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 Post subject: ENB at Sadler's Wells, July 2003
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 2:04 am 
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Summer Season at Sadler's Wells

Quote:
A trio of dynamic dance, 8-9 July 2003

Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes - Mark Morris
Melody on the Move (World Premiere) - Michael Corder
The Rite of Spring - Sir Kenneth MacMillan

The Rite of Spring
8 July Sarah McIlroy
9 July Erina Takahashi
Quote:
Coppelia 10-12 July

10 July Glurdjidze/Gruzdyev/Avis
11 July (mat) clarke/Bubnov/Avis
11 July (eve) Takahashi/Chang/Richmond
12 July (mat) Oliveira/Ramos/Richmond
12 July (eve) Glurdjidze/Gruzdyev/Avis


<small>[ 23 June 2003, 05:19 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: ENB at Sadler's Wells, July 2003
PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 3:42 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Shame about the sour grapes at the end:

Split the difference
Uncredited from the Sunday Times


British classical choreographers are hardly so thick on the ground that we can afford to waste any. And while it seems ridiculous to think of wasted opportunities in connection with Michael Corder, a man who has made more than 50 ballets in a career stretching over 30 years, there is a lingering sense that he should have done more — or, at least, done what he has done on a bigger stage. In 1983, at the age of 28, Corder was asked to become the resident choreographer at the Royal Ballet. The apparently irresistible offer was made with such tact and diplomacy that he refused immediately, quit his job as a dancer and left the company — as he thought, for good.

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 Post subject: Re: ENB at Sadler's Wells, July 2003
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2003 1:31 am 
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Big ballet with a spring in its step
By Debra Craine for The Times


MICHAEL CORDER is the kind of choreographer you turn to when you want a true blue classical ballet. Witness his Cinderella, a wonderful celebration of academic style and form which has served English National Ballet well for years. But, as his new creation for ENB so resoundingly shows, Corder is also a natural showman. His Melody on the Move, unveiled at Sadler’s Wells last night, is an affectionate and jaunty stroll down memory lane, a journey guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

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 Post subject: Re: ENB at Sadler's Wells, July 2003
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 1:43 am 
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English National Ballet, “Melody on The Move” Triple Bill at Sadler’s Wells, London on 9th July.

English National Ballet visit Sadler's wells for the second time this year with a Triple Bill and Ronald Hynd’s attractive production of “Coppélia”. The Mixed Bill has two 20th century masterpieces and a new commission, which was rapturously received by the full house. So, it should have been a damn near perfect evening. However, the new commission, “Melody on the Move” by Michael Corder was a disappointment for me.

But let’s start on a positive note. “Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes” is one of the most successful ballet works by Mark Morris, with imaginative patterning for the 12 dancers and gentle witticisms about exits and entrances. All this is overlaid on a playful, neo-classical base and set to a selection Virgil Thomson’s idiosyncratic Etudes, played on-stage, with exquisite phrasing, by Jonathan Still. The ballet also has the quality of gathering strength as it progresses and the calm finale to a variation on the title song presents its own variations on classical symmetry with dancers taking it in turns to move freely through the patterns. Some of the ENB dancers were performing the work for the first time and I think they need more time to fully reflect the musicality and verve of Morris’ creation, but Jan Erik Wikström was assured in the role created for Baryshnikov. In 1993, Joan Acocella wrote that “Drink to Me” is, “…arguably the freshest, most original ballet produced in America since the death of Balanchine,” and it remains a strong contender for that accolade.

For the first time, I saw MacMillan’s “Rite of Spring” from the balcony and it looked even better than I remembered, with the rivetting patterns of the large scale ensemble sections that dominate the work. We see packed concentric rings, massed phalanxes advancing with menace, a snake of seated dancers and the ensemble stretched out on the entire Sadler’s floor and changing pattern every few seconds. Forty years old, it still has a “shock of the new” punch and there were gasps around me at the savage movement with bottoms resolutely stuck out, breaching every rule of the ballet class. The Chosen One for this performance was Erina Takahashi and her child like frame produced a newly disturbing effect, but human sacrifice shouldn’t be cosy. Despite her tiny size she commanded the final part of the work and as she is thrown high in the air at the very end, there was a collective start from the audience.

