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jcaguioa

Budding Starlets of the Royal Ballet

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I'm seconding Libby's thank you. The Royal Ballet is coming to the Kennedy Center next year, so at least I'll be familiar with some of the names, if not the faces. Please keep us updated!

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Basilio, I'm not sure what Kate's injury was, but I don't think it was major. Anyway, I heard a rumour this week that the nightclub plan isn't working out and that Kate is still taking classes (not sure where) I will ask around and tell you more soon.

Libby and Bard Balerina, I'm glad you are enjoying this post, if you have any questions about the topic I'm sure we will do our best to answer!

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Congratulations to James, and very best wishes to all involved in Wednesday's Royal Ballet School matinee. I'm really excited at the thought of seeing all these future stars. Enjoy yourselves - I know I shall.

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Basilio17, Kate did indeed look very promising when she arrived in London yet I did wonder a little about her physique. Some peolpe peered through the windows saying "who's that?" and were surpized when the reply was "the girl who won the prix". She had put on weight during an injury and looked a litte more built than the other girls. Her line was distracted by this and she sruggled to move her torso and get her legs up. Despite this she had a beautiful quality about her and everybody saw the large amount of potential she had. I think if she persisted she would have been sucsessful enough for Royal, but unfortuneatly she lost the passion to dance, she lost confidence and stamina and I agree that this story is an extermely unfortunate one!

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Yet another amazing promotion in the Royal Ballet which was predicted on this site: At only 18, Alina Cojicaru, the stunning Romanian dancer with the athletic ability and spectacular artistry has been promoted to first soloist!! she has made the same 3 rank hop that Marianella did only a week before, but unlike Marianella who has been in the company for almost 2 years she joined Royal only a few months ago! She sure is sky-rocketing to the top, and the distance between her and Marianella on the ladder to stardom is becoming smaller and smaller. These two very different (and I do mean different!) dancers have almost equal amounts of talent and dedication in astronomical quantities, which in my opinion are the two most important qualities you need to make it. It will be interesting to see what kind of roles they will be getting within the repertory and how they handle them(as I have said rumour has it that Alina is already learning the lead part of Manon, and I have a feeling that Marianella might be learning Myrtha, queen of the Willies, a role to which she is perfectly suited).

I for one cannot wait to see them on that stage, dancing roles which they deserve and after years of dedicated training, are more than ready for!

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More good news! I'm not at all surprised about Alina. I've only seen her once, in Ashton's Symphonic Variations, but I thought she was a most beautiful dancer, extremely musical, which is quite rare nowadays, and with a very well-proportioned physique. In both those aspects she reminded me a little (only a little, so far!) of Fonteyn.

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In response to the previous discussion to Kate Cornish, I believe that her mother had passed away right before she competed in Prix. This could be the cause for her troubles at Royal Ballet School. I saw the video at Prix and it is indeed sad that she has stopped dancing becasue she was very talented.

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HOORAY! For Alina! My predictions were spot on! Two well deserved promotions for two incredible Dancers! I too can't wait to see them perform in more exciting roles. Now they're not budding starlets at all, ther're well on the road to becoming our next principals.

I hope the men I've mentioned will too get their big breaks. Ivan Putrov is really one who sticks out in the "artists" to me and I think at least "first artist" should be good enough a step for him so that he can sretch out his wings a little more and get more experience in the more advanced roles. His recent Holland Park performances were really a good time for him to strech out a bit and really show the public what he's got,(not forgeting Siren Song at the New Works program). I think he definately gained a few fans from these performances as I heard certain people from the public cheered him on and comment loudly on how neat, precise and fluid he was."I can't wait to see him in the futre!" one lady said. I certainly hope to see him there with Marianella and Alina up in the high ranks!

Jonny

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Jon, Ivan is indeed most likely to be next on the list of promotions- He is scheduled to dance the lead in 'Shadowplay', in RB's mixed programme on the 6th of November. He alternates in the role with the established Cuban principal Carlos Acosta, and the promising first soloist Edward Watson (a pure Royal Ballet school product- He is a bit of a British Malakhov in my opinion).

To all who will be in the audience in tomorrows Matinee- I hope you enjoy the performance, and would love to hear what you thought!

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I'll be there tomorrow, Guy, and I'll post my thoughts both here and on Ballet.co (nice to be asked. I often wonder if it isn't a bit cheeky posting unsolicited opinions...)

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OK, Just because I've GOT to know. . .

Are each of our RB "lads" (Guy, Jonny and James) in the matinee? I know James is in Pas de Dix (Petipa's or Balanchine's, by the way?)

Wishing you all well, whatever you happen to be doing. . .!

------------------

Leigh Witchel - dae@panix.com

Personal Page and Dance Writing

Dance as Ever

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Well I am writing after the performance and I must say I am both exhausted but with a 'sense of fullfilment'(as Mr Carr, the repetiteur said we would be after dancing 'La Valse'). All went well for me, though I hope it didn't look too messy from the audience's point of view- I was however, very nervous because my partner was unexpectedly replaced yesterday with a new girl who had never before danced in that place. Talk about last minute changes! I think, under the circumstances we fared alright.

