Stanislavsky Ballet

TV Talent Scouts

“Ազգային պարեր” (National Dances), Shant TV, Armenia
“Большой Балет” (Bolshoi Ballet), Rossiya-Kultura TV, Russia
May 2024

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2024 by Ilona Landgraf

1. S.Matevosyan (host), A.Haxverdyan, L.Hakobyan, M.Mkhitaryan, G.Karapetyan (jury), A.Julhakyan (jury), A.Davtyan (Shant TV), H.Ghukasyan (director and producer), S.Mikayelyan (jury), T.Mnoyan (jury), A.Khangeldyan, S.Margaryan, M.Babayan, S.Barseghyan (host); “Ազգային պարեր” (National Dances), Shant TV, Armenia © Shant TVWhile German TV programs rarely promote the art of dance, dance is part and parcel of media abroad. The sequels of two dance competitions—Ազգային պարեր (Azgayin Parer/National Dances) on Shant TV, Armenia, and Большой Балет (Bolshoi Ballet) on Rossiya-Kultura TV, Russia—were broadcast recently. Both competitions are textbook examples of how to foster talent while simultaneously nourishing and cherishing dance culture.

Folk dance is a pillar of Armenia’s culture, and the Armenian State Barekamutyun Dance Ensemble has presented it professionally since 1987. Its founder and artistic adviser, Norayr Mehrabyan, is the father of Arsen Mehrabyan, who made his career on Western ballet stages. Shant TV’s first run of a folk dance competition reinforces the status of national dance.

3. G.Karapetyan (jury), A.Davtyan (Shant TV), and H.Ghukasyan (director and producer); “Ազգային պարեր” (National Dances), Shant TV, Armenia © Shant TV2. Finalists of the competition: A.Haxverdyan, M.Mkhitaryan, A.Khangeldyan, L.Hakobyan, M.Babayan, S.Margaryan; hosts, S.Barseghyan and S.Matevosyan; “Ազգային պարեր” (National Dances), Shant TV, Armenia © Shant TVAnna Davtyan, when describing the project on Shant TV, explained that the show was a compilation of ten broadcasts featuring Armenian folk dance and modern dances. It was produced and directed by Hrach Ghukasyan. Twenty young Armenian dancers participated in the open competition; ten of them men and ten women.
A jury of four along with intermittent guest jurors assessed their performances. Gagik Karapetyan (principal dancer and artistic director of the Armenian State Dance Ensemble), Arman Julhakyan (dancer, choreographer, and ballet master), Tigran Mnoyan (dancer and artistic director of Prof Art Dance Studio Yerevan), and Susan Mikayelyan (dancer, choreographer, ballet master, and the mother of the Bavarian State Ballet’s former principal, Tigran Mikayelyan) were permanent jurors.
 4. L.Hakobyan and S.Margaryan, “Ազգային պարեր” (National Dances), Shant TV, Armenia © Shant TV 5. Participants and staff, “Ազգային պարեր” (National Dances), Shant TV, Armenia © Shant TV They preselected six finalists from which the viewers chose Lida Hakobyan from Artik, a town around sixty-five miles northwest of Yerevan, and Shavarsh Margaryan from Yerevan as the winners. The project was so successful that a second run is already in the works.

Bolshoi Ballet on Rossiya-Kultura TV is already in its fifth run. The last series of seven broadcasts closed with a gala on April 20th. Sixteen young dancers from Russia along with Cuban, Kirghiz, and Uzbek companies participated, performing solos and pas de deux. Each sequence featured another topic, such as Classical & Soviet Repertory or Choreography of the 20th and 21st Centuries. One edition comprised choreography created exclusively for the competition (among others by Nacho Duato).
7. K.Shamakeev, “Don Quixote” by M.Petipa and A.Gorsky, Chelyabinsk Opera and Ballet Theater © Chelyabinsk Opera and Ballet Theater6. K.Shamakeev, “Diana and Actaeon Pas de Deux” by A.Vaganova, “Большой Балет” (Bolshoi Ballet) on Rossiya-Kultura TV © Chelyabinsk Opera and Ballet Theater Svetlana Zakharova, principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet, and Igor Kolb, principal dancer of the Mariinsky Ballet, presented the broadcasts. The jury of four comprised Oleg Vinogradov (former dancer, choreographer, and ballet director), Maria Alexandrova (former principal of the Bolshoi Ballet), Gabriela Komleva (former dancer, coach, and repetiteur), and Farukh Ruzimatov (former dancer and artistic director). Each contestant received feedback from the jurors right after his or her performance. The quality of the performances varied but was often outstanding.

