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

Melissa Hamilton

Recommended Posts

Royal Ballet first soloist Melissa Hamilton, who has been working at the Semperoper Ballett as a guest principal this season, will be moving to the Dresden company permanently next season.




Link to comment

Melissa Hamilton's presence at Dresden during the 2016-2017 season is apparently with the permission of the Royal Ballet's Artistic Director which raises the question of how permanent the permanent contract will be? It will be interesting to see what happens at the end of next season. The move to Dresden for the 2015-2016 season was a very sensible move by Hamilton as apart from Romeo and Juliet and Sugar Plum Fairy there was not necessarily going to be a great deal for her in the Royal Ballet's choice of repertory this season. She is not an obvious Ashton dancer, there was no guarantee that she would get a chance to dance Giselle and she has not been used much by either Wheeldon or Scarlett in the past,

It will be fascinating to see what promotions are made at the end of this season and what action O'Hare takes to develop his younger dancers in the 2016-2017 season through choice of repertory and casting decisions. He managed to give several young dancers opportunities in Two Pigeons but only principal dancers have been cast as Giselle this season which is a great pity. Whatever decisions Melissa Hamilton makes in the future about her career the decision to go to Dresden has given her performances and the opportunity to widen her repertoire.She would not have got the opportunity to dance something comparable to La Bayadere if she had remained in London this season. At Covent Garden management still does not seem to have got the balance right between giving the principals' their dues and developing the next generation.

Link to comment

Surely she's not an indentured servant of the Royal Ballet. I hope the "permission" is just a way for the Semperoper to reassure the ROH that it didn't set out to poach one of its employees. although O'Hare and co. must have realized that if Hamilton's opportunities in Dresden were far greater, she would have little reason to return.

Link to comment

As I understand it Hamilton has been given leave of absence for another season. There has been no announcement that she has left the Royal Ballet which is why I said it will be interesting to see how permanent her permanent contract at Dresden turns out to be. As I said there were poor pickings for her in London this season.

Hamilton needs greater performance experience than she would have been likely to get at Covent Garden even if this season's repertory had been more suited to her. She is very good in the MacMillan repertory but has surprising weaknesses which reveal themselves when she dances the nineteenth century repertory. I am sure that she knows that she needs to sort the weaknesses out if she wants to get to the very top. The story of how she got her training shows how determined she is to attain her goals.It will be interesting to see how she gets on with La Bayadere at Dresden.

The problem for the up and coming dancer at Covent Garden is that management works on the basis that nearly every female principal will give us her Manon, her Odette Odile and her Juliet, As each of them usually get three performances of these lead roles it leaves little opportunity for the First Soloists and more junior dancers to get a shot at any of those roles. It looked as if management was addressing this problem this season when Hayward and Naghdi were given Juliet and Ball was given Romeo. and some junior dancers like Stix- Brunell, Magri , Hay and Ball were given roles in Pigeons. However the current revival of Giselle has not seen any of the promising younger dancers given an opportunity to dance Giselle or Albrecht and the rest of the season seems to offer few opportunities for them. Kevin O'Hare has the good fortune to have a company full of talent but he needs to select repertory which will develop his young dancers and then actually cast them. The company's use of Salenko as guest artist suggests that O'Hare's priorities are not as focussed on developing his company as they should be. It is not as if there are no talented dancers within the company who could dance with McRae and should have done so in Pigeons and several other ballets in which she has appeared with him.

It will be very interesting to see which ballets are selected .for performance next season and even more interesting to see who actually gets to dance in them. The end of season promotions should give a strong indication of the direction the company is going to take. There are three principal positions vacant at present. I can think of dancers who might be in the running for those positions but I am not convinced that O'Hare will necessarily make any appointments at that level this season. I am sure that dancers like Ball, Clarke, Naghdi Stix-Brunell, Heap and O'Sullivan will be promoted.

Link to comment

I thought Salenko was brought in as a good height match for Stephen McRae? Is she a big ticket seller? I don't think of her on the same "star" scale as some of the other invited guests.

It's a shame that RB no longer has a touring company, which is the perfect place to develop soloists.

Link to comment

It is not as if the company is short of petite dancers. Marquez danced with McRae in Fille and they were very good together. Marquez has now left but there are plenty of other dancers who are the right height for him Choe, Takada, Hayward, Naghdi, Magri and Katsura and O'Sullivan spring to mind. Some of these are very junior dancers but they are all very talented. At some point management needs to give them the chance to show what they can do. As the company does not generally seem to favour partnerships except for Nunez and Soares the indulgence of McRae's wishes seems all the more peculiar. Bringing in guest dancers can be justified if there is a shortage of talent in a company but when a company is brimming over with talent it can only be justified if the guest brings something really special to his or her performances. I am not sure that Salenko's presence can be justified on that basis.

I think that people who book for McRae Salenko performances do so to see McRae rather than to see Salenko. She is good technically but her characterisation of different roles is of the one size fits all variety. She danced in Two Pigeons before Christmas and her Young Girl was a generic girl which would have done equally well for Swanhilde .She was not sufficiently irritating and her descent into misery was totally unconvincing. She danced with McRae in Tchaikovsky pas de Deux before Christmas and I thought that both of them over emphasised the technical display and underplayed the wit in the choreography. Unless the company is going to develop partnerships I would rather see McRae dance with a similar range of partners to those of the majority of other principal dancers. ..

Link to comment

Thanks, Mme H! My, that's pretty tall for a ballerina. I wouldn't have guessed...she appears so delicate!

Actually, these days, that is pretty short for a ballerina. The best principal dancers in the world today are much taller: 5'7" all the way to 5'10" -- Ekaterina Kondaurova may even be taller -- and, of course, many of the men are taller. Tall looks better on stage.

Link to comment

 It would seem that Hamilton is now back with the RB as her contract with Dresden was short term rather than permanent.It will be interesting to see what Hamilton is given to dance in the first part of the season as the ballet repertory for first booking period consists of Alice,Sylvia,Nutcracker, a mixed bill including a new piece by Twyla Tharp and a sort of national MacMillanfest involving other companies as well as the RB performing a range of his choreography. We should know in a few weeks what the casting looks like. I think that she is likely to be cast in the tall girl role in Elite Syncopations, given something in the mixed bill, possibly the Queen of Hearts and one of the goddesses who appear in the last act of Sylvia.


Hamilton is a fascinating dancer in the right role but in the past there have been occasions when the fact that she was a latecomer to classical ballet training has been all too obvious.In a role like the Queen of the Dryads her performance would be a mixture of movements of creamy beauty and control and within a few bars of music she would be struggling for technical mastery of the trickier elements of the choreography. As she appears to be a woman of steely determination I imagine that she will have used  her time in Dresden to work on developing her technique and stagecraft but unless her technique has improved a great deal I don't think that she will be cast as Sylvia. . 



I know that RB performances can hardly be described as accessible in North America but if any of you do get an opportunity to see the RB performance of Jewels it will be interesting to hear what you think of it. While the cast involved in the streamed performance were the first cast to dance it during the course of the run the quality of the later casts was so high that it seems unfair to describe them as second and third casts with all that seems to imply about the quality of their performances. Tierney Heap appeared in the same role as Hamilton in the second cast and to my mind she brought considerably more to it.

Edited by Ashton Fan
Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...