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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 11:43 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Scottish Ballet have faced a traumatic three years:

- a bitter fight to preserve a traditional company, against the strategy of the Board

- a new AD with a clear mandate to raise the quality of the of the company and change the rep

- a 6-month dark period where Ashley Page knocked the company into shape, brought in new dancers and decided which of the existing dancers would stay.

The good news is that, so far so good, as regards the quality of the reborn company and a sharp improvement in the reviews from the critics.

From what I have seen of Page and the comments that dancers make about him, he is a good to work with and commands respect and loyalty. I enjoy a lot of his choreography and have defended it against diatribes from traditionalists.

In the delicate business of dancers not being retained, I for one would prefer generous settlements rather than the reverse. Given the problems that NBoC ran into over Kimberley Glasco, the Scottish Ballet route may have been the most cost-effective.

<small>[ 06 April 2004, 01:45 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 11:53 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Good to see that in the current Mixed Bill, Page has revived "Soft Underbelly", a sparky piece made for one of the Royal Ballet's Dance Bites tours. It has a fab score by Wim Mertens from the film "The Belly of an Architect".

The scottish critics tend to be more positive than their southern colleagues, but they seem to suggest that Scottish Ballet is really firing on all cylinders, with one of the most varied reps in the country.


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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2004 5:33 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Exhilarating response to the Balanchine challenge

By ISMENE BROWN
The Daily Telegraph
April 5, 2004

Ashley Page continues his bold remodelling of 21st-century Scottish Ballet with an extremely stimulating new programme of five pieces, taking the large risk of attempting one of the greatest Balanchine ballets of all.
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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2004 5:39 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Page implant


By ELLIE CARR
The Scotland Sunday Herald
April 4, 2004

WHEN Ashley Page’s new-look Scottish Ballet burst back onto the scene last autumn, it was with a defiantly modern programme that announced its arrival just short of sticking two fingers up to the traditional crowd. This spring collection – The Four Temperaments by George Balanchine (marking his centenary of his birth), a revival of Five Rückert Songs by founder Peter Darrell (marking the 75th anniversary of his birth), plus three Page shorts, Soft Underbelly, Acrid Avid Jam and 32 Cryptograms – seems softer, more persuasive.
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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2004 1:56 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Scottish Ballet
By Allen Robertson for The Times


UNDER its director Ashley Page, Scottish Ballet has become an energised ensemble so fizzing with enthusiasm as to be totally unrecognisable from its previous incarnations.Its new spring tour shows Page looking to the past to help to delineate the future.

Nothing illustrates his intentions more clearly than the glorious challenge of George Balanchine’s ground-breaking masterpiece The Four Temperaments. Now almost 60 years old, it remains bold, clear, dynamic; sharply etched and polished to perfection. The dancers, coached by the distinguished Balanchine specialist Patricia Neary, attack it with gusto.

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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2004 3:02 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
The Scots boldly go on
Two vibrant companies north of the border are celebrating the past with appealing imagination, says David Dougill for The Sunday Times


Ashley Page’s bold artistic policy for Scottish Ballet in his first season since the company’s rescue and relaunch last year is already paying notable dividends. His new programme for the spring tour, which opened at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal and moves on to Edinburgh this week, shows how well he has chosen and trained his dancers — young-spirited, confident and adept in a range of styles.

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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 8:15 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Quote:
Let Balanchine put you in good Humor

By LIAM RUDDEN
The Edinburgh Evening News
Aril 8, 2004

AFTER receiving a mixed response to his inaugural programme as artistic director of Scottish Ballet last autumn and his more favourably received festive production of The Nutcracker, Ashley Page and his young company are set to return to the Festival Theatre next week, writes Liam Rudden.
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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 3:55 pm 
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Location: Canada
Scottish Ballet
Edinburgh Festival Theatre
April 14, 2004
Mixed Repertory

Returning to the Festival Theatre for the first Edinburgh performance of 2004, the Scottish Ballet showed off it's powerful, brash, talented new persona. Now under the direction of former Royal Ballet dancer, Ashley Page, the company is multicultural (20 of the 30 dancers are from outside the UK), vibrant and focused. The current mixed repertory season, which combines the edgy and the energetic, brings together works by George Balanchine, Ashley Page, and Peter Darrell.

