I can't resist a reply. The dancers in the RB are for the most part fantastic
, vivid actors. My friends who have seen a wider variety of companies than I, think they are the best in the world in this regard. Certainly in comparison to the other companies I have seen this is the case. I must have been to a dozen masterclasses in the last few years and the coaches, particularly Monica Mason, keeps emphasising the acting side from all
dancers on stage right down to the corps. She's keeps telling them that each dancers must have their own character, their own story to tell. They need to use a running script in their heads so that they aren't just performing mindless gestures. She said once that she uses her binoculars to check up on everyone at the back! You could sit and ignore the action in the centre (admittedly I do this sometimes) and really enjoy what's going on in the background especially as it's sometimes so spontaneous and different with each performance. And this is never more evident than the ballets being danced at the moment - Manon last month and now R&J. Last night Cervera's Mercutio bounds down to centre stage and on his way he smacks a big kiss on one of the girls, Lauren Cuthbertsen, and I cannot forget the way she grabbed her hat, the way her eyes lit up, the excited expression on her face. Or last week when one of the harlots snatches the bouquet of flowers off the bride in the market and Edward Watson's Benvolio has a protracted struggle to retrieve it for her. These are just silly details, but they set the atmosphere it's the way they all add up that make the RB performances so special to me. And at the same time it never detracts from the core of the ballet. I've never thought the ballets here lacked cohesiveness or direction - rather they make the whole experience so much richer. Well these are just personal observations - I'm sure there are others that disagree.
I've been to most R&Js so far in the run. Ferri is as marvellous as everyone says - she has such long and beautiful legs and a lovely supple back. I was telling my friends that she seems to live and breathe Juliet. I love how she's has danced it for so many years she can play around with it and not merely follow a formula - it seems much more impulsive, more natural this way. She's different to what I expected having only seen her on video. Much deeper and in act 3 she seems so much more haunted and heartbreaking. I wasn't as moved by Roberto Bolle as I was last season but I have to admit I couldn't keep my eyes off Ferri.
I think my favourite cast is definitely Mara Galeazzi and Johan Kobborg - not just my favourite this season but my favourite ever
! While their pdd probably weren't as liquid smooth as Ferri and Bolle's I can say without a doubt that I don't think I've ever been so moved by anyone in any other ballet. I don't know why I found them so wonderful. Mara replaced Alina Cojocaru who is injured, and I think they only had a few days to rehearse. I think the fact that Mara and Johan are so different is what makes it so fascinating. They aren't a pairing you'd think of as ideal for R&J - heightwise, plus Mara has such strong, striking features and Johan is more delicate, and you think they can't possibly belong together! But they are such fantastic individual actors and they fall in love so convincingly, it makes it seem so much more romantic...and all the more doomed! Mara has such big expressive eyes. And there is a steeliness to her dancing that makes me think she has great strength of character, that the courage she needed to go through act 3 was there from the start. I think Johan has spoilt all other Romeos for me now
- like after lifting Juliet after he ballroom solo when he had to go and dance with the Capulets, the look on his face was so wonderous. And when he went to ask the Friar to marry them, he looked so anxious hovering over him, pointing out passages in Juliet's letter, whereas the other Romeos stood off to one side and apart from the letter-reading there would be nothing happening on stage. There is always something going on with him, and he has such a range of emotions that flash across his face, you feel know exactly what he is thinking as opposed to just happy, sad, angry, etc, etc, and not only that you feel them too!
I liked Miyako Yoshida's Juliet as great deal - her acting is more subdued than other Juliets which is refreshing but I guess doesn't appeal to everyone. I'll wait to see David Makhateli on Friday again before I say anything. I've yet to see Tamara Rojo and Inaki Urlezaga but Tamara I thought was the best last season so I'm excited about that. The comments about the secondary characters in Perceival's and other reviews I don't agree with - they seem lively but no overplayed. I thought Percival's comment about the harlots was also a bit silly and pedantic. It's great fun to watch, fantastic choreography and light relief between the romance and action. I have the biggest smile on my face during the market scenes. And I saw the Royal Ballet of Flanders stripped-down R&J which was the most excruciating ballet I have ever seen. I missed those harlots.
Sorry for not posting in months Alexandra. I've just finished exams and finally have time to post but the season comes to a close on Saturday!