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 Post subject: Royal Ballet Triple Bill: Balanchine / Tetley / Kylian
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 1:49 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Royal Ballet Triple Bill
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian
published: October 7, 2006

On Thursday, however, it was redeemed by an extraordinary cast, led by Alina Cojocaru and Sarah Lamb, whose recklessly articulated dancing gave Voluntaries an aura of grandeur.
more...


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Muscular angels and pioneers of the future
by SARAH CROMPTON for the Daily Telegraph
published: October 9, 2006

It is all very beautiful and hugely effective – particularly the closing image during which the dancers raise their arms and walk like pioneers into the future. I find it slightly empty but I could not fault the performances – led by Steven McRae, Laura Morera and Ricardo Cervera.
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Last edited by kurinuku on Wed Oct 11, 2006 3:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:55 am 
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Location: London UK
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When Darcey Bussell is lifted across the stage - her legs taut, her head back and her throat lushly bared - she looks like a woman in the aftermath of some appalling erotic triumph.


How can an 'erotic triumph' be appalling? Sounds like a contradiction in terms to me. Seriously though, Bussell was very good in this work as was Leanne Benjamin, the other leading female. Not so sure about their back up though as the male dancers in the background looked a rather poor lot on the whole and they had in their midst the newest American recruit, Eric Underwood, who danced with the crisp precision and sharp musicality that Balanchine requires showing up his new colleagues and making them look a bit limp in comparison, but then the RB has frequently struggled with Balanchine with just a select few managing to correctly interpret his individual style.

Glen Tetley's "Voluntaries" hasn't been danced in an age and I found myself in the midst of a good deal of excited chatter when the lights came up, even overhearing one woman claiming it was the best ballet she had ever seen! Certainly it is a very striking work by a seriously under-valued choreographer and judging from the reactions I heard, perhaps it deserves more frequent appearances in the rep. All the same I was a little uncomfortable with the manner in which it was danced, with legs being slung up towards the ceiling and the leading dancer, Cojocaru, being thrown about almost in the manner of a rag doll. I vividly remember Lynn Seymour in this role and she gave it a certain gravitas that was missing on Thursday night; the ballet was after all created as a response to the sudden death of John Cranko and I always felt it wasn't supposed to be just a virtuoso exercise.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 3:34 am 
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I saw the triple bill also and whilst I thought that Leanne was good in the Balanchine I wasn't so comfortable watching Darcey. She is an excellent dancer but I felt she wasn't that at home in the pas de deux. Maybe I was expecting something else.

I would have to disagree with you totally about the male dancers in the background though. I thought they danced extremely well and really showed themselves off in a good light.

Eric Underwood was indeed very good but no more IMO than any of the other guys on that stage, as far as I could see he wasn't doing anything that anyone else wasn't doing and the danccing was pretty uniformed throughout. There were a few guys actually that I thought looked pretty good but he was in no means "showing up his colleagues."

This is based on last nights viewing and it may have been diferent on Saturday night.

It is a dificult one when Royal are dancing Balanchine but I think we all need to remember that Royal aren't going to look like NYCB when dancing Balanchine and if that's what people want then they obviously need to see NYCB. What Royal do do though is take a choreographer whose work is more unfamiliar and they put their own slight style on it which is what makes seeing one company dance it to another very diferent and enjoyable for many diferent reasons.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 4:51 am 
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I'm very glad to hear that the male dancers pulled it together at last nights performance as they weren't too impressive at their first attempt.

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It is a dificult one when Royal are dancing Balanchine but I think we all need to remember that Royal aren't going to look like NYCB when dancing Balanchine and if that's what people want then they obviously need to see NYCB. What Royal do do though is take a choreographer whose work is more unfamiliar and they put their own slight style on it which is what makes seeing one company dance it to another very diferent and enjoyable for many diferent reasons.


That’s very true up to a point, but don't forget that there is a Balanchine Trust to oversee performances to make sure that they don't stray too far from the master's intentions. The RB always seems happiest when there is a story line to follow e.g. Prodigal Son, or a certain mood to be caught as in Serenade or Ballet Imperial; it's the purely abstract works such as Violin Concerto that seem to leave them rather exposed. I've always thought of the company as being naturally 'warm' rather than 'cool'.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 6:02 am 
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Yes that is very true and at times I did feel as if the company were trying to find a story in something that wasn't really there.