The evening started with George Balanchine's "The Four Temperaments" set to Paul Hindemith's score and first choreographed in 1946, and reworked in 1977. "The Four Temperaments" is one of Balanchine's classic black and white ballet, with no sets or formal costumes to detract from the dancers and the steps. Coached by Balanchine Trust repetetiteur, Patricia Neary, the dancers looked comfortable, if not completely at ease in the edgy, sharply angular choreography. The dancing was powerful and solid, but would have been improved by more precision and more attention by the women to arm and torso positions in the long poses and to avoiding inappropriate facial expressions. In particular, Jose Perez was impressive in Phlegmatic, dancing with an unhurried flow, letting the eye appreciate the "images" that the choreography creates.

The first of the three pieces by Ashley Page on the program, "Soft Underbelly" featured Tomomi Sato, Lilian Pommier and Adam Blyde dancing to taped music by Wim Mertens. The choreography hinted at youth and romance, with Blye and Sato often lifting Sato and balancing her between the two, she dancing occasionally with one man, but always returning to both. However, despite the impressive lifts and powerful dancing, the piece was robbed of potential impact because of the a lack of emotional connection.

It was followed by Peter Darrell's poignant "Five Rückert Songs" a series of dances that embody the feelings in Friedrich Rückert's five songs. Beautifully sung by mezzo soprano Karen Cargill the songs are about love, loss and loneliness, and Darrell took these feelings and expressed them his elegant choreography. The women dance in soft slippers, their long skirts picking up the flowing movements, drawing them out and making each step linger for a moment. Claire Robertson was superb as the central figure, who starts out part of the group, but is left alone. Failing in her attempts to rejoin the group, she is left alone to dance a final, poignant solo. The male corps was especially elegant and noteworthy here, though all the dancers were excellent in the sweeping choreography. Lynda Cochrane, on the piano, played Gustav Mahler's score.

Also by Page was "32 Cryptograms", set to Robin Moran's cheery, almost show-tune like music. Despite John Morell's grey tank-top costumes, it's a lighthearted ballet, giving each of the nine dancers a chance to show off their talents. Some leap, some twist, the women spun and lifted by the men. Cristo Vivancos stood out for his powerful twisting jumps. It's a fun concept, and shows off the company, but gets a bit repetitive in the end. The often brassy score would have benefited from a fuller orchestra, as the ballet's orchestra lists only one trumpet, two trombones, two clarinets/saxophones and no French horns, oboes, bassoons or flutes.

Page's other contribution to the program, Acrid Avid Jam", was the highlight of the evening. A sultry, powerful pas de deux to Aphex Twin's driving music, it received a sensational and intense performance from Eve Mutso and Jose Perez. This a dance of mature equals, with Mutso often dominant, standing or balanced over Perez. The dancing oozes restrained power, finally released in the end when the two leap in unison to the pounding beat. This ballet truly shows off the talent and potential in the company.

The evening was an excellent showcase of new talent brought together in a company with much potential. Once hopes the future will bring new and better choreographic opportunities for the Scottish Ballet dancers to have their talent nurtured and come together as a company.


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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 8:19 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Thanks a lot for this vivid description Kate. It's a shame that Scottish Ballet don't venture South of the Border.


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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2004 6:14 am 
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Great review Kate, I'm pleased that you enjoyed the evening so much. We are very proud of how much the Company have progressed in such a short space of time.

Stuart: We are wanting to develop our relationship with more venues outwith Scotland. The Company toured to Belfast Grand Opera House and Hull New Theatre for the recent Nutcracker tour and this is something we are looking to build on for future tours, and would obviously we very keen to hear any suggestions.


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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2004 6:29 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Welcome to CriticalDance Clara. Good to hear that interest in SB is spreading into England.

High time I came to Scotland to see for myself.


