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Ashton Fan

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  1. While it was wonderful to see Dante Sonata restored to the company's repertory during his tenure as director I have never understood Bintley's failure to revive more of the ballets which were restored to the stage during Sir Peter's directorship after years of neglect such as The Prospect Before Us which was staged to mark the centenary of De Valois' birth and turned out to be a much better comic ballet than its years of neglect suggested it was. It must have taken a great deal of time and effort to restore it and yet although the company received a SWET award for it, the ballet has, I think,
  2. I think that you have to remember that when Western Europe rediscovered ballet as a significant art form in the early years of the twentieth century the rediscovery was prompted by Diaghilev's Ballet Russes which for the main part presented new works rather than historically significant repertory. The only company in the West which maintained a significant amount of nineteenth century repertory was the Royal Danish Ballet. The POB performed Coppelia but it had last performed Giselle in the late 1860's. The newly kindled interest in ballet in the West was essentially an enthusiasm for new wo
  3. Thank you very much for this. I don't think that the BFI has got the Ballet for All series in its archive which is a shame if the other six parts are of comparable quality to this one . Coppelia has a pretty impressive group of dancers appearing in it from an incredibly young Margaret Barbieri as Franz in the French version of the ballet to Brenda Last and Nicholas Johnson in the leading roles in the Russian version of the work. The dancers involved seem to me to be representative of the Royal Ballet Touring Company at the end of Ashton's directorship. Any footage of Brenda Last is welc
  4. Call a ballet Swan Lake and the tickets for it sell themselves is, I suspect, an almost universal truth. Now while it may be true that there are some people who have not darkened the doors of Covent Garden to see a Royal Ballet performance of Swan Lake since the Dowell production was premiered simply because they loathed the Sonnabend designs their dislike was not reflected in reduced box office receipts. The fact that some regulars have not bought tickets for the Royal Ballet's Lac for the best part of thirty years has simply meant that more tickets have been available to the general public a
  5. Only a few weeks to go before we discover what the Royal Ballet's "reimagined" Swan Lake looks like, It will be interesting to see just how far "after Petipa" it proves to be and how accepting of it the Covent Garden audience will be. It does seem strange to embark on a completely new, possibly exceptionally Petipa-lite, production of an iconic ballet created under Petipa's directorship in the year when we should be marking the bicentenary of Petipa's birth. Perhaps Kevin feels the need to put his mark on the company's nineteenth century repertory by staging new productions. If the production
  6. Hayward was promoted to principal at the end of the 2015-16 season. Naghdi was promoted at the end of last season. Hayward made an extraordinary debut in the Collier role in Rhapsody during the 2014 season with James Hay taking the male lead in the ballet. They danced it beautifully. Hay made his role look like a wonderful piece of choreography by dancing the ballet rather than displaying each of the steps. Hayward also emphasised the flow of the movement and as she can do quick changes of direction as if they are normal and pose no challenges the result was an object lesson in how Ashton 's
  7. Morera has been off sick for a couple of weeks now. I hope that it is nothing serious. While it is truly disappointing that she is unable to dance on opening night Hayward, her replacement, made a very auspicious debut with Watson when the ballet was last scheduled. We will get quite a lot of opportunity to see her with Bonelli as he is scheduled to replace Watson who was due to dance with Hayward later on in the run. Cast changes are an essential part of life's rich pattern as far as ballet going is concerned. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes when illness or injury overturn
  8. The Guardian review is now available but it only covers the Hayward Campbell performance. Perhaps members of the press felt that two debuts within less than twenty four hours was too onerous a burden. Anyway the Guardian report is not behind a paywall nor is the Dancetabs review nor the review in the Telegraph.
