The Born-Again Balletomane's Blog

Just another site about the love of ballet

This is good. This is very good. November 18, 2016

Filed under: ballerina,Uncategorized — theworstat @ 6:38 am
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Bolshoi’s newest prima in La Bayadere

She even makes sense of the manic dance!  And it’ll just get better from here.  Just imagine.

Side note: Good to see that Evgenia Obraztsova is back from maternity leave.  Congrats to her on the twin girls.


This is the Bayadere I saw November 10, 2016

Long, long ago, with this cast, I think, during a Chicago ABT residence (they used to do 2 to 3 week residences in Chicago once a year).  Maybe Gamzatti was danced by another ballerina** (this one has Cynthia Harvey, who originated the role in this production):  But the rest of the cast was the same.

La Bayadere, ABT

I’ve always really liked Makarova’s production of this ballet, as it doesn’t end abruptly after the Kingdom of the Shades, and the music during the “manic” part of Nikiya’s death scene makes much more sense than the music in most productions.  It flows better.  And the fight scene between Nikiya and Gamzatti is actually A FIGHT, not two primas pirouetting and jete-ing past each other and then all of a sudden a knife appears.

Plus, there’s the amazing clarity of Dowell’s acting in this particular performance, making sense of Solar.  A lot of Solar’s don’t make sense.  For that matter, in many productions the role of Gamzatti leaves the performer far too much leeway as to whether Gamzatti is evil or not.  This production leaves no wiggle room; here, Gamzatti is a spoiled brat at best and a murderous bully at worst.  (If she’s a just a nice girl caught in a bad situation, and motivated only by infatuation, why do the gods kill her at the end?)

I noticed that Makarova did not make it all the way through this performance; in the Kingdom of the Shades through the end, Marianna Tcherkassky took over.  I seem to remember that this particular performance was a PBS broadcast (?) and there was some obnoxious socialite doing backstage interviews, and at one point she interviewed Makarova (hideously mispronouncing her name, something like “matalica maccarrroova”), gushing “are you hurt???”  As I remember, Makarova just sort of stared at her before making a very terse reply…

As a side note, many dancers did not survive Baryshnikov’s reign as AD, which began a few years after this broadcast.  First casualty was a two-decade corps dancer*** (about whom it is said Baryshnikov made nasty jokes after her departure); there followed many others such as Martine Van Hamel and Anthony Dowell.  Gelsey Kirkland can also be counted among the casualties, but this was mostly her own doing.  And then there was the tragedy of Patrick Bissell.

On the other hand, Cynthia Harvey’s career soared after Baryshikov became AD.

**Memory kicked in.  Yes, Gamzatti was danced by another dancer in the performance I saw.  I can’t remember her name right now.  (See comments for clarification.)

***I had previously misidentified this dancer; the dancer I named was actually a soloist at ABT and the girlfriend of Patrick Bissell.  She had the awful experience of finding him after he died.  I apologize for the name mix-up.


Lauren Cuthbertson November 2, 2016

A brief glimpse of a dancer who is heaven to watch:
Lauren as Juliet

And here’s Lauren in the Olympics:
The Sleeping Beauty