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variated

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Everything posted by variated

  1. Nunez is lovely but I would say that the real classicist of the current RB is Akane Takada
  2. She was in London at Sadler's Wells watching San Francisco ballet the other night
  3. I'm definitely not a Macmillan fan. I ceased booking for Manon and Mayerling years ago and thought the Anastasia revival a shockingly pointless waste of time and money, but I do think his Romeo and Juliet is the most dramatically effective around. Osipova, a couple of weeks ago, really brought it to life (after some perfectly competent but too "nicely polite and English" performances by various other casts). Remember that the Royal doesn't have nearly as many dancers as the Bolshoi and only one full-size venue so, given ever tightening budgets, I don't see investment in another R&J as a priority. Also I am unconvinced that there is anything better out there. I don't think much of the over-fussy Nureyev version and, even allowing for the "understaging" of Schaufuss's revival with Osipova and Vasiliev, what remained of the choreography did not seem to me hugely inspiring. I'm a bit torn on which Ashton I think the Royal should preserve. I think he is very tricky for modern audiences, because although the choreography at times is breathtaking - I wouldn't be without Rhapsody, Symphonic Variations or Monotones - the sensibilities of many of his ballets are extremely dated. For me, Two Pigeons, Sylvia and Patineurs are like watching 1950s Shakespeare, with everyone doing terribly terribly BBC accents and Olivier blacking up for Othello. Wouldn't fly at the RSC or National Theatre and I don't see why the RB should be any different (other than ballet's innate conservatism and ageing audiences). Sylvia can just about rise above it by being camp as Christmas and Les Patineurs is now performed with tongue firmly in cheek, but I find that Two Pigeons just swings between unbearably twee sexism and cack-handed racial stereotypes.
  4. Thanks so much pherank - lots to think about there!
  5. Thanks again pherank - yes I suspect I may fall into the more tickets “trap” if tomorrow is good. Can you tell me a bit more about any of the ballets in Program D please? I must admit I was not very inspired by the programming other than Ratmansky - I have only seen one David Dawson work (the Human seasons done by the Royal Ballet and poorly reviewed after which his stager had a hissy fit) which I didn’t think much of, might be tempted by a Wheeldon if it’s abstract and has good music but know nothing about McIntyre. As for the other programmes Welch/Scarlett/Peck is a no for me (my personal rule on triple bills is I need to have some interest in at least 2 and the Peck is the only one that would arouse any curiosity here). I did wonder about the Marston or Pita in Programme B though.
  6. Thanks Josette! Will invest in a Wednesday ticket. Pherank, I think it was the 2001 tour I saw as it was definitely at the ROH. Must have missed the 2013 visit. Excited to see them tomorrow!
  7. Am suddenly free on Wednesday and Thursday and able to get to one or both of the Shostakovich shows. As I haven't seen SFB since they were last in London (seems like it was a couple of decades ago at the Royal Opera House where they were doing some random jogging on the spot to Christmas music in green leotards - either that or I was enjoying the end of the rave period too much) do any seasoned company watchers have advice on whether the Wednesday or Thursday cast is "the one to see"? Many thanks in advance!
  8. The Makarova production reverses the order of the second and third variations from the Russian productions
  9. She could well have standing to sue the institution if its policy, practice and working environment left students vulnerable to mistreatment by their professors. It is for precisely that reason that colleges have policies governing relationships between staff and students (either banning them outright or requiring that any such relationship be declared and the staff member involved be reclused from having any say in the student's results etc.)
  10. An exacerbating factor at NYCB when it comes to cultural change, is that the vast majority of dancers (and many staff), coming from SAB, have never worked anywhere else and have no basis for comparison to determine whether the working culture within the company is "healthy". People can accept the strangest practices as "normal" when they have never known anything different.
  11. This is not always the case. Many of the music abuse cases of the past few years, whether by 'top' teachers at conservatories or by powerful/permanently employed figures in orchestras exploiting deps/casual players, were found to be linked to the aura of mysticism attributed to teachers/performers in the arts space, the dangerous idea of "genius" that exempts people from the usual rules of decent behaviour and the very subjective measurement of artistic merit. Couple that with a massive oversupply of candidates for every job and you have a dangerous imbalance of power. Arguably this is even worse in the US and Russia than it is in Western Europe, because the lack of state funding adds reliance upon wealthy donors into the mix, which carries very dangerous historical resonances, particularly in ballet.
  12. What is vile is arguing/strongly implying that art is more important than humans. It doesn't matter how much "cultural good" an institution does if it facilitates or allows abuse. I'm not saying that is what the company has done here, but that is the argument. It has been very much rehearsed in the context of the various abuse scandals, for example in music schools and conservatories in Europe. Even those of us who love and work in music, ballet or other art forms can believe that artistic or creative excellence doesn't give any person or institution a licence to abuse others.
  13. I agree Sappho. No one is covering themselves in very much glory in response to all this.
  14. They would likely be made subject to protective (i.e. limited to counsel, judge, court clerk etc.) discovery. I don't think any decent person who doesn't need to see them should have any interest in doing so. It may be that, if the respondent does not dispute their existence, there will be no need to disclose them at all.
  15. I think we should accept that it is a matter of fact that these messages were sent. If that were not the case, the company and the named individuals would be shouting from the rooftops that she is a liar. That being the case, any dancer, other employee, donor or other individual who did not ask to be taken out of the discussion when they received the pictures has violated this young lady. And those who responded by asking for more pictures or sending pictures of their own behaved in a thoroughly egregious manner.
  16. NY has far more than its fair share of the young monied and the middle-aged-pretending-to-be-young monied. The measures the company has already taken that Balanchinefan refers too sound good on paper but, in my experience, “listening tours” are irrelevant where company members understand the real unspoken power dynamics at play and the career limitations which will almost certainly follow for anyone who rocks the boat. There seems no doubt (in the absence of denials from everyone) that these conversations occurred and that pictures were shared not just of a young student but also of company dancers without their consent. And the company response has been a bloodless legalistic expression of the limitations of their responsibility. If I were Ashley Bouder right now, a principal dancer who has nothing to fear in career terms from sticking her neck out and who has gained considerable praise for her public feminist stance, I would feel absolutely morally obliged to call out the company on this and to demand a safe and private space with independent listeners (who may not disclose anything said to company management) to let any dancer in the company know if pictures of them formed any part of these disgusting exchanges and to let them know which of their colleagues was party to such exchanges. She (and other principals - male or female - who could easily get work elsewhere) owe it to the junior dancers who have much to lose by “making a fuss”. And that should just be the start of the overhauling of systems. This is an institution rotten to the core.
  17. The continued playing by the attendants is Scarlett. In previous productions with the Ashton dance the attendants caught the tambourines and walked straight off stage.
  18. variated

