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World's Young Ballet / Moscow International Competition, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ludmila Semenyaka, Anna Pavlova

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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(Mar 27, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

This fascinating look at world of international ballet competitions features a young Mikhail Baryshnikov competing -and winning -in Moscow in 1969. The Moscow International Competition of Ballet Artists at the Bolshoi Theater attracts young dancers from around the world to compete for gold and silver medals, much like the Olympics. In this acclaimed film of the 1969 Competition, Baryshnikov performs an excerpt from La Bayadere and a solo from an original ballet by Leonid Jakobson entitled Vestris. Also featured in this historic documentary is a young Ludmila Semenyaka performing a scene from Act III of Giselle.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Classical, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 27, 2007
  • Run Time: 71 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MGBTOS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,341 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This documentary is a wonderful example of trends in ballet in 1969. The first Moscow International Ballet Competition drew young dancers from around the world. Foremost among them was the outstanding Mikhail Baryshnikov, then of the Kirov Ballet, who won a gold medal. Russian ballet companies are the most often represented, but dancers from Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, Cuba, the US and other countries are featured. A pleasant surprise for me was seeing Helgi Tomassen, formerly of the Harkness Ballet and New York City Ballet and now Artistic Director of the San Francisco Ballet, winning a silver medal with his clean, effortless dancing. Many of the competitors went on to become leading dancers with their respective companies.
Between the dancing segments, the camera follows the dancers as they tour Moscow and go on a side trip to [then] Leningrad, where they watch a class at the Vaganova Institute, the school of the Kirov Ballet.
The comments on the dancing and choreography (apparently taken from the judges) are very revealing: in the late '60s, Russians still had not been exposed to much dance from the West, and some of the required modern choreography seemed to leave the judges either confused, or impressed (all out of proportion) by its supposed innovation. But the excellence of the dancing and the glimpse of ballet history is what makes this video stand out.
A later (1981) Moscow competition was documented in "Holiday of Ballet." Two other videos about ballet competitions are "Bujones: Winning at Varna" and "Erik Bruhn Prize."
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating documentary of what the New York Times called an "exquisite blend of anxiety and esthetics", the first Moscow International Ballet Competition. We are privileged to see astoundingly talented young dancers, such as Hideo Fukagawa, the so-dubbed "Flying Japanese". He is a young man who seemed to be made from some kind of antigravity material, so light, elastic and graceful were his airborne leaps. Baryshnikov is phenomenal. You can see him dance Vestris, which he later performed at Wolftrap. Sadly, the Wolftrap audience did not understand what he was doing, and laughed at him. Here there was no question of the seriousness of his dancing and his gifted acting abilities.

The men seemed to be particularly brilliant in this competition, some of whom possessed extraordinary power, elegance and style, not to mention great physical beauty. There was an embarrassment of riches at this competition, a condition of abundance that would fade in the future as fewer and fewer dancers made the expensive pilgrimage to Moscow.

It must have been a challenge for the judges to decide who were supreme among these (mostly) great dancers. A who's who of the dance greats of this era, we see among the judges Plisetskaya, Ulanova, and Alonso.

Included is a stunning clip of Anna Pavlova dancing with a fan in an outdoor setting. It is brief, but gives us a glimpse of the magnitude of her art.

This is a DVD that I have watched several times, and will continue to view. The dancing of some of the contestants is gorgeous, and I don't know of any other opportunities to see them.
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Format: DVD
I was thrilled to discover this DVD, which provides very rare footages of Ludmila Semenyaka and Anna Pavlova. Ludmila's youthful exuberance is absolutely infectious. I especially love how she had her personal "nook" by the stage where she observed the competitors. Her demeanors reminded me of a kitten, graceful but a little goofy at the same time. I'm not even going to try describing Anna Pavlova's art, you just have to buy this DVD and see for yourself. :o)
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I loved this DVD, it is an historic film, whith features we would hardly ever watch separadetly. The narrator says curious things about ballet, the performers, and the tecniques and variations of the dances. i truly recomended as a record of the youth of our favorite dancers. Don't miss it!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The dancing is nothing short of spectacular. There is a wonderful clip of Pavlova dancing as well. The fact that it in b/w really takes nothing away from this documentary. Well narrated, with backstage activity included. Mesmerizing. A MUST have.
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World's Young Ballet / Moscow International Competition, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ludmila Semenyaka, Anna Pavlova
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