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Royal Ballet in Russia

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Hi, dancingirlmaria. Ari had an article on Links today:

The Royal Ballet's performances in Moscow are reviewed by Raymond Stults in the Moscow Times.

Watching the Royal Ballet perform on the Bolshoi's stage proved a somewhat startling experience, for so much about its performances differed from what one sees done there by the Bolshoi's own company. Arm and hand movements, as well as facial expressions, receive much more care and emphasis. Pantomime scenes are played in a wonderfully natural manner. And overall, the company's style is much warmer, much more down-to-earth and much more closely tied to the world of spoken stage drama than that of the Bolshoi or the Russian ballet tradition in general.
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Well, that's only one review. But I think it's understandable that Russian audiences feel proprietary about Swan Lake and have certain expectations/standards about both productions and dancers. Fans and critics here and elsewhere certainly criticize Russian companies dancing Balanchine, Ashton or Bournonville! :)

If you read the thread on ballet.co, I gather the Moscow fans weren't very happy with the production, either. I think companies have to be careful what they bring. When the Mariinsky brings Balanchine to New York, they often get an earful!

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i had a browse at that ballet.co thread today, because this site was invisible/in transit...the poorly-mechanically-translated stuff (e.g. via babelfish) coming out of russia (moscow specifically, i think) is quite fascinating. an education about assumptions, expectations, cultural differences etc - great fodder for discussions. i was just about to recommend havcing a look over there - but it appears that alexandra has beaten me to it.

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Culture and expectation differences are certainly put to the test when a touring ´forgien' company performs something native to that country. I also read the ballet.co tread- found it hard to make head nor tale of it- due to the translation problems- but the vibe wasn't great from that either.

It's such a shame that the moscow audience don't seem to have taken t the royal, i don't know how many people see them regulaurly (as ballet talk seems to have a primarily US subscribtion) but I think there fab and of course there are good and bad things about the performances and dancers but I' m just :) at how they can't see more of the good things........

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I'd love to- it would be a pleasure ;)

(Please call me maria- what long job typing danciegirlmaria must be.......)

I, admitidly, do see the Royal ballet quite regularly. I try to see at every production at least twice. I always see Johan Kobborg ( :) ) and alina c. and I usually choose a another cast the 2nd time around.

I'm quite glad that RB have gone away for the summer because i'm in denmark for july and aug, and thankfully wount miss anything! :D In fact i'll get to see royal danish ballet twice and NYCB at tivoli.

Edited by danciegirlmaria
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I think some of the postings here sound too dramatic and I can’t agree that, “Moscow audience don’t seem to have taken the Royal…”. All in all, it seems to me the visit was rather successful, and the theatre was mostly full in spite of abnormally high prices. The opening night and the final gala were the most expensive, and I think that seriously discouraged many ballet-goers.

For me personally this visit was of great interest, since the program was mostly unfamiliar to Moscow public.

The only ballet we had a chance to be acquainted with was “Mayerling” (on video). Now I saw it twice – with Kobborg/Galleazzi and Cope/Rojo. Unfortunately Cojokaru, who was to partner Kobborg, was injured and did not come to Moscow. I decided to skip the performance with Irek Mukhamedov, who was specially invited by the Royals for Moscow tour, since I have a tape with him where he is in much better shape. Now at 43 Irek is very heavy, and my heart jumped with fear unison with his jumps in the “Winter Dreams” pdd at the opening night, but he still has stage presence. Kobborg was wonderful, both in acting and dancing, and superb in performing numerous very difficult liftings. Galleazzi danced well, with elegant sharpness, but she lacked the craziness needed for Maria Vetsera. Jonathan Cope seemed to me less convincing, less at ease in partnering his many women, though the final scenes with Tamara Rojo were rather expressive. Though I must confess Rojo didn’t meet all of my expectations ( may be they were too strong :wink: ). There was also a lot of really good dancing demonstrated by other members of the company – Zenaida Yanowsky, Nickolas Tranah, Jaimie Tapper, Jonatan Howels. Our public was rather enthusiastic to see “Mayerling”, since people here do like choreodramas, and the theatre was full. But as far as I could understand from conversations, postings on ballet-forums and reviews in the newspapers they met it with mixed feelings. Giving credit to MacMillan’s talent in creating duets they seemed to be disappointed by the realism of the ballet The ballet-lovers are still very romantic here :) ). For me personally “Mayerling” always seemed to be overcrowded – both with personages and events. I rather prefer R&J and “Manon”, though Macmillan duets are really breathtaking, inventive and emotional.

