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In this issue | Short summary
  3 [145] May - June 2007 


The spring issue of the Magazine opens with an Address on the International Dance Day, a holiday instituted by UNESCO International Dance Theaters International Dance Committee. The Dance Day is celebrated annually on April 29.

The BALLET THEME column picks up the discussion that was left off in the previous issue, concerning the topical matters related to various ballet companies contemporary activities. The Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater is dubbed the Coliseum of Siberia. The size of its auditorium and of its semicircle stage is staggering. A year ago, a lengthy renovation of the theater building was completed, and this March the ballet troupe already managed to bring two new ballets to Moscow. The troupes art director Sergei Khrupko in an interview given to Anna Galaida relates of how the troupe has managed not only to come through that difficult reconstruction period but also to get its two productions, Cinderella and the one-act ballet The Russian Seasons, nominated for the Golden Mask National Theatrical Award. Mr. Khrupko talks of measures that the troupe had taken in order to avoid interruptions in the creative process, of peculiarities of its creative development, and of its todays life.   

THE SOUL OF DANCE AWARD WINNERS column keeps introducing this years laureates. Victor Banslovs article The Road of the Men of the Sixties is dedicated to Valeri Leventhal, one of the most talented stage designers who have defined the creative paths in the theatrical space of the second half of the 20th century and who are still active today. Leventhal has designed over a hundred productions in a number of cities and countries, including twenty ballets, some of which he has staged more than one time over. 
 A Personal Example is a set of materials dedicated to Vadim Tedeyev, who has spent his entire stage life as a principal dancer at the K. S. Stanislavsky and V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater of Moscow. This is a rear artist, who has by his art defined and set up a specific style of male classical dance and has created a whole gallery of stage characters each of which is worth studying. Today Vadim Sergeevich is a renowned instructor. His colleagues and pupils talk of him here on these pages: his partner, formerly a remarkable ballerina and now also an instructor, Margarita Drozdova; Sergei Orekhov, a young dancer with the troupe; Genrikh Mayorov, art director of the Moscow Choreorgaphy Academy; and Alexander Bondarenko, head of the same schools Male Classical Dance Department. 
The third article in the column, A Master of Folk Dance by Valeria Uralskaya, is dedicated to Valentina Slykhanova. It is very difficult to teach folk dance This complicated training process has no universally accepted recipes or techniques. That is why a folk dance instructor is destined to live and learn. And that is the meaning and motor of Valentina Ivanovnas life. During her years teaching at the Voronezh Choreography School, where she, then a young instructor, was enticing future ballet dancers into the welter of folk dance, her accumulating experience has been gradually forming a whole system of training.  But Slykhanovas major pursuit was the Folk Department of the Voronezh school, which glories today with its many alumni. Today she is the leading instructor at the Gzhel Dance Theater and professor and head of the Folk Dance on Stage Department of the State Academy of Slavic Culture. She has developed a number of training programs and techniques and authored a book, now in editing, about her own ways of gaining insight of folk dance. 

The NEW BALLET column turns its attention to the K. S. Stanislavsky and V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater of Moscows playbill, which has recently acquired a new title, the ballet A Seagull, staged by choreographer (as well as professional literary critic and theater historian) John Neumeier, who is regarded as a living classic and the leader of the world ballet scene. He lives in the universe of his creations and builds his internal plots on the themes of the world classic literature. Among his productions are Hamlet, Othello, Peer Gynt, La Dame aux Camelias and Odyssey. Right after the opening night, Mr. Neumeier granted the Magazine an exclusive interview, which is presented here. As a conclusion, he edified his interviewers, the beginner critics Olga Goncharova and Olga Shkarpetkina, saying, The most important thing is, you must sincerely love art and respect the effort that an artist has spent creating a work of art. You must remember that artist is more important than critic.

