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 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:58 am 
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I am interested to read your response and think you have yourself identified the issue Cassandra - clearly due to personal experiences on the subject, you are not well placed to be objective without personal emotions creeping in. You should not write on a subject unless you can be objective, it's better to step back. Clearly you have had some horrific contact with the issue that would upset anyone.

You say you are against censorship, but you were quite clear in your first post that you thought The Judas Tree should be consigned to history due to the graphic portrayal of its subject - that would be censorship Cassandra. If you can't stomach the piece that's fine, don't watch it.

I have to say (and without wishing to get into a protracted debate) I am rather surprised by this whole approach. Is the way to deal with such a dreadful issue as rape to hide it away, pretend it does not exist? Hiding anything under the carpet will not solve it, it just makes it invisible so that we can pretend it is not there. I would have thought if you feel so strongly about the issue you would want its profile raised - and stage works about the subject, especially those that show graphically how horrific it is, surely do the cause of highlighting rape good rather than harm? No social or political issue has ever been solved by hiding it. It might be unpleasant, but that's the point - show people how unpleasant it is and it will become more socially unacceptable....

Rape is not really something that can be shown in, as Coda puts it, "polite" terms. That's just being prudish surely. You hint that MacMillan may have hated women because he portrays violence against women....if you flip the coin over you could say he was wanting to highlight and illustrate the issues, make them more visible. People who make art are often reflecting reality, but this does not mean they support or celebrate it - merely that they show it. You mention Cassandra in a post about the Mikhailovsky that you saw a play at the National Theatre with "horrific scenes of gang rape"......what is shown in The Judas Tree is hardly new.

I just think it is too simplistic to contend MacMillan was a misogynist just because he shows rape in his ballets. He is simply reflecting one of the many bad things that exist in human civilisation, and what we really need to look at is where the sympathy lies, and what messages the piece leaves us with.

None of us should stereotype here about women's reaction to this ballet - a female friend that saw it with me liked it - yes of course she was disturbed by it, but that's the point. It's a horrible issue and I would be worried if people were not disturbed by it. Many women would want to see this subject out in the open and shown for what it is - that way, like drink driving for example, it will become more and more socially unacceptable.

The comment that I thought was highly questionable was accusing people of titillation - the remaining performances are sold out and people very well know this work as it has been on television and DVD etc. But none of them are coming for titillation. They are coming for a very powerful and disturbing piece of theatre on a serious subject. For anyone that is prudish, and believes violent or sexual subjects should be hidden away or somehow presented in a "polite" rather than realistic format then this piece, as Coda has concluded, is best avoided.


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 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:19 am 
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Location: London UK
Quote:
You say you are against censorship, but you were quite clear in your first post that you thought The Judas Tree should be consigned to history due to the graphic portrayal of its subject - that would be censorship Cassandra. If you can't stomach the piece that's fine, don't watch it.


The fact remains that a vast number of works by Kenneth MacMillan have been consigned to history whereas this meritless piece gets revival after revival; I don’t consider it censorship on my part to question why this might be. By reviving this work time and again the RB management displays an appalling lack of taste and an unacceptable disdain towards the choreographer’s earlier works.

Quote:
I have to say (and without wishing to get into a protracted debate) I am rather surprised by this whole approach. Is the way to deal with such a dreadful issue as rape to hide it away, pretend it does not exist? Hiding anything under the carpet will not solve it, it just makes it invisible so that we can pretend it is not there. I would have thought if you feel so strongly about the issue you would want its profile raised - and stage works about the subject, especially those that show graphically how horrific it is, surely do the cause of highlighting rape good rather than harm? No social or political issue has ever been solved by hiding it. It might be unpleasant, but that's the point - show people how unpleasant it is and it will become more socially unacceptable....


There is no pretending that this crime is “hidden under the carpet” when the figures for rape are sky high, the convictions for rape are pathetically low and the crime is committed every day of the week, so how you come to the conclusion that it is “invisible” I really don’t know. The Judas Tree is a repetition of much that has gone before as it was far from MacMillan’s first examination of the subject and the chorographic text by the way is very much a rehash of earlier ideas. MacMillan wasn’t by any means unique in tackling social or political issues, but he never really did it well being more at home with a strong story line to illustrate. The ill defined text of The Judas Tree is a strong pointer to its failure as the vague religious references in the piece only add to the viewers’ confusion as to what the hell is actually going on, something several critics are still asking after twenty years.

As to the question of what is and what is not acceptable as a topic for ballet, I would venture that is down to the skill of the choreographer. Christopher Bruce returned to overtly political subjects many times and his ‘Swan Song’, about a man being tortured to death but his soul remaining triumphant and indomitable, is actually inspiring to watch in spite of the grim subject matter. Audiences leave the theatre after Swan Song full of elation at the indestructible nature of the human spirit, but I suggest they leave The Judas Tree with nothing other than a bad taste in their mouths.


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 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:39 pm 
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In the New York Times, Alastair Macaulay shares his thoughts about the current state of English style at the Royal Ballet.

NY Times


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 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:04 pm 
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Apparently Nehemiah Kish will be joining the company next season. No news on whether he will still be dancing in Denmark, or whether he's making a clean break from Copenhagen.


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 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 2:54 am 
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Location: London UK
If I had a wish list of male dancers I would like to see join the Royal Ballet, Nehemiah Kish's name would not be on it.