To answer your question, Leigh, the three of us were all involved. Jon and me were in La Valse, and James of course danced the lead in 'pas de dix' (after only one week's rehearsal! Watching from the wings, I thought he fared excellently). We all also came on for the 'Defile' at the beginning.

It was a thoroughly uplifting experience!

To all who were there, weren't Leanne, Lauren and Grace simply breathtaking in Don Quixote's dryad scene? Can you believe they are only 15?

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I duly saw the RB School's matinee performance at the Opera House today and it proved to be a highly enjoyable experience. I normally see the School's performance in the open air at Holland Park, and I have to say that I prefer the outdoor experience - grass, sunlight and the possibility that, as I once saw, a pigeon might land on the stage and get everyone giggling. But today was fun.

The proceedings opened with a Grand Defile to familiar Tchaikovsky music - all the students from the smallest to the most senior moved onto the stage in a series of simple dances and tableaux. It was very impressive, in particular the discipline and concentration shown by the smallest children. They already looked professional. Ernst Meisner and Jenny Murphy next made what they could of a piece by Stephen Greenston to a Spanish-sounding sung score, but it was difficult to judge their actual dancing since it was mostly a series of lifts. Jenny Murphy looked promising and has considerable presence. A Hornpipe for the boys showed their excellent footwork and beautifully synchronised jumps and turns. Most impressive. I loved the Irish reel, with a real Irish fiddler on stage and I just wish I could identify the first two girls - the ones with the lovely springy jumps, but they were all good. Likewise the boys and girls in the Scottish dancing (bagpipe player on stage this time). The girls' footwork really mesmerised me. As to the advertised (by someone on this board) 'Pas de Six', I could not understand why there were five couples on stage and it was only when the lights came up that I realised in was actually a Pas de Dix (Petipa) Doh! This was quite beautifully danced, in particular by James Wilkie who posts to this board. He has a wonderfully expansive style and looked as if he was actually enjoying himself, plus he has an unflustered air which will stand him in good stead in his professional career. I thought all five girls were excellent and I just found their professionalism, at the age of - what, 16? was outstanding. It wasn't all perfect, of course - the occasional wobbly arabesque showed that these are still students, but these things happen even to fully-fleged professional dancers.

The last dance in the first half was Stanton Welch's 'A Time to Dance' to a familiar Dvorak piece (I'm not good on identifying music). This went on. And on. I began to pray for the interval, but at least the piece gave some of the dancers a chance to shine, and shine Hitomi Kuhara, Anita Hutchins and Kosuke Yamamoto duly did in the pas-de-trois. They were dazzling, in fact, three real stars in the making. Yamamoto is a dynamo of spin and jump in the Kumakawa mode, plus he has the added advantage of charm and warmth. Hitomi Kuhara is a dream of a dancer with a gorgeous, clean jump and Anita Hutchins has a wonderfully lyrical quality to her dancing. Satsuki Sejima, too, was lovely in the girl's solo, but all the dancers in Welsh's unremarkable piece were remarkable.

After the longed-for interval things got decidedly better with 'Don Quixote' (the programme stated that it was 'staged' by Anatole Grigoriev but gave no mention of a choreographer). Leanne Cope as Armour, Lauren Cutherbertson as Dulcinea and Grace Poole as Queen of the Dryads were all polished diamonds of confidence and near-perfection; it's hard to believe that they are so young. What I loved about their performances was that there was no striving for glitzy but unnecessary over-the-head extensions. They danced with simple, natural authority and are a credit to their teachers.

Finally, came Ashton's utterly sublime and magical 'La Valse' to Ravel's equally sublime score. This is my third viewing of this ballet, and every time I see it, I see more mystery and magic in it. Women in exaggerated evening dress and men in tails swirl, dip and eddy to the increasing urgency of Ravel's music The women are swept into rapid lifts, the men jump in turning lines, their black jackets swirling behind them. At one memorable moment the entire cast face the audience and merely swing their arms back and forth to surf the waves of the music, and the piece ends with the dancers in full flight as the curtain falls. I can only hope that the dancers felt as intoxicated as the audience did.

All congratulations to everyone concerned.

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Guy, Jonny, James and anyone else involved in yesterdsy's RBS matinee - I enjoyed it very much, from start to finish. Ann has described much of it and I agree with her on most things. The understandable signs of nerves were quite few and far between - it was almost all very confident and professional.

I was impressed by Jenny Murphy and Ernst Meisner in We are Here, but it certainly was of the "who can devise the most complicated lift" school of choreography, so I was glad to see them both dance in other things later in the programme. Ernst is a real classical dancer who I'm sure will do well; the same goes for Jenny. (And Guy, she looks fine on the stage - not too thin at all!!)

All the national dances were absolutely charming and well danced. It's nice to see the younger ones.