Another article within the column, A Night of the American Choreography by Irina Udianskaya covers a Bolshoy Theaters premiere production, combining three one-act ballets: George Balanchines  Serenade of 1934 to the music by P. I. Tchaikovsky; Philip Glasss ballet In The Upper Room composed by Twyla Tharp twenty years ago; and the world premiere of Christopher Wheeldons Misericordes to the music by Arvo P?rt. The performance was dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the Russian-American diplomatic relations, and the ballets have rather comprehensively presented the artistic trends of the young choreography overseas, which has long been for Russiaa thing in itself.   

The TIME OF BALLET column presents two materials. In the first one, Victor Vanslov writes about Natalia Kasatkina and Valdimir Vasiliov, calling them pioneers. When one takes a look at Natalia Kasatkina and Vladimir Vasiliov in perspective of years and talks about various events in their artistic life and their numerous initiatives, one is obliged to refer to many of them as happening for the first time ever. Much that they have done in this countrys ballet they did for the first time. Kasatkina and Vasiliov make a duet both in life and in art. It is a tandem of two brilliant individualities. It is not customary to talk of each of them separately, and that is not for nothing, for their collective work has brought forth plentiful fruit.  They have paved way to the Russian classical ballet for Stravinsky and Bartok, Butsko, Karetnikov, and Andrei Petrov; they have turned to unorthodox plots and sought their own plastic language. The best theaters in the world have engaged them, and, again, the success has been theirs to share between the two. The Classical Ballet Theater they lead may be regarded as authorial and experimental, for it is a veritable star factory and a smithy of laureates. These two talented persons have written a remarkable page in the history of our culture.
The second material, by Lire Gabyshev, deals with Yevdokia Stepanova, the legendary first prima ballerina of the Yakutia ballet, whose art one can compare to a beaming peak that has illumined the classical ballet in the Republic. It was her graduation from the A. Ya. Vaganova Choreography School of Leningrad and her artistic work that the Yakut Terpsichore began the landmark process of gaining professionalism. Her life has not been an easy one. She early lost her parents and lived in an orphanage. The writer relates how she chanced to enter the world of art and enumerates the many roles she has performed (including Juliet, Mirtha in  Giselle, the schoolmistress in the ballet A Girl and a Bully, Stepmother in Cinderella). Yevdokia Stepanovas appearances have always proved the highlights of the program. Having completed her dancing career Stepanova enthusiastically turned to teaching and then ventured to write. It was a mesh of circumstances that during the period of hardship for the entire country she plucked up her courage and consented to lead the ballet troupe first as art director and then as general manager.

In the TIME OF BALLET: ANNIVERSARIES column, Yevgeni Valukin, head of Choreography Department at the Russian Theater Academy, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Department, remembers the masters who pioneered higher education in choreography in the 20th century and the hardships they had to go through. Today the Departments alumni lead major theater companies, ensembles, schools; they are acknowledged as true experts all over the world. Originally the Department had only thirteen students, whereas today there are over a hundred. Life goes on, it demands more and more professionals in new trends of choreography in ballroom dance, pop dance, folk dance, and figure skating, and the Department offers all these majors. We aspire to combine our scholarly and educational activities with practical work of social significance and to engage our students in it. 
 
Valeri Modestovs material in the WORLD OF BALLET column deals with the new staging of Giselle at the Vanemuyne Theater.  The interesting twist in Tartu was that the Theater engaged Stanislav Fecho, a student of the A. Ya. Vaganova Russian Ballet Academy of St. Petersburg and the leading dancer of Czechia, to stage the ballet. But dancing is one thing and staging, quite another. Those are two different artistic professions, and not every dancer, even the most brilliant, can be a choreographer, quite reasonably observes the writer, while expressing, nonetheless, the hope that perhaps this time a new talented choreographer has indeed been born in Tartu. The debutant managed to preserve the original choreographic base while introducing new mise en scenes, which made the whole composition of the ballet more carefully crafted. Starring were Natalia Sologub from Dresden Opera and Dmitry Gudanov from the Bolshoy. 
The sketch Rings on the Pavement by Galina Polishchuk acquaints the readers with the Dance Fest dancing marathons that are held in Japan, a country which is extremely dynamic and totally computerized and yet profoundly reveres its history. Being the world leader in high technologies Japan nevertheless does devotionally preserve its ethnical identity and uniqueness. The age-long traditions in this country seem absolutely changeless, something that one imbibes from the very childhood as the most valuable, eternal and the most important things in life. Dance is one of those eternal values. The writer describes the annual dancing feasts, which are held in each prefecture, in each neighborhood and even in the scarce spaces between skyscrapers. Another traditional event is the annual street processions akin to the Brazilian carnival. All the events are in large scale and meticulously, Japanese-like, organized. Everybody dances from 3-year-olds to venerable senior citizens. The dance is strictly traditional in form, dating from ancient history.

