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 Post subject: Darcey Bussell Farewell
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 8:34 am 
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Darcey Bussell Farewell
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London
Tuesday 15 May 2007



Darcey Bussell announced her retirement from the stages early on this year. To mark this occasion, Sadler’s Wells announced a Farewell Programme put together by George Piper Dancers (aka Ballet Boyz). This was happy news, as GPD has shown on several occasions that if there is something they can do is put a programme that will entertain and attract dance audiences.

The evening started with a film of a very young Darcey Bussell in performance at school dancing William Tuckett’s “On Classicism” with William Trevitt. Curtain went up and both Bussell and Trevitt in their mature selves danced the opening of the piece, set to Bach’s beautiful “Goldberg Variations”.

From then on, the first part of the programme combined both film (interviews with Bussell and unique footage of her dancing) and live performance and, it must be said, the transitions from one to another were faultless.

The next dance fragment was William Forsythe’s “In the Middle Somewhat Elevated” with Bussell and Roberto Bolle. Both were very good in the rendering of their variations and main pas de deux, though if truth must be said, this was the only item of the evening that gave away Bussell’s age, as the physicality demanded by Forsythe’s choreography is not easily played down.

Christopher Wheeldon’s pas de deux from “Tryst” brought Jonathan Copeback from retirement, wonderful news as he partnered Bussell on many occasions. It was fantastic to see him back onto the stage and this piece acted as a reminder of the wonderful moments that the second half of the programme was about to bring.

After a beautiful –though overedited- film of Ashton’s “Cinderella” variation, the audience got the chance to experience Bussell’s rendition of Ashton choreography live in the pas de deux from “Sylvia”. Unfortunately, the variations were not danced, but Bussell looked radiant and Bolle was a more than courteous partner.

The second part of the programme was time travelling into the past through Kenneth MacMillan’s “Winter Dreams”. Not having seen it since its premiere in 1990, I was looking forward to the performance of this work. To see it again and with so many dancers of her generation joining Bussell for her farewell was poignant to say the least. Both Jonathan Cope and Nicola Trannah came out of retirement to play the roles that were either created for her (Trannah) or for Dowell (Cope). Tamara Rojo played the youngest sister – a role created for Viviana Durante- and Roberto Bolle performed the main male role once created for Irek Mukhamedov. Both Michael Nunn and William Trevitt joined the group to dance the roles of the youngest sister’s admirers.

I still found the ballet too long and at times redundant in certain narrative aspects that tend to linger choreographically for too long. Still, the performances were outstanding and a strong sense of nostalgia pervaded the piece and made it all the more poignant to watch.

Bussell’s Farewell means the end of a generation of Royal Ballet dancers. It may not have been a great generation; it certainly was a troublesome one and one that went through very difficult times indeed. Personally, I cherished those dancers and felt very sorry when they slowly abandoned the company at such young ages.

Bussell has said that there will be no “guest appearances” and no returns. She is leaving the stage at her peak when she could have surely lasted for another five to ten years… While dance becomes a younger and younger art form, something seems to be getting lost from the theatres. Watching those dancers together in “Winter Dreams” back on the stage after such a long time reminded the audience that maturity in dance comes at a very high price.


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 Post subject: Televised Farewell
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 6:41 am 
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Bussell's final performance can be seen on BBC2 on Friday evening.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressr ... sell.shtml


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:04 pm 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
The last dance
by ALAN FRANKS for the Times
published: May 26, 2007

While many 38-year-olds would put in crazy quantities of time and money to hang on to such racehorse condition as hers, she is moving eagerly in the opposite direction, ...
more...

***

Quote:
Darcey's last dance
by MARTIN KETTLE for the Guardian
published: June 4, 2007

But at least Bussell is doing what the prime minister has found it more difficult to do. She is going out at the top, not waiting to leave until she loses the thing that took her there. By doing so, she is doing exactly what one of Tony Blair's underlings vainly hoped he could achieve, quitting while the public begs for more.
more...


***

Quote:
Royal Ballet
by DEBRA CRAINE for the Times
published: June 5, 2007

This unprecedented coverage marks the end of an era, for Bussell was the first English ballerina since Margot Fonteyn to capture the popular imagination, and there’s no one waiting in the wings to replace her in the hearts and minds of the British public.
more...


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:36 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I have never been as enthusiastic about Darcey Bussell's dancing as most UK ballet lovers - her popularity often meant that her performances were the first to be sold out at The Royal Opera House. However, while roles in the more complex psychological dramas such as Tudor's "Lilac Garden" sometimes seemed to elude her, I remember being moved by the emotional intensity of her Bayadere, as well as admiring her clean, elegant movement.

Kanter's sour words, especially questioning whether Ms Bussell was a ballet dancer, diminish their author rather than the artist.


