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Everything posted by beckster

  1. beckster


    I saw the Cojocaru/Kobburg cast on Friday. I'd never seen this ballet before but I honestly think that (in my limited experience) this is the best thing I've seen the Royal Ballet do. The corps were very together, and I loved Cojocaru in this role. The Royal are supposed to be famous for their clean, defined style, but I felt that this was the first time I'd really seen that in action. I was worried because I was so looking forward to seeing this that it might not live up to my expectations but it did, and more!
  2. beckster


    I'm going to see this in ... three hours time! Cojocaru/Kobburg cast. I've never seen this ballet and I have wanted to for ages, so I am very excited!
  3. Well you know, I could only see 50% of the stage, so maybe I didn't get a good impression of the variations because I didn't see the whole thing. It's sometimes very hard to watch a ballet when you're at the same time trying to concentrate on maximising your view! I really didn't like the fairy godmother though.
  4. I went to see this on the spur of the moment yesterday. I went to the saturday matinee and I stood in the lower slips so didn't see everything. I liked Ashton's choreography of the corps fairies - the V-arm positions made it different and interesting. But generally I wasn't that impressed. It was as though it couldn't be sure whether it was a pantomime or a ballet and ended up being poor attempts at either. Jaimie Tapper was in the lead role, and I liked her - she's so pretty and lively! But she injured herself at the end of the second act so they brought Alina Cojocaru on for the third act. I'd like to see Tapper dance another lead role, as I've not seen her before. I didn't like the seasons fairies variations at all, quite boring and formulaic I thought, and the fairy godmother role was just awful and twee. The applause at the end went on for ages though, so other people must have liked it. Maybe because there were lots of children in the audience who enjoyed the panto aspect, or because of Cojocaru stepping in like that. But the most exciting and interesting bit for me was during the second interval when a woman seated near me got shouty with an usher and then with a manager, because she wasn't meant to bring her ice-cream into the auditorium. I agree - roll on Giselle. I'm going next week and I can't wait!
  5. I read Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides not long ago. I really enjoyed it - I thought it was better than the Virgin Suicides. I doubly enjoyed it because of my interest in genetics, but the story of the family was a great read in itself. It is definitely not a kids book, though!
  6. I disliked "Life of Pi". It was very nicely written but I hated the ending so much that I put it back on the shelf in disgust and I will never read it again. I'll say no more in case people haven't read it yet. I am having a charity-shop random read at the moment. I keep buying rubbishy whodunnits and crime thrillers for less than £1, reading them, and then giving them back. I'm waiting for "Lady and the Unicorn" by Tracey Chevalier to come out in paperback. I highly recommend one of her books - "Girl with a Pearl Earring" which has just been made into a film with Colin Firth. I have seen the tapestry this latest book is based upon - it's in the musee de moyen age in Paris - and it's just amazing, so I'm looking forward to her interpretation.
