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  1. Only four of us in my local cinema - such a pity as it was very enjoyable. Lovely dancing, wonderful costumes, loads of colour and the well known music. Plus it was very short which left me wanting more rather than out staying welcome. It's such a long time since I have seen the Australian Ballet - do wish we got to see them more. The four main roles were: Hanna: Amber Scott Danilo: Adam Bull Valencienne: Leanne Stojmenov Camille: Andrew Killian Always a particular pleasure I find to go and see dancers you don't know at all, therefore have no preconceptions, and just sit back and enjoy.
  2. BMC

    Audience Behaviour

    On the subject of relaxed performances, I inadvertently booked for one recently - to see a romantic musical comedy at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre at the Globe. As someone who likes to sit quietly, gets incredibly irritated by mobile phone lights etc, I didn't know what to expect but it turned out to be one of the loveliest afternoons I have ever had at the theatre. One of the actors came on stage at the beginning and mentioned in a very low key way that the audience could react however they would like to, including going in and out during the performance. That didn't happen so much, except for a lady with a sleeping baby which eventually woke up and was taken out but what was particularly engaging was seeing a lady with Tourette's clearly enjoying every minute, with her carer able to relax and have a good time. We soon got used to her calling out, although very often what she said was pertinent to what was going on on stage and she had the audience in stitches - totally laughing with her, I hasten to add - while the actors didn't react at all so there was nothing to draw attention unnecessarily to anyone. Although it was the ultimate feelgood musical, I can honestly say that it being a relaxed performance made it very special indeed resulting in prolonged applause and cheering. To say a great time was had by all would be an understatement. I was chatting to a colleague about it and she told me about her young brother who has Down syndrome - he absolutely loves musicals and likes to sing along so her family are huge fans of these relaxed performances. I think this is a very long winded way of saying that I think they are a terrific idea as long as it's made clear when you book so that you know what to expect.
  3. Well, like so many others, I found this to be a bit of a so-so event. As an Osipova fan, I am always happy to see her dance and it was lovely to see David Hallberg at last, although I wish I had got to see him pre-injury. He does have a very classy stage presence though and they were wonderful together in Valse Triste. I also enjoyed The Leaves are Fading and, I suspect against my better judgement, Ave Maria. It does make you realise, once again, how difficult it is to get these things right. I was thinking back to the equivalents I have seen over the years with, for example, Acosta, Mukhamedov, Sylvie Guillem, Polunin and others, and it seems very rare that these events match their talents and provide something memorable. If I'm honest, Sylvie was probably my least favourite of these dancers but I can still remember the genuine excitement I felt on first seeing Two and Push, whereas as an adoring fan of Irek, only his Diana and Acteaon pas de deux with Yoshida lives on in my mind (and a bit of a strange Othello). Perhaps it's my conservative taste or subconsciously wanting these superstars to dance show stoppers, or may be it's just a reminder what a tremendous talent it is both to commission and then for the choreographer (and everyone else involved) to create a work that people want to see again. I think the best of these sort of evenings I have seen was Johan Kobborg's at the Queen Elizabeth Hall when he put on a series of Bournonville works which again says it all! I think managing my expectations is the key in future - enjoying seeing whichever dancer it happens to be in something outside the repertoire we usually get to see them in while having no expectation at all that it will produce one of those 'seared in the memory' occasions.
  4. Natalya in Month in the Country - would love to waft around in those beautiful white dresses and bourree across the stage in the arms of a handsome tutor!! Would also love to experience the beautiful lift at the end of the Rhapsody pas de deux but suspect I would need a prop forward from the All Blacks rugby team to be my partner! Fantasies over now - back to reality!
  5. I would cull (while noting this is in my ideal world where economic considerations aren't important!): - Romeo & Juliet, for 5-10 years (and not only the RB production but a worldwide moratorium on all productions, it seems to have been done to death) - Nutcracker, for a couple of years, not least to give the dancers who perform the same roles time after time a bit of a break - Tales of Beatrix Potter - for ever! Sets my teeth on edge! - The Acosta Carmen (which I assume has been quietly killed off as just a mistake) and, if it's still on the rep list, the Mats Ek Carmen which I loathed with a passion. - Corybantic Games - normally I am quite happy to give ballets several chances but have to admit to a slightly sinking heart at the thought of having to sit through this again. Agree about: - Raven Girl - it just doesn't work, despite the re-tweaking; - Strapless - although I still think something could be salvaged from this; - Judas Tree - not because of strong feelings about the ballet, but because I think this is one of those occasions when only the talents of a unique dancer, in this case Mukhamedov, can really do it justice and, as he was a 'one-off', I don't think that is going to happen again. Respectfully but passionately disagree about culling: - Fille - Mayerling - Onegin Just couldn't bear it ....
