The Born-Again Balletomane's Blog

Just another site about the love of ballet

Dancing in a closet November 2, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 7:09 pm

I do know that at some time in the past year, the Mariinsky hired a gaggle of dancers from sources other than the Vaganova school.  That’s okay, since the Vaganova was never the Mariinsky’s “official” school anyway.  But given the sheer number of hires (someone told me it was around 40, but I can find no proof of that number — seems more like 5 or 6), and the excuse given (there’s no way one school could provide all the dancers needed for the Mariinsky to fill two stages), and the fact that a lot of dancers were added at levels above the corps…well, I’m wondering if this had anything to do with the sudden defections of at least 3 coryphees — one of whom was finally on a clear path to promotion in the past season (good ol’ Yulia Stepanova).

As far as I know, RBV has been silent.  It could be that he’s waiting, as his latest account has been shuttered by YouTube for copyright violations (edit: nope, it’s still there and active).  But I’m sure he’s also heartbroken, as one of the coryphees who fled was none other than his true love Yulia.

Anyway, all that aside…off to Moscow we go.  Joy Womack has been posting little videos and pictures of herself as Odette/Odile, making her debut in what appears to be a closet.  I swear I’ve seen bigger stages in elementary school assembly halls.  As usual, she doesn’t give much info about who/what/where/when/why.  Also, once again the video was shot from offstage, leaving the viewer with little to go on as to the quality of the performance.

What I did notice, not just on Joy but on other dancers, was very, very messy pointe shoes.  Some companies forbid dirty pointe shoes, but apparently others say nothing.  I do remember that Maria Tallchief’s pointe shoes were almost always scuffed and stained.  But I hadn’t seen pointe shoes looking this shabby since her day, honestly.  It left me wondering if this was actually a dress rehearsal or something.

Another tidbit that may be interesting (or not) is that Joy apparently no longer is wearing the brand of pointe shoe that she had done so much modelling for in the past year, but is wearing Gaynor-Mindens instead.  This may be an attempt to be chic, as many of the ballerinas in the major Russian companies are now wearing GM’s.  But it also indicates that for now, at least, her shoe modelling days are over.

Anyway, I’m off to work so no time to pull thoughts together, but I will attempt to do so later.


So anyway, I was wondering, along with the rest of ballet fandom, about Yulia Stepanova’s future when I happened across a fan discussion on another site.  In this discussion they were musing about the flight of three coryphees from the Mariinsky right at the start of the season, going along rather peacefully when someone piped in: “Well, American Ballet Theater is going to be short three ballerinas next spring.”

So what do you think of that?  Three Mariinsky coryphees (one of them is a guy, anyway, I think), jumping across the Atlantic to become ABT principals!  Not in this lifetime.  Not that they will not join ABT, but it won’t be as principals.  Any new principals will be well-known international superstars appearing as guest principals (much as my beloved Evgenia Obraztsova is now permanent guest principal with the Royal Ballet), or promotions from within the ranks.  It’s more likely that the new dancers would be hired as soloists, as ABT does not have a coryphee level.  Whether they let dancers languish in the corps after dancing the lead in Swan Lake, I do not know.  I only know that back in the day, that would not have happened.

A quick look at the roster of the Mikhailovsky showed it to be almost desperately short of female soloists and principals, so it’s a possibility one of the girls could show up there — most likely Stepanova.  In the near run, I do know that Stepanova is supposed to be appearing in a gala with the Kremlin Ballet in January.

Kampa, another Mariinsky defector, seems to have plans to stay in the U.S. and promote her upcoming film.  In truth I sort of thought this would happen, as an interview with her last spring mentioned her seeming rather “wistful” at the idea of having to go back to Russia in August to begin the new Mariinsky season.

I can see Kampa with ABT or else with the San Francisco Ballet.  Or maybe she’ll go back to the Boston Ballet, who knows. I only hope she’s not retiring.

Anyway, it’s late and I guess I’ve gone on too long, but it sure is fun wondering out loud.


2 Responses to “Dancing in a closet”

  1. Cleo Blai Says:

    It may be that Stepanova’s situation is complicated by the fact that she and her husband Kamil Yazugirov (probably misspelled, sorry) left Mariinsky together. The story goes that he was forbidden to accompany her to Berlin for the Taglioni award ceremony, went anyway, and was fired. She then resigned. They will be dancing Firebird together with the Kremlin Ballet according to her Facebook page. He is not quite at her level as a dancer but it seems likely they will want to work in the same company.

    • theworstat Says:

      Thank you for this information. I can’t believe some of the things the Mariinsky does to its employees…

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