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Ashton Fan

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  1. I think that many London ballet goers are waiting with great interest to see which of the talented younger dancers, other than Hayward and Naghdi, are going to pop up in the ballets scheduled in the next booking period such as Les Patineurs and The Two Pigeons. They will provide Kevin with some great opportunities to develop the careers of dancers such as O'Sullivan, Yudes and Sissens. As far as Naghdi and Hayward are concerned I shall be very surprised if Naghdi does not make her debut as Kitri and Hayward hers as the Young Girl in Pigeons.
  2. Amazon UK has announced that a new all Ashton DVD is to be issued in July and is available for pre-order now. The ballets on the disc are Symphonic Variations, The Dream and Yanowsky's farewell performance as a company member in Marguerite and Armand dancing opposite Bolle, the programme which was streamed to cinemas at the end of last season. As far as the performances are concerned the cast for Symphonic is good and that for The Dream looked better in the cinema than it did in the theatre. In the theatre the performance of The Dream did not carry into the auditorium as well as it shoul
  3. For the sake of those who have bought tickets for this new work I sincerely hope that the choreographer of the new Isadora makes a better job of his ballet about Duncan than MacMillan made of his account of the dancer and her life. I also hope that this new ballet does not prompt Lady MacMillan to press for her late husband's "Isadora" to be revived. Duncan's life was extraordinary but even with the assistance of the dramaturge who had worked with MacMillan on creating Mayerling MacMillan did not manage to turn an account of Isadora's life into an effective narrative ballet. It stubbornly rema
  4. While I think that Naghdi is the more classical of the two dancers and possibly the stronger technically Kevin has taken care when casting both Naghdi and Hayward . Hayward's first featured role was the ballerina role in Rhapsody dancing with Hay. back in 2012. Hay is a wonderful dancer with a wide range who is a beautiful classical dancer but likely to be held back by his lack of height. Like McRae and Campbell he needs care taken over who he partners because of his height and they are both ahead of him in the queue to dance with Takada. As Hay and Hayward can dance Ashton idiomatically they
  5. I think that the reason why Naghdi was the only younger dancer to be given the opportunity to make her debut as Odette/Odile in this initial run of the new production is attributable to the prior claims of the more senior female principals rather than a lack of talented dancers capable of taking on the role. I think that many in London expected the ballet to be programmed next season and the "missing" dancers such as Hayward, Kaneko and Magri to make their debuts then. While I don't think that Kevin is right to take such an arm's length approach to the works he commissions he seems to have a
  6. rhys, I don't think that I would take Jann Parry's comments at face value. The Dowell Swan Lake represented a deliberate move on his part to return to the notated text of Swan Lake which is what the company first danced. This meant abandoning all the Ashton choreography which had been created for the Helpmann production. Dowell wanted to retain Ashton's Neapolitan Dance but the choreographer was so upset that he refused his permission for its use and went off in a mega- sulk. The company were not able to reinstate that bit of choreography until after Ashton's death. The thing that was wr
  7. Here is an even more cogent question. If Von Rothbart is such a powerful magician and so clearly part of the royal household why does he have to go through the entire charade of conjuring up Odile and bringing her into the palace in order to seize power? Odile is a necessary character if Von Rothbart has to enter the palace in order to gain power over Siegfried and thwart Odile's hopes of freedom through Siegfried's love for her. But if he is part of the royal entourage he does not need Odile as a means to gain access and close proximity to Siegfried and his mother. He could simply cast a sp
