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Press, Video & News about Mariinsky Ballet 
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Сообщение Press, Video & News about Mariinsky Ballet
The Art Form's Gold Standard

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Despite its rarefied status, classical ballet is as susceptible to the whims of fashion as any other form of show business. But withal, the Russian company known at home as the Mariinsky Ballet and abroad as the Kirov Ballet remains the art form's gold standard. Now more than 250 years old, it will visit the Southland twice before year's end, for engagements at Segerstrom Hall in Orange County and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in L.A. You may or may not thrill to its "Don Quixote" and "Giselle" (at OCPAC) or its "Nutcracker" (at the Music Center). You may or may not luck out and see a world-class star (Diana Vishneva, say). But the discipline and beauty of the corps de ballet are likely to linger in your memory.

Orange County Performing Arts Center, Oct. 7-12, http://www.ocpac.org

Los Angeles Music Center, Dec. 17-20, http://www.musiccenter.org



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Последний раз редактировалось Octavia 05 дек 2010, 02:24, всего редактировалось 3 раз(а).



07 сен 2008, 20:02
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London schoolgirl youngest British dancer at leading ballet school

A London schoolgirl has become the youngest British dancer to take up a place at Russia's Kirov Ballet School.

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Isabella McGuire Mayes, 16, will spend the next two years studying at the Vaganova Academy in St Petersburg, which has produced the likes of Nijinsky, Nureyev and Pavlova.

Academy rules state that foreign students must be aged at least 17. However, teachers were so impressed when they saw her dance earlier this year that they offered her a place.

Isabella, known to friends and family as Izzy, is believed to be only the second British student to be admitted in the institution's 270-year history.

She had no hesitation in accepting the offer despite the Vaganova's famously tough reputation.

Pupils undergo six hours of dance training per day, and Izzy will forego Christmas, Easter and half-term holidays. There is no Christmas break because the Vaganova stages an annual festive production of The Nutcracker at the Mariinsky Theatre.

Izzy is undaunted by the challenges, which include learning Russian from scratch and coping with St Petersburg's freezing winters.

She told The Daily Telegraph: "Their training is very tough and they really work you because they want the best out of you. But I've been to visit a few times and they are very warm people. Some people think they're strict and horrible but they are completely the opposite.

"I don't think they ever have a proper summer and when I went on an exchange tour it was minus 14, but if you wrap up and put lots of thermals on you don't really feel the cold.

"I'm going to really miss my friends but I've been seeing them a lot over the holiday and I've told them to get Skype so we can chat."

Izzy began ballet lessons aged five and from the age of eight was taught by Zina Mamedova, a former Vaganova graduate who introduced her to Russian ballet. The schoolgirl from Highbury, north London, said she had fallen in love with the look and style of Russian dancers after watching videos of them performing.

She will fly out to St Petersburg on Saturday with her mother, Ann McGuire.

Ms McGuire, 54, said: "It was a little bit frightening to find out there are so few holidays because in effect she will be leaving home and she's very young – she was only 15 when they offered her the place.

"I will try to get over there every two or three weeks to support her. It's certainly going to be tough, with the long, dark nights and being away from home, but it's a fantastic opportunity."

Izzy has spent the past three years at the Royal Ballet School's White Lodge in Richmond, Surrey and has danced at Covent Garden, Sadler's Wells and the Royal Albert Hall. She hopes to join the Royal Ballet once her training at the Vaganova is done.

Ms McGuire said: ""The thing about the Kirov is their history. Aside from Paris, it's really where ballet and most of its major players came from. And they do have a kind of star-making machine."

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07 сен 2008, 20:19
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Dancer, 16, gets a chance at Pavlova's academy

A 16-year-old ballerina will become possibly the youngest ever British student of the Kirov Ballet Company when she takes her place at the Vaganova Academy in St Petersburg next week.

The Vaganova, which counts Rudolf Nureyev and Anna Pavlova among its former students, does not usually accept foreign students younger than 17 but made an exception for Isabella McGuire Mayes. Two Russian teachers saw her during a visit in May and recommended her to Altynai Asylmuratova, the director of the school and former leading ballerina at the Kirov.

Isabella, of Highbury, north London, who has studied at the Lower School of the Royal Ballet School for the past three years, said she was nervous but excited. "I have always wanted to go to the Vaganova," she said. "I just love their style and their elegance. I'm hoping to find my own artistic individuality."

