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 Post subject: Programming under Ross Stretton
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2002 2:19 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Sugar plum posted this in another topic, but I have taken the liberty of moving her post and a reply from s4one here to start a new topic, so that the discussions between the Unions and ROH management are dealt with separately to keep debates focussed:

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sugar plum fairy posted 08-12-2002 02:33
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And everyone critisized Sir Anthony for not producing new works..now Stretton is doing the same..tell me why did we get rid of Anthony if the new guy is just doing the same thing?? :eek:

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s4one posted 08-12-2002 4:20
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that's ballet in the UK for you!

<small>[ 08-12-2002, 04:44: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Programming under Ross Stretton
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2002 2:38 am 
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It's a good point to raise sugar plum. Perhaps we should remember that Sir Anthony retired after a long innings rather than being eased out.

I wonder how much money Ross Stretton has to play with. I need to do some further research, but in the 2002-3 first booking period alone there are three new full length Royal Opera productions as opposed to 1 one-act new commission all year for the RB. At one point Stretton said that it was usually necessary to take an existing work from major choreographers before they were prepared to make a new work.

Taken with the borrowing of old sets from other companies for "Don Q" and "Onegin" this year, one wonders if lack of funds is part of the answer.

It's difficult to know whether this is the case as the ROH receives a global grant now for both the RO and the RB, although at the last count the RB grant was around £9m, considerably more than any other dance company in the UK. As far as i know the ROH has never published separate management accounts for the two art forms so we cannot know how much is actually being spent on the ballet company.

Transparency is increasingly important for both public and private entities and it would certainly be very helpful if the ROH made it possible to make comparisons with the other UK ballet companies.

<small>[ 08-12-2002, 04:39: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Programming under Ross Stretton
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 1:32 am 
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Location: Scotland.UK
The difference between Stretton and Sir Anthony is that Anthony came up through the company he knew what would work and what wouldn't..take one of the latest offerings Carmen..yuk! that should never have been staged by the Royal and Anthony would have known it! If they had given him a decent budget and carte blanche to do things as he wanted to do instead of what everyone else expected of him , things would have worked out better for him and the company. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Programming under Ross Stretton
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 8:52 am 
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Sugar plum could you please explain us why Mats Ek's Carmen should never have been staged by the Royal Ballet ?


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 Post subject: Re: Programming under Ross Stretton
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2002 1:52 am 
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I really can't explain why it shouldn't have been performed by the Royal , it just shouldn't have! It was ..for lack of better words..pathetic ( not the dancers ), disgusting , etc , etc..It was as if he was trying to destroy the story of Carmen , if you know what i mean , just like he has done to other classics...
It is hard to explain , but you just know when something isn't right for a company this is one of them!! :eek:


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 Post subject: Re: Programming under Ross Stretton
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2002 4:44 am 
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I actually really loved Carmen. I haven't seen any other versions so of course I haven't a standard to hold it up to but I found Ek's choreography so funny and inventive. The story was very clear and so refreshing. I'm hoping that the insight day next season will shed a little light as I remember Tamara Rojo saying that Ek had meaning behind every single movement and I'd love to have the steps explained to me. I'm glad that the RB had a chance to dance it - it's like it showed it had a different side to it, and the dancers seemed to enjoy it. I remember Thomas Whitehead looking so exhilirated after his 2nd performance.

Whether it should have been danced by the RB is a different story. I can't imagine the kind of strain it must have put on the dancers to go from Giselle, to Ek, and back to classical again within couple of weeks. And Carmen really is a severe departure from the RB's rep. I loved Carmen, but it's not a direction I would want Stretton to pursue in the long term. That's what has me worried, what occurred to me during the gala in July.


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 Post subject: Re: Programming under Ross Stretton
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2002 9:07 am 
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No Sugar Plum I really don't know what you mean. If you can't explain what you mean, then perhaps you shouldn't say anything at all. Just "knowing something is wrong" is not a valid criticism.
I think that Ek's Giselle is a masterpiece and that it's wonderful to see Guillem or Rojo in Carmen with the Royal Ballet.
How you can call it "pathetic" or "disgusting" I don't know !

Hey Sugar Plum wake up we are in 2002 :)

<small>[ 08-16-2002, 11:26: Message edited by: marc29 ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Programming under Ross Stretton
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2002 11:22 am 
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Well I think everyone is entitled to their opinions and that we all have a duty to respect that. It would be very dull if we all liked the same thing.

Perhaps it would be better to get back to talking about how the programming could be improved and whther we feel that Stretton is having to work within quite tight financial resources and whether as Sylvia says the programming could be having a negative effect on the dancers?

<small>[ 08-16-2002, 13:23: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Programming under Ross Stretton
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2002 12:15 am 
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As Joanne said if we all liked the same thing life would be boring...no doubt there is something that you do not like marc29 that i do..i would hardly tell you to "wake up this is 2002"!!! i would respect the fact that it does nothing for you i.e it doesn't move you in the way other ballets do , or you found something else about it you didn't like...that is what Carmen is like for me.. :(


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 Post subject: Re: Programming under Ross Stretton
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2002 12:41 pm 
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As I stated I would be quite glad if we could get this discussion back to some of the points sylvia raised.

Sylvia - I think you are quite right that for the dancers to have performed such diverse styles in a matter of weeks must have been a great strain. I suppose the argument is along the lines of the ongoing battle Scottish ballet are having. Is the training for these dancers sufficent for them to handle such diverse works over a short period of time without injury? Is it coincidence that the RB have been beset by injury over this season. The RB I feel have to include more modern works to grow and move with the times as well as including the classics but does there need to be more changes or additions to their training first for this to successfully happen?

<small>[ 08-19-2002, 14:42: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Programming under Ross Stretton
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2002 12:29 am 
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Interesting article in The Guardian on what it takes to be a ballet dancer today.

Quote:
Conflicts at the Royal Ballet have emerged in the past week over the lack of notice dancers say they are being given by the artistic director, Ross Stretton, about the roles they perform and the timing of perform-ances.
This conflict shows that dancers need to be versatile as well as mastering great technical detail. There is far more to dancing than standing on pointes and executing a perfect arabesque. Dancers must also maintain excellent fitness, and imbue each performance with emotion.

MORE


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 Post subject: Re: Programming under Ross Stretton
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2002 9:13 am 
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Location: San Francisco
Quote:
Now he liaises with both ballet and administrative staff, supporting the dancers.
Is "liaises" commonly used in the U.K.?


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 Post subject: Re: Programming under Ross Stretton
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:20 am 
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If dance is performed well technically and it is not being performed to a completely empty house, I would say it has merits and should be shown. Whether one chooses to go to see it is another matter. The newspaper critics have slammed a lot of the Royal's repertoire this year and I have largely disagreed with them. Such is the diversity of tastes and likes and dislikes, as we have already discussed.

I would be interested in some insights into dancers' salaries - generally. I see what the corps de ballet earns but I would like to know what that rises to as a top principal - ie what are the dancers aspiring to when they progress within their profession? And what about other companies - what are the rates of pay in contemporary dance companies etc etc. I suspect they would be a great deal lower.


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