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In this issue | Short summary
¹  1 [137] 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 Turkish spirit”. 
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 intellectual theater’.”
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 of 2008. 
— 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.