An unremitting regime awaits her. For the next two years she will do six hours of ballet a day, with no break at Christmas - because of the possibility of performing in the Nutcracker at the Mariinsky theatre - no Easter holidays and no half terms.

"I'm expecting it to be difficult and I'm not afraid of that. I have always worked hard at my ballet," said Isabella, who began her ballet training aged eight.

Her long-term ambition is to join the Royal Ballet Company and "progress up the ranks".

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07 сен 2008, 20:25
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Lunch with the FT: Valery Gergiev

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He is already an hour late. Audiences from London to Tokyo have grown accustomed to delays at the start of Valery Gergiev’s performances, so it should be no surprise if the world’s most charismatic conductor is late for me. This is the one day of the month when he is not travelling, rehearsing, fundraising or managing the companies he leads. But I am beginning to twitch.

We’re in Edinburgh. Gergiev, the biggest draw of the 2008 festival, is free on the day of his last performance and has agreed to spend it with the FT. The plan is to escape the heaving crowds, see a bit of Scotland and sample the national cuisine.

As a Scot I am happy to be his guide. As a music critic I’m slightly apprehensive. In recent months I have slagged off his Mahler performances in London, and our rendezvous is scheduled for the day when my review of Król Roger, his festival opera production, will be published.

Gergiev, 55, made his name by galvanising St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, Russia’s oldest opera and ballet ensemble, in the period after the Soviet Union’s collapse, when state-funded arts companies faced an uncertain future. He revived its repertory, organised gruelling but commercially advantageous tours, nurtured friends with political and financial clout and mesmerised audiences with the intensity of his interpretations. In an increasingly homogenised musical landscape, the Mariinsky (formerly known as the Kirov) cut an imposing profile as the embodiment of a lustrous, immaculately preserved national tradition.

As if controlling the destiny and daily workload of 1,000 artistic temperaments was not enough, Gergiev became one of the most sought-after conductors in the west. He is principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and principal guest of the Metropolitan Opera, New York. He also tours regularly with the Vienna Philharmonic. Instead of exploiting these positions to advance his career, he has used them to consolidate the international reputation of the Mariinsky through joint promotions and artist exchanges.

When Gergiev emerges from the hotel elevator, looking relaxed in designer-stubble and an all-black outfit of biker jacket, corduroy jeans and trainers, he switches off his mobile phone and starts talking about the FT. What has caught his eye is not my glowing opera review but an article by Dmitry Medvedev, Russian president, explaining Moscow’s decision to recognise the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two Russian-controlled break-away regions of Georgia. Gergiev asks my opinion: will the article help the west understand Russia’s position? Unlikely, I reply.

Gergiev is an Ossetian from Vladikavkaz on the Russian side of the border. Two days before arriving in Edinburgh he and the Mariinsky orchestra made a whistle-stop visit to the bombed South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, for an open-air concert in memory of victims of the conflict. The programme included Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony, written during the Nazi siege of Leningrad and widely interpreted as a Russian victory hymn.

His intervention shocked friends in Georgia and the west. The Washington Post accused him of “wading brazenly into politics”. As our driver negotiates a way out of Edinburgh’s traffic-clogged city centre, Gergiev mutters that he usually sleeps “without worry. But now, as soon as I wake, I switch on the television, hoping for some sense of movement [on South Ossetia]. Right now it’s escalation, escalation.”

He has left our itinerary to me, and soon we are speeding north to a late lunch in the Fife fishing town of St Monans. But I barely have time to point out the landmarks approaching the Forth Road Bridge before Gergiev launches into an account of the devastation he witnessed in Tskhinvali. “If there was any hope of co-existence [between Georgians and Ossetians], it’s killed. Too many died that first night under the [Georgian] tanks.”

Gergiev, who has three young children by his Ossetian wife, makes no mention of the torching of Georgian communities in South Ossetia or the devastation caused by Russian forces in Georgia.

He refuses to accept that Shostakovich’s symphony was a provocative choice. “This music is not only about Hitler; it’s about evil that is brought into your life, anybody’s life. My performance was designed to commemorate the dead, not to be commented on by the Washington Post. For Tskhinvali, 1,000 dead is a devastating loss. It’s the Ossetian equivalent of the Twin Towers. If the Russian army had not intervened, thousands more Ossetians would have been killed.”

