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About Duck

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  • Gender
  • Location:
    Stuttgart/ Germany
  • Interests
    MacMillan, Scarlett, Cranko, Bejart, Goecke, Scholz, McGregor, Royal Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Bejart Ballet, Ballet Nice Mediterranee, Gauthier Dance, Paris Opera Ballet

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  1. The live broadcast of Anastasia last season was EUR26 over here (that included a glass of bubbly that I didn't need). I saw Woolf Works in Toulouse in an encore screening for below EUR20 I think. The main deterrent for me last season was the lack of encore matinee screenings. With the time difference, the live broadcast is bound to finish at around 11.15/11.30 pm which, with travel back home, I find too late on most days of the week but certainly on a day in the middle of the week.
  2. My life in summer 2006 was centred on The North, and so any watching of dance performances was limited to The Lowry at that time ... i.e., cannot tell unfortunately ...
  3. Thanks so much for sharing. I've just been listening to this morning's programme. Fabulous. Crystal Pite is so self aware and articulate.
  4. David Mead in Seeing Dance about the performance of the JCS on 16 July http://www.seeingdance.com/john-cranko-school-24072017/
  5. Apollinaire Scherr in the Financial Times https://www.ft.com/content/68c0a36c-6d75-11e7-b9c7-15af748b60d0
  6. Back at the Theaterhaus last night for Christian Spuck’s Romeo & Juliet by Ballet Zuerich. It was gut wrenching, visceral and heart breaking of the highest order. A few black chairs and tables and some clothes racks populate an otherwise bare stage. A metal bridge will serve as balcony later on. The sparse design allows for fluid and rapid storytelling, making the tragic ending ever more emotionally intense. There is hardly any pause between scenes (and there is only one interval) as tables and chairs are moved as dancers from the previous scene exit the stage and those in the next scene enter the stage and start to dance, all at the same time. The tempi of the music seem to be on the fast side, too (or it is maybe the effect of the above that makes the music sound rather quick). A number of dancers wear dark Elizabethan costumes, others are in black suits or trousers/ shirts/ vests. Romeo (William Moore), Mercutio and Benvolio look like “lads about town”, featuring dark knee-length trousers, casual shirts and black jackets throughout. Juliet (Giulia Tonelli, standing in for Katja Wuensche) dances with her friends and emerges from the group as her parents arrive. Paris (Tars Vandebeek) – whom I’ve sometimes seen at the ROH as likeable if shy young man, unsure why Julia does not like him - comes across as aloof, devoid of emotions, even devoid of human interactions beyond formal introductions. There is a marvellous contrast between Juliet’s initially puzzled, then stifled and dutiful dancing with Paris at the ball and the free and natural movements in her interaction with Romeo. She falls backwards into his outstretched arms a number of times and is literally and metaphorically carried away and swept away by her Romeo. Those movements of carrying/ sweeping away also reappear during the balcony PDD. Duels at the end of Act 2 are limited to Mercutio/ Tybalt and Tybalt/ Romeo. Mercutio’s death is predominantly pure and prolonged agony, and there is only a brief moment of respite during which he pretends that all is well. In Act 3, it is Paris who discovers that Juliet is lifeless. In contrast to MacMillan’s version, Paris leaves with her family and is not killed by Romeo. Romeo arrives, discovers Juliet on her deathbed and emits an animalistic outcry. He takes the poison and dies in prolonged agony. What has broken my heart into a zillion pieces and still leaves me reeling the best part of a day following yesterday’s performance is that, in Spuck’s version of R&J, Juliet wakes up while Romeo is still writhing in utter pain and I think he, despite his agony, still notices her. So she sees him succumbing to an excruciatingly painful death. She checks on him a couple more times and then she kills herself, too. There was second after second of complete silence in the auditorium before the applause erupted, complete with foot stamping and leading to a standing ovation. See this version of Romeo & Juliet if you can. If you do, ensure to take tissues with you.
  7. She was already in the cast for Sinfonietta in April and danced in the corps in Raymonda III last October. Fabulous to see that she joins the company!
  8. Supermarket shopping (again)

