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English National Ballet 2012-13
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Author:  David [ Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:19 am ]
Post subject:  English National Ballet 2012-13

Karen Napier Announced As Chief Executive of English National Ballet

English National Ballet yesterday (October 9) announced the appointment of Karen Napier as Chief Executive. She will take up her post on 1 February, 2013. She is presently Associate Dean, Advancement, at London Business School, where she also sits on the Executive Committee that provides strategic leadership and direction to the organisation.

In her role as Chief Executive, Napier will be responsible for developing the company's strategic and financial policies to maximise resources and thus aid artistic director Tamara Rojo to realise the company's artistic objectives.

Although coming from an academic institution, Napier has a background in arts and culture. She was Development Manager at Rambert Dance Company from 1992, before moving to English National Opera in 1996 as Head of Corporate and Trust Giving. In 1999 she joined the Southbank Centre Hayward Gallery to establish and lead its first development department. Promoted to Director of Development in 2003, she created the fundraising strategy for the £111m Transformation Campaign, exceeding its original £54m and culminating in the re-opening of the Royal Festival Hall in 2007.

Napier is also a founder trustee of the Hofesh Shechter Dance Company, a trustee of London International Festival of Theatre, of CASE Europe (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) and is a member of the ROSS Group. She is a Fellow of the RSA, a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Association of Project Management and has studied at Columbia Business School.

Speaking to English National Ballet staff on October 9, Napier said: “I think that English National Ballet is the most exciting company in the UK arts scene today and I feel privileged to have the chance to lead it. Building on its remarkable history, I want to enable its brilliant dancers and artistic team and the whole organisation to unlock even greater potential and bring exciting ballet, both classics and new commissions, to engage an ever-widening audience.”

John Talbot, Chair of English National Ballet, said: “Karen combines a deep knowledge and understanding of the dance and cultural world with an outstanding track record as a business leader. She has the ideal qualities and experience to take the helm of English National Ballet at this most exciting time in its history. Karen will join Tamara Rojo, our new Artistic Director, in a formidable and dynamic partnership.”

Author:  David [ Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: English National Ballet 2012-13

English National Ballet 2012-13 season and new appointments

Much of this has already been reported elsewhere, but for completeness, here are full details of ENB's 2012-13 season and other announcements made at the end of September 2012.

Cutting to the meat of the announcements, Artistic Director Tamara Rojo announced that the 2012-13 season will two new mixed programmes: "Ecstasy and Death" and a "Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev".

"Ecstasy and Death" runs at the London Coliseum from 18-21 April 2013 and features the beautiful and poetic "Petite Mort" by Jiří Kylián. I just hope ENB really gets to grips with this. I have seen ballet companies fail dismally to really understand it. Alos on the programme is "Le Jeunne Homme et la Mort" by Roland Petit and the slowly building but ultimately dazzling "Etudes" by Harald Lander.

"A Tribute To Rudolf Nureyev" is also at the Coliseum, from 25-27 July 2013. This features "Petrushka" by Michel Fokine, "Song of a Wayfarer" by Maurice Béjart, and Nureyev’s own staging of Act III from "Raymonda". The least known of these, "Song of a Wayfarer" is the story of a romantic wayfarer who wanders from town to town looking for freedom but who is condemned by destiny to a life of eternal unhappiness and loneliness. Béjart created it especially for Nureyev.

The season also includes MacMillan's "The Sleeping Beauty", on tour from 17 October - 2 March 2013. Rojo will dance Aurora at some performances, including the season opener on 17 October in Milton Keynes. Elsewhere, Begoña Cao will dance with Zdenek Konvalina for the first time, and another new partnership will be Cuban rising star Yonah Acosta, with Senior Principal Erina Takahashi. Debuting in the Principal roles will be Bridgette Zehr with Junor Souza, and Ksenia Ovsyanick with Esteban Berlanga. Alison McWhinney, Ksenia Ovsyanick, Brigette Zehr and Jia Zhang will debut as the Lilac Fairy.