And so to the soft centre of this triple bill. Michael Corder describes himself as an endangered species, a classical ballet choreographer. This week he told The Times that companies rely on, “a small pool of fashionable contemporary choreographers to come in and make high-impact pieces that are often musically superficial and can even endanger the dancers. It creates a one-size-fits-all style that gets boring.” Tough words Mr Corder. Well I have to report that several sections of “Melody on the Move” feature some of the dullest new choreography I have seen these past few years.

The 30s and 40s costumes and sets are rich and beautiful. The familiar tunes, from the light music repertory, are agreeable with Corder following other choreographers in the past decade to choose a similar musical frame. Things get off to an entertaining if conventional start with a large ballroom group in gorgeous evening dress. The next dance, to “Music on the Move” itself, includes fouettes by Simone Clark in rubber gloves armed with a duster and trios of men, women and carpet cleaners and had me grinning. “Jumping Bean” is also fun with Dimitri Gruzdyev and Yat-Sen Chang hopping about attired in suits and bowlers and wielding umbrellas and yes, there is a mock sword fight.

So far so good and I thought that perhaps things would turn out fine. However, jokes give way to choreography and the problems set in. The remaining sections feature a dull quartet and an equally undistinguished sextet. Most disappointing was the romantic duet for Agnes Oakes and Thomas Edur, justifiably most people’s favourite ballet couple. This pedestrian, saccharine pas de deux was “nice”, which is probably the most damning criticism you can make of an artwork. The music for the pas de deux, “The Girl from Corsica”, has an exotic flavour that is nowhere reflected in the steps and I failed to see a hint of innovative or distinctive movement within the classical ballet palette employed. To close, there is a messy grand finale with reprises of the earlier sections and some 40 bodies fighting for space on the Sadler’s stage.

Everybody cheered the individual sections and the curtain call - well, almost everybody. This is a nostalgic fantasy piece, but that would be OK if the choreography was imaginative, rather than mundane. Someone placed “Melody on the Move” in the same category as Bintley’s “The Nutcracker Sweeties”. I think Bintley should sue.

It was good to see a full house for a London triple bill and perhaps this will encourage the Company to schedule more performances in future. The Morris and MacMillan works fully justified my visit and the vast majority of those present were delighted with the Corder. ENB’s mixed bills have become one of the treats of the London ballet season and new works from Cathy Marston, Wayne McGregor and Christopher Hampson have enriched the repertory. However, the commissions that can be called entertainment have been less successful artistically in my view, even if they have proved popular with audiences. Nevertheless, on a limited budget, ENB is providing a much needed platform for new UK ballet choreography that provides a model for other companies.

<small>[ 31 July 2003, 01:19 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: ENB at Sadler's Wells, July 2003
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 8:56 am 
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English National Ballet
Tuesday 08/07/03
Sadler’s Wells Theatre
Mixed Programme


This week English National Ballet returns to Sadler’s Wells for their London summer season presenting a mixed programme including a world premier by Michael Corder and their production of ‘Coppelia’.

Michael Corder’s new work ‘Melody on the Move’ is a light, entertaining ‘feel good’ show set to 8 popular tunes of the 30s and 40s. From the moment the corps de ballet emerges through the giant, old fashioned radio at the back of the stage to the slightly crowded finale featuring the corps and all the characters, Corder manages not to miss
one silver screen cliché. In the number ‘High Heels’ we even get to see girls in a typing bureau fighting about the boss who inevitably goes off with the secretary in
the end after she lets her hair down, throws away her glasses and changes into a sexy red dress. Gruzdyev and Chang appear in ‘Jumping Bean’ ‘mit Schirm, Charm und Melone’ (‘with umbrella, charm and bowler hat’ the German title of the TV series ‘The Avengers’) and Agnes Oaks and Thomas Edur are just perfect as Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in pointe –and ballet shoes. It is all light and amusing and the audience was very enthusiastic but in my opinion this ballet is too nice and sweet for its own good. I doubt it will still be performed in 15 years time like Mark Morris’s ‘Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes’ which opened the evening.

