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In this issue | Short summary
  5 [147]  September-October 2007 
 The double-page photo opening this issue is dedicated to the new version of Le Corsaire, one of the treasures of Russian classical repertoire, restored by the Bolshoi Theaters artistic director, Alexei Ratmansky, and expert in choreographic rarities, Yuri Burlaka, opened on the stage of the Bolshoi.

 The BALLET THEME column continues the on-going discussion of the urgent problems in the present-day activities of ballet companies. Sergey Korobkov presents an interview with general manager of the Musa Djalil Opera and Ballet Theater of Tatarstan, Raufal Mukhametzyanov. Among the just a few of the many important topics discussed were new models and forms of theater business administration, the practice of open stage, a reassessment of the very idea of repertoire theater, integration of cultures, new forms of management, correlation between market relations and artistic ambitions and the Kazans specialty the Chaliapin Festival and the Nureyev Festival.

The BALLET SEASON column covers new productions. Two different articles present different views of The Seagull, a premiere production by the renowned Hamburg, choreographer J. Neumeier, at the K. S. Stanislavsky and V. I. Nemirovich- Danchenko Musical Theater of Moscow. Olga Goncharova believes that What attracts Neumeier is the universality of the subject regardless of nationality and time, as well as the opportunity to transpose the plot to the field of his liking to ballet. Yaroslav Sedov, on the other hand, concludes that The dance, rather modest both in lexicon and the strength with which its fluid ideas are developed, most often illustrates only various fragments of the story line, while the characters appear exaggeratedly grotesque and monotonous The more conscientiously the artists labor the clearer it becomes that the production presents a parody, not as much of The Seagull or of some school of ballet as of its creators own works. 
Olga Shkarpetkina reviews the premiere of The Fountain of Bakhchisarai at the State Opera and Ballet Theater of Bashkortostan, which one may rightfully refer to as a happy return, for the company has already seen three versions of the classic. The newest is by the artistic director of the ballet company, Shamil Teregulov the legendary performer of Nurali on the Ufa stage. There are two casts, each offering their own interpretation of which the article gives minute details. This production shifts the emphasis, quite justifiably, to Guirei, which brings The Fountain of Bakhchisarai to its sources in drama and ballet. The scanty tears of the man and warrior turn into the poetic tears [A. Pushkin] of the fountain that he erected, at whose side Guirei himself becomes the Poet.

The BALLET-PARADE column opens with Sergei Korobkovs analytical article A White Crow and a Swan Camp dedicated to Swan Lake by the British choreographer Matthew Bourne. The spectacle opened the Seventh Chekhov International Theater Festival and immediately cased a burst of emotions. Some where shocked by the total recast of the ballets canonical version here the traditionally female parts of the swans are performed by males while others were captured by its charm. Some saw in it the theme of sexual identity, others discerned Freudian motifs, while still others related it to a theatrical legalization of gay culture. The writer believes that Bournes enigma lies quite outside these things, which are superficial and shows that hidden in the work are answers to questions fundamental for any artist. Bourne constructs the hidden conflict of his work as that between individual and flock, and the entire story line, which so impresses one with its English humor, its burlesque virtuosity, and its craftily sophisticated attractiveness, may be seen as a single combat between a white crow and a swan camp. 
Alla Mikhaleva takes up the subject of the Chekhov Festival and relates of two productions. One is Tangera by the Argentinean Diego Romai Company based on an ingenuously sentimental story of an immigrant girl who came from Europe seeking a better life and ended up in the insidious paws of pimps. The tango the entire show is hinged on proves a fertile and reliable field for such an interpretation. 
The other production in question is Mazurka Fogo, which the legendary Pina Bausch presented to Moscow as one of the series of ballets reflecting her impressions of different summary cities of the world. Mazurka was inspired by her visit to Lisbon. At the same time, the writer opines, the choreographer is interested not in a specific city but rather her artists characters and their relationships with each other and with the past and future against the backdrop of a conventional cityscape, in this particular case, Portuguese. The patchwork of dancing scenes, playful genre episodes, and reminiscence monologues emanate fumes of peace; Mazurka works as a powerful sedative. 
Ekaterina Vasenina presents yet another participant at the Festival, the Taiwanese company, Cloud Gates. Its show, Wonderers Songs, is a veritable semantic storeroom, the number of keys we can find to it depending on our skills of perception. The critic offers a charged and interesting system of associations and reveals the meaning of Oriental philosophies and Buddhist proverbs; she talks of rice grains and of their relation to the grains of knowledge and muses over coexistence, in the same space, of meditation, martial arts, ballet, and contemporary dance techniques. This show requires attentive ear and sharp eye and ability to follow the mosaic of images. 
The contemporary stage art of Canada turned out the major theme of this years Chekhov Festival, Compagne Marie Chouinard represented its choreography section. Olga Goncharova reviews here the productions of this eccentric group. The figure of Chouinard had been a veritable sphinx for Russia; now the time was ripe to get acquainted and an introduction took place in four phases, that is. The Canadians showed four performances in the framework of two programs, in fact, the choreographer has told almost all there is to tell about her work: pronounced eroticism, amiabilities toward animalism, aspiration for using sounds that emanate from the body, and lack of interest for musical sounds.