  8. Aurora, You don't appear to have heard of the purges and show trials which took place in the Soviet Union during the 1930's. They did not only affect the political elite they affected people engaged in the arts as well. It is said that Bulgakov only escaped being purged because Stalin admired him as a writer. In general if you failed to follow the party line you were quite likely to be purged. If you were lucky you only lost your job , if you were unlucky you lost your life. What was being suggested was that if people like Messerer and Dolinskaia who staged Swan Lake during the thirties
  9. ENB's Manon is a gamble but then so is Wheeldon's Cinderella. Staging Manon was part of Eagling's plan to extend the range of the company's repertory seen in London and the regions. The Board vetoed his plan to drop the Nureyev Romeo and Juliet and revive Ashton's version in its stead. As far as the Wheeldon Cinderella is concerned , like many other choreographers with Royal Ballet connections he seems to spend more time avoiding anything resembling Ashton's choreography for Cinderella than actually responding to the music. I should like to be proved wrong but I am far from convinced that it w
  10. I should be extremely grateful if someone could explain what a ballet "relevant" to modern audiences actually looks like. Does it simply mean appropriating the title of one of the handful of really well known nineteenth century ballets and then staging whatever you want or is there something more to it ? I will simply say that I saw Khan's Giselle and while others say that they found all sorts of emotional depths in the narrative and the choreography, it did nothing for me. Perhaps the problem is that I am not a true believer in his choreographic style or much of the work of the other choreog
  11. I have to say that while I regret Summerscale's departure from ENB I completely understand her decision. Her husband moved to Munich at the beginning of the current season and their first season there has provided both of them with the opportunity to perform a far wider range of repertory than they could have hoped to dance in four or more seasons at ENB. I can't help wondering whether Cirio's move to ENB is going to provide him with the opportunities he expects. He will certainly get plenty of opportunities to dance but whether or not there are opportunities to be involved in the creation
  12. I have to say that I find the praise for the new Swan Lake incomprehensible and assume that it is a combination of relief that we no longer have to look at the Sonnabend design; relief that the production is no worse then it has proved to be; indifference to the text being danced as long as there is lots and lots of pointe work and an obsession with novelty for its own sake. By the way both Zurich and La Scala have the Ratmansky reconstruction of Swan Lake in their repertory so ABT is not the only company to have a production using the original ending.
  13. In an ideal world Kevin would exercise far more control over the new works and new productions staged by the Royal Ballet. He would have told Scarlett to stick more or less to the original text and at most allowed Scarlett to create his own act 1 waltz although with the current state of the company he should have thought very seriously about reinstating the Ashton pas de douze and he would have promised us that the company would stage the original choreography and the Ashton version of the fourth act at alternate revivals. I would happily settle for either version of the fourth act rather than
  14. We all go to the ballet with different expectations whether or not what we see in performance satisfies us depends on how closely the text and its performance provide what we hope to see. I know plenty of people who really only equate classical ballet with dancers doing pointe work and technical tours de force performed by dancers of both genders, They would happily sacrifice the entire hunting scene in Beauty because to them it is not "real" dancing. It sound as if some audience members were dissatisfied with the reconstruction because they were expecting a grand imperial style ballet and ch
  15. It has been announced that Julio Bocca is to work with the company on this revival as guest repetiteur. My general impression is that the current team tends to favour technique at the expense of the other elements which contribute to the successful revival of a nineteenth century classical ballet. The company's recent Le Corsaire seemed to be treated by many of the dancers appearing in it more as an opportunity to give a display of their technical skills than anything else . I do hope that this does not prove to be the case with this revival.
