site best viewed with I.E. 5.0 or higher, 1024/768 resolution.
Copyright by Ballet Magazine, 2002.
129110, Moscow, Prospect Mira #52-1
Tel./fax: (095) 288-2401
In this issue | Short summary
¹ 1  January - February 2006
This issue’s cover story is dedicated to the grand ballerina Maya Plisetskaya’s
jubilee. Moscow has solemnly celebrated the event with the Maya Festival,which
is covered here by Olga Shkarpetkina. The Bolshoy Theater’s audiences have
seen the spectacles in which Plisetskaya used to shine – Swan Lake and
Don Quixote, the re-staged Carmen-Suite and premiere performances of A
Card Game. The ballerina’s birthday was celebrated on stage of the Kremlin
Palace with a gala-performance featuring both domestic and international
stars. The festival’s genre turned out rather diverse; presented there,
beside dance, were also music (Rodion Shchedrin’s Grant Her Many Years
festival), cinema (a retro With Her and About Her), photo- and visual arts
(exhibitions at the Manezh Exhibition Hall and at the Bakhrushin Museum
of Theater, and a vernissage at the Novinsky Arcade.
This country’s ballet lovers should certainly remember the very first
issue of the Soviet Ballet magazine released in 1981. Today, 25 years later,
the Ballet magazine carries on its creative activities, upholding all the
best traditions and experience of the past. Its appearance has changed,
but it remains faithful to the underlining principles that were adopted
at the time of its birth. As ever, it keeps in touch with various experts
of dance and balletology. In the process of its development, it has expanded,
having created a fast-reporting, newspaper-like publication, Linia – Ballet
Magazine in a Newspaper Format, and a children’s magazine, Studio Antr?.
All things change; everything flows onward. Ballet will live as long as
ballet itself lives!
THE SOUL OF DANCE AWARD WINNERS column introduces this year’s heroes.
Vasiliev is a Chaliapin in Ballet is a set of excerpts form Boris Lvov-Anokhin’s
book Vladimir Vasiliev. Here’s just one little quotation from the book,
which has long been out of print:
“…The name Vladimir Vasiliev has for many become a symbol of Russian
ballet, an embodiment of its spontaneous, elemental strength and profundity.
For me, Vasiliev is a Chaliapin of ballet – the same power of talent, the
same scale of reform in the field of choreographic performance, the same
incomprehensible aptitude for dramatic identification, the same charisma
of a national genius. Indeed, the Russian genius is clearly resonant both
in Chaliapin’s singing and Vasiliev’s dancing.”
In addition to these excerpts included here are many other statements
about the grand Russian dancer made by Feodor Lopukhov, Kassian Goleyzovsky,
Galina Ulanova, and Mikhail Gabovich.
Nadezhda Tzai’s essay deals with the creative work of Ghennadi Selyutsky,
a remarkable artist and educator. “He is well known in the ballet world
of St. Petersburg and far beyond. His own and quite inimitable style in
the most diverse roles has always been Selyutsky’s distinctive characteristic.
His most satisfying reward, however, turned out to be his students.” Among
Selyutsky’s apprentices as r?p?titeur with the Mariinsky Theater are Constantine
Zaklinsky, Julia Makhalina, Farukh Ruzimatov, Igor Zelensky, Igor Kolb,
and Danila Korsuntsev. The teacher’s “gold-work” began at the A. Vaganova
Academy where Selyutsky’s output since 1963 has been thirteen classes.
The professor constantly seeks new approaches to motion, introduces unusual
combinational junctions, sometimes invents new musical moulds, thus developing
in his students the ability to “dance” music, enhancing their plastic memory,
and teaching them to think.
Musicologist Elena Nicholaeva offers a detailed analysis of the artistic
life of composer Valery Kikta, who “with enviable perseverance has during
several decades kept building up his ballet theater, experiencing all the
while both the joy of artistic success and disappointment of failures.”
