The Born-Again Balletomane's Blog

Just another site about the love of ballet

A strange little video July 17, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 5:39 pm
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Actually this is just part 1 of 2, but…it just gets stranger.

Bolshoi 1967

The way the girl talks in the beginning, some people making remarks on YouTube thought she had been in the corps for 10 years.  It sure does sound that way.  But I think what is meant was that she and all the other “swans” in the dressing room at the time had all just graduated from the school together and gone into the Bolshoi together.  That in itself is odd: there look to be quite a few girls in the dressing room and later in the video it’s stated that each beginner class has only about 15 aspirants.  By the time graduation would roll around, at least half of them would have quit or been shown the door long before.  So there may be too many girls in the dressing room for that statement.  I also wonder if the Bolshoi has ever accepted entire classes of graduates into the company together.  Perhaps in the old days they did; I do recall long ago hearing something about the Russian schools putting their students on different career tracks: some were trained to become soloists, some were trained for the corps.  I have no idea if this is completely true, though.  I rather doubt it, although I do know that the tiny classes of graduating girls and boys in the Russian academies nowadays are definitely trained for soloist work, whether they ever actually become soloists (or even manage to get jobs) or not.

There are also way too many dancers in the “class” scenes if one considers the stringent entrance requirements and the inevitable attrition.

But it gets even stranger:  the principals dance for the corps’ amusement in full costume with a full orchestra in a rehearsal hall?  Uh-huh.  Sure.

All in all, it’s very, very weird.  But if you are interested in a rose-colored slice of ballet history, from a time when the goings-on in the old U.S.S.R. were a mystery to us in the west, watch this.  There may be a few grains of truth in the film, but I’ll bet 9/10’s of it is fantasy.  It’s interesting anyway.

And the thought occurs that it may contain more accurate information than does Breaking Pointe.


4 Responses to “A strange little video”

  1. Marie Says:

    I don’t know how it used to be in Russia but I know that here in the Czech Republic, some ballerinas (Daria Klimentová for example) were put in a special “prima ballerina” course. And you know, our ties with Russia were rather strong back then. So it might be true…

  2. theworstat Says:

    Yeah, the more I think about it, the more likely it sounds that some students were singled out as possible future soloists and others showing less potential were trained for the corps. After all, being a corps dancer was a good, steady job in those days. Don’t know if it still is.

    • Marie Says:

      I don’t know for sure either but I heard rumours that the salaries of the corps dancers so very small that some of them can afford only to live in a kind of dorms. 😦

      • theworstat Says:

        I didn’t know that was going on, but considering that the companies in Russia now don’t have much or any financial support from the government, unfortunately that’s probably the case.

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