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In this issue | Short summary
  6 [148]  November-Desember 2007 
The BALLET THEME column carries on the discussion of various urgent problems concerning the present-day activities of ballet troupes, companies, and groups. The editorial board of the Ballet Magazine has held several meetings to which some major artistic figures were invited, such as Loipa Araujo of Cuba and Pak In Ja of South Korea. The discussions touched upon development of choreographic art in the countries that have taken their unique way in ballet. The material prepared by Olga Goncharova presents insight into the sources from which the Cuban ballet school has been shaped, its historical ties with the Russian ballet, and Cuban artists work with British and French instructors. Out of this combination a unique phenomenon has emerged the young Cuban School, which is being seriously talked about all over the world. Today the school boasts 300 students, and Loipa Araujo explained why, in her opinion, ballet in Cuba has achieved such a high level. The main reasons for those achievements are a well thought-through system of ballet artists training and the diversity of repertoire based on classical ballet. 
The second part of the article covers the Festival of South Korea Culture, which was recently concluded in Moscow with Korean National Ballet Companys performance of A Futile Precaution. M-me Pak In Ja, company Director, spoke about the troupe, which belongs to the State and is the only one in the country that is financed by the government. There are a few artists in the troupe that had studied in Russia and America, but most of our performers are alumni of the ballet schools of Korean universities, most of which have dance departments with ballet divisions. It was especially interesting to learn that the ballet artists complete their training at the age of twenty two and that there is no age limit on their dancing careers they perform for as long as their strength remains sufficient. Classical ballets comprise 80 per cent of the repertoire while the rest is given to contemporary productions. Nowadays the Korean ballet engages Boris Eifman and Yuri Grigorovich and also works on the revival of Mikhail Fokins ballet on a Korean theme. The article ends with a review of the companys production of A Futile Precaution. 

The BALLET-PARADE column consists of several articles all united by the common theme of the traditional summer ballet festival, which was held in Moscow for the third time. From June through August the New Opera Theater hosted performances by Classical Ballet Theater under Natalia Kasatkina and Vladimir Vasiliov; Russian National Ballet under Elena and Sergey Radchenko; the Russian Ballet Theater under Yuri Burlaka; and the Imperial Russian Ballet under Ghediminas Taranda. Each of the companies presented their old productions, while N. Kasatkina and V. Vasiliovs troupe even gave a premiere performance of the ballet Mawgly to the music by the 14-year-old prodigy Alex Prier. The performances are covered here by the articles by composer Elena Fishtik and ballet critics Elena Kozlenkova,  Christina Khandlos and Olga Shkarpetkina. 
Ekaterina Vasenina, within the same column, picks up the festival theme with an analysis of yet another summer festival, that of nonverbal theater, Personal File. It is the kid brother of the winter contemporary dance festival, Workshop. It aims at building up a dossier of young choreographers of Russia and adjacent lands, bringing forth plastic language of the new generation of contemporary choreographers and dancers. This generation is rather multitudinous, and its members turn to contemporary dance aspiring to self-expression. However, it seems, the underground in Russia is only able to produce exciting results under prohibition and suppression; at least such a thought never leaves one at the Personal Files performances, concludes the writer after having analyzed many of the festivals shows. One feels an urge to say to the organizers, Give us more dance, give us an expressively dancing body; all right, I accept the notion that motion has become subtler, but still I want to see it, I miss a comprehendible composition of dialogues and monologues and am sure it is attainable even within the framework of minimalism. But at this point one must admit that emergence of stars and cultural bursts are all in the past. 

