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In this issue | Short summary
  1  [143] January-February  2007


The first New Years issue features the Magazines traditional columns. One of them is THE SOUL OF DANCE PRIZE WINNERS. The title of Queen of Ballet was bestowed on Svetlana Zakharova, and for this remarkable principal dancer of the Bolshoy Theaters it is not so much an award as a definition of her role specialization. It is not only a metaphor of her enchanting movements, phenomenal step and plasticity, but also a reference to the aristocratism of her dancing manner which is so characteristic of any part she dances. Ever since 2003, when she became a prima ballerina of the Bolshoy under the guidance of Lyudmila Semeniaka, Zakharova has created her own exciting intrigue in the artistic life of our ballet, consisting of a whole chain of exciting artistic events. It is these events that writer Yaroslav Sedov discusses in this article.

Nina Zhilenkos story bears the title of Headmasters Variations. The boys of Alik Bikchurins generation grew up too soon, having experienced all the hardships of wartime. His father was killed in battle, and he knows firsthand what famine, cold, and anxiety mean. To survive one must not be weak, one must protect oneself, stand up for ones opinions and ones dignity. That is how the hedgehog-like character of the ever defensive chap was shaped. In 1947 he, among other Bashkir children, was selected for training at the Leningrad Choreography school. It came as a surprise for himself that the art of ballet had become the very essence of his life. Honestly and conscientiously, fully devoting himself to his art, Alik Bikchurin, principal dancer of the Bashkir State Opera and Ballet Theater, kept performing both classical and character parts. When a choreography school was open in Ufa, the capital city of the Bashkir Republic, he was appointed its headmaster. 1993 saw the first graduation class. It was all joy, victory, happiness. In 2008 the school will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Today it counts among eight major institutions of its kind in Russian Federation. Plans for the future include a construction of a 250-seat student theater, where the schools students would perform on weekends. 

Lev Shulman, winner of the Knight of Dance title, by training and education is a drama director. His debut, strange as it may today seem, had nothing to do with dance. In 1984, a one-man performance after Dostoevskys Ridiculous Mans Dream was acted on stage of a cultural club at the Mayakovsky City Park in Sverdlovsk. Even though the production was a success, and in spite of the fact that the one-and-a-half-hour theatrical monologue attracted audiences, Shulman as its stage director felt ill at ease while sorrowfully watching it. What should be done so that everything be understood but no words spoken?, he thought. Years and encounters were to pass since those joyless thoughts and until a new generation professional dancing team was created that laid the foundation for the Urals branch of Russian contemporary dance. Today, the Yekaterinburg Center for Contemporary Arts, created and headed by Lev Shulman, is unconditionally acclaimed all over the world. 

Tatiana Predeina is talked of as being a ballerina of a stellar rank, one of the most famous Russian ballerinas. And, that is not a mere compliment from exalted spectator. As Ekaterina Maksimova relates in her book, Madam No, some leading officials of the Bolshoy Ballet, having once seen Tatiana Predeina at a rehearsal, immediately offered her to be auditioned for the famed troupe. She has received many such proposals, for many Russian ballet companies just dream of such an artist as this prima of Cheliabinsk. Sergei Chadov describes the dancers artistic journey, which began at the Perm Choreography School under Lyudmila Sakharova, continued at Yekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theater, then made a detour to Perm again, to the local Chaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theater, then made a three-year stretch with the Kremlin Ballet of Moscow and finally arrived at the stellar career in Cheliabinsk. It was not for nothing that Tatiana Predeina won the Soul of Dance Award as a Star. 

Valeri Modestovs sketch A Tough Nut of Many Matters is dedicated to the work of Victor Vanslov, a prominent art historian and aesthetician, a major scholar of the Russian and worldwide artistic culture, Fellow of the Russian Academy of Arts. His books, including Ballets of Grigorovich and Problems of Choreography, Simon Virsaladze, Reminiscent Portraits, Music in Ballet, et al., have significantly influenced the contemporary liberal arts and the formation of a new approach to ballet studies. One can not but regard it as wise and just decision the decision to bestow the Soul of Dance award to this faithful and disinterested servant of Terpsichore and one of the founders of this Magazine. It is hard to call to mind another scholar whose works express so vividly a profound understanding of so various art forms of music, choreography, fine arts, and scenography. To know, to understand, and to love arts these are the three commandments by which all serious art historians shape themselves. All Vanslovs life seems to affirm the famous maxim that the dignity of arts and the dignity of sciences lie in disinterested ministry for the good of the people. 

