CriticalDance Forum

Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season
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Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue May 11, 2010 1:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season

Jeffery Taylor reviews the Liam Scarlett premiere in The Daily Express.

Daily Express

A brief review of the triple bill by Zoe Anderson in The Independent.

The Independent

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon May 17, 2010 7:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season

David Dougill reviews multiple cast performances of the triple bill in the Sunday Times.

The Sunday Times

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon May 17, 2010 7:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season

In the Sunday Times, Ria Higgins interviews Royal Ballet Principal Dancer Marianela Nunez.

The Sunday Times

Author:  Cassandra [ Fri May 21, 2010 6:45 am ]
Post subject:  Cinderella

I only saw a single performance in the current run of Cinderella this time around but agree with those critics that consider the ballet has a neglected look about it. I too am less then happy with the design concept so accurately described by Clement Crisp but admit to loving the front curtain of Cinderella's fireplace with the pictures of Prokofiev and Ashton on the mantelpiece.

Some production details bother me a lot more than the designs, for example we no longer see the old beggar woman transformed into the fairy godmother onstage, a moment of magic that should never have been dropped. Then there is the jester who was a melancholy enigmatic figure originally but now just an annoyance like all other balletic jesters. The season fairies used to be danced by principals or top soloists at the very least but now dancers seem to be allocated these important roles in an arbitrary manner and two of the four on the night I went simply weren't up to the task (though Yuhui Choe’s Autumn fairy was fabulous) and their male partners were a bad joke. The comedy stepsisters were on the whole rather good but their ballroom antics with Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington have become coarse and ridiculous, upsetting the balance of Act II.

The principal roles at the performance were more than up to scratch with a gorgeous fairy godmother from Laura Morera and as Cinderella Roberta Marquez appeared to have emerged from a period of indifferent dancing that marred her performances a couple of seasons ago; she is now fresh and bright and dancing at her best once more. She doesn't catch the innate sadness that Cinderella should display but her scenes with her Prince were quite lovely. Ah yes, her Prince: that was Steven McRae. I was a little apprehensive at seeing McRae in Cinderella as that is danseur noble territory and I was uncertain that such a role divorced from his usual virtuoso emploi would suit him. Actually it suited him beautifully: he acted the part of that melancholy Prince who suddenly finds love in his ballroom to perfection, whilst his actual dancing was a lesson on how Ashton ought to be performed. From the first time I saw Steven McRae I felt I was watching someone very special, one of those rarities born to dance, kissed by Terpsichore rather than the result of classroom sweat. I hope the Royal Ballet appreciates what a star they have in their midst as the present crop of male dancers are a rag bag bunch, ill chosen and with mediocre dancing abilities and I would go so far as to say that some amongst this odd assortment of imports are actually damaging the reputation of the company as a whole.

The Aston legacy is now largely ignored and judging from this example it would seem that even when token works of his are shown they are thrown onto the stage with little concern for style or context, almost as if there is a move within the current RB organization to downgrade Ashton to nothing more than a footnote in the company's history. How this state of affairs has been allowed to come about I don’t know, but I sincerely hope that Monica Mason’s successor will reinstate Ashton to the central position he deserves and reinforce the English style he developed before it is too late.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue May 25, 2010 12:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season

Reviews of a triple bill of Wayne McGregor's "Chroma," Christopher Wheeldon's "Tryst" and Balanchine's "Symphony in C." In repertory from May 22 through June 11.

Terry O'Donovan in The Stage.

The Stage

Sarah Frater in The Evening Standard.

Evening Standard

Debra Craine in The Times.

The Times

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Wed May 26, 2010 2:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season

Further reviews of "Chroma," "Tryst" and "Symphony in C."

Mark Monahan in The Telegraph.

The Telegraph

Clement Crisp in The Financial Times.

Financial Times

Judith Mackrell in The Guardian.

The Guardian

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season

Ismene Brown reviews "Chroma," "Tryst" and "Symphony in C" for The Arts Desk.

The Arts Desk

Zoe Anderson reviews the same program in The Independent.

The Independent

Author:  Gavin Roebuck [ Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season

The Royal Ballet's New Works 2010 are on the ROH Linbury Studio Theatre from the 3-5 June 2010:

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season

In The Arts Desk, Ismene Brown reviews the New Works Programme in the Linbury Studio Theatre.