The sight of the 120-year old Forth Railway Bridge, with its three giant double-cantilevers, brings him momentarily back to Scotland. He asks if there is still talk of Scottish independence. Yes, I reply. “In Europe you can achieve independence by peaceful means. No leader would send an army to kill the Scots. If he did, the army would not obey. In the Caucasus, emotions are wilder.”

Does he mean tribal? “Almost,” says Gergiev calmly, “it’s complicated, worse than Trovatore,” an allusion to the tangled blood-relationships in Verdi’s opera, in which almost everyone ends up killing each other. “Historically, Georgians are friends of Ossetians. There were many marriages, safety was never discussed. But after the break-up of the Soviet Union, nearly all Ossetians lost relatives when [former president Zviad] Gamsakhurdia [of Georgia] sent the army to carry out the policy of ‘Georgia for the Georgians’. If you are the son of someone killed in 1991, you cannot forget that bloodshed.”

The hour-long drive to St Monans, one of Scotland’s prettiest seaside towns, passes quickly and Gergiev admits to feeling hungry, having had only yoghurt for breakfast. No one in the comfortable little fish restaurant overlooking the harbour recognises him, an advantage over Edinburgh, where autograph-hungry festival-goers are rife. The menu interrupts Gergiev’s stream of consciousness, but it takes us barely a moment to choose warm haddock-and-leek tart for starters, then grilled monkfish for him and cod for me. As the waiter pours mineral water, I suggest a toast, a ritual of Russian and Georgian social occasions. My assumption, based on our previous encounters, is that Gergiev will drink the health of the Mariinsky Theatre, which is his musical family, and of Georgian pianist Alexander Toradze, one of his closest friends.

Gergiev needs no time to collect his thoughts. “Since it is on my mind, I hope we will see a display of leadership on both sides, to show the power of the mind and the power of the truth, rather than the power of informational wars or military force. How can you kill hundreds of civilians and it goes unnoticed? It’s a big emotional thing for me. I don’t want Condoleezza Rice deciding the future of my children. The greatest European leader will be the one who demands the truth and asks what happened on the first night [of the crisis, when Georgian forces moved into South Ossetia].”

Talk of leadership gives me a cue, as we tuck into our haddock tart, to ask about Gergiev’s links with the Russian government, which has actively supported his ambitions with the Mariinsky. He got to know Dmitry Medvedev when they served together on the board of St Petersburg University. Have they met since the St Petersburg-trained lawyer became head of state? “I saw him in Moscow on June 12 [Russia’s National Day]. I spoke to him about the Mariinsky and our work with young people.”

As for Vladimir Putin, Gergiev denies widely published reports that the Russian prime minister is godfather to his children, but does not deny having access to the Kremlin. “In St Petersburg my goal is to have a new opera house for the 2010-2011 season,” he says. “To visit the ministry of culture from time to time will not necessarily bring this project to maturity. The bureaucracy is so great, you need half a year just to sort the paperwork. One visit a year to the head of government is more effective. Putin makes quick decisions. Thank God he realises the Mariinsky is important. We already have our own concert hall [recently built with a large subsidy]: one of the achievements of my life. I don’t think western opera houses are so lucky.”

Gergiev pauses for breath at the arrival of his monkfish, musing enigmatically on the danger of fish contamination, “even at the North Pole”, before returning to his theme with variations. Putin, he says, has given Russia back its self-respect. “When the Soviet Union broke up, Russians suffered a loss of pride. Culture became a stronger ambassador than the economy or the political leadership. People could argue about Gorbachev or Yeltsin, but no one argued about Pushkin. We had a generation of performing artists – Mravinsky, Oistrakh, Rostropovich, Plisetskaya – who symbolised a nation, only a little less than [Yuri] Gagarin [the first man in space].”

Putin’s first achievement, says Gergiev, was to save the Russian Federation from breaking up. The second was to restore “the national wealth: symbols of culture, churches, palaces. If [the Ossetian crisis] had happened during his presidency, the country would have been unanimous in asking him to stay. It feels safe to have someone in the top office who is confident in the job.”

Our desserts have come and gone; so have the other diners. We have been sitting at the same window-table for two and a half hours. Now, over coffee, the only person within earshot is a waitress preparing tables for the evening. “It’s amazing such a quiet place has such good food,” Gergiev remarks, emerging into the fresh air.