In the WORLD OF BALLET column, Svetlana Naborshchikova presents artistic views of choreographer Carolyn Carlson. This legendary figure of European contemporary dance first visited Moscow in 1997 to receive the Benois de la Dance award for the ballet Symbols staged for the Paris Opera. Recently, the 62-year-old American-born Frenchwoman, the author of several books of poetry and an adherent of Zen, visited the Russian capital city in order to show her production, Tigers in a Tea House, in the benefit nights for three dancers. Svetlana Naborshchikova was lucky enough to be able to secure the choreographers interview and to ask her where she managed to find such exotic performers, what she thinks of European cultures being so fascinated by the Oriental, and how her dance plots are born

The name of Neshka Robeva 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 of the Bulgarian free calisthenics team. She created the so called Bulgarian school of that beautiful sport. Now who could have thought that Neshka Robeva would make a new turn in her career and found a professional dance ensemble? Olga Shkarpetkinas article discusses the work of this remarkable gymnast, coach, and choreographer. 

  Tatiana Reinhrart presents a story of the premiere performances of the ballet Anna Karenina to the music of Peter Tchaikovsky, staged at the Viennas Volksoper by the Russian choreographer Boris Eifman, who previously staged it at the Ballet Theater of St. Petersburg, which he heads. There were two casts engaged in the production. Among the dancers were Olga Esina and Dagmar Kronberger as Anna, Cyril Kurlaev and Eno Reci as Karenin, and Vladimir Shishov and Ivan Popov as Vronsky. Esina and Shishov are the alumni of the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, while Kurlaev was trained in Austria. 

Thierry Malendin, a famous choreographer, head of Biarritz Ballet, who has created over sixty choreographic works, recently staged the ballet The Flight of Icarus for the Paris Opera in honor of Serge Lifar. His musicality and intelligence combined with ingenious fantasy and a fine sense of theater have all contributed to impressive discoveries in his stage works which have excited a great public interest. Surprisingly enough, the previous work of the famed choreographer was an opera production, which he staged at St. Etienne. It does not happen too often that a choreographer acts as a stage director of an opera. This experiment by a choreographer affirms that the domain of opera is able to expand annex new territories in the land of dance, opines Victor Ignatov, who authored the present review. 

Dance in Cuba is not just a part of national culture, but it saturates peoples everyday life, being their style of life, one of the forms of communication. It was readily evidenced by the participants and guests of the Havana Ballet Festival, which was originally founded by the supreme prima ballerina of Cuba, Alicia Alonso. Many bright stars from Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, UK, and South America had shown their art to enthusiastic audiences, offering them state of the art techniques and introducing new works by various choreographers, created specially for this, the 20th, festival. Margaret Willis in her article A Constellation Over the Alonso Island covers that traditional feast of dance. 

The BALLET GELLERY column features Oleg Brezgins article, Diaghilevs Portrait Symphony. It is not easy today to sort out all the numerous and divers portraiture depicting Sergei Diaghilev. It is well known that all his life and activities were first and foremost linked to music. Therefore, When classifying the portraits depicting Diaghilev, it is quite appropriate to use musical terms and notions, the writer opines. Such an approach, the one through musical forms, seems not only logical but quite obligate. The article discusses the portraits by Somov, Maliavin, Serov, and Bakst, as well as genre-piece sketches and reportorial drawings by such artists as Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso. 

The BALLET THEME column is dedicated to the Bolshoy Theaters foreign tour. The anniversary season in London proved simply magnificent. It has shown, among other things, that the troupe, in spite of unjustifiably tight schedule (six different programs and 24 performances in just three weeks), is in an excellent shape. It has also proved false some newspapers assertions that, due to internal frictions and because of the main stage being closed for renovation, the company was now just a wreckage of the once great troupe. The Bolshoy had placed its bet on the youth, having left the elder generation stars behind, and won. The young talents prowess as well as the scale and diversity of the repertoire were greatly admired. Mark Hageman describes in details all the drama of the tour. 