Originally created for 6 females and 6 male dancers of ABT in 1988 the solos, duets and ensemble sections capture the wit of 13 pieces selected from Virgil Thomson’s Etudes for Piano. Morris clearly likes to surprise the audience with unexpected twists. In one of my favourite moments three girls come on stage right after a trio for three men only for two of them to dart off stage again straight away and we are treated to a female solo instead of the ‘expected’ trio. The work is performed with the pianist on stage and I could not help but admire not only Jonathan Still’s skills as a musician but also his discipline. It must be hard to be so close to the dancers and yet not be allowed to glance in their direction.

Kenneth MacMillan’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ is one of those timeless master pieces that is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago at its creation. I have never seen a more powerful and emotionally engaging work. The choreography seamlessly combines classical ballet
vocabulary with contemporary movement language and perfectly interprets the savagery of Stravinsky’s score. Last night Sarah McIlroy once again triumphed as The Chosen One, the role created by Monica Mason in 1962. It was after her admirable performance of the same role at the Coliseum last December that McIlroy got promoted to Principal and I am very much looking forward to seeing her in other leading roles in the future.

The whole company looks in fine form and I think we do not get to see ENB often enough in London. Their current season will end on Saturday 12/07/03. Do not miss ‘Coppelia’ if you get the chance.

<small>[ 11 July 2003, 01:38 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: ENB at Sadler's Wells, July 2003
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 10:21 am 
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Odile - thank you so much for your review. Agreed - we do not see enough of this fine company.


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 Post subject: Re: ENB at Sadler's Wells, July 2003
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 10:36 am 
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From housework to human sacrifice

Ismene Brown of The Telegraph reviews the English National Ballet at Sadler's Wells

Quote:
Isn't it something when an evening at the theatre leaves you torn between talking about housework and human sacrifice? English National Ballet's new triple bill may do your head in, so extremely does it manipulate the sensations.

Here's a switchback ride - the angelically civilised, bubbling beauties of Mark Morris's Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, a cheesy housewives' choice and light radio confection by Michael Corder, Melody on the Move, and the dusty, bloody aboriginal ritual of Kenneth MacMillan's Rite of Spring.
more...

Judith Mackrell
The Guardian

Quote:
Michael Corder's latest ballet, Melody on the Move, pays tribute to the heyday of the BBC's Light Programme. Not only is it set to a medley of the easy-listening classics that were broadcast to the nation 50 years ago but its choreography celebrates the charm of the artistically lightweight.
As the score ranges from the busy-bee flurries of Clive Richardson's titular piece, through the lush strings of Trevor Duncan's The Girl from Corsica to the jaunty fanfares of Eric Coates's Knightsbridge March we get to rehear the soundtrack to which Britain relaxed, romanced and did its housework
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 Post subject: Re: ENB at Sadler's Wells, July 2003
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:29 pm 
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English National Ballet Sadler's Wells, London
By Ian Poitier for The Financial Times


Michael Corder's Melody on the Move, receiving its world premiere, formed the centrepiece of a "trio of dynamic dance". In a celebration of British music of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, the dancers emerge from an oversized wireless, evoking a time when Britannia was still more associated with rules than cool.

Much of the extravagant humour is drawn from the gender stereotyping of the period: housewives in pinnies peeling off a few fouettés,typists flirtatiously sweeping grande ronde de jambes around the male boss, bowler-hatted businessmen soft-shoe shuffling with umbrellas.

