I’m just as big a fan of Natalia Osipova as of Ivan Vasiliev. And there are others, I just had not time, yet, to write about them all (when I started this blog I had a latent demand of issues I HAD to write about, but now I’m good, I think…).
Natalia is an absolute pleasure to watch. I had no doubt, at any time, that hers would be a brilliant path, she will become a legend.
I remember only too well that when she became a Royal Ballet principal, a lot was said about her lack of clean technique, of excessive energy, of too russian style – the same kind of remark made all the time about Ivan Vasiliev. What will these critics say now? That she didn’t deserve the awards? That we may love her performances, but should not, because they know better?
It is nice to see things be shaken a bit there, she brought new spark and life into Royal Ballet’s roles. She’s not a dare-devil as Ivan Vasiliev, has not all his revolutionary potential, or better said, she HAS, but chose not to use it. She chose, instead, a structured, safe environment, probably it suited better her workaholic, perfectionist temperament. She was right, obviously – there are the results!
I was disappointed when she joined Royal Ballet, and when she almost disowned her contemporary experience in Solo For Two. I do not mourn Vasipova as some do (I believe a great dancer brings the best out of any partner, and in that sense, they being apart does a lot of good to other dancers). But she chose the safest path of all… (sigh). A loss for the changing process that is happening in Dance, but if she is happy (I hope she is…), and if she feels it enables her to get the most out of her talent, so be it! We surely cannot complain!!!
I wonder if there will come a time when, coaching a soloist in a new role, it will be “no, no, look, that’s how Osipova did it!” instead of “that’s how Dame Fonteyn did it”. I loved Dame Fonteyn in my (her) time, as we all did, and I still love her. But I must be candid: now I love Natalia Osipova more, she is a more complete artist. Margot Fonteyn WAS the best, really was, but… Dance is changing, and for the better. Criteria that applied 50 years ago, and were absolutely right at the time, are not valid anymore.