Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Registration Profile Information

  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    dance lover
  • City**
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
  1. "Everybody on the selection panel was impressed by Kevin’s outstanding vision for building on Monica’s achievements over the last 10 years. Kevin has a fantastic track record as a dancer, and understands the importance of nurturing dancers at all levels of the Company. Since his appointment as Administrative Director he has been part of the team that has been instrumental in shaping The Royal Ballet’s future and securing its welfare, but also in breaking new boundaries and reaching out to new audiences. In 2009 he secured the Company’s historic tour to Cuba, which won rave reviews and featured in two TV documentaries both sides of the Atlantic. This year he led the Company’s latest venture, Romeo and Juliet at The O2 Arena bringing The Royal Ballet in touch with a whole new audience. Kevin possesses all the skills needed to become a visionary artistic director of the Company and we all look forward to working with him in the future." This was part of the press release from Lord Hall about Kevin O'Hare's appointment as Director Of the RB & to me it says everything about why they chose him as he clearly interviewed impressively & has big bold plans for the future of the company. It also specifically mentions nurturing the dancers at all levels of the company as well as mentioning the groundbreaking work he has already achieved with the rest of the current team such as the Cuba tour & the O2 R&J's in order to secure new younger audiences away from ROH. He also happens to be a successful product of the RBS & an excellent dancer (saw him many times with SWRB & BRB) & he has danced a huge range of rep & is well placed to programme seasons innovatively. My personal choice for the DoRB was Bruce Sansom, but I can see why the panel opted for O'Hare & he may well turn out to be an inspired choice. Its unlikely he will opt for "more of the same" as he is his own man & has his own tastes & will re-energise the company as he sees fit which should appeal to the naysayers. The important thing is that Mason still has 12 months as Director & audiences won't know what his plans are until March 2012 when the new details are printed & even then as with the OPera it will take a season or 2 for his programming to kick in given how far in advance plans have to be made. No Director past or present operates in isolation & as the press release makes clear he will be part of a team that includes house choreographers & support staff. To describe O'Hare's only abilities as being able to manage a spreadsheet is a gross underestimation of his capacities as he is very obviously an organiser who pushes the boundaries & makes them happen. As for the RB not having a decent Director for 40 years I'd agree Ashton was rubbish & Anthony Dowell let the standard of dancing fall into the abyss (remember when he hired dancers from Central School of BAllet because the RBS grads could barely stand on 1 foot when Merle Park was in charge?). If the RB are staid & in decline I'd hate to think where that leaves companies such as ABT or NYCB who proved to be infinitely poorer than the RB in every department on their recent London tours. As for the dancers themselves a number of them are reaching retirement age (& have spoken publicly of their plans) with the 2012 Olympics many will probably opt to go out on a high & it will be fascinating to see what promotions occur & who returns/ joins from abroad. I'd say that at least 4 of the principal ladies will go & 2 more that I can think of should have their contracts terminated & at least 5 men ranging from Principal to soloist are nearing the end including Acosta & Kobborg should depart before the bravos totally stop as neither receive them for the solos that they used to. Of course each viewer has different ideas about who they think should go... Seat prices: irrelevant to the discussion; Mason & O'Hare don't set them personally, but the 02 is a step in the right direction for taking ballet back to the people at affordable prices.
  2. I first saw Tamara Rojo when she moved from Scottish Ballet to ENB & was a remarkable Juliet opposite Roberto Bolle in the Derek Deane arena version of the ballet R&J & the RB was right to snap her up when her abilities became clear to London audiences. Without doubt I would concur with an earlier poster who said that her best role is the Chosen Maiden in MacMillan's Rite of Spring where her performance is nothing short of thunderous & then heartbreaking. I have also seen her Song of the Earth which is beautiful. In the 3 act MacMillan works her Juliet is an everchanging characterisation (depending on who she is cast with) - she was unlucky at the start of her time being cast with less interesting Romeos who cannot match her dramatic intelligence or committment, but her more recent pairings with Carlos Acosta have been fascinating watching her able to explore this ballets potential. I've always liked her ballroom scene & the way she looks at her Romeo (even if they sometimes don't respond!) & how powerful her act 3 is especially if she is lucky to have a decent actor playing her father. Her Manon has also changed & deepened over the years & I treasure the memory of one particular show where Anthony Dowell did Monsieur GM leading to an explosive 2nd act. Her Mary Vetsera in Mayerling was magnificent earlier this autumn & in previous runs with several other dancers (Cope & Martin Harvey). Plus her Isadora was very powerful & committed & I suspect her Anastasia might have been a knockout if she hadn't had to withdraw from injury. She does have a lovely strong technique & the speed & variety of turns she can do with utter control are great fun. I love her highly arched feet which she has on occasion used almost as a weapon & those deep backbends in R&J have to be seen to be believed. Her technique & physique has been refined over the years (she noticably credits which teachers she works with in her theatre biog) & one thing that has improved is her balances (always good, now breathtakingly risky at times). I'd hazard a guess she's used pilates as her leg & body shape is even better than it was when she first joined the RB & I also like the fact she's not skinny skinny like several of her colleagues as this gives her a lovely softness & womanliness.