The majority of Kikta’s ballets have seen limelight of many a musical theater
both in Russia and abroad. Some of his symphonic works have also formed
a base for ballet productions. The article reveals distinctive “poetics”
of the composer’s world in which dance is perceived as an art of exceptionally
beautiful and polished motion. The composer is fond of action ballet with
its distinctive plot lines and contrast of images. May it not be the reason
why the classical Russian literature serves as the main source of his creative
work? Indeed, among his works are Dubrovsky after Pushkin, The Light of
My Eyes, Maria! after Nekrasov, The Witch of Polesie after Kuprin as well
as epic ballets such as Revelation, The White Cockade, and A Legend of
the Ural Foothills. The article in question discusses the stage interpretations
of these and other ballets by Valery Kikta.
Julia Bolshakova’s article deals with the “sunny dancer” Nicholai Chevychelov,
principal dancer with the State Classical Ballet Theater under Natalia
Kasatkina and Vladimir Vasiliov. A student of Gennady Lediakha, Nicholai
Chevychelov at the age of eighteen crossed the threshold of theater and
in just seven years has performed over 25 roles including ten leading ones.
His amazing inbred plasticity, exceptional capacity for work, and artistic
endowment all have transformed his stage image from an infinitely charming
and smiling lamb into a fairy-tale prince. Standing side by side in his
repertoire are the most famous classics and contemporary ballets such as
Romeo and Juliet, The Wondrous Tangerine, Spartacus, and The Lady of the
Camellias. “In The Creation he performs three parts. What a pity he cannot
appear on stage simultaneously as all those three persons – God, Devil
and Adam. And in all the three he in unexpectedly different.”
Here, the reader will find a sketch by Olga Rosanova about Vera Arbuzova,
a ballerina combining in her dance talent and beauty. Comparing the contemporary
star with the legendary Olga Spesivtseva, the writer shows how ballet and
its aesthetic ideals have changed with time. Such a collation of the two
individualities is quite legitimate, for Vera’s favorite and the most brilliant
part is that of Ballerina in Red Giselle. “In it, the actress has presented
an artistic portrait of her great ancestress, a dancer of genius.”
Vera Arbuzova was born in Siberia and studied at the Krasnoyarsk Ballet
School. Her professional life started in the early 1990’s in St.Petersburg.
She became leading ballerina at the Boris Eifman’s Theater. She got into
the limelight after The Karamasovs (1995), where her Grushenka has captured
the audiences with her striking beauty. In addition to classical dance,
Arbusova “commands quite a variety of contemporary dance techniques, boldly
and confidently performs incredibly complicated lifts, and possesses unerring
artistic intuition.” One of her latest role is that of the dancer Lynn
in the ballet Who Is Who.
Natalia Levkiyeva presents professor Aleksandr Bondarenko, chairman
of Male Classical and Duet Dance at the Moscow Ballet Academy. “His students
are always quite conspicuous on stage. They are handsome and manful; they
possess excellent technique, powerful jump, and forceful spin; the charm
you with their noble male beauty… He is winsome at a first sight, his energy
is contagious, but behind his external charm there hides a world of a rigid
and exacting master able to hold the entire class in his strong and experienced
hand. Aleksandr Bondarenko is blessed with an ability to recognize talent,
to find a way to a pupil’s heart and mind and to inspire in him confidence
in future achievements. His will power makes the whole class concentrate
and it assures amazing success.”
For more than twenty years now alumni of Aleksandr Bondarenko’s classes
proudly represent the Moscow school on many stages in Russia and all over
the world. Today he trains the Academy’s second-year students. One year
from now they will comprise their master’s tenth graduating class.
Julia Strizhekurova hosts the BALLET THEME column. Her guest is Andris
Liepa, the son of the 20th century’s legendary dancer Maris Liepa. Andris
himself recently marked the 20th anniversary of his artistic activities.