  16. I have always understood that the controversy about whether or not Marie Petipa was given a solo to dance in the Prologue of the Sleeping Beauty, and whether she was much of a dancer at all, has more to do with the dancers' strike of 1905 and the part she is said to have played in it than anything else. The official view of her written by those who stayed in Russia and experienced both the abortive revolution of 1905 and then went on to live and work through the 1917 revolutions portrays her as the villainess of the dancer's strike and the person who was responsible for Sergei Legat cutting
  17. JMcN Thank you for your comments about Bracewell. I have no doubt that he is an exceptional Romeo and I hope to see him in the role when the ballet is next revived at Covent Garden. There is a marked difference between MacMillan's dramballets and the nineteenth century classics however far "after Petipa" a production of Lac may be. MacMillan's dramatic three act ballets do not expose the dancer's basic classical technique as cruelly and unrelentingly as choreography by Petipa. Ashton and Balanchine does. Romeo is in many ways more a test of the dancer's stamina than his classical techni
  18. Swan Lake cast changes at Bow Street. It has been known for some time that Willian Bracewell will replace McRae at all performances. McRae has been out through injury for much of the season.I saw what is now the Bracewell, Takada cast last night. Bracewell was pretty impressive at what was only his second performance as Siegfried. On last night's showing he has good technique, is a secure unobtrusive partner and does not waste a minute of his time on stage. He actively responds to what he is being told in the mime passages and even makes what can seem merely to be "arm and hand gestures I
  19. #mnacenani, I seem to recall that while the prince claims to be bored by pretty much everything that might excite others in his aria sung at the party which he hosts he proclaims on several occasions "chaque un a son gout" which suggests that he accepts that each one has their own tastes and their own interests. In the current context his assertion suggests that he would accept wholeheartedly that we are none of us equally interested in the same aspects of ballet, its style, its choreographers, an individual company's repertory or held in thrall by the same dancers. It is that lack of
  20. The insight event is well worth watching and it is difficult to resist Liam Scarlett's obvious enthusiasm for Swan Lake as a ballet and the task he has been given to stage the company's new production of it. Whether or not he has succeeded will be a whole lot clearer next Thursday. Scarlett says that he has created new choreography for sections of the first act but makes no mention of the pas de trois in that context; that he has retained the Ivanov choreography of the second act; that he has provided new choreography for the divertissements in the third act but has retained the Ashton Nea
  21. The choreography of the pas de trois provides a fine classical dancer, whether he is established or on his way up, with the opportunity to show what he can do and his performance can on occasion provide the highlight of the evening as far as the male dancing is concerned. In the days when the Royal Ballet definitely had first, second, third and fourth casts and you could say with absolute certainty who would be dancing the secondary roles in a ballet purely on the basis of who was dancing the leads Michael Coleman invariably appeared in the first cast's pas de trois for years. In those days wh
  22. The Royal Ballet has just announced that William Bracewell who transferred from Birmingham Royal Ballet to the Covent Garden company at the beginning of the current season is to dance with Takada in the company's new Swan Lake replacing McRae who is injured. It is sad for McRae to miss out on the opportunity to dance Siegfried in this run of performances but a wonderful opportunity for Bracewell to show the London audience what he can do. Bracewell danced a wide range of roles when he was at BRB and it is interesting to see that management has chosen him rather than Campbell or Hay to dance wi
  23. Marguerite and Armand was created as a star vehicle and far from typical of his output. There are still many who believe that it should have been left undisturbed after its original cast stopped dancing it which is what Ashton wanted Unfortunately it has become the default Ashton ballet of choice at Covent Garden. It means the company can say it is staging Ashton ballets without having to make too much effort to do so. I don't think that is why Iain Webb has staged it. Mr and Mrs Webb take Ashton very seriously indeed. If only one or other of the directors of the Royal Ballet companies took th
  24. As has been said elsewhere when the ENB last revived their MacMillan production of The Sleeping Beauty it looked more like a Royal Ballet production than the performances seen at Covent Garden did. However much has changed in both companies since then, When ENB last revived this production the company had a number of former members of the Royal Ballet on its staff who knew how the work should go. If I recall correctly both David Wall and Alfreda Thorogood were involved in coaching the company's leading dancers. Wall is dead and other members of the artistic team such as Whitten and Gielgud
  25. This educational series covered the development of ballet in Britain in one episode and had another episode devoted to Ballet Today which included sections from MacMillan's Concerto and Ashton's Fille.Thinking about it you could see the series as an extended advertisement for the two Royal Ballet companies. Now my money is on Birdy Last being the dancer cast as Lise. That film really would be worth seeing as there are quite a few people who think that she was the equal of Nerina in the role. Indeed there are those who think that she surpassed Nerina. Perhaps the episode will turn up on the
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