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Rest in Peace
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Everything posted by Alymer

  1. Re; New York City Ballet on the Seine; Millepied seems to be unaware that Balanchine came to Paris to rehearse his own ballets as did Robbins. And there are still people around, at the school in particular, who would have worked, albeit briefly, with Balanchine himself which I don't think Millepied can claim. certainly I remember the young Elisabeth Platel dancing in the Ravel programmes staged in Paris after the Ravel Festival.
  2. You certainly used to be able to fire dancers. After the annual examination, once the public had departed, dancers who had failed to attend class, put on weight, generally failed to come up to the expected standard, appeared before the jury which was asked whether the dancer in question should remain a member of the company or be dismissed. No marking, just yes or no. If the majority voted yes, then the next question was whether it should be at the same rank or a lower. And it's worth bearing in mind that the management, that is to say the artistic director and the ballet staff, have a considerable input into making up the final total of marks which decide whether a dancer should be promoted. Doesn't matter how well he or she performs on the day if they've not worked properly since the last concours the total will be marked down. As to the "occidental" remark; Former Etoile Charles Jude is half Vietnamese, Kadar Belarbi now running the company in Toulouse is Berber and soloists Eric Vu An and Jean Marie Didiere were both dark skinned. Don't know what the company is like now but in the past it wasn't a problem.
  3. Yes, if you start off as a beauty and still exercise most days!
  4. It will be shown on the BBC some time during December it seems.
  5. The first post-war production of Sleeping Beauty for the Sadler's Wells/Royal Ballet was by de Valois and based on the version Sergeyev mounted in 1939. Then in 1968 came Peter Wright's Victorian Gothic production. That was superseded in 1973 with a production by Kenneth MacMillan which wasn't much liked. In 1977 Norman Morrice asked de Valois to mount yet another production with designs by David Walker - this is the one Ashton Fan refers to with Merle Park as Aurora and David Wall as Florimund. In 1994 came Anthony Dowell's production with designs by Maria Bjornsen, which premiered in Washington, Then finally Monica Mason's production which is still being given. Both Ashton and MacMillan contributed choreography to the various productions and the current version has a Garland dance by Christopher Wheeldon. But, as I said, Ashton was never asked to produce the ballet.
  6. I'm curious Ashton Fan as to which productions you refer to. There was one by Kenneth MacMillan which didn't last long, but the Dowell production seemed to be with us for an eternity. Can it be that you are thinking of Peter Wright's Victorian Gothic version? But he (Wright) was never a director of the company at Covent Garden, Ashton sadly was never responsible for a production of Beauty, although I know he would have welcomed the opportunity.
  7. Helene, with the greatest respect, I'd disagree with your last comment. It's all there in the choreography for Aurora, but it's not "underlined" as it is with say, Juliet or Manon and certainly not Swan Lake where the ballerina is essentially playing two different characters.
  8. I do live in London, I've watched her since she joined the company and it's been wonderful seeing her grow and mature into the lovely ballerina she is now. I should add that she's as nice off stage as she is on, and if ABT tries to poach her, war will break out between ABT management and Nela's British fans. Kevin MacKenzie beware!
  9. Amy, I'm referring to Nikya's variation in the Shades scene. The other ballerinas chose to do the standard Soviet version.
  10. Just one point about the Vikharev reconstruction in which I saw several casts; to the very best of my recollection Daria Pavlenko did perform the notated version of the Nikiya variation. The others, and as Amy says the Shades, were all in the familiar Soviet staging as I remember.
  11. According to John Warrack's biography of Tchaikovsky the meaning of the fairy names are: Candite (a kind of Phlox symbolising Beauty in the Language of Flowers); Fleur de Farine a kind of Convolulus (symbolising Grace in the Language of Flowers), Miettes qui Tombe - as Amy says; Canari qui Chante, the gift of Eloquence; Violante, the gift of Energy. The Lilac Fairy brings Wisdom; Warrack says placing a child's cradle under lilacs ensures this, according to Russian custom.
  12. Aeternum is not being given because the set can't be hung in the theatre. It's very spectacular (won an award) but heavy and I believe it was felt that the ballet would not be seen to best effect without it.
  13. Don't think duplication like this has happened for a good many years, not since the company opted for fixed triple bills. Certainly in the early seventies various combinations of one-act works used to be programmed, so that with luck you could opt for an evening which consisted of all your favourites.
  14. Then should the women in the Royal Danish Ballet go back to turning on half point in Bournonville ballets, which they did when I first saw the company?