I ask him what he has done to bring the Mariinsky’s tradition up-to-date. “Last month we played Mozart 20 nights in a row to young audiences. I want to cover all the schools and universities [in St Petersburg] from the age of seven to 27. You can’t expect them to sit through Mussorgsky but The Marriage of Figaro in Tchaikovsky’s translation is a good start. Maybe in five or 10 years they will come back of their own accord. Next year we celebrate the 200th anniversary of [Russian writer Nikolai] Gogol, so I have commissioned five short operas on Gogol themes. In the 1990s, when survival was at stake, it was important for us to tour. Now we must stimulate creativity at home.”

Back at the car, the chauffeur is looking anxious: he has tickets for the evening performance, apparently unaware it can’t start without the conductor. We join the rush-hour traffic, finally reaching Gergiev’s Edinburgh hotel at 6.30pm, a full six hours after we had set out. But the tsar of the Mariinsky doesn’t budge. Still seated in the stationary car, he starts expounding his interpretative approach to Rachmaninov, whose symphonies he will conduct later this month in London. When we finally get out he continues for another 10 minutes on the tarmac, ignoring another distinguished Russian conductor, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, who has just walked past.

A new chauffeur approaches. “Mr Gergiev, are you ready to go?” Our excursion is over. Gergiev bids me farewell, switches his phone on and heads for the hotel entrance. He has 20 minutes to change, drive to the theatre and focus on the music. Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. The performance will begin – just a few minutes late.

Valery Gergiev opens the London Symphony Orchestra’s 2008-2009 season at the Barbican, London, on September 20-21; www.lso.co.uk

Andrew Clark is the FT’s chief music critic

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07 сен 2008, 20:29
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DANCE: Lots of spring in their steps

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Continuing the ballet options are the Kirov Ballet - returning to its original name, the Mariinsky Ballet - with a week of "Don Quixote" Jan. 13 through 18; American Ballet Theatre with a mixed program Feb. 17 through 19 and "Swan Lake" Feb. 20 through 22; the Bolshoi Ballet with "Le Corsaire" June 16 through 21; England's Royal Ballet with a mixed program that includes Frederick Ashton's delicious "A Month in the Country" June 23 and 24 and Kenneth MacMillan's full-length "Manon" June 25 through 28.


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14 сен 2008, 18:00
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Russia’s Unique Riches: From Village to the Moiseyev & Kirov
by Judith Lynne Hanna — Sep 1, 2008

Both ballet and theatrical folk dance choreographers have drawn from peasant and village life of different cultures. These dances are creatively transformed for the proscenium stage. Ballet often tells a narrative, whereas theatrical folk dance presents vignettes. Dance moves through history and across geographical space, often evolving with derivative exoticism.

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Moiseyev at Strathmore Music Center

Earlier this year, the Washington metropolitan area indulged in Russia’s unique riches: the world renowned folk-based performances of the Moiseyev Dance Company at the Music Center at Strathmore and then the Kirov Ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

To celebrate the life of the Russian choreographer Igor Moiseyev, who recently died at age 101, as well as the seventieth anniversary of the company and the fiftieth anniversary of its first appearance in America (orchestrated by impresario Sol Hurok in New York in 1958), a film about Igor Moiseyev preceded the live performance. Through Moiseyev’s visionary artistic direction and choreography, the company he founded in 1936 has reached the pinnacle of success and is honored as Russia’s official “State Academic Ensemble of Popular Dance.”

When Moiseyev was Ballet Master and former principal dancer and choreographer of the Bolshoi Ballet, the Soviet government asked him to organize the first Festival of National Dance. As a student, Moiseyev had traversed the country on foot during his free time, immersing himself in the study of Russian folklore and in the treasury of songs, dances, customs, traditions and festivals belonging to the 180 national cultures that comprised the Soviet Union. Fascinated by what he found, he embraced the unprecedented task of bringing traditional dances to national attention. The festival’s acclaim convinced Moiseyev to form a professional company to preserve and develop the best traditions of folk dancing and to raise the skill of performance to the highest artistic level.. He selected outstanding dancers from amateur companies across the country and a handful of professional ballet dancers from the Bolshoi School and other classical companies. Moiseyev’s strong background in classical ballet provided the basic training for his company, and his keen powers of observation and thorough knowledge of folklore led him to establish its unique style: at once dramatic, entertaining in a theatrical sense and larger-than-life. Moiseyev also created new works based on current themes, such as the desperate struggle of the Russian people during World War II. In 1955, the Moiseyev Dance Company began to tour the world and has since appeared in and returned to more than 60 countries. The company’s repertoire now includes dances of Spain, Japan, China, Bulgaria, Argentina, Mexico, Poland, Hungary and American jazz and rock-and-roll – all with a Moiseyev imprint. The company currently numbers more than 200, has its own orchestra and school and possesses a repertoire in excess of 200 dances. Some of the dances at the Strathmore deserve special mention. “Tatarochka” was a North American premiere depicting the athletic prowess of the Tartars of Crimea. “Kalmuk Dance,” a piece about the nomads of the Nogai Steppes, featured three males dressed in black suggesting the flight of eagles, the running of horses and the contest of bulls in mating season. Their spectacular vibrations through the body and exquisite hands gestures were awesome. “Summer” is a traditional Russian dance about the harvest festival. The Nanayan play, “Two Boys in a Fight” is filled with humor; children in the audience were bursting with laughter. The two boys turn out to be one highly skilled young man. The evening’s speeding dancers, manipulated lines by decreasing size of the dancers, machine-like uniformity and technically difficult folk movements brought audience members to their feet. The Kirov at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

