Concern over Royal Ballet's direction
Posted 04 October 2001 - 09:06 AM
First, Irek Mukhamedov - one of the best-loved dancers at Covent Garden for the past decade - was told his services were no longer required. The director sent an assistant to tell him rather than give him the respect of saying it himself, there was no announcement and Mukhamedov slipped out the back door with hardly a murmur.
Then Sarah Wildor, a genuine home-grown dancer who was renowned as a true Ashtonian ballerina, decided to leave, two weeks after Stretton arrived, to avoid being made more unhappy.
Casting information - which used to be available months befores performances to allow fans to reserve seats for their favourite dancers - is dwindling to almost nothing. Nothing for Onegin, nothing for the Triple Bills and only the two lead roles in Nutcracker, Bayadere and Giselle. No explanation has been given for this.
Apart from the Sugar Plum Fairy's cavalier, only Principals have been cast in leading roles for the forthcoming season (as far as we know) whereas under the previous regimes First Soloists and Soloists frequently danced leading roles which allowed them to gain experience before promotion. Indeed this is how Alina Cojocaru attracted so much attention. In fact the newest Princpal, Zenaida Yanowsky, has not been cast in any leading roles according to the information so far. Sylvie Guillem is so far scheduled to dance Marguerite and Armand only.
I won't even mention the unimaginative programming except to say Nnutcracker and Giselle for the third year in a row.
The cumulative affect of all this is to create a very negative atmosphere for the start of the new directorship. Everyone expects there to be changes but so far they seem only negative ones, and I can'thelp feeling very envious of the people who are lucky enough to have snapped up two great former Royal Ballet stars - Wayne Eagling and Bruce Sansom - who not only were fine dancers but who seemed as considerate of their audiences as they were of their fellow dancers.
Posted 04 October 2001 - 09:28 AM
I hope you, and other followers of the Royal Ballet, will keep us up to date on changes, as well as what you're seeing.
Posted 04 October 2001 - 10:50 AM
Royal feathers ruffled as Stretton settles in
By Valerie Lawson
As autumn blows in to Covent Garden, the Australian newcomer, Ross Stretton, is undergoing the first rite of passage for a new artistic director: attack by the ballet fans and muted warnings by dance writers, such as Allen Robertson in The Times. Their message to the first non-Briton to direct the Royal Ballet is this: "Remember our heritage!"
Posted 05 October 2001 - 02:11 PM
I think this kind of unrest happens every time there is a change of direction in a company. Fans are very fond of certain traditions and hate change. They feel that somehow they should have been consulted because of their loyalty to the company. Alas, it doesn't work like that. The only way fans can make their feelings known is to vote with their pocketbooks and stay away if they are not happy. They can also try to influence the corporations who support the company. There's nothing like money to make a point.
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