8. K.Ismagilova during a performance, Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Musical Theater © K.Ismagilova9. K.Ismagilova and S.Dangyt, “The Nutcracker” by YPossokhov, Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Musical Theater © K.ZhitkovaThe prize for the best duet was awarded to Maria Ilyushkina and Even Capitaine from the Mariinsky Theatre. Kamilla Ismagilova from the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Musical Theater received the prize for the best female dancer; the best male dancer was Kubanych Shamakeev from the Chelyabinsk Opera and Ballet Theater. The Bolshoi Ballet’s Daniil Potaptsev was declared Discovery of the Year. The prize for acting talent was awarded to Nikita Ksenofontov from the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre (NOVAT). Ksenofontov also received the Soul Fulfilled Flight prize, which was established by the general media partner of the season: TASS.

12. D.Potaptsev and ensemble, “Coppélia” by M.Petipa and E.Cecchetti, Bolshoi Ballet 2024 © Bolshoi Ballet/D.Yusupov11. D.Potaptsev and ensemble, “Giselle” by Y.Grigorovich, Bolshoi Ballet 2024 © Bolshoi Ballet/D.Yusupov  10. D.Potaptsev and E.Kokoreva, “Jewels” by G.Balanchine, Bolshoi Ballet 2024 © Bolshoi Ballet/D.YusupovThe final gala included a group performance by all contestants as well as performances by previous participants and guests, among them Anna Tikhomirova and Artem Ovcharenko (Bolshoi Ballet), Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov (Bolshoi Ballet), Amanda Gomez and Wagner Carvalho (Tartar State Academic Opera and Ballet), and Yulia Lukyanenko and Nikita Tchetverikov (Mikhailovsky Theatre). All episodes of the recent run can be rewatched on smotrim.ru.13. N.Ksenofonotov (Modest Alexeyevich) and ensemble), "Anyuta" by V.Vasiliev, Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre © Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre

Link:
“Ազգային պարեր” (National Dances), Shant TV, Armenia
Photos: 1. Sona Matevosyan (host), Arpi Haxverdyan, Lida Hakobyan, Mari Mkhitaryan, Gagik Karapetyan (jury), Arman Julhakyan (jury), Anna Davtyan (Shant TV), Hrach Ghukasyan (director and producer), Susan Mikayelyan (jury), Tigran Mnoyan (jury), Armen Khangeldyan, Shavarsh Margaryan, Makich Babayan, Senik Barseghyan (host); “Ազգային պարեր” (National Dances), Shant TV, Armenia © Shant TV
2. Finalists of the competition: Arpi Haxverdyan, Maria Mkhitaryan, Armen Khangeldyan, Lida Hakobyan Makich Babayan, Shavarsh Margaryan; hosts, Senik Barseghyan and Sona Matevosyan; “Ազգային պարեր” (National Dances), Shant TV, Armenia © Shant TV
3. Gagik Karapetyan (jury), Anna Davtyan (Shant TV), and Hrach Ghukasyan (director and producer); “Ազգային պարեր” (National Dances), Shant TV, Armenia © Shant TV
4. Lida Hakobyan and Shavarsh Margaryan, “Ազգային պարեր” (National Dances), Shant TV, Armenia © Shant TV
5. Participants and staff, “Ազգային պարեր” (National Dances), Shant TV, Armenia © Shant TV
6. Kubanych Shamakeev, “Diana and Actaeon Pas de Deux” by Agrippina Vaganova, “Большой Балет” (Bolshoi Ballet) on Rossiya-Kultura TV © Chelyabinsk Opera and Ballet Theater
7. Kubanych Shamakeev, “Don Quixote” by Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky, Chelyabinsk Opera and Ballet Theater © Chelyabinsk Opera and Ballet Theater
8. Kamilla Ismagilova during a performance, Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Musical Theater © Kamilla Ismagilova
9. Kamilla Ismagilova and Subedey Dangyt, “The Nutcracker” by Yuri Possokhov, Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Musical Theater © Karina Zhitkova
10. Daniil Potaptsev and Elizaveta Kokoreva, “Jewels” by George Balanchine, Bolshoi Ballet 2024 © Bolshoi Ballet/Damir Yusupov
11. Daniil Potaptsev and ensemble, “Giselle” by Yuri Grigorovich, Bolshoi Ballet 2024 © Bolshoi Ballet/Damir Yusupov
12. Daniil Potaptsev and ensemble, “Coppélia” by Marius Petipa and Enrico Cecchetti, Bolshoi Ballet 2024 © Bolshoi Ballet/Damir Yusupov
13. Nikita Ksenofonotov (Modest Alexeyevich) and ensemble), “Anyuta” by Vladimir Vasiliev, Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre © Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre
Editing: Kayla Kauffman