The BALLET SCENOGRAPHY column presents a literary portrait of Henrikh Mayorov. Pedagogics as a profession became part of his life in 1988, when Yuri Grigorovich engaged him as an instructor at the Moscow Choreography Academy. Today many regard him as a good omen: if you happen to run across him youll get an emotional charge for the whole day. The writer, Marianna Yachmeniova, relates in great detail of the eventful artistic life of H. Mayorov, who started his career in the Ukraine, at the Ivan Franco Opera and Ballet Theater of Lvov and the Taras Shevchenko Opera and Ballet Theater of Kiev, where he was fortunate enough to work with such outstanding masters as Vronsky, Virsky, Chabukiani, and Gusev. While dancing on stage, Henrikh Mayorov felt an irresistible urge to become a choreographer himself In 1967, he joined the class of professor Igor Belsky at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory of Music in Leningrad, where such greats as Leonid Yakobson, Peter Gusev, Alla Shelest, Constantine Sergeev and Georgy Alexidze where instructors and the great Feodor Lopukhin himself, a consultant.  While still a student, and later, after graduating, he has staged many spectacles and isolated numbers, which have brought their performers many victories at the international ballet competitions, while he himself won a State prize for the ballet Cipollino. The ballet was shown on stage of the Bolshoy Theater in Moscow and of theaters in Minsk, Voronezh, Ufa, Kishinev, Krasnodar, Vilnius, etc.  Various Moscow companies have performed his Little Prince to the music of Ye. Glebov and  Scarlet Sails to the music of V. Yurovsky. Even today he is not only a famous teacher but also an active choreographer. At present he is working on the ballet Doctor Doolittle to the music of I. Morozov. Among his more remote aspirations is a ballet to the S. Prokofievs Alexander Nevsky cantata. 

Under the TIME OF BALLET column, the article Talent, Work, and Luck by Galina Inozemtseva and Olga Shkarpetkina is dedicated to choreographer and instructor Rostislav Vladimirovich Zakharov, whose centennial is celebrated this year.  Rostislav Vladimirovich had always been noted for artistic obsession. Having graduated from the Leningrad Choreography School in 1926, he dedicated all his life up to the very last days to ballet. Kharkov, Astrakhan, Saratov, Kiev wherever he was he worked and worked, endlessly. In 1929, he is back in Leningrad, at the Institute of Theatrics, for life itself, as Zakharov clearly saw, demanded a constant replenishment of ones artistic and scholarly stock, which had been plentifully provided for by his mentors, the famous stage director Vladimir Soloviov and the outstanding scholars Stefan Mokulsky and Ivan Solertinsky. Then came choreographing of dances in opera productions at the famous Mariinsky (then Kirov) Theater An offer by Boris Asafiev to start working on the then new ballet The Fountain of Bakhchisarai proved an event-trigging point in Zakharovs life story. Thus a new current in the Russian art of choreography was born whose landmarks were such productions of Zakharovs as Illusions Lost, The Captive of Caucasus, Taras Bulba, Cinderella, The Peasant Young Lady, The Brazen Horseman, and Red Poppy. Working with Zakharov had helped flourish outstanding talents who had constituted in 1930s through 1950s the pleiad of brilliant masters of national ballet, foremost of whom was the great Galina Ulanova. Owing to Zakharovs efforts the Chair of Choreography was created at the State Institute of Theatrics (GITIS) in 1946, which now has evolved into the Choreography department of the Russian Theater Academy. Rostislav Vladimirovich had lovingly cherished his brainchild he had created curricula and instructors manuals, employed prominent experts and instructors, and written textbooks. The article ends with a set of excerpts from Zakharovs admonitions for his pupils choreographers, performers, instructors, and critics, whom he called helpers and friends of choreographers and dancers. 

The BALLET READINGS is a new column where the editorial board intends to acquaint the readers with major currents in ballet studies and the contemporary science of theatrics, and is ready to welcome young scholars as contributors. There are two articles presented here. Information Backing of a Ballet Production by Xenia Fokina deals with the main task of ballet management, which is to prevent a ballet production from getting lost in the wide world filled with multitudes of various shows. 

Choreographic Symphonism: Ways and Cross-roads by Larissa Abyzova touches upon a scholarly problem specifically related to the field of ballet studies. As practice has shown, symphonic dance is able to develop in various new directions in order to meet demands of the time and spiritual demands of the society. Feodor Lopukhovs idea that new ways of choreographic expression may only be paved based on the basis of such dance that emerges out of structure and figurativeness of music, has been taken up from the leaders of 1960s and 70s and further artistically developed by their followers, young masters of today.

In the BALLET CLASS column, Valeria Uralskaya relates of the methods used by the world renowned teacher Mikhail Messerer. It is in whose class and with which instructor the ballet artist starts his/her day that the quality of the performance we are to see tonight depends on. Is this not the reason why legends never die in the ballet sphere about expert ballet repetiteurs training classes? The writer analyzes authorial classes by Mikhail Messerer and his principle of combining classical exercise routine with building up of a composition. The article touches upon the origins of his ballet life, which began at the Moscow Choreography School and continued at the Bolshoy Theater. In other words, Mikhail Messerer is a bearer of traditions of Moscow ballet school. His involvement in the world of ballet, undoubtedly, was largely influenced by his family his famous mother Sulamith Messerer and his equally renowned uncle Asaf Messerer, whose classes helped shape Mikhail too. Today he shapes his own classes according to the troupes he is working with, to their particular qualities, their traditions, their level of skill, and the tasks they need to perform at any given period. There is such a notion in ballet as international star. Speaking of Messerer and his school one may talk of international teacher, from whose hands the ballet artists of many countries all over the world receive the rich experience of a true bearer of the school of classical dance.

