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Promotions, Joiners and Leavers at BRB


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#1 JMcN

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 02:58 AM

BRB recently made some announcements.

Marion Tait has been appointed to the role of Assistant, which is wonderful news.

http://www.brb.org.u...on-AD-2011.html

There are some very welcome and well deserved promotees: Joe Caley to principal; Tyrone Singleton to senior soloist; Samara Downs, Celine Gittens, Matthias Dingman and Rory McKay to soloist; James Barton and Fergus Campbell to first artist:

http://www.brb.org.uk/Promo-2011.html

There are also a number of new dancers and some retirees and leavees:

http://www.brb.org.uk/LAJ-2011.html

"New Faces

Welcome to Artist Emily Smith from the Royal Ballet School and Soloist Maureya Lebowitz from Winnipeg Ballet, who joined in May this year. Congratulations also to Elmhurst graduate Lewis Turner, who, after his Prix de Lausanne Laureate year, continues with the Company as an Artist. Karla Doorbar and Brandon Lawrence will also join the Company from the Royal Ballet School as Artists in August, alongside Tzu-Chao Chou from Australian Ballet, who will join as a Soloist.

Goodbye and good luck

Video Archivist and former dancer and Principal Character Artist David Morse has retired after 50 years with the Royal Ballet Companies. First Soloist Andrea Tredinnick has also retired from dance after being with the Company for 24 years. First Soloist Alexander Campbell leaves the Company take up a position as a Soloist with The Royal Ballet, and Artist Christopher Rodgers-Wilson has now left to return home and dance with Australian Ballet. Artists Sonia Aguilar, Dusty Button, Machi Moritaka and Anniek Soobroy have also left the Company."

David Morse was still dancing leading roles when I first started watching the company. He is a consumate character artist, imbuing even the tiniest gesture with meaning. He has a very subtle style of acting and his performances as Widow Simone and Dr Coppelius are masterclasses in characterisation. I do hope that he will continue to pass on his enormous talent and breadth of knowledge.

As well as those joiners listed in the announcement on the BRB website, it was also announced last week that MAX WESTWELL is joining BRB as a soloist from ENB. He featured prominently in one of the episodes of the Agony & Ecstasy documentary.

#2 miliosr

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 03:24 AM

As well as those joiners listed in the announcement on the BRB website, it was also announced last week that MAX WESTWELL is joining BRB as a soloist from ENB. He featured prominently in one of the episodes of the Agony & Ecstasy documentary.

Interesting news. I don't blame Westwell for jumping given what ENB's 2011-12 season (and funding picture) look like.

#3 Helene

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 08:25 AM

Thank you for the news, congratulations to the promoted dancers, and best wishes to those leaving the company.

#4 Simon G

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 10:13 AM

Interesting news. I don't blame Westwell for jumping given what ENB's 2011-12 season (and funding picture) look like.



I actually think too that Birmingham Royal Ballet is a perfect match for Westwell, ENB is actually a great deal more classically orientated than BRB which under David Bintley has become a good deal more story orientated, I don't like Bintley's works but I do acknowledge that he has very cleverly created a company that really works on a financial and professional level and really fills a market.

Westwell is a dancer of some swagger and dramatic weight (though he can tend to be a bit of a ham) he's not a virtuoso or classical stylist but he is a very talented performer and that demi caracter mould really goes down well with the tone and feel of BRB and their rep.

I suspect that ENB though sad to see him go, he'd recently been promoted to Junior soloist there, can survive losing him, especially as it will free up some more money, though I think they're far more terrified of losing Muntagirov who if not given opportunities could pretty much move anywhere he wanted. I wouldn't be surprised if Monica Mason regularly doorsteps him with jiffy bags stuffed full of cash to bribe him away from ENB.

Another talented dancer whose made a move is Alexander Campbell from BRB to the main company and taken a demotion with the move. I do wonder how well this may pay off, as at BRB he had a very full rep and schedule, he's a demi caracter dancer with a good deal of virtuosity, though not in that platinum grade of a Muntagirov, but he's a really talented dancer who needs opportuntities and sadly given the rather capricious casting of the RB and also the fact the top heavy principal & first soloist ranks calling first dibs on the main principal parts and interesting soloist roles, I wonder how much he'll get to perform.

