public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:40 pm

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 11 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Royal Ballet - too many dancers from other schools?
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2000 2:32 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I've moved this interesting post by d'ici_de la from our 'Ballet' section. I hope we can get a debate going on this theme.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited March 27, 2002).]


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet - too many dancers from other schools?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2002 1:31 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 123
Royal Ballet School.<BR>Perhaps because of my limited knowledge I note that the RB principal dancers are products of other than Royal Ballet School.<BR>If so please correct me.<BR>What has happened to the graduation of English students and the growth into principal dancers, especially the ballerinas?<BR>It would seem that the fundametal strength of a company is in it's school, i.e. Vaganova's for the Kirov and SAB for NYCB.

_________________
Only my opinion. Will gladly correct any inaccuracies


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet - too many dancers from other schools?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2002 3:08 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
There's a certain amount of movement in the profession. A company with its own school will get a significant number of its dancers from its school. But many students from its school will ultimately end up elsewhere, and many of its hired dancers will ultimately come from elsewhere. If it weren't like that, ballet companies could become in-grown and cult-like.<BR>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet - too many dancers from other schools?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2002 3:41 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 38
Location: London, UK
I agree entirely with Citibob's post, and I think movement between companies can aid both dancer and company, as each move brings with it fresh challenges, a new dynamic, and new mixtures of styles, technique and ideas. <P>To understand the importance of the flow of dancers to the health and growth of dance, one need only look into ballet history, and see the spark caused by the movement from Russia to Paris, of Diaghilev, Balanchine et al. <P>In fact, it can often be difficult for foreign dancers in the UK: the experiences of professional friends of mine from overseas who are currently trying to find employment in London, is that the main companies will not take them without a UK/European passport unless they are already of soloist standard. Undoubtedly, this is due to government immigration policy rather than the companies themselves, but it is very sad to see wonderful foreign dancers unable to take up opportunities due to bureaucracy. <P>This said, I think this post was trying to point at the state of English ballet training specifically. What I have noticed, as I dance twice a week in the evening at a ballet school, is the high number of non-English dancers at English ballet schools (lots of the students are still around in the changing rooms when I arrive). <P>This is entirely correct, in the sense that the schools should be choosing the best regardless of nationality, but it does suggest that ballet teaching at pre-ballet school level in this country is not being as effective in identifying and training excellent dancers, as those in other countries such as Spain, the USA and Japan to name a few. <P>This does not bode well for English ballet, as it suggests a gradual tailing off of talent over the next few years.<P>I am unclear as to the difference in pre-ballet school training in the UK versus these countries, and am not trying to denigrate the hardwork of ballet teachers in the UK, I am just suggesting that perhaps there needs to be more structure and funding for the identification of good dancers at an early age.<P>I think this process would be aided by some sort of support structure for dancers (such as re-training when careers are ended by injury etc, and financial advice when they are actively dancing). This would make parents less worried about letting their child enter a dance career, which currently seems very insecure.<P>Well, I seem to have written rather a lot! What does everyone else think? <p>[This message has been edited by MariaR (edited March 27, 2002).]


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet - too many dancers from other schools?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2002 6:14 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 123
The question that I badly phrased was the viability of distinct style of dance/choreography of the British school as personified by the Royal Ballet. The assumption was that such was developed and nurtured by the school that is associated with the parent company. <BR> The question of freedom of migration of dancers was assumed because for a dancer the quest for excellence is a given, but the magnet is the company that has developed this quality whether through a style or choreography over time. I also assumed that a regional style was a precious and desirable quality. Within this framework was the assumption that a mature dancer trained by another school, while adding interest and viability to a company, rarely if ever can adopt the style of the new company.<BR> Imagine a world where every company would have the same style and take it one step further where every ballerina was a clone of some imagined virtuosity. The reverse of course is a homogeneous soup where each dancer does her own thing thus no style is definable. Neither scenario is appealing.<BR>The Royal Ballet seems to have a hierarchy that while difficult to pinpoint, is dominated by a non-artistic bureaucracy. The examples are of inviting a talented dancer, of soloist or above accomplishment to join the company then placing the dancer in the corps and for years not using the dancer in soloist or principal roles. The historical examples are of denying McMillan his choice of principals in the premier of Romeo and Juliet, the very long reign of Fonteyn as the 1st principal, and in the Royal hierarchical structure, the stifling of talent of such dancers as Seymour or Shearer. The results are very similar to the Russian Imperial Ballet, where the ballerinas held on to their roles by status of being mistresses of the aristocrats appointed by the court as directors of the ballet.<BR> Similarly to the development of the dancer is the development choreographer, his aesthetic is formed within the framework of company. Thus for me the uniqueness of a company is a very precious quality, it is very close to the essence of the dance. Therefore the question, whether a company can survive when the school is not growing the next generation of talent?<BR>

