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Royal Ballet Giselle


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Thank you...the photos I've seen of them are truly beautiful. I was concerned about his height but his lack of it certainly did not hamper him.  He appears to be about Baryshnikov's height.  I met him about 5 years ago on his visit to NYC and have been following him avidly.

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Hayward and Campbell danced at the Friends Open Rehearsal of Giselle. As it is not the done thing to write about such performances in any detail I shall restrict myself to two comments. Much as I like Sambe and believe that he has enormous potential seeing Hayward and Campbell dance together at the rehearsal left me wondering why they had not been cast together initially and feeling very pleased that I have  a ticket for their official debut. 

It would be interesting to know precisely what Kevin's views on partnerships are as he seems simultaneously to believe in them and not believe in them depending on the dancers concerned. Casting rarely seems to follow any obvious logic such as always pairing inexperienced dancers making their debut in major classical roles with an experienced partner as Naghdi and Ball, up until now, have generally been cast together in joint debuts with no one worrying about their shared lack of experience. I understand the need for dancers to be flexible and capable of dancing with a wide range of colleagues but I don't see the logic in not allowing other dancers to achieve a similar level of familiarity and trust with each other comparable with that currently enjoyed by them. Dancing with someone whom you trust implicitly gives far greater scope for full out "risk taking "  dancing  and artistry than dancing with someone whom you are not entirely sure about and you are learning to trust does.  


In case anyone feels the need to correct what I have written here in the light of the casting announced for the company's new Swan Lake I have noticed that  Ball is due to dance with Osipova and Clarke is dancing with Cuthbertson.


Edited by Ashton Fan
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I love watching two debutants together as their shared inexperience produces a freshness only achieved by dancers both discovering the role for the first time.  One of the most moving performances of Romeo & Juliet I ever saw was Lesley Collier and Wayne Eagling making a double debut

Chopping and changing partners is a sensible and pragmatic thing to do, the RB has a long roll call of injured dancers at this very moment and the more partners a dancer has shared performances with the easier it is to cope when last minute changes of cast occur.

Marcelino Sambé is the only out and out virtuoso among the RB's younger male dancers and the recent acquisition from troubled ENB, Cesar Corrales, suggests Mr O'Hare is aware of this talent gap and requires another technical whizz in addition to Sambé .  In seasons to come these two will invigorate the company and my well prove the major audience draw in the way Acosta and Nureyev were.


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I saw last night's performance with Hayward/Campbell and this afternoon's with Naghdi/Ball.

I found the performance of both leading couples overwhelming.  Not only glorious dancing but they all inhabited the roles and gave them an emotional depth that had me reduced to sobbing out loud.

I think the RB has found 2 exceptional partnerships - let's hope these partnerships are nurtured and allowed to grow...


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The current run of Giselle performances promised London audiences two eagerly awaited debuts with both Hayward and Naghdi dancing the title role for the first time. As it turned out it there were also  two unscheduled debuts in the role of Albrecht by Benjamin Ella and Alexander Campbell. Ella, replacing McRae who is injured, made his debut dancing with Takada as his Giselle while on Friday night Campbell, replacing Sambe,made his official debut with Hayward as his Giselle. In fact the Friday night performance was Campbell's and Hayward's third performance of Giselle as they had already danced the ballet at the Friends Open Rehearsal and at the Taylor Family performance for school children. On Saturday afternoon Naghdi and Ball made their scheduled debuts in the leading roles of Giselle and Albrecht.

Debuts in major roles like Giselle are always of interest but two important debuts within twenty four hours is unusual at Covent Garden. There is a very positive review in the Daily Telegraph of the Friday night performance by Hayward and Campbell and a less enthusiastic one in DanceTabs by Jann Parry of the performance which the same cast gave at the Taylor Family matinee for school children. She seems to have problems with Campbell's Albrecht who is not sufficiently blue blooded and noble for her tastes. He is on the short side and looks more like a demi-character dancer than a nobleman but as he gave a masterclass in unobtrusive partnering in act 2 I have no complaints. I wonder what her response would have been if the originally announced Sambe had danced the role as he is also short and on the stocky side.


As far as press coverage is concerned I suspect that most of the papers which still cover ballet will publish their reviews early next week and report on  both the performance given by Hayward and Campbell and that given by Naghdi and Ball. Although whether or not they will be given much column space is another question.



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The Guardian review is now available but it only covers the Hayward Campbell performance. Perhaps members of the press felt that two debuts within less than twenty four hours was too onerous a burden. Anyway the Guardian report is not behind a paywall nor is the Dancetabs review nor the review in the Telegraph.

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