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Darcey Bussell,why so little "talk" about her on Ballet Talk


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#76 leonid17

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 01:54 PM

I seem to remember that Prince of the Pagodas became a major ballet when Nina Ananiashvili danced the lead.

What struck me most about Bussell's career was that it was very media driven and that her time with the RB coincided with a big push to sell the company to the general public. If I remember rightly, pre-Bussell it was Bryony Brind a dancer with a lot more potential who was wheeled out for media attention, but there was far more attention focussed on Bussell than there ever was on Brind.


I absolutely agree.

To my mind the RB moved into the 21st century mode of the creative marketing of a celebrity product in the way that regrettably many distinguished performing artists have allowed themselves to be used in the scramble for wealth. I do not think this was Mis Bussell's aim as she often exhibited real joy in performance, but at the time it appeared to me to be a ROH strategy. If they didn't have a world class ballerina they would create one.

There is absolutely no doubt that Miss Bussell had technical abilities that set her apart and she had a winning way in certain ballets, but for me that inner aesthetic connection with the art form was never made in any of the classics.

In an interview with Ismene Brown published in December 2001. Clement Crisp doyen of English critics talking about the major classics and Coppelia stated, “There is not a single dancer in the company (RB) of native training who I think is fit to dance those ballets.

Ismene Brown, “Not Bussell?” “No” replied Mr Crisp. Ismene Brown, “Yoshida?” “ No replied Mr Crisp….They are no more than First Soloists, essentially if we look at performances of “Swan Lake”, “Beauty”,”Giselle”, “Coppelia”, with the eye of time and by the absolute standard of the world.”

It’s all a question of how your standards have evolved and established as to how you view particular dancers and I think Mr Crisp is not extreme in his view, nor was he when he said that, “He would rather see the "Trocks" dance "Giselle" than Guillem.

#77 Nanarina

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 07:24 AM

I liked Darcey Bussell, she always struck me as a lyrical dancer, and had a very good technique, with exceptional extension. This was helped by her height and length of leg, which being a tall dancer gave her an advantage over smaller girls. The fact that she trained in the Cechetti system which is much more expressive and lyrical, with more use of the head, and softer arm movementsl which certainly made a difference to the quality of her performances. This far excels .The Royal Academy of Dancing in the UK which seems to be preferred in the English Schools. In watching her dance there were elements of both the American style , in the sense of attack and virtuosity, plus the flexible use of the back, and fluid continuation of movements, similar to the Russian (Kirov/Mariinsky style.

After retiring from The Royal Balet Darcey appeared with Catherine Jenkins the Singer,in their own show "Viva la Diva", where both Artists proved how versatile they were, by singing dancing and producing a very entertaining experience. Then Darcey went to live in Australia, with her husband Angus, and their two small daughters, to make a new life. Angus is Australian, and so is her Step Father. Viva la Diva is available on DVD, and is very good, so well worth buying.

#78 Mashinka

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 07:49 AM

I watched the Classical Brit Awards on TV recently, or at least part of it as I had to turn it off to prevent an attack of apoplexy. That was presented by a Catherine Jenkins who resembled a singing Barbie doll: horrific.

#79 bart

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 10:42 AM

I liked Darcey Bussell, she always struck me as a lyrical dancer, and had a very good technique, with exceptional extension. This was helped by her height and length of leg, which being a tall dancer gave her an advantage over smaller girls. The fact that she trained in the Cechetti system which is much more expressive and lyrical, with more use of the head, and softer arm movementsl which certainly made a difference to the quality of her performances. This far excels .The Royal Academy of Dancing in the UK which seems to be preferred in the English Schools. In watching her dance there were elements of both the American style , in the sense of attack and virtuosity, plus the flexible use of the back, and fluid continuation of movements, similar to the Russian (Kirov/Mariinsky style.

Thanks, Nanarina, for introducing specifics of training to this discussion.

As I read your reference to "American style," I found myself thinking about what I've read about her performances of Balanchine (to good reviews). I never saw her in this rep, but remember being amazed that the Bussell I HAD seen dance in vary different choreography could be so adaptable as to handle the movements and the music in Agon -- to to mention the Siren in Prodigal Son, a character who seems to be opposite to Bussell's usual persona.

What do others think about her training, style, adaptability to various choreographies, etc.? MORE, PLEASE! :clapping:

#80 kdubzz

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 04:45 AM

I count myself amongst those who, for the most part, always found Bussell overrated (although I did enjoy her in certain neoclassical roles). While impressed by her lower body technique, I was never able to get past the tightness in her shoulders and the manner in which she used her hands - fingers often held together like a mit. It always seemed to me that, as I've pointed out elsewhere, there were better dancers at RB who were overlooked during Bussell's reign.

I also agree with Witchel regarding her 'Balanchine Celebration' Agon pdd; there's (for me) an iconic moment where the man reaches down and 'plucks' the woman's foot in synch the pizzicato in the music that was always such a powerful visual - especially when Farrell & Martins performed it. Darcey didn't allow Fischer to 'pluck' her foot; this is just one very small example of what Witchel pointed out about her not allowing her partner to manipulate her as the choreography dictates. But most of all for me it was a lack of musicality that I saw in that performance in particular.

For those of us in the states, we've mostly experienced Bussell's later work through videos on youtube (of which there are MANY) and on dvd. I recently compared Bussell's variation from Macmillan's 'Sylvia' to Marianela Nunez's -- both of which are up on youtube - and found Nunez's to be far superior technically and musically. Again it was that stiffness in the upper body and the lack of articulation in the fingers that bothered me most about Bussell's rendition.

#81 innopac

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 02:50 PM

Interview with Darcy Bussell by New Zealand radio: on retiring from dancing, the Royal Academy of Dance, being a judge on tv etc



#82 innopac

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 02:10 PM

[font=times new roman,times,serif][size=4]The next steps[/size][/font]
[font=times new roman,times,serif][size=4]by Dalya Alberge[/size][/font]
[font=times new roman,times,serif][size=4]The Financial Times[/size][/font]
[font=times new roman,times,serif][size=4]July 28, 2012[/size][/font]

[font=times new roman,times,serif][size=4]Darcey Bussell, former principal ballerina at the Royal Ballet, talks about her new role[/size][/font]

http://www.ft.com/cm...l#axzz21xQHnc00

#83 kbarber

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 03:51 AM

In a lighter vein, I'm sure you will all get a laugh out of this video in which Dawn French "teaches" Darcey Bussell how to dance, with Anthony Dowell looking on.

#84 Barbara

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 11:51 AM

Thank you so much for the laugh - I needed that!

#85 Helene

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 12:11 PM

I love how pissy Bussell is: if this were an American spoof, she'd be all cheery and co-operative, like it was Big Bird trying to teach her on "Sesame Street."


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