I also had a chance to see his three small ballets – “The Judas Tree”, “Gloria” and “Songs of the Earth”. I liked the last two of them, especially the “Song…”.

A. Dowell’s “Swan Lake” was very intriguing, and I was rather skeptical about it, fearing that this is the case of “taking charcoal to Manchester”. And – what a surprise – I thought it to be more Petipa-like than the Moscow version, with all the mime preserved and many seemingly authentic details in the swan scenes. Of course the first act looked very funny, even ridiculous, to my eyes, especially in the effort to recreate the atmosphere of the 19th century Russia (why Russia? The story has German origin and the prince is supposed to be called Ziegfrid!).In the performance I attended the main parts were danced by Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta. Their dancing was so wonderful that I just forgot all the funny moments and the fact that Acosta looks neither like Russian nor German prince. In the 3-d act variation he demonstrated unthinkable virtuosity, but never acrobatic tricks, and his Prince was so noble in his movements. In general he was the real hero of this tour! Rojo impressed by the purity of her dance and acting,both reserved and convincing. Still many of Moscow ballet-lovers were very skeptical about her lines, and not only hers. We are a bit spoilt by the long legs and exquisite line of Russian ballerinasJ). But I’d rather prefer steady and pure dancing to beautiful forms.

I haven’t seen Jochida in “Swan Lake”, but everybody said she was not a swan at all. But she was just wonderful in Ashton’s “Ballet Scenes” and in pdd from “La Fille mal gardee” at the gala.

There were several numbers at the gala danced by mixed pairs from the Royal and the Bolshoi. One of our favorites Masha Alexandrova was lucky to dance “Le Corsair” pdd with Acosta. He showed himself as a brilliant partner and again and again as virtuoso dancer. Masha was wonderful in Adagio, but, alas, less precise in the variation and coda. Sadly enough, Ivan Putrov, whom the public liked in “Swan Lake” for his softness, accuracy and romantic looks, showed at the final gala a very unstable, even sloppy Solor – not a best choice for him, I guess.

Now we're looking forward to seeing them in SPb with Guillem& Le Riche in "Marguerite and Armand", Cojokaru&Kobborg in R&J, etc.

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Yes, please! That's the kind of review I love reading -- you got everything in! Who danced, what you saw and thought, how the audience reacted, and why.

It's a very generous season. I'm jealous. In Washington now, we'll only get a company, even a major company, for a week, with one full-length and one triple bill. You had enough to really see the company. "Song of the Earth" is my favorite MacMillan ballet, too. I'm glad they brought a triple bill of MacMillan's ballets instead of JUST his choreodramas. (Thank you for bringing that word back -- we should use it here more.)

It sounds as though you're going to St. Petersburg to see them, and I hope you'l write about if you do. I have great affection for "Marguerite and Armand" -- it was the first ballet I ever saw. It's not a straightforward telling of the story, but a fragmentary retelling; Marguerite is dying, and remembering. I'll be curious to hear how it plays there.

Thank you again! And I'll echo Leigh -- please remember us when the season gets going and help keep us up to date on what's happening there.

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To add a bit more to what I said, it's through reports like this that I can get a sense of what "Russian eyes" see - I know you're not all of Russia in one viewer, Ina, but the taste for "choreodrama" - for instance (I first saw that word in Krassovskaya's biography of Vaganova, along with "dramballet". It's more evocative than "story ballet" in English - it promises something more specific)

I hope all those who see NYCB in St. Petersburg will also report. We'll learn as much from your reactions to a company we know well, but you don't as the other way around.

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