Tag Archives: Maryinsky Ballet

The Maryinsky Cinderella at Zellerbach

7 Oct

Maryinsky Ballet’s final performance of Alexei Ratmansky/ Serge Prokofiev Cinderella 2002 production was the October 4 matinee, entailing BART-51B AC 41B Transit travel, watching UCB students flash their cards at the bus driver, her then peeping five or six at most stops along College Avenue; many were laden with Sunday groceries

The Telegraph and Bancroft stop is still north of the Telegraph intersection; who knows whether it will move west to its former location, still cordoned off by hurricane fences and scattered motorized equipment. But, blessings, now a cement incline connects to the plaza outside Zellerbach, past the store, outside Eshelman Hall, now with expansive glass facing the plaza. It’s ideal for students working out routines. Rows of bicycle stands were added plus both steps and incline not only from Telegraph, but also from Bancroft past The Bear’s Lair, now housed in the western part of Eshelman; yet another incline leads to the Zellerbach will call window.

The Ratmansky Cinderella was commissioned when the choreographer was 34. For this first major assignment, Ratmansky chose the Depression, Russian version, as time frame visually emphasizing the edgy smart of the period, the totally bourgeois surroundings of the our scullery heroine, danced by small willowy brunette Nadeshda Batoeva. The setting is emphasized by metal scaffolding stairs and landings mid stage, both sides The curtain, an intricate geometry of narrow black vertical domestic buildings with peaked roofs, evokes the Fokine Firebird finale curtain, minus color. It is reasonable to speculate Ratmansky’s stage structures provided Boris Eifman with ideas for Red Ballerina and Rodin.

The Matinee repeated a number of the opening night casting Stepmother and a daughter, Khudishka, Anastasia Petushkova and Maragarita Folova as well as the Fairy-Tramp, Elena Bazhenova, and Cinderella’s Mother and Father, Lubov Kozharshkaya and Andrey Yakovlev. Repeating the seasons, Spring – Vasily Tkachenso,; Summer,- Alexey Popov; Autumn – Kostantin Ivkin; Winter- Andrev Soloviev with his white wig. All four, uniformly slender, torsos a traditional sculptor’s dream, executed commanding jumps and pirouettes. The Fairy Tramp, a comic wonder, a overburdened rotund figure, was clearly a mensch.

Anastasia Petushkova as the stepmother was tall, brash, pushy and abusive,this side of evil.Possessed of an orange wig, floral housecoat, black skirt and subsequent black for the ballroom act, she plunged unthinking in her haste with Margarita Frolova as Khudishka and Sofia Skoblikova as Kubishka, equally needy. One was able to wheedle coyly, the other thrust herself bodily, the trio object lessons in social behavior we love to loathe. Only superior technique and the innate classical tradition avoided the blatantly vulgar.

Nadeshda Batoeva, twice Cinderella at the Zellerbach, possesses a physique to arouse empathy, scrubbing motions abounding. Appearing at the ballroom in modest white embellished with brilliants, a flowing Empire romantic length gown, hands over her face in disbelief, the pause by the ballroom attendants, then the Prince, was just what one believes a fairy tale can express. The subsequent exchange between her and the Prince included pauses, retreats, a tour around two well-placed columns, an understandable hesitation – “what am I getting in to” – as growing rapture began to manifest. One passe Batoeva executed, as partnered by Shklyarev, also twice dancing the Prince, captured the “I can’t really believe it’s happening,” before she is given the stage to dance first in the latest jazzy fashion, before in brilliantly shaded classic lyricism, a technique of melting emotion.

The Prince, Vladimir Shklyarev, blond, handsome, blessed with a lithe body and prodigious technique, enjoyed a role with growth from a “look at me attitude,” wonderfully underlined by brushing gestures on his left shoulder while regarding the audience head on, then intrigued, enraptured, then a discouraged seeker for his beloved, all handled with charm and conviction.

Fellow colleagues have commented on the flaws of the production while praising the calibre of the dancing. Zellerbach may be the end of the foreign presentations of Ratmansky’s conception; still, it is gloriously realized in the smartness of the corps’ ballroom gowns, solid colors ranging from marigold through russet reds and a maroon or two, the design with adroit slits on one side to near the hip, accenting urban mendacity. The colors also hint at the autumn of fair tales themselves.

Ratmansky provided cheeky comment with the ensemble of women and men he ventured into in his search with the slipper. Nothing but charm ensued when Cinderella dropped the other slipper from the stairs above the Prince, sitting disconsolately on the lower landing. His climbing and her retreating in the double staircase made for visual satisfaction, prelude to a soaring pas de deux. Colleagues aside, and agreeing with some slow spots, I would enjoy seeing Ratmansky’s early essay on this quite Russian Cinderella again, supported by the Maryinsky Ballet Orchestra conducted by Gavriel Heine.


2014 USAIBC Results, June 27, 2014

20 Aug

These comments will see the website not quire two months following the announcement of winners for the 2014 USAIBC Competition. In thirty-five years technology has devastated “scoops”, Facebook and YouTube almost decreeing “sayonara” to ritual and decorum.

