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Royal Ballet 2018-19 season

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On 11/29/2018 at 12:14 PM, Ashton Fan said:

One of the newspaper critics who is clearly not a fan of classical choreography  gave Unknown Soldier a fairly positive review and simply dismissed Symphony in C as a " tutu ballet " saying nothing about the cast's performance.. Presumably in her eyes Balanchine's response to the Bizet score is far too full of  joie de vivre, if not down right frivolous, to be considered acceptable company for the other works in the programme.

 

 

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Which review was this, please? I've read most of those with online links and don't remember anyone putting Symphony in C down like this!

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22 hours ago, Jane Simpson said:

Which review was this, please? I've read most of those with online links and don't remember anyone putting Symphony in C down like this!

 

I am similarly puzzled. There is a comprehensive listing of fifteen reviews of this programme on the Ballet Association web site. 

http://www.balletassociation.co.uk/Pages/news.html#Unknown

I can't see in any of those one which lauds Unknown Soldier and dismisses Symphony in C as a tutu ballet and without any mention of its cast.

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I have never understood "tutu ballet" to have negative connotations anyway; I've always considered it purely descriptive.

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I think at best “tutu ballet” is reductive, and in most contexts trivializing. And in what serious sense could it be descriptive—is the grand pas from Paquita really the same genre as Symphony in C? And as description, even of costumes, it’s also imprecise (romantic tutus are tutus too) though I think people are probably just thinking of the flatter, shorter, or “pancake” tutus. 

Context certainly makes a difference to how one might understand the term...and perhaps there are examples where I wouldn't find it reductive or trivializing ... but it’s hard for me to conjure them.

Edited by Drew

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Thiago Soares has announced that the 2018-19 season will be his last as a full-time Principal. (He will be a guest Principal next season but doesn't specify what that will entail):

 

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The Royal Ballet has announced the casting for their Summer Season 

https://www.roh.org.uk/mixed-programmes/the-firebird-a-month-in-the-country-symphony-in-c

On Opening Night:  Yasmine Naghdi will dance The Firebird partnered by Edward Watson, making his comeback after a long absence. The title roles in "A Month in the Country" will be danced by Marianella Nunez and William Bracewell. In "Symphony in C" we'll get Natalia Osipova and various other dancers. 

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A very substantive exciting program all round. 

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could be used It would appear that the ROH still has not managed to put the limited amount of casting information it has deigned to make available on its website into any semblance of order. At present it is simply a jumble of names with what appear to be the cast for Firebird, in no particular order, plus a few randomly selected names with no indication as to what those dancers might be performing. Anyone who is interested in who is dancing what could do a lot worse than to look on the Ballet Association website where casting for all the performances of the three ballets to be danced is given in full

l think that the announcement of Soares' departure at the end of the season and his Guest Principal status next season simply means that there is nothing in the company's repertory from now until the end of the season which could be used to mark his departure rather than an indication that a continuing professional relationship with the company is on the cards . His announcement at the end of last season that he was going to concentrate on dramatic roles suggested that at that point he thought that he had a few more seasons left in him. I suspect that management did not consider his retirement imminent when the current season was being prepared. If Bussell's and Yanowsky's departures are anything to go by long serving Principals who intend to retire at the end of the following season are asked what they would like to dance as their last performances. Soares' departure will no doubt prompt a great deal of speculation as to who else is likely to retire soon and who will replace them from within the company as it is all but certain that any new Principals will be internal appointments.

The current management  was seemingly taken by surprise by the Fonteyn centenary this year. There was no announcement pf any special event or performances to mark it when the season was unveiled last year. A "Fonteyn Gala" has belatedly been announced  which it would appear is being cobbled together from what is readily to hand. The gala programme will include the  Firebird which is programmed in the final mixed bill of the current season and I suspect that the  ballet excerpts associated with Fonteyn which are to be included in the company's mixed bill in Japan will be pressed into service for the Covent Garden celebrations. It has been announced that the "Tribute to Fonteyn" to be danced in Japan will include the Rose Adagio so presumably we shall be treated to a preview of the excerpts to be shown there which makes the "Gala" seem more like an open rehearsal than anything else. As to what else will be included we shall of course know on the night itself but I think that it is safe to assume that the "Tribute" will be used as an opportunity to display the range and depth of the company's current Female Principals. If this is the case the Sylvia grand pas de deux will be included as the  company has four Principals who have that in their repertory and three who have danced the full  ballet. Other possibilities include the Ondine pas de l'Ombre; the Cinderella ballroom pas de deux and the closing pas de deux from Daphnis and Chloe, The balcony pas de deux  from Romeo and Juliet might be controversial even now as it still raise hackles among older ballet goers in London who feel that Seymour and Gable were robbed of the opportunity to dance at  the premiere.