_________________
Only my opinion. Will gladly correct any inaccuracies


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet - too many dancers from other schools?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2002 6:16 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
The existence of a large number of foreign students in the upper grades of a school is not necessarily evidence of a failing system. Most upper-level SAB dancers did not start at SAB. Most new NYCB hires only traied at SAB for a few years. In a similar vein, 25% of Yale University's students are foreign; the same is true for all prestigious American universities today. It is a testament to the esteemed quality of these universities that competition for entry into them is global. I expect the same factors are at work with the Royal Ballet School.<P>There is such a thing as standard ballet, a common dance language that cuts across all ballet companies. It's like English. American English is different from British English, but both are English. I'm American, so I speak American English most easily. I could learn to speak British English, if I so desired. Professional actors learn new accents as needed.<P>Professional ballet dancers trained first and foremost to move as directed by a choreographer, and only secondarily in a particular style. Professional dancers trained in one school can and do dance at a company with a different style, a different approach. It takes some re-training, but even as that process is taking place, the dancer can be profitably be used by the company.<P>I see that all the time. Mr. Mateo has a distinctive pedagogy, training, technique, style and choreogrpahy. Yet he successfully hires dancers from the "outside". They usually make amazing progress at learning to dance his style in a short period of time, just 6-10 weeks for a typical season. The longer they stay, the better adapted they become, and Mr. Mateo is better able to use them to their maximum potential. This is all possible because at the base of it all, ballet is ballet, no matter what your style. And because dancers are trained to dance what the choreographer asks for; the style is included in the choreography.<P>Distinctive style seems to only pop up sometimes, when there's an innovative artistic director who creates something distinctive. There are plenty of ballet companies around with no distinctive style; they do just fine because they're bringing ballet to an audience that would otherwise not be able to see ballet.<P>Dancers don't just move from one company to the next to add some type of wonderful "intermixing" to the styles. Usually, the reasons for movement are much more mundane, and intermixing is just the result. As a dancer, maybe you get forced out by the politics, or you're not being given the opportunities you think you need. Maybe another company offers better pay, benefits, working conditions, or professional development. Maybe you're married and your spouse takes a job elsewhere. Maybe you want to go to school somewhere. These reasons are the same reasons anyone changes job. I know they sound mundane, but they're commonly the reasons dancers switch companies. Excellence takes place within the context of the mundane matters of life, and then only for those who seek it. Just as in any profession, not all dancers seek excellence.<P>You also seem to be saying something about the Royal Ballet's management structure. I'm not quite sure how that relates to the topic of distinctive style and movement between companies.<BR>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet - too many dancers from other schools?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2002 9:03 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 123
I really think the Royal Ballet has been denatured. <P>Ismene Brown interviews Clement Crisp on ballet.co:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_01/dec01/ismene_b_int_clement_c.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_01/dec01/ismene_b_int_clement_c.htm</A> <P><BR>Jim asks: “What are your feelings about the future of the Royal Ballet?” <BR>CC: My feelings are of despair. I really think the Royal Ballet has been denatured. The great point about the Royal Ballet was that it had three bases, which were the old classics, in honourable productions; the work of a house choreographer... <P>There is not a single dancer in that company of native training who I think is fit to dance those ballets [‘Swan Lake’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Coppélia’ and the ‘Nutcracker’]. <BR>Not Bussell? <BR>No. <BR>Yoshida? <BR>No. They are no more than First Soloists....I do not think now there is a single dancer in that company of world quality who has been produced by the native tradition. <P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited March 29, 2002).]

