Say what we will about RBV, this girl is amazing:
She’s gotten to be good but you can see her upper body is NOT Vaganova. So if rbv thinks it’s ok to have her in the Marinsky then he has to do a 180 degree turnaround on his whole argument.
Methinks RBV has put his foot in his mouth so many times that perhaps he doesn’t recognize he’s chewing on old leather at this point.
You know, another problem for his argument is Svetlana Zakharova. She trained only briefly in the Vaganova Academy. Yet I have never heard a word from him about her. Could be that it’s because she only spent the very first part of her career in the Maryinsky before bolting to the Bolshoi, but still…
In rbv’s first incarnation under another name on yt, he was vehement about disliking Zakharova. If I remember correctly, for the reason that she was not purely Vaganova trained and also for her being unmusical or maybe it was for being cold technician.
I think the differences in Vaganova and Bolshoi has a lot to do with philosophy and stage at both theaters. Bolshoi dancers have to dance bigger because their stage is do big. So they dance with broadness or what Marinsky lovers would call coarseness. On the flip side, Marinsky dancers carry tradition of refined upper body that Bolshoi lovers think of as mannered. They say that the Perm school is actually a blend of both schools with perhaps Marinsky influence dominating. Then the Kiev school is Bolshoi dominated.
So you see even among Russophile ballet fans there are subdivisions and clear boundaries as to what is ‘best’ and what isn’t. I think it’s funny that the Perm school has today supplied Marinsky with two of the weakest dancers on their up and coming roster, Skorik and Shirinkina. It is interesting and as you brought it up earlier on another post, that if Vaganova is considered such a wonderful school then why does Marinsky see the need to import graduates from other schools.
Ah, didn’t know RBV had a previous incarnation on YouTube. Makes sense that perhaps he eventually goes too far even for YT and has to reincarnate himself.
I’ve watched a lot of videos of the Perm school and found something lacking in their students. Maybe it was just the kids I was watching.
It does make sense that RBV hated Zakharova. I had been wondering about that! I usually think of her as being much far more technician than actress. But the ballet world sees her as its current queen, and who am I to argue.
Oh yes, he had a longer stint than current one on yt, where he had uploaded many more classic Kirov than what he currently has uploaded so far. I miss those videos, as you can clearly see when the Kirov dancers actually danced as opposed to doing the steps like they do now.
The Perm school like the Vaganova academy now, used to be a very good school. In fact it produced two very special dancers in Nadezhda Pavlova who went to Bolshoi and Lyubov Kunakova who was a popular principal at Kirov. Kunakova now teaches graduating class at Vaganova and also I believe coaches at Marinsky. I do not know when the actual decline happened for these two schools, but I suspect it coincided with the emphasis on extensions and what they call plastique over all other aspects of technique. So they admit these girls with great facility for flexibility as if they are choosing gymnasts. Then these girls wind up not being able to do certain techniques due to their overly flexible bodies. That is one criticism that the current director of Vaganova takes to heart but she has not done anything about it and she’s been in that position for 10 years.
Zakharova is mostly Kiev trained I believe, and that is why her Bolshoi influences endear her to Bolshoi audiences. I for one never got why Zakharova is popular, well no I think we all know why. Extensions, legs, and feet. Although for me she leaves me cold. Her feet and legs are so beautiful but static at the same time, she does not use them to expressive means or even to articulate steps. Granted she only has average footwork and petit allegro but at least try to put them to greater use! Then there is that extension of hers. I have seen her dance and I can say that it is impressive but again the effort and effect left me cold. I once sat at the 1st row during her La Bayadere performance, and to see up close the effort it took her to hike those legs up is fascinating. I swear I heard her groan just a little bit reaching the apex height of her 6 o’clock developpe a la seconde. Also she cannot act to save her life. Every role is the same, no attempt at acting except for a few grimaces or smiles here and there. In overall movement she is smooth but not light nor soft. You can call her dancing good but on the bland side as she puts no emphasis on making the music come alive as far as phrasing goes. But since she’s got no glaring fault and because of her possessing amazing extensions and equally amazing body, she is the ballerina most admired today. What does that say about future of ballet?
Jennifer, you need to write for this blog. Absolutely amazing analysis.
Thanks for your kind words. Hope I didn’t come across as trying to take over the conversation on your wonderful blog. I too had begun to seriously get back into not just attending performances and watching videos but also critically looking at ballet as an art form going forward while also appreciating its rich history. But that doesn’t mean I’m all serious, I also like to be dishy and fun just not overly bitchy like what’s happening on certain yt videos right now. I think there are more fans like us, who enjoy talking about dance issues and dancers of today without that level of vitriol, plus it’s more fun this way.
Hey, I really enjoy having you here and thanks for your comments! I enjoy every one.
I’m curious, how is Zhiganshinas upper body not Vaganova?
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