    Some scales at self-service checkouts seem to be calibrated in such a way that they don't always recognise very light items e.g., a mini chocolate bar. So the item is in the bag and the software keeps asking the customer to put it in the bag. Removing the item from the bag however is likely to trigger a message that an item has been removed... Conversely, pre-packaged fruits can trigger messages if the weight of the pack happens to be over and above an upper threshold for the item which seems to be set within the software. I once bought a particularly heavy pack of bananas which caused such message as the thinking will have been that it could not just be bananas on the scale. Amused look on employee's faces as they seemed to be aware of the issue already.
  9. Ballet in the Park with Stuttgart Ballet on Saturday evening and with the John Cranko School on Sunday morning. Colours International Dance Festival at the Theaterhaus in Stuttgart on Friday evening and Sunday evening. In recovery mode now until the coming weekend. I wasn’t around to witness the 1st Colours Festival in 2015 and am thus even happier to be able to attend some of the performances at the 2nd Festival this year. The term “Colours” stands for the broad range of dance forms that exist and their performances over the course of 2 ½ weeks. A number of dance workshops and other events across the city supplement the performances. The programme is presented by Eric Gauthier; full programme here http://www.coloursdancefestival.com/en.html. The performance that I saw on Friday night was Conceal Reveal by Russell Maliphant Company. This was announced as a “version for Stuttgart”, and the content was slightly different to that at Sadlers Wells a couple of years ago – Both, And/ One Part II/ Two X Three/ Piece No 43. I found the movements peaceful, calming, even hypnotising, and the effects through light and shadow were intriguing and inspiring. Both, And, where one dancer seemed to multiply herself into two then three then four dancers and later increased in height as she approached the front of the stage; One Part II, a poetic solo with Russell Maliphant himself; Two X Three, where the light effects made the arm movements of the dancers look as if they were carrying the lights in their hands; Piece No. 43 with dancers in squares of lights and their increasingly rapid sequence of movements towards the end of the piece. I hadn’t seen the company previously and was very happy to get the chance to see them perform here. Sunday night brought a new programme by Gauthier Dance Company called “Mega Israel”, a mixed programme with choreographies by Hofesh Shechter, Sharon Eyal-Gai Behar and Ohad Naharin. Shechter’s all-male piece Uprising kicked off the evening. Repeatedly, human interaction that started as cordial and casual led to fights, and it ended with a revolutionary red flag held up high. I enjoyed the intensity of the piece and made good use of the earplugs that had been provided. Sharon Eyal-Gai Behar’s all-female work Killer Pig showed 6 dancers in flesh-coloured unitards. The programme booklet described the dancers as Amazones, and Eric Gauthier used the term “insects” to describe the dancer’s movements. Most of the work is on demi pointe, and they bourree, do jetes, entrechats and various other hops and jumps as well as pirouettes, yet with arms flexed at the shoulders/ elbows/ wrists in various combinations, fingers stretched out wide, and legs often slightly bent at the knees and hips. They move in unison in a close circle and from time to time, one of the dancers break out temporarily. Captivating, hugely enjoyable and very different to what I’ve seen previously. Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16 closed off the evening and involved the whole company. In contrast to a video that I’d seen of the piece by another company, this started with a 15/20-minute long solo by Luke Prunty who danced along to cha-cha music during the interval – very creatively and with great variety (showing the desperate dance of a lone soul; movements that reminded me of that of a swan; a short sequence from Bejart’s Bolero; and pursuing along the front of the stage some audience members who returned to the auditorium towards the end of the interval). The other dancers joined on stage, and thus ensued the sequence with the dancers rising from their chairs in waves, one dancer tumbling down to the floor, and the others singing and hopping while sitting on the chairs. Followed by a PDD to Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater and various hip-hop like movements by the whole group, to then end with the dancers inviting an equal number of female audience members to dance with them on stage – and some of those invited really went for it, to great acclaim by the audience. The audience didn’t want to let go, with numerous curtain calls and extensive foot stamping. This programme is also scheduled for autumn 2017.
  10. This year’s programme of “Ballet in the Park” included the live broadcast of Maximiliano Guerra’s Don Quixote by Stuttgart Ballet on Saturday evening and a mixed programme performed by the John Cranko School on Sunday morning. This was also the 11th anniversary of such live broadcasts, and it was explained that the inspiration came from a public viewing in Trafalqar Square in 2006! With approximately 7,500 people in attendance on Saturday evening (I’ve also seen a figure of 10,000 though this will maybe include the broadcast on Sunday morning), the area dedicated to the live broadcast was closed to avoid overcrowding, and people were thus watching even from across the lake just outside the Opera House. I went to see Don Quixote predominantly for the wedding celebrations in act 3, with the lead roles danced by Elisa Badenes and Adhonay Soares da Silva. Once I was there, I realised that this was also one more opportunity to see Robert Robinson and Myriam Simon perform before they leave the company at the end of this season, and to witness the official farewell to Georgette Tsinguirides, who retires after 72 years with the company. There was a short speech by Reid Anderson in praise of Tsinguirides before the start of the performance, she gave a sparkling and humorous interview during one of the intervals, and there was a procession of dancers and colleagues past (Birgit Keil, Vladimir Klos, Egon Madsen … and others whom I didn’t recognise) and present following the final curtain call, presenting her with red roses and other flowers and some very intensive, memorable and emotional hugs. On to Elisa Badenes and Adhonay Soares da Silva in the lead roles of Kitri and Basilio. Oh, act 3 was so much worth the wait with their magnificent solo variations and PDD! I couldn’t take my eyes of Soares da Silva, only 20 years old, and promoted to the rank of Soloist recently. Clean double tours en l’air followed by pirouettes followed by double tours …, and on and on it went, all with an exuberant smile. Also, the scene in act 3 where he pretends to be dead was so funny, right from when he falls down on the floor, then Kitri removing the knife with his upper body bouncing up, and Basilio reaching out for her body (which is not something that I would normally find overly funny however this was so much over the top, I just couldn’t help bursting out laughing). What a night! Back in the park on Sunday morning for a performance by the John Cranko School. I got badly sunburnt and didn’t notice a thing while I was there as I was so mesmerised by the dancing. The programme covered the broad spectrum of the students’ training, from Lavrovsky’s Classical Symphony via neoclassical choreography to a number of short contemporary works, and closing off with “Extracts from Etudes”, bringing together students of all age groups, from flexing/ pointing of toes by the youngest students to highly technical jumps and turns by the graduating class. Highlights for me were seeing The Four Seasons again (more about this work in last year’s post ... extract below), Classical Symphony with Gabriel Figueredo (who was so impressive as Tadzio in Death in Venice recently) as male lead in the first part and Natalie Thornley-Hall as female lead in the second part (luminous and full of poise and maturity), and Goecke’s revised version of A Spell on You. I am very happy to be back to see the same programme from within the Opera House next Sunday. Next year’s Ballet in the Park broadcasts will be gala performances by the company and the school, both with international guests, as part of the festive week to celebrate Reid Anderson’s directorship.
  11. The POB online archive does not show Thibault in the role of Widow Simone? https://www.memopera.fr/FicheOeuv.cfm?OeuCode=FIM Thibault's main roles here https://www.memopera.fr/FicheArt.cfm?ArtNumInt=4073
  12. Thibault's Mercutio last spring was a dream, too.
  13. In The Winter's Tale, the moment in Act II when the curtain opens for the first time to show the decorated tree