The Arts Desk

Gavin Roebuck reviews the New Works Programme in The Stage.

The Stage

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season

Sarah Crompton reviews the programme of New Works at the Linbury Studio Theatre in The Telegraph.

The Telegraph

Author:  Cassandra [ Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season

Changes of personnel at the Royal Ballet:

Those joining from August 2010

Nehemiah Kish as Principal (from Royal Danish Ballet)
Itziar Mendizabal as First Soloist (from Leipzig Ballet)
Sander Blommaert as Artist (from Royal Ballet School)
James Butcher as Artist (from Royal Ballet School)
Valentino Zuchetti as Artist (from Norwegian Ballet)
Camille Bracher as Artist (from Johannesburg, South Africa)
Beatriz Stix-Brunell as Artist (from School of American Ballet)

Of these seven dancers joining the Royal Ballet only two are from the Royal Ballet School further diluting the Royal Ballet style and putting it even more seriously into jeopardy within the company

Promotions from within the company:

Sergei Polunin is promoted to Principal
Johannes Stepanek is promoted to First Soloist
Melissa Hamilton is promoted to Soloist
Claire Calvert, Akane Takada, Fernando Montaño, Erico Montes are promoted to First Artist

So, yet another year passes without the superb Ricardo Cervera being made a principal in spite of the mediocre line up at male principal level.

The eventual promotion of Sergei Polunin was to be expected, certainly his technical excellence cannot be called into question but I feel this is a little premature. Perhaps the loss of Samodurov, who has been plagued by injury, meant that the hole he left in the ranks needing filling ASAP.

I am dismayed that Eric Underwood hasn't been promoted; surely this hugely popular dancer should be a first soloist (at least) by now? Kenta Kura and Brian Maloney also deserve promotion. I concentrate on the male dancers because the general standard at the RB is fearfully low and these dancers consistently dance well and give first class performances whenever they appear in featured roles, strange that their efforts go unrewarded.

Those leaving:

Miyako Yoshida - Principal Guest Artist
Viacheslav Samodurov - Principal
Yohei Sasaki - First Soloist
Gemma Sykes - Soloist
Cindy Jourdain - First Artist
Ernst Meisner - First Artist
Richard Ramsey - First Artist

There seems to be a notable name absent from this list: Ivan Putrov. Mr Putrov was replaced in both the last two programmes at Covent Garden this season without any reason being given and I have heard that he was also dropped from the Japanese tour. If rumours that he has left the company are true, then that would be catastrophic for the RB as the principal roster of male dancers is mainly filled by amiable porteurs. Only four are top class classical dancers: Acosta, Kobborg, MacRae and Putrov. With Acosta making noises about quitting dancing and Kobborg being of a similar age, the loss of Putrov would have the most serious consequences. Although on the whole the female principal line up is strong, the male ranks from top to bottom are of an appallingly low standard; before too long the Royal Ballet will become a laughing stock with (as in the case of one male principal) featured dancers that can barely rise off the ground and have trouble putting one foot in front of another.

The company cannot afford to lose a dancer of Putrov's abilities and I hope to goodness the rumours prove false. Were I Monica Mason I'd be on my knees begging him to stay.

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:49 am ]
Post subject:  Ivan Putrov

Since I voiced my fears that Ivan Putrov may have left the RB, I've been contacted by someone who claims that Monica Mason has issued a statement in Japan (!) that he has left the company. Why this has been made public abroad and not in the UK just adds to the mystery.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season

Here is the press release from the Royal Ballet, dated July 2, announcing Putroov's departure.

Ivan Putrov departure

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season

So it is true, but already there is a lot of speculation along the lines of 'Did he jump, or was he pushed'?

I really can't see why he should resign at this stage in his career and after having spent so long with the company, on the other hand if he was sacked, that doesn't make sense either as why would the company want to get rid of one of the very few male dancers that is actually any good?

Either way it is the Royal Ballet that finishes up the poorer.

Author:  Tahor [ Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season

"Why would the company want to get rid of one of the very few male dancers that is actually any good?" you ask...

The answer to that: because Monica Mason has appalling judgement and an odd taste in dancers that often favours those that can't actually dance classical roles....this is, after all, the woman who effectively removed Sylvie Guillem from the Royal Ballet.

I agree Mason should have been on her knees begging such a great dancer to stay.

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