Blow for Bolshoi as star ballet couple quits

MOSCOW- Russia's Bolshoi Theatre was reeling Monday after two of the most celebrated dancers in world ballet announced they were quitting the company for a lesser-known troupe.
Ivan Vasiliev and Natalya Osipova, a real-life couple whose amazing technique and passionate performances have won a worldwide following, have both handed in their notice, Bolshoi spokeswoman Katerina Novikova told AFP.

Blow for Bolshoi as star ballet couple quits
In a decision that has rocked the ballet world, they are moving to the Mikhailovsky Theatre of Saint Petersburg, a well-regarded house that is nonetheless overshadowed in Russia's second city by the world famous Mariinsky.
The departure of possibly the two greatest attractions in its entire company is a huge blow for the Bolshoi ballet just weeks after it re-opened its historic theatre after a painful closure of over half a decade.
Novikova indicated that the Bolshoi was stunned by the move and would seek to talk the young pair round.
"I hope that in the next two weeks (the legal notice period) they will have a rethink. They are incredible artists who grew up in the Bolshoi. The Bolshoi is open for them and I hope that it will stay their home," she added.
"They are leaving in the season when the historic theatre has reopened. And not even to the Paris Opera but to the Mikhailovsky Theatre."
Vasiliev was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying he had become frustrated with the artistic conservatism of the Bolshoi and did not want to be repeatedly dancing the same signature roles.
"For artists, the size of the stage is not important. What matters is what is performed and how it is done," he said.
He and Osipova have agreed a contract of five years with the Mikhailovsky, which has enjoyed a sudden artistic resurgence and embraced new work in the last year under Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato.
Osipova said that the main reason for their exit "was a lack of repertoire".
"I have already danced everything that could be danced there. We are looking for creative freedom."
The head of the Bolshoi ballet, Sergei Filin, told RIA Novosti that "nothing had been signed" and the theatre still hoped to conduct negotiations with the pair.
Vasiliev, described by critics as the new Mikhail Baryshnikov, has made a huge impact in the Bolshoi's signature role of Spartacus while Osipova has made the lead role in classic ballet Giselle her own.
But they appear to have become frustrated by being typecast in the same classic roles.
The Mikhailovksy confirmed in an official statement on its Twitter page that the pair had taken the decision to move to Saint Petersburg. They are due to make their debuts as company members on December 1.

Tuesday, November 15th 2011

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