How to Warm an Audience

Don Quixote”
Ballet of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
Moscow, Russia

February 15, 2024

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2024 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Limenko (Kitri) and ensemble, “Don Quixote” by R.Nureyev, Stanislavsky Ballet 2024 © K.Zhitkova Moscow’s ballet audience is well-versed and demanding. The crowd that filled the Stanislavsky Theatre last Thursday to watch Don Quixote gave the quirky Don Quixote (Nikita Kirillov) and his gluttonous squire, Sancho Panza (Konstantin Semenov), a friendly but reserved welcome. The company’s former artistic director, Laurent Hilaire, added the production to the repertoire in 2019, and Hilaire’s successor, Maxim Sevagin, has kept it since 2022. As a former etoile of the Paris Opera Ballet who danced under Rudolf Nureyev’s directorate, Hilaire chose to introduce the Russian audience to Nureyev’s version of Don Quixote. Its set and costume design replicates Nicholas Georgiadis’s originals for the Paris Opera premiere.

Back at the bustling market square, the exuberance of the Spanish youth gradually spread through the rows. The legs of the toreadors sliced the air like knife edges; their leader, Espada (Evgeny Zhukov), missed no chance to parade his oomph; the sultry show of Olga Sizykh’s street dancer heated the air so much that the men began to brawl over the women – but the arrival of Don Quixote (on top of his armored old nag Rocinante) chilled passions. (more…)

Trickling

Through the Looking-Glass”
Ballet of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
Moscow, Russia

October 29, 2023

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2023 by Ilona Landgraf

1. V.Mukhanova (adult Alice), G.Bosai (Black Queen), and ensemble; “Through the Looking-Glass” by K.Semenov, Stanislavsky Ballet 2023 © MAMT This April, the Stanislavsky Ballet premiered a new piece by one of Russia’s up-and-coming choreographers – Konstantin Semenov, who happens to be a dancer from within their own ranks. Semenov, winner of the 2015 competition for young choreographers of the festival for contemporary dance Context. Diana Vishneva, so far mainly created dance miniatures. His recent work “Through the Looking-Glass” is his first full-fledged, seventy-minute one-acter. Still a small-scale production, it was shown on the theater’s small stage, where the audience sits in intimate proximity to the dancers.
“Through the Looking-Glass” is based on Lewis Carroll’s 1871 eponymous novel, the sequel of his “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1865). Again, young Alice enters a rhyme-ridden fantasy world, but this time through a mirror rather than a rabbit hole. Everything in this world is reversed, including written text, the meaning of words, and time (which runs counter-clockwise). (more…)

The Very Essence

Swan Lake”
Ballet of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
Moscow, Russia

June 05, 2023

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2023 by Ilona Landgraf

1. M.Drodzdova (Odile) and V.Tedeev (Prince Siegfried), “Swan Lake” by V.Burmeister and L.Ivanov, Ballet of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre 1974 © Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre 2. M.Drodzdova (Odette), “Swan Lake” by V.Burmeister and L.Ivanov, Ballet of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre © Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre 3. O.Kardash, K.Ryzhkova, M.Drodzdova, and K.Shevtsova; “Swan Lake” by V.Burmeister and L.Ivanov, Ballet of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre 2023 © Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre When I arrived at the Stanislavsky Theatre’s royal blue auditorium for Vladimir Burmeister’s 1953 version of “Swan Lake” I had no clue what was awaiting me. No one had told me that this performance wasn’t a regular one, but dedicated to Margarita Drodzdova, People’s Artist of the USSR, who spent almost her entire career at the Stanislavsky Ballet. A leading ballerina, many roles were tailored especially to her. After her farewell from the stage in 1987, Drodzdova continued to work as a teacher, passing her knowledge to future generations of dancers.

On the occasion of Drodzdova’s 75th birthday on May 7th, the Stanislavsky Ballet honored her with a special “Swan Lake” that featured three of her coachees in the roles of Odette and Odile. (more…)

Frothy

The Nutcracker”
Ballet of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
Moscow, Russia

December 30, 2022 (matinee)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2023 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “The Nutcracker” by Y.Possokhov, Stanislavsky Ballet 2022 © K.Zhitkova This winter, the Stanislavsky Ballet replaced Vasily Vainonen’s 1995 “Nutcracker” with Yuri Possokhov’s – not a brand-new rendering, but an adaption of the “Nutcracker” that Possokhov created for the Atlanta Ballet in 2018 (new designs included). Since its premiere in Moscow at the end of November, tickets have been in high demand. Given Possokhov’s good work on the Bolshoi Ballet’s “Nureyev” and an “Anna Karenina” for the Joffrey Ballet & the Australian Ballet, I was curious what approach he’d take to this iconic ballet – and it was clear within seconds that he had given this Nutcracker a strong update.