A few years ago he abandoned his career as a dancer and set to actualization
of his own ideas, which have proved quite numerous. Mr. Liepa recalls his
first steps on stage and talks about his partner, the magnificent Nina
Ananiashvili, about the shows dedicated to his father’s memory, about benefit
nights of his sister, Ilse Liepa, and about his relationship with his home
theater, the Bolshoy. The interviewee dwells upon his projects, most of
which are topical but related not to ballet alone. He insists that success
in actualization of ideas requires high professional level of all the participants
– stage designers, musicians, make-up artists, costume designers, and stagehands,
alongside with those who appears on stage. “My projects Maestro and New
Year’s at the Gostiny Dvor – the latter having already been Venetian, Petersburgian,
Japanese, and Brazilian – are my impressions of travels over the world’s
cities or my enthusiasm for one of the countries.” The dancer and choreographer
reveals his enthusiasm for the legendary ballets of the Russian Seasons
and his plans for the Ida Rubinstein project. Activities of the Maris Liepa
Foundation and successes of its recipients have formed yet another subject
of the interview.
The BALLET-PARADE column presents various competitions and festivals.
The first article by the Magazine’s editor-in-chief, Valeria Uralskaya,
deals with two competitions: the International Ballet Forum in Helsinki
and the International Dance Competition in Korea. “What unites these two
so dissimilar competitions is, among other things, the person of Doris
Laine. Formerly a famous ballerina who had dedicated many year to the International
Dance Institute, she chaired the organizational committee of the Helsinki
competition this year, having assured professional stability of its work,
and also headed the panel of Seoul competition’s judges, having shared
with its organizers her experience and skills.”
In addition to the analysis of the competitions’ repertoire and of
the participants, and to a report of the awards, the article sets a serious
problem pertaining to the dynamics of the development of the global competition
movement. The writer focuses on an analysis of the principles that form
the participants’ repertoire in contemporary dance and of the requirements
for that aspect of the competitions. Mrs. Uralskaya believes that the criteria
in these respects should not be whether a piece belongs to ‘dance nouveau’
or ‘contemporary’ or ‘jazz’ etc., but whether or not it’s a ballet piece.
“It may be based on either classical, character, ethnic, or any other dancing
manner, but it must be an event of ballet theater, a miniature piece of
that art form.”
Discussing the Seoul competition the writer analyzes its ethnic dance
nomination, which doesn’t exist in other competitions. Among her topics
is the positive experience of the participants from China, whose performances
less often than those of others suffer from slips and failures. “Selection
of repertoire is never haphazard– it always corresponds to dancer’s individuality;
partners in duets match each other; all details of the dance are deliberately
polished, all emphases precisely put, the style of any piece is adhered
to. But what is perhaps the most important is that within the contemporary
repertoire the Chinese experts managed to answer in a practical manner
the question, what in the competitions’ contemporary programs is theatrical
dance and what has nothing to do with it.”
Yelena Nikitina, in the second article, discusses in detail the Fifth
Moscow Histrionics – an international festival of authentic musical and
theatrical arts in the capital’s palaces and homesteads. This summer it
was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Isadora Duncan’s first performance
in Moscow. Twenty-five troupes from 16 countries all over the world, including
USA, Japan, UK, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Norway, and Belarus, came here
to celebrate the jubilee. They have presented the past, the present and
the future of the free dance and its numerous branches – Duncan dance,
rhythmic, nouveau, eurhythmies, musical motion, harmonic gymnastics, contact
improvisation, buto, etc. The program was extensive and diverse – from
the early lyrical waltzes and etudes to the music of Chopin and Schubert
choreographed by Isadora herself to her latter, tragic solo-dances to the
music of Liszt and Scriabin.
Valery Ivanov’s article is about Alla Shelest Festival in Samara. “It
so happened that Samara has become a city where they pay honor to one of
the 20th century’s legendary ballerinas, Anna Shelest. But it didn’t happen
just by chance. Her name is fast bound with an important stage in the life
of the Samara (and Kuibyshev, as its name used to be) ballet troupe where
she had been chief choreographer in the early 70’s.” At the festivities
of 2005, which were held for the ninth time, drama-ballet reigned supreme.