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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2004 8:25 am 
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Location: Liverpool, England
Hi Clara - the Company used to come to Liverpool. A return would be great. We went to Hull to see the Nutcracker - and found it very enjoyable. I'm afraid I've missed the mixed programmes - I'd already made other bookings when the dates were announced.


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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2004 2:58 pm 
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Location: Canada
Greetings!
Some comments on tonight's (Friday) performance. This performance was similar to Wednesday's performance, but concluded with Stephen Petronio's "MiddleSexGorge" instead of Page's "32 Cryptograms".

As on Wednesday, "The Four Temperaments" was solidly danced, but this performance seemed a bit looser with some discordance in the corps, both in timing and positioning. But, Balanchine's choreography is hard for any company, let alone one where most dancers are unlikely to have had much previous experience with the style.

I particularly liked the couples in the first three themes, and Jose Perez stood out again, this time in the Sanguinic pas de deux. Of all the dancers, he best captures the essence of Balanchine's style. It's a tricky blend of sillken flow, angular tension and clearly defined positions -- the poses should be held just long enough for the eye to appreciate the image.

Page's "Acrid Avid Jam" received a very different performance from Diana Loosemore and Jarkko Lehmus. While Mutso and Perez eminated restrained, almost erotic tension, Loosemore and Lehmus were much more earthy and solid, giving the piece a different kind of dramatic depth.

"Five Rückert Songs" didn't have the same effect on me today, though Patricia Hines gave a impassioned performance. My vantage point tonight was much farther away from the stage, and I think this is a piece that is much better closer up where one is looking up or out at the dancers, and can also really see the expressions and the movement of the long skirts. I was also impressed again by the singer, Karen Cargill, and it's great to see a young Scottish singer working with a Scottish ballet company!

In "Soft Underbelly" Cristo Vivancos stood out, bringing some power and tension into dancing. The backdrop reminds me very much of the worn and pollution-stained limestone facade of Lincoln Center (in New York City), a very fitting landscape for ballet piece!

Petronio's "Middle Sex Gorge" is an interesting piece, and the company attacks the choreography, really getting into the movement. However, while they seem comfortable enough with it, the style doesn't seem to suit them. The one exception was Jose Perez, who really stood out for his grasp of the modern style. With his grasp of the style and talent in both the classic ballet and modern dance, Perez is really the standout in this company.

Also, I felt this piece wasn't particularly suited to close an evening. But, creating a performance order is a tricky business, and there may be more practical reasons for the chosen order.

All in all, I think Scottish Ballet has much to be proud of...a solid group of dancers with a nice variety of talents and plenty of drive and enthusiasm. I would hope to see nurture this talent without getting too far from classical ballet .... We seem to be fortunate enough to get good modern dance up this way, but nearly enough ballet. It doesn't have to be Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty etc- there's Robbins and Tharp and Forsythe and Wheeldon and Ashton and Nijinksy and other newer and up and coming choreographers who can embrace the classic ballet idom while mixing it with other styles and making it new & exciting.

Cheers!
Kate

Clara-I got the postcards and noticed that the company has done a production of Anna Karenina. I just saw rehearsals for the Royal Danish Ballet's brand new version, and was unaware that any company other than the Bolshoi has previously done it. Who did the choreography for Scottish Ballet...any other information?


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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2004 6:37 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Kate, your question on ballet versions of "Anna Karenina" really got me thinking. Here's a link to a new topic I have set up looking at what's around:

http://forum.criticaldance.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=33;t=000956


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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet Performances 2003-4
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2004 12:19 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Emotion in motion
In less than a year, Ashley Page has completely reinvigorated Scottish Ballet, says Jann Parry in The Observer

When Ashley Page took over Scottish Ballet last year, we puzzled over what its relaunch as a modern ensemble might mean: a switch to Eurocrash contemporary dance, perhaps, or to yank-and-stab pointe work, Forsythe style?

With Page's third programme, now on tour, his aspirations are clear from the moment the curtain goes up. A lithe woman extends her arched foot over that of a man in white socks, T-shirt and black tights. It's Balanchine's 1946 masterpiece, The Four Temperaments, an essay in the astonishing language of neoclassical ballet.

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