The TIME OF BALLET column presents, as promised, the continuation of two articles. The first one, An Expansion to Siberia, is about the work- and feast-days of the Novosibirsk State Choreography School.  Nonna Krotova presents a series of exciting essays dedicated to the famed headmasters of the Siberian school, its legendary art directors, its former students, who were first to join the new ballet school and who are now its experienced instructors. A separate chapter presents a list of the schools stage productions during the past half a century and a chronicle of various tour performances by its alumni. 

The second article is a continuation of Clara Antonova and Sergei Chadovs sketch, The Architects of the Theater, about the Cheliabinsk ballet troupe and its tour road, which covers the globe.  When talking about the Theaters tours one can not but remember also various principal ballet performers from the big city theaters who have danced on Cheliabinsk stage since 1959. The writers recollect all the Theaters major productions, including the latest premiere the ballet Romeo and Juliet to the music of Prokofiev, staged by Constantine Uralsky and dedicated to Mikhail Glinka Opera and Ballet Theater of Cheliabinsks  50th anniversary, which was celebrated in the fall of 2006. The new production attests to the ballet troupes being in an excellent shape. 

In her sketch dedicated to Yadviga Sangovich, Galina Beliaeva-Chelombitko writes, During the heyday of character dance, its adherents enjoyed as great a fame and popularity as did classical dance stars. Yadviga Sangovich held a prominent position among them. Hoards of admirers had attended all performances she participated in and interrupted them with their lengthy applause.  She may be called a truly muscovite-like actress-dancer with a manner of an open dramatic temperament typical of the Moscow ballet. It was not for nothing that Cassian Goleizovsky compared her to Avdotia Istomina and Ekaterina Teleshova, the ballerinas and actresses of the Pushkin times, who performed ballet as successfully as they did drama. Yadviga Sangovich had graced the Bolshoy stage for almost thirty years, until 1964, and had danced all the leading parts in the character repertoire. 

In the BALLET SCENOGRAM column, Alexander Maksov relates of a new project by the Bolshoy Theater, which still regards its performances in various regions of the country as one of its main tasks. This mission has acquired a concise motto, The Bolshoy to Russia, which has already marked guest performances in various cities. Recently the Bolshoy troupe performed in Novosibirsk. It was an important visit, not only due to a renewal of contacts (the ballet troupe had not been to Novosibirsk for twenty five years) but also due to its scale, which was in par with the Bolshoys artistic co-operation with the world greatest theatrical centers. Each of the three titles in the playbill, The Sleeping Beauty, A Legend of Love and The Bright Stream, was shown three times. It should be noted that the casts were appointed with no allowance for it being guest performances. The Siberian visit became a milestone both for the Bolshoys new generation artists and for the Novosibirskians, who are acknowledged connoisseurs of ballet. 

They [competitions] are many, in fact too many for one year, as well as for one years conscription of the ballet youth. Still, each one of them is interesting in its own way and is of importance for the place where it is held. We have already written about some of the competitions, but, summarizing the year of 2006, we would like to add something else. Thus begins the article Competitions: Summer and Fall by the Magazines editor-in-chief Valeria Uralskaya. While analyzing the ballet competitions held in Varna, Seoul, Sochi, and Astana, the writer comes to the conclusion that it makes sense and is necessary to find some form of communication and co-operation in the field of competitions. It is high time that those who plan ballet competitions got together in order to analyze what is common and what is distinct in the whole spectrum of competitions, to share experience and experiment, to coordinate plans. That is exactly the mission of the newly created International Federation of Ballet Competitions, whose first assembly is scheduled for May of 2007. 

The Russian Ballet State Theater of Moscow celebrated its 25th anniversary on Bolshoy Theaters New Stage with an Anniversary Firework. The selection of the place was not guided by vanity or by the stage being so prestigious. Instead, the Russian Ballet and its leader, Viacheslav Gordeev, were paying tribute to the Bolshoy Theater and its heavyweights, who had during all that time helped shape the birthday-boys repertoire and  communicated the Bolshoy Ballet traditions to the newly emerging artistic generations. 

As a curtain-line of the issue, the Magazines editor-in-chief addresses its readers concerning the young companion of the big Ballet, its annex, Entr?e Studio. Our magazine for children has its own writers and readers, and it is our wish that during this Year of the Child as many young people as possible discover it for themselves. Valeria Uralskaya presents an interesting portrait of a publication whose mission is to educate those young readers who are interested in choreography, its history and its present-day life.