CriticalDance Forum

English National Ballet 2012
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Author:  Francis Timlin [ Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: English National Ballet 2012

Luke Jennings reviews a performance of "The Sleeping Beauty" in Manchester for the Observer.


Author:  David [ Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: English National Ballet 2012

Vadim Muntagirov promoted to Lead Principal

English National Ballet star Vadim Muntagirov has been promoted to Lead Principal.

In a statement via the company, he says, "I am very happy to be promoted and thank you to Tamara Rojo for appreciating my work, thank you to Wayne Eagling and Maina Gielgud for working with me last 3 years, and to Daria Klimentova, for sharing her experiences with me on stage. My work hasn't now stopped but only just begun - with lots more hard work I will be improving myself even more, challenging myself, and of course allowing audiences to enjoy my dancing with English National Ballet."

Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of English National Ballet said: "We have decided to award Vadim with the new title of lead Principal as he is a simply outstanding dancer. Vadim has all the qualities of the classic Russian male dancer; technically assured, sensational partnering work, commanding stage-presence and an ability to attack the most difficult roles in the classical ballet repertoire."

The new "Lead Principal" title replaces the existing Senior Principal title for all dancers currently within that rank. The idea is that the new name better reflects the Company's new artistic direction. The other dancers in this new category include Daria Klimentová, Elena Glurdjidze, Fernanda Oliviera, Erina Takahashi, Dmitri Gruzdyev and Zdenek Konvalina.

Author:  David [ Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: English National Ballet 2012

'The Nutcracker'
English National Ballet
London Coliseum; December 13, 2012

David Mead

English National Ballet in The Nutcracker. Photo Annabel Moeller.JPG
English National Ballet in The Nutcracker. Photo Annabel Moeller.JPG [ 40.56 KiB | Viewed 4133 times ]

When you sit through as much dance as I do, it is sometimes easy to forget just how magical it can seem. And so far as the over 200 primary school children from Danesfield Primary School in Eltham, South-East London, I sat among at this performance of Wayne Eagling’s version of “The Nutcracker”, magic was certainly in the air. They sat spellbound for the whole afternoon. From some of the comments in the intermission and afterwards, they are not bad critics either!

This is English National Ballet’s tenth production of the Christmas classic and, it has to be said, by far the best of recent times. Peter Farmer’s designs for the exterior and interior of the Stahlbaum’s house exude Edwardian nostalgia. The scenes set outside the solid looking, warm and inviting house in particular are a delight, and come straight off a Christmas card, especially the opening with its skaters gliding along a frozen River Thames.

The choreography for the party and battle between the mice and soldiers disappoints. The former is pleasant but lacks much interest, while the latter gets exciting eventually but does take rather a long time to warm up. Drosselmeyer’s magic tricks are dreadfully weak, as is the transformation scene in which the growing of the Christmas tree passes almost unnoticed. It says much that the youngsters around me all thought that the best part of Act I was Snowflakes. They were good judges. It is a complex and delightful dance full of interest and nicely worked patterns, led here by Nancy Osbaldeston and Ksenia Ovsyanick.
's The Nutcracker. Photo Annabel Moeller.JPG
's The Nutcracker. Photo Annabel Moeller.JPG [ 41.77 KiB | Viewed 4133 times ]

Eagling’s idea of the ballet turning into a nightmare in which Clara and her Nutcracker (Drosselmeyer’s nephew) are attacked by the Mouse King and his followers is effective. His use of a brightly striped balloon to carry Clara and the nephew to the puppet theatre of Act II works a treat and provides some colourful contrast to the white Land of Snow.

Drosselmeyer’s puppet show from the party comes alive in Act II. Some aspects are a bit odd, not least the constant switching of the hero between a stocky Nutcracker (James Forbat) for who the costume does no favours, and the rather more lithe and attractive nephew (Dmitri Gruzdyev). Still, if it bothered Clara (Fernanda Oliviera), it didn’t show.

There’s more strangeness in the Arabian Dance, which features a whip wielding slave master and Clara’s brother in chains, who she dashes on to rescue. The rest of the divertissements are attractive, although the circling elders add little to the Russian Dance other than getting in the way of seeing the action. The Chinese dance is one of the better around, although why do Western choreographers almost without fail seem so incapable of incorporating some of the beautiful and vibrant elements of true Chinese dance into their choreography when it’s not a problem they have with dance from elsewhere?

The magic returns in a quite sublime Waltz of the Flowers. The ladies pink tutus with red rose decorations are dream in themselves. Standing out among the leads, not for the first time, was the light and elegant Shiori Kase, partnered beautifully by Laurent Liotardo. The spell continued into the grand pas de deux. Gruzdyev’s bounding leaps and fast pirouettes were precise. Oliviera was quick and clean with every step oozing quality. They complimented each other perfectly. Judging from the ever-increasing volume of applause from the children, they agreed.

Despite the occasional doubts, as ever, “Nutcracker” works its magic and draws you in. That glorious music helps of course. It’s a perfect start to the run up to the festive season. For all the dreamy scenario, magic and excellence of the leading dancers, the abiding memory, though, remains those two beautiful ensemble dances with the snowflakes and flowers.

“The Nutcracker” continues at the Coliseum to January 5, to be followed by “The Sleeping Beauty” from January 9-19 (see above for a review). See for details.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: English National Ballet 2012

A collection of miscellaneous thoughts from artistic director Tamara Rojo, compiled by Ruaridh Nicoll for the Observer.


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