Thursday, September 6, 2007

Spasibo, Everybody!

Thank you to everyone who helped make our summer educational tour such a success. Valery is now back in Russia working on his new project the premiere of a brand new ballet based on the "Snow Maiden."

Before he left we recorded a special interview. Unfortunately, due to a technical glitch the voice of the translator was not recorded. What was left behind are my questions in English and his answers in Russian. Since this is probably not ideal for anybody, I'll do my best to paraphrase his answers as best as I can with my rudimentary Russian. [Blogspot also seems to be having a problem with uploading pictures today.]

First I asked Valery what he remembers most from his trip. He began by thanking me and Double V Promotions for planning his route. He said he thought the route was very well thought out and planned. He was especially pleased to be able to spend several days at the same school.

I followed up by asking how spending longer periods at each school worked out and what his plans are for next time. He said that he liked these classes and that it is a very professional system. He was able to teach many interesting combinations and more challenging combinations with a focus on things like pirouettes, chaines and fouettes and that having a full week to work on this was the best approach.

I asked him if any schools or areas particularly stood out in his mind. He said, "Of course." He remembers the school in Charleston, West Virginia. Michelle Raider was a wonderful host and very professional to work with and has wonderful students. He also remembers another school in the city of Beckley, West Virginia run by Jerry Rose. It was a very good time, and he had time to work with the students and finally Crystal Lake in the state of Illinois-- the last school of our tour. It was a very professional school. He was very pleased to work with the students here. They worked on many combinations and technique. (As well as other things that are, unfortunately, beyond my level of Russian.)

I next asked, "Having seen so many schools in America now, is there any advice that you could give to students overall?" He responded that he believes that from what he has seen American schools in general need to put more focus not only on the technical aspects but on dancing with proper emotion and dancing with the music. Students need to understand why they are dancing in this style to this music. He has seen many students dancing something lyrical like balance in a mechanical style. Students should not only know the steps of the waltz but understand why they are doing a waltz, what does the waltz express. He feels that often American students aren't taught to dance the music and think about the emotion of the music.

I asked him to speak a little bit about his next project when he returns to Russia. He said he is planning to get back to work on his new ballet "Snow Maiden." It is an absolutely new version with a new ballet master, new choreography and an original score with new, completely original costumes and sets. This will be produced with the Natalya Sats Theater in Moscow and this project will come to America with Double V Promotions. This winter, in the month of January, he returns to the U.S. for the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference in New York and will present information on this production as well as The Nutcracker, the children's ballet Cipollina and Swan Lake which will feature soloists from the Bolshoi, Kremlin and Moscow Stanislavski ballets with corps de ballet from the Sats theater. We will also present information on the ethnic dance ensemble Mercury. A very interesting ensemble.

Finally, I asked if he had any last words for the students and teachers in America. He thanked the teachers for inviting us to their studios. He saw many teachers taking notes and pictures and video and he hopes his combinations and his system are helpful to them. He hopes to come back and teach classical ballet to American students. He's looking forward to the next time working together.