These days, there are sevaral productions of this genre in the Theater’s
repertoire, and it was they that made up the Festivals playbill. Esmeralde
opened the Festival; The Masquerade followed, after which the imperishable
Don Quixote was shown, whose presence would be appropriate in any festival’s
playbill. The Festival also featured The Fountain of Bakhchisarai, which
is considered “a classical piece of the genre”, and the one-act Lady With
a Doggy. The closing Gala Night was a parade of legendary pieces from various
years’ productions. Participating in the performances and in the Gala were
both host and guest performers of the Festival.
The BALLET WORLD column opens with Mark Hageman’s article Into the
Future Upon a Tightrope about the Third August Bournonville Festival held
at the Royal Danish Ballet of Copenhagen. During the nine days of the Festival
the troupe has performed all eight Bournonville’s ballets, which have been
preserved in the Theater’s repertoire ever since he created them in the
19th century, including Napoli, The Kermesse in Bruges, The King's Guards
on Amager, La Ventana, and La Sylphide. They also presented a revision
of the ballet Abdallah, several divertissements and pas de deux. The audiences
have witnessed a miraculous rebirth of the 19th century romantic dance
on contemporary stage.
All the jubilation notwithstanding, the Festival proved a serious trial
for the troupe. As the Bournonville’s ballets gain ever more wide access
into repertoires all aver the world and as the Royal Danish Ballet becomes
ever more open for the dancers from outside the Danish school, the troupe
faces a major problem. How can they uphold Bournonville’s style and at
the same time convince the contemporary audiences that his ballets are
worthy of being preserved?
Still, as the Festival progressed, it was becoming more and more clear
that, despite its being historically oriented, the audiences did not feel
as if they were at a history museum. In addition to the ballet performances,
the troupe offered demonstration lessons, open classes at school, diverse
exhibitions. Especially for the occasion several books had been published
and, for the first time ever, a CD-collection of the music for Bournonville’s
ballets had been issued. The publication of a DVD-collection of the complete
“Bournonville School” was regarded as an event of extraordinary importance.
Masters of Russian Ballet in Turkey is the second article in the column.
Alexander Maksov interviews the Bolshoy’s principal Juliana Malkhasianz
concerning her staging the ballet Emrakh and Selvikhan in the Istanbul
State Opera. The troupe has already cooperated quite successfully with
Yuri Grigorovich and boasts two of his ballets – A Legend of Love and The
Nutcracker – in its repertoire. But the young Turkish ballet had desperately
needed a classical production based on genuinely ethnic material. “The
troupe and the public, according to Theater’s director, had for many years
longed for a project that would be, as this one is, penetrated with the
Victor Ignatov reports of a new program in contemporary choreography
presented by the Capitol Ballet troupe from Toulouse. It is one of the
very few European teams that are able to reasonably combine in their repertoire
the ballet classics with contemporary dance. The opening piece of the new
triptych is Fearful Symmetries, a neo-classical divertissement by Peter
Martins, a disciple of George Balanchine and director of the New York City
Ballet. Before Nightfall, a ballet about the Nazi tyranny staged by Nils
Christ upon request by Rudolf Nureyev proved very impressive. The ballet
Black Cake by Hans van Manen was presented as a final piece of the triptych.
It was a playful improvisation to some serious music. The result was a
quirk that captured the audience with brilliantly performed duets.
Victor Ignatov had a conversation with the French choreographer Thierry
Malandin at the international festival Time to Love at Biarritz. The talk
began with recollections of the Malandin’s Biaritz Ballet’s performance
at the Chekhov International Theater Festival in Moscow. “The Moscow audience
received us cordially. What surprised me was that many Russian critics
think I deride dance. They took my humor for caricature.” The choreographer
revealed his plans for the future, talked about his co-operation with Yekaterinburg
City Dance Center and about the Time to Love Festival and also outlined
some distinctive marks of his troupe’s performing style.
The NEW BALLET column presents some premiere productions.
