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 Post subject: EDWARD WATSON
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 5:59 am 
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Any views or thoughts about this promising dancer of the royal ballet?
Please do share.
Cheerios


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 6:18 am 
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I would say that Edward Watson is an outstanding dancer in the modern repertoire but not, in my view, a classicist.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 11:57 am 
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yes i do agree..
but he is quite an amazing artist when it comes to acting characters in period repertoire...
but his techniques are not as clean and sure for classics... sadly...
*pixie*


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 5:23 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I see Edward Watson as one of the most interesting dancers currently performing in any style in the UK. He harnesses his unusual flexibility to make distinctive movement and his intelligence to produce moving characterisations.

To date, he has excelled in the MacMillan one-act rep. However, I thought his Romeo interesting and look forward to seeing it again in a couple of years.

His dancing can be astonishing.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:39 am 
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Writing in the The Times, Debra Craine, sees Edward Watson successfully tackling a role from the classical repertoire:

Quote:
Watson is a handsome performer whose dancing is finished with elegance and a courtly classical line, qualities which make him ideal casting for Albrecht. But given the essential dilemma of Albrecht — that he’s a liar and a cheat yet he truly loves Giselle — you need an actor of shading and detail in the role. Happily, Watson fits that bill too.

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/ ... 41,00.html


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:34 am 
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Thank you for the post.

Yes, I watched his debut Albrecht. Stunning performance, truly remarkable. I am looking forward to more.
Classical works may not be his best skills, but his charm and technique are constantly refining to make himself an outstanding dancer.

*pixie*


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:16 am 
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Many thanks for those comments, pixie - wish I could have seen it.


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 Post subject: Ed's Giselle
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 7:03 pm 
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I went to watch the last night of Giselle at the Opera House moments ago, and thought of sharing my experience with fellow members.

"Tonight's performance was the best ever, especially Act 2.
Dancing the role for the countless time, Leanne Benjamin never fail to show a fresh new side of Giselle. One is never tired of watching her portraying the frail and gentle beauty. For the 2 shows that I have seen, Leanne is like a budding flower, constantly unfolding each petal of feminity and innocence. It is poetry in motion. Her dancing in Act 1 was delivered with enormous vitality and life. In her mad scene, she just got better and better, and more convincing then ever. It was heart breaking to see her soul and love crumple into pieces.
Edward Watson is emerging with brilliance with his dancing and acting. In Act 1, he was much better than his opening performance on the 15th March. He left most of his boyishness behind, and brought out a more manly, authoritative character as Court Albercht. During his courtship to Giselle, he maintained and enhanced his cheekiness and affectionate side of the character and also his humiliated side when he was exposed, which showed some humanity. His continual affections towards Giselle was written all over his face. He embraces her with his soft look towards her direction, when she was across the stage from him. His dance technique improved since 15th March too. Perhaps it must be the opening and first performance vibes that caused him to be nervous and reserved... Nevertheless, tonight's performance was extremely outstanding.
Personally, it was Act 2 that swept me off my feet, and brought the entire house down. Firstly, I have to say, the corp de ballet was truly remarkable tonight. Their arabesques were extremely strong and their lines and body lines were well-defined. Very very impressive.
Both Leanne Benjamin and Edward Watson danced with conviction and such strong emotions. Each of their solos, were executed with excellent performance and technique. It was PERFECT. They delivered a new level, a new class of Giselle and Albrecht.
Leanne danced her solos and her pas de deux effortlessly, her landings were as light as feather, and her adagio was performed with etherality. On her entrance, when she had to do her spins, she was quick, agile and precise, and coming out of it, she changed the dynamic of the movement, creating a new climatic moment.
Edward's solos in Act 2 was breathtaking. His bravura leaps, beats and pirouettes were clean and sustained. He made it looked very very well-rehearsed and well-thought, and of course, without a doubt, effortless too. His acting in Act 2 is better than what he did on the 15th March. He wasn't just dancing the character, he had made the audience believed that he IS Albrecht. One could feel his remorse, and pain and his broken heart when he kneeled at Giselle's grave. His 'heart' may be broken, but through him and his dancing, it has touched the many hearts of the audience.

I don't think I need to say much about their pas de deux. Both principles supports each other both physically and emotionally. It felt like time was at a standstill when the two of them did their pas de deux. The connection between them was beyond the ethereal world. It was the most heartbreaking when Giselle exits... and Albrecht left sorrowfully alone on stage.

Their performance was extremely convincing, it did not just touched the hearts of the audience, but left tears in our eyes, (well, I know the lady beside me and I were touched to tears)."


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 4:55 am 
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Having seen the same performance on Saturday evening I’m afraid I have to disagree with much of what Pixie has written as to me this was in no way an outstanding performance with only Leanne Benjamin’s extraordinary interpretation as Giselle shining through as exceptional. As the ballet is based fundamentally around the character of Giselle, it can be argued that not much else matters but to totally enjoy a ballet of that magnitude, the other elements of the work should be at a higher level than was seen on Saturday night.