Alexander Maksov in his article To Nureyev To Joy covers the Nureyev Festival in Ufa, which was held in high tonus, with its number thirteen harboring no specific mystical evils but to the contrary, favorable for good surprises. There was a presentation of The Grand Pas of Bashkir Ballet, a new book by Nina Zhilenko; there was a premiere performance of The Fountain of Bakhchisarai; the ballet troupe of P. I. Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theater of Perm presented the program Choreography of George Balanchine; among participants were guest performers from Spain and dancers from Moscow theaters. The artists of Ufa looked quite worthy alongside the guests and showed excellent technique, culture of dance, and emotion.

The seventh Contest of Russian Folk Dancers of the Moscow Region, The Whirligig of Moscovia, was held in the Moscow suburb Lyubertsy within the framework of Project Slavic Encounters. About a thousand participants of all ages, starting from five year old, from various communities of the Moscow district performed over 130 dances. Valery Butyrkin, a jury member, reports of the Project and of the winners of the competition. There were two ballet nights included in the program of the seventh Cherry-tree Forest Arts Festival. Olga Goncharova, covering the event, opines, Not too generous a choice, but then, not just formal either. She goes on to analyze, in detail, the recent premiere of Bolero jointly produced by the Kremlin Ballet company and Maris Liepa Foundation, as well as to present a story of the very first performance by Ida Rubinstein, for whom Ravel composed the piece. It was Alexander Benois who designed costumes and stage set for that legendary production and Bronislava Nijinsky who choreographed it. Today, Ilse Liepa dances the lead and Bolero has proved one of the most successful projects of Andris Liepa. 
The second dance event of the Festival was Ekodoom by Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Theater of Israel. The first part of the title, eko, refers to both ecology and echo. The fabric of the spectacle is woven together by the phenomenal technical skills of the performers, mind-blowing light effects, powerful vigor of authorial meanings and a wealth of fluid themes. The choreographer Rami Beirs idea to draw attention to the destructive activities of mankind is more suitable for a public advertisement poster.

The BALLET-CLASS column opens with a pictorial of the graduate concert at the Vladimir Zakharovs School (Gzhel) and continues with Natalia Kurdiumovas article, Dialogues with the Future. The Contemporary Dance Department of the Liberal Arts University of Yekaterinburg presented a summary concert at the end of yet another  successful school year. According to experts, the students performances were marked with notable artistic maturity and a style that combines the breadth of horizons characteristic of the School with artistic perfection of professionals. The department stepped forward in quite a dramatic moment in the, so far, fairly short history of this countrys contemporary dance. The fact that the Golden Mask Festivals jury awarded no prize in that field, last spring, was not just a whimsy of academically oriented experts. It was rather a symptom of that topical art forms being more and more often met with lack of understanding on the part of audiences, critics, and cultural functionaries. Reasons for such alienation are numerous. The article goes on to analyze these reasons, as well as relate interests of todays students and the teachers they are lucky enough to train under.

