Friday, February 17, 2012

Favorite Things Friday: It's Been Too Long...

One of my favorite free dances.  Their technique is impeccable, as always.  They are truly my greatest inspiration when working moves in the field.

Evgenia Obraztsova achieved another level of ferocity with this performance.  To. Die. For.  This is why she will make a fabulous principal of the Bolshoi Ballet.

Only Tara would bring a Mother Theresa statue to Ice Wars and I love her for it.

A piece of Philip Mills' work that is so inspiring, it lets us forget about this season's Swan Lake atrocity.

The greatest eulogy of all time.

My newly adopted daughter has the most marvelous knee bend.

Back when he was still cute and charming.

On honor of him looking fit and working hard when I saw him earlier today.

Baby Nastia was a ferocious performer.

The stunning Natalia Ilienko.

A stunning parterning.


  1. Best Favorites post ever - Osipova, Obraztsova, Usova, Gordeeva, and Johnny Weir? Perfection.

  2. LOVE. Are you planning to see Natalia Osipova in any of her ABT performances? You're so lucky that you live so close to NYC...oh, and thanks for including "Hands." That might be my favorite Michelle exhibition; it's a toss-up between that and all of her exhibitions involving the word "winter."

  3. Natalia Osipova is FINALLY dancing Swan Lake at the Mikhailovksy in April. She's never danced Odette/Odile, so this is extremely exciting. Absolutely cannot wait to get a glimpse of her black swan, hoping there will be youtube clips. And her Kitri remains one of the best things to ever happen to ballet.

  4. Osipova's fouettes are very turned-in, still impressive especially speed, but not textbook classical ballet fouettes. Ballet isn't about tricks and cheap flash, not saying that is who Osipova is as dancer, but many feel sometimes especially recently she's relied more on these qualities. I hope she finds a good coach at the Mik, m/b someone like Ayupova who was ethereal principal at Mariinsky until mid '00s.

  5. I also hope Osipova finds a good coach who can help her maintain good technique and I believe some of the concerns about her classical ballet qualities are legitimate. However, for me, either I have a gut reaction to a ballerina or I do not - whenever I see Osipova as Kitri or Giselle, she just takes my breath away. And then there are ballerinas who are complimented on pure classical technique, but who can elicit no emotional response from me.

  6. Osipova is a good dancer, I think she can be so much better if she only listens to her Bolshoi coaches and pay more attention to pure, classical ballet technique. I think she has so much potential, but unfortunately the things that she's being lauded for, the jumps and turns, are also those that she should clean up in terms of technique. Sure she jumps high, but sometimes forgets to point her toes and / or straighten her knees. Her turns while brilliant, lack turnout. Then there's the elephant in the room: her lines are awful for a prima of her stature. Her lines are ruined by lack of maintaining turnout and proper placements and orientation of her torso, limbs, and head.

    It's a big problem for a ballerina if we can't tell whether she's doing an arabesque or an attitude. I believe she has time to correct these faults, I mean she won't have perfect placement or lines like Obraztsova, because these qualities are 1/2 born with and 1/2 acquired. But Osipova is so young and talented that it would be a shame to just stagnate and not improve.

    I agree there are moments in her Giselle that are fantastic, she should keep improving herself by tackling such Romantic or pure classical roles. I root for her b/c I am against typecasting and conservative rules in Russian ballet world.

  7. Sorry meant to say "listened" instead of listens. Osipova now at the Mik not Bolshoi where her old coach was the iconic Marina Kondratieva, a lyrical prima back in her day. I think Osipova was wrong in not informing Marina of her decision to leave herself. Feelings were hurt.

  8. I agree, Obraztsova is phenomenal with her beautiful and pure ballet lines and positions. And she is definitely not all technique - she is emotionally breathtaking in Romeo/Juliet and Sylphide, as well as in more dramatic parts like the assassin's tango and other dances she performed on Bolero. However, her Kitri, while playful and wonderful, cannot be compared to Osipova's, whose Kitri is a force of nature. Osipova IS Kitri, pure technique or not, while Obraztsova plays the role of Kitri (beautifully). Meanwhile, Obraztsova, to me, IS Juliet. Anyway, I guess the point of this ramble is that they are currently my favorite ballerinas for very different reasons.