The IBC Staff, Jurors, finalists, seeded dancers, coaches, press, family, friends and IBC volunteers gathered on the Mezzanine to learn the results of 8 sessions of Round I, 3 sessions each of Rounds II and III. Vicki Blake Harper, a six- competition press and public relations veteran, had managed to print the three page announcement to supply the press with the data.

The third page was nearly full listing scholarships and positions with junior companies of U.S. companies before the perfunctory notice of the Gala, and statements by Edward Villella, Jury Chair, and Sue Lobrano, Executive Director.

Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet offered full scholarships for 2015 Summer Intensive to Blake Kessler, Matthew Griffin; from the People’s Republic of China Taiyu He and Yue Shi plus Gustavo Carvalho from Brasil. Griffin, He, Shi and Carvalho are also designated to continue into the Joffrey Studio Company.

The Joffrey also offered positions in the Joffrey Company for the 2015-2016 season to the Koreans Dae Han Na and Jeong Hansol. The two Koreans are still students, Dae Han Na of Korea National University of Art, Jeong Hansol of Sejong University.

Trainee and company contracts, 2014-2015, have been offered by Ballet West to semi-finalist Anita Sineral-Scott, U.S.A; Makenzie Richter, U.S.A. with Houston Ballet’s Second Company; Texas Ballet Theater to semi-finalist Paula Alves, Brazil; Memphis Ballet offered Matthew Griffin, U.S. a trainee position for 2014-2015.

Matthew Griffin also garnered a full tuition scholarship for Colorado Ballet’s 2015 Summer intensive and a one-season contract with Columbia City Ballet.

Gisele Bethea, U.S.A., has been offered a full scholarship and stipend for the fall 2014 and a Studio Company position, Spring 2015 with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre.

Finally, Olga Marchenkova and Ilya Artamonov, Bolshoi Ballet dancers from Russia, are invited to dance leading roles in South Mississippi Ballet’s 2014-2015 production of The Sleeping Beauty.

In all, these opportunities count as much as the following awards:
Robert Joffrey Award of Merit: Daniel Alejandro McCormick-Quintero, representing Mexico, but a student at San Francisco Ballet School,$1,000.

Jury Award of Encouragement, Female: Romina Contreras from Chile, $500.

Jury Award of Encouragement, Male: Yue Shi, People’s Republic of China, $500.

The Choreographic Award went to Nicholas Blanc for Rendez-vous, danced by finalist Aaron Smyth, Australia. Both Blanc and Smyth are affiliated with the Joffrey Ballet, Blanc a former principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet, then ballet master with the Royal Scottish Ballet before assuming the same position with the Joffrey Ballet. The Award brings with it $2,500.00

For the Best Couple Awards, the Junior went to Yasmin Lomondo and Gustavo Carvalho of Brazil; scarcely surprising since they were the sole couple participating throughout in the junior division, courteous and attentive as well as exact and musical. Both receive $1,000 each. The Senior Best Couple were
from Korea, Ji-Seok Ha and Ga-yeon Jung.

Announcement of Medals start with the Bronzes. The Jury is permitted to award two Bronzes and two Silvers for either men or women and this occurred amongst the Junior Women’s Bronze, the Men’s Bronze, the Women’s Senior Silver. The list went as follows:

Junior Women Bronze: Yasmin Lomondo, Brazil and Paulina Guraieb Abella, Mexico, each $1,500.

Junior Men’s Bronze, Gustavo Carvalho, Brazil, $1,000.

Junior Women’s Silver, MacKenzie Richter, U.S.A., $3,000.

Junior Women’s Gold, Gisela Bethea, U.S.A., $5,000.

In the Senior Division, the Awards lined up as follows:

Senior Women Bronze: Ga-Yeong Jung, Korea, $3,000

Senior Men’s Bronze: Aaron Smyth, Australia and Ivan Duarte, Brazil, each $3,000.

Senior Women’s Silver: Irina Sapozhnikova, Russia, and Tamako Miyazaki, Japan, each $5,000.

Senior Men’s Silver: Byul Yun, Korea, $5,000.

Senior Women’s Gold: Shiori Kase, Japan, $8,000

Senior Men’s Gold: Jeong Hansol, Korea, $8,000.

Missing from this roster were some dancers I liked enormously but who apparently took too much liberty in their classical variations. Jurors, enjoying coaching lineages stretching back almost to the time the classical repertoire was being established at the Maryinsky and Bolshoi Theatres in St. Petersburg and Moscow, or managed to acquire similar guidelines through migrating teachers or lengthy observation, pick up on such deviations. Generalized performances may permit such liberties; competitions do not and should not. As a result, one or two riveting dancers remained in the finalist category and the anguish was apparent
on their faces as the press conference terminated.

Adding my own opinion, there were several dancers already dancing with ensembles or companies. Beyond the requirements in classical variations, the professional rigors gave those competitors an edge in sheer performing skills; in the instance of the senior women it definitely showed. One or two other dancers revealed growing pains amongst the jurors manifesting such physical adjustments in degrees of reticence.

At the Gala, the medalists achieving gold status will dance twice, one classical variation and their contemporary selection.