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Darcey Bussell,

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volcanohunter, I'd LOVE to hear about Almeida's Aurora (sorry for the OT).

I only started watching the RB about 3-4 years ago.... and unfortunately, despite her stellar technique, Bussell is just not one who grabs me somehow. She was, however, stellar in Raymonda Act III, and I have liked her in some neoclassical work.

I finally felt that I 'got' her at the last performance of the season, before she became a guest artist, dancing in Winter Dreams with Bolle. Here, we didnt' just see the steps done technically brilliantly, but art - words in motion. Brilliant stuff.

And then I left frustrated - thinking that if she could do that.... why I only ever saw it once.

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The smile is kind of "I want you to like me" and not "I am the star and you need only look here".

Marvellous choice of words. We've all seen lots of the latter type. The contrast is, indeed, one of the things that makes Bussell so fascinating.

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Next week Darcey Bussell will be appearing in a series of performances with Igor Zelensky at Sadlers Wells and today The Independent features her on the cover of its arts supplement (Arts and Books Review) Here is the link:

http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/theatre...icle2008024.ece

There are strong hints that Ms B. will actually be retiring from the RB in June next year, but she's had quite a good season this year and was outstanding in Violin Concerto and The Four Temperaments. I tend to avoid her in the classics as they are not her forte, but in the modern and neo classical rep she was and is excellent.

The opening anecdote about an overheard conversation on a train is uncannily similar to something I overheard on a train whilst going into work a few months ago. Apparently the man I overheard talking has a pal in the ROH box office and he was relating how after a TV appearance on a talk show, the box office was swamped with requests for tickets to see Bussell in what had up till then been an undersold programme. He was telling the story to illustrate the power of television, but it gives some idea of how famous Bussell has become over the years thanks to a persistent PR campaign on her behalf by the ROH.

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There are strong hints that Ms B. will actually be retiring from the RB in June next year, but she's had quite a good season this year and was outstanding in Violin Concerto and The Four Temperaments. I tend to avoid her in the classics as they are not her forte, but in the modern and neo classical rep she was and is excellent.

The opening anecdote about an overheard conversation on a train is uncannily similar to something I overheard on a train whilst going into work a few months ago. Apparently the man I overheard talking has a pal in the ROH box office and he was relating how after a TV appearance on a talk show, the box office was swamped with requests for tickets to see Bussell in what had up till then been an undersold programme. He was telling the story to illustrate the power of television, but it gives some idea of how famous Bussell has become over the years thanks to a persistent PR campaign on her behalf by the ROH.

I absolutely agree with Mashinka as to Miss Bussell really being a neo-classical ballet dancer and it was voiced by a number of ballet lovers in London shortly after her joining the RB that the best company for her was NYCB.

I have continued to watch her in the classical ballet repertoire in the hope that this highly talented dancer would make the grade. I never disliked her in the classics but felt that with a teacher of abilty at the early stage of her career she might been happier in the classic repertoire and given more successful performances.

In a triple bill at the ROH recently I felt that she had at last understood her body and used her undoubted skills brilliantly. I am sorry to hear that she may be leaving the RB as she is the only famous dancer in the company, whilst Alina Cojcaru is probably the most most admired along with Rojo and Nunez.

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It's a fun interview -- she has a distinct personality, actually SOUNDS kinda NYCB, a little like Tanaquil Leclerc -- well, just a little, but it's frank and as you'd expect rather athletic, the energy is right up front. She even talks happily about liking having competition. I was glad to read it.

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Really nice interview. I was interested to find that, when asked what she considered to be her biggest success, she responded:

The biggest that comes to mind was when I guested with New York City Ballet. I did Agon at the Balanchine Celebration gala in 1993. That was slightly surreal. It was as though I was always meant to have been there, that that moment was always going to happen. I thought, 'Wow. I've found another home.'

Bussell's celebrity in the UK seems to come from many things. One, certainly, is that, although she never dilutes the quality of her work and her art, she is willing to make fun of her image. TV appearanceson "Vicar of Dibley," "Kumars at No. 42," etc., (mentioned on on other threads on BT) helped create the image, apparently genuine, of a very warm, natural and accessible kind of star.

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Wow, this is an interview that dirac posted and it sounds very different from the Bussell interviews I've seen of the past. She seems very disenchanted with dance and ballet.