Derek Deane's "The Nutcracker" puts in appearances in Southampton (22 – 25 November) and at the Coliseum (12 December – 5 January 2013).

The Albert Hall season features Deane's "Swan Lake" in-the-round, from 12-23 June, 2013.

The new artistic team

Rojo is to be supported in her new role by Loipa Araujo as Associate Artistic Director, José Martin as Principal Répétiteur, Hua Fang Zhang as Ballet Mistress and George Williamson as Associate Artist. They will join Répétiteur Antony Dowson and Artistic Co-ordinator Jane Haworth, to make up the new Artistic Team.

Williamson will create "My First Cinderella", aimed at young children getting their first taste of classical ballet. The ballet is a collaboration the the English National Ballet School and will premiere at the Peacock Theatre in London on 28 March 2013. Williamson will also be responsible for the artistic direction of company's The Emerging Dancer Award 2013.

Loipa Araujo was a leading Cuban ballerina - one of the “Four Jewels” of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba. She was Principal with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Ballet de Marseille; andhas guested for Bolshoi Ballet, Maly Theatre, Bulgarian National Opera and Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and Béjart Ballet, Lausanne, Switzerland. Rojo describes her as “one of the most inspiring coaches I have ever worked with.

José Martin danced with San Francisco Ballet, Zürich Ballet, English National Ballet and Boston Ballet, before joining The Royal Ballet as First Soloist in 2002 until his retirement in 2012. His experience as ballet master includes work at the national Cuban ballet school, the Mariinsky. Teatre Colon in Buenos Aires, Julio Bocca’s Ballet Sodre Uruguay, and the Royal Ballet.

New Ballet Mistress Hua Fang Zhang was a Principal dancer Hong Kong Ballet, First Soloist National Ballet of China, guest performer Singapore Dance Theatre. She has [reviously been Ballet Mistress at the National Ballet of China, LaLala Human Steps, and Ballet Jazz, Montreal, Canada.

Author:  David [ Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: English National Ballet 2012-13

‘The Sleeping Beauty’
English National Ballet
Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes; October 17, 2012

David Mead

English National Ballet in The Sleeping Beauty. Photo Patrick Baldwin.jpg
English National Ballet in The Sleeping Beauty. Photo Patrick Baldwin.jpg [ 30.71 KiB | Viewed 6256 times ]

It seemed nerves were everywhere. There were certainly a few more wobbles that usual. Mind you, as if “Sleeping Beauty” was not tricky enough to dance, this was the first night of the season, the first performance under new Artistic Director Tamara Rojo, who herself was dancing Aurora.

To say that principal role dancing artistic directors are a rarity is something of an understatement. There are very few examples of it, and even fewer of it working. In Britain it hasn’t happened for over 50 years, and probably with reason. In many ways it’s akin to being a player-manager in a Premiership football team. There are all sorts of conflicts. Simply from a time perspective, combining the two roles is difficult enough, then there’s the issue of being part of the team and the boss, inside but outside.

For now though, Rojo seems to be coping well, although even she looked nervous. Her dance didn’t look as easy or flow as we have come to expect, although it has to be said that she wasn’t helped by conductor Gavin Sutherland. There were times when the music seemed so slow that I started to wonder if he too had been put under Carabosse’s spell. There were a few wobbles during those fiendish balances in the Rose Adagio, and a couple of other less than smooth coming down off pointe, but there was also no doubting the extra radiance she brought to this already ravishing Kenneth MacMillan interpretation of the Petipa classic.
Tamara Rojo as Aurora and Vadim Mutagirov as Prince Desire. Photo Patrick Baldwin.jpg
Tamara Rojo as Aurora and Vadim Mutagirov as Prince Desire. Photo Patrick Baldwin.jpg [ 32.59 KiB | Viewed 6256 times ]

