Voices From Russia, Too

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

24 August 2011. The Russian National Ballet Troupe “Kostroma”

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Editor’s Foreword:

It’s very difficult finding downloadable videos of this troupe’s performances… there are only a few short snippets commonly available. That’s all that’s available, I fear.

BMD

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Editor’s Afterword:

The Kostroma ensemble is more of a “folk” and not a “classical” troupe. That is, its dancing style is more derived from folklore models than it is from the canons of classic choreography laid down by Marius Petipa and Michel Fokine. In many ways, “folk ballet” is more accessible than the classical ballet (which depends more on sophisticated characterisation and aesthetics). Certainly, it’s more “athletic” (even though ballet of all sorts is more strenuous than most sports)… it’s more “electric”, but it’s at the loss of a certain subtlety (but that’s only detectable by the cognoscenti, who don’t hold it as a blemish, for one doesn’t expect one thing to be another). It’s “plainer” than the “artistic” forms of the Bolshoi or the Mariinsky, but it’s just as demanding on the performers. I don’t have prejudice for either the folk or the classical ballet… both forms are self-contained with their own intrinsic canons and conventions. There’s some overlap, of course, but, generally speaking, a classical performer doesn’t move into the folk sphere, and vice versa. Each is a cultural adornment in its proper space.

BMD

Friday, 12 August 2011

A Multimedia Presentation. RIA-Novosti Presents… “Viva Alicia!” The Legendary Cuban Ballerina and Her Students at the Bolshoi

On Tuesday, at the Bolshoi Theatre, a gala honoured Cuban prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso Martínez. Recently, Sra Alonso celebrated her 90th birthday; she’s a symbol of her Free Island, an icon of the Cuban national ballet and culture. In the above image, we see Alicia Alonso, the founder of the Cuban ballet, talking backstage with Bolshoi soloist Svetlana Zakharova (left) before a gala concert given by artists from the Ballet Nacional de Cuba at the New Stage of the Bolshoi Theatre.

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The Ballet Nacional de Cuba presents Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake

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One of Alonso’s teachers was a former soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre, Sofia Fedorova; she told us that she learned her brilliant technique from M Fedorova… “I learned it from my teachers… Aleksandra Fedorova, Mikhail Fokine, Anatoly Obukhov, I learned the best methods from all of them, which led to my very intense performances. Aleksandra Fedorova always told me, ‘You don’t have pointe shoes? So, practise and dance, whether you have pointe shoes or not’”.

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Diane et Actéon Pas de Deux (choreographed by Petipa), danced by BNC soloists Yolanda Correa and José Lozada

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The appearance of the honoured guest of the occasion caused quite a stir at the Bolshoi, according to those present at the concert, the audience in the hall stood up in respect, as if on cue, welcoming the legendary artist with vigorous and prolonged applause. In the image above, we see Alicia Alonso (left) behind the scenes with the members of the troupe.

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Leading soloists of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and the Bolshoi Ballet performed at a gala concert in honour of Sra Alonso named “Viva Alicia!” In the image above, we see Bolshoi Theatre soloist Andrei Uvarov dancing at the gala concert with artists of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba.

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Svetlana Zakharova and Andrei Uvarov

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Soloists Svetlana Zakharova and Andrei Uvarov of the Bolshoi Theatre danced in an excerpt from Rodion Shchedrin’s Carmen-Suite.

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Svetlana Zakharova and Andrei Uvarov perform Carmen Suite at the gala honouring Sra Alonso

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Soloist Svetlana Zakharova of the Bolshoi Theatre, seen here dancing at the gala concert honouring ballerina Alicia Alonso with artists of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba.

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Sra Alonso founded the Ballet Nacional de Cuba in 1948, and in 1959, after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, she returned permanently to her homeland.

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BNC performs Coppelia (complete ballet)

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Today, experts recognise the Cuban School of Ballet as one of the most rigorous in the world.

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The BNC performs A Creole Fiesta at the gala honouring Sra Alonso

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A portion of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba came to perform at the gala concert in Moscow.

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The artists of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba danced excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, Delibes’ Coppélia, and Minkus’ Don Quixote (choreographed by the legendary Silver Age master Maestro Marius Petipa) with virtuosity and stunning spirit.

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Minkus’ Don Quixote danced by the BNC

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As part of the gala, the dancers also performed new choreographic productions, for instance, a number for three dancers called Гром и молния (Thunder and Lightning).

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Alejandro Virelles wowed the Moscow audience with a stunning performance of the famous scène de ballet The Dying Swan adapted for a male dancer.

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Alejandro Virelles’ bravura performance of the famous scène de ballet The Dying Swan at the gala for Sra Alonso (don’t be concerned by the “wind” in the first two minutes… it’s intentional… then, the Saint-Saëns kicks in

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In future, Alicia Alonso plans to visit Moscow again with the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, they’ll perform at the Bolshoi Theatre; in return, the Bolshoi Ballet plans to return the courtesy by staging presentations in Cuba.

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3 August 2011

RIA-Novosti

http://ria.ru/photolents/20110803/411358496.html

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