Sergey Rylko’s dazzling videos hurl us through flurrying snow to a spinning astrological sign. From there, a golden ram gallops off towards and through a faceless white town, flying in low over rooftops, an ice-rink, and a carousel. We land at the workshop of Drosselmeyer (danced by Jonah Cook, a former principal of the Bavarian State Ballet and the Zurich Ballet), who is heaping presents onto a sleigh together with his nephew (Andrey Kirichenko). Drosselmeyer’s wall-sized astrological clocks, their faces rotating mysteriously, are presumably tools that control the ticking of the universe. (more…)

In the Running

“Ekman / Goecke / Naharin”
Ballet of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
Moscow, Russia
March 23, 2019

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2019 by Ilona Landgraf

1. E. Mikirticheva and ensemble, “Tyll” by A. Ekman, Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre 2019 © S. Avvakum No fewer than three pieces of the Stanislavsky Ballet’s repertoire were nominated for this year’s Golden Mask award: “Tyll” by Alexander Ekman, “Lonesome George” by Marco Goecke, and “Minus 16” by Ohad Naharin. On top of that, the company’s senior principal, Oksana Kardash, is nominated twice for her performances in “Tyll” and “Lonesome George”.
The Golden Mask Festival is in full swing in Moscow, presenting the most significant productions of all genres of theater from all over Russia. The winners will be announced on April 16 at an awards ceremony in the Bolshoi Theatre. (more…)

Topical

“La Esmeralda”
Ballet of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
Moscow, Russia
March 07, 2019

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2019 by Ilona Landgraf

1. O. Kardash, “La Esmeralda” by V. Burmeister, Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre 2019 © A. Klyushkina Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” – which features Notre-Dame’s deformed bellringer Quasimodo and the compassionate, kind Esmeralda – has long been popular material for stage and film adaptions. The first ballet adaption premiered in London in 1844, with choreography by Jules Perrot and music by Cesare Pugni. In 1950, Vasiliy Tikhomirov and Vladimir Burmeister produced a new libretto for their version with the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre. As in the novel, their production is set in the 15th century and has a frame narrative that explores Esmeralda’s childhood background. For this iteration of the tale, Tikhomirov and Burmeister brought back Esmeralda’s tragic death while eschewing several secondary characters. In addition, Pugni’s score was newly orchestrated and supplemented with music by Reinhold Glière and Sergei Vasilenko. The three-acter is still in the company’s repertory and – more than 500 years later it is (regrettably) still highly topical. “La Esmeralda” exposes the Catholic church’s sickening hypocrisy and rotten ethics, which have made and continue to make international headlines to this day.

At the heart of the story is Esmeralda, who was picked up and raised by the Romani after they (wrongly) deemed her mother Gudule to be dead. (more…)

Heightened Drama

“Mayerling”
Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
National Theater
Munich, Germany
April 06, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. S.Polunin and A.Pershenkova, “Mayerling” by K.MacMillan, Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre 2017 © W.Hösl Igor Zelensky invited Moscow’s Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre, his own former troupe, to perform as a guest company for this month’s Ballet Festival Week in Munich. Last October, after a short period of double directorship in Moscow and Munich, Zelensky decided to concentrate solely on directing the Bavarian State Ballet. Laurent Hilaire, former Paris Opéra Ballet étoile, took over Zelensky’s post at the Stanislavsky in January this year.

The Stanislavsky brought along Kenneth MacMillan’s “Mayerling”, a piece rarely performed on German stages. As a special treat, Sergei Polunin danced the leading role at both performances. I saw the opening night. Although Polunin left the Stanislavsky in summer 2014, he continued to perform with the company on occasion. In Munich, he has been a permanent guest dancer since Zelensky took up the reins.

“Mayerling” isn’t the sort of piece one eagerly watches again and again – for at the root of the catastrophe of the piece is a tragedy that is too sad and a society that is too disgusting to witness repeatedly. The story is based on a dark chapter of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. The Emperor’s third child with Elisabeth (“Sisi”), Duchess of the house of Wittelsbach, was Crown Prince Rudolf, who at the age of twenty-three, was forced into a marriage with Princess Stéphanie of Belgium. The ballet begins with the couple’s wedding ball and ends with the double suicide of Rudolf and his mistress, Mary Vetsera, at the royal hunting lodge at Mayerling. (more…)