_________________
Only my opinion. Will gladly correct any inaccuracies


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet - too many dancers from other schools?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2002 11:51 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I think there is one other issue here that affects artistic choices in who dances what, and who gets hired into a company like the Royal Ballet, and that is economics.<P>The long reign of Fonteyn did eclipse other wonderful talents. Some of this must be laid at the feet of audience demand. The audience demanded to see Fonteyn and Nureyev dance. Tickets were priced higher for those nights. The adminstration knew that if Fonteyn and Nureyev did the opening night of Romeo and Juliet it would not only be an artistic success, it would be an economic success. <P>Do you doubt that when a company hires a foreign dancer with a famous name that econimics is not considered? I don't think the adminstrators of ballet companies are that altruistic.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet - too many dancers from other schools?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2002 10:53 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 2708
Location: Seattle, WA USA
As an example of changes in training. When I lived in New York (late 70's-mid 80's), dancers at NYCB were most definetly taken from SAB. Maybe they didnt' start out there, but a good many of them came up through the ranks. Or they studied at Balanchine-influenced schools around the country. Many teachers at SAB at that time were Russian. Stanley Williams was Danish/Bournonville. Interestingly, Muriel Stuart taught in the early days; she had danced with Anna Pavlova. This time period was the end of the Balanchine era; meaning, towards the end of his life, when he had a direct influence on the school and company. Now, when I see photos of the company, the "look" has changed. More of a variety of body types, more eclectic. The company then was tall tall tall, long legs. I think now, twenty years later, there is a much more eclectic style of training, as the repertories of most major companies in general are very eclectic, and often includes modern works, and works of many different choreographers. When Balachine was alive, the company did strictly his work, Robbins',John Taras, and the rare guest. Once or twice they did a Tudor revival. And Peter Martins was just getting started. Now they do a wide variety of different choreographers. This, I think, seems to be a universal trend; away from the vision and preferences of only one artistic vision. Of course there are exceptions, but I see this as a trend, related partly to the short tenure of artistic directors, which has been alluded to on numerous threads. <P>From what folks have said above, it appears that many Royal Ballet principals did not pass through the school; ie RAD training. So what is the net effect? If I were an auidience member, what specifically would "jump out" at me as being a jarring discrepancy in style between the dancers? <p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited March 30, 2002).]


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet - too many dancers from other schools?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2002 11:54 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 36
It is the same with football, I think it is Chelsea football club with hardly any English players and this is same in most football clubs. I always hear the BBC commentators moaning about this and wondering about the training system. So what about the ballet training in England? has it changed, that it should have got worse and less dancers are coming through? <BR> I agree that there is perhaps not a well defined structure pre-ballet school. The successful dancers locally, those who go onto full time training and a dancer career are those with the mothers to make them. If you lack a mother like this, the teacher should spot talent and suggest ballet training seriously. But how often does this happen? Not very. rarely in fact. Plus, very few 10-11 year olds, even if exceptionally talented at ballet, are likely to think of auditioning for the Royal Ballet School with the aim of being in the company. They are thinking about what secondary school they should go to. At 10, I barely even knew the existence of this ballet school and the company. I thought ballet was something Russians did! <BR>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet - too many dancers from other schools?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2002 6:59 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 123
Trina,<BR>You have caught my intent. The title was unfortunate as I was not advocating jingoism or a closed shop where artist would not move between companies to expand their experience. What interested me was the question that a company’s style was primarily defined by the school attached to it, i.e. that the soloist would progress from the corps which would be predominantly be recruited from the school. Such was the case in NYCB/SAB and RB and it’s school that stamped by Ashton/MacMillan era defined the English style or the Kirov/Vaganova that defined the Russian style. <P>The lack of the company/school continuity have consequences such as at BB or many of the smaller companies that have to recruit their soloist vs. training them. Only an outstanding choreographer can hope to instill this unique style and the present trend of AD jumping companies every 5 years can’t do it, in my opinion.<P>The question was raised by the changes in RB and especially from reading, The Russian Genius in Ballet by Arnold L. Haskell, Pergamon Press Ltd. 1963. The slim volume is from “The Commonwealth and International Library of Science, Technology, Engineering and Liberal Studies, Pergamon Oxford Russian Studies. – This book is recommended by The Association of Teachers of Russian.” Apparently it was part of the syllabus of the English school when Haskell was it’s director.<BR> <BR>A very curious book indeed. Has any body read it? If so what are your impressions?<BR>

_________________
Only my opinion. Will gladly correct any inaccuracies


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 11 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group