Monday, July 07, 2008

Monday Ballet Monday: San Francisco

Wherein words and voices


An earlier Monday ballet highlighted the Anaheim Ballet and their video podcasts. The San Francisco also offers numerous podcasts, offering interviews with dancers and choreographers, and a couple of other features. What's also nice is that the interviews are transcribed.

Podcast Main Page.

I've only listened to a few, but here's two I'd recommend. Rita Moreno and principal dancer Lorena Feijoo discuss dancing West Side Story. Vanessa Zahorian left home at 16 to train in Russia:
I understand you also spent time studying at the Vaganova Academy in Russia. How did you end up there?

My sister and I started at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. I was 13 when I left. We were offered a scholarship to go to the summer program at the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C., and that is the Vaganova training. They’re affiliated with the the Maryinsky Theatre, the Kirov Ballet in St. Petersberg. The director was Oleg Vinegradova at the time, and his wife was the director of the school in America at the Kirov Academy, and they really liked my dancing right from the beginning. I was there for three years, and my last year, the Prince of Monaco wanted a female dancer to have the opportunity to go to Russia and be an apprentice with the Kirov Company, and [he] wanted to give this full scholarship and chose me. It was a tough decision, because being very young, I was 16 and going to Russia, [and] didn’t know the language.

Tell me more about what it was like living in Russia.

Russia. Well, my first experience, all I could think of was how cold it was. And living in Russia was just fantastic. Everything was new and the language was difficult for six months, and then after a while I picked up the grammar in the studio very easily. Then of course, the training was just fabulous. It was just the best classical training; that is what I really wanted to get because where I grew up in Pennsylvania, we had a more Balanchine-American style. I loved watching the classic ballets of Don Quixote and Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, and I wanted that technique and artistry. When I was in Russia watching the ballerinas onstage, I could go every night to the Maryinsky Theatre and watch Diana Vichnova and all these names that you hear of and you see on videotapes, and they were right there, in front of your eyes, just amazing. I learned a lot.

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