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Royal Ballet in Washington, DC, June 2009Mixed Bill + Manon


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#46 Helene

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 02:33 AM

If the dancer can't create a sense of why, or that there's a pull at all, the performance looks incongruous. It's like an Odette who doesn't appear to be stuck.

#47 Jane Simpson

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 03:18 AM

Natalia Petrovna should look older than Vera, her ward


The best way of achieving that would be to go back to casting a very young, possibly completely unknown dancer as Vera, as Ashton did in his first two casts.

#48 Natalia

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 03:35 AM

In the Turgenev play, Natasha Petrovna is 30 years old. Kolya, her son, is 11 or 12. Vera is a ward, not a daughter, and is supposed to be too old to be a daughter to Natasha. In fact, a leitmotif of the story is that Vera and Natasha are close enough to be sisters. Natasha is married to a much-older man who loves younger & younger chicks, e.g., his interest in Katya the maid. Natasha is no longer young enough for the old rooster.

Ansanelli is actually perfect in age for the role of Natasha; the dancer is 28/29, the character 30. The tradition of making Natasha an 'older woman' came only with the ballet and the casting of Lynn Seymour. The difference in age between Natasha and Vera should be about 10 years, not 20. That, I think, puts the story into better perspective and explains a lot.

I believe that Ansanelli's Natasha lacked the petit-allegro sharpness and bubbly musicality of the Ashton style; from that point of view alone, her Natasha was mediocre. Her triumph, IMO, was in the characterization because she is so believable as a 30-year-old Natasha, wanting a man closer to her own age and fighting her 'sister' for him. Ansanelli also benefited by having an emotional and romantic-looking partner in Ivan Putrov -- more emotional than Pennefather. Also, the Ansanelli-Putrov partnership is physically well matched to make the lifts and throws of the pas de deux exciting; I prefer the shorter ladies in this role...not having to heave-ho the Bussells and Yanowskys. Things really 'clicked' in that final Ansanelli-Putrov performance, IMO.

#49 bart

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 08:10 AM

One of the sub-themes that has developed in this thread is the contrast between an older generation of RB dancers and some of the younger principals. There's a video which has been posted here before -- Anthony Dowell (with Antoinette Sibley) coaching Pennefather and Cuthbertson in Swan Lake. I enjoy watching Dowell and (in the distance) Sibley as they bring subtle arm gestures, along with suggestions, to the the session while P and C dance.



#50 leonid17

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 11:58 AM

In the Turgenev play, Natasha Petrovna is 30 years old. Kolya, her son, is 11 or 12. Vera is a ward, not a daughter, and is supposed to be too old to be a daughter to Natasha. In fact, a leitmotif of the story is that Vera and Natasha are close enough to be sisters. Natasha is married to a much-older man who loves younger & younger chicks, e.g., his interest in Katya the maid. Natasha is no longer young enough for the old rooster.

Ansanelli is actually perfect in age for the role of Natasha; the dancer is 28/29, the character 30. The tradition of making Natasha an 'older woman' came only with the ballet and the casting of Lynn Seymour. The difference in age between Natasha and Vera should be about 10 years, not 20. That, I think, puts the story into better perspective and explains a lot.



Lynn Seymour's age has nothing to do with Ashton's casting or his inspirational take on Turgenev’s play as firstly he needed a dramatic actress and Seymour, was renowned as such and in such a way, that few that
have followed her in this role or others she created, have been able to come close to any of her original outstanding performances.

Ashton subtly characterised his roles and developed his cast in such a way that they remained entirely integrated within their parts in spite of the febrile atmosphere that Natalya Petrovna's behaviour
inevitably creates.

In the play, Natalya Petrovna is actually 29, Seymour was 37 years old, Beliayev in the play is 21 and Dowell was 35, Rakitin in the play is 30 and Derek Rencher was 44, Vera is 17 and was played by Denise Nunn who was a junior member of the corps de ballet. Natalya Petrovna is not married to a much older man he is 36 in the play and he was played by Alexander Grant who was 51 and a very clever actor. Age had no meaning in any of their remarkable performances.

The age of the dancers had no relevance as they perfectly revealed the households tense relationships as the ballet evoked the boredom that can arise in a country house in a hot summer. Ashton in this ballet as ever reveals a gift for portraying characters from a past era.

The legendary Moscow Olga Knipper at the age of 41 has a tremendous success in the role of Natalya Petrovna and the originating actress Elizaveta N. Vasileyeva could not have been only 29 years old as the first performance of this play was given for her benefit performance.

It is Natalya Petrovnaís story of a self-inflicted predicament and her soon to be passed obsession for a younger man. But there is not really any sadness or torment, as Ashtonís presents an outsiderís gentle view of the folly of the situation. This is achieved with the lightest of touches, combining refined amusement with the bittersweet charm of Ashtonian lyricism.

I am glad you like Putrov he is progressing every year. But I am sad at the loss of Ansanelli who has achieved a lot in her time with the Royal Ballet.

PS
Edited to clarify a statement,

#51 Natalia

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 02:04 PM

.....In the play, Natalya Petrovna is actually 29......


So Ansanelli IS the exact age of Natalia Petrovna. That is my main point. So much for people writing that Ansanelli is "too young" for the role. :wallbash: Thank you, Leonid.

#52 Hans

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 02:41 PM

Regardless of the dancer's actual age, isn't it most important that she be able to "project" the appropriate age for the part? Like many ballet dancers, Ansanelli appears (onstage, anyway--I haven't seen her in person) rather younger than she really is. As much as I enjoyed her dancing, I really thought she came across more as a young woman than a mature, married lady with a 12-year-old son.

#53 carbro

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 03:10 PM

Regardless of the dancer's actual age, isn't it most important that she be able to "project" the appropriate age for the part?

Thank you! Ballet is not a literal art. You do not cast a ballet the same way you cast a film. You find a dancer who can, through movement, hit the right emotional notes and relate appropriately to the other characters.

If necessary, go to the make-up box. And if necessary, have the dancer change her/his posture, but then, we're again talking about movement.


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