CriticalDance Forum

Lynn Seymour & british ballet
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Author:  grace [ Fri Apr 07, 2000 4:09 am ]
Post subject:  Lynn Seymour & british ballet

a wide-ranging sort of article/interview by ismene brown of the telegraph, with lynn seymour - regarding british ballet and its direction (or lack of same, as she contends...).<P>could have put this in the ross stretton/RB thread, as it has reverberations there...but it also raises some wider points of interest. <BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><BR>&rtmo=glSnllnu&atmo=99999999&pg=/et/00/4/7/btisme07.html</A> <P>NB. Edited by Stuart to correct the URL link<P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited April 07, 2000).]

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Apr 07, 2000 6:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lynn Seymour & british ballet

An interesting interview with Lynn Seymour, although I can'thelp thinking that Ismene Brown didn't really probe some of the ideas as sharply as she might. It seems to me that there are three areas for consideration here. Seymour's eye for the existence of problems in performance quality must clearly be taken seriously. Identifying what the problems are and what the solutions might be are two further points.<P>Firstly, is there a problem? I have heard knowledgable viewers with no axes to grind say that performances are uneven and can be poor and that is my perception as well. The worst of the four SFB performances I saw last year was much better than the RB equivalents. On the other hand at their best in 'Manon' or other works from the Macmillan rep. or well-staged classics like 'Giselle' the RB can be wonderful. One major company AD told me that he thought the RB often looked under-rehearsed and I have heard others say the same. Certainly when I see good dancers who I have seen perform well in the past put in nervous, sub-standard performances it makes you think that this could be a major part of the problem.<P>Lynn Seymour says that they are not fit enough. I'm not sure about this. I have heard others say that todays dancers,like current day athletes, are much stronger than their predecessors and much more is known about fitness and energy etc.<P>As for Seymour's view about a National Trust for Dance, this sounds rather batty and is a shotgun approach in my view. The MacMillan rep is not a problem in my view and the results at the RB and elsewhere are evidence. Deborah MacMillan, Monica Mason (i/c KM rep at the RB) and Monica Parker, KM's usual Benesh notator, Dowell and some rudimentary filming to help jog everyone's memories, are doing a great job keeping the rep going. <P>Ashton is a much more difficult question, but he did not help matters, as the rights to the works are scatterred around and I am most unclear who has responsibility for what. i think that there is a strong case to set up a Trust like the Balanchine one. <P>But Trusts do not always help matters. it is alleged that the Tudor Trust blocked Rambert performing the original version of 'Dark Elegies', as the version that the Trust has is a later US revised version. In the end, although Rambert believed that they had an excellent case, they settled out of court for the right to perform it 5 times in 10 years orsomething like that. given that this is the only Tudor work that has been performed by a UK Comapny in the past 5 years to my knowledge you can't help thinking that it has not helped the cause.<P>I think that there is no shortage of good or even very good dancers, but Rehearsal time, aselsewhere does seem to be a problem. Let's see what Ross can do.<P><BR>

Author:  trina [ Fri Apr 07, 2000 1:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lynn Seymour & british ballet

Intersting interview. Lynn Seymour has a long history with the Royal Ballet, so we must take her suggestions/feedback seriously. It seems she has a broad context (having an intimate relationship with the company over a long period of time, under several different artistic directors)from which she's making her observations. I saw her dance (on video only)in the Isadora Duncan piece by Sir Frederick Ashton...she was superb. Amazing to see someone who is a classical ballerina, who has an instinctive feel for portraying a modern dance pioneer.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Apr 08, 2000 6:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lynn Seymour & british ballet

An interview with Irek Mukhamedev over a drink, in which he gives his own views on the Royal, Ross Stretton and English dancers.<BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <BR>

Author:  trina [ Sun Apr 09, 2000 11:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lynn Seymour & british ballet

Interesting interview---tight jeans, indeed!<BR>It seems like everyone who didn't get the AD job is coming out of the woodwork, giving interviews as to the shortcomings of the Royal Ballet!<BR>In regards to Mr. Mukhamedev's interview--the differences between Royal Ballet vs. Russian style of ballet are obvious. The Royal Academy of Dance (training syllabus/method of RB)emphasizes precision and exacitude of positions--students coming up throught the ranks are graded on such things as the correct degree of tilt of their head, precise postitioning of arm/hand/writst, "square" positioning of the hips, etc. Russian style, on the other hand, has always been lauded for the it's dramatic amplitude, larger than life theatricality....I remember seeing the Bolshoi Ballet production of "Spartacus"...a truly awesome, sweeping theatrical extravaganza. So, one style really isn't "better" , merely "different". On the other side of the coin, of course the British dancers can be dramatic...look at choreography by Sir Kenneth MacMillan. And Russian dancers also have solid technique. But we're talking about slightly different styles/philosophies.<BR>Mr. Mukhamedev's point of view of dancers being treated like "children" is surely not unique to the Royal Ballet. Read Gelsey Kirkland's "Dancing on my Grave" or Edward Villela's "Progidal Son" to see that this propensity exists in ballet elsewhere as well.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Apr 09, 2000 10:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lynn Seymour & british ballet

Image <P>Another chapter in the series of views about the current state of the RB. Sylvie Guilleme is interviewed by Debra Craine in The Times about performing in 'The Concert' and life at the RB in general. She is unhappy at the lack of cutting edge work at the Royal.<P> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <P>

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