Jump to content


Who is an "Ashtonian" dancer today?


  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 Leigh Witchel

Leigh Witchel

    Editorial Advisor

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,466 posts

Posted 16 November 2004 - 04:18 PM

I'm going to pull my final observation from the thread on A Week at the Royal Ballet:

I think my only regret about this week is, though Iím a even more familiar with Ashtonís choreography than I was at the start of the week; Iím no closer to an understanding of Ashtonian dancing style. The company is filled with international dancers and itís not being cast; perhaps it doesnít even exist in the company any more. Itís not that the performances are bad, but there is no dancer or dance I can point to and say, ďI think thatís how Ashton envisioned it.Ē


Can anyone more familiar with the company speak to this? I know there was plenty of good dancing during the week; that's not at issue. Was there anyone in the casts I saw (or currently dancing with the company) that you can point to and say, "That's the way it was intended to look. That's Ashtonian."

Jane? Lynette? Alymer? Anyone?

#2 sylvia

sylvia

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 289 posts

Posted 17 November 2004 - 06:00 AM

Miyako Yoshida is often talked of as being excellent in Ashton - am sorry you didn't see her in Scenes de ballet Leigh. Ricardo Cervera, first soloist, is one of the few dancers I've read about who has been described as a dancer with Ashton qualities. I saw Vanessa Palmer, a soloist, in a Cinderella masterclass where she demonstrated the difference in upper body movement Ashton brought in her Fairy godmother solo to how it might otherwise have been danced, and as someone who is getting her ballet education from the current RB, it was the first time for me the difference WAS very obvious! She said she was one of the last few who had received coaching by Ashton (she was a student or in the corps at the time I think) and am sure I remember reading she got praise by the critics for that particular role.

#3 cargill

cargill

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 636 posts

Posted 17 November 2004 - 06:52 AM

It may not be dancing per se, but to me, the little I have seen, Jonathan Howells seems to be outstanding in Ashton characters--I remember his Alain especially. That is another important part of Ashton, I think, the ability to portray a character through dance movement.

#4 Giannina

Giannina

    Gold Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 844 posts

Posted 17 November 2004 - 08:13 AM

Sarah Wildor. Alas, she no longer dances with Royal Ballet.

Giannina

#5 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,366 posts

Posted 17 November 2004 - 09:12 AM

Jamie Tapper was spectacular in a fast-paced solo in Les Rendezvous a few years ago, so I would hope that she's even better now, as a Principal.

#6 Paul Parish

Paul Parish

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,922 posts

Posted 17 November 2004 - 09:56 PM

Let's hope that not only the Royal BAllet but also other ballet companies begin showing us more Ashton. I love his ballets.

San Francisco Ballet has had Ashton in the rep for decades -- Fille, and also the Dream pas de deux and maybe some more. (Fille was acquired by Michael Smuin and has always been popular here.)

We have some dancers who're good at Ashton. Tina LeBlanc was a fast-footed, great-hearted Lise with the Joffrey before she came to SFB, and warmer and sweeter when she danced it here. I'd love to see her do it again. Elizabeth Loscavio was an enchanting Lise, WHAT pretty leaps. Also Kristin Long, who was gorgeous in the corps when they did it last, has the epaulement and hte bounding leapz and the sunny, unaffected temperament to make the role beautiful in an extremely satisfying way.

Our dancers were not very effective in the Dream pas.

But last year we saw some Ashton new to us. Julie Diana! alas, she's left SFB and joined Pennsylvania Ballet, where I hope they value her, since we've lost one of our MOST important dancers, was perfect for the Thais pas de deux -- her looks are right, her face is right -- like a dark-haired Sibley, with huge eyes, bee-stung lips and a very long neck -- but even more her musicality, her breathing, and her manners (which are almost convent-bred).

She was very fine, though not perfect, as the lead in Symphonic Variations.
She is an SAB product, but she CAN do an Ashton arabesque, square, and with the right feeling in the back, exquisitely modelled through the ribs. Her travelling sissonnes were not as startling as a real Ashton dancer would have made them -- but then they didn't have much time to steep themselves in the style, since they were coming right off their 2-program Balanchine tribute.