  7. Last night I saw the Royal Ballet perform La Bayadere. Nikiya was performed by Tamara Rojo, Solor by Carlos Acosta, and Gamzatti by Marianela Nunez. I really really enjoyed this ballet. I’ve never seen it before, and parts of it were quite breathtaking. I was sitting right at the back of the amphitheatre as usual (cheapskate). I wish I had made notes at the time, as I’m going to find it hard to remember everything I thought! So, off we go to some weird Indian land where salwar kameez and tutus are worn in equal number. I’ve seen Tamara Rojo before several times, and I do like her. She was very good in this, not just her dancing but also the acting. Her horror when the Brahmin professed his love was perfectly judged. Then everyone went off and Carlos Acosta started dancing. I was sitting in the theatre thinking that I have a bit of a prejudice to him, he seems rather arrogant. But his dancing was just amazing so I’m going to have to let him off. After all, Nureyev wasn’t exactly the nicest person around. He started with some really huge jumps. I don’t know what they were (possibly double cabrioles?) but he just seemed to hang in the air and do the slowest and most emphatic beats I have ever seen. It was quite amazing. Scene 2, and I just LOVED Gamzatti. I much prefer her character to Nikiya. I have never seen Nunez dance a major role before – in fact I’ve never noticed her as a dancer, and because of her name I was expecting her to look more like Rojo. She was very pale and very haughty, and I liked her character and her dancing a lot. Again Rojo made me take notice of her acting – her revulsion at the ayah was very real. Scene 3, they all celebrate that Solor has dumped Nikiya for Gamzatti. Some rather horrible fuchsia gingham tutus here, and some lovely dancing by all three leads. I think it was in this scene that Nunez did a multiple pirouette that made the audience gasp. I don’t know how many it was because I never count, but it was at least four. I liked the contrast between the two female leads, with Rojo doing a lot of adage work and Nunez doing a lot of fancy jumps. At one point Rojo got her scarf wrapped over her face, but fair play to her she carried on and did a pirouette and it came off. If that had been me I would probably have taken out a couple of temple dancers and ended up in the orchestra pit – which explains why she is a professional dancer and I’m not. That and the fact that I’m rubbish. The Kingdom of the shades. Now I had heard good things about this and I was really looking forward to it, and I thought generally it was very good. The corps were very together, but one of the soloists had some very annoying mannerisms which put me off a bit. Again Acosta and Rojo danced beautifully and sent shivers down my spine. Acosta doing quintuple pirouettes and doing more of those huge jumps. Rojo with some lovely sustained balances. I liked the way the corps were at the sides doing steps which reflected the main action. And then it all finishes with a bit of an anticlimax, dancing-wise. Some fairly standard corps de ballet dancing and pdds, thunder and lightening, and Rojo and Acosta reunited in eternity by a long scarf. It had all the hallmarks of a great ballet - weak story, great dancing, everyone dies … I loved it.
  8. I buy tickets when I can afford them, and I pick things I want to see. So that means that I recently bought a ticket for La Bayadere (Royal Ballet), which is on this week, and two tickets for performances after Christmas. I am also trying to organise my friends to go and see Nutcracker! (Matthew Bourne) and if our previous outings have been anything to go by, we will end up booking tickets the day before!
  9. When I go to the ballet I just go in whatever I'm wearing - which is usually jeans, t-shirt and trainers. I don't do it on principle - I just tend to go straight from work and that's what I wear there. I think people look more ridiculous if they are in an evening gown or something. Anyway, people should be there to see the ballet, not to see what other people are wearing.
  10. I'm going on the last night (13th) where I think it will be Nunez, Acosta and Rojo. I am really looking forward to it - especially the kingdom of the shades which my teacher told me all about. I really like a good corps de ballet scene. Incidentally, what is the correct way to pronounce the ballet. Is it "bey-a-dare" or "bye-a-dare" or something else?!
  11. I think it's because of Ballet Alert that ... I started dancing and I'm still dancing now. If I hadn't met people like Xena and skippy in real life, I would never have kept going. And I never would have met them in the first place without this site.
  12. I love story ballets. Going back to the mime/dancing thing, I used to dislike Coppelia because I felt shortchanged by the fact that the main story finishes long before the dancing does. In fact the story is just lame. Then someone explained to me that the "extra" dancing usually adds to the story and the characters, like in Swan lake the variations aren't just for show, but are to represent (for example) that Odile is flirting with the prince. I really like the traditions of ballet, and I think they are best represented by the story ballets. Would you count Apollo as a story ballet? Because I loathed that - I think that was the stylistic dancing rather than the story though.
  13. I think this is a very interesting point. I am finding that the ballets I have enjoyed are those where the dancing is technically very well executed. Musicality is very important to me too. I am not bothered so much about characterisation although I do recognise that a ballet wouldn't be the same without a degree of acting. I would far rather see a corps de ballet who are all exactly together and on the beat, than a Juliet who is acting beautifully but dancing sloppily. I find choreography very important too - so far I have loved the choreography of some things (RB's Swan Lake and Raymonda act iii, ENBs coppelia, Flanders R&J) but found Manon sloppy and Balanchine's Apollo just difficult to watch (stop shuffling!). I suppose I like seeing steps I recognise! I thought maybe I was just weird/wrong but I suppose everyone who goes to the ballet sees things differently and puts a different priority on what they enjoy. I try to remind myself it's ok to think differently to others although at the moment I don't feel I know enough and still feel a bit snubbed when my opinion is different to someone else.
