& Critics

Elsa Brunelleschi, London, 1951

Since the day he first appeared in London in that memorable post-war visit of the newly formed Nouveau Ballet de Monte Carlo, young Wladimir Skouratoff has become a favourite with our public.It is not so much his technique that singles him in our memory – many dancers equally good have appeared in London whom we remember less – but rather his mannerisms, not unattractive, though often overdone. He has that trick of quickly flicking his front hand in the preparation of a pirouette, which all who know Dolin’s work will recognize as inseparable from the famous British dancer’s personality. But whereas Dolin’s flick is lightly done and only before a pirouette, Skouratoff tends to repeat it too often and fiddles constantly with his hands.

Skouratoff’s handsome impatient face has much to do with his popularity. But again, the lovely features are marred by a constant agitation: his eyes especially are never still, and for no reason at all a boyish expression becomes restless and overcast with shadows. All these passing expressions must be confusing to the audience. I myself like to know where I am with a face.

Somehow Ballet and Jazz have not blended in Skouratoff’s supple body, but the ballet-acrobatic duet with Danielle Darmance in Le bal des blanchisseuses is done with precision and the usual – perhaps appropiate – existentialist look.

Skouratoff is one of those dancers who seem to reveal in accumulated technical difficulties. He accepts the challenge set by the Don Quixote variations with confidence. It is a pleasure to see with what élan he does coupé, entrechat sept, tour en l’air and other elaborate turns, dispatching the whole enchainement with one of those lightning, unmistakably Russian pirouettes. Dancing in those cock-eyed ballets of Roland Petit must play havoc with a dancer’s pure classical technique – Skouratoff dances in too many of those and other modern works, not enough in the classics, and this has made his stage manner rather slap-dash and free. Perhaps, though, this is all to the good. Classical dancers are plentiful and demi-caractère too few. Skouratoff is among the best.

Elsa Brunelleschi, Ballet Magazine, November 1951


Black Swan with J. Moreau
(Photo: Baron)
Don Quichotte with J. Moreau
(Photo: Castro)


(Photo: Anthony)