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2013 Benois de la Danse Winners


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#1 Cygnet

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 07:09 AM

Voice of Russia has announced the winners of the 2013 Benois de la Danse awards in Moscow.
The new recipients are Olga Smirnova, Vadim Muntagirov of English National Ballet, and Alban Lendorf of
Royal Danish Ballet! Choreographers Hans Van Manen and Christopher Wheeldon were also honored with
the statuette. John Neumeier won for dedication to the art, and will receive the statuette next year. Pierre Lacotte
was also honored for his contributions as a ballet restorer. Congratulations to the winners and all the nominees!
The gala and celebration concludes tonight at the Bolshoi Theatre.
http://english.ruvr....red-at-Bolshoi/

#2 Jayne

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 05:10 PM

I am curious how nominees are chosen, and then winners? They seem to favor specific companies.

#3 volcanohunter

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 10:26 PM

Apparently, it's the members of the jury who do the nominating, which often explains a lot. This was among the faults cited in a very critical piece by Tatyana Kuznetsova in today's Kommersant.

http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2193999

This year's jury includes Yuri Grigorovich, Ted Brandsen, David Dawson, Marina Kondratieva, Ivan Liška, Tamara Rojo, Helgi Tomasson and Nikolaj Hübbe. So the "math" isn't very difficult: Brandsen and Tomasson co-commissioned Wheeldon's Cinderella, Brandsen's company is the primary purveyor of van Manen's work, Kondratieva is Smirnova's coach, Rojo is Muntagirov's boss, and Hübbe is Lendorf's boss.

In Kuznetsova's view, only Hans van Manen deserved his prize. Smirnova was not there to collect hers since she was in Tokyo performing in Vladimir Malakhov's farewell tour.
http://www.nbs.or.jp...malakhov-final/

Even by the murky standards of the Benois, this had to be one of the least transparent editions on record. Five ADs and one former AD each nominated a pair of dancers from their own companies. The only "outsider" nominees were Justin Peck and Edward Watson. The only "independent" juror was Donald Dawson.

#4 Natalia

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 03:55 AM

Murkiness aside, at least the winners this year happen to be (mostly) deserving. Even Neumeier, whose choreography can be 'all over the place' (from excellent to yuk), had a great recent triumph with Liliom (starring Cojocaru - filmed for an upcoming DVD release).

What a nice coincidence that the two active male dancers honored, Lendorf and Muntagirov, happen to be ABT guest principals during the present Met season. Both are fantastic. Muntagirov, in particular, just goes from honor to honor, ever since his early student days in Perm (before the YAGP win). The only question remains: when will ABT invite Smirnova as a guest principal?

#5 Jayne

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 05:52 PM

Honestly I'd rather see ABT develop their own principals from within their American ranks. ABT will never truly become a national company until it can say it develops world class principals. Imagine if the Bolshoi had only 4 Russian principals out of 20? Interesting that ABT promotes its school curriculum when the company cannot honestly show that its curriculum produces the majority of its principals (or even 25% of its principals)

Based on recent reviews, Stella Abrera is on the cusp and other promotions are (or ought to be) in the offing. I'd also love to see ABT invite more guest principals from the American companies: Sarah Van Patten of SFB would be a wonderful start.

#6 Natalia

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 05:29 AM

Sorry for continuing the 'off topic' nature but...Jayne, would the Royal Ballet be of the current quality if it suddenly kicked all non-UK-passport-holders out?


Lauren Cuthbertson headlining every ballet?


Only the POB, Mariinsky, Bolshoi, Cubans and our own NYCB can 'afford' to go the 'homegrown-talent-only' route and, hence, still manage to display homogeneity in their ranks. Other companies -- even big ones like ABT, RB, RDB, German troupes, etc. -- must rely on a Melting Pot of dancers trained 'round the world to maintain a high quality, even if a few corps members come from affiliated schools.



#7 volcanohunter

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 12:38 PM

Posted Image I would choose the Royal Ballet of the 1970s over the Royal Ballet of today in a heartbeat: Lesley Collier, Vergie Derman, Anthony Dowell, Wayne Eagling, Graham Fletcher, Stephen Jeffries, Monica Mason, Merle Park, Jennifer Penney, Marguerite Porter, Lynn Seymour, Antoinette Sibley, David Wall. This is even a debate?

#8 Jayne

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 04:14 PM

The US has a plethora of dancing talent, if ABT is going to be a melting pot of stars, I think it should recruit from more the American companies: SFB, PNB, MCB, Boston, Joffrey and Houston. As for Royal Ballet, if nothing else, I think the uniformity and quality of the corps in the 1970's was far superior, because they were all trained at the same school.

How many Royal Ballet or ABT dancers (not of Russian nationality) have won the benois?

#9 Natalia

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 06:30 AM

Posted Image I would choose the Royal Ballet of the 1970s over the Royal Ballet of today in a heartbeat: Lesley Collier, Vergie Derman, Anthony Dowell, Wayne Eagling, Graham Fletcher, Stephen Jeffries, Monica Mason, Merle Park, Jennifer Penney, Marguerite Porter, Lynn Seymour, Antoinette Sibley, David Wall. This is even a debate?


I'm referring to the Norman Morrice years. You are referring to the great dancers of the 'late De Valois era' (when she still called the shots, even if not a de jure A.D.) which was indeed a great one. The 80s saw Whitten, Brind, Almeida, Jolly Jay, etc. Fiona Chadwick was one of the better potential ballerinas of the Morrice years but somehow did not truly blossom. Things began to improve at the Royal in the late 80s, with the rise of Bussell and Durante, and the hiring of Irek Mukhamedov. I remember the start of the '90s as the reawakening of the company.

#10 volcanohunter

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 07:59 AM

Norman Morrice was director of the Royal Ballet from 1977 to 1986. It was during his tenure that the company started hiring non-Commonwealth dancers, beginning with Alessandra Ferri in 1980. Far from being the architect of a "UK-only" policy, he in fact helped dismantle it. If the standards of the Royal Ballet declined in the 1980s--and most people will agree that they did--it can't be blamed on a Commonwealth-only hiring policy that no longer existed. If anything, you could actually infer that the decline was precipitated by its abandonment.

#11 Mashinka

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 01:07 AM

There was a considerable overlap with the two lists of dancers above and the decline set in after Norman Morris. As for Ferri it must be remembered that a change in EU rules meant that the RB could ne longer employ only UK and Commonwealth dancers as in the past.

The late Alexander Grant gave an interesting insight about how nominees are elected in a talk he gave to an invited audience a some years back. Consequently I don't have much interest any more though the results are always interesting to read re ballet politics.

#12 Marga

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:24 PM

We had a thread in 2006 about the Benois. I contributed to it several times with information I got from a judge (who happened to be my daughter's ballet teacher) who nominated (and fought for) Lucia Lacarra in 2003 (she won). In one of my posts I give the step-by-step judging procedure she explained to me. If you're interested, scroll through the entire 3 pages on the topic and read many pertinent posts. I can't speak as to today's Benois and whether anything has changed since 2006, but knowing the criteria for choosing winners back then is quite elucidating.

http://balletalert.i...rova-sarafanov/

My play-by-play post is #13 in the thread.

In post #22 I wrote about the background of the Prize - interesting to know.

#13 Jane Simpson

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 02:02 AM

A long interview with Nikolai Hubbe, in connection with the Benois awards but also ranging more widely, has appeared on YouTube. It's in English with Rusiian subtitles.



#14 Jayne

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 09:04 PM

Thank you for providing the link, it was very interesting and enlightening.


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