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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:25 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1641
Location: London UK
Rushes – Nine fragments of a lost story (working title)
World Premiere: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 (part of Royal Ballet Triple-Bill)

The British-based Danish choreographer Kim Brandstrup is to use a previously unperformed film score by Prokofiev to explore dark Dostoyevskian themes in his new one-act work for The Royal Ballet. The Prokofiev music has been orchestrated by the British composer Michael Berkeley.

The ballet, Rushes - Nine fragments of a lost story (working title), receives its World Premiere at the Royal Opera House on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 as part of a triple-bill.

In an unusual approach, Brandstrup will create subtly different choreography for the three Principal dancers in his two alternate casts: Carlos Acosta, Zenaida Yanovsky and Alina Cojocaru and (name tbc), Leanne Benjamin and Tamara Rojo

The ballet is designed by Richard Hudson with lighting by Jean Kalman.

Six performances of the ballet are scheduled: April 23, 24 and May 8, 9, 10, 14, 2008.

This is Kim Brandstrup’s first main-stage commission from The Royal Ballet although in recent years he has worked regularly with some of the Company’s finest dancers. His Two Footnotes to Ashton for Johan Kobborg, Alina Cojocaru and Zenaida Yanowsky, created in 2005 for an Ashton celebration evening, was hailed as an instant classic.

The working title for Brandstrup’s new ballet is Rushes - Nine fragments of a lost story - its subtitle evoking Dostoyevsky’s preliminary character studies for his great novel, The Idiot. It also refers to the cinematic structure of the choreography, and the sweep of Prokofiev’s score, written originally for film.

Dostoyevsky’s psychological narratives have proved an enduring source of inspiration for Brandstrup; White Nights, created for English National Ballet in 1994 from a short story and two ballets for his own company, Arc - Elegy (2001) and Brothers (2002) - were both inspired by characters from Dostoyevsky’s novels.

Brandstrup is well known for the strong narrative quality of his choreography but he emphasises that Rushes - Nine fragments of a lost story will be no ‘story ballet ‘– rather a series of ‘implied narratives’.

Brandstrup is also known for the strong bond he makes with dancers, building on the individual strengths and characteristics of each performer with whom he works. So he will make subtly different choreography for each of the three Principal dancers that lead the alternate casts - giving audiences a quite different experience on each night.

The ballet has a cast of fifteen – six couples common to both casts and two sets of three Principal dancers. Carlos Acosta, Zanaida Yanowsky and Alina Cojocaru will perform on the opening night and (name tbc), Leanne Benjamin and Tamara Rojo are cast for the following performance.


A Prokofiev film score which has been languishing in a Moscow archive for the past 70 years is the music which Brandstrup has chosen for his new ballet Rushes - Nine fragments of a lost story.

The music, originally written for a film version of The Queen of Spades, and which never reached the screen, will receive its first public performance at the Royal Opera House on April 23 when the ballet is premiered. The fragmentary score has been arranged and elaborated by the British composer Michael Berkeley, working closely with Brandstrup.

Kim Brandstrup was first alerted to the existence of the music in a Moscow archive in a footnote to an article by American Prokofiev scholar Simon Morrison. Sensing that the fragmentary score might have potential for his new ballet, Brandstrup tracked down a photocopy of the music in the Prokofiev Archive at Goldsmith’s College in South London and obtained permission from the composer’s Estate to use it.

Brandstrup was immediately taken by the music’s energy and rhythm and its obsessive quality.
Prokofiev was originally commissioned in 1936 to write the music for a planned film, The Queen of Spades, to be made by Mikhail Romm, the noted Russian director. When the film was called off, the music was left in its fragmentary state. Two years later Prokofiev wrote his best-known film music, for Sergei Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky and later for his Ivan the Terrible.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:33 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1641
Location: London UK
I've received an interesting press release for the new Kim Brandstrup work at the ROH. Looking though my ticket stash, I discover I'm already down to see this. So will report back next month.


‘GOLDBERG PROJECT’ (working title)
Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House
September 21 – 26, 2009

London-based Danish choreographer Kim Brandstrup joins forces with Royal Ballet Principal Tamara Rojo for a journey for the heart, mind and spirit as they take on Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Rojo is joined by a diverse company of dancers, including fellow Royal Ballet dancers Steven McRae and Thomas Whitehead for a full evening’s programme to be presented at the Linbury Studio Theatre of the Royal Opera House from Monday, September 21 – Saturday, September 26, 2009.

Brandstrup and Rojo have long cherished the ambition of working together on a ‘bespoke’ project. Tamara was in his last work for The Royal Ballet, Rushes, and he was impressed by an inner quality in her performance.

“She’s a remarkable artist – she has such focus and power on stage which gives her a real dramatic hold over an audience. But then in the studio I see other things - subtleties and inflections that are not always visible on the big stage”, comments Brandstrup.

And so, at the invitation of ROH2, Brandstrup and Rojo will work together on this new commission expressly designed for the intimate scale of the Linbury Studio Theatre. Brandstrup, a choreographer whose work is frequently driven by his finely tuned musical instincts, has long dreamed of setting Bach Goldberg Variations. When he discovered Rojo’s enthusiasm for the composer’s music, there was simply no way back…

Although Brandstrup refers to the project as ‘Tamara’s show’, there will be other dancers involved, - Steven McRae and Thomas Whitehead of The Royal Ballet, as well as five contemporary dancers. Design is by Richard Hudson.

Brandstrup is fond of quoting the idiosyncratic Canadian pianist Glenn Gould’s description of the Goldberg Variations: “It is, in short, music which observes neither end nor beginning, music with neither real climax nor real resolution, music which, like Baudelaire's lovers, 'rests lightly on the wings of the unchecked wind.”

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:06 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1641
Location: London UK
That same Brandstrup work has now won an Olivier Award:



Goldberg: The Brandstrup-Rojo Project

Internationally acclaimed Danish choreographer Kim Brandstrup last night collected a prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production of 2009 at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

The Laurence Olivier Awards are Britain’s leading theatre awards.

The award was for Goldberg: The Brandstrup-Rojo Project, which Brandstrup created last autumn with Royal Ballet Principal Tamara Rojo. Described variously by critics as ‘a mini-masterpiece’ and ‘a choreographic gem’, Goldberg was commissioned by ROH2 and staged at the Linbury Theatre of the Royal Opera House for a week in September 2009.

Brandstrup choreographed the evening-long work for a cast of three Royal Ballet dancers, Tamara Rojo, Thomas Whitehead and Stephen McRae, and four contemporary dancers. An elusive triangular relationship underlies the daily ritual of class and rehearsal, and the music of Bach's Goldberg Variations, played live on stage, accompanies them throughout.

This is the London-based Danish choreographer’s second Laurence Olivier Award. His first was in 1989 when he took home the Outstanding Achievement in Dance Award for his production of Orfeo for London Contemporary Dance Theatre.

At this year’s ceremony he triumphed over productions by Russell Maliphant (Afterlight), Birmingham Royal Ballet (E=mc2) Rambert Dance Company (A Linha Curva) and Fabulous Beast (The Rite Of Spring).

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