Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Irek Mukhamedov- a virtuoso male dancer

Irek Mukhamedov- Russian Ballet Dancer 1998

Sleeping Beauty -Gala Performance ROH 1993

Sleeping Beauty -#2- Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in London

The Golden Age- Irek & Natalya Bessmertnova

In this Youtube clip, Irek is dancing the Coda to the Sleeping Beauty Pdd.
This is the first and only ballet dancer who almost brought me to orgasm while watching him perform in "The Mayerling". Yeah! This dancer definitely does it for me! The sexual innuendo is rampant throughout this ballet!

When I see his face, there is so much more that he brings to his characters than just the movement; maybe it's his charisma, passion, vulnerability, strength, sexuality, sensuality, and soulfulness. There is absolutely nothing effeminate about him whatsoever, and this SB Pdd usually makes every other guy look too feminine for me. I fall in love with whatever character he plays. You can read my other post about him.

Below is an old post taken from the Winger website and posted on my own blog.

Homage to 'Mayerling' and Irek Mukhamadov
« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2006, 12:11:19 PM »
Here is my personal, biased review that I posted over a month ago after first seeing it on DVD.

The Royal Ballet performing Kenneth MacMillan’s “Mayerling” in 1994 gave a fantastic performance of the events in the life of Rudolf Habsburg, Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, between 1881-1889, which eventually ended in a murder-suicide involving his lover, 17-year-old, Mary Vetsera. Supposedly, these events really happened, but the fact that artist-rendered portraits of the dancers in character at the beginning of the ballet as compared to portraits of the actual people at the end the ballet make this a truly unique performance DVD. The score set to music by Franz Liszt and conducted by Barry Wordsworth was very good and set the tone throughout. I highly recommend this ballet b/c of some incredible virtuoso dancing. This ballet had everything packed into its storyline: a burial and death scene, sex, passion, joy, comedy, depravity, depression, despair, love, hatred, haughtiness, uncertainty and mental illness. There is even a very poignant scene where an actual opera performer, who plays Katherine Schratt, mistress of the prince’s father, Emperor Franz Josef, sings and all the dancers show varying degrees of emotion; the grandma w/the cane (Sophie) actually cries. This ballet was so well staged and designed that at times when no one was dancing, I thought I was watching a spoken play by Shakespeare. It is a testament to how awesome and charismatic these dancers spoke through body language only; the use of big, overt and common [hand] gestures (like in SL, Le Corsaire or R&J) was conspicuously absent in this ballet so the eyes and facial expression told the story with of course port de bras and footwork, too. MacMillan’s choreography embodies the depth of the music in movement to tell the story. I don’t think I could find a finer example of bravura ensemble acting in a ballet or play anywhere. There is no need for suspended belief or gimmicks in this ballet (e.g., elaborate dream sequences, explosions, Fairy godmothers, ghostly Wilis, sylphs or swans) because everything on stage could really happen.

Irek Mukhamedov could probably find a woman’s ‘sweet spot’ in his sleep, which is her balance, of course. This guy gave the best overall male dance performance I have ever witnessed with impressive partnering and solo work. He is a little shaky in some of his solo variations & doesn’t have the flowing line and lyricism of other dancers but this does not detract from his overall performance. He makes partnering look effortless. Not only did Irek carry this entire 135 minute ballet because the choreography dictates that he do so, but he did the most incredible bravura acting and partnering that I have seen to date. For me, partnering is the quintessential aspect of what I love about watching males in ballet, pairs skating, ice dancing, ballroom dance, and so on and so forth. I literally sit in anticipation of the moment when a man takes hold of the woman’s waist. It is the reason why I keep coming back for more. When boys or men are learning to partner, they should be first made to watch this performance of Mayerling as an example of how it could and should be done. If there is a book called Ballet Partnering: 101, Irek should be on the cover and/or the author of said book. He has the Midas touch with the ladies. If partnering is like marriage then Irek Mukhamedov and his ballerinas appear to have been married for 50 years.

Why is Irek Mukhamedov the greatest partner I have ever seen? First, because I never saw any strain, jerkiness, tremors, tension or effort in his body during any of his moves, lifts or supported turns. Every lift, position, and expression looked comfortable and secure. This guy is doing very complicated stuff with his ballerina going in multiple vectors like it was second nature to him; how the hell does he remain so sure-footed? Secondly, he never ever breaks from character in his expression before, during or after a step, lift, or whatever. Most times with males, I can see their face changing as “the cognitive wheels” turn just preceding a lift or assisted turn and the character face returns only after execution (e.g., Ethan Stiefel, who has a sexy ‘look of concentration’). Also, tension in their body is evidenced by a slight trembling of the glutes, back, shoulders, bicep and/or forearm, a wobble (balance check), and/or sudden muscle contraction as the ballerina is moved. Not so with Irek; I didn’t even know there was such a thing as effortless, fluent partnering in ballet until I saw him do it with six different ballerinas. Each new partner revealed another side of his character and was unique and pivotal to the story telling. Irek is simply ‘amazing’ and sets the gold standard for me!!

I think playing Prince Rudolf has to be one of the most challenging roles for a male dancer because it requires the ability to convincingly pull so many emotions out of oneself and hold on to them throughout the choreography whether dancing or sitting in the background or laying on the ground. The choreography in this ballet had this guy flirting, raping his wife, making love, falling in love, fighting with his mother, being afraid of his mother, being afraid of his own feelings, male-male partnering, pointing or getting a gun pointed at him and all the fear that that conveys, showing his slow decent into madness and torment and just about anything else you can thing of. I truly don’t believe that many male dancers can actually do that role as well or better than Irek Mukhamedov. If not done well as Irek did it with all his intensity and dramatic flare, the entire ballet would be lesser for it or become farcical because all the energy and expression in the other roles feed off of and depend on the prince’s performance. I would love to see any number of my favorite male dancer’s in this role.

The ladies of “Mayerling” were beautiful including Viviana Durante playing the prince’s lover, Mary (she had incredibly wonderful extension & line yet was passionate in spades w/a fiery intensity); Lesley Collier, the prince’s ex-mistress (she was so classically beautiful & elegant); Darcey Bussell, played Mitzi the prince’s mistress (she was so pretty to watch and has an awesome pas de quatre); Jane Burn playing Stephanie, the prince’s wife (very good in her wedding night pas de deux); Sarah Wildor playing Stephanie’s sister, Louise (she, too, is beautiful and does multiples of my favorite female jump, an arabesque en l’air w/the prince) and finally the prince’s mother, Nicola Tranah (another elegant and beautiful dancer that has a fantastically executed pas de deux with her English lover).

Finally, did I mention that Irek is extremely attractive and well formed with so much sex appeal and intensity that by the end of the ballet, even though he was going mad, all I wanted him to do was rip his clothes off [so I could fantasize about having my way with him]. My one and only complaint about this ballet is that the man’s clothes remained faithfully on throughout; I wanted to see his flesh, damn it! Yes, watching that man dance lowered me to my baser human instincts so much so that I felt raw at the end. Seriously, Irek moves so brilliantly that you kind of need to see his muscles/body working unclothed (a loin clothes is acceptable) to get another perspective of his virtuoso performance.

My hat is off,

In the final analysis, there are several male dancers I would love to watch perform this role such as F.C., A.C., C.K., H.C., and M.G.; however, in my version, I would be cast as Mary Vetsera. The ending would be somewhat different, too, b/c the Prince and I die and reach Nirvana, a land of peace, love and eternal sexual bliss.

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