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Ashton Fan

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Everything posted by Ashton Fan

  1. l suppose that I have to begin with the very first ballets that I saw for the simple reason it was a mixed programme danced by Ballet Rambert which made me want to find out more about the art form and expand my knowledge of what ballet was and what it was capable of being. Looking back I count myself extremely lucky that my aunt decided to take me to see a performance given by Ballet Rambert as a birthday present because had the second ballet I saw been my first encounter with the art form I think that I might have been put off ballet for life. My recollection is that the Rambert mixed bill
  2. I think that the real problem with the Ashton repertory is the personal tastes and artistic vision of the artistic directors of the two Royal Ballet companies who decide which ballets we shall be permitted to see each season. If they were doing a good job of programming the full range of his choreographic output by ensuring between them that all of the major ballets were revived on a regular basis and even the minor pieces were given the occasional airing then perhaps other companies might wish to stage more of them. The problem is the programming policies of those two directors ensure that
  3. I am very sorry to hear of McRae's injury and wish him a speedy recovery. Being realistic about his injury it seems unlikely that he will be fulfilling his dancing commitments in the ballets in which he has been cast during the first booking period and this raises the interesting question of who will replace him in his current scheduled performances ? His injury leaves three leading roles to be allocated of which the prince in Sleeping Beauty is probably the most important in terms of career progression because of the place the ballet has in the company's history. Who gets to dance those role
  4. Hallberg is due to partner Osipova in Onegin, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake and I would not be at all surprised to see them in Dances at a Gathering as well. As far as the role of Onegin is concerned I had understood that the Cranko Trust had a far firmer hand when it came to questions of casting the right type of dancers in leading roles than the decision to cast Hallberg in the title role suggests is the case. it is certainly casting against type and it makes the decision to casting Muntagirov as Onegin appear almost uncontroversial. Although I shall be happy to be proved wrong I don't see e
  5. Thinking about Mashinka's comments about how flat Dances at a Gathering seemed when it was revived during the 2007-8 and the 2008-9 seasons I can't help wondering what it was that made those recent performances seem muted and lacking in character when compared with the impact of the company's performances of it during the 1970's ? Of course it could simply be the cast which Robbins selected or perhaps the lapse of time has made those performances of more than forty years ago seem so full of character and emotional depth and that every passing year has enhanced their impact but I don't think th
  6. Dropping a new ballet is unusual to say the least. As the revival of Scarlett's less than satisfactory Swan Lake takes place at roughly the same time as his new work was due to be premiered perhaps the problem is that he does not have enough time to create the new ballet and undertake remedial work on his Swan Lake production. I am not sure that there are that many people in London who will be filled with joy by the announcement that Hallberg is to become a principal guest artist with the company. So far the little we have seen of him in London makes it difficult to see precisely why
  7. You can add to the list performances of Marguerite and Armand which are included in a mixed bill called "Alina at Sadler's Wells" which will be performed at the Wells between the 20th and 23rd February 2020. I find the fact that today this work is said to be the most frequently performed of Ashton's works almost as unsettling and unbelievable as the fact that so few of his works are being programmed. Mr. O'Hare clearly understands the need to perform the company's nineteenth century repertory and to do those works justice in performance but when it comes to the twentieth century repertory
  8. I think that it is quite reasonable to assume that if the Royal Ballet's Artistic Director casts a dancer with considerable name recognition in a role in a ballet when the company is on tour that you are indeed going to see someone who is thought to bring something special to the work they are performing and that dancers whose performances are preserved on DVD are thought by management to deliver exemplary accounts of the roles and works they have been recorded performing. Unfortunately that is not always the case . Other factors seem to come into play when such decisions are made . Seniori
  9. Some interesting comments about a programme which to me looks more like a ragbag of odds and ends devised to display examples of the works of choreographers currently working with the company than a serious attempt to construct a programme of dance works which will display the company's dancers to best advantage.It is not as if the company has no such works in its back catalogue that could be pressed into service but that is almost certainly the problem. The works I am thinking about including Ashton's Thais pas de deux and The Walk to the Paradise Garden would definitely fall into the categ
  10. Luke is Peter Schaufuss' son. I don't recall him being that outstanding when he appeared with Queensland Ballet in his father's staging of La Sylphide a few years back but a lot can happen in a couple of years. Perhaps he has developed since he was last seen in London Ashton himself staged the revival of his Romeo and Juliet for London Festival Ballet in 1985 with the assistance of Niels Bjorn Larsen who had danced the role of Tybalt in Copenhagen in 1955. Larsen brought a film of the ballet to London as the work had not been notated. I believe that Ashton made some changes to the ballet
  11. Who knows the precise basis on which Miss Hayward has found herself featured on the front page of Vogue? Appearing in Cats probably has a great deal to do with it but then if the publicity for the film has the effect of giving her greater name recognition I doubt that Kevin O'Hare will complain about it. i don't expect that he will complain if name recognition translates into more ticket sales and a higher profile for the company's artists and the art form as a whole. Although he talked about Hayward's film appearance as a once in a lifetime opportunity for her and said how much he had enjoy
  12. MacMillan employed a writer called Gillian Freeman to draw up the scenario for Mayerling. I believe that she read everything she could find on the subject of the deaths at Mayerling and the main characters involved. Needless to say she did a great deal of reading . As far as Mitzi Caspar is concerned her actions in the second act suggest that she betrayed Rudolf to Taafe telling him about the Crown Prince's involvement with the Hungarian officers and their political schemes. Whatever you may think of the ballet MacMillan did not set out to create a documentary ballet. As was perhaps inevitabl
  13. As Mashinka has hinted to give "Sissi" a greying wig might have helped the audience but it would have destroyed MacMillan's portrait of her as a woman totally concerned with her image and her personal appearance.