    Steven McRae

    I think that, amongst some RB fans, there is still an element of sniffiness about 'colonial upstarts' and 'pushy Australians' that has worked against McRae. I'm a reasonably regular attendee and he has grown on me over the years - the amazing technique was unquestionably there from the start but his initial 'tits and teeth' approach to all roles has softened to include some decent acting of late. I would always be happy to see him in bravura roles like Don Q or Fille. However, I do find his incessant use of social media, including some pretty obvious brand promotion and the constant inclusion of his very young children to be a little unwise and offputting. But he's far from the only dancer letting us watch as he admires his body in the mirror each morning.....
  19. I would say that Osipova’s roles are “never knowingly under acted”. In high camp ballets like Sylvia that is an absolute treat.
  20. I wouldn't say that Song of the Earth is in much danger - it gets danced every few years and is in the repertoire of other companies also. Nor is the Royal the only, or even the primary, keeper of the Diaghilev legacy in the same way that they are the primary 'guardians' of the Ashton/Macmillan works - one might easily argue that the the Russian companies are better protectors and preservers of ballets like Les Noces. Having come to ballet watching as an adult a mere 20 or 25 years ago, I have had years of listening to people bemoan lost 'masterpieces' which, when they were finally revived, I didn't think were anything of the sort. I believe there is such a thing as "justly neglected" work. If Ashton had made another piece as good as Fille it would never have left the repertoire for long and other companies would have clamoured for the rights. It is the same with classical music (in which I have a professional interest) - people are always trying to push the "overlooked" composer who would/should have been greater than Beethoven - usually it is no more than an attempt by that person to demonstrate that they have more refined sensibilities and sharper insight than the average person. Edited to add: Which isn't to say I don't have any issues with the directorship at the RB - I think some commissioning and casting decisions need a serious look from an ethical perspective, especially with regard to casually misogynistic choreography and lazy racial sterereotyping (I don't think there is a dark-skinned dancer in the company who hasn't danced the caterpillar in Alice). However, I think accusations of jettisoning the heritage are misplaced.
  21. I agree with Mashinka. O'Hare (and Mason before him) have never failed to programme at least one of Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and Giselle each season. Sometimes more than one of those and usually Nutcracker also. Other 'warhorses' like Don Quixote and Bayadere, with their requirements for classical technique also crop up from time to time. So while there is room for debate over whether the balance between the MacMillan and Ashton full lengths should be better managed or whether we need to see quite so much of the Wheeldon full-lengths, I think it very unfair to accuse O'Hare of having "only limited interest in the great works in the company's back catalogue". Indeed, there are some who would argue that his recent revivals of works that the "regulars" have been agitating about for decades, such as Two Pigeons, The Invitation and Anastasia have been less artistically successful than many of the new commissions.
  22. Well Osipova's debut was quite the evening. First I should say that she is one of my favourite dancers to watch, but I'm not sure that this was her very finest hour. Of course the jumps on the first entrance were amazing and her technique in the difficult solos entirely secure, but the combination of a very silly high camp ballet and Osipova's customary very fast, very dramatic style made for some amusing moments. The diva-ish draping over Orion's shoulder as he carried her off to his island was what the kids would call 'iconic'. The partnering wasn't great - Bonelli was not having his best night either and the descent from the "torch lift" at the start of the pas de deux was pretty rocky. And Osipova doesn't (yet) have quite the Ashtonian bend and upper body style that Nunez manages. But I would happily watch Osipova wait at a bus stop and if you are up for an evening of the very highest drama, I would highly recommend her Sylvia and advise that you sit close enough to fully appreciate her range of facial expressions. Supremely entertaining!
  23. How are you “vindicated” by an interview that says he used the whole score but for “fragments”?
  24. That was written by the same critic as the Mayerling piece. She seems to be singularly unlucky in her neighbours every time she attends an RB performance. I agree with you that describing the audience response to a ballet is an interesting and relevant thing for critics to do. But writing about people's appearance and non-performance related conversations and making assumptions about their lives based on those is a little different.
  25. Of course the reviewer's own 'angle' will always be present, in some cases more strongly than others, but I think the balance is tipping so far in many cases that the actual discussion of the performance does nothing more than rehash the 'plot' (where the ballet is narrative), describe the costumes and set (for abstract ballets) and name some dancers. The balance would have been otherwise in the days of Croce.
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