  14. I've spoken about this before on the adult board. For the past four years I've been doing a PhD which required total absorption in my work. After a few months I found it difficult to stop thinking about my work outside of the lab. In addition, I wasn't getting much exercise. Ballet (once I worked out that was what I wanted to do ... the idea came from the enjoyment I got from the few ballet exercises we did when I was a teenager doing rhythmic gym) solved my problems. When non-ballet people ask me why I do it, I say it's like yoga with brains. It requires such a degree of concentration and uses my brain in such a different way to my everyday work, that it is ideal for me. There's no way I can be in a ballet class and be thinking about what happened that day and what I have to do the next day and whether I need to go to the supermarket and when my visa bill will arrive. It is an escape from everyday life in the way that yoga is for some people - I found yoga very difficult because I just couldn't turn off the real life part of my brain. I also love the fact that I can see improvements. I took my first ballet exam and performed in my first show last year, and both were great experiences. I have very little facility for ballet. I have poor ankle flexibility and low arches, my turnout is not great, but who cares! Enjoying myself is the important thing, and working to the best of my ability. I am like Suzanne - I found it very easy to get to the place I wanted to be in my career. Ballet is far more of a challenge! Citibob implied in his post that the only thing standing in the way of adults becoming pro is a lack of drive or priority. I think this is not true. Most twenty-year-old beginners simply don't have the physical capability let alone the training to compete with their peers who are just finishing dance college. Most professional companies wouldn't even consider them because by the time they had undertaken the equivalent amount of training they would be over 30. Our goals are different. Perhaps they are smaller, but they are no less valid. Maybe one day we will be in a school show, or part of an amateur adult company, perhaps we will pass an exam or be given the go-ahead for pointe. We won't be aiming to join the royal ballet company, but our goals are still important. At present I'm not dancing as much as I used to, but I'm seeing a lot more ballet with a greater appreciation of what is involved. I saw Coppelia (ENB) this weekend and loved it - the last time I saw it, a few years before I started ballet, I disliked the lack of decent storyline. Now I appreciate the dancing so much more!
  15. My standard diet at university was pasta and sauce. The sauce is made from economy tinned tomatos, mashed up and cooked with some garlic and dried oregano - total cost per meal less than 50p. The sauce is actually pretty tasty and I still eat it a lot - but now I can afford nice tinned tomatos and add other veg, which probably doubles the price! I could never understand people who lived on Pot Noodles or similar, when making pasta was cheaper, healthier and tasted about a million times nicer. More washing-up though. Oh the squalor of the houses though. The worst one I lived in had slugs, and once I trod on one in bare feet while going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
  16. Is this a widely-held view? I agree with it, but I've only seen a couple of Macmillan ballets. However, based on this, I suspect this may be the reason why I didn't enjoy Manon or R&J as much as I hoped to. Maybe Macmillan is too freestyle for me
  17. Perhaps the shorter score was the reason I preferred the Flanders version of the ballet. I took my ballet-virgin boyfriend, and he enjoyed it and didn't get bored. I think if he'd seen the Royal he would have been bored because of all the padding/extraneous characters, etc. The other thing I felt was that the music fitted better with the choreography. I like most of the Romeo and Juliet music but somehow it didn't fit very well with the Macmillan choreography. Often the dancers were moving through the music rather than on it, and I find that difficult to watch. I imagine this partly accounts for my feeling that the dancers weren't all together - it must be very difficult to dance in time with each other and out of time with the music!
