What is happening at Royal Ballet?
Posted 08 October 2001 - 04:14 AM
When Frank Andersen was first appointed Ballet Master in Copenhagen he announced that it would be his policy to build on the young dancers, which immidiately led to a situation where the young talents fleed the company, because they now knew that they could only expect a short career if age was the guiding factor. By dropping older, established stars Stretton likewise sent the message to the young ones he wants to keep, and I suppose Acosta being one of those that RB is not a good career choice for the long run.
Posted 08 October 2001 - 06:54 AM
Sarah Wildor is another matter entirely, I agree.
Posted 21 October 2001 - 03:13 AM
Posted 23 October 2001 - 06:15 AM
There was a similar 'uproar' when Stretton came to the Australian Ballet, only on a lesser scale because the Aus isn't as steeped in tradition as the Royal.
At the time I said that change of director is a natural time for people to move on, for people to get their noses out of joint and all the rest. The same stands here. I think the Royal is safe in Stretton's hands - he did good things for the Aus and they appointed him with the EXPECTATION that he would shake things up.
Give him a chance to DO something before pointing accusing fingers, is my opinion.
(Edit: isN'T not is steeped in tradition..)
[ October 24, 2001: Message edited by: Katharyn ]
Posted 23 October 2001 - 10:54 AM
All this said, we still won't know how Stretton will do until he does it. I'd argue that casting principals in principal roles is not a bad thing, especially if he moves away from the Anybody Who Can Do the Steps Can Do the Role mindset. He shouldn't be judged until the end of the season, when he's not only got a whole season behind him, but the next season's plans are out. But it doesn't hurt to keep an eye on how the canary in the coal mine is doing.
Posted 23 October 2001 - 12:50 PM
Yes it did didn't it. And in that he implied that what happened with Irek was a done deal before he arrived. And when I watched Ballet Boyz second film they talked to Irek then and he said it was his last night of doing Manon forever and he was gone.
Interesting then, the recents reviews of Mukhamedov's dancing in his gala evening. Leaner and still wowing them in London.
Posted 23 October 2001 - 02:52 PM
As for talented dancers leaving, that always leaves room for other maybe even more talented dancers to fill their places.
Posted 24 October 2001 - 03:32 AM
Posted 24 October 2001 - 10:06 AM
One thing I'm sick of hearing (along with "standing classicism on its head!!!" "kicking ballet's butt into the 21st century!!!!) is "My job is to shake the company up." Says who? Have you ever read that about a new opera company director, or a new conductor? If there are shakeups in institutions, it's to get rid of dead wood, or make it clear to people that they actually have to show up at rehearsals themselves, not send a student, etc. It's not to turn the place upside down, bring in one's friends, invite the three choreographers one knows personally to stage the repertory, etc etc That may be fine for newer companies that don't yet have a tradition worth saving, but it's the wrong path for institutions. You can see it coming, like snow building to an avalanche, and when the avalanche finally falls, and the people who made the bad appointments start pointing fingers at each other -- or, as happened in Copenhagen, at the "childish" dancers -- it's very frustrating to watch. It's more than seeing a favorite dancers taken off roles. (And the notion that it's good to get rid of dancers to give others a chance is a perfect way to go if you want to guarantee constant turnover, instability, and the inability of a strong tradition to grow.)
Lara, I agree -- the Mukhamedov comments were one red flag for me, the Wildor ones another. And it's Stress Rotten, not Stressed Rotten, the active rather than the passive form. That's been known for some time, in the States as well as in London. (Apparently the Royal Ballet dancers give everyone a nickname, and often they're not flattering. They aren't picking on Stretton.)
Posted 24 October 2001 - 12:19 PM
Posted 24 October 2001 - 12:29 PM
(Effy, I think the Danish model, with a director in charge of a production, the way a director in the theater is in charge of a production, with the extra responsibility of teaching/coaching the parts step by step, is unique. Or was unique.)
Posted 24 October 2001 - 01:00 PM
The Sarah one was really bad! Saying that he just couldn't understand why she left as she was slated for Onegin was major spin control. I think I wrote a friend that the man comes off rather slimey slick.
But he is getting good press today after last night's opening of Don Q.
Posted 24 October 2001 - 01:34 PM
I'm very glad the opening went well, but if we're looking at the Royal Ballet's tradition, what is that company doing dancing Don Q? (I know it's been in repertory for several years.) That's a Festival Ballet (ENB) ballet. (This is a rhetorical question )
Posted 24 October 2001 - 02:04 PM
I really think we ought to give him a chance.
Posted 24 October 2001 - 02:51 PM
do the handful of companies in ballet's Ivy League -- the Great Classical Institutions.
(LMCTech, if you disagree, fine, please express it, but please do so without accusations or characterizations of other posts or posters.)
In looking at the GCI's (great classical institutions) the departure of a dancer may have an effect on repertory, the introduction of a ballet or ballets may have an effect. These are matters that go far beyond someone's favorite dancer or favorite ballet and must be looked at in historical context. Until recently, there was such an emphasis on choreographers that what was going on backstage, the balletmastering, got overlooked, but it needs to be looked at (I write as someone who, as most of you know, studied the history and politics of one of these companies very closely for the past ten years.)
No artistic director can be fairly judged until a few years after he's retired, but there's nothing untoward about questioning early choices of dancers and repertory, either.
[ 10-24-2001: Message edited by: alexandra ]
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