The WORLD OF BALLET column features a story by Natalia Levkoeva. During the tenth International Competition of Ballet Artists and Choreographers, the ballet figures finally made a decisive step and created the International Federation of Ballet Contests, whose first assembly took place past spring in Moscow. At present, the federation comprises thirteen major ballet competitions all over the world. The writer describes the assembly and its agenda: the federations goals and objectives and further outlooks of the international competition movement. In addition, the article presents the calendar of competitions for the year 2008, which, apparently, is going to be quite plentiful.
 The next material within the column, A Surprise Box, is by Nina Alovert. Larissa and Gennadi Saveliev, formerly Bolshoi Ballet dancers, conduct a contest of ballet school students called Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) in the United States. The competition offers students of different countries an opportunity to catch the attention of teachers and directors of prestigious schools and theaters. This is the competitions main achievement. The writer describes the contestants, the history of the competition, its prizes and scholarship grants, the fates of its first winners, and the closing gala night in New York, Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow, where the young participants of the current contest dance in concert with the best masters of world ballet. 
The column continues with Ekaterina Vaseninas review of the New Baltic Dance Festival of Lithuania. The writer, who is an expert in contemporary dance, presents dancing portraits of the participating productions: EGO-tik by Ertza from Spain; The Other Side of the River and a miniature, Audrey by Olga Ponas Dance Theater of Cheliabinsk; Superlux from Greece; a solo, Miss Very Wagner from Sweden; a one-dancer ballet, Dances on a Desolate Island from the UK; and, of course, a performance from the hosts. For me, who saw the Lithuanian Dance Festival for the first time ever, it was a genuine revelation, confesses the writer, who then presents a short interview with the festivals artistic director, Audronis Imbrasos.
Anna Chernetsova presents a conversation with Lita Beiris, president of Latvian Professional Ballet Association and general manager of the Baltic International Ballet Festival. Human life is short, especially professional life of a ballet artist. Some dancers are unable to settle their lives after the end of their careers. Former prima-ballerina of the Latvian Opera Theater, Lita Beiris has managed to materialize her potentials, became a businesswoman and started the International Festival in her hometown Riga. She speaks of the festvals life and further development. 
Alice In Wonderland, the fruit of Lewis Carrolls imagination, recently hit the list of twelve most typical symbols of England. Yet today, few pay attention to national identity of the girl who went through the looking-glass. At least playbills all over Europe and America boast dozens of Alices, especially ballet ones. Alexander Chepalov reveals the most characteristic principals of staging ballets based on this all time favorite story, the different ways in which the story is read among countries and talks of music that choreographers use. Special attention is given to the show Alice@wunderland at Viennas Volksoper.

The TIME OF BALLET column features an exciting story of Vera Kaminskaya, dedicated to the centennial of the ballerina and dance teacher. Among characters of the story are Agrippina Vaganova, Akim Volynsky, Anatoly Lunacharsky, Galina Ulanova, Tatiana Vecheslova, the mother of Anna Pavlova and many others whom Kaminskaya encountered in the course of her life, which resembles a thrilling novel. She entered the stage at a time when tall stature in a ballerina was considered an insurmountable flaw. According to standards of the time, a ballerina was supposed to be tiny. Kaminskaya did not meet those standards, and even though she perfectly mastered classical dance technique, the slassies rejected her and sent her to character dancers, who, in turn, ping-ponged her to the rival camp. She was good in both places, though was never willing to restrict herself within any particular genre. Arkady Sokolov-Kaminsky writes here about parts she had danced, which more often than not were supporting ones.

The BALLET SCENOGRAPHY column portraits three young principal dancers: Vitaly Poleschuk of the P. I. Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theater of Perm, Anna Leonova of the Bolshoy and Sergey Popov of the Mariinsky.

Yevgeni Malikov in the BALLET GALLERY column introduces the exhibition of works by the painter Alexander Nazarov of Yakutsk, as well as works by artist photographer Yevgeni Ivanov of Novosibirsk. Ivanovs passion is coming-to-be, he is interested in processes rather than states; ballerinas whom Ivanov sees off-stage do not look quite like those we are accustomed to see, say, on TV. He is not interested in technical aspects of how attitudes or arabesques are performed but rather in things beyond the visible.
 
 


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