Jane Simpson

Caroline Cavallo to retire in December

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RDB principal Caroline Cavallo has announced that she will retire from the company in December, giving her last performance on the 15th, as Aurora in Christopher Wheeldon's new production of Sleeping Beauty. She's recently turned 40, I think, which is the normal retirement age in the company - and she hasn't been seen much in the last couple of seasons as first of all she was off on maternity leave and then - from what she says - she was injured. But Aurora is not a bad role to go out on!

There's a nice interview with her (in English), on the RDB website.

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I thought I had missed Cavallo's last performance, that it had happened without my knowledge. Her retirement has been announced long time ago, but apparently her farewell performance has been postponed to this season. I'm glad I still have the chance!

She is a very versatile dancer, and it has been very interesting to follow her career. She has grown enormously during the years, starting a bit anonimously, a brilliant technician but no great personality on stage. But that changed! One of her most impressive and moving performances was the Sylphide, which I saw in 2003, where she danced with Nikolaj Hübbe, who was a guest dancer a few times in his own production. Until then I had regarded her as a more modern dancer, but that night it was like seing her in her right element, regarding both style and expression. In the above mentioned interview the Sylphide is listed as one of her greatest achievements on her part, and I can understand why. She was also a very moving Anna Karenina in Ratmansky's ballet, which he created especially for the RDB, and very recently she danced "Les Bras de Mers" with Jean-Lucien Massot, which clearly showed what two mature artists can do on a stage! Hübbe has wisely used this pas de deux by Petr Zuska again in his new mixed bill programme "Dance2go", with Cavallo/Massot and to great critical acclaim.

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I also saw Caroline Cavallo in La Sylphide, but at the Bournonville Festival in 2005. She was a revelation to me, exactly as I imagined the role ought to be danced and I was moved to tears for the first time at this ballet when her Sylph died. As in other roles I've found her grasp of the Bournonville style remarkable for a non Dane.

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Yes, I saw her performance during the festival too. They put La Sylphide on the programme twice during the festival, and the other Sylphide was Gudrun Bojesen. It was a great experience to see two extremely different dancers do the same part equally well, each one emphasizing different aspects of the role. I was moved deeply by both of them.

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It's Caroline Cavallo's last performance tomorrow, and the RDB website has a page of photos etc, and a space for people to add their own farewell messages - a very nice idea.

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Eva Kistrup has an article about Caroline Cavallo on her danceviewtimes blog:

Caroline Cavallo Retires

The fact that Caroline Cavallo ended up saving the premiere of the Royal Danish Ballet's production of "Sleeping Beauty" as her last performance with the company is a fitting metaphor for her 21 years at the RDB. She has been the most reliable and constant force of the company, the one scores of ballet masters could depend on and probably the hardest and most dedicated worker in the company.

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