  14. It would be very interesting to know just how much adverse comment Alex Beard, the ROH's Chief Executive, and the Board have received as a result of the failure to record the Fonteyn Gala and make it available to the general public either by streaming it to cinemas or broadcasting it on television. The omission is odd as both the Ashton centenary and Darcey Bussell's retirement were marked by live televised performances from Covent Garden. While the Fonteyn centenary may not have been quite as significant as Ashton's, her career as a dancer was of great importance in the development of the c
  15. I have to say that I agree with you about Stix-Brunell indeed I find her neglect more than a little odd. I assume that she is not dancing Aurora because she is going to appear as the Lilac Fairy with one or more casts in Sleeping Beauty and will be given Prologue Fairies and Florestan's Sister to dance as well. After her fine account of the Young Girl in Two Pigeons with only a single performance in both seasons that it has been revived I should have thought that she was all but guaranteed at least one performance as Swanhilda. She seems more suited to the role to me than Magri who is to appe
  16. It's almost time for the company's leavers, joiners and promotions to be announced. Speculation is rife on other Forums as to who should be promoted. We already know that Sambe has been promoted to Principal from next season as the company seems to have been forced into making an announcement to that effect after he gave an interview to the Times newspaper. It is all very strange as Sambe's interview was almost certainly arranged by some part of the ROH organisation. After successful debuts as Colas and Oberon last season when he was also supposed to make his debut as Albrecht but was pre
  17. I hope that some on this site will find the following information of interest. Opus Arte has announced that in July 2019 it will issue an all regions DVD covering the syllabus for the Enrico Cecchetti Diploma. It is expensive but the DVD contains the best part of four hours of material based on the syllabus for the diploma. The initiative is supported by the current Artistic Directors of the Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet and I understand that the DVD includes a section in which Kevin O'Hare and David Bintley talk about the Cecchetti Method. There is an introduction by Darcey B
  18. Here are some further thoughts on the Gala.The programming decisions of the Royal Ballet management often suggest that they want the local audience to believe that with the exception of a few acknowledged masterpieces such as Symphonic Variations and Scenes de Ballet, which even the most ardent MacMillan enthusiast can't ignore, very little of Ashton's work dating from the time when he was essentially Fonteyn's choreographer is worth reviving The Fonteyn Gala provided the best opportunity that local audiences have had in years to get any idea of the range of Ashton's output during that time. A
  19. The Gala opened with a full performance of the Firebird which pretty much ensured that every member of the company who was not cast in one of the divertissements to be performed during the second part of the and was not absent through injury or illness would be able to say that they had appeared in the Gala marking the centenary of Fonteyn's birth. The corps' understanding of the ballet increases with each performance listed for this revival and the performers of the principal roles gain in the strength and the depth of their characterisation with each performance they give. At this performanc
  20. The casting for the Concerto mixed bill seems to be missing at present. The casting information which I have seen suggests that Mr O'Hare may have decided to let his dancers have a go at Enigma Variations rather than treating it as a ballet which really needs a near perfect cast to enable the audience to experience the ballet as Ashton created it. It is one those Ashton works like Symphonic Variations and Scenes de Ballet where casting really matters and you either field a near perfect cast or you abandon the idea of reviving it. The Royal Ballet's revival at the end of Mason's directorship ha
  21. The full details of the 2019-20 season are now on the ROH website with the exception of a "heritage" programme in the Linbury which was announced in the Friends handbook but has not as yet found its way on to the website. I assume that it will not be added to the website until its contents have been finalised. At present the only indication of the programme's contents is a blurry picture which suggests it may include Dante Sonata. Details of casting for the Autumn season are not, as yet, available on the website but they are due to be added to it this week. The Autumn season is very long and i
  22. I think that the Royal Ballet is old enough as an institution to allow itself to have more than one choreographer's version of Romeo and Juliet and more than one stager's version of Swan Lake available to it. As far as Romeo and Juliet is concerned my second version of Romeo and Juliet would certainly be Ashton's as staged for ENB in the mid 1980's rather the than the edited highlights version in which Osipova and Vassiliev appeared in London a few years ago. I found the work fascinating as it reveals a version almost entirely unaffected by Lavrovsky's balle. The one point at which Lavrovsky i
  23. Of course we shall have to wait until the new production is unveiled to find out what approach Ratmansky has actually taken but I should have thought that, given what he has done with his other productions of nineteenth century ballets, this Giselle will, at the very least, be historically informed but that whatever his approach the iconic Bolshoi high lifts will be retained. In a televised masterclass broadcast on the BBC about forty years ago Markova said that the text at that point in the ballet originally showed Giselle hovering above the ground. Somehow I can't see them being restored.Th
  24. I have to say that I was also under the impression that Ratmansky's production of the Sleeping Beauty for ABT was an attempt to stage the ballet using the earliest notated version of the choreographic text which dates from the early years of the twentieth century and that the fish dives in the third act pas de deux were a concession to audience expectations. If Ratmansky had been engaged in an attempt to stage the "Sleeping Princess" as seen in London in 1921 I should have expected at the very least to have seen not only Bakst inspired designs and the fish dives but Nijinska's choreography u
  25. Although it is unlikely to be the case I should like to think that the delay in announcing the 2019-20 season has been caused by Mr O'Hare realising that he needs to mark Fonteyn's centenary with some carefully planned programmes in the forthcoming season as the anniversary of her birth seemed to have taken him by surprise this season. The gala in May was not announced when details of the current season were published last year and the limited number and the meagre nature of the Fonteyn themed events arranged this season make them feel very much like afterthoughts . I know that the delayed an
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