Finally back from a lengthy hiatus; apologies to anyone who missed this blog (I know it wasn’t a certain dancer’s “sister,” lol).
Actually I went through a period of boredom. This happens nearly every summer. I spend the summer outdoors and cannot conceive of spending it inside taking class (if I were doing that), or even watching a ballet.
So what shook me out of my boredom? This bombshell:
Obviously there’s a lot that happened here that is unknown to anyone save the participants, but I share the author’s apparent dismay at the hiring of Mr. Short-Fuse-On-a-Stick-of-Dynamite, Nicolai Tsiskaridze.
I would like to know what befell Altynai Asylmuratova. I was not aware that she was doing anything so terribly wrong that she had to be dismissed and replaced by a ballerina who is still dancing (Lopatkina), and obviously doesn’t have time to do the job properly.
Yes, Vaganova was falling under criticism for weak pointe work, beautiful but flimsy technique, and turning out basketball-height female dancers who weigh as much as starving 12-year-olds; however, this is what their principal customer, the Maryinsky, seems to want. The stated charge that Vaganova is turning out dancers who lack star quality is ridiculous on a number of levels, and doesn’t deserve to be addressed. As for the technique problems, these seem to be epidemic around the world. It seems that most schools are turning out unprepared students these days (possible exception is the POB’s school). It could be that the variety of techniques demanded by major companies has become too varied to master while a youngster is trying to gain a grasp of the deep impossibilities of classical ballet, but that’s just a thought.
The only thing I can work out that makes sense (in the case of Tsiskaridze) is Vaganova’s recent neglect of male students. The past several years have seen a succession of graduations of skinny, pallid boys who have proven to be very weak partners and unremarkable soloists. The Maryinsky has increasingly looked abroad for male dancers, although this is also true at the Bolshoi.
The only other move I question is the addition of a year to the curriculum. There is much about dancing that cannot be learned in a ballet school, after all, and the sooner kids start learning in the real world, the better their careers will be.
But this is the point: what good has Tsiskaridze done anywhere he’s been, for anyone but himself? It could be that something was arranged to get him far away from Moscow, and keep him there. But this?
Only time will tell us what has actually happened here. But it sure is weird.