Mikhailovsky Ballet at
Lincoln Center


Natalia Osipova and Leonid Sarafanov. Click for more photos.

I don’t make any money from my blog or photography website, but there are nice non-monetary benefits from my web activities. I attended a news and photography photo op this afternoon, which provides the press (and bloggers apparently) an opportunity to take photos during a dress rehearsal. Photos you see in newspapers are generally not from the live performance, but from dress rehearsals to avoid bothering audience members. It was a thrill to witness the event, being so close to the action. It took me awhile to get used to not having anyone say “Hey, no photography allowed!”


Natalia Osipova in the Mad Scene. Click for more photos.


Natalia Osipova and Vladimir Tsal in the Mad Scene. Click for more photos.

We were treated to Act I of Giselle with Natalia Osipova and Leonid Sarafanov as leads, the same cast performing that evening. Natalia dances for several other companies including ABT and The Royal Ballet and I’ve seen her dance numerous times at ABT. Leonid joined Mikhailovsky in 2011 after eight years at the Mariinsky Ballet and I’ve only seen him on YouTube video, featuring his 11 consecutive double tours. The Mikhailovsky Giselle version is very similar to ABT’s, down to the 18th century German village fall background. The quality of the dancing was quite high as both Natalia and Leonid excelled in the dramatic parts, which run the spectrum in Giselle, from infatuation, love, hate, descending into madness.

The dress rehearsal was not quite like a performance. At times the conductor would stop the music and give instructions to the musicians or receive feedback from the dancers. Every now and then there was a voice over the intercom, possibly from the artistic director making corrections. Everything was in Russian so I couldn’t understand a word.


Leonid Sarafanov and Roman Petukhov. Click for more photos.

The company will perform Giselle until Thursday, Flames of Paris from Friday to Sunday, Three Centuries of Russian Ballet on November 18 and 19, and Don Quixote from November 20 to 23. I will review Giselle later in the week and Flames of Paris over the weekend.

Regarding my photography, I borrowed a Canon 5D Mark III from a colleague; I needed a high-performance, sports-type camera with a 70-200mm 2.8 zoom because of the challenging lighting conditions and fast moving action. The 5D is heavy, like carrying an anvil around your neck. However, the added bulk is well worth it during live ballet performances when dancers are moving quickly. I really liked the rapid burst mode of 6 frames per second. Using the 5D is like driving a Porsche relative to my Honda Accord Canon T2i camera that I generally use. I shot at 6400 ISO, 1/640 shutter speed, with aperture ranging from 2.8-4.5. At the end of the event, I couldn’t believe how many photos I took: 805.

I posted 35 photos on my website notmydayjobphotography.com. Click any of the four photos above to see many more photos.