  18. I obviously missed something with this ballet! I really do like the acting of the crowd scenes where so much is going on, but I find that I get distracted by something going on at the sides and miss out on the main action. There was plenty of humour and personality to the cast, that's certainly true. It's just that, when I'm watching more than one person dance I want them to be dancing together, and quite often I didn't feel that there was much communication within the smaller groups of dancers. Ballet is about dancing as well as acting. I wanted to love this ballet as I feel a certain amount of loyalty towards the Royal, but I preferred the Flanders version. I really do feel like I don't watch ballet properly, since my opinions are always so different from everyone else!
  19. I went on Saturday. Having seen a different, shorter, version of the same ballet recently, I was disappointed by this. I thought the dancing was sloppy and the crowd scenes confusing. I felt similarly about Manon, actually, so maybe its a Macmillan choreography thing for me. The virtuosity thing - well, as I say, I wasn't all that impressed by the dancing. Or the acting, actually. I was left with a feeling of anticlimax. The story is meant to be so moving and yet I really wasn't bothered
  20. My primary school was very arts-orientated. Being a Church of England school we did a lot of hymn singing by default. It's quite strange, as an adult, being a strict atheist and evolutionist but knowing all the words to all the hymns. Everyone at primary school played the recorder for at least a few years, and most people were in the choir. We took part in a local music festival every year and performed a musical such as Joseph every year. I started piano lessons when I was 10. We did a lot of art classes and messed round with pottery and so on. But there was little or no dance as far as I remember. I went to secondary school never having had a proper science lesson ... and now I'm a scientist! At secondary school I took up flute. The school had a "peripatetic" system where a different instrument teacher came in every day. So I used to miss half a history class every wednesday to go to my flute lesson. You had to buy your own instrument (unless you played double bass or something!) and payed a minimal charge for a class with two or three other people of a similar standard to you. I was still in choir and playing recorder in a baroque music group. There was still no dance, but the national curriculum meant that we had to take at least one arts subject until we were 16. I did music, but the other options were art, drama and english literature. And there was orchestra too - we made a dreadful racket but it was fun. I kept the flute and recorder up until I was 18 - and I really think it was a useful thing to do, even though I don't play any instruments now. I wish we'd had dance lessons at school - then I wouldn't have had to wait until I was 22 to get hooked!
  21. I'm not very good at reviews I'm afraid. I always want to write something intelligent and insightful and end up saying something like "I didn't like Romeo's hair much". Anyway. Juliet. I liked her, but she hasn't stuck in my mind the way the three men have. She was so tiny, and quite convincing in the part. And she danced very well, there was nothing I can put my finger on, but she didn't make me go "wow". I can't actually remember anything about her that stood out for me. I guess I noticed the choreography more than the dancer - is that weird? I will say that one thing I liked about this version of the ballet was that Juliet wakes up after Romeo takes the poison but before he dies - it makes it more poignant when they realise what's happened.
  22. Please excuse spelling errors! Juliet - Aysem Sunal Romeo - Jeroen Hofmans Mercutio - Alain Honorez Tybalt - Guiseppe Nocera Benvolio - Sanny Kleef Paris - Artur Lill Lady Cap - Ninon Neyt Lord Cap - Gideon Louw Friar - Mark Cortez Nurse - Agalie Vandamme
  23. I saw the Romeo and Juliet in London this weekend, and I actually really liked it. I'm very glad I didn't see "not strictly reubens" which by all accounts did not go down well - people walking out, etc. My ballet teacher said it was a fiasco. But R&J was very good, I thought. Technically difficult and well-executed. Mercutio was great - and he, romeo and benvolio were really brilliant together as well. I took a friend who had never been to the ballet before and he liked it too - possibly because they chopped bits out so there was less time to get bored in!
  24. I was actually glad of the film during the last Divertissement, Surge. I really didn't like this piece, so after a few minutes just watched the film and nothing else. The rest of them, I actually wanted to watch both the dancing and the film, since I am quite new to the ballet audience and don't know much of the repertoire or many of the dancers. They should have put the film on during the intermissions. Then, those of us who were interested could have seen Nureyev without distractions and without lengthening the overall performance time.
  25. I went to see this last night, and wondered if anyone else had been and what they thought. I had very mixed feelings about it and I'd be interested to hear from other people. Perhaps I'm in the wrong forum?
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