Magazine article Pointe

A Woman Scorned

Magazine article Pointe

A Woman Scorned

Article excerpt

Gamzatti was one of my first principal roles, when I was 19. Over the last 20 years I've had a chance to develop the character and find nuances. At first I saw her more as a villain and Nikiya as the good character. That's changed over time. I don't condone her actions, but she does what she believes is right. And Nikiya has a part to play in what happens. I've danced both roles and love each, but I feel like Gamzatti has more to dig into. She really has dimension.

Natalia Makarova, who choreographed the ballet after Petipa, wants Gamzatti to be very proud and entitled, bordering on arrogant. That's a strange feeling to exude. But Gamzatti was raised to believe in duty and status; she wants her arranged marriage to Solor to go smoothly. When she finds out that he might be meeting with Nikiya, a temple dancer, she tries to take care of it. She explains that Solor is already taken. From Gamzatti's perspective, she's being quite generous by offering Nikiya her necklace-she could comfortably live off those riches for the rest of her life. When Nikiya throws her to the ground and proceeds to pull a knife on her, it's beyond anything Gamzatti has ever experienced; she's only known privilege and wealth. I think she feels justified in taking more drastic measures to marry Solor, as planned. When Nikiya is bitten by the snake, Gamzatti feels sort of triumphant. like. "This is what you had coming." I don't think the guilt hits her until later.

The third act offers more chances to show Gamzatti's complexity. …

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