At The Kennedy Center, the St. Petersburg Kirov Ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre presented the full-length ballet “La Bayadère.” Founded in 1783, the Kirov is a venerable institution that has maintained the integrity of its distinctively aristocratic style through its more than 200 years. Dancers are delicately pliant, with a fluid sculpted arching flow and line of arms that move with the eyes. Chins lift on the up-breath at the beginning of a phrase and again at the end. Kirov dancers train at the Vaganova Ballet Academy, developing the dance style and ensemble coordination they need on stage. Former dancers teach in the Academy and work as coaches in the theater. Dancers entering the company are assigned a coach who prepares them in their roles, preserving a tradition that allows leeway for a dancer’s individuality. The coach is a go-between for a dancer with the artistic director.

“La Bayadère,” a three-act choreography by Marius Petipa in 1877 set to Ludwig Minkus’s music, draws its inspiration from some traditions of the upper and lower castes of India. We see a tiger hunt, elephant, temple with Brahmin priests in sandals and palms together in a prayer gesture, specially trained high-status female dancers dedicated to the temple (bayadères), a fakir, a golden idol (captivatingly danced by Grigory Popov), the court of a wealthy raja, a snake charmer and male folk dancers moving to a drummer’s beat. The women wear short sleeve bodices that bare the midriff. But outside the men’s folk dance and the occasional female angular arm gesture, the dancing is classical ballet full stop.

The ballet plot is rooted in early Indian Sanskrit drama. Petipa spins a nonverbal narrative: A sensuous Indian temple dancer, Nikiya (danced by Diana Vishneva who displayed remarkable technique and emotional intelligence in portraying contrasting sensual and ethereal temperaments) loves the noble soldier Solar (Andrian Fadeyev). He returns her love and vows eternal fidelity but is soon reminded that he has been betrothed since childhood to the Raja’s daughter Gamzatti (Viktoria Tereshkina), whom he must marry. She resents Nikiya’s claim on Solar. Treachery and murder ensue. Nikiya is summoned to dance in holy wedding rites. A slave girl brings her a basket of flowers declaring it is a gift from Solor. But the basket carries a poisonous snake that bites Nikiya and causes her death.

Solar is chastened and distraught that a jealous Gamzatti arranged for his beloved Nikiya’s demise. He takes an opium-induced spectral voyage to the afterlife where he dreams of reconciliation with Nikiya. Now a ghost, she is cool, removed, on a higher plane. The famous, hypnotic “Kingdom of the Shades” scene creates the context for Solar’s wishful fantasy. Thirty-two white tutu-clad dancers, a white veil wrapped around each arm, sequentially appear single file onstage and step into arabesques, backs arched, position held for a few moments, then place raised legs on the ground and bend them as arms sweep toward the ground and upward, walk three steps and repeat the phrase. The spiritually mesmerizing dancers perform the movements in unison as they wend their way down a ramp, representing the Himalayas, and across the stage.

Both the Moiseyev and Kirov companies, with different ancestral roots and traditions have drawn from village life. They radiated superb dancing, exquisitely coordinated corps, spectacular solos and vibrant costumes. Folklorists tell us that village choreography usually does not belong to a single individual, but many members of the village. One wonders if the villagers benefit when their dances are appropriated? Would they be flattered?