  9. The current run of Giselle performances promised London audiences two eagerly awaited debuts with both Hayward and Naghdi dancing the title role for the first time. As it turned out it there were also two unscheduled debuts in the role of Albrecht by Benjamin Ella and Alexander Campbell. Ella, replacing McRae who is injured, made his debut dancing with Takada as his Giselle while on Friday night Campbell, replacing Sambe,made his official debut with Hayward as his Giselle. In fact the Friday night performance was Campbell's and Hayward's third performance of Giselle as they had already danced
  10. Mnacenani, The information given under the heading "Credits" states that it is the Vikharev reconstruction. I can't help wondering not only who is going to stage it but who is going to coach it and what performance style will be adopted? I seem to recall that in her autobiography Tchernichova had some pithy things to say about the pedagogues' shocked disbelief when faced with this reconstruction in 1999. It was to the effect that most of the coaches who had criticised Vikharev's reconstruction for radically departing from Konstantin Sergeyev's "authentic" Sleeping Beauty had criticised
  11. Hayward and Campbell danced at the Friends Open Rehearsal of Giselle. As it is not the done thing to write about such performances in any detail I shall restrict myself to two comments. Much as I like Sambe and believe that he has enormous potential seeing Hayward and Campbell dance together at the rehearsal left me wondering why they had not been cast together initially and feeling very pleased that I have a ticket for their official debut. It would be interesting to know precisely what Kevin's views on partnerships are as he seems simultaneously to believe in them and not believe in t
  12. Perhaps it just feels like it, but with the exception of the MacMillan cash cows,Kevin seems to need to have significant anniversaries to justify reviving major works by dead twentieth century choreographers connected with the company. As far as commemorating Robbins and Nureyev are concerned he does arguably have the beginning of the 2018-19 season in which to redeem himself. He may feel it politic to do so simply because staging a new production of Swan Lake with less of the original choreography than we have become used to seeing, and very little of the Ashton choreography as an alternative
  13. Dear Mashinka, You liked the Markarova production a lot of people I know did not for the reasons I have given. I did not say that the text which Markarova selected was bad simply that it was derived from a different tradition. I agree with you about the designs which were good. As far as the current Sleeping Beauty is concerned I think that the main problems with it are the sluggish speed at which the ballet has been performed in successive seasons, some Auroras concentrating on the Rose Adagio at the expense of the ballet's second and third acts and their role's over all trajectory and t
  14. The short answer is "Too long". In fact Bjornson's designs with overly fussy costumes, a listing palace and the flight of stairs down which Aurora made her entrance just before embarking on the Rose Adagio only "graced" the stage from 1994 until 2003 when Dowell's production was replaced under Stretton's directorship by one staged by Markarova. Unfortunately this production did nothing to endear Stretton to the local audience. He had staged Nureyev's Don Quixote for the company ignoring the fact that its not the sort of ballet which plays to the company's strengths and that de Valois h
  15. There was no real problem with the Dowell production as far as the choeographic text was concerned apart from the fact that Ashton was so upset by the removal of all of his choreography for the ballet that he refused to let Dowell use his Neapolitan Dance. It was Sonnabend's design which people objected to and which led many to stay away from the Royal's performances of the ballet for years. The Neapolitan Dance which had been part of the text of the Royal's Swan Lake since 1952 was only restored after Ashton's death. Unfortunately the bling laden designs remained with us until the very end. I
  16. I am afraid that I can't be much help here.Usually student's performances mean that the amphitheatre is allocated to students and the general public can buy seats elsewhere in the house but that does not seem to be the case for this performance as the entire house seems to have been allocated to students . I have no idea what sort of prices they have set for the students' performance but I suspect that they are very cheap much as the tickets for the Welcome Performances are. Ticket prices for the Welcome Performance seem to be set at between £5-£20. It looks as if the Welcome Performances are
  17. Meunier fan, I was not intending to give a complete account of Ball's career in my earlier post but you are quite right Naghdi and he made a wonderful pairing as Olga and Lensky cast with Osipova as Tatiana and Golding as Onegin. Most inexperienced dancers would have been pleased to hold their own against that sort of cast but their performances were outstandingly effective and affecting .Here are some more basic facts about Ball's career. He joined the company in the 2012/13 season. He was promoted to First Artist in 2015, to Soloist in 2016 and to First Soloist at the end of the 2016-17
