- Restless Creature
- Principal Dancer
- Dreams of Giverny
- Rebels on Pointe
Photo Credit: Restless Creature
It may not be obvious to movie audiences that “Polina” is based on a graphic novel: Bastien Vivès’s 2011 tale of a young Russian ballerina, rendered in monochrome pen-and-ink drawings, with fluid, gray washes.
Actually, there are two someones: French writer-director Valérie Müller and her co-director (and husband) Angelin Preljocaj, an acclaimed contemporary choreographer. Preljocaj’s influence is clear in the dancing scenes, even an early one in which the title character (played as an 8-year-old by Veronika Zhovnytska, and later as a teenager by Anastasia Shevtsova, a former member of the Mariinsky Ballet) shakes her groove thang while walking home from ballet school in the snow. There’s an intensity and authenticity to Polina’s unrehearsed movements, as well as to the work she puts into dance, even when – maybe especially when – her performance lacks polish.
The Mariinsky’s performance on Friday night was honourable: Ekaterina Kondaurova an eloquent Odette, a vivid Odile, the dance pure in its lines. Her Siegfried was Yevgeny Ivanchenko, dutiful in all things, oddly remote in manner. The legion of swan-maidens spoke of elegance of means, vital traditions, impeccable style. The third act mazurka was a marvel. Splendid decors. A fine orchestra.