In this post, I will not defend any idea – I will be only a fan.
First of all:
This link is a Christmas gift to Ivan Vasiliev’s fans, and maybe to him too.
It is also an “I am sorry” gift to him, because of the stir my first post about his injury unwittingly caused – besides the fact that I’m always writing about him.
But most of all, it is a Thank You, Ivan Vasiliev!
Now, why am I grateful? Because there is so much to like in his dancing. What do I see?
… the same all do:
– his super-hiper-ultra jumps: the ballon, extra-difficulties, clean landings;
– his turns, and their nice controlled ending;
…. but also:
– the sure feet: where he steps, where he lands, there they are, planted on the ground like roots, no fidgeting, no need of correction;
– that he is able to perform in such different styles of dancing (much to his choreographers joy), and fearless to try new ones – how could a dancer with classical training possibly master Labyrinth of Solitude so quickly? Or have the swing to dance Jazzy Five? or deal with all that was new in Solo For Two? … was he BORNE knowing all this?
– his expressive power in any kind of role, and how he uses dancing as a way to expression, instead of just glueing some pre-choreographed poor mimic on the surface of dance;
– how he dares to let go of a classical line if it doesn’t help expression: outstretched hands, contracted shoulders and chest, relaxed arms, and so on, and it is still SO beautiful dancing, sometimes more than ever before;
– the beauty of his movements: he is asked to point a finger, he points, and there it is, ridiculously beautiful, deserving a picture to be taken. Never knew a dancer so graceful, moving, standing, whatever, he is always nice to look at – I suppose it’s still the borne dancer thing;
– his reliable partnering. In Vasiliev’s PDDs, my natural reaction is to sit back, relax and enjoy, because I have no doubt, at all, it will work seamlessly and be beautiful to watch;
– the commitment to his partners, making us pay attention to them because he, the great star, pays so much attention to them;
– the disarming joy in dancing, and disarming pride on his feats;
– that he is the most masculine dancer ever, not just in his looks – all his dancing is masculine;
– that he is handsome, and I don’t give a fig that he does not fit “classical” standards – in fact, he could be the new standard, because I like it better;
– that he gives his best every single time!;
– his self-esteem and individuality – he is always stepping outside of invisible limits others try to set on him. He is fearless, like Ratmansky said, and is always accepting new challenges . Irrepressible, I called him, and I hope he will not change, ever!!
– his charisma. It permeates all other items, and enhances them, and the outcome now becomes really impressive! In order NOT to see and feel it, well, you will have to close your eyes and walk away very quickly… If you stay, you are hooked – wellcome, one more fan! And this quality, more than any one other, enabled him to the next:
– his communication skills: he knows how to create rapport with his audience, how to win them to his role AND even to Ivan Vasiliev himself – awesome feat for a dancer! How many dancers can boast of such a skill? to such an extent? in classical Ballet?
Has Vasiliev really all these qualities? Oh, they may not be there all the time, or may not be there all at the same time, but, yes, they are all, already, HIS.
He also may not have reached perfection in all these features, and other dancers may be favourably compared on this or that feature, but if you sum these up, you’re compelled to realize he is unique, no superlatives needed. Not a single dancer, until now, had them all together.
Dance becomes DANCE, when he steps on stage, and I’m grateful, deeply grateful every time I see DANCE. So, yes, Thank You, Ivan Vasiliev, I wish more classical dancers were like you!
I hope your example give other dancers “ideas”, boldness. I Hope! I don’t like to see all that weight on just your <classical> shoulders, muscled as they are, because it is cumbersome, you should not know about all this, you should just DANCE! Please!