  6. - Muntagirov in Sylvia - such beautiful, beautiful dancing resulting in me making odd purring noises in the auditorium! - the Hallberg / Oispova / Ball Giselle - truly memorable for a variety of reasons (one of them very sad of course) but the evening felt somehow to be a total triumph; - amazing debuts in various ballets by Hayward and Nagdhi. As I said on another thread, they seemed almost superhuman in their assuredness; - the opportunity for ENB, Northern Ballet and BRB to share the ROH stage and the MacMillan celebrations. I'm sure it took a great deal of organisation but it was a really lovely idea and I do hope something similar can be arranged at some point; it feels invidious to choose but Tyrone Singleton and Jenna Roberts in Concerto elicited further purring! - the MacMillan programme put on by Viviana Durante at the Barbican - genuinely fascinating; - Manon full stop, whoever is dancing - can never resist it!
  7. Thanks for the clarification, BBB - it's a lovely gesture. I hadn't realised it comes from audience members which in a way makes it doubly lovely.
  8. Well I have now completed my Swan Lakes (three performances and the cinema Encore, which unfortunately at Westfield Shepherd's Bush was also part of the 'blackout'!). I have surprised myself by enjoying every minute of every performance - surprised because, for me, Swan Lake is, alongside Romeo and Juliet, one of those ballets that I felt I could do with a several year sabbatical from, having seen so many over the years, and I must admit I didn't feel the general excitement in the run-up to the opening. So very pleased to prove myself wrong! Some rather random and incoherent thoughts: Didn't miss at all: the drunken tutor and annoying (sorry, cute!) little girls; the drunken cadets, the faffing about jumping on and off stools in the Waltz, Siegfried's frilly outfit in Act 3; the princesses all wearing the same frock! Did miss: like many, I just missed Act 4 of the old production. While I did enjoy the new one and feel it works generally, I always found the Anthony Dowell was just so beautiful. Even though the black swans in the corps made no dramatic sense, they were very lovely and the battle between Odette, Siegfried and Von Rothbart was terribly dramatic whereas the new one seems to be over in a flash. I also missed seeing the couple in the 'swan boat' right at the end even if it did occasionally judder across the stage! Loved: the new sets which look so much cleaner and uncluttered, particularly in the first and third acts - the ballroom is incredibly glamorous; the costumes, particularly Odile's black tutu, the Spanish dance (in fact all the national dance costumes) andthe uniforms for the men; the dance for the 4 princesses; the black swans pouring on at the end of Act 3 (really, really effective); the Benno / sisters roles - and numerous other touches. Dancing: first of all the 'wobbles', which brought home a) they are noticeable because we are so lucky to have such high quality dancing just about all the time and b) I find them very endearing because they are so human. I was beginning to think that Yasmine and Francesca were superhuman with nerves of steel as they both sailed through all their recent debuts so magnificently. Shame about the missed lift with Vadim / Marienela - but only selfishly because those overhead lifts are some of my all time favourite lifts. Also shame about Osipova's tumble as she ran on for the Black Swan pas de deux as it seemed to leave her a bit uncharacteristically subdued although, as a fouetté non fan, I found her substituted turns dazzling and wonderful. So, Yasmine - what can you say: stunning debut, very special dancer indeed, just a shame that as Siegrfried, Kish on this occasion seemed to totally lack 'oomph' but all credit to his partnering skills. Marienela - for me, is a world class dancer who always delivers world class performances but doesn't suprise me whereas I am a huge fan of Natalia's unpredictability - you're never quite sure what you are going to get. I also find she has an uncanny knack of making me see steps I've seen a thousand times before look different. I was surprised that other posters thought she didn't connect with Matthew - it looked the exact opposite to me, when she leaned back against him in the second act pas de deux she seemed to be gazing at him in total wonder. Takada danced absolutely beautifully although I don't know why but her Swan seemed slightly smaller scale than the others I saw although she was lovely and a fabulous Odile. Vadim - like Yasmine, what can you say, just wonderful and his 'double doubles' simply brilliant. I thought Matthew Ball and William Bracewell were both extremely elegant