The Born-Again Balletomane's Blog

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Got a problem with this May 9, 2017

Filed under: ballerina,ballet,Russian ballet — theworstat @ 5:50 am
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Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev in Act II Giselle

I admit I’m not much of a fan of Natalia Osipova.  I hear she’s simmered down lately, but a few years back she was nothing but a bald-faced athlete.  Maybe that’s why I dislike this video so much (I hasten to point out that it’s 5 years old, and that’s an eon in the life of a ballerina).

Of course, true Romantic-style ballet has long since vanished.  If we saw ballet dancers dancing that way these days, we’d assume they were rank beginners.  But even by today’s relaxed Romantic standards Osipova’s arms are all wrong, held way too high, strong, and straight, (although she has some lovely flowing, boneless instants, you can blink and miss them).

She’s mostly all muscle and sinew in this video.  She’s inhabiting her body too much; she looks too “alive” even though, as I said, she has ethereal moments where she appears to be floating.  For instance she’s not looking over the shoulder of her Albrecht (a very okay Ivan Vassiliev, although I keep wishing for Anthony Dowell no matter whose Albrecht I’m watching).  She’s looking right at him and playing to him.  No.  No.  No.  Giselle is dead.  She honestly doesn’t inhabit the physical world anymore; she has no grand passion and her only aim is to keep Albrecht alive through the night of the Wili’s (probably so he can feel miserable about her until he dies decades later).  This is a dance about being forgiven from beyond the grave, not a display of how well one can bouree’ and appear to be floating with the occasional lovely arm flourish for good measure.

As I said, this video is from five long years ago and probably much has changed with Osipova.  She’s been through a lot of companies and danced on a lot of stages since then; she’s more mature now.  But still, I think this video is a mess.


3 Responses to “Got a problem with this”

  1. lamppu1991 Says:

    Fair points. Her athleticism and high jumps are her trademarks and Bolshoi did activitely promoted them. And she is very much aware of her limits and faults.

    I remember reading somewhere that she tends to sacrifice lyricism for speed and higher jumps and I agree. But I think she has matured a lot since and I think Royal Ballet has helped in taming her athleticism. She remains as one of my favourites because she has that something special that makes me want to watch her and I hope she continues to develop and mature as a dancer. And of course her Kitri is always fun to watch.

    Also I browsed through comments section from the joy womack post and I couldn’t help noticing Osipova mention. Could you clarify what do you mean by this;

    – ”As of right now I’m thinking she must be like Natalia Osipova was 5 years ago, but without the extreme athleticism (she obviously wasn’t born that way, as Osipova obviously was). And without that natural athleticism, she’s sort of just “there:” better than many because of extreme effort, but lacking the potential to do much more no matter how hard she works.” –

    It almost seems like you are insinuating that she was a talentless/ungrateful brat.

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