Um, she isn’t my choice but I’m sure she tried her best.
“Kondaurova’s Odette-Odile blows me away every time, she is exquisite. Who are your favorite Odette-Odiles? (Could be active or retired, established primas or diamonds in the rough)”
Oh Kondaurova is 10000% one of the best for sure, no doubt! I also love Svetlana Zakharova and Devon Teuscher of ABT. And then the Queen herself is Ulyana Lopatkina, but that has to be a given.
“Obraztsova is rehearsing Carmen for her debut, as she said herself, but the Bolshoi doesn’t have Carmen Suite scheduled in the near future? So guest performance? Gala? Anyways, thoughts? I just do not see Carmen in her personally, and she is always a tad bit behind the music in her rehearsal clips.”
I don’t understand her dancing Carmen, it is so weird and definitely not a role I EVER thought she would do. I honestly have no idea when she would be dancing it, maybe in a hope beyond all hope she started rehearsing it super early for a debut next season?? I know that’s a delusion and non-existent fantasy in Russian companies though lol.
“What are your thoughts on Daria Ionova and Maria Bulanova, do you think they should be promoted anytime soon or they are in fair positions considering their skills? Another thing, do you know why Olesya Novikova didn't become a principal yet? I find her so principal material”
I like Ionova, she’s beautiful in more graceful and airy roles like Chopiniana and I think she’d make a beauty Sylph in La Sylphide. Would I want to watch her in a main role in a classical ballet though? No, probably not, but I think she has the potential to be a decent Giselle. I think coryphee is the right place for her. Bulanova is more interesting to me. She has the stage presence and is in good in solo variations, but for some reason struggles in partnering. I was looking forward to her debut as Gamzatti, but thanks to Covid that didn’t happen. I also think second soloist is a good rank for her. In terms of Novikova, no one can say for sure why she was never promoted, but I think it comes down to the fact that she had 3 kids pretty closely together which is a lot for dancers. I also think politics were involved, especially when Sarafanov left the Mariinsky that did not help her case. But all of this is speculation. I personally am not a fan of Novikova and don’t mind she was never promoted, but I know I am in the minority on that.
“What are your thoughts on Aran Bell? Just saw him rehearsing Swan Lake with Skylar Brandt on her Instagram.”
I like him I guess, I’ve seen him in Swan Lake twice and he wasn’t anything offensive but nothing super memorable either. I wouldn’t be mad if he was cast in anything I saw, but I wouldn’t call him a personal favorite of mine either. Other than that, I don’t have much to say about him.
“Do you know anything about Alena Lebedeva (@alionas_kate on ig)? I know she studied at Vaganova but left before concluding (don't know the reason why) and now she is a pro ballerina. Any thoughts about her?”
I don’t really pay attention to students anymore so I had never heard of her. I just went through her Instagram and think the workout/technique videos she’s doing are good and I actually plan on doing some of them for the feet, ankles, and balancing. Other than that I don’t have anything to say lol.
“I’d love to read a more detailed opinion on Artem Ovcharenko!!! One always reads such conflicting views on him, some believe he used to be outstanding but has now regressed, others consider him mediocre. What do you think?”
So I never really paid attention to his dancing before because he and Tikhomirova annoyed me so much on Instagram lol. Recently I started watching him again and I think I like him a lot, I still haven’t fully formed my opinion! I think he is a beautiful classical dancer and the best Prince Desire at the Bolshoi. He has the elegance and physical beauty that Semyon Chudin has, but he also has personality and stage presence that Chudin lacks sometimes. I really like his Prince Kurbsky in Ivan the Terrible, Armand in La Dame Aux Camelias, and Lensky in Onegin. I would say he is charming onstage!
Also, how can you not love him and Nina Kaptsova together, especially in this pas de deux from Taming of the Shrew: https://youtu.be/RbtI16iHPz4?t=354
I've seen you have been receiving a lot of "what is your favorite..." so I'm sorry if this is kinda annoying, but what are your top 5 favorite ballet partnerships? I really like Ulyana Lopatkina and Danila Korsuntsev.
Okay Lopatkina and Korsuntsev are 10000% amazing and I agree! My other favorites are:
found more videos of iliushkina’s raymonda on instagram (@ evvolf), wonder if you’ve already seen them? what do you think of her raymonda?
Yes I’ve seen these, but thanks for letting me know about them!
When it comes to her Raymonda I am very torn. I thought she looked good in the choreography and I love her partnership with Korneyev, but she just looked too young and was not mature enough for the role. I think she has potential but it will take a lot of growth and work to be a truly good Raymonda. Hers will be different from other Raymondas because she will never be the authoritative and powerful ballerina other dancers try to be and I don’t know if that will be an issue or not, it remains to be seen. I think before she dances it again, she needs to mature more in her dancing and work on her stage presence. If she can do those things, I think it will be quite good.
Now when it comes to each act, I’ve decided that the dream scene in act 1 is the most difficult and she didn’t look super comfortable in that scene and that adagio needed work with the two of them. The pas de Hongrois, final pas de deux, was great I really enjoyed it and I thought the pas de six in act 2 was nice but again, nothing special or memorable. She needs to mature.
What are your thoughts on Khoreva and how you feel about her prepping for Giselle?
At this point, her getting principal roles isn’t surprising, the only question is the order she debuts them. She’s the new it girl and she’s going to be the one carrying MT for the foreseeable future as the current crop of primas near retirement. And honestly I’m pleasantly surprised she hasn’t started prepping O/O yet and they’re saving that a bit longer simply because that’s such an emotionally heavy role. I’m also praying they don’t give her Kitri because I really don’t think that will do her any favors.
I think her act I will be decent and her clean poses will carry her through the act, there are few technical challenges aside from the variation. I don’t expect her to earn herself more fans with her mad scene but I think Giselle’s charming, ingenue character will be more attainable to her. I think she’ll do better with this innocent character as opposed to the sophisticated demeanor she has struggled with in Bayadere and Raymonda. It’s not a coincidence that she looks more at ease dancing Aurora and Masha, she’s clearly more comfortable in those roles emotionally.
But I have to say, I think the act II will be killer with all the big penches and developpes. Khoreva shines best in long adagios, both supported and unsupported and the choreographic demands for act II suit her strengths best. Also, if I had to guess, I think she’ll debut with Shklyarov, simply because she tends to do most of her big classic debuts with him.