  3. Ashton's Cinderella will return to the ROH stage in the spring of 2010 according to the new season brochure. I'm happily anticipating lots of debuts both in the Cinders / Prince roles but also the Fairy Godmother as many of the dancers that used to do this role have moved on.
  4. I saw Monday nights ABT Swan Lake with Veronica Part & Marcel Gomes in the lead roles & was delighted by her performance, her Odile in particular is beautiful & her presentation of the Black Swan pdd was just marvellous & very exciting. I was sitting quite close & she made it all look very easy even though we know its not & ABT are very lucky to have her. Could someone familiar with the US performances inform me as to what other roles she gets cast in at ABT as there was no biog details (or pic) of her in the rubbish programme that was for sale. She must do Aurora surely? The company definitely looked on better form that at the 3 shows I saw at the Sadlers Wells theatre in 2007 with plenty of evidence of technical ability at all levels. Interestingly the epaulement appeared weak - one soloist just didn't seem to know what to do with her arms in her variation & had a certain unintentional 'flappiness' about them. The Coliseum seats about 2800, it was probably 55% full. I moved from the Upper circle down to the Royal circle & there were huge gaps especially at the edges though the stalls were fuller. Not a great economic success for ABT, but nice to see them in London again & hopefully they will return soon with more interesting rep.
  5. Souritz's book is a gem, I've had a copy for about 12 years & its great to dip in & out of or to read in one ago about many ballets that are not likely to be ever seen again.
  6. If a dancer chooses to get a tatt that's up to them as its not the 19th century!! The few dancers that do get them are usually sensible enough to put them in a discreet location which 95% of the time will be covered by a costume, so no big deal there then. Recently I became aware that one of the male Royal Ballet dancers had a tattoo located in the small of his back that was rather attractive looking. A couple of days later he featured in a new ballet with a costume that revealed it to those who knew where to look for it or sat close enough to the stage, but given the nature of the piece it added to his performance in a very subtle way as the bodyart is an extension of his personality as much as the way he chooses to dance.
  7. I'm looking forward to the ABT visit to London in April. It is a shame that Swan Lake makes up the majority of their shows, but traditionally this ballet is usually a sure-fire hit in terms of box office sales no matter what company presents it so the programming does make sense though I'd rather see Le Corsaire. Most companies relaunching their London presence always seem to opt for SL as its so safe (I have a recollection Helgi Tommason brought it with his San Francisco company) as it is often a useful way for London audiences to compare various company styles & strengths (or weaknesses). I saw ABT on their last London visit to the Sadlers Wells when they presented a selection of triple bills & the standard of dancing was erratic to say the least, some very ropey dancing from corps & principals, but some beautiful dancing & obvious talent at all levels, but not much of a 'company ' atmosphere. Here's hoping the Spring season will erase these memories with something better as well as a chance to get a look at some of the star dancers. I'd hesitate to put them in the top 5 of the world's best companies as you'd have to take into consideration the quality of the whole company & not just the top international stars who are probably there as I would imagine the pay cheques are probably good. Part of the issue with the conservative programming in London as a whole lies with the promotors who insist on box-office gold (Swan Lake) instead of ballets that showcase a companies depth. The Hochhausers bring endless Bolshoi & Kirov SLs etc for example as its the cash cow rather than any of the other gems in the treasure chest & sadly the majority of London ballet audiences just lap it up. NYCB fared badly at the box office last year not only because of high ticket prices, but because no-one knew who the company was or if they were any good, some of my ballet loving friends had no idea who NYCB was despite seeing 40-50 dance shows a year in the capital.
  8. I'm reading Persian Fire by Tom Holland about the ancient Persian civilization & will shortly move onto a Modern History of Iran. Why? Well I'm off to Iran on holiday in April!
  9. I think so far only the Australian Ballet have it in their rep. They brought it to London on tour & it got some great reviews & looked fabulous on the massive coliseum stage as the designs gave it a very distinct look from any other production & the dramatic rethink was quite effective. I was a bit disappointed that on their recent tour to London with Les Presages that they didn't bring Swan Lake back for a second look.
