I am not going to write her biography here. There are many extensive ones all over internet. Just type in her name and many many links come up including plenty of images.
It was Swan Lake, the Grigorovich version. Swan Lake is one of the ballets I am most sentimental about. It was the very first ballet I saw, when I was two, and it got me hooked on ballet for all eternity. The first leading role I danced from the major repertoire, the White Swan, came from this ballet; later on it was the Black Swan pas de deux that introduced me to my mentor; and Swan Lake was my first professional performance and my first First Soloist role at the same time …
The entrance of Odette in the second act (but labelled Act I, scene II in Grigorovich’s version) is so full of expectation. The female lead does not make an appearance during the first scene; the mood is set by the fantastic sequence with the Prince and Rothbart (I love how Grigorovich presents Rothbart! But that’s another story…). Towards the end of the scene, the music plays so beautifully in crescendo, the Prince exits stage right, a beam of follow spot concentrates on the upstage corner of stage left then, in the midst of blue/grey scenery, a ballerina in a pure white tutu appears!
My first impression of Alexandrova was, “oh, no…” (If you are a fun of Alexandrova, please do not get cross, and keep on reading!)
In short, I did not like her at all as Odette, the tragic white swan. I did not feel any sympathy towards her character, and the only thing I could think of was that the costume did not flatter her physique in the least and I kept wondering whether her black swan was going to be better. She simply did not look like the vulnerable helpless maiden who is struck by tragedy.
Her Odile was a lot better. She was a fantastic technician. Her Odile was powerful, commanded the Prince’s attention and was convincing. However, I still was not entirely convinced by her. So when I left the cinema, I thought I would not be sad if I never got to watch her again.
Next time I saw her was another Bolshoi Ballet’s live transmission to a cinema in Oxford. They were showing Esmeralda. I must confess I was a little disappointed when I learned that Alexandrova was to dance the title role. However, I was pleasantly surprised! As a gypsy girl, full of life and love, she was very good! Her technique was very strong, but she did not really show off and instead managed to use it in order to tell the story. I was rather glad I had another chance to see her again which changed my mind about her to a certain extent.
The third time I saw her was yet another Bolshoi Ballet shown in the cinema. She was dancing the role of the Ballerina in Shostakovich’s comic ballet, The Bright Stream. She was simply fantastic! Her technique so strong, her acting simply charming, she was charismatic. I simply loved her as the Ballerina in The Bright Stream. In the second act, her character pretends to be a man, in which she was brilliant as well. Using her very strong technique and high jumps, she was quite convincingly a dashing young man.
Since then I have watched quite a few clips of Alexandrova on You Tube and found her in other roles such as Swanhilda in Coppelia (excellent), Gamzatti in La Bayadere (fantastic), Kitri in Don Quixote (joy!). I will have to watch her Odette again and perhaps some more serious princess-type roles, but she certainly is a very talented dancer who is a joy to watch!
I admit, quite happily, that I was wrong to think that she was not good at all. She certainly is a dancer to look out for!