Rojo’s partnership with young Vadim Muntagirov was remarkable. There was a connection, and level of understanding and togetherness that usually only comes after many performances together. I’ll swear I actually saw them smile at each other in a way the suggested they really liked dancing together. Such naturalness is one of Muntagirov’s greatest assets. There aren’t too many leading men who can manage to look princely and yet remain someone who can express emotion in a genuine, unaffected way. He has a natural, somewhat understated grace about him. Maybe it’s something to do with his youth and relative inexperience, but whatever, let’s hope it’s something he never loses.
James Streeter as Carabosse and Daria Klimentova as the Lilac Fairy. Photo Patrick Baldwin.jpg
James Streeter as Carabosse and Daria Klimentova as the Lilac Fairy. Photo Patrick Baldwin.jpg [ 23.29 KiB | Viewed 6256 times ]

Quite what Daria Klimentová thought of all this, who knows. Since Muntagriov burst on to the scene a couple of years ago, they have been the must see partnership. Now, here she was as the Lilac Fairy, not only watching on, but quite literally in terms of the story pointing him at his new lady.

It was once far more commonplace for Carabosse to be danced by a man than is now the case. That tradition survives gloriously here though, where the tall James Streeter put in a superb debut performance in the role. With his ginger hair and in his voluptuous black and purple Tudor dress and ruff, his nasty, snarling Carabosse was more Cruella de Vil or Blackadder minus the humour than any camp or cartoon figure. He was strong and arrogant, dominating the stage whenever he appeared. I particularly like the way MacMillan keeps the character involved, his duel with Klimentova, about as far at the other end of the goodness scale as you can get, even spilling into the awakening scene.

Elsewhere, Shiori Kase was a sparkling Princess Florine. With her always assured technique and clarity, she is surely a star of the future. Her partner, Laurent Liotardo made a rather less assured opening as the Bluebird, although his later batterie was clean and sharp.

Throughout, MacMillan tells the story with great clarity. His choreographic additions are always well structured and quite delightful, especially the garland dance. How nice too to have a vision scene where there is actually some dance and to avoid the interminable journey through the forest of some versions.

The dancing is topped off by Nicholas Georgiadis’ sumptuous costumes. We come to expect exquisiteness from the fairies’ tutus, but what is particularly striking is the level of detail in the dress of those at court, whether it’s the early 17th-century finery of the Prologue or the more puritan affairs of Act III. The opulence of the costumes is emphasised by Peter Farmer’s relatively unpretentious set, full of dark green hanging vines, and that's before the forest takes over. Where it really wins is the view into the distance, which is incredibly atmospheric. There’s a suggestion of his forest being on the edge of some mist covered, slightly mysterious heath.

English National Ballet’s production of “The Sleeping Beauty” continues at Milton Keynes to October 20, then tours to Liverpool (Oct 30-Nov 1) and Manchester (Nov 28-Dec 1). 2013 dates include London (Coliseum), Oxford and Southampton. See details.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: English National Ballet 2012-13

Sarah Frater reviews the Wednesday, October 17, 2012 performance of Kenneth MacMillan's "The Sleeping Beauty" at Milton Keynes Theatre with Tamara Rojo as Aurora for The Stage.

The Stage

Ismene Brown reviews the same performance for the Arts Desk.

Arts Desk

Author:  David [ Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: English National Ballet 2012-13

English National Ballet Emerging Dancer Competition 2013

English National Ballet has announced the six finalists for The Emerging Dancer Competition 2013, which recognises the talent of its up and coming dancers.

The six finalists for next year’s competition, selected by a vote of the company’s artistic, music, administrative staff and Principal dancers are:

Alison McWhinney
Guilherme Menezes
Nancy Osbaldeston
Ken Saruhashi
Laurretta Summerscales
Nathan Young

The 2013 Emerging Dancer Competition will be held on 4 March 2013 at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and is open to the public, with tickets now on sale.

The Emerging Dancer 2013 and will be announced at the end of the evening together with the recipient of The People’s Choice Award, which is voted for by members of the public.

As well as the accolade of the title, the Emerging Dancer winner receives £2,500, the People's Choice Award winner receives £1,000 and all nominees receive £500 each.

The competition is sponsored by Talbot Hughes McKillop

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