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March 30, 2015


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I want Tom Forster at San Francisco Ballet or Pacific Northwest Ballet, where it's an easy flight up the coast to see my favorite male dancer presently at ABT. During the Sleeping Beauty run, it was annoying to glimpse him in the back during certain performances when he only danced the Act I waltz or the Act III polonaise, and then to see him standing, watching others dance, during Act III. But then the new Sleeping Beauty has little dancing for the men in general.

I assume Osipova was going to dance Sanguinic? It seems she would be suited to Choleric.

Hi, J.

Since it's 7hr05min from NYC to London and 6hr05min from NYC to SF, I guess it would be okay whichever direction Tom and Leann chose to go. All I know is that Tom SHOULD BE dancing Solor, Siegfried, Albrecht, Desire, and Charming this season with a slew of different homegrown ballerinas, but he's stuck on the sidelines. It is such a shame to watch career after career after career after career wasted because the Artistic Director cannot do his job.

Re Osipova. I'm fairly sure that in The Four Temperaments, she was scheduled to dance Manic.

Olga Smirnova is slated to make her Bolshoi debut this season in late July, when she is in first cast of Yuri Possokhov's new work commissioned by Bolshoi. It is a two act piece called Hero of Our Time. It would seem odd for Ms. Smirnova to be making her season debut abroad especially in a full length classical La Bayadere that's not exactly a cake walk. Plus recently it seemed like just when she was expected to dance a scheduled ballet, she has had to pull out at last moment, thereby making Bolshoi to scramble for replacements. Hopefully Kevin keeps this in mind because if indeed he is toying with idea of promoting her as ABT's newest principal grooming her to be Vishneva's replacement, he will possibly be looking at Osipova #2, injury-prone and cancelling shows at last moment's notice. All dancers of international renown suffer injuries and have had to cancel shows or dance through injuries at less than 100% healthy conditions, but these two are relatively young dancers, one approaching mid 20s and the other in her late 20s, yet already they are showing wear and tear. At what point does an AD say no to this madness and yes to developing home talents in an enriching way for both fans and company.

In answer to your very last question: In McKenzie's case, it's not about whether they show up to dance or dance well; it's about whether he can use their names to sell tickets.

It is outrageous that Osipova has a Sleeping Beauty slot. I don't care how much Ratmansky loves her. Would he DARE insist on bringing her or any other guest artist into NYCB for a premiere or any other reason. NO. Why? Because that company has integrity AND THEY RESPECT AND USE THEIR OWN ARTISTS.

Osipova had a hideous showing in SB on her first try at ABT and then bailed out of all subsequent performances of it over two seasons. She bailed out of SB at the Mikhailovsky, and she bailed out of SB at the Royal Ballet. I didn't waste the money to see her cinema cast of Swan Lake, but those who did said that she was just awful. Of course she was awful; why would anyone expect that she wouldn't be awful in Swan Lake or SB?

One of our readers knows a mole in Moscow who says Smirnova STILL is not doing any rehearsing. It's April 1st in a matter of hours. No joke. Is she going whip herself into top shape and be ready to rehearse in New York in a couple of weeks? Of course not, but maybe McKenzie thinks it's okay if she's only in "half" shape because the audience is so ignorant, it won't know the difference. Few in the audience noticed anything wrong with her punched out rib cage, turned in extensions, and other faux pas the last time she was here dancing Nikiya.

H, Great point about NYCB vs ABT re Ratmansky with guest artists!! Though a guest at NYCB would stick out like a sore thumb or big toe not able to dance in the NYCB style. Which is not the same with ABT which has no style; which could be the overall issue. What other world class company can you name that does not have its own style..... hmmmm? BTW I saw the RB SL with NO. She is, what she is, a accomplished technician still working on her artistic sensibilities. Not awful, but definitely had some weird shit going on. Though I was living for Matthew Goldings insanely way deep grand pilés. Worth the price of admission.

Yeah, Matthew Golding - McKenzie had him carrying the spear in the back of the corps for five years before Golding got fed up and quit; went to work for Corella, then Dutch National, ENB and RB with guest shots at the Mariinsky and elsewhere. For 22+ years, McKenzie has never had to answer to anyone about the poor quality of his artistic decisions. The stupid fools on the board just keep writing their checks, and the money swirls down the drain with a loud suck.

Calvin Royal should leave too. His dream to dance Siegfried in Swan Lake is never going to happen at ABT. I hope he realizes that sooner than later. He is a gorgeous dancer. It would be a shame to see him waste away in the corp.

I agree. Obviously, McKenzie has pigeonholed Calvin as a contemporary dancer.

I found both Osipova and Golding unbearable to watch in SL. She is too athletic, an inelegant and unmusical dancer overall, with puppet-like hands, broad feet and strangely shaped legs. Not suitable for tutu roles. And Golding needs acting lessons. His smirks look awkward.

Here is a short clip from Black Swan Grand PDD:

Thanks for the link, Dreamer. Totally agree about Osipova. Her form (in the clip) is so hideous in so many ways. How could the audience at the ROH applaud that goop after all the decades of great Swans they've seen.

