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 Post subject: Deborah Bull and the Royal Opera House
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 5:14 am 
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Stuart has posted an interview of Deborah Bull by David Lister of the Independent, in the thread about Tony Hall, recently appointed Executive Director of the Royal Opera House (ROH). Tony Hall has made Deborah Director of the two smaller theatres within the ROH, the Linbury Theatre and the Clore Studio. The Linbury is a proper theatre downstairs from the main auditorium and the Clore is a rehearsal studio at the top of the ROH that has rows of benches at one end to accommodate an audience.<P>Deborah has been a principal of the Royal Ballet since 1992. According to Lister’s article, she performed for the last time (earlier than expected) with the Royal Ballet during the recent Gala commemorating Anthony Dowell’s artistic directorship of the Royal Ballet. Dowell steps down this summer and Ross Stretton assumes the role of Artistic Director. It is a shame that she is slipping away from the main stage so quietly and I am sorry that I will not see her perform ‘live’ Forsythe’s ‘Steptext’. I have a video of the recording of the piece, which I watch on rainy days (we have a lot of them in London). Deborah excels in these modern pieces. Having said that, Deborah has not exactly hung up her ballet shoes – she was dancing “Symbiont”, Wayne MacGregor’s piece choreographed on dancers from the Royal Ballet, in Washington last week. She is sublime in this piece – it is pure, what I call, ‘Factor X’ performance – words cannot describe your admiration for the dance you’ve just seen. I hope she will still be dancing that in the future, at the very least.<P>The appointment of Deborah as Director of the two spaces is, to my mind, a formalisation of the role she was already performing. Through her baby, the Artists’ Development Initiative, she has been opening up the ROH to forms of dance never performed there before and to performers and choreographers that would not normally have the high-level exposure that is associated with performing at such a well-known institution. The Clore has hosted experimental new works by well-known choreographers, by budding new ballet choreographers and by choreographers not normally associated with ballet. Wayne McGregor’s work with members of the Royal Ballet is a good example. You can read more about this in the thread “Wayne McGregor and the Royal Ballet”. <P>I recommend that everyone keep up to date with the programmes for the Linbury and the Clore and we will do our best at CD to keep you informed. At a modest price (a recent ticket I bought for the Clore was £10) you can see new ballet works and other dance forms – contemporary, jazz etc – there are no limits to the type of dance performed in these spaces. The work is high-quality and you are ‘up close and personal’. Particularly in the Clore where the seating is merely at the side of the dance floor, you can see every talented muscle being moved.<P>Deborah is doing a wonderful job in making the ROH accessible to everyone and, generally, in widening the audience for dance. Her recent television programme series, ‘Travels with my tutu’, in which she turned her hand to other dance forms performed socially – tango, jive/swing, break-dancing and belly dancing (which is, maybe surprisingly, performed “socially” in the UK) – was watched by people who had never really taken an interest in dance before, and I am aware of a number of people who got off the sofa to book a tango class or two.<P>Deborah is one to watch. She is not only an excellent ambassador for dance, she is right in the thick of the politics of it. She has been a member of the Arts Council since 1998, for example, and sits comfortably on both sides of the fence – dancer and dance administrator. The Lister article suggests that the launch of her dance voice came after being invited to debate at Oxford University’s Union in defence of expenditure on ‘elitist’ arts. Her speech was widely reported and interviews followed. I went up to Oxford University a year after the speech and I am sorry I missed the diminutive figure of a ballet dancer holding her own amongst the zealous students and assembled arts voices. Much more gruelling than walking on stage for Swan Lake! I recommend the reading of Deborah’s book ‘Dancing Away’ which is her diary of observations during the period just before the ROH closed for refurbishment. It gives an inside view of the ROH including the politics flying around, delivered in a human and enjoyable way because it is interlaced with normal dancer-like concerns – costume-fittings, tiredness….<P>I hope that we see more comments on works performed in the Linbury and the Clore on londondance. Please let us have your views.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Deborah Bull and the Royal Opera House
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 6:38 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I agree with Emma's assessment of Deborah Bull. Here is another interview with Ms Bull:<P><B>Old dancer learns new tricks</B><P>By Susannah Herbert in the Sunday Telegraph<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Deborah Bull has exchanged her ballet shoes for a toe-hold on power. The Royal Ballet star talks to Susannah Herbert about rising through the ranks<P>Deborah Bull kicks off a sling-back stiletto and stretches out her bare foot to reveal a bandaged toe. A dance wound? "Not exactly," she says, frowning absent-mindedly at the distant blister as if it belonged to someone else. "I think I probably got this one shopping in Washington. I'm lucky to have reached my age relatively fit, relatively unharmed. All the American ballerinas, you know, have plastic hips."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.lineone.net/telegraph/2001/06/10/arts/old_28.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Deborah Bull interview</B></A> <P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Deborah Bull and the Royal Opera House
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 7:42 am 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Emma, how about getting a couple of comments from Ms Bull? Image


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 Post subject: Re: Deborah Bull and the Royal Opera House
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 11:31 am 
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Off I go....


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 Post subject: Re: Deborah Bull and the Royal Opera House
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2001 1:03 pm 
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Emma, I've heard that it's sometimes difficult to get tickets for works in the studio. Can we do this online as well?<P>Many thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Deborah Bull and the Royal Opera House
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2001 2:48 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I'm afraid not Terry. You have to ring or use the postal system. There are only 150 odd seats in the Clore Studio theatre. So if there is a big name like Adam Cooper or for the RB class, they go out like hot cakes. For the less well known groups, which the ROH is not good at publicising, tickets are generally available. Tickets are rarely more than £10, so it is usually outstanding value in this magical space which combines a huge dance area with an intimate atmosphere.<P>I hope to have the press release for the Autumn shows in the Clore in the next week.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited July 10, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Deborah Bull and the Royal Opera House
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2001 5:45 pm 
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Thank you for the information, Stuart.<P>I'm looking forward to the Press Release!!<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Deborah Bull and the Royal Opera House
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2001 11:03 pm 
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Terry, if you plan a little way ahead, you will get tickets. In the Clore they squeeze you all in so much that the doors practically burst open at the end. Quite fun, really!


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