Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Ramil at the barre

Ramil Gurbanovich Mekhdiyev
It seems unsportsmanlike, somehow, to single out one particular dancer from an ensemble, but ever since I came across this guy Ramil Gurbanovich Mekhdiyev the other day, I can’t help it. He’s drop-dead gorgeous in my estimation, dances like a house afire, and I’ve been going from one video to the next marveling at his range and skill. To say I could watch him all day long would be redundant. I have been watching him all day.

When I sent around a link to his “shimmer and shake” dance the other day – that trio doing a Kalmyk folk dance where they dance on their ankles part of the time and make like jello – I knew I had noticed him before. He must have some kind of special status among the Moiseev dance troupe because they placed him at the front of the lineup of that wonderful video of the troupe that starts out with them all practicing at the ballet barre (that’s French for that bar where you stand tall and stretch your legs and point your toes.)  

Have a look at young Ramil doing his primus inter pares thing here. The girls start the heel-and-toe, and then the boys kick in. This part of the video instills more excitement than the introduction to The Orient Express where all the characters are first introduced and then the train chugs out of the station and you know you're in for a hell of a ride.

Ramil at the front of the barre
I don't know much about the guy except that he was born about ten minutes ago, according to my notion of time - about the time I was getting my doctorate and heading off to start the last chapter of my teaching career in Japan. OK, thirty-one years ago, not ten minutes ago. You know what I mean: young. He began dancing lessons at the age of six at the Adagio Choreographic Studio (I'm sure there's a more mellifluous translation) and just look at him now!

I think his name is Azeri (from Azerbaijan). At least I found five other "Ramil Mekhdiyevs" of Azeri origin on LinkedIn. But he was born in Moscow.

That's probably enough information if you want to become a groupie, or at least follow his career. If you just want to watch him dance, here is a link to a pot pourri of his dancing numbers. 

The group of which he is a part is called, in English, the Moiseev (or Moiseyev) Ballet. Russians, not as inclined as the Americans to keep things short and to the point, call it the "State Academic Ensemble named after Igor Moiseev" (Государственный Академический Ансамбль имени Игоря Моисеева - gosudarstvennyy akademicheskiy ansambl' imeni igorya moiseyeva). Аlso goes by Государственный академический ансамбль народного танца под руководством Игоря Моисеева (State academic ensemble of folk dance under the direction of Igor Moiseev) - GAANT for short.

Good artists regularly push themselves to the limit. These guys, though, raise the bar. Athletic as Olympians, disciplined, and talented as they come. YouTube has videos galore, one more impressive than the next.

Here's just one sample, to show you some of the folk Ramil calls colleagues. They're doing their spiffed up version of the folk dance Yablochko (Little Apple), a Russian sailor's dance.

They are not really sailors. They're dancers. Tantsovshchiki, to use that wonderful Russian word. And the song has nothing to do with apples.

It's art.

Added Tuesday, 5 p.m.:

Found a comment by Ramil on RT about the cost, in pain, of being a Moiseev dancer. Also comments on the pressure to keep the focus on the ensemble and not allow stars like Ramil to stand out.


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