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Ansanelli with the RB


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#1 Jane Simpson

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 08:28 AM

Alexandra Ansanelli's first announced appearance will be on Feb 4th when she dances Balanchine's Tchaikowsky pas de deux with Federico Bonelli, repeated on Feb 23rd and 28th. (Of course she may be on stage before that we won't know till we see her.)

The second cast for the pas de deux is Marianela Nunez and Carlos Acosta, and Acosta also does the Robbins Afternoon of a Faun with Sarah Lamb on the same nights as Ansanelli's appearances.

The performance on the 23rd is also Jonathan Cope's last appearance with the company - he dances the Prince in Firebird - so it could be quite a night. The programme opens with Darcey Bussell and Zenaida Yanowskyy in Ballet Imperial, with the up-and-coming Rupert Pennefather.

#2 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 11:26 AM

(Obvious bias, but) Ansanelli does a very nice Tchai pas. How is Bonelli's partnering? She's very light but is best with someone quite strong.

#3 Jane Simpson

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 12:39 PM

Well, he's not in the 'human fork-lift' category but he's OK, I think - he seems to be improving all the time and certainly looks stronger than he did a couple of years ago when he first joined.

#4 Farrell Fan

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 01:48 PM

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised because it happens all the time: a dancer leaves the company with which she's made her reputation, ostensibly to stretch her wings and try new things. That was certainly the impression one got with Ansanelli. There'd been talk of her joining the RB for some time, presumably because of their repertory. So her first performances with her new company are of her old repertory. What's the point?

#5 zerbinetta

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 02:05 PM

I rather suppose she needs to earn her keep while learning RB repertory & style.

#6 carbro

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 02:29 PM

Even if she wants to learn new ways, isn't it best to meet her new audience in a familiar role that she knows shows her to great advantage? Good confidence builder, at any rate. And I'm sure the RB crowd will be entranced by her quicksilver shimmer.

M***e, Alexandra! :thanks:

#7 Jane Simpson

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 02:31 PM

One problem is that the leading casting for the rest of the RB season had already been announced when Ansanelli joined - but as I said, she could be cast in secondary roles in Giselle and Sleeping Beauty, for instance, which aren't listed ahead of time. There's a lot of competition, though.

#8 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 03:05 PM

I'm with Zerbinetta here - it's good for London to see her at her best before seeing her in unfamiliar territory. Though not originally listed because it was cast before she was signed, dollars to donuts she ends up doing her original part in Polyphonia as well. From the Balanchine I've seen at the RB, they could use Ansanelli in Tchai Pas.

#9 NNatalie

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 03:21 PM

Federico Bonelli danced this with Zenaida Yanowsky at a gala in Paris this September. I didn’t go but friends who did said they, especially she (‘a real ballerina!’), made good strong impressions and if he could partner Yanowsky, I am sure he could partner Ansanelli!

#10 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 04:11 PM

She'll test a partner's mettle. When she did Tchai pas with Benjamin Millepied, they got to the final two dives. The first one did not go well at all; he had trouble getting her. Did Ansanelli compensate at all in the second dive? Not one bit - she did it full tilt and without checking behind her to see if he was ready (the correct way, but very high risk, and something I didn't see in Paris, for instance). It's not just strength and ability. She needs someone used to that way of working with nerves of steel.

#11 carbro

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 06:48 PM

She needs someone used to that way of working with nerves of steel.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

And crackerjack reflexes.

#12 Herman Stevens

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 01:45 AM

Well, he's not in the 'human fork-lift' category but he's OK, I think - he seems to be improving all the time and certainly looks stronger than he did a couple of years ago when he first joined.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Bonelli used to dance in Amsterdam. Physically he's one of these amazing men who look as light as a feather (and he isn't tall either) but there's enormous power concealed in that body. His jumps will not impress you with their muscularity, but with their lightness.

It's really thrilling to see how well he's doing at the RB, being - if I'm not mistaken - the third ever to land the Armand rôle, with Rojo as Marguerite, and partnering Ansanelli now.

Speaking of Ansanelli, where did this hostile comment of Robert Gottlieb's come from? He rarely ever goes for the cheap shot like this. Some kind of resentment over her leaving NYCB for the RB?

Ansanelli has based her career on her prettiness and charm, flirting sweetly with the audience. Fine in Susan Stroman, say, and plausible in Coppélia and Harlequinade, but nowhere near enough for core Balanchine.



#13 Lynette H

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 06:10 AM

How tall is she ?

#14 Helene

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 09:17 AM

Speaking of Ansanelli, where did this hostile comment of Robert Gottlieb's come from? He rarely ever goes for the cheap shot like this. Some kind of resentment over her leaving NYCB for the RB?

Ansanelli has based her career on her prettiness and charm, flirting sweetly with the audience. Fine in Susan Stroman, say, and plausible in Coppélia and Harlequinade, but nowhere near enough for core Balanchine.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


It's not an isolated comment in this piece on Suzanne Farrell Ballet. He continues in detail, using her performances in Duo Concertante and La Valse to make his case. I don't remember earlier pieces by him which the current one contradicts. One related question is whether Ansanelli will be successful in core Royal Ballet repertoire, as defined by Mason and the artistic staff, or whether she will be the Balanchine poster girl for the Company, and, if so, whether RB audiences will be seeing quality Balanchine from her. I've never seen her outside a demi role early in her career, so I can't begin to comment on this.

#15 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 11:31 AM

I think she's 5'5". There are a few people neutral on Ansanelli, but like a few other dancers, you tend to be either strongly pro or strongly con. Most of the people who don't like her echo Gottlieb that she forces her presence. I understand what they're talking about but having worked with her I know that the persona she has on stage is not artificial. It's genuine (actually, it goes beyond the boundaries of genuine and artifice to an artifice so passionately believed in that it became real). She needs to be cast and coached carefully to set it off properly. Between Tchai pas and (hopefully) Polyphonia I think London will get a sense of what's special about her.


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