princes, danced very well indeed and partnered very attentively. I really like watching dancers at this stage of their careers - one minute they are Siegfried, the next they are popping up in other smaller roles. I too was very pleased to have an opportunity to see Bracewell in a major classical role and will look forward to hopefully seeing many more in the future. Other random dance standout for me: Benjamin Ella as Benno, Tierney Heap in the Spanish dance, Mayara Magri as one of the sisters, Kirsten McNally as an autocratic queen and of course the corps. So pleased the tradition of the flower presentation at the end of the run continued and that their very hard work was highlighted in the cinema screening. Finally, the 'thumbs up' photo of Natalia goes into my 'instant cheer me up' collection along with the gap toothed twin carrying Meghan's train at the Royal Wedding and the little girl who interrupted her professor father's BBC interview on Korea!! Finally, finally - huge congratulations to Liam Scarlett and everyone involved with the new Swan Lake. A huge achievement.
  9. (Moderators - think it is ok to comment on this as I booked my ticket via a mailout from a ballet supporters' group but if you feel it is inappropriate, please feel free to delete). Just spent a lovely day at the Royal Academy of Dance watching Alexander Campbell give a series of classes to three different groups of students (classes ranged in numbers from 8 to around 30). Alexander, despite telling us he has done very little teaching, seemed a natural at it - confirmed by a lady I sat next to for a while was was herself a teacher and made quite a few notes! I was very impressed by how generous he was both in the classes themselves and in the Q&As after each one, where he answered every question fully - even if he had already responded to it a couple of times already with previous classes. I was also very impressed by the way he managed to give helpful tips to everyone, not concentrating on either the best or the ones obviously struggling but encouraging them all. He had a lovely manner with them and I'm sure, despite him being an RB principal, they were at ease with him - or at least it looked that way. There was a particularly lovely moment when one of the classes was doing turns diagonally from one side of the studio to the other and despite only five hands going up as left turners, everyone felt inspired and encouraged enough to all have a go. As an aside, as a ballet lover, I'm not bothered with the old stereotypes which are any way fading these days, but I can't help feeling that Alexander's relaxed 'Aussie bloke' style is very helpful in dispelling any lingering myths!
  10. I really enjoyed this performance too, probably more than I did at the Linbury - although being pragmatic this may be because I was standing there as opposed to having a lovely comfy seat with plenty of legroom! didn't think the bigger space was in any way detrimental to the piece, although when it first began I thought the music was going to drown the words which didn't in fact happen at all. I must admit to missing Acosta and his particular brand of charisma for the male dancing roles - I thought he did a slightly better job of differentiating between the characters but the difference wasn't enough to in any way spoil the evening. And I totally agree about Zenaida's acting abilities - it's amazing how she is able to convey so much emotion through such small physical moves or, as mentioned above, through her eyes. Even when she was still, you could really feel her anguish at the betrayal by Essex. I also liked the way she was so reluctant to take a solo curtain call, in the end taking a tentative little half version. Very good audience at the Barbican - looked 85% full (?) - and very enthusiastic applause. So glad I saw this again.
  11. Marguerite's red and black dresses. I love all those lovely wafting dresses worn by the Tsarina and her daughters in the first act of Anastasia. And I seem to recall a thread where Tatiana's brown dress at the end wasn't too popular - but I love it!
  12. BMC

    Audience Behaviour

    I thoroughly enjoyed it - it was my last one of the run and a fitting way to end my Manons! Agree with everyone that Manon is going to be, if not already, one of Francesca's signature roles.
  13. BMC

    Audience Behaviour

    Is there a ballet equivalent to 'mansplaining'? Have just had an experience at today's Manon where an extremely knowledgeable ballet goer proceeded to pronounce on various dancers and ballets - it felt like a coming to life of various threads on this site: audience behaviour, sacred cows and snowflakes! I am (sort of) happy to defer to people with many decades of ballet going (although I have a fair few years myself!) who have seen lots of original casts, but I do bristle a bit at opinions being given to me as facts. We can guess but have no way of knowing what choreographers would think of the dancers interpreting their ballets today and surely should remember that we all have our own opinions and they all equally valid. I think it's a question of tone more than anything - that knowing better than you - which I find difficult to deal with. I think I prefer a conversation to being lectured but perhaps I am just an (increasingly) grumpy middle aged woman!!