And Elizabeth Miner, who danced one of the "side ballerinas" in the second cast of Symphonic, also had the right look, very good head positions, a high breast-bone, the right feel for the line. Although Miner came from SAB, she had Ashton training while still living in Portland, OR, from ELizabeth Remington.

And Brett Bauer was a glorious piece of sculpture in the White Monotones, nobly proportioned, glacially calm; everything he did was immaculate. It was more a way of being than a chain of doings.

#7 Lynette H

Lynette H

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 109 posts

Posted 22 November 2004 - 05:43 AM

I was thinking about replying to this, and kept coming up with names of people no longer dancing. Sarah Wildor. Bruce Sansom. Muriel Valtat - a first soloist who left a couple of seasons ago, she always did a very beautiful account of the Fonteyn solo in Birthday Offering. I saw Trinidad Sevilliano as Chloe in the 90s....that was very beautiful, and she just seemed to look so right.

Of the dancers there now, Yoshida has the speed and the precision but is ultimately more Petipa than Ashton, perhaps. Ricardo Cervera, who I don't think I've seen this season yet. He was scheduled to do the Devil's Holiday variation in the latest mixed bill, but didn't. Cervera did the "Lord of the Sea" role in Ondine very persuasively a couple of seasons back. Jonathan Howells was a very fine Alain.

I think I will have to diasagree with Natalia about Jamie Tapper. She was very light and bright in Les Rendevous when she first joined, but never seemed to settle in the Ashton repertory. She looks more at home in different, sometimes more modern work - Wayne McGregor made a very quirky solo for her last season in Qualia, and she looked much more imprressive in that than any Ashton.

#8 Martha F

Martha F

    New Member

  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 5 posts

Posted 22 November 2004 - 09:33 AM

What about Lauren Cuthbertson? Admittedly I have not seen her in many Ashton ballets but her beautiful rendition of Summer Fairy in Cinderella last year made me want to see her do more Ashton.

#9 Alymer

Alymer

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 338 posts

Posted 22 November 2004 - 03:25 PM

I think we are more likely to know whether we have any Ashton dancers at the Royal Ballet by the end of the season when they've had a chance to dance a number of his ballets.
In recent years the only one I could cite with any confidence would be Bruce Sansom, and that because he was so classical.
One thing he (Ashton) was very definite about in his ballerinas was that they should have beautiful legs and feet - though on the other hand he was fascinated by Trinidad Sevillano who had nice, but not beautiful, legs. But again, I've not seen a better Chloe since Fonteyn! However good feet are a must I think.
On the whole I think you could safely say that he liked beautiful line ( remember line?), lots of epaulment, musicality and a certain reticence of manner. Not cold, think rather fire under ice.
I would hope he would like Tamara Rojo and Nao Sakuma from BRB (quite the best in Scenes de Ballet) and perhaps among the men Thiago Soares and Chi Cao; the first for his theatricality and the second for his fine technique and somewhat reserved, even mysterious, stage personality.
But like all choreographers it was a question of what appealed to his eye, and we can't do more than guess at that. What is certain though is that his dances, properly performed, provide beautiful showcases for many dancers, whether or not the performer would have counted as an ideal cast in his eyes.

#10 sylvia

sylvia

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 289 posts

Posted 23 November 2004 - 12:00 PM

Ricardo Cervera, who I don't think I've seen this season yet. He was scheduled to do the Devil's Holiday variation in the latest mixed bill, but didn't.†

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


He missed the first 2 performances I think but danced the pdd with Laura Morera last Wednesday. (Martin Harvey danced the solo.) I think I remember reading he covers the roles of Oberon and Puck in The Dream.

Lynette, you didn't see first cast of Wedding Bouquet? :dunno:

Re Miyako, I guess am still glowing from seeing her in Scenes de Ballet last week - she was absolutely amazing, her dancing was so bright and she lit up the stage like no one else.

