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Douglas Allen

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  • Location:
    Sunderland UK
  • Interests
    Classical, Neo-classical and the Romantic Ballet; Ashton and Balanchine.

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  1. In the context of full-length ballets, don't forget Isadora (though in view of how dreadful it was, forgetfulness might be the best approach!). Incidentally, the 1973 Beauty production for the Royal Ballet was by MacMillan and was based on his earlier Berlin production (though not identical).
  2. Sorry Rob S, That isn't an example of a "red runner" (or "red run" as some call it here). It's a front of curtain call. The red runner is when the front curtain is pulled back centrally a short way to reveal the red runner which provides a backdrop for the performers, soloists and leads, to take their calls. The runner is to enable the stage hands to strike the sets while the calls continue, something that wouldn't be possible if the cast continued with full stage calls. The front of curtain calls used to be only for the leads when their was sufficient continued applause after the red runner ones had taken place. All of the decisions about the calls are taken, usually, by the stage manager. I'm trying not to be a pedant, though I think I'm failing...
  3. Is that a tactful way of saying that there are a lot of old people on here? I suppose that everyone tends to remember early experiences (in ballet-going anyway)most clearly. Something Ian Macmillan said above led me to check and I realised that Antoinette Sibley had her eightieth birthday just over a couple of weeks ago. Now she was the ballerina who was most influential in shaping my love of ballet..... but don't get me started as I should then go on at interminable length!
  4. I'd like to add my congratulations to Ms Seymour as well. It's hard to believe she is now in her ninth decade! She was a wonderful dancer. It would be well to remember that although she is frequently regarded as a great dramatic dancer (and she was), she was a great all-round dancer. She was one of my favourite Giselles and excelled in a huge repertory. I remember, as well as the rep she danced in Berlin, her performances as Aurora, Raymonda, Giselle and in the Two Pigeons as well as the Macmillan ballets and in Robbins. She took risks in her interpretations and there was always a sense of excitement at what we, the audience, were going to see when we settled into our seats at the start of a performance featuring her. I remember, after the first night of Dances At A Gathering at Covent Garden, Robbins remarking that he hadn't realised how much humour was there to be exploited before seeing Seymour in rehearsal. Seymour was also an exemplary classicist - her prologue fairy in Beauty and first shade's variation in Bayadere are benchmarks in how to shape a Petipa variation. Later in her performing career, I remember when it was announced that Macmillan was creating a ballet based on Isadora Duncan, everyone assumed that he would be doing so with Seymour and the total shock and disbelief that ensued when it was discovered that he would be using Merle Park. No-one, even now, can understand it. She contributed greatly to the development of the Royal Ballet and is unmatched still in many of the roles she performed. As a footnote, I noticed that it's Ann Jenner's birthday today (75) as well as Irek Mukhamedov's (a junior 59) - so happy birthday to them, too.
  5. Rob S - Thanks for mentioning this as many would have missed this altogether (the blurb in the Radio Times was totally unhelpful mentioning only a Victorian shop and netball). The RBS sequence was short, but interesting. At least they got the dates right (1911 not the 1909 as mentioned by Portillo ). It was good to see Anita Young looking as if she is still perfectly capable of leading the shades down the ramp and setting a perfect example to the 31 followers.
  6. Sadly, Bruce, I think you're right. Sometimes (i.e. quite a lot of the time) I can't understand some of Kevin O'Hare's preferences and strategy. My comment above was more of a personal preference/fantasy wish than a reasonable expectation. Still, there's always Frankenstein and perhaps Raven Girl still to look forward to... As far as Europe is concerned, Paris has the dancers at the moment...?
  7. Funny, Bruce, I was wondering exactly the same thing! Vienna Waltzes is one of my favourite later Balanchine works and I would dearly like to see it in the Royal's rep. Copyright in the UK is that it expires 70 years after the end of the calendar year in which the last of the creators of the work dies. Approval from the Balanchine Trust can never be taken for granted but the current strength of the Royal Ballet would, I think, remove any obstacles. Here's hoping!