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 Post subject: Re: ENB at Sadler's Wells, July 2003
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2003 3:05 am 
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Coppélia

Judith Mackrell
Saturday July 12, 2003
The Guardian


Quote:
There are so few comedies in the 19th-century repertory, so few good comedy ballets, period, that any dancers cast in Coppélia owe it to themselves - and to their profession - to have a good time. There was, however, nothing dutiful about the performance given by Elena Glurdjidze with English National Ballet.
As Swanilda, the ballet's larky heroine, Glurdjidze's greatest asset is her grin. She romps through the ballet with a terrific smile: half urchin's giggle, half witty, cat-like grin. Glurdjidze's other major asset is her transparent and very grown-up technique. Trained at the Vaganova School and principal with the St Petersburg ballet theatre before joining ENB last year, she dances with an assurance that allows her to revel in the full range of her choreography.
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 Post subject: Re: ENB at Sadler's Wells, July 2003
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2003 11:27 pm 
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Home Service with a smile
The ENB kicks up its heels in a tribute to the glory days of wireless. By Jann Parry in The Observer.

Since Matz Skoog took over the English National Ballet in 2001, the company has justified its title by commissioning works from homegrown choreographers. The latest, Michael Corder's Melody on the Move, slots neatly into a line of revue-style ballets to English music, ranging from Frederick Ashton's Facade to Matthew Bourne's Town and Country.

Add the names of David Bintley, John Cranko and Jack Carter and the British choreographic alphabet seems to stop at C. A notable exception is Kenneth MacMillan, whose 1956 Solitaire (to Malcolm Arnold's English Dances) has just been revived for the ENB School performances. What their light entertainment pieces have in common is an approach to ballet as a branch of musical comedy. Fun, provided English tweeness is avoided.

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******************************

Melody On The Move, Sadler's Wells, London, *****
By John Percival for The Independent

You know the term "wireless set"? Old-fashioned radios they may be, but those big, burnished boxes used to be much more assertive, dominating almost every home in pre-television days. How clever of Michael Corder to seize on their mannerisms and the evergreen music of their lighter programmes, from Housewives' Choice to In Town Tonight, to make one of the most entertaining new ballets for a long time.

Light it is, but not slight: Corder uses most of English National Ballet's dancers in his choreography for Melody on the Move, and his brilliant designer, Mark Bailey, provides dozens of glamorous, colourful costumes to evoke the 1930s-50s, but made prettier and more colourful than the originals.

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*****************************

Don’t knock it
Michael Corder’s new work is an oldie and goodie. By David Dougall for The Sunday Times.


When the curtain rose for the premiere of Melody on the Move, Michael Corder’s delightful new creation for English National Ballet (Sadler’s Wells, Tuesday), and revealed Mark Bailey’s decor of a huge, old- fashioned Bakelite wireless set, I couldn’t help feeling a little proud that I still possess an original 1940s model (normal size). And the jaunty strains of Eric Coates’s Knightsbridge March, the signature tune for the BBC programme In Town Tonight, evoked my pretelevisual childhood image of London, long before I ever got to see it.

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 Post subject: Re: ENB at Sadler's Wells, July 2003
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 1:32 am 
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A carpet sweeper: the perfect partner
By Jenny Gilbert
12 July 2003

On the face of it, English National Ballet's latest game plan isn't very remarkable. Raise the company's artistic profile. Bring on British dance-making talent. Balance company finances by securing a popular hit. The difference between ENB and all the other touring outfits trying to do those things is that English National Ballet, under its wise new director Matz Skoog, seems to be on target with all three. What's more, its new mixed bill, including a bold commission from Michael Corder, scores the hat trick in one night.

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 Post subject: Re: ENB at Sadler's Wells, July 2003
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 11:27 pm 
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Coppelia
By David Dougill for The Sunday Times

Earlier, English National Ballet had been performing one of its most heart-warming productions, Coppélia, at the Wells. This is Ronald Hynd’s finely shaped staging, with Desmond Heeley’s handsome designs, and it found the company dancing on lively form to Delibes’s treasure-trove of melody.

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<small>[ 20 July 2003, 03:25 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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