Expect consistent inconsistency from the Kirov Ballet.
Several announced casting decisions were rescinded at the company's final performance of the season, Sunday afternoon at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Some previously danced variations in "Paquita" were also dropped, reportedly on last-minute orders from artistic director Oleg Vinogradov.
Clearly, this company and its audience had no reason to grow complacent, even on the closing program of the 1989 U.S. tour. And if one of the surprises proved devastating--Igor Petrov certainly represented no substitute at all for Farukh Ruzimatov in the "Don Quixote" pas de deux--there were also undeniable compensations.
Start with Zhanna Ayupova in the Pavlova role of "Chopiniana," a performance treasurable for its exquisite refinement and deep sense of personal involvement. Dance historians often summarize this ballet as the Youth's dream, but Ayupova danced it with a sweet, secret smile as if it were her own. Replacing the announced Kiril Melnikov as the Youth, Yuri Zhukov returned to the cast in his last performance with the Kirov before joining San Francisco Ballet.
In the abridged "Paquita" festivities, Tatiana Terekhova danced the prima role with her usual majestic radiance. She looked unusually forced, perhaps, in supported bravura (partnered by Eldar Aliev), but typically precise and at ease in her solos.
Irina Chistiakova lost her "Paquita" solo but pertly danced the "Fairy Doll" trio (opposite Andrei Garbuz and Andrei Bosov), capitalizing on her very steady balances.
In the "Don Quixote" duet, Elena Pankova not only danced the familiar fan variation instead of the alternate solo seen Friday (with Terekhova), she also carried the fan through her fouette marathon--and cooled herself with it. This wasn't exactly polished classical dancing, but the emphasis on sheer speed and bravado yielded great excitement.
Familiar principals in the White Swan pas de deux and "The Dying Swan" completed the program. Victor Fedotov conducted.
No farewells, no encores.