It is nice to see them though doing something that is "just" dance without any of the other trimmings though.

In regard to the men in Stravinsky, I do find when I sit in the opera house that if I sit downstairs everything looks really together but when I sit upstairs I really notice if people aren't dancing very in sync- obviously the angle is different but I think where one sits in the opera house can really alter the experience quite a lot.

I was in the stalls last night and they were very tight throughout but maybe if I'd have sat somewhere else it could have looked different.

I think though that we do have strong guys in the company especially with the younger years who haven't had so much in terms of opportunities up till now due to the repertoire.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 4:10 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Rocket attack? It's not personal
by JENNY GILBERT for the Independent
published: October 15, 2006

Some had queried the wisdom of the company opening the season with an obscure mixed bill rather than a blockbuster. The logic was plain enough to me. After proving itself in the finicky detail of Petipa and Ashton all last year, this was the company's chance to show its rangier paces.
more in the second part of the linked article


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:47 am 
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Location: London
The Royal Ballet
“Triple Bill”
Royal Opera House, London
13 October 2006


The Royal Ballet opened its new season at the Royal Opera House with an interesting Triple Bill of choreographies made by different artists during the seventies and that the company has acquired at different times during its history. The programme opened with George Balanchine’s “Stravinsky Violin Concerto”, a work that was part of Dowell’s legacy to the company during his time as director. The ballet is Balanchine at its best. It is eloquent, it is amazingly musical and, though plotless, it contains so many moods and feelings that it is one of those pieces where it is easy to see that plotless does not equal meaningless.

On the evening I attended, the main roles were danced by Leanne Benjamin, Ricardo Cervera, Darcey Bussell and Edward Watson. Bussell and Watson in the first pas de deux were brilliant in their interpretation of the nervous anxiety of the music. Both of them rallied through the ballet with unusual zest and daringness. Benjamin and Cervera lacked the stage personas to carry their second pas de deux forward and make an impact in it. It is one of the most beautiful pas de deux in its desolate nature, its acceptance of loss and yet, the couple did not seem to reach the profundity of its many layers of interpretation.

The second work in the evening was “Voluntaries”, created by Glenn Tetley after the death of his friend John Cranko for the Stuttgart Ballet. The ballet is a monument to death and a personal farewell to a friend by those who originally danced it. From the anguish and total despair of the main couple –originally Marcia Haydeé and Richard Cragun- to the more contemplative and serene stance of the trio. On this occasion the main roles were taken by Alina Cojocaru and Federico Bonelli, and the lead woman in the trio –originally danced by Birgit Keil- was Sarah Lamb. Both women were wonderful. I had not seen Cojocaru giving such a heart felt performance before. Her body broke and soared in an attempt to overcome her grief. Unfortunately, Bonelli was not her equal. A very academic dancer, he seems unable to make that wonderful transition from classroom onto stage… Lamb was joined by Thiago Soares and Rupert Pennefather, who were more than accomplished partners and whose stage presence was a match to Lamb’s beautiful interpretation. Special mention must go to Steven McRae who soared through the ballet and made a wonderful impression leading the ensemble in his appearances.

The evening closed with Jirí Kylián’s “Sinfonietta”. On this occasion McRae had plenty of opportunity to make an impression on the audience as he was given one of the leading male roles. The wonderful thing about this young dancer is that he seems to combine perfect physique and technique with an unfailing determination to make the most of whatever he is given. His sincerity and enthusiasm on stage rarely fail to engage the audience.

“Sinfonietta” was new to me on the stage and, I have to admit that, out of the three works, it was the one that looked the most dated . I believe that Kylián has been a victim of his own success and, the passing of time has seen so may works “after Sinfonietta” that the piece looks terribly dejá vu. Still, it is a very musical piece with some beautiful ensemble moments.

The dancing during the evening was fine, though hats off to the wonderful scores chosen by the three choreographers that provided one of the most outstanding evenings at the Royal Opera House for a very long time. Stravinsky, Poulenc and Janácek provided scores to three master choreographers who did not hesitate to make full use of the musical possibilities of such works. Rarely does one see so much musicality in the dancers of the company as on an evening like this.


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