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I suppose that with her imminent retirement in sight she feels she can be more honest in her opinions.

The remarks about the physical deterioration made unpleasant reading, but its no more than I've heard from a number of dance professionals concerned about the injury rates among classical dancers obliged to dance a variety of styles that ultimately take their toll on the body.

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I thought this was the most disturbing quote:

Would she like her children to become ballerinas? "Not really. It's a difficult life. It's obsessive and isolated and poorly paid. It's a very small world and very few of us are in it. I have been very fortunate to have done as well as I have. There are many other talented dancers out there who have not had the success they should have had. You have to be very strong physically and emotionally to do this and then you have to sit back and watch your body break down."

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I suppose that with her imminent retirement in sight she feels she can be more honest in her opinions.

The remarks about the physical deterioration made unpleasant reading, but its no more than I've heard from a number of dance professionals concerned about the injury rates among classical dancers obliged to dance a variety of styles that ultimately take their toll on the body.

I was also put in mind of Fonteyn's remark to the effect that if there was a real understanding of the pain involved, the only people watching ballet would be those who liked bullfighting.

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I was also struck by her comment that she became a dancer because she could do it well and couldn't do much else (in her youth, at any rate).

Bussell's career and marriage have opened up a lot of doors for her -- new experiences, exposure to new kinds of people, etc. Perhaps she is also speaking from a desire, after so many years of focusing almost exclusively on the act of dancing, to experience a different kind of challenge in her work life.

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Darcey Bussell also says...

"I think children are interested in dance, partly because of Billy Elliot and partly because if you go into any school playground, loads of kids are doing street dancing."

"Everyone Loves Music, Loves To Move. It Is Joyous To Do That."

(I added the capital letters).

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I thought this was the most disturbing quote:
Would she like her children to become ballerinas? "Not really. It's a difficult life. It's obsessive and isolated and poorly paid. It's a very small world and very few of us are in it. I have been very fortunate to have done as well as I have. There are many other talented dancers out there who have not had the success they should have had. You have to be very strong physically and emotionally to do this and then you have to sit back and watch your body break down."

I don't find this quote disturbing, but refreshingly frank. Performing arts schools are turning out more dancers, musicians, actors, etc. than can ever be gainfully employed, and they will come into a society that will undervalue and misunderstand them. Every child seriously considering going into the arts and their parents ought to have a talk like this from the school representatives before they make their decisions.

--Andre

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I also found this, as Andre Yew said, refreshingly frank--and without sounding the least bit sour. And it does seem that one way or another (guest appearances, tap dancing with her daughters, or bully pulpits)) dance is a going to remain a big part of her life for a long time.

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Maybe disturbing was the wrong word. I just think that it's surprising that after such a long glorious career Bussell doesn't seem particularly happy with her career choice. It sounds like she started dancing because she wasnt good at anything else, and that she remained a dancer because of determination and lack of options, rather than love of the art.

I know ballet is a terribly demanding career, but Bussell seems to have been blessed and led a charmed life. Unlike, say, Suzanne Farrell, she didn't have moments when her entire career was in jeopardy, and she's married to a banker and has two lovely kids. Yet she still doesn't sound particularly happy about being a dancer.

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Maybe disturbing was the wrong word. I just think that it's surprising that after such a long glorious career Bussell doesn't seem particularly happy with her career choice. It sounds like she started dancing because she wasnt good at anything else, and that she remained a dancer because of determination and lack of options, rather than love of the art.

I know ballet is a terribly demanding career, but Bussell seems to have been blessed and led a charmed life. Unlike, say, Suzanne Farrell, she didn't have moments when her entire career was in jeopardy, and she's married to a banker and has two lovely kids. Yet she still doesn't sound particularly happy about being a dancer.

Yes, she is blessed. Last year she and her husband sold there house in the range of 2-3 million pounds. British papers must have a thing for ballerinas & their houses. Another one I remember was Leanne Benjamin, who talked about how many times she & her hubby have bought houses(one at a time). Though I gather that sort of thing is common in London.

To be honest, I read a lot of interviews with dancers that sound like they are "cursed" with their talent or grouse about the hours, injuries, pay etc. Diana V. and Agnes Oakes come to mind.

