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Cojocaru in Copenhagen


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#1 Jane Simpson

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 07:34 AM

Alina Cojocaru is to make her debut as Hippolyta/Titania in John Neumeier's Midsummer Night's Dream with the Royal Danish Ballet on the first night of the run, February 26th, and will also dance the performances on March 16, 29 and 30. She'll be dancing with Mads Blangstrup, his first appearance in a big role after a long absence through injury. Should be good!

#2 87Sigfried87

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 08:11 AM

Alina Cojocaru is to make her debut as Hippolyta/Titania in John Neumeier's Midsummer Night's Dream with the Royal Danish Ballet on the first night of the run, February 26th, and will also dance the performances on March 16, 29 and 30. She'll be dancing with Mads Blangstrup, his first appearance in a big role after a long absence through injury. Should be good!


I am very happy for her!she deserves it!she's been through many injuries in her career....I think she will be good. The ballet,if i am not wrong,is the one in which they wear grey and very tight lattex costumes and....it requires a very strong male principal dancer(for the complicated sequence of lifts and passages of partnership) and a female principal with gymnast gifts. On youtube you can watch Zakharova and Tsiskaridze performing the pdd. I am sure Cojocaru will be great too!I love her!she is definately my favourite dancer nowadays!:-)

#3 Jane Simpson

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 08:21 AM

David Amzallag has just added some rehearsal photos of Cojocaru and Blangstrup to his blog - they look very good together!

#4 Jane Simpson

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 01:14 PM

Three different casts, including Cojocaru/Blangstrup, went on in Copenhagen over the weekend. Eva Kistrup saw them all, and reviews them in Dance View Times.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:51 PM

Jane Simpson's review of this cast is now in ballet co's magazine.


Royal Danish Ballet; ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream

Midsummer Night's Dream fits the RDB so well that you might think it had been made for them. Although Hippolyta/Titania and Theseus/Oberon get the headline casting, this is essentially a company ballet, with seven big dancing roles and two character/comedy parts of almost equal importance. Neumeier gives the quartet of lovers much more to do than in other versions I've seen, and he includes more of the story than either Ashton or Balanchine, so that the mechanicals get to do their ridiculous play in the Duke's palace. The leading couple have two big pas de deux in the last act - a private, 'awakening', romantic one and a more formal, public, classical one - but I'd bet that what most people will remember a couple of months later will not be those - however starry the casting - but Thisbe in her red pointe shoes, Bottom changing into a donkey, and feisty little Helena fighting for her love. The RDB dancers grab opportunities like these with both hands and it's good to see, especially after the rather dispiriting showing they'd made a couple of days earlier in a different programme.


I'd like to add that right before the paragraph quoted above, Jane has a list of bullet points for people who are new to the ballet -- an idea I'm sure dance critics will greedily, happily, steal!

#6 Jane Simpson

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 08:49 AM

Cojocaru's performance on March 29th has been cancelled because of 'illness' - not hers, as she's dancing the next night as planned but with Nehemiah Kish instead of Mads Blangstrup. Gudrun Bojesen and Sebastian Kloborg dance on the 29th.

#7 Jane Simpson

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 01:37 PM

Alban Lendorf made an unscheduled but apparently very successful debut as Puck this week, and has more performances later on. Amy Watson and Gregory Dean are to dance Titania and Oberon after Easter, both for the first time.

#8 annamicro

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 10:41 PM

Alban Lendorf made an unscheduled but apparently very successful debut as Puck this week,


Was he unscheduled to dance Puck? I’m surprised: he was absolutely excellent! :wink:
I hope that this second substitution doesn’t come from another injury, but for sure a Puck-Oberon (Lendorf and Kish) double change of cast that led to a much more rewarding performance than the very weak one I’ve seen previously with Rickert and Blangstrup.

#9 Jane Simpson

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 01:05 AM

Well, he may well have been scheduled to dance it later in the run but he certainly wasn't announced for this week.

#10 Anne

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 06:46 AM

Alban Lendorf replaced the announced Christopher Rickert as Puck, and I think this was his first performance (March 30) in the role. According to the homepage of the RDB he is going to do it a couple of times more during April, and good so, for he is indeed terrific! He has the physical powers and the flexibiblity to do all the acrobatics needed for this part, bouncing and rolling about like he was a ball and not a body with legs, arms and a head on the top, and he visibly enjoys doing it, which goes very good with the anarchic (and to some extent a bit tiresome) character of Puck. On top of it comes his open and charmingly innocent face which makes this little nasty creature quite endearing, and I think he deliberately uses this contrast to a comic effect. The part of Puck is a real tour de force, and one is amazed that the dancer is able to go on dancing in the last scene of the ballet, where he is back in his double role as Philostrat.

Another pleasant surprise was Gregory Dean as Lysander. I have until now only seen him in abstract ballets where he has always caught my eye as a quite elegant dancer, and I was happy to see that he can act too. His Lysander was very boyish with a youthful eagerness in both his earnest love for Hermia and his more savage desire for Helena. And I like his ample way of moving which is light and grounded at the same time. His Hermia was Amy Watson, and they suited each other perfectly, both in character and way of dancing. Their pas de deux in the 1st act was one of the highlights of the evening.

The sensation of the evening was of course Alina Cojocaru, who danced for the last time that night. She is really petite but she is able to strech her lines and bend her body in such beautiful arabesques that she never looks short, even with a tall partner like Nehemiah Kish. And she was equally convincing as a girlish and uncertain Hippolyta in the prologue, as an icy Titania of the 1st act and as a mature woman and duchess in the 2nd act. Especially the scene, where Theseus wakes her up in the morning and she is still a bit bewildert after her dream until the love breaks through in an extremely beautiful pas de deux, was very moving. That is Neumeier when he is best! He really can tell what is going on inside a human being by the way he or she moves and dances. Cojocaru fitted in perfectly with the company which is not quite the case with Nehemiah Kish who is a really brilliant and beautiful dancer but who keeps look like a stranger.