 

 

Edited by Ashton Fan

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On ‎11‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 6:14 AM, Ashton Fan said:

The problem with Infra is that . . . you worry about the long term effects on the dancers' bodies of appearing in his dance works. Interestingly so far Mr Muntagirov has not appeared in any of his works. If it is his decision not to appear in MacGregor's works  it shows a great deal of common sense on his part and that he has the artistic clout within the company to decline the offer. Being concerned about the long term consequences for dancers of performing  MacGregor's choreography  and moving in his choreographic style using his dance vocabulary is clearly not confined to a particular age group as former dancers who enjoyed thirty year injury free careers and young choreographers working in the classical style are equally concerned..

I've been thinking about this post for a while and it home again today with the news that former Birmingham Royal Ballet and Royal Ballet principal Miyako Yoshida will be retiring this year at the age of 54 (!):

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190130_27/

In her very long career, did she ever do any contemporary dance at all? If not, does that explain (at least in part) her amazing longevity?

Edited by miliosr

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is As far as I am aware Yoshida's entire career has been spent dancing classically based choreography. Her repertory was essentially the Royal Ballet's core repertory of the nineteenth century classics, Ashton and some MacMillan. While she was with BRB she danced in works by David Bintley  but he is not a choreographer who rips up the rulebook and devises strange movements without any apparent underpinning anatomical knowledge or understanding of the strains he is placing on a dancer's body. He certainly is not working with a relatively unprepared body. McGregor's choreography seems to be driven by what he can do physically without any apparent system of physical preparation for mere mortals in the company who have to perform it. Bintley is a choreographer who stays well within the range of movements learned and then perfected in the classical classroom. Indeed some would accuse him of being far too conservative in that respect. Yoshida is an exemplar of what you can do with a solidly based technique, a profound understanding of different choreographic styles and true artistic imagination.

Guillem danced a far wider range of styles than Yoshida and retired at fifty but she insisted on time between performances of classically based repertory and  contemporary works to enable her body to adjust to the different demands they make on the body and so avoid injury. She had the advantage of fame and seniority which gave her enough artistic clout to  insist on this transition time but that is not true of the majority of dancers in the company who during the course of a day will move from rehearsal to rehearsal and style to style and then perhaps dance in a completely different one in the evening .

Some female dancers have exceptionally lengthy careers because they are in a position to select their repertory and demand time to transition between styles. I lost count of exactly how old Leanne Benjamin was when she retired because she has admitted that at one point she took a couple of years off her age because she thought her real age sounded a bit too old to be dancing the repertory she was performing. Her strategy was to drop the really exposing classical roles retaining only Giselle and then to concentrate on her major MacMillan roles while appearing in a wide range of new works including some by McGregor. By the time she took on works by McGregor and other contemporary choreographers she had already had a very full career; she knew what her body needed to prepare for the new repertory and she  would have had nothing to lose if she had suddenly been forced to retire through injury caused by dancing works in contemporary style. This is far from true of the majority of dancers. Of course all female dancers have one advantage over their male colleagues. They are not required to lift other dancers. I am not sure that many male dancers will ever be able to  emulate Alexander Grant who was still dancing Alain, as opposed to performing walk on character roles, on his fiftieth birthday. It was a fully rounded portrayal as opposed to an edited highlights account of the character and his choreography. But  while the dance vocabulary was classically based it was being used to create character and express emotion rather than being presented as an example of technical beauty and perfection.

 

Edited by Ashton Fan

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Leanne Benjamin suffered a muscle tear that led to her retirement, it was particularly troublesome, had she not I suspect she might still be dancing.

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Miyako Yoshida did dance in a variety of mixed programmes during her time with SWRB/BRB.  Who could ever forget "License my roving hands".  I can't even though I would like to!

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The Royal Ballet is live streaming Carlos Acosta's "Don Quixote" rehearsal,  tonight at 7:30 UK time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx77D8113cM

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