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17 сен 2008, 15:37
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.........Graceful and aristocratic ... Kirov's Swan Lake. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

In short

The Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet is not just a company. It's a saga about a dynasty whose bloodline is that of ballet itself. Think of it as a sweeping Russian epic following the fortunes of an artistic, aristocratic family that is always, always aware of its breeding.

Backstory

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...........Anna Pavlova's dying swan.
...........Photograph: Corbis


The Mariinsky's roots are tsarist. The company dates from 1738 when a French ballet-master founded a school of dancing in St Petersburg for Empress Anna Ivanovna. Initially dominated by French and Italians, the Imperial Ballet and its school changed dramatically in the late 19th century under Marius Petipa, another Frenchman. He upped the standard of dancing and choreography, producing the pieces that are now forever identified as "classical ballet", including the three all-time biggies: Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. If you think of Russia when you think of ballet, it's because of Petipa.

Following the 1917 revolution, the school consolidated its world-famous training system under Agrippina Vaganova, but the company went into decline. Yet it continued to influence the ballet world through its offshoot the Ballets Russes. Based in Paris, this company took Europe by storm and was the launchpad for über-choreographer George Balanchine.

Back in Soviet Russia, by the 1950s the Kirov Ballet (as it came to be called) was eclipsed by its bolshier Moscow cousin, the Bolshoi. But from the 1960s it was in the ascendant again, its reputation boosted by foreign tours and the glamorous scandals of the defections to the west of its biggest stars - Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov

More recently, the company - now named after its home theatre, the Mariinsky - has been reclaiming its "extended family", performing period reconstructions of 19th-century classics and Ballets Russes works as well as later pieces by Balanchine and even "post-classical" works by American William Forsythe. At the same time, there have been dark rumblings about the current directorship of Valery Gergiev, and once again, the Bolshoi has recently been shining brighter.

But remember: this is the Mariinsky Ballet. You can be sure the saga will continue.

Watching the Kirov

The Mariinsky is not just old-school, it's one-school: almost all the dancers are from the Vaganova Academy. The corps de ballet is much praised for its unity. The Mariinsky style is graceful and aristocratic, emphasising carriage of the arms and head as well as the steps. And remember that Russian ballet began as imperial entertainment - they go in for a lot of ballet "bling" (glitter, tiaras and suchlike) and underline the beginnings and endings of phrases with preparations and flourishes. Cue applause!

Who's who

Almost every ballet dancer famous enough to become a household name has come from the Mariinsky: Pavlova, Nijinsky, Nureyev, Makarova, Baryshnikov. Recent top dancers include Uliana Lopatkina, Diana Vishneva, Igor Zelensky and Leonid Sarafanov. Charismatic maestro conductor Gergiev is currently artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre (which includes the opera and orchestra as well as the ballet).

Fact!

Earlier this year, after 19 years performing in Don Quixote, Monika the donkey finally retired from the Mariinsky stage. She is succeeded by Alina (also a donkey).

In their own words

Makhar Vaziev (former director of the Kirov Ballet): "As long as we first maintain our classical heritage, we will find the best way to make new productions in the future."

Gergiev: "We are like two arms of Russian culture, the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky."

Dancer Diana Vishneva: "For purity of style, you can keep it only when you follow traditions."

In other words

Judith Mackrell, the Guardian, 2005: "At the Kirov the symmetrical graces of classical ballet are bred deeper in the dancers' bones than anywhere in the world."

Judith Mackrell, the Guardian, 2008: "… collective classical grandeur ... is the Kirov's calling card."

Alastair Macaulay, the New York Times, 2008: "… the Kirov refracts ballet history like a hall of mirrors."

Do say

Something about the company's breeding, the continuity of its balletic bloodline. It's the one thing that you cannot ignore, ever.

Don't say

"PreDYdushiy osyOL YAvilsya LUCHshim."* Even if they understood your Russian accent, people might mistake who you're talking about and then they'd get cross.

* "The old donkey was better."


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30 сен 2008, 17:05
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Kirov Ballet Returns to Chicago

The world renowned Kirov Ballet returns to Chicago this week to perform its production of the classic romance Giselle for five performances, October 2  5 at the Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University.

