Nikolai Tsiskaridze letting his hair down at Russian Radio now that the massive Vaganova Ballet Academy 280th jubilee celebrations are over. This radio host does a little segment where they get their guests to dance and sing along to Russian pop songs.
Nikolai Tsiskaridze. Tatler Russia (June 2018) photoshoot.
I feel a bit bad that I laughed as hard as I did when I saw this. Seriously though. Looking at this photo I can literally hear Tan yelling encouragements from behind the scenes and Jonathan loudly losing his shit. Bless Nikolai but, like, who gave you permission!?
EDIT: Here’s me assuming that everyone has seen the reboot of Queer Eye and will get the references I’m making… You should definitely watch it though. It’s the best thing you can do for your mental health: it’s literally just 8 hours of people being extremely kind to each other.
Do you have a favorite teacher at VBA? In terms of their teaching style and what they turn their students into? I don’t know if this question makes sense or not…
There are many teachers at VBA whom I like and admire. It’s kind of hard not to since there are some amazing men and women working there. Aside from Tsiskaridze (duh), I really like Alexei Ilyin and Fethon Miozzo because they seem to really care for their students. I also like Alexander Stepin: the incredible acting teacher and one (if I’m not mistaken) of the most well-liked teachers at the academy. The person I find most fascinating though is Professor Marina Vasilieva. She has been teaching classical dance at the academy since 1977 and her students include Yulia Makhalina, Evgenia Obraztsova, Viktoria Tereshkia, Elena Evseeva and Olesya Novikova. She also trains ballet teachers and is one of the leading experts in the field of ballet education.
This might be to specific of a question so I’ll say sorry in advance, but: Would hitting the expected growth spurt late(r than normal in boys) be a reason to fail the body standards for VBA? I mean, they are supposed to be a good height for the girls, but what happens if they don’t match up with any girl from their year? Do they just have to make it work somehow?
I don’t think this would be an issue for boys. Ballet companies like tall boys. That’s pretty much the only reason Rodkin was hired in the first place. I also think that there’s more of a demand for taller boys now that ballerinas are getting taller as well. Height is more of an issue for girls: being too short or too tall may mean missing out on a job with a company.
Sorry, I think I didn’t explain my previous question clearly. I meant to ask if there are any soloist or principal international graduates from VBA in companies in Russia or around the world?
Ah, yes, that makes more sense. A few of the semi-recent international VBA graduates are doing quite well, though I can’t think of any who have made it to principal quite yet. Ella Pesson (class of 2015) is a coryphee at the Mikhailovsky and gets to dance solo and principal parts regularly. Julian MacKay (graduated from BBA in 2015) is first soloist with the Mikhailovsky. I’m pretty sure there are several recent foreign trainee grads who are doing very well in regional theatres around Russia, but I can’t think of their names… Oscar Frame (VBA, class of 2017) is still in the corps at the Bolshoi, and I don’t want to jinx him, but I think we should be watching him closely. Keenan Kampa was doing amazing things until her injury…
Have you seen russianballetvideo2’s comments about the VBA student Svetlana Savelieva? I was absolutely shocked and horrified by the mean comments! Would you know who is this vicious person? Sveta is simply a student at this point and it is really horrid of this person to say such horrid things! And there are others who added their mean comments as well! Maybe this is why Tsiskaridze stopped allowing exam videos to be posted online.
russianballetvideo2 and the behaviour of the person running it has been addressed here before (also here). What can I say… Internet can be a toxic place and, for some reason, ballet seems to attract a lot of toxic people. I don’t think much can be done about it and, sadly, russianballetvideo2 isn’t the worst example of this sort of behaviour. Far from it… I hope students and young dancers can learn to see through the bullshit and not take these clowns and their moronic followers seriously.
I don’t think that this is the reason VBA stopped releasing videos of their exams though. And they haven’t actually stopped. Not really. They release videos on case-by-case basis. You can certainly find footage of Tsiskaridze’s and Sirotin’s exams on youtube and the academy’s social media.
Do you know if Nikolai keeps up with his graduates? Like does he go to their performances?