  8. Ian, Thanks for replying. The situation has resolved itself (i.e. I haven't done anything!) on the computer where I use Chrome but is still only partially improved (meaning it still happens but not every time I'm on the site) on the other computer using IE. I guess I'll live in hope that it gets totally resolved here as well. I first noticed the improvement on the 10th.
  9. It's your decision whether or not to buy a programme, Dawnstar, but not if your reason is to discern the plot of Don Q! The only full length ballet lighter than Don Q on plot is Jewels. Lots of people have come out of a Don Q performance wondering "what on earth was that all about?" but no-one ever came out of a performance wanting to find out more about the intricacies of the plot. The plot can be summarised as follows: A couple want to get married. Her dad isn't happy and wants a richer husband for her. A visiting knight comes by, mistakes her for an inamorata, gets a blow to the head and has a dream, the lovers trick her dad and get married. The end. There's a lot of dancing (hopefully, good quality) around the story.
  10. Leslie worked in London but also did quite extensive work elsewhere, particularly with Stuttgart and most of the photographs shown above are of Stuttgart dancers. Photos 2 and 3 are both of Sibley and Dowell - number 2 in Swan Lake and number 3 (I think, in Dances At A Gathering - I'm not 100% positive as Dowell's shirt has some detailing which I can't be sure is from Dances). All the other photos, I believe, show dancers from Stuttgart and I would guess other members of the forum would be able to provide more accurate identification than I. Is this any help Mr 5bellies (any relation to the Jimmy whose friendship with Mr Gascoigne is well known?) and thanks to Ian for his finding them.
  11. As she did 28 and travelled a bit, I feel this is overstating the case a trifle. I don't think it important as it is still a couple of weeks away from performances. On the whole I don;t think people not professionally involved could or should draw many inferences from rehearsals or other studio work. As a member of the audience it's the performance only that matters. Looking at work in a studio informs and enhances our appreciation of the performance. The Insight tonight on Don Q was interesting as far as it went without convincing me that the ballet is or should be a core element in the Royal Ballet's repertory and it also slightly reinforced the impression that Kevin O'Hare is a fine Director, but I've never had the feeling that his forte is to be a coach/ballet master/rehearsal director of classical pas de deux.
  12. Following up my earlier comment, an example I've just encountered came when I looked at the Home Page, under Performances Seen I looked at the Index and under the Asphodel Meadows/Two Pigeons topic there was nothing new listed (the most recent contribution was from four days ago). About ten minutes later a new contribution appeared so I checked it out and found 18 entries made to the topic over the last six hours. Is it the Forum software or my equipment?
  13. Over the last week or so I have noticed that the Forum home page which displays the most recent post isn't aligned with the posts as they appear under each topic heading. In some cases a post is listed on the index page but doesn't appear in the relevant section for some time (usually minutes but occasionally hours), but sometimes the reverse happens and there are posts in a topic which don't appear on either the home page or the forum's page. I use more than one device and both Chrome and Explorer and this problem occurs in both devices and with the two systems. Has anyone else encountered this? Occasionally it happens that the index pages and the contributions are in sync but it's unpredictable and most times there are discrepancies. I find it makes the index pages unreliable and the site difficult to consult.
  14. This seems absolutely good news - one of the few occasions it's possible to say that without any reservations. There are so few ballet companies in England based outside London, and, because of their size and finances, it isn't possible for them to tour everywhere so there are huge swathes of the country unfamiliar with their work and this seems an excellent way for their work to be seen (and appreciated) widely. Whoever in Northern Ballet and/or first direct came up with this idea and carried it through - many, many congratulations! I'd also like to support Ian Macmillan's comment above.
  15. I first saw her at her graduation performance as a fairy in the prologue to Beauty at the RBS matinee where she was sensational with a stunning technique to match anyone in the company at the time. Since then I always tried to book for her performances wherever possible. She had an immaculate classical technique which she used with great intelligence and sensitivity to serve the role she was playing. I missed her a great deal when she left the Royal Ballet, but am happy to learn that she will be able to continue in her work within classical ballet in future.
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