#5 miliosr

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 05:06 PM



Interesting news. I don't blame Westwell for jumping given what ENB's 2011-12 season (and funding picture) look like.



I actually think too that Birmingham Royal Ballet is a perfect match for Westwell, ENB is actually a great deal more classically orientated than BRB which under David Bintley has become a good deal more story orientated, I don't like Bintley's works but I do acknowledge that he has very cleverly created a company that really works on a financial and professional level and really fills a market.

Westwell is a dancer of some swagger and dramatic weight (though he can tend to be a bit of a ham) he's not a virtuoso or classical stylist but he is a very talented performer and that demi caracter mould really goes down well with the tone and feel of BRB and their rep.

Westwell no doubt deduced correctly that there are a lot of talented guys ahead of him at ENB and he could waste a lot of years sitting around with no guarantee of future advancement. I agree with you that BRB appears to be a better fit for him.

I suspect that ENB though sad to see him go, he'd recently been promoted to Junior soloist there, can survive losing him, especially as it will free up some more money, though I think they're far more terrified of losing Muntagirov who if not given opportunities could pretty much move anywhere he wanted. I wouldn't be surprised if Monica Mason regularly doorsteps him with jiffy bags stuffed full of cash to bribe him away from ENB.

You are right, of course, that ENB can survive Westwell's departure. The nightmare scenario for Wayne Eagling is that Muntagirov leaves eventually anyway, and the replacements will be nonexistent if they've all followed Westwell's example.

#6 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 01:41 PM

Simon - I only saw Muntagirov once, so it's not fair for me to make an assessment, but is he really all that? I only saw him in the Black and White program, which didn't show anyone to their best advantage (though Suite en Blanc helped) and he seemed talented, but I didn't see what was exceptional.

I've seen BRB more than ENB but between the two, BRB produced a more finished product. They do idiomatic Ashton and surprisingly good Balanchine - and I'm really impressed with Desmond Kelly's coaching of both.

#7 Simon G

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 02:13 PM

Simon - I only saw Muntagirov once, so it's not fair for me to make an assessment, but is he really all that? I only saw him in the Black and White program, which didn't show anyone to their best advantage (though Suite en Blanc helped) and he seemed talented, but I didn't see what was exceptional.

I've seen BRB more than ENB but between the two, BRB produced a more finished product. They do idiomatic Ashton and surprisingly good Balanchine - and I'm really impressed with Desmond Kelly's coaching of both.



Hey Leigh,

I remember you saying that you'd seen him in the Black & White programme and not really noticed him, it's in the three acters that he comes alive and you really see what he's made of, especially technically, also he's really established a partnership with the veteran 40 year old Daria Klimentova and together they can be pretty sensational.

It's a pity you haven't seen him in full stride, but yes within the classical rep he is exceptional. He's stated that he feels ill at ease within contemporary work and it does show, though the contemporary rep within ENB is limited at best, especially as having been hamstrung by the Arts Council they just can't afford to stage much.

BRB have a great deal more money and are indeed a great deal more polished but the big onus of their rep is within the Bintley narrative works which make up the lion's share of their programming - which is of course a financial decision, those works by Bintely sell, he's a very clever man whose tailored a rep for the places they tour and perform in.

BRB are a very pretty company, well trained, some very nice dancers, ENB however has some sensational dancers who sadly for the most part are performing sub standard works.

Muntagirov is a very shy person and I think that comes across when he's feeling ill at ease or uncomfortable, certainly he's spoken about how his reticence and shyness has held him back in the past, especially in social situations but he is an exceptional talent with incredible potential. He is really all that or at the very least has the potential to be all that.

#8 JMcN

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 11:35 PM

I think Muntagirov is a GORGEOUS dancer and excellent partner. I was particularly impressed with him as the Prince in Michael Corder's Cinderella. He is still very young so I am sure he will continue to grow his presence on stage. I don't think he would fit that will into BRB's demi-character style whereas I think Max Westell will.

BRB has some terrific actor/dancers and Simon and I seem to have agreed to differ because I love most of David Bintley's works - both stories and plotless. It's astounding to think that he has been at the helm for 16 years now.

#9 Simon G

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 08:22 AM

I think Muntagirov is a GORGEOUS dancer and excellent partner. I was particularly impressed with him as the Prince in Michael Corder's Cinderella. He is still very young so I am sure he will continue to grow his presence on stage. I don't think he would fit that will into BRB's demi-character style whereas I think Max Westell will.

