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Subject: "Ballet in Munich" Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #337
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Vera Uhrle

31-10-99, 00:50 AM (GMT)
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"Ballet in Munich"
   After having seen one of the most moving performances of Giselle ever, I'd like to share some of my thoughts with the ballet.co readers.
During the directorship of Konstanze Vernon the Bavarian State Ballet has won much international acclaim. At the befinning of the 98/99 season, Ivan Liska took over and since then, quite a few things have changed: The programmes are less interesting, the choreographers who create the premieres are quite dubious and the dancers he brought to the company are not up to the level Mrs. Vernon had created.
And now, after the 10th anniversary gala, the big bang: he changed the position of the former Kirov principal Elena Pankova from Principal to Guest Dancer. The reasons he gave are quite odd: Mr. Liska said that he felt that Ms. Pankova was not happy in the company any longer, he himself could only work with happy dancers and so he would like to give her more opportunities to guest elsewhere.
One has to ask why she's no longer happy in a com-
pany where she used to dance Odette, Aurora, Louise in Neumeier's Nurcracker, Marguerite and Manon in Kameliendame, Juliet, Tatjana in Cranko's Onegin, Nikiya, Kitri, lots of modern roles and above all Giselle.
This evenings Giselle was her first major appearance this season after a solo in a rather dubious Pas de Quatre (Ch. L. Jacobsson) which she performed with grace and impeccable style. Until the end of Februrary she is cast in 3 Bayaderes (out of 10).
Her performance this evening was most moving, perfect in style, and the public thanked her with lots of flowers, which is m o s t unusual here.
A company that claims to be a classical one should not give away its only classical ballerina, who is able to inspire her fellow dancers.

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Ballet in Munich Bruce Madmin 31-10-99 1
     RE: Ballet in Munich Kevin Ng 31-10-99 2
  RE: Ballet in Munich Naoko S 31-10-99 3
     RE: Ballet in Munich Vera 07-11-99 4

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Bruce Madmin

31-10-99, 01:42 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Ballet in Munich"
In response to message #0
   It must be sad to see such changes in a much loved company. But new Directors do new things (otherwise nothing would ever change) and it can take a while before it all comes together. Of course sometimes the new direction does not seem as good as the old....

But I'm glad that as least Pankova remains a guest and viewed in some lights we have similar situations in the UK where much loved dancers are no longer full time with companies.

Your thoughts have brought something back to mind that I meant to post earlier but don't believe I did....

We all know that Ballett Frankfurt enjoy a major international reputation and thrill people wherever they go. But it occurred to me that some in Frankfurt probably lament the 'passing away' of their old company who probably had a mixed repertoire including the odd classic perhaps.... Their loss is the wider gain, but it must come hard.

(Of course this assumes that Frankfurt were indeed a regional company with mixed repertoire! But even if it was not quite as simple as that I belive the example is clear)

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Kevin Ng

31-10-99, 10:07 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Ballet in Munich"
In response to message #1
   Vera, I am surprised to hear the news of the change of Pankova's status to a guest artist. Do you know if it is the same with Kiril Melnikov, Elena Pankova's husband?

I don't think Pankova has done a lot of guesting in recent years, besides dancing with the Suzanne Farrell group in Washington DC several years ago, and guesting with the English National Ballet in the early 1990s.

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Naoko S

31-10-99, 06:27 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Ballet in Munich"
In response to message #0

I envy you you had an opportunity to see Ms Pankova's Giselle. At the 10th anniversary gala she stood out among other soloists of the company for a pure classical style; I remember her feather-like movement and extraordinary port de bras - it's easy to imagine how she might have enchanted audience in Giselle.

With your info. it now appears that the gala was a manifesto by a new director - that his company would aim to join 'super modern league', competing with other German rivals, doesn't it? On the evening not a single classical 'favourite' was performed by the company's soloists (except O. Weher who partnered Elisabeth Platel), which I found a bit unusual.

Interesting thing is I felt Munich audience rather liked the 'move' (or at least the fact modern pieces were weighed far heavier than classical ones on that night). Obviously they applauded more enthusiastically at a piece like "Intuition Blast", - the company's premier; performed by two male dancers - than Pankova or Platel. (Incidentally this piece left me a bit of uneasiness - having seen AMP's Swan more than a few times I couldn't find an idea adopted there genuinely original.) Honestly I felt like a total alien when they went onto tap on the floor to show their appreciation!

Anyway I wish you had as many opportunities to see Pankova in the coming seasons...

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07-11-99, 08:50 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Ballet in Munich"
In response to message #3
   As far as I know, Kirill Melnikov's status is not to be changed. To quote an interview with Elena Pankova in a Munich newspaper: 'He is more diplomatic.....'
Mr. Liska always says that the Bavaraian State Ballet is a classical company, but his programming and casting seems to lead in a very different direction. But it is going to save me a lot of money, so I can travel around to see good dancers in good ballets.

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