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Download Alla Osipenko: Beauty and Resistance in Soviet Ballet by Joel Lobenthal PDF

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By Joel Lobenthal

Alla Osipenko is the gripping tale of 1 of history's maximum ballerinas, a brave insurgent who paid the associated fee for conversing fact to the Soviet kingdom. She studied with Agrippina Vaganova, the main respected and influential of all Russian ballet teachers, and in 1950, she joined the Mariinsky (then-Kirov) Ballet, the place her strains, shapes, and activities either exemplified the venerable traditions of Russian ballet and propelled these traditions ahead into uncharted and experimental nation-states.

She was once the 1st of her iteration of Kirov stars to enchant the West while she danced in Paris in 1956. yet dancing for the institution had its downsides, and Osipenko's sharp tongue and marked independence, in addition to her almost-reckless flouting of Soviet principles for private and political behavior, quickly stumbled on her all yet quarantined in Russia. An the world over acclaimed ballerina on the peak of her profession, she came across that she could now need to succeed within the face of each try out via the Soviet nation and the Kirov management to humble her.

In Alla Osipenko, acclaimed dance author Joel Lobenthal tells Osipenko's tale for the 1st time in English, drawing on forty interviews with the prima ballerina, and tracing her existence from Classical darling to avant-garde insurgent. during the ebook, Osipenko talks frankly and freely in a fashion that few Russians of her iteration have allowed themselves to. Her voice rises above the incidents as unhesitating and sleek as her mythical adagios. Candid, irreverent, and, mainly, self sufficient -- Osipenko and her tale open a window right into a interesting and little-discussed international.

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Additional info for Alla Osipenko: Beauty and Resistance in Soviet Ballet

Example text

Her talent seemed “to impel her to imbue difficult movements with an even higher level of poetry,” Krassovskaya writes, but simpler things, or combinations that she had already mastered could suddenly and unexpectedly flummox her. Soviet ballet largely functioned according to the regimens of the emploi system of typecasting, whereby the dancers were slotted into categories and distinct repertories. This system functioned as well as any other; it certainly precluded the egregious miscasting that so often blights today’s ballet stage.

The two were indeed such close and long colleagues that Brodskaya could on occasion go on autopilot. Osipenko remembered Brodskaya carrying a big bag with food and a romance novel into the studio. She’d put the book inside the score and eat throughout class. One day Sophia got quieter and quieter, then all of a sudden her fingers slammed into a chord. ” Vaganova demanded. She said, “Oh, Agrippina Jacovlevna, excuse me. ” Vaganova laughed. Osipenko chuckled too as she recalled a photography session with Vaganova and her class.

The balance were mostly drambal­ lets, dating from the 1920s onward. They were plot-driven, thus satisfying the Soviet demand for explicit storytelling, often based on classic works of Russian literature, but by no means always easily characterized as Socialist Realism. In the Kirov, Osipenko began to be given small solos right away, but she considered the time she spent in the corps valuable. The corps mandated the closest of contact with colleagues. Dancing in the ensemble of La Bayadère’s Kingdom of the Shades or Sleeping Beauty’s Vision scene, she needed to maintain a cantilena through her body that was transmitted to and worked in synergy with twenty or thirty other women.

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