BRB has some terrific actor/dancers and Simon and I seem to have agreed to differ because I love most of David Bintley's works - both stories and plotless. It's astounding to think that he has been at the helm for 16 years now.



Can I just say that when it comes to Bintley I do think some of his one act ballets are beautiful, Dance House, Flowers of the Forest, Spirit of Fugue are lovely, it's the three acters that I don't enjoy, but he is extremely clever in the way he has created a rep around thee act ballets that sell and that's the thing he's made a company that really works, gives ample opportunities to perform to all members of the company and best of all he really venerates Ashton and gives him pride of place in the BRB rep, giving his works far more love, care and attention than he gets at the main company.

I also think he's brilliant at giving dancers space to grow and reveal their talents. For instance Tyrone Singleton who was on fast track for promotion to First Soloist then principal had his progress stalled by a pretty bad injury a couple of years ago, but he returned to the company and was given space to get back into dance shape and has just been promoted to First soloist, compare this to Ludovic Ondiviela at the main company who was in a similar position fastracked for promotion to soloist from first artist, Ondiviela had a massive achilles tendon injury which stopped his promotion, returned to the company and has now seemingly been forgotten at first artist level, having been passed over several times.

This is why I really wonder if Campbell will regret his move to the main company, external hires to soloist rarely work out well under Mason. However several dancers such as Jamie Bond spent a couple of years doing nothing at the main company before moving to BRB and rapidly progressed - Bond is now a principal, had he stayed at the main company he'd very likely still be an artist or first artist, likewise the new principal Thomas Caley had he joined the main company would probably be languishing in the lower ranks.

That's another thing I've noticed about BRB, and this is my reading and could well be wrong, but Bintley seems to have created a very happy company where dancers feel truly valued and there's a homogeny of style and company cohesion often missing from Covent Garden where it seems most of the RB trained dancers are there merely to prop up scenery while the imported stars and favoured few get anything remotely meaty.

#10 JMcN

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 10:43 AM

I can't comment on RB but I agree that BRB always seems a happy company. I wonder if it is because they are a touring company and spend a fair amount of time on the road whereas possibly the RB dancers come to work and then go home again without the "advantage" of being all in it together on tour?

#11 Simon G

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 04:13 PM

I can't comment on RB but I agree that BRB always seems a happy company. I wonder if it is because they are a touring company and spend a fair amount of time on the road whereas possibly the RB dancers come to work and then go home again without the "advantage" of being all in it together on tour?



The biggest difference is that BRB is a company where everyone gets to perform regardless of rank, artists and first artists are often cast in soloist and even principal roles and Bintley is keen to foster a fairer schedule and apportioning of parts. In the RB the artist/first artist rank is a graveyard for talent with people languishing there their entire careers.

Also Bintley actively promotes and nurtures homegrown talent, people enter the company with a shot of rising through the ranks whereas the state of the Principal and first soloist levels at the RB is well known, the company has a seeming antipathy towards promotion, prefering to get in foreign dancers and guests - the saddest thing is that the lower ranks is teeming with talent that just stays there - that must be dreadful for morale.

Also of course BRB is half the size so people actually have to all be together and get to know one another in a company of 100+ where principals and first soloists aren't obligated to take company class and just go to principal classes it's hard to nurture any camraderie and it shows, the corps just stand around looking very disaffected often.

#12 miliosr

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 04:29 AM

[T]he company has a seeming antipathy towards promotion, prefering to get in foreign dancers and guests - the saddest thing is that the lower ranks is teeming with talent that just stays there - that must be dreadful for morale.

You've just described American Ballet Theatre to perfection. Who would have ever guessed that anyone, let alone the mighty Royal, would emulate the model Lucia Chase put into practice 45 years ago?

#13 Helene

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 07:10 AM


[T]he company has a seeming antipathy towards promotion, prefering to get in foreign dancers and guests - the saddest thing is that the lower ranks is teeming with talent that just stays there - that must be dreadful for morale.

You've just described American Ballet Theatre to perfection. Who would have ever guessed that anyone, let alone the mighty Royal, would emulate the model Lucia Chase put into practice 45 years ago?

This. Why a company with a school and a tradition, however sadly neglected, would emulate this model is beyond me.


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