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Royal Ballet Don Q masterclass/ RB at work


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#1 Lolly

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Posted 10 October 2001 - 03:41 PM

On Monday I went to see the Royal Ballet in a masterclass of Don Quixote. It was fabulous!

It was taken by Ross Stretton, the new artistic director, so it was interesting to see what he is like after all the rumours! The dancers were Alina Cojocaru, who was promoted to principal last season aged 19, and Ivan Putrov, promoted to soloist last season. Alina was scheduled to dance with Johan Persson but he has an knee injury so will not dance this role.

Ross Stretton certainly put them through their paces, they did pas de deux from each act, as well as their solos! Apparently they had had a hard day rehearsing Onegin, but this did not stop them from giving it their all. Alina is lovely, tiny and perfect. Ivan is definitely the one to watch in the company at the moment. He has amazing elevation and a clean technique with astonishingly precise footwork.

Alina and Ivan make a good partnership (I don't think two people could dance together like that unless they were in love- but then I think that about all my favourite dancers!) so I hope they are cast together again.

This morning I went to see the Royal Ballet take their morning class. About once a month you have the opportunity to see the company in the Clore Studio, which I believe seats 200. It's fascinating seeing them do what we all do every day- how each of them interprets the exercises to work on their weaknesses and play to their strengths.

Marianela Nunez is so beautiful, she makes a simple plie look like the most wonderful thing, and her ports de bras is so expressive. Again, Ivan Putrov shone, he doesn't need to show off or play to the 'audience' like some of the other men, his adage is smooth and unfaltering, his allegro clear and effortless.

Leaving the Royal Opera House, I wanted more than ever to follow my dream of becoming a dancer. Seeing the company at work is such a contrast to seeing a performance, there is none of the glamour and all of the sweat! But I resolved to hold my stretches just a little longer and my arabesques just a little higher nonetheless...

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 10 October 2001 - 11:57 PM

Thank you very much for posting that, Lolly. I'm glad you found it interesting and inspiring, and it was good to read about the dancers. I think the company does several of these throughout the season, so please tell us about them if you see another.

#3 Lolly

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Posted 02 November 2001 - 06:43 PM

I went to another RB morning class on Wednesday and to a performance of Don Quixote last night, so I thought I might follow on from my earlier post...

The class was really good. It was taken by Mikhail (Misha) Messerer this time, and it was interesting to see the difference in his style of teaching class, to Ross Stretton. Misha was much less descriptive and demonstrative, he gave very quick instructions for each exercise and the dancers didn't seem to be paying much attention so we got the feeling he may give a similar class each time. Whereas Ross's class seemed much more challenging and he actually showed the way he wanted the steps danced.

At the end of the class the men took over completely and vied with each other to perform the most breathtaking jumps and turns. Martin Harvey and Jonathan Cope did a comedy pas de deux which had the audience in stitches! Ivan Putrov did a series of the most amazing turning jumps, seeming to dive under his own legs in a most spectacular fashion. And Angel Corella (well we think it was him, he's a new face for us!) was showing off the fastest pirouettes I have ever seen.

Don Quixote was great. We only got tickets at the last minute because Marianela Nunez was taking over the role of Kitri from Leanne Benjamin, so although we already had tickets for Don Q next Monday with Tamara Rojo and Johan Kobborg, we just had to go and see Marianela too! smile.gif She really is the most lovely dancer, and her personality comes through strongly in all her roles. However, unlike when I saw the masterclass with Alina and Ivan and I really thought they were in love, I just couldn't make myself believe that Marianela was in love with Carlos Acosta. Yes, he is a great (really great) dancer, but he is so aware of this I sometimes feel it reduces his dancing to a bit of a spectacle instead of something emotional.

Zenaida Yanowsky made a lovely Queen of the Dryads (especially the fouette/rotation section-wow!), I really appreciated her in the role. Unlike Mara Galeazzi, who is one of my favourites but I felt she was miscast as the street dancer- she is good in everything she does, but I don't think the role suited her. But David Pickering in the Fandango really came into his own, he looked as if the steps were made for him. I hope he gets to dance this type of thing again because he makes a handsome Paris but it's too wishy-washy for him- I enjoyed watching him as a more fiery character.

Well, it's a long review but I hope it will interest somebody! If anyone wamts to know anything else please say- ROH is becoming a second home for me! wink.gif

#4 Giannina

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Posted 02 November 2001 - 10:29 PM

<<I just couldn't make myself believe that Marianela was in love with Carlos Acosta. Yes, he is a great (really great) dancer, but he is so aware of this I sometimes feel it reduces his dancing to a bit of a spectacle instead of something emotional.>>

That is an excellent, telling observation. Acosta has tremendous talent and these elements can spur him to greatness.

Giannina

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 03 November 2001 - 12:31 AM

Very interesting, Lolly. Please never worry about length here. The ideal length is -- as long as you need to tell the story smile.gif

#6 Lolly

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Posted 03 November 2001 - 05:17 AM

I forgot to say we saw Sir Anthony Dowell there. It completely made my day - I had been so afraid I would never see him again! smile.gif


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