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 Post subject: La Fille Mal Gardee
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:49 am 
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Location: London UK
Clement Crisp went to the Easter Monday performance of La Fille Mal Gardee:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/e0bb05aa-432b ... ab49a.html

I’m very happy Mr Crisp enjoyed the performance so much but I can’t say I agree with many of his remarks. I was also in the audience on Monday afternoon and I wouldn’t say I watched a vintage performance of the ballet at all. The roles of both Alain and Widow Simone were of a passable standard but nothing more and I thought Yuhui Choe was miscast as Lise. Although I agree about her nice feet, Ms Choe had neither the appearance nor the temperament for a farmer’s daughter. She looks pretty and delicate but is without the feisty nature Lise traditionally possesses and although she went through the motions of being in love with Colas, she was never wholly convincing.

The high note of the afternoon was Brian Maloney’s Colas; long deserving of a leading role, both Mr Maloney’s manner and technical abilities indicate a bright future. In Fille he got off to a rather nervous start but by the ballet’s end he completely won me over and I look forward to seeing him in the role again – but definitely with a different partner.


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 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:25 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Sir Frederick Ashton's "Cinderella" opened at a matinee performance on Saturday, April 10, 2010. London press reviews of Alina Cojocaru as Cinderella and Rupert Pennefather as the Prince.

Sarah Crompton in The Telegraph.

The Telegraph

Sarah Frater in The Evening Standard.

The Evening Standard

Judith Mackrell in The Guardian.

The Guardian

Debra Craine in The Times.

The Times

Zoe Anderson in The Independent.

The Independent


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 Post subject: Judas Tree footnote
PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:39 am 
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Location: London UK
A colleague of mine went to see this triple bill last night and tells me she was astonished that certain members of the audience found Judas Tree funny. Apparently there was laughter at the point where on outline is chalked around the girl's body and the laughter continued at other inappropriate moments.

What was that about? Embarrassment? Actually this was a different cast to the one I saw so it my have something to do with second cast shortcomings; still I would never have imagined laughter at a work of this nature.


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 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season
PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:32 pm 
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Bonnie Estridge has an extensive profile of Wayne Sleep in the Daily Mail.

Daily Mail


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 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season
PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:33 pm 
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Clement Crisp reviews the Saturday matinee performance on April 17 of "Cinderella" in the Financial Times.

Financial Times


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 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:27 pm 
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In The Times, Debra Craine reviews Miyako Yoshida's farewell performance as Ashton's "Cinderella."

The Times


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 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 3:28 pm 
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Ismene Brown has much to say in favor of the Royal Ballet's triple bill of Christopher Wheeldon's "Electric Counterpoint," Liam Scarlett's "Asphodel Meadows" and Mats Ek's "Carmen." Her review in The Arts Desk.

The Arts Desk

Sarah Frater devotes her review largely to Liam Scarlett's work in the London Evening Standard.

The Evening Standard

Debra Craine also concentrates on Liam Scarlett's work in The Times.

The Times


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 Post subject: Asphodel Meadows Triple Bill
PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 4:40 am 
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Location: London UK
This was a disastrous triple bill and the theatre was not only emptier than I have ever seen on a first night, it was emptier than I've seen for a Royal Ballet production in several years. There were whole rows of empty seats in spite of a special low price offer being made and the considerable number of RB school students bussed in to swell the numbers.

Listening to comments around me it seems that Wheeldon's very fine work Electric Counterpoint has few admirers, a mystery to me as I personally like it a great deal. I can only imagine the use of speech and video puts the traditionalists off.

Asphodel Meadows by Liam Scarlett was the main interest of the evening and he produced a work that will I believe become more rewarding the more one sees it and it was a very mature work for such a young choreographer. Although basically abstract there are varied moods and emotions on display very much reflecting Poulenc's music. The title Asphodel Meadows refers to a state of the afterlife according to Homer where the great and the good get to the Elysian Fields, the bad guys end up in Hades and all the rest go to the Asphodel Meadows. The dancing was exemplary all round but I was particularly taken by the middle pair of the three featured couples, Tamara Roja and Bennet Gartside, who in their pas de deux did actually suggest a kind of bereavement when Roja several times seemed to fall lifeless in Gartside's arms. I do hope this work finds a permanent place in the RB rep as it deserves to be seen by as wide a public as possible - perhaps next time as the filling in a more appetizing sandwich.

The last work was Mats Ek's Carmen, piece I consider boring in the extreme. I don't dislike Ek's work in general, but he has found a formula and sticks to it (rather like Matthew Bourne) and all his works share the same rushing about, strange squawks and minimal dancing. I was seeing this work live for the first time as although I once saw it either televised or on video I found it so tedious I fell asleep. The dancers to be fair give it their best shot, but the hideous lurex costumes for the girls and the backdrop of what looks like moulding gruyere cheese go a long way to explaining why the public stayed away in droves.


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 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 12:23 pm 
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Gavin Roebuck reviews the Wheeldon/Scarlett/Ek mixed bill in The Stage.

The Stage

Neil Norman in the Daily Express.

Daily Express

Clement Crisp is full of praise for Liam Scarlett in The Financial Times.

Financial Times

Judith Mackrell continues the praise for Liam Scarlett in The Guardian.

The Guardian


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 Post subject: Re: Royal Ballet: 2009/10 season
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 3:17 pm 
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Jenny Gilbert has lavish praise for Liam Scarlett in The Independent.

The Independent

Luke Jennings reviews the triple bill in The Observer.

The Observer

Mark Monahan is highly complimentary toward Liam Scarlett's piece in The Telegraph.

The Telegraph


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