I apologize to anyone who has commented on this blog in recent months (or years) and never saw the comment published. The past 3 years have been hell for me; this came to a head in April of 2014 when my mother passed away after a long illness.
I am not particularly well either…was about to go back to ballet school (Joffrey’s open adult division), when I developed Morton’s neuroma in my right foot. That got better…at least better enough where I can releve…but now I have a tumor on the bottom of my left foot….blah, blah, blah. In spite of doctor’s orders to return to ballet class, (it’s good for osteoporosis!) it never seems to happen.
I noted in the new comments that a few people made remarks about Joy Womack. Let me give you my current thoughts about the girl. As far as I know, she’s currently a regular guest soloist with the Kremlin Ballet, not a principal as she has sometimes hinted on her FB account. All the videos of her performances — the ones that I’ve seen, anyway — are blurry and shot from backstage. Not a very good way to judge what’s going on. Oh, I take that back…there was an okay video of her dancing Marie in The Nutcracker. *sigh*
Okay, here’s my opinion: If she were dancing in the U.S., she’d be a big deal in a tiny company in, say, Tennessee. Once she gets going, she completes the steps competently, but she lacks any real charisma that comes with immersion in a role. In the video of The Nutcracker, I noted she did not quite complete the rotation on any of her pirouettes, but worse than that, she did not portray the childlike girl-to-woman charm of the almost-grown-up Marie (think Gelsey Kirkland). Instead, it seemed more like, “look at me! I’m Joy Womack dancing onstage in Russia!”
I felt like saying, “bluffing your way into leading roles does not a ballerina make.” I understand that she has built a sort of cult around herself and claims that young girls in the U.S. look up to her. But the fact is, at this point, she is just an average sort of corps dancer — very average for her age — and from what I can tell, the videos of her (however blurry), confirm this.
Only time will tell where this will lead her, but I predict she will slowly fade to nothing, going from guest principal job to guest principal job at little companies in Russia, until she finally disappears. Or if she comes back to the U.S., she will attempt a blaze of glory in New York before accepting reality and ending up in Iowa or something.
As for our other well-known American in Russia (right now), Keenan Kampa, I have to first reiterate that I will accept no abuse from her “sisters” or fans. And now I will comment:
I haven’t seen much of her dancing with the Maryinsky, but some of what I’ve seen was awful (in her first months there), and some was very okay (her later Kitri). She is where she needs to be — coryphee. Some kids who were promoted at the same time as she have darted on to their first Swan Lake leads (Yulia Stepanova comes to mind). Kampa is still a long way from this. Also, she took months off for an injury. She had to, but that won’t help her.
Still, if we’re looking to have an American succeed in Russian ballet, I think she’s the one to bet on. EDIT: just went to the Maryinsky Ballet site and neither Stepanova nor Kampa is listed. We shall see what happened. Meantime, Womack is now listed as a full member of the Kremlin Ballet, but NOT a principal. She is, instead, a leading soloist.