I’m sorry to say that the main problem with the ballet was Edward Watson’s Albrecht. The role simply doesn’t suit him and although he has some good moments in the first act he doesn’t came near to the aristocratic bearing one expects to see. In the second act the choreography was simply beyond him. The level of dancing required for the role wasn’t reached and his poor épaulement and petit batterie made me wonder how anyone could have thought him suitable for the role in the first place. Watson is a superbly gifted dancer and one of the most outstanding interpretive artists to be seen anywhere today, but he is not a premier danseur and casting him in this kind of role is a mistake.

The finest male dancing of the evening was from Ricardo Cervera in the pas de six: a potential Albrecht? Vanessa Palmer’s Myrtha started and ended very well but seemed a bit shaky in the middle – lots of potential there though. The corps was disappointing with one unfortunate girl dropping her leg from arabesque not once but twice. All in all it wasn’t that great but Benjamin is one of the best Giselle’s around and hopefully the next time I see her in the role she’ll be getting better support all round.


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 8:09 am 
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Quote:
Ricardo Cervera in the pas de six: a potential Albrecht?

yes indeed... I am utterly impressed and entertained by Ricardo and Laura Morera's pas de six. I am looking forward to their debut in La fille next week.
I expect fireworks.

Edward Watson may not be 'made' to be a classical dancer, but his acting has improved a lot. I guess, technique is something to work on, but expression and acting has to come from within. Of cos Leanne Benjamin has everything, after her many years of experience. and this is just Watson's 2nd Albrecht performance.

Personally, i thought Vanessa Palmer's Myrtha could have been better. I have seen her performed Myrtha when she was in top form. Her pointe shoes were extremely noisy and her jumps were not as light and sustained as they used to...

Just my 2 pence worth of thoughts
*pixie* :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 4:43 pm 
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I disagree with Cassandra's opinion. The 'anyone' who decided to cast Watson is in fact the artistic director of the Royal , Monica Mason, who felt that he was suitable for the role. Several good reviews in the newspapers
would seem to substantiate her casting policy.


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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 5:07 pm 
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I simply must jump in here and say that I think Cassandra has this issue spot on.

Firstly for Ruthamandakent to say that the decision to cast Edward Watson in the role of Albrecht must be correct because Monica Mason made it is, with respect, simply a ludicrous defence. Is Monica Mason now some kind of Goddess whose every single utterance represents some kind of unquestionable divine inspiration?! The simple fact is that Monica Mason, just like the rest of us, is capable of making mistakes and misjudgments. All Artistic Directors cast dancers in various roles that then sometimes in practice turns out to be miscasting. And in any case the record of management decisions from this particular Artistic Director is fairly questionable anyway of late…(this is after all the AD that this year decided not to offer Sylvie Guillem a renewal of her guest contract…like Sylvie or not all will admit that she is a Prima Ballerina that companies far greater than the Royal Ballet would kill to have a guest contract with, let alone then make this ill judged management decision to throw that all away…). We also have to remember the massive pressure the RB is under to have English principal dancers to replace Cope etc. Sometimes in life you have to take the best that is on offer, but that does not mean that the option is actually totally suitable.

I am actually also a big fan of Edward in the right repertoire…he is an outstanding modern, neo-classical and MacMillan (some roles) dancer, a unique and very special artist. But he is simply not a classical principal; he does not have the right body or an appropriate classical technique to dance these roles. I would question anyone’s view and understanding of the aesthetics of pure classical dance if they think otherwise.

I agree with much of what has been said positively about Edward’s performance of Albrecht from an acting, dramatic and interpretative point of view. There is no doubt he had some lovely touches of character in his Act 1, and he partnered Leanne beautifully and developed an attractive relationship with his Giselle. However, there are many, many male dancers around the world that can do that, this is not the difficult part nor the test of classical aptitude, compared to what is to come in Act 2. Personally my view is you start with the Act 2 variation and work backwards from there, not the other way round.

As soon as Edward entered the stage in Act 2 we saw the main problem – those hunched shoulders. During that initial run round the stage after Giselle’s first appearance, up they went. Hunched, tense shoulders like this completely negate classical ideals to the core, creating poor epaulement, distorted proportions, as well as causing such tension and restriction in the whole body as to affect the quality of everything like turning, jumping etc. I presume that this constant issue is due to a combination of nervous tension, poor training as a child (surely this fault should have been removed in early training by his teachers) and perhaps some natural physical inclination. Sometimes this facet actually looks fantastic – those hunched shoulders are great in Cathy Marston to express isolation, Wayne MacGreggor to create interesting modernist forms, and roles like a Brother in MacMillan’s Triad again to express isolation and an inner emotional torment. But come on, not in a purely classical, aristocratic role like Albrecht, there is no place for this there. And apart from visual aesthetics, upper body constriction causes a myriad of knock-on technical faults, and inhibits the execution of proper classical technique, as steps cannot be perfectly executed when the body contains tension like that.

