tiara said:

 It is, I think, a problem for any company in the world. The thing is that nowadays parents prefer to send their children to all kinds of sports-gymnastics, skating, football. 

 

 

 

This is simply a fact, I've heard it before from other teachers and ballet school directors. It's especially hard in Russia, because in the Soviet Union, a career in ballet used to be something important and it could make you rich, if you were good. They could chose among many, many talented kids in the ballet schools, who now prefer to seek other careers.

 

The director of the Vaganova Academy is Nikolai Tsiskaridze, and he is from the Bolshoi school tradition, which caused a huge scandal in the Russian ballet world, when Tsiskarzidze was appointed in 2013. Vaganova and Bolschoi are two different traditions, the Vaganova Academy used to have directors from their own tradition.

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On 06/01/2015 at 06:27, Tiara said:

Yuri Fateyev:  The Vaganova Academy is an excellent nursery for dancers and produces many professional artists every year. The majority of them are good for the corps de ballet, with some for the higher rank of coryphee. However, the Mariinsky needs more talented dancers with individual qualities who can perform leading roles in the classics. It is, I think, a problem for any company in the world. The thing is that nowadays parents prefer to send their children to all kinds of sports-gymnastics, skating, football. 

 

I don't think Fateyev was insulting the Vaganova Academy.  I think the translation or his English didn't capture his full meaning.

It is a compliment to the Academy if the majority of their graduates are good enough to be taken into the company.   

 

Also,  it is true that attracting more children into ballet leads to even more talented dancers being funneled through  to the professional level

Dance does have more competition these days from sports (and often these are better funded and more accessible).

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This thread is over four years old!

 

Im just wondering that if a thread is revived that hasn’t been discussed for a number of years that if revived it could be mentioned ...I don’t know whether you can change the title slightly of old threads ...say by adding the word ‘update’ 

 

It’s just that it is sometimes annoying if you read a thread thinking it’s a new one just started 🙄

 

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