  9. Osipova a great Kitri but there is no such thing as only one way to dance a role. That kind of thinking is too limiting and why short but proportioned dancers like Obraztsova are denied certain roles. Kitri can be playful and impish, or as some more modern takes have her as a vampish flirt bordering on vulgarity. Again, no one, correct characterization as long as technique up to par. After that it is all personal preference and sense of affinity to the role emanating from the ballerina. Kitri is one role which doesn't require much thought in characterization because it is a showcase of charm and exuberant technique. But for sure it is a true ballerina role. So I don't know why at the Mariinsky a ballerina has to dance Swan Lake in order to be promoted to principal. Someone like Lopatkina who has limited reperatory is principal because she dances Swan Lake. But she doesn't do Kitri in DQ, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, and other demanding roles requiring refined and controlled technique like in La Sylphide.

  10. "there is no such thing as only one way to dance a role. That kind of thinking is too limiting and why short but proportioned dancers like Obraztsova are denied certain roles." I agree, which is precisely why I am excited for Osipova to dance Odette/Odile after being denied the role for so long at the Bolshoi. I was only saying that there are certain roles that seem to fit a ballerina perfectly. While certain ballerinas may beautifully express the role in different and interesting ways, sometimes a particular dancer seems to have been born for it For me personally, Osipova-Kitri and Obraztsova-Juliet are examples of this (and there are many more).

  11. I agree but I bet Natasha is so sick of dancing Kitri, lol. I bet all the conservative old guard ballet fans in St Petersburg are having a cow right now over the thought of Osipova doing SL. Their main objections is not only her body with those bulging calves made even more obvious by slightly bowed legs, they have reservations about the lack of fluidity in her upper body and arms when dancing. I too share in this concern because this is one quality which has dogged her throughout her career , and one she has not made improvement upon. When I saw her in La Sylphide this became glaringly obvious.

    SL is about 2/3 Odette, which means fluid upper body and arms. I am not talking about arms approximating a swan or bird, that would be laughable and amateurish, but arms which project lyricism or fullness in movement. Great Odettes have beautiful port de bras and line because Odette is an adage role so these qualities naturally will be amplified. Natasha would be a good Odile even if she dances it like Kitri. Contrary to Black Swan, Odette is the harder tole for ballerinas to get right.

    Russian boards saying same thing about Osipova doing SL like when Vishneva first wanted to do it, except Vishneva never had the fluidity or lyricism issue dogging her. Vishneva had to appeal to Mariinsky general director Gergiev. He had to override objections of ballet AD so that Vishneva could dance it ten years into her career.

  12. It trips me out that "coach" is a heavily-used term in the professional ballet world. It seems to me that a much more "fine-artsy", elitist word would be used - and/or something French or Russian.

    The cynic in me wondered if Tara Lipinski's public worship of such a huge icon of Catholicism was her camp's way of clearing up any possible confusion over her religion/ethnicity. ("Lipinski" may be one of those names that one might think of as Jewish.) Maybe Team Tara thought that her Olympic upset of Kwan would go over better if the masses were assured that Tara was Christian. Or it may have been some snide way of implying some greater "relatability" over Kwan - whose own religious-affiliations may have been "ambiguous".

    1. You will never change. Your opinion is biased and based on who talks to you.

      Tara Lipinski cheated her jumps and had no presentation. Her winning any gold medal is laughable.

    2. He liked Tara's competitive spirit as did I but he wasn't in love with her skating until she became his best friend. Now he wishes he rooted for her at the Olympics instead of Michelle. Wow that is messed up.

    3. It just proves he has no integrity and will sell his soul if a second class skater or gymnast become his friend.

      The same favorite things EVERY TIME.

      He is never impressed with anyone but the same people.

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