  10. My favourite so far was Derek Deane's production for English National Ballet a few years ago, primarily for an effectively gothic second act. I've also seen their current production, but I'm not sure who the producer was. Sir Peter Wright's for the Royal Ballet. David Bintley & Galina Samsova's for Birmingham Royal Ballet (again with a particularly good 2nd act). Alicia Alonso's version for her Cuba company. The Kirov's in a London visit a few years ago -again not sure whose version. The interesting thing about British companies dancing this ballet is always act 2 where most of the designers & producers seem to have very definite ideas about where they want to set their white act. Bintley's set is a ruined abbey & very atmospheric. Deane's was still set in a forest, but the total effects were terrifying as he'd totally rethought the wilis make-up & posture (they closely resembled the original 1841 Paris lithographs) & it worked wonders, in fact its a shame they got rid of it. The production I've seen the most is Peter Wright's for the RB which is perfectly pleasant, but occasionally act one can feel a bit too directed & bland as it needs a very confident performance from the Giselle to keep the dramatic momentum going.
  11. The Trocks & La Bayadere: the possibilities are endless..... I've just checked the Trocks website & Bayadere is not in their rep, but I can imagine what they would be able to bring to it & this ballet is just ripe for reinvention!!
  12. Les Patineurs is an absolute gem of a ballet & I always think that Ashton was at his best making these short ballets rather than full length evening ballets. I've seen at least 3 professional companies tackle it (not always successfully) & a dance school (Rambert I think) who danced it with Ashtonian panache. The steps are often simple in appearance, but deceptively hard for a dancer to perform & make it look easy! It's also a ballet that crops up in a lot of dancer's interviews or biographies as many of it's casts seem to particularly recall dancing in it & they frequently talk about the challenges of the piece, but their enjoyment of it is also evident. It last popped up in London 2 christmases ago with a variety of casts & some dancers were more successful than others in capturing its style & atmosphere, but really its almost dancer-proof because as soon as the curtain rises on those fabulous designs most audiences are captivated.
  13. 2008 in London was definitely hit & miss with some maginficent performances & some utter dross. Hits included: Aki Saito & the Royal Ballet of Flanders in Impressing the Czar & particularly In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated. Stunning. Lauren Cuthbertson of the RB in practically every role that she has danced in 2008 showing that she indeed has something special. Marianela Nunez giving a Swan Lake of extraordinary beauty. Miyako Yoshida of the RB reminding us at the December premier of Nutcracker that no-one else can do that SPF pdd quite like her, she just is the music! Melissa Hamilton for an extraordinary performance in L'Invitation au Voyage & the possibility of another British ballerina emerging. Beatrice Stix-something(?) the 15 year old wunderkind that Christopher Wheeldon brought to London with his Morphoses company. Wow & still at school! I hope that I get to see a lot more of her as she is clearly an exciting talent to watch. Performances of Sleeping Beauty & Manon by English National Ballet demonstrating the quality of their dancers & their beautiful productions, quite a treat. Misses: The Kirov in a Balanchine & Forsythe Bill at the Sadlers Wells. Appalling in the Forsythe with no feel for the style & in fact outclassed by the Flanders company 2 weeks later! The Kirov looked like a provincial Russian company & I've never seen so many people leave at the interval. Valeri Gergeiv for conducting one of the worst accounts of Stravinsky's Apollo score I've ever heard & ruining Igor Zelensky's performance, no wonder Zelensky looked thunderous throughout the piece. Depressing. The extortionate prices charged at the London Coliseum for NYCB keeping many genuine ballet-goers at home. NYCB - disappointing, one hears so much about them & their dancers & somehow it just didn't work out. Sadlers Wells for playing safe with their dance programming & not ensuring quality control on some companies that did appear. Royal Ballet - disappointment that so many injuries at principal level played havoc with the autumn casting.
  14. I also saw the La Bayadere which were the debut performances of Yuhui Choe (a dancer I have admired since she joined the company as she always draws my eye even when among the corps), Sergei Poluni & Hikaru Kobayashi. All 3 were excellent both in their dancing & in the creation of their respective characters & more than justified Monica Mason's faith in them. It would have been nice for them to have a second public performance as I'm sure they would have been even better & would have been more relaxed once the initial debut was successfully completed. Polunin is definitely a talent who is going places fast, there's no question that his technique is superlative even at this early stage in his career. His jumps were massive, but effortlessly so & with such quiet landings. He really is exciting to watch as you know as soon as he steps on stage that he is going to entertain & he delivers. His partnering is the only element that needs more work as there was some hesitation, but with more experience this will hopefully improve quickly as well & will give him more confidence in this area. Yuhui Choe's performance was a revelation, I've always admired her elegant, feminine style & she united this with some very virtuoso sequences that were a delight to behold & there were many moments that indicated that she would be very suited to other full length roles. Apparently she's already learning Odette/Odile & I would like to see her dance Giselle in the not-to-distant future. Hikaru is another dancer I've enjoyed in the past, but wouldn't necessarily have thought she would be suited to Gamzatti. However, I think she surprised everyone with the depth of her characterisation which was well presented & the quality of her dancing in the wedding scene. I hope this means that space will be found for her in more high profile roles though she's got a lot of competition.
  • Create New...