The WORLD OF BALLET column takes its readers to Hamburg. Elena Solominskaya in her article Episodes and Echo covers the Ballet Days in Hamburg Festival Hamburger Ballett Tage and analyzes its broad repertoire centered on a common theme.

As a leitmotif for this 33-rd festival, John Neuemeier chose Myths and Fairy Tales and collected a whole patchwork of fabulously beautiful ballets. Not only did John Neuemeier create a school, a troupe, a theater, and a foundation named after him, but also conceived and brought to life these inimitable evenings, days and nights of ballet. He created a veritable Gesamtkunstwerk Neuemeier, in which we encounter a unique phenomenon, when one person again, not only a creator, an artist, a teacher, but also an undisputable leader and talented manager emanates around him a powerful energy field.

The article presented in the BALLET GALLERY column contains an exciting story. Valeria Gerashchenko suggests that a series of drawings by the Russian artist count Fyodor Tolstoy called Sweetheart and known as an artwork for the cognominal poem by Hippolite Bogdanovich, is related to the ballet theater of the Pushkin times. The writer proves her hypothesis by juxtaposing historical facts, both well known and obscure for general public, and reconstructing ballet scenes from their descriptions. The iconography of the Didelot ballets is extremely scarce, and therefore any opportunity to get acquainted with anything related to them, whatsoever indirect it might be, is of particular interest. The storyline of Sweetheart is directly related to, and has obvious parallels with, the Didelots ballet Cupid and Psyche, which premiered in 1909 at the Hermitage Theater and became a memorable occasion. Tolstoys drawings are doubly interesting in that they are inspired by the lost ballet by Didelot, and one would like to readdress the statement by L. Grossman and say that nobody has noticed how Fyodor Tolstoy debuted as a drawer by means  of a ballet series.

It is a generally accepted notion that serious ballet studies are conducted only in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But that is far from the truth. These days all major cities with ballet theaters and/or companies have their own critics who provide press coverage of all new choreographic events and at times do scholarly researches. Among these welcome occurrences is a fundamental treatise of George Balanchine prepared by Oleg Levenkov and published by the World of Books Publishing House in Perm in 2007. Victor Vanslov reviews the book in the BALLET LIBRARY column. Levenkov has dedicated 20 years of his life to studies of his favorite choreographers work. It is the first scholarly research of this outstanding 20-th century choreographers work ever to be conducted in this country. 

The INFORM-BALLET column adheres to its tradition and presents a patchwork of the world of dance. One of its articles, A Housewarming at Bolshaya Dmitrovka by Olga Shkarpetkina, deals with the past season at the K. S. Stanislavsky and V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater of Moscow, which was the first season on the renovated stage of the reconstructed theater. The ballet premieres the writer relates of have been tested on both Great and Lesser stages. The season has been marked with brilliant debuts; the main repertoire ballets have gradually returned into the Theaters playbill. 

Valeria Uralskayas article Lessons Taught by Change concludes the issue. Fussing, arent we, gentlemen, just fussing this is what one would like to say when characterizing the overall picture of choreographic art of 2007. Indeed, much is going on, but one is hard put to name memorable occasions. True, memorable occasions are scarce guests and, perhaps, do not visit stages too often. On the other hand, they can hardly emerge out of fussing about  The writer muses over difficult matters. Why did the joy of sharing in the world experience, which we had for a long time been denied, turn into sadness? Did everything that has been taken from the worldwide sources prove worthy of our stage? The problem is, while reviewing your own history it is hard to stop even at the point of revolutionary maximalist pathos. Still, I believe, a stop is necessary. Therefore let the question that demands a self-appraisal, the Who are we? question sound as a warning. Extending the upcoming New-years greetings to all ballet personalities, the Magazines Editor-in-chief wishes them to find their footings, to find opportunities for themselves and for the audiences to encounter the things that would lift us all above the fuss and afford us a view from the horizon. 
 


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