As far as I know, he tries to. I think he’s made an effort to make himself available as much as possible (even if it only means an occasional text or phonecall), but he is ridiculously busy. I know that he helped Egor Gerashchenko prepare for his debut as Von Rothbart at the Bolshoi, and photos of him having coffee with his grads pop up online every now and then. He does try.
Hi! Do you maybe know why Asya Bogdashkina and Ksenia Sevenard are not on the center bar anymore? I was really surprised when I saw Kuzmichyovas video!
I don’t, I’m afraid. As I mention here, there can be many reasons for that.
Hi, melmoth! I found that Anastasia Nuykina is a really amazing dancer. I don’t know why she is not as famous as other outsanding student( Khoreva,Ionova,Petukhova,Bulanova) She should be one of the outstanding students in her class. Don’t you think so? But I am really disappointing because I can’t watch current 7th class exam. All 7th class are strong, but especially 7b( Savelieva,Bogdashkina,Ksenia, Frolova… )Could you give us your opinion,and post parts of their class exam(if it’s possible)?
I’m afraid I no longer do “opinion” posts. I don’t think they’re beneficial or fair, especially when it comes to students. And I don’t have a strong enough knowledge base to provide any good technical commentary. As I mention below, I don’t think one can use the term “famous” where students are concerned. Personally, I think Nuykina is doing pretty well: she’s involved in most major VBA productions, gets to go on tour and dances different solo parts. I think her position at VBA is solid.
Hi! I was wondering what your opinion is of Misha Barkidjija. I believe he’s in level II right now? He seems to be the “star” of his class (front and center during exams, notable roles in production etc etc) I believe he may be headed to the Bolshoi after he graduates but I might be wrong?
As I mention in the above response, I no longer offer my opinion on students or dancers. I don’t believe it is fair or necessary. And I can’t tell you much more about Misha than you already know yourself. Yes, he appears to be doing very well. Which is saying something when you’re one of Tsiskaridze’s students. He still has another year to go at VBA, if I’m not mistaken, and I have no idea what company he will end up with.
Melmoth, this is a question out of curiosity. In a Tsiskaridze interview it was stated that he tries not to have favourites, but others have commented that it is clear that he does have favourites among the students. I can feel that with Elya and Egor. From your personal instinct, do you think he is fond of Khoreva as a student? I have not seen much rehearsal footage of them together. Khoreva seems very strong-willed and difficult to “influence”.
I’m sure that a lot of teachers are like this: they’re not supposed to have favourites, would likely deny having them, but do have them nonetheless. Tsiskaridze has, in the past, gravitated towards certain students, and Elya and Egor are the most recent examples. I think what draws him is individuality. When he sees a student who is unique in some way or has that special “something”, he wants to work with them. And from what I’ve seen, his instincts are rarely wrong. For example: he singled Renata Shakirova, Anastasia Lukina and Eleonora Sevenard out very early on. To say nothing of Rodkin, whom Nikolai fished out of the lower depth of the Bolshoi’s corps.
My personal feeling (though I don’t have any actual insight) is that he doesn’t have any significant relationship with Khoreva. This isn’t a bad thing; it just means that he treats her as any other student. Yes, Masha is strong-willed, but I don’t think it’s Nikolai’s intention to “break” anyone. His influence doesn’t extend beyond guiding a student to become the best version of themselves. Tsiskaridze has a sharp eye but his choices are, to some degree, personal. Him not working with Khoreva as much as he has with, say, Elya, isn’t a reflection on the former.
Are there any famous or well known international trainees from VBA or Bolshoi academy?
I’m not sure if “famous” is the right word. They are still students, after all. There are some who are “instagram-famous”, like Maria Khoreva, Yana Cherepanova or Kirill Sokolovski, if that’s what you mean.
Is that massive painting in one of the studios of Crown Prince Rudolf?
No. Though it’s a little hard to tell from the photograph, it’s most likely Nicholas II of Russia, the reigning monarch at the time.
Yesterday, May 9, Russia celebrated Victory Day. This day – one of the country’s major national holidays – commemorates the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945.
Nikolai Tsiskaridze was at the Victory Day parade in the Red Square and told National News Service: “We risk to lose all we have if we forget. I believe that it is necessary to keep this memory alive, as well as the memory of those thanks to whom we are able live the way we do today.”