Thursday, October 1, 2009

One of those What-Might-Have-Been Situations

I came across some very grainy footage recently of a most extraordinary ballet dancer - someone who obviously had the greatest future. Around 16, she'd been taking leading roles in the Mariinsky (Kirov) Theatre while still a student at the school.

The film shows Valentina Semyukova in a pas de deux from 'The Nutcracker'.

She already seems perfectly formed as a dancer, about to enlarge on her technique.

Through the movement, there is a perfect disposition of the forms of her body - creating an continuously exquisite line.

The phrasing with respect to the music is always intelligently considered and placed in an unmannered fashion. Not just following the music but leading purposefully away and then returning to catch the beat.

She is still technically tentative, which is particularly evident in the section involving 'fish dives' - the choreography has been simplified somewhat for the still developing dancer.

Very sadly, Valentina Semyukova died of an unspecified illness at just 17 years of age.

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