I think Golding just needs a little shaping on the inside corners of his eyebrows to open them up and he needs to hold his mouth more firmly. Acting lessons would probably help, too. Other than that, I think he is a gorgeous, incredibly gifted and articulate dancer.

There are a lot of folks out there who go wild when they see a ballerina throw her leg behind her ear or whip lightning fast fouettes out of sync with the music. I actually feel bad for Golding. Being paired with the superstar” of RB seems to put a lot of pressure on him. He looked much more relaxed and natural when he danced with his girlfriend, Anna Tsygankova, at DNB.

Dreamer, good point! Nat is strangely unmusical. Its like she's dancing to the beat of her own ipod. And I agree about Matt. But some acting lessons, and allowing the mime-infused atmosphere of the RB to soak into his soul will do him a world of good. But I have to tell you, Wacky-Nat and Stiff-Matt aside, the real thing that bothered me about the RB/SL broadcast was the direction; video AND acting! There was some weird stuff going on. Having the prince EXTENDING his hand to his tutor??? Benno TOUCHING the prince (unless there was some sub text going on there of which I was unaware)??? The prince GIVING Benno a cup???? etc!! How do you think Rudi would have reacted to stage directions like that?? Ill bet you 20£ that Anthony was not involved much in coaching this cast, leaving the 'details' to an assistant with whom someone should have a very serious conversation. All this made even worse in contrast to the sublime acting of Mama, Elizabeth McGorian. And the video direction??? Cutting to a shot of the gate AFTER the prince arrives???? Are you kidding? AND those damn dark sets!! Ya think the director could have thrown a little light on them for those of us watching in our local AMC/Loews?? What a mess! What did they think it was, ABT? BTW H, do you have any advanced poop on the RB casting here in June? xoxo

I watched the Black Swan pdd video (thank you for the link) with interest that soon turned into alarm over Osipova's performance, which, to me, had way too much wrong with it and nothing right. Golding was technically very strong and clean. Elizabeth McGovern was glorious.

Hi, J.

At the Royal Ballet, the bar for Osipova seems to be set very low.

oh my, my eyes burned after watching osipova as odile. yikes. Is it confirmed that she has a back injury. Except for the last set of hops in arabeque, she modified all choreography to substitute out any attitudes or arabeques standing on her right leg.

Hi, m&m.

We haven't heard what the injury is, but if it's a back injury, what does that portend for the attitude balances in Sleeping Beauty or Nikiya's attitude turns? I wonder if once again, Osipova is bailing out of Royal Ballet performances to save herself so she can collect some Yankee dollars.

Osipova is still slotted to appear in Giselle along with Polunin on April 10 and 11 at La Scala. These performances are less than two weeks apart from those she cancelled at RB. And apparently she's been rehearsing with him in London for the past week. I hope RB management is taking a note of it.

Very interesting.

Sorry to go back to the Osipova Black Swan, but wow. I would compare her fouettes to those seen at a jazz dance competition. Awful! Especially when paired with Goulding, who has stellar technique and artistry. I can't believe anyone pays to see her!

Hi, Krystin.

I continue to be stunned at the ROH's audience's reaction to her. I thought that they were somewhat sophisticated and knowledgeable having been brought up on all those great Odette/Odiles - not to mention their exposure to the current house ballerinas who have very authentic O/Os. The audience sounds almost as ignorant as the American audience that values celebrity over artistry. How sad for the world of ballet. How sad that a respected institution like the RB would put this on stage and also release it on video.

I pulled up a clip of Osipova performing Odette. I was immediately struck with the thought that Osipova looks as though she is copying Galina Mezentseva's style. Which is so wrong because their body types are so different. Osipova is smaller and more compact while Mezentseva was all arms and legs that went on forever. Mezentseva could over emphasize movements, she had a lot of limb to emphasize. Whereas, the long drawn out movements on Osipova just remind me that her arms and legs are shorter.

I can't figure out if she was trained to copy another ballerina, if she does it on her own or if she is having a joke at the audience's expense because she thinks they don't know any better.



Mezentseva from the glorious 86 performance


I was obsessed with the Mezentseva version as a child. I watched it on VHS over and over. Today I'm amazed over her perfect 90 degree arabesque angles and attention to classical form. No over extensions anywhere even when over extensions on her body would have looked wildly spectacular.

Standards are extremely low at Covent Garden right now, case in point - Natalia Osipova. The best Odette/Odiles were the guests Obraztsova and Selenko. Osipova was praised to the skies, Obraztsova was praised by Clement Crisp alone, and Selenko (who took Obraztsova's place because of Smirnova's indisposition in Moscow on March 20), got no press whatsoever. Someone mentioned above that perhaps Kevin O'Hare and the RB management should (start) to take note of Osipova's chronic absences. IMO Kevin O'Hare backed the wrong horse with Natalia and should have engaged
Evgenia Obraztsova as Principal, since dual, triple and quadrupal company memberships are en vogue now.

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