Natalia Zozulina writes about Chekhov, Balanchine, and Others, a new
project by the Russian Ballet troupe under Viacheslav Gordeyev. “Tamaz
Vashakidze from Georgia and Indra Reinholde for Latvia presented two works
that are totally opposite in essence. And the reason for it is not that
Vashakidze’s Grand Waltz has no plot and turned out something like a ‘white
ballet’, for it is dedicated to Balanchine, while Reinholde’s Black Monk
does have a plot and is something like a psychodrama, for it was created
after a Chephov’s story with the same title… The thing is that we’ve seen
two different types of thinking in dance and two quite dissimilar ways
that lead to composing ballets.”
Galina Inozemtseva’s article introduces new productions of the Kremlin
Ballet Theater, which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. The beginning
of the jubilee season saw three new titles’ in the Theater’s repertoire;
The Sleeping Beauty, The Firebird, and The Blue God. “Each of these productions
proved a serious test of the troupe’s creative abilities, and both the
performers and the artistic director Andrei Petrov have honorably passed.”
“A. Petrov, staging choreographer of The Sleeping Beauty, was staging this
ballet in the 21st century, have already tasted, experienced, evaluated
what its beginning has brought about. Yet he preserved unscathed the episodes
composed by Petipa and generally revered as masterpieces.”
In co-operation with Maris Liepa Charity Foundation the Theater held
a night of Mikhail Fokine,s ballets (The Firebird, and The Blue God). In
the Kremlin’s Bluebird the scenic colors have acquired freshness, brightness,
“sonority”, as it were, of hue. In The Blue God, the Fokine’s choreography
has been lost, and Andris Liepa engaged for this production the British
choreographer Wayne Eagling. The writer opines that even though the choreography
proved rather feeble, marked by neither originality nor imagination, it
wasn’t able to overweigh all the other, outstanding aspects of the show.
A NAME IN BALLET column includes a sketch by Larisa Abyzova about Nicholai
Boyarchikov, who recently turned 70. Such persons as Boyarchikov, whose
every new production has become a high spot, are talked about as “the true
Petersburgians”. “He may, with good reason, be regarded as the patriarch
of St. Petersburg ballet, being choreographer-in-chief of the second most
significant stage of the city, the M. P. Mussorgsky Opera and Ballet Theater,
holder of the Choreography chair at the N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory,
the architect of his own trend in the art of ballet, dubbed ‘Nicholai Boyarchikov’s
Boyarchikov’s loyalty towards St. Petersburg’s culture hasn’t hindered
his activities on other stages. The years that Boyarchikov had dedicated
to Perm’ have proved a golden age of that city’s ballet life. The writer
goes on to present a book about the choreographer, written by Tatiana Kuzovleva,
where it’s impossible to separate episodes of his biography from descriptions
or analyses of his choreography. Such a natural synthesis is characteristic
of Boyarchikov’s style, too.
Olga Shkarpetkina’s essay deals with the Bolshoy Theater’s dancer Denis
Medvedev. “Jean Cocteau uses the term ‘pocket actors’, referrnig to those
who can squeeze maximum contents even out of a small role. An ability to
take a small role to heart and to perform it with taste and dignity is
not a common feature but rather a gift. The Bolshoy Theater principal dancer
Denis Medvedev happily combines in his stock both leading parts and small
roles.” The writer not only presents the scenic characters created by Denis
Medvedev, such as Cipollino, Tebald, Casanova and Nijinsky, but also talks
about his road to stage, which was beset with difficulties.
“Dance is a science, too” – such must be the opinion of the Britons
Misha Botting and David Collins, for such is the title of their article.
Dancing, as everybody knows, is an extremely laborious profession that
requires years of painstaking toil both at school and during the entire
professional career. It’s not for nothing that dancing is often referred
to as an athletic art form. Indeed, physically speaking, athletics is an
activity closest to dance. While, however, contemporary sports make good
use of applied psychology, which helps achieve high individual and team
results, the art of ballet is only making its first steps in that direction.
The research in question is based on an analysis of in-depth conversations
with leaders and dancers of the leading ballet companies of Great Britain.
