The Born-Again Balletomane's Blog

Just another site about the love of ballet

Some thoughts on the Moscow Competition June 20, 2017

Let’s get this out of the way: Joy Womack came in 4th or 5th in the Senior division; she’s now something called a “diploma holder.”  I thought her pas de deux from Don Q. was just fine; I was not surprised that her partner (Mikhail Martynyk) got a special award even though he was not competing.  It looked like he was cutting up just before they went on stage, and he was a total delight.

Joy is technically very, very competent, very light, fleet-footed, and sure.  Other dancers sit on their pointes; she gives a reason for being up there: she doesn’t defy gravity, she just doesn’t need it.  Her sharp features were a perfect complement for the role of Kitri (I believe the way she looks at present, Giselle or some other “soft” role might be a real challenge to accept; it would take real artistry for her to work past that).  It was her characterization that seemed to be her downfall; she needs to take it beyond fan-fluttering.  She also needs to remember that Kitri is in love with Basilo and would not be searching for a camera to smile at.  Other than that, Joy’s a big-league first soloist-level performer, no doubt.  She’s almost there.

In contrast (see below for explanation), Evelina Godunova, the Senior soloist gold medalist, was born that way: she’s very alive on stage, very different; huge personality, which jumped out at the viewer after sitting through so many painfully correct academic performances.  She is a born prima ballerina who expands the vocabulary of the art just by dancing; everything becomes hers.  I hope she won’t spend the rest of her career in South Korea.  Nothing against South Korea, of course, but she needs to be on a big, grand old ballet stage somewhere, one that gets regularly broadcast across the world.

Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Beyer won the Junior division.  She’s one of what seems to be an upcoming generation of Americans that is stocked so full of potential superstars that it’s going to be very, very hard for any young dancer who was not simply born that way to get anywhere.  We may be in for an age where girls who may have become prima ballerinas in other eras — the ones like Womack who have most of the goods but need to be polished and polished and then polished again before they can be true primas– end up spending their careers in the corps or as soloists.  This is truly amazing to me, someone who studied ballet in a day when it seemed genuinely gifted, “born that way” prima-material dancers were so extremely rare as to seem almost nonexistent.

Elizabeth is charming and bubbly onstage, not unlike Giselle Berthea, and has a killer technique.  No she’s not perfect yet (either she was badly off the music in her Esmeralda variation during the gala, or there was a difference between what she was hearing onstage and what the audience was hearing, or maybe there was a lag in the broadcast feed).  But she’s fifteen.

And as for the choreographers….well, some of them won awards.  I don’t know why.  There seems to be a great big thing with dressing dancers in ugly workout clothes (or else cocktail dresses with black anklets), and sending them on stage to be tangled up with each other for an excruciating number of minutes.  The music is often just there for noise and not at all appropriate for the action on stage, and the action on stage doesn’t use the stage.  It’s just an exploration of how many times and ways a body can be lifted in the least amount of time possible.  They could accomplish it in a small closet, except for the connecting steps which seem to consist of rolling on the floor.

Did I mention that I detest 95% of all modern choreography?

Some nice offstage surprises included the elegant Evgenia Obraztsova doing commentary and interviews.  She and her co-host swung wildly between English and Russian and it was hard to understand their conversation; eventually a translator was at their side.  I’m grateful for that.

P.S. Womack did it again…she just showed up on my Twitter feed claiming to be a “laureate” of the Moscow competition (update on 6/22: she’s apparently deleted the tweet; at least I cannot find it anymore).  This fits in with her well-established habit of stretching the truth (remember when she was calling herself a principal dancer when she was still a soloist?), because strictly speaking, she’s not a laureate of the Moscow competition.  She’s a diploma holder.  See this link.




A Ballerina Eats May 17, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 3:36 pm

This makes me happy:

What I Eat as a Ballet Dancer — TwinTalksBallet


Really. It’s the money thing. May 9, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 4:30 am

I’ve been off tending to my other blog (that is not a permanent thing, however), so have been neglecting this one.  I did, however, see yet another Joy Womack video the other day that left me gasping.

Apparently she danced in a gala for her teacher, and was complimented by someone else (I could not pick up the name), and Filin, who gave Joy such grief at the Bolshoi, was the one who presented the award to her teacher, and…whatever.  All that does not bother me.  Sometimes what goes around, comes around, or something like that.

What does bother me is that again she is asking for money and not really offering anything.  Can anyone think of another dancer who does this?  It’s starting to bother me.  Dancing in a country where most dancers are horribly underpaid, and soloists of major companies are said to be living like sardines in tiny apartments with hordes of other dancers because that’s all they can afford…something is not right here.  This girl has her own apartment and it looks fairly well-furnished and roomy.  It’s for sure that someone else is paying the bills.

And then she asks for money for some vague idea she has…

Anyway, just dropping by and wanted to hear other opinions on this.  It’s just really bothering me.  And yes, this blog will be back up to speed, I’m hoping in the near future.


A visual treasure April 7, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 5:51 am

Act 2 of Swan Lake by the Royal Ballet, 1960:

Swan Lake


“A” for effort March 30, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 6:24 pm

“F”(ail) for pointe work:

Ivan Vasiliev as Kitri

(no, you read that right…watch the video!)


Reality show dance March 29, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 3:01 am

Since I’ve been harping so much about Joffrey Elite, here’s a video about its mother series, Dance Moms.  Turns out a lot of what I could smell in JE is actually true about Dance Moms, and worse:

The truth about Dance Moms


Cult ballerinas March 26, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 1:15 pm

Sit back for a moment and think about those dancers who have been stalled forever at the soloist level, or maybe even at coryphee or in the corps.  I’m talking about the standouts who never seem to get promoted.

The late Rebecca Wright comes to mind: she came to ABT as a soloist after having been a principal at the Joffrey (the present-day Joffrey does not have principal dancers; not sure of the history but it probably has been different in the past).  For a current cult ballerina I’m thinking of Sarah Lane, who is famous with the public for having been the body double who did the actual dancing in Black Swan, but who is more famous among ABT fans as being the girl who keeps getting passed over for the big promotion, even though she is renowned for her Giselle and other interpretations.

In the recent past, of course, there was our beloved Evgenia Obraztsova, who lingered for years in soloist levels at the Maryinsky.  Or maybe Yulia Stepanova, same problem.  Both are now well-regarded primas at the Bolshoi, so who knows what the Maryinsky’s problem was.

Anyway, let me know about your favorite cult ballerinas.