Last edited by Stuart Sweeney on Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 2:54 am 
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Quote:
Jeffrey Taylor in ballet.co (and probably in the Sunday Express as well?) proposes that Bussell be appointed to the House of Lords.


Elsewhere I've read that she and her family are about to emigrate to Australia, which makes Taylor's proposal particularly inappropriate.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:56 am 
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Sorry, Stewart, but I can't back down on this.

I am not alone in considering Miss Bussell an athlete in pointe shoes - which is, not concidentally, the way she has always described herself.

The one favour that she has done classical dancing - and it is a big favour, actually - is by loudly and clearly describing the almost-unbelievable harm we have chosen, with ice-cold determination, to wreak upon young people formerly thought of as artists.

Those of us who were once in the trade, long ago as that may have been (and as much as the author of these lines was an absolute disgrace to the trade!), have over the last thirty years seen changes to "technique" so destructive, that we are no longer talking about the same activity.

It is now a sport.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:16 am 
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I would like to remind everyone to stay civil in their discussions. Ms. Bussell may be a representative of a particular interpretation of ballet technique that is not appreciated by some, but there is no need to attack her entire career or her personally.

Keep it friendly, people.


Good luck to Ms. Bussell in Australia (if that is indeed where she is going). I hope the dryer climate will help her joints. I know it helps mine.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:34 am 
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Quite fail to understand why some see this as a "personal attack".

Have said nothing that has not been said dozens of times over in the press.

No bone to pick with the lady , who seems perfectly charming otherwise. And she has trouble enough with her bones, without others picking them.

The point I am attempting to make is something quite different.

A bon entendeur, salut.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 5:04 am 
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To get back to Darcey Bussell’s retirement I shall miss her because she is the only British dancer reasonably well known to the general public and when she is gone the art of ballet will slip even further off the radar in the U.K. It is fair to argue that she was the chosen recipient of the Royal Opera House’s publicity machine and that perhaps other dancers would have been more deserving, but she was put in the public eye and has stayed there, becoming that rarity in the world of ballet, ‘a household name’. There really is no one to replace her unique position, as there isn’t another British dancer remotely capable of doing so in an environment where the very term British ballet dancer is actually in danger of becoming an oxymoron.

Personally I never considered Bussell to be a very versatile dancer and although a number of roles eluded her I have on occasion seen her dance gloriously. She was unlucky in some ways to have followed in the wake of Sylvie Guillem as I suspect she wouldn’t have trodden the thorny path of extreme technique that has clearly cost her so dear had she not been of the generation that came immediately after the French star. However lets make it quite clear that Bussell, like Guillem herself, had a lot more going for her than just a six o’clock extension and neither dancer was so artistically bankrupt as the acrobatic monstrosities that are emerging from Russia of late.

I have a problem with the linking of ballet to sport or athleticism; ballet is an art form and to consider it otherwise is to damage the art irreparably.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 5:22 am 
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Opera Singing is the most unatural way of using the voice possible but this doesn't stop the art of Opera singing from thriving and no one ever questions it!

I totally understand the points being made and do agree with all of them. Being someone who has experienced ballet only through the "athletic" age I do really prefer modern lines of dance. In realms of physics it is, to me, more pleasing and satisfying to watch. Not because I'm sitting there thinking, "wow look how high her leg is" but in the physics of life it seems more complete and right and based on the lines of nature.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 12:24 pm 
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KANTER wrote:
You might, for example, wish to consider the views of Jean-Guillaume Bart, at http://auguste.vestris.free.fr/Intervie ... glish.html


The most disturbing thing in that article were Bart's comments about the loss of épaulement in ballet at the POB! That's like saying dancers don't plié anymore.

--Andre


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:34 pm 
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Once again this all just someone's opinion, doctor or not. I see it as overly reactionary.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 4:02 pm 
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Unsure as to what is meant by "reactionary".

Perhaps misunderstanding owing to US vs. European culture?

On this side of pond, "reactionary" would be taken to mean "extreme right-wing".

There's a lot of that sort of thing around at the moment in Europe, but not necessarily in the ballet.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 11:49 am 
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it has exactly the same meaning in the US


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 1:34 pm 
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Quote:
Why ballet in Britain is thriving
by ZOE ANDERSON for the Independent
published: June 8, 2007

The 20 years of Bussell's career have seen radical changes for dance in Britain, including an increase in audience, in performances and in people taking part in dance. Strictly Come Dancing, with a regular television audience of 10 million, has encouraged many to take up dancing. About five million people attend dance classes, quite apart from Saturday night clubbing. Dance audiences have grown by almost 15 per cent in the past six years; from 1995 to 2000, the audience for contemporary dance grew by almost 30 per cent. Britain now has more companies, more performances, more dancing.
more...


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