Several of the world's foremost ballet dancers will perform in Chicago. Alternating in the title role of Giselle are Diana Vishneva, Irma Nioradze and Olesia Novikova; her ill-fated paramour Albrecht will be danced by Igor Kolb, Yevgeny Ivanchenko and Vladimir Shklyarov. Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot's original choreography, revised by Petipa for the ballet's 1884 Kirov debut, will be performed by the company's peerless dancers as the 66-piece Kirov Orchestra fills the acoustically perfect Auditorium Theatre with Adolphe Adam's sumptuous score.

The Kirov's 2006 Chicago performances of Swan Lake marked the company's first Chicago appearance in almost 16 years, and the response was overwhelming," said Brett Batterson, Executive Director of ATRU. "I was determined not to allow for such a long hiatus between Kirov appearances again, and so I am thrilled that the company will once again grace our stage with this classic ballet."

Giselle tells the story of a nobleman named Count Albrecht who woos and falls in love with the peasant girl Giselle. He keeps his title a secret from her, and also does not mention that he is already betrothed to a woman named Bathilde, daughter of the Prince. When Giselle discovers the deceit, she is inconsolable, goes into deep despair and dies of a broken heart. In the second act, Giselle's undying love for Albrecht saves him from the evil magic of the Wilis, vampiric ghosts of betrothed but betrayed maidens. Their leader, Mirta Queen of the Wilis, tries to force Albrecht to dance himself to death until Giselle, now a Wili herself, intervenes long enough to spare his life.

Founded in St. Petersburg in 1783, the Kirov (officially known as St. Petersburg Mariinsky Ballet after its home theater) is under the artistic direction of Valery Gergiev. The company is inexorably linked with the entire history of the development of Russian choreographic art. The Kirov's alumni list reads like a roster of the Russia's finest dancers, and includes Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

ATRU will celebrate the Kirov's return to Chicago with a lavish post-performance champagne and dessert reception with the dancers and members of the artistic team in the lobby of the theater, Thursday, Oct. 2. Tickets for this unique event are priced at $75 and all proceeds benefit ATRU. Call 312.922.2110 ext 368 for reservations to this special event.

For Performance Schedule and Ticket Information visiting Ticketmaster.com or visiting the Auditorium Theatre box office located at 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago. Groups of 10 or more may receive a discount on The Kirov Ballet and other select shows, by calling 312.922.2110 ext. 357.

Family Matinee Series The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University's Family Matinee Series is designed specifically to awaken children's interest in live performance and plant the seed for developing an appreciation of the arts. This unique opportunity allows patrons to receive a free children's subscription with the purchase of a full-price adult subscription.

This year's Family Matinee Series will introduce children to an eclectic mix of dance and music offerings, including classical ballet with the Kirov Ballet and Orchestra's Giselle (Oct. 4), the Auditorium Theatre's annual Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah (Dec. 14), and innovative modern dance with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (April 4). Each family matinee performance is followed by a question and answer session with members of the shows' artistic teams. This interactive experience can dramatically change the impact of the performing arts on its viewers, and with the involvement of families it can also empower youth to express themselves.

About the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, located at 50 E. Congress Parkway, is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to presenting the finest in international, cultural and community programming to Chicago, and to the continued restoration and preservation of the National Historic Landmark Auditorium Theatre. For more information about programming, volunteer and donor opportunities or theatre tours, call (312) 922-2110 or visit auditoriumtheatre.org, now featuring Chicago's Landmark Stage, a comprehensive online history of the Auditorium from 1889 through today, made possible by the generous support of the American Express Performing Arts Fund. The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University is supported by the Illinois Arts Council and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs CityArts Grant. United Airlines is the official and exclusive airline sponsor, and the Palmer House Hilton is the Auditorium's official hotel partner.

About the Dancers

IRMA NIORADZE, (Kirov Ballet Principal Dancer) was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, graduated from the Tbilisi School of Ballet, and trained at the Vaganova Ballet Academy under the guidance of Professor Lyudmila Safronov. She joined the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre in 1988 and the Mariinsky Theatre in 1992. She has been a Principal Dancer at the Mariinsky since 1992. Irma's commendations include: Honored Artist of Russia (2002), prize winner of The International Ballet Competition (Jackson, 1991), and the Baltika prize (2000). Her repertoire includes: Giselle (Giselle); Grand pas from "Paquita"; Le Corsaire (Medora); The Sleeping Beauty (Lilac Fairy, Princess Aurora); Swan Lake (Odette-Odile); La Bayadère (Nikia, Gamzatti); Raymonda (Raymonda); Don Quixote (Kitri); The Fountain of Bakhchisarai (Zarema); The Legend of Love (Mekmene-Banu); Fokine´s Shéhérazade (Zobeide), Firebird (Firebird); Balanchine's Symphony in C (1st movement), Jewels (Rubies); Petit´s Carmen (Carmen); MacMillan´s Manon (Manon); Ratmansky´s Le Poeme de l´Extase, Le Baiser de la Fee (Fairy), Cinderella (Stepmother); Chemiakin´s The Magic Nut (Temptress).