  15. I first read this in a translation of an article by Feodor Lopukov many, many years ago.
  16. I saw her and thought she was pretty good. A very nice dancer. But to be honest, I find it such an awful, wrong headed production, that it's hard to judge. I suspect that none of the women dancing Kitri would look as good as they might in a better version.
  17. I first saw the POB in the mid seventies. The dancers were technically very strong, but the problem seemed to be that there was a lack of discipline, no strong direction and (perhaps) the general administrator wasn't that interested in dance. Also, there were a great many restrictive practices which made it a very difficult place to work. So the company atrtacted little attention outside France. This changed to some extent when Rolf Lieberman took over direction of the theatre. He was interested in both opera and ballet and was a good friend of Balanchine (Chaconne has its origins in dances which Mr B did for a production of Orpheus given in Hamburg when Lieberman was director there). So a great deal of Balanchine was added to the rep, including several pieces from the Stravinsky Festival which Balanchine rehearsed himself. Likewise a number of ballets from the Ravel Festival came into the rep (Lieberman helped with negotiations with the Ravel Estate I believe). It was also during the Lieberman era that Cunningham created Un Jour ou Deux for the company. A really interesting piece and the dancers were wonderful. Verdy had two difficult years, but did bring MacMillan's Song of the Earth into the repertory. Then came Hightower, who among other things managed to increase the number of performances and I actually heard her say "I'll keep them so busy they won't have time to plot". Things were a great deal less str5essful for the direction (there was one strike and a postponed premiere but that was because the stage was infested with bugs because of real straw bales used as part of the decor for Heinz Spoerli's Fille Mal Gardee). Then in 1983 came Nureyev who found a galaxy of talent at all levels. Claude Bessy took over the direction of the school in 1973 so dancers like Piollet, Pontois, Loudieres, Thesmar, Bonnefous, Guizerix, Denard and Jude, at the top of the company when he took over, were all products of the old school - and wonderful dancers they were. (Platel actually trained at the Paris Conservatoire). My impression is that Nureyev didn't try to influence style but always gave opportunities to young dancers (often despite custom and tradition) and opened up the repertory still more trying to stretch both technique and interpretation. (There's a story about him at the Royal Ballet working furiously to master a sequence of steps. Michael Somes saw him and said "It would be easier and would give the same effect if you did ............................" To which came the reply "How will I improve if I don't set myself something to do that I can't do". It's a long time since I saw POB so I don't know what the company is like now - I've heard ominous reports, But I have no personal knowledge. As to the Royal Ballet, they have some wonderful dancers but the Ashton style "What used to be known as the English style is in fact the Ashton style" as someone wrote, really went when MacMillan took over. The level of the men was with a few exceptions pretty weak, and he was heard to complain that the company danced Petipa like they danced Ashton.
  18. A minor point: it is the general administrator who appoints Etoiles. The director de la danse submits a a list of names which he or she considers worthy of the promotion and the final decision is made by the general administrator. Nor does there have to be a particular number of Etoiles as far as I am aware. I remember a time when there are far fewer than today. As for the Concours, it may be worth bearing in mind that it can also be used as a disciplinary process. The dancer (who may have missed class repeatedly, put on weight, etc.,etc.) performs two variations in front of the jury - no spectators - and the jury is asked whether the dancer should be retained and if so, at the same rank or lower. That certainly used to be the case.
  19. She's not listed as ever having danced the ballet. I think it most probably is Lynne. Other people who danced the May role about that time were Avril Navarre, Rosemary Lindsay and Pauline Clayden.
  20. Ilya, if you still have the ticket I would be willing to pay the face value for it - can't manage £175. I live in central London and would be free to collect and pay for it more or less any time this afternoon. You can email me via ballet alert or text 07962 980952.
  21. My German is pretty poor but as far as I can make out they have used actually the Stepanov notation - and that would certainly be consistent with his other productions.
  22. It's perhaps worth looking at the website of the Berlin Ballet. They premiered a production by Yuri Burlaka which is based on the original Ivanov choreography, using Petipa's libretto and the versions of the original designs. There are several photographs and a Marie (or Clara) clearly dancing on pointe. But obviously one can't tell to what extent they have adapted the production.
  23. If I remember correctly the decor for Kingdom of the Shades in that 1990's version was based on the original Moscow designs. My recollection is that not only were there three or four ramps but the first was very, very, high. Brave girls descending from that height! But the effect was, as Birdsall says, quite stunning.
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