A specialized computer program analyzed the data and revealed a number
of general trends. The results are presented in the article.
The INFORM-BALLET column in line with its traditions presents a wide
variety of world news.
— Boris Akimov, one of the most musical and poetical stars of the Bolshoy
Theater, presented a literary and musical composition I Remember, My Love,
I Remember based on the poetry of Sergei Yesenin, acting as both scenarist
and composer. Valery Modestov reports of a celebration of the poet’s jubilee
where the piece was presented.
— On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the grand ballerina Anna Pavlova,
the Ballet magazine’s contributors Yekaterina Nikitina, Anna Kamayeva,
and Julia Ziablikova decided to draw attention to the Ivy House on the
outskirts of London, where the dancer had spent her last years. Ivy House
might become a beautiful museum dedicated to the life and work of the Russian
ballerina, a cultural center for the London’s ballet life, as well as a
center of co-operation between the two schools of ballet. “It is very sad
to see how the fate of one of the most famous houses in the history of
world ballet concerns neither Russian nor British public.”
— The Bolshoy Theater in co-operation with the Culture to the World
Science and Culture Center has gotten down to developing a large-scale
project – an encyclopaedia dedicated solely to the legendary Bolshoy. The
publication of the two-volume encyclopaedia is scheduled for the beginning
— The world first ballet production of Gone With the Wind after the
Margaret Mitchell’s novel was shown at the Udmurt Opera and Ballet Theater
in Izhevsk. It’s a two-act ballet.
— The town of Ostashkov has never been exactly a ballet center. Yet,
as it turned out, even here there are quite a few ballet lovers. The Arts
Hall of the Central Community Library was crowded beyond capacity when
the book of photographs The Legend of Alla Shelest was presented there.
The audience had for several hours listened to the narrative by the host
Sophia Kovaliova. Roman Volodchenkov’s sketch covers the event.
— The Bolshoy Ballet won the Luna prize as “a ballet troupe that gave
the best performances in 2004 in Mexico City.” The prize is being awarded
annually by Auditorio National, the Culture and Arts Center of Mexico City.
— Anna Chernetsova shares her impressions of the Second International
Ballet Festival in the Republic Buryatia. Guests from 32 cities and towns
of Russia and other countries took part in it. The festival was dedicated
to the remarkable artists Larissa Sakhianova and Piotr Abasheyev. The ballet
troupe of the Ulan-Ude Opera and Ballet Theater showed its best productions.
— A concert celebrating the solemn opening of the Lesser Stage of the
K. S. Stanislavsky and V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater of Moscow
featured the leading opera and ballet stars, the Theater’s choir and orchestra.
The four-year-long reconstruction of the Theater is drawing toward completion.
The Lesser Stage is expected to become a playground for both experimental
and classical productions.
–Nadezhda Lipans of the city of Vladimir reports of a ballet theater
which was born out of a studio attached to the city’s Youth Cultural Center.
The studio was created nine years ago by Nina Madiarova, ballerina,
choreographer and educator. The young artists have shown their new program
(pieces of classical ballets) in various Russian towns and have even dared
to take on a tour their production of The Nutcracker. The project was financed
by the Swiss Department of Development and Cooperation and became a charity
event not only for the audiences but for the artistic collective as well.
The culminating point of the program as well as of the entire season was
the opening of the ballet A Golden Fawn.
The issue closes with polemical notes by the Magazine’s Editor-in-chief,
Valeria Uralskaya, summarizing this year’s results. “As the year draws
near an end, with all its premiere productions and new roles, performing
tours and circuiteers and the current ballet repertoire, one may dare make
certain conclusions based on some quite specific observations and reflections”.
The writer reflects upon the reasons why the Russian ballet theater suffers
certain loss of prestige in the world; why all those things that the professionals
have been so proud of became subject to general disparagement with no analysis
or proof, with no anguish or regret. The stylistic principles of performance
inherent in the Russian school of classical dance are being negated; moreover,
the school itself seems to be subject to blunt negation.