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I have recently discovered Darcey Bussell's rendering of the Agon pas de deux, on the Balanchine Celebration tape, and I found her absolutely gorgeous in it - with such a pure line and a technique that seemed suited to Balanchine. It actually made me change my mind about her - I had only seen her in the Sylvia telecast from last year where she is not at her best IMO (she doesn't seem at ease in this kind of classical piece).

I did a research on the Board's archives and noticed that some people had actually hated her Agon... Would anyone feeling that way care to explain why ? I've never seen it done by a NYCB dancer, and I'm wondering in which ways she might have been "wrong" - especially as the POB will dance Agon in February, and I'm looking forward to see how they envision the piece (and how different it may be from NYCB).

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That would probably be me. I didn't *hate* it, but as far as I'm concerned, she did it wrong.

One of the most important things in the pas de deux is that the woman, as Balanchine said to Arthur Mitchell, is like a doll. The man moves her into position. Bussell didn't allow the man (Lindsay Fischer) to manipulate her and kept trying to balance on her own. She didn't let him do his job. To my taste, the other Darci (Kistler) did a much more interesting Agon.

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I hated it. If felt that she tried the gymnastic approach: how high can my extensions go, and her thrusts were rooted in the thighs, rather than the pelvis, probably because her turnout looks limited. I saw it live, never having seen her before and very much looking forward to it, and was horribly disappointed. I thought she was miscast in what is probably the central role in the Balanchine canon.

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I know the British think Bussell's a Balanchine dancer. This mystifies me. She's way too vertical in her lines to be one. I've seen her do Agon, Symphony in C and Sanguinic in 4Ts. Sanguinic suits her best, but even there, she's too vertical.

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This is very interesting... Why is being vertical wrong for Balanchine ? As a total outsider (I'm French and the POB does little Balanchine these days), I've felt on the contrary that verticality was part of the style displayed in ballets such as Agon or Rubies (maybe not the best examples, but the first ones I thought of). Maybe we should start a new thread on that question ?

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I'd say that in Balanchine there's an acute awareness of the vertical axis, but the body itself is constantly being pushed off that axis. For example, in the opening sequence of Rubies, the dancers begin in a vertical position but they immediately begin to tilt forward and backward in relationship to the vertical axis: the pelvis is thrust forward and the torso tilts back, then the pelvis is tilted back and the spine leans forward, and so on and so forth.

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I saw Darcy Bussell in the whole live, real Agon, as did Leigh, not the shorter version at the centennial, and though she is not an orthodox Balanchine dancer, something about her concentration and slightly behind the beat approach made her stand out. Especially in the group of several dancers getting their various jabbing movements in. In performance, she was far more arresting than she is in on tape.

I was also fascinated with her concentration and enunciation in Symphony in C.

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the pelvis is thrust forward and the torso tilts back, then the pelvis is tilted back and the spine leans forward, and so on and so forth.

I have always loved this typical Balanchine movement which is most often described as 'jazzy'. But this movement, for most of us, was our entrance into this world---and it's completely involuntary on the part of the mother. Isn't this a more subtle form of Graham's 'contract and release'?

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:blushing:

the pelvis is thrust forward and the torso tilts back, then the pelvis is tilted back and the spine leans forward, and so on and so forth.

I have always loved this typical Balanchine movement which is most often described as 'jazzy'. But this movement, for most of us, was our entrance into this world---and it's completely involuntary on the part of the mother. Isn't this a more subtle form of Graham's 'contract and release'?

Ooh, I'd have to leave that answer to people who've actually danced Balanchine. Obviously contraction, release and high release are also different ways of placing the spine in relationship to the vertical axis. But I think that in Graham contraction there is an additional emphasis on contracting the upper chest that isn't present in ballet. There is a film of Donna Wood performing "Cry" during which the camera zooms in on the upper third of her body just as she begins a contraction. The first time I saw it, it took my breath away because I hadn't thought it was possible for a sternum to move that much. Her chest looked as though it would collapse on itself. Theoretically, this is what modern dancers aim for in spinal contraction, but in most people the two joints of the breastbone don't move quite as much as Wood's. (In fact, the average person has practically no mobility in those joints.) Ballet shares "high release" in common with modern dance, but while ballet dancers certainly bend forward, I'm not sure contraction of the chest is what they're after.

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