I saw Nao Sakuma guest with the RB in Scenes in the last run, sitting in the directors box at a rather extreme angle right over the stage. I know it's a ballet that's supposed to work from any angle but this is a rather odd one to watch it from. (It doesn't work for me from the stalls either - not the same without all those lovely patterns!) I did like her a great deal though and she was incredibly touching in Two Pigeons with BRB a few weeks ago.

#11 Lynette H

Lynette H

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 109 posts

Posted 24 November 2004 - 05:28 AM

He missed the first 2 performances I think but danced the pdd with Laura Morera last Wednesday. (Martin Harvey danced the solo.) I think I remember reading he covers the roles of Oberon and Puck in The Dream.

Lynette, you didn't see first cast of Wedding Bouquet? :dunno:



Yes...he was in Wedding Bouquet, I should have remembered. It was in a very small role though, I'm puzzled that they aren't using him more this season. Curious to hear what you say about covering both Oberon and Puck - rather different sorts of roles ? I didn't know that covers were officially announced anywhere.

I do agree re Nao Sakuma, she was very impressive guesting with the RB in Scenes last season sometime.

#12 sylvia

sylvia

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 289 posts

Posted 24 November 2004 - 05:37 AM

Yes...he was in Wedding Bouquet, I should have remembered. It was in a very small role though, I'm puzzled that they aren't using him more this season.  Curious to hear what you say about covering both Oberon and Puck - rather different sorts of roles ? I didn't know that covers were officially announced anywhere.

I do agree re Nao Sakuma, she was very impressive guesting with the RB in Scenes last season sometime.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I assume he was scheduled to dance one of the Goats in Sylvia as there's a picture of him rehearsing it with Christina Salerno in the programme, but for whatever reason he's been off for the last few weeks.

I remember now where I read about him covering in The Dream. It's not officially announced but this question is often asked at the Ballet Association talks http://www.balletassociation.co.uk, to get an idea of what the dancers might be dancing I guess.

#13 sylvia

sylvia

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 289 posts

Posted 26 November 2004 - 07:15 AM

He missed the first 2 performances I think but danced the pdd with Laura Morera last Wednesday. (Martin Harvey danced the solo.)


And again last night (Thurs 25/11) which was the filmed performance - hopefully when it's televised copies will be winging it across the Atlantic so you can judge for yourselves :D

#14 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,366 posts

Posted 06 December 2004 - 07:56 AM

Now that I'm back from performances of 'Sylvia' and "Cinders'....

I loved Christina Elida Salerno & Jose Martin as the Goats in 'Sylvia'...ditto Martin as the Jester in 'Cinders'....and, especially, I was bowled over by the beauty & gentle style of Caroline Duprot as Persephone in 'Sylvia'. Am I the only one here who sees a strong facial & 'body-type'/stylistic resemblance between Caroline Duprot and Sarah Wildor? I'd love to see more of Duprot's dancing...not quite sure if she has the technical 'goods' to dance Lise in 'Fille' but she certainly has the 'look'!

Needless to say, Cojocaru & Kobborg were sublime in the opening night 'Cinders'...but Marquez & Putrov were pretty darn good in an earlier 'preview'!

How could I have forgotten?: Huge kudos to Martin Harvey as Eros. What a dancer! He was the highlight of that particular cast (Bussell/Cope et. al.), as far as I'm concerned. Nunez was the better exponent of Sylvia but, even so, I kept wishing for a Yoshida or Benjamin in the role.

Hopefully, this 'Ashton 100' year will inspire the RB to foster a greater appreciation & teaching of his style....dainty, quick steps...elegance...etc, etc.

#15 Jane Simpson

Jane Simpson

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 928 posts

Posted 07 December 2004 - 09:36 AM

Am I the only one here who sees a strong facial & 'body-type'/stylistic resemblance between Caroline Duprot and Sarah Wildor? 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well, Natalia, I think you're certainly the first who's mentioned it! I haven't seen all that much of Caroline Duprot, but so far I have to say I can see no resemblance between them at all, physically or stylistically - I'll keep what you say in mind the next time I'm watching her, though.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):