Olga Shkarpetkinas material Are You Ready? is dedicated to Neshka Robeva, whose name is well known to many free calisthenics lovers. From 1966 to 1973, she was a member of Bulgarian national team and was a world vice champion. For 25 years, since 1975, Neshka Robeva had been national coach for the Bulgarian free calisthenics team. She created the so called Bulgarian school of that beautiful sport whose fosterlings are dubbed the golden girls of Bulgaria and Neshka herself, a living legend. In 2000, Neshka Robeva suddenly quit the coaching career and founded a professional dance ensemble called National Art composed of former champions, her own alumnae, and dancers from a male folk dance ensemble. The company boasts several productions on its playbill, has won an international acclaim and many prizes from various festivals. The article presents a new work a ballet about woodkerns, Robin Hoods, champions of the poor and the oppressed. It combines ethnic motives and contemporary dance, Bulgarian folk lore and dances of peoples that live in Bulgaria the Gypsies, Turks, Greeks, and Romanians.       

The anniversary page in this issue is dedicated to the greetings to Mira Koltsova, art director and chief choreographer at the Beriozka State Choreography Ensemble, and Natalia Galtsyna, educator, ballet historian, and formerly prima ballerina at the Musical Theater of the Republic of Karelia.

Following its tradition, the INFORM-BALLET column presents various events:

-- Valeri Ivanov presents a recently published massive tome containing a collection of 75 life stories of famous personalities of the Samara Opera and Ballet Theater, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. The book, published by the Ofort publishing house, is beautifully illustrated. The stories in the book are chronologically arranged, so while reading them we as it were turn the pages of the Theaters history.

-- Maria Yevseeva reports of a new production that of the ballet Adventures of Doctor Doolittle to the music of Peter Izotov. The spectacle proved a veritable event of the season at the Opera and Ballet Theater of Chuvash Republic. Staged by Yuri Puzakov, it was one of the works dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Chuvash ballet troupe.  
 
-- Anna Chernetsova writes of workdays and feast days of the Buriat Choreography School, which was founded in the spring of 1961. Today the School has over 200 students at both Classical and Folk Dance Departments. The school does many performing tours. Its playbill boasts nine ballets, including The Nutcracker, Chopiniane, and The Sleeping Beauty, as well as an extensive concert program. In addition, the students participate in performances at the Theater.   

-- Yelena Presniakova presents the Childrens Philharmonic founded in Yekaterinburg in 1979. This is perhaps the only concert organization for children in Russia, not only in the sense that it addresses children, but also that performing in its concerts are also children young musicians, dancers, and singers. One of the leading groups with the Philharmonic is the Smile Dance Ensemble founded and led by Olga Zhuravlyova. 

-- Another article of Yelena Presniakovas deals with the Regional Russian Dance Festival, They Run Chorovods All over Russia.      The Festival was dedicated to the legendary Tatiana Ustinova. Its closing concert was held at the P. I. Tchaikovsky Concert Hall and proved a veritable triumph of the Russian dance. The cause that the great choreographer had served all her life is now taken over by her daughter, Lydia Ustinova (who staged the concert), whose efforts preserve for the future generations the pieces that her mother had created and that have become classical.
 


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