London and Edinburgh aren't small cities but capital cities, and most of the other cities are pretty big too
. I don't know if you know this, but BRB is specifically a touring company - that's why it travels a lot. It has a base but it only spends about 8 weeks a year performing there, and the rest of the season is spent in its regular cities, which mostly feel they have just as much a claim to it as Birmingham does, particularly as some of these cities generally aren't permitted by the Arts Council to be visited by other of the publicly funded touring companies - they're often only allowed one each (although I think people in Birmingham actually pay extra money towards it). For eg., I live near Sunderland so 'get' BRB, but I live a couple of hours train journey away from the nearest venue to which ENB tours, and that has been like that for years. It doesn't compare to the distances involved in America, but a lot of people in the UK feel that although we have five big or biggish ballet companies, they tend to gather in specific areas so that other areas don't get as much. For eg. all four English companies go regularly to London, and one is entirely resident there, but only two go to the capital of Scotland, and only one goes to Wales. None of the English companies go the Northern Ireland. And while the Birmingham-based BRB and the Leeds-based NBT go to London, the Royal Ballet doens't return the favour to Leeds and B'ham. Personally I feel that we have plenty ballet companies and dancers to go round, but not enough dialogue between the companies and not enough willingness, and sometimes money, or at least money spent in the 'right' areas, to move around. Therefore the ballet coverage is patchy in the UK, when it could be a nice even coverage. If you're living in Aberdeen and you want to see the Royal Ballet, you have an eight-hour train trip each way, and yet they're our 'national company'. But that's just my opinion
. And it's off topic again. But I'd be interested to hear what it's like in the US. I notice that regional companies like Pennsylvania Ballet are in regions pretty close to NYC, and I wonder whether there are any regions which have nothing (ballet-wise) while others have so much? Please feel free to move this post if it prompts any discussion on the topic.
As for your comment about the distance between the cities making touring easier, I've always agreed with that when discussing the companies which don't tour (or company which doesn't...). I still maintain that it's easier for a publicly funded company to tour than for the average person to travel hundreds of miles to visit that company - touring may be expensive for a company but I think it's their duty when they're receiving money from taxpayers UK-wide - but that's a different topic as the BRB are one of the companies which do tour pretty extensively in England.
Touring is a pet subject of mine - beware
The Sleeping Beauty is the Peter Wright version after Petipa.
I'm afraid I don't know whether Molly Smollen will be dancing in San Fran. I will really miss her and Helimets. I remember them particularly in ballets like Giselle and Romeo and Juliet, and Helimets made a fine Apollo and certainly looked the part. And Smollen has exquisite feet.
*apologies for the multiple edits - as I said, this is a pet topic of mine!
Edited by Becca_King, 21 June 2005 - 11:38 AM.