YEVGENY IVANCHENKO, (Kirov Ballet Principal Dancer) Born in Ashkhabad, Turkmenia, Yevgeny graduated from the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet (class of Prof. Valentin Onoshko), and joined Mariinsky Theatre in 1992. He became a first soloist in 1996, and has been a principal dancer since 2007. Yevgeny's repertoire includes: Giselle (Albrecht); Le Corsaire (Conrad); La Bayadère (Solor); Grand pas from "Paquita";The Sleeping Beauty (Prince Desire); Swan Lake (Siegfried); Raymonda (Jean de Brienne); Don Quixote (Basil); Chopiniana; Schéhérazade (the Golden Slave); Firebird (Ivan-Tsarevich); Le Sacre du Printemps (The Chosen); The Legend of Love (Ferkhad); Apollo (Apollo); Serenade (Apollo); Piano Concerto No. 2 (Ballet Imperial); Symphony in C (2nd movement); Jewels (Diamonds); In the Night (2nd movement); Manon (Des Grieux); and The Nutcracker (Prince).

Armen Danilian (Kirov Ballet Company Manager) has toured extensively with the Kirov Ballet, Opera and Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater, the Bolshoi Ballet and the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg as the tour manager of Ardani Artists Management, Inc. The opportunity has given him a lifetime of practical experience in ballet production, as well as a one-of-a-kind perspective on its human component. Born in Moscow and raised in Brooklyn, he has absorbed countless aesthetic and cultural influences in the course of his eclectic upbringing. He attended Abraham Lincoln High School, where he was a part of the prestigious photography program under the tutelage of Howard Wallach and Carlos Molina. Since then, he has been the recipient of multiple industry awards, among them the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and has had his work featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and New York Magazine, among others. He has also previously exhibited in the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Rose Burlingham Gallery and a number of traveling group exhibitions.


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Vishneva dazzles in 'Giselle'

Ballerina evokes loss of innocence

Three different ballerinas will dance the title role in the Kirov Ballet's production of "Giselle" this weekend at the Auditorium Theatre. Two will have to compete with Diana Vishneva, and I do not envy them in light of the breathtaking performance she gave Thursday night. She set an almost impossible standard by which the role must be measured.

Vishneva's portrayal, from her mad scene in the ballet's first act to her blessing of forgiveness in the second, was a remarkable evocation of the loss of innocenceShe made the phrase "to die of heartbreak" so palpable that you could almost see the spirit leave her body (a body, incidentally, that is textbook perfect, with a pale, mournful face that might be lifted from a cameo).

"Giselle" is about the power of first love and thesoul-destroying feeling of loss that can come in its aftermath. To watch Vishneva as she realizes she has been betrayed by Count Albert (Igor Kolb), the aristocrat who woos her despite the fact that he is already engaged to a woman of his own class, is to see the bottom fall out. Watch as her legs repeatedly buckle beneath her, and as she appears to melt into the earth. It is magic, and it is devastating. Watch, too, in the second act, when she already is in the world. "beyond," when she already has assumed a spirit form. When she is lifted by Kolb (a sublime partner, but a rather chilly figure otherwise), she is so incorporeal, so boneless, that she makes you believe she has long since disappeared into the spirit world and that Albert is lifting nothing but a memory. This is far more than technique. It is, in an almost literal sense, mind over matter.

In most other respects the Kirov production is lavish but a bit stiff, although you will not see a more exquisitely danced performance of Myrtha, Queen of the Willis, (the leader of all those abandoned brides who go their graves so shattered) than the one given bythe supremely elegant Ekaterina Kondaurova. And the women of the Kirov corps still bring a perfection to the great second act massing of Willis that has long been the company's hallmark. Also noteworthy at Thursday's performance was the most winning dancing of the boyish Alexey Timofeev, though he was badly mismatched with his partner in the first act's pas de deux.

October 4, 2008

BY HEDY WEISS Dance Critic/hweiss@suntimes.com

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