James WIlkie had a lot to do in the Petipa Pas de Dix, and there was no sign of lack of rehearsal that I could detect. He has an excellent stage presence: he is really communicative, and took the stage with some authority and as Ann said, enjoyment. I thought all the girls in this piece excellent.

A Time to Dance was a bit long, but certainly lively. I liked the Pas de Deux best, with Bethany Keating and Ernst Meisner. I think Bethany has the makings of (no, already is) a first rate dancer, with a lovely stage personality. I could see her as Titania or Dorabella.

A lot has been said already about the lead girls in Don Q., and I agree with it all. What a lot of talent there is in that year.

La Valse - I'm afraid I couldn't work out which one was Guy, but nobody looked nervous, and it wasn't messy! I thought it well danced, and very exhilarating - exhausting to do, I'm sure.

A fascinating afternoon - thank you all very much.

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Guys, I found the name of Anatoly Grigoriev in Ann's post. What is he doing there, is he a teacher or did he just stage D.Q.?

Andrei.

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Thank you everyone who have written kind comments on my performance at the ROH. For me it was not a good enough performance as many things were not satisfactory to my standards, but dancers are never pleased with their performance.I am glad that everyone enjoyed the performance.

Anatole Grigoriev is a teacher at White Lodge. Jonathan and I both had Mr Grigoriev as a teacher for 3 and a half years. He was a member of the Kirov and he stages the ballets based on the Kirovs versions(when he was in the company).

If anyone else saw the school performance what did they think of the programme? Was it too long, too short?

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James, I thought it was a bit short if anything, with A Time to Dance disproportionately long. I'd also like to have seen the younger students in something a bit more classical - even a bit of barre and centre work.

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I'm glad you enjoyed the performance, Helena and Anne, the comments you made were really interesting and well put- I agree with everything you both said!

Helena; Bethany Keating has just finished first year upper school, and has been promoted to third year next year (a kind of apprentice year in which you get more performing oppurtunities), so obviously the school administration shares your view on her being a first rate dancer. I didn't mention her before because I forgot she had a Pas de deux in "time to dance", but she truly is a dancer to look out for, so much so that Deborah Bull finishes off her book "dancing away" with a description of her dancing (in her graduation piece from White Lodge) as what inspired her to have a positive outlook on the future of dance!

(basically, she doesn't really need to worry about future employment!She definitely has the potential to be the next Sarah Wildor- both are stunning blonde beauties oozing with pure British glam.)

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People might be interested in having a look at a ROH press release posted on ballet.co.uk

about the last RB promotions:

http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/news/479.html#

What is the hierarchy at the Royal Ballet? Is it Principal/ First Soloist/ Soloist/ First Artist/ Artist?

How many students from the RB school usually enter the company each year? I was a bit surprised to see that there were so many dancers from other companies joining the Royal Ballet, it sounds quite different from the POB (there most dancers come from the POB school, it's very hard to get there from another school or company, and there hasn't been anybody entering directly as a Principal since the early 70s).

[This message has been edited by Estelle (edited August 04, 2000).]

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Estelle - yes, the hierarchy is as you describe.

It is very unusual for so many new corps dancers to be taken in from 'outside' at the same time. It used to be the case that almost all the corps de ballet came in from the RBS, but there have always been people taken in at Principal level, or at senior soloist for a year or two and then pricinipal. Lately, though, there seems to be a deliberate policy to open the company at all ranks to entry by audition or invitation.

Incidentally, two more of the RBS dancers were taken into the Birmingham Royal Ballet - Kosuke Yamamoto and Pierpaolo Ghirotto.

(RBS boys: I'm sorry I never made any comment on the matinee - I've had horrible computer problems ever since and haven't had much time online. I did enjoy it, though. I wished you could have all worn numbers for the defile so we could have worked out which you were!)

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I, for one, sight unseen, am willing to call for cheers for our young men of the RBS, who have done much to enlighten us, to cheer us, and to seek our assistance when necessary. All together: hip, hip, (Hoorah), hip, hip (Hoorah), hip, hip, (Hooray!)...and a tiger (RAAAAHHHH)!

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Thanks Mel! I'm sure we'll be seeking your help again near the end of this year when we will start performing again. We might also be working with the company of which will perform Swan Lake, Ondine and La Fille mal Gardee of which Ethan Steifel will be guesting with us! I'm really excited as Ethan is one of our favourutes!

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Oh, please please don't wait until the end of the year to keep posting!!!! You guys have been one of the Board highlights of the year and I think we're all looking forward to hearing of your further adventures.

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The bad news of the Royal ballet at the moment is that Jerry douglas the company's first black dancer from the U.S has left the company due to lack of "dancing Roles" in the company's productions. also Carlos Acosta will sadly leave as a resident member of the company and become a guest for simalar reasons. I am extremely saddend about both as the are both really wonderful for the company. I do think Carlos deserves more but the problem is that alot of the works the company perfoms don't suit him totally. This news is a disappointment I'm sure to many.

Jonny

[This message has been edited by jcaguioa (edited August 15, 2000).]

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