It was a night with a lot of beautiful dancing and everybody doing well in their parts. My reservations are merely about the ballet itself. I saw it long ago in the eighties in Hamburg while still a very young girl, and I remember being in total awe, and therefore I was looking very much forward to seeing it again. But I must admit that I was rather disappointed. To me the different elements of the ballet never really integrate, the elves and their music (Ligeti) stay strangely remote from the rest, represented by the warm realms of Mendelssohn’s music, throughout the ballet. Of course the human beings never become aware of the elves but they are certainly under their influence, and therefore it would make sense if the two worlds would contaminate with each other to some degree. The only time that happens is right at the end, where Oberon wakes up Titania and they finally show their love for each other. They do that to Mendelssohn’s music - maybe they too learned something this summer night.

I had some difficulties with the elves, too. To me they look more like pale sea anemones, or like marsians, being very mechanical in their way of moving, making a lot of noise with the pointe shoes, sometimes as an intentional effect, but most of the time not, which is very disturbing when the music is so non-human and silence-like. I know this is a problem in most white acts, but somehow it disturbs me less in the old ballets, maybe because you can’t think the choerography away from these shoes.

Furthermore I think the elf-scenes are much too long, time dragging terribly while the dancers keep doing the same or similar (and mostly off-putting) steps over and over again. The trees on the stage are also too small for the elves to hide in. It has an unintentional comic effect when Oberon tries to hoist himself onto a branch of one of the trees, while observing the loving couples, and he almost fills out the whole tree.

The group of workmen is another problem: they are just not funny enough! And I’m sure most of the audience doesn’t have the faintest idea of what is going on or what the play about Pyramus and Thisbe is all about. Even knowing Shakespeare’s play was not any great help. Consequently the workmen pulled very few laughs from the audience. Only Thomas Lund made the audience laugh heartily when he made his appearance on pointe shoes, but then they would have laughed anyway. Neumeier who is normally a brilliant storyteller completetly misses his goal here, or maybe something has gone missing during the many years where the ballet hasn’t been played.

But apart from that the forrest-scene is the most succesful and original part of the ballet, and it contains some absolutely delightful and poetic choreography for the two young couples – and some really amusing situations too, with that touch of real pain and bewilderment which gives depths to the fun. The final wedding scene has some beautiful dancing in it too, but I think it is strange to have this kind of conventional dance-finale after all the modernities in the previous act. It’s like watching the end of Sleeping Beauty patched onto the ballet. But I admit it was beautiful to look at, though a bit thin.

A last comment is for the orchestra: The Royal Orchestra played wonderfully under the direction of Graham Bond, but it was highly disturbing to see them walk in and out of the pit everytime Ligeti was on, or even leaving the pit few minutes before the end of the ballet as did the brass section (not counting the many times this group left while the rest of the orchestra played on). Everytime you could see the light from the room outside the pit when the door opened. Maybe they thought they were invisible because of the gauze that was covering the pit. Well, they were not!

#11 annamicro

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 09:05 AM

Alban Lendorf replaced the announced Christopher Rickert as Puck, and I think this was his first performance (March 30) in the role.


No, he danced also on the 29th, with Kloborg and Bojesen in the main roles, giving the same excellent performance. As you wrote, Puck role is a tour de force and he did it wonderfully in two consecutive nights.

I don't know if Kish fit in RDB or not, but in my opinion he was the best of the three Theseus-Oberon I saw (I enjoyed also Kloborg).

#12 Anne

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 09:48 AM

Knowing that makes the performance of Lendorf even more impressive! Thank you for taht information, annamicro.

I too think that Kish made a really good performance on the 30th, it was a true pleasure to watch him and I like the elegance and style of his dancing. I think he has real class. I just wonder what it is that makes him so different from the rest of the company. Maybe he is too stylish, I don't know.

In the prologue the worksmen bumped into Cojocaru with their barrel organ quite heavily, and it looked as if it hurt her and she left the scene immediately after that. I wondered if it was part of the story or if was an accident. Can you, annamicro, or anyone who has seen some of the other performances tell?

#13 annamicro

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 01:18 PM

In the prologue the worksmen bumped into Cojocaru with their barrel organ quite heavily, and it looked as if it hurt her and she left the scene immediately after that. I wondered if it was part of the story or if was an accident. Can you, annamicro, or anyone who has seen some of the other performances tell?


It was an accident. Another merit of Lendorf-Philostratus was to make it seems part of the story "telling" immediately to the man with the barrel organ what I would have loved to tell him in that moment! :lol:
I'm copying what I've written in another place

"She was literally run over by the barrel-organ, entering on stage at full speed behind her back. She run out of stage for few seconds (if I remember well, she was not supposed to do that much in those moments), probably just to regain her composure (and it happened very quickly). It was clear by her dancing that she didn’t suffer an injury and at the end she said to have not had any problem “but the shock”. Probably she was hit just by the big front wheel, as its iron support could have caused some problems.
It was likely she was in a wrong position in that moment and she confirmed it, nevertheless I’d expect that when entering on stage running with such a big thing, the ”driver” looks where he is going (“he said he didn’t see me”).
Anyway, the incident was closed with a lot of laughing. :beg: "

#14 Anne

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 06:58 AM

It's good to know that it all ended well and with a laugh - it would have been terrible if something bad had happened to her. She has had injuries enough in her life, I think!

#15 bart

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 07:54 AM

Thankyou, Anne, annamicro, and Jane. It's wonderful to read these reports. :)


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