  18. Such casting information as the Royal Ballet is prepared to divulge for Swan Lake is now available on the Royal Opera House website. It gives details about who is dancing Odette/Odile and Siegfried and who is conducting each performance. The bulk of the performances are to be conducted by the company's music director Mr Kessels who not only believes that Tchaikovsky was a great composer but that his indications of speed and dynamics should be followed in performance. This gives a strong indication that when he is conducting the various Odette/Odiles will be appearing in the same ballet as the
  19. Mnacenani I am not sure whether your question is who is Matthew Ball or whether it is why is Matthew Ball dancing with Osipova . While I can't tell you with total assurance what was in management's mind when it decided on the casts for this initial run of the Royal Ballet's new Swan Lake I can tell you something about Matthew Ball's career so far. He joined the company in the 2012-13 season and is now a First Soloist. Although management does not favour partnerships he has been cast quite regularly with Yasmine Naghdi the company's newest principal dancer. His first big role was as
  20. The Royal Ballet's new recording of The Sleeping Beauty is now due to be issued on the 2nd February. The performance on this all regions DVD is conducted by Koen Kessels who gave an interview to Gramaphone Magazine in which he made his admiration for Tchaikovsky's ballet scores abundantly clear. The result is that the ballet is danced at a speed much closer to the one at which Petipa expected his choreography to be performed than has been usual in recent years at Covent Garden. The cast is lead by Nunez and Muntagirov . The Prologue Fairies are Choe , Takada, Naghdi, Hinkis and O'Sulliva
  21. As I understand it these events are being arranged and recorded to provide archive material for the Ashton Foundation. I find it interesting that the 2016-17 master classes included the Prince's solo from Sleeping Beauty which is an element in the company's standard text of the ballet when the other pieces of choreography being coached in these master classes are real rarities. But when you see Clarke being coached in the solo you realize how much essential detail has been lost and how necessary it was to record the solo being coached by the first man to dance it. I am fortunate enough t
  22. I got a little ahead of myself the masterclass with Bracewell and O' Sullivan in Rossignol was held in November last year and has not yet been put on the site. The following masterclasses are on the site;- 1) Prince Florimund's act 2 solo. Reece Calrke coached by Anthony Dowell on whom it was created. 2) The Dance of the Blessed Spirits. Vadim Muntagirov coached by Anthony Dowell on whom it was created 3) Walk to the Paradise Garden. Meaghan Grace Hinkis and Ryoichi Hirano coached by Merle Park one of the dancers on whom the ballet was created.The others were the late David
  23. The Frederick Ashton Foundation has been holding a series of masterclasses in which members of the Royal Ballet are coached in extracts from some of Ashton's lesser known choreography such as The Dance of the Blessed Spirits ; an extract from the choreography created for the staging of La Rossignol; a section of the Raymonda Pas de Deux and The Walk to the Paradise Garden. The coaches include Anthony Dowell, Donald MacLeary and Merle Park. The masterclasses were filmed and are now available on the foundation's website under the heading "News and Events", The dancers being coached include
  24. As far as MacMillan ballets like Manon and Mayerling are concerned I think that you might have some difficulty sweeping them from the stage. They seem to be very popular with the dancers and are often cited by them as the reason they choose to join the RB. I think that for the performer the pleasure lies in what Yanowsky describes as the space between the choreography and the character which enables the dancers to give their own individual interpretation of the characters they are playing. As for the younger dancers they are said to crowd the wings at Covent Garden to watch the final scene of
  25. The Paul Taylor version sounds interesting. I wonder how effective it was thought to be by those who were familiar with the Fokine original ? Did it jar or was it simply accepted as an interesting use of a great score ? A rethink or re-imagining of the narrative is not quite what I am hoping for at present, least of all one devised by Peter Sellars. I recently saw his production of Purcell's The Indian Queen which was a re-imagining with a spoken text which must have been added in the mistaken belief that it would make the piece more relevant and accessible. The problem with this idea was tha
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