The old theatrical saying, “were the two of us actually at the same performance?”, comes to mind ref the 29th April performance and Pixie’s comments. I simply cannot agree ref this Albrecht that “…solos were executed with excellent performance and technique. It was PERFECT…Edward’s solos in Act 2 was breathtaking…clean and sustained”. From what I saw the double cabrioles (as should be) during the beginning diagonal were not achieved at all, the feet were a blur upon beating and hardly enough height was gained off the ground. In any case the body is held in such a position in the air (again partly due to upper body tension and a general misapplication of technique) as to make double cabrioles, let alone the backbends that should have followed the landings, impossible. The whole body was put under pressure during this variation to the point that classical form was distorted, flexibility of the torso suppressed, and co-ordination and harmony lacking, resulting also in a stumble prior to preparing for a turn that he only just recovered from. He got through the variation, just. Nowhere near as bad as it could have been, but certainly nowhere near "perfect". The feet were also blurred during entrechat, he simply does not have the ballon required for these steps.

Pixie deep down does seem to recognise (correct me if I am wrong) that this dancer does not have the strongest of classical techniques or a naturally classical body. Of course Edward has only danced the role twice, but to the trained eye it can be seen that the technical level is unlikely ever to rise significantly as Albrecht, his body simply is not made for this type of role. Pixie mentions a hope for improvement in technique, but at the stage this dancer now is, with this inbuilt upper tension fault, there is little serious prospect of any further enhancements of technique.

I think it is time for some of Edward’s fans to stop being blinded by total fan worship. It is actually more supportive of someone to express an opinion that they may be moving in a direction that ultimately will expose their weaknesses rather than allow their strengths to shine. Stuart says above “his dancing can be astonishing”. Indeed it can, and we have all witnessed it many times. But let it always be astonishingly good by being seen in the right repertoire, I want Edward to be astonishing every time he is on stage, and this is just not possible in roles like Albrecht.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 8:08 pm 
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I do agree with every word Tahor said, but i am not trying to contradict myself. Its just that, personally, I regard Edward Watson is a well-equipped neo-classical, modern dancer, and classical repertoire is definitely not his forte. And by saying that his solos in Giselle (29th April) was breathtaking, i felt, it was his best out of his worst (This do not sound very good, but its how I feel).

I was not utterly impressed with his first matinee performance of Giselle technically for I understand that due to his physique, he was not made to be classify as a classical dancer. However, his acting did managed to save his performance a little. But I know that being a principal, its not all about acting, cos the whole point of dancing is also about the technicality.
With regards to his 2nd performance on the 29th Apr: his technique may not be anywhere near to Roberto Bolle, or Jonathan Cope, but I was commenting in regards to Watson's personal development. What I am trying to say here is, his performance that evening was an improvement from his matinee. It is not the best classical solo I have ever seen, but my point is, he did it better than before.

One thing I ponder... do we set the same expectation for all dancers? Do we set the same benchmark for Sylvie and Darcey when they are both dancing Juliet or Manon? Alina and Tamara? Carlos and Roberto? Or do we set our benchmark according to what we believe is the "almost-perfect" dancer (which we made up in our heads), or do we set our benchmark for these dancers according to what we believe the dancers are capable of achieving? This are the questions I asked myself when watching Watson and the other principals and soloists.


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 8:24 am 
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Quote:
One thing I ponder... do we set the same expectation for all dancers? Do we set the same benchmark for Sylvie and Darcey when they are both dancing Juliet or Manon? Alina and Tamara? Carlos and Roberto? Or do we set our benchmark according to what we believe is the "almost-perfect" dancer (which we made up in our heads), or do we set our benchmark for these dancers according to what we believe the dancers are capable of achieving? This are the questions I asked myself when watching Watson and the other principals and soloists.


A benchmark performance is the one we judge all others by I suppose, though I tend to steer clear of the term on the whole. When watching a classical work I’m aware of what I’ve seen before and expect to see a performance that conforms to a certain level of technique and interpretation, and I expect that level from both leading dancers and corps de ballet. A performance doesn’t have to be outstanding to be enjoyable but does have to achieve a kind of minimum standard.


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 4:10 pm 
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Quote:
I expect that level from both leading dancers and corps de ballet.


cassandra, thank you very much for your reply... i am still very very green and inexperienced in this area and would like to learn and know more...
would you say that one would expect more or less the same 'level' for the different casts too? Or one may establish this 'level/benchmark' by comparing casts?
cheerios
*pixie*


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