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petperj

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  1. Apologies for reviving a long-dead thread. A while back I started this to get some guidance from board members for going to my first classical ballet and thought to say thanks to those that kindly responded, and give some feedback in case anyone finds this thread searching for advice on ballet classics for newcomers. Following the posts here and a little more reading, we decided to get tickets for the recent Mariinsky Swan Lake in Covent Garden. Before this we saw one act of a recording of Jewels, which some posters mentioned might be a helpful touching point between the more modern dance we had seen and a full on classic. We ended up going to an evening performance, after a long day traipsing around rainy London only to find -tired and soggy- that I had inadvertently booked standing tickets. The ones way at the back of the auditorium. The prospect of standing in wet shoes for 3 hours didn’t seem very enticing, and we briefly considered leaving but decided to stick it out in the end. We’re really really glad that we did. Of course, from our cheap ‘seats’ the view wasn’t as great as it could be, but the 3 hours truly seemed to fly by aided, in part, by the way that the acts seemed to shorten over the course of the ballet. The dancing was by turns beautiful, exciting and sad, and while some of the sets seemed a little bland/quaint, the precision of the dancing completely overrode any minor niggles like that. Given how little experience I have of watching ballet I can’t say if the performance was truly great or not (it was the Saturday when Matvienko was Odille/Odette), but it certainly seemed amazing to me. And there was something quite awe inspiring about the way that a dozen dancers might hold a pose for several minutes only to suddenly move, as one, into another pose or start dancing. A couple of quick questions; 1) I understand that the Mariinsky Swan Lake is different, having a happy ending. However, does this mean that in other ways the ballet is the same? If I go to see next year’s Royal Ballet Swan Lake for instance, would it be the same except for the final few minutes? 2) In act 2/3 when the prince sees Odile in the window after being enchanted by Odette’s dancing, Odile is shown as a video projection. Presumably this wasn’t possible when the ballet was originally written, so how would this have been done then? We also went to see the Mariinsky Contrasts triple bill. I really didn’t enjoy the Carmen Suite except for the weird costumes. Infra was very good and ended particularly strongly, but it was the Paquita Grand Pas which really blew me away. More than anything it seemed just really exhillarating & joyous. Anyway, just wanted to end with saying thanks again to you guys for commenting and giving advice and being so welcoming.
  2. I went to see this at the Barbican earlier this year. I have only seen a few ballets, so take what I say with a pinch of salt, but I loved it. All three pieces varied tremendously, but were uniformly great. One thing I would mention however, is that the final one (a take on Little Red Riding Hood) is surprisingly dark. On the surface, it's as bright and joyful as the third image above suggests, and at times it's very funny. However, it doesn't shy away from the themes/subtext of the original fairy tale, and the ending -while empowering and modern- is very dark. I'm not sure how much younger viewers would 'get' of some of the ideas being presented but it's certainly a little more adult and serious than it first seems.
  3. I've finally taken the time to see this on iPlayer (to anyone still on the fence, it's available there for 11 more days). Wow. The mix of theatrical raw emotion, dance and the layering of sound effects, music and voice is just mesmerising. I've never seen anything quite like it, but it makes me think of the best aspects of David Lynch; dark, dreamlike, emotional and visceral. I decided against going to see this in Sadlers Wells earlier in the year, but am really regretting it now. I don't know how common it is for SW to put on a show several years running, but I really hope it comes back next year (hopefully for more than just 2 days)...
  4. There are still a few performances remaining. Although it's 'sold out' tickets have popped up online sporadically most days so it's probably worth keeping an eye on the website if you're still interested. When tickets do become available they don't bother to update the text on the main page that says "This show is currently sold out, but keep checking for returns." so it's best to just ignore that text and click on 'book tickets' to see if any have popped online.
  5. I went to see this over the weekend, and was completely overwhelmed by Rite of Spring. Really magnificent. I have a couple of (hopefully small) questions about it. I thought it was brilliant that the preparation of the soil was done with the curtain up; it gave the interval a real sense of ritual and helped to build the anticipation in a way that you wouldn't have just grabbing an ice cream in the foyer while stagehands work behind closed doors. Is this dictated by Bausch and always like this, or just what was decided by the ENB/Sadlers Wells? In the interview linked at the bottom Tamara Rojo says: "I am grateful that the Pina Bausch foundation gave us this opportunity to present Sacre ... I wanted to start with one of the works that I consider to be quite based on contemporary and classical techniques so that it was the first step for the dancers into the Pina Bausch language." Does this mean that ENB are intending to/have the rights to perform more Bausch ballets soon? I couldn't see anything obvious on the website.
  6. FLOSS, thanks for such a thoughtful and lengthy response. Apologies for the delay in responding but I've only just had a chance to read through it properly. It's very helpful, especially in getting me to think more about 'how' to watch ballet. I've also been watching a few of the interview/rehearsal shows that ROH put onto youtube which have been illuminating. Something I'm starting to realise is that, probably more than other 'live' artforms, the seating location has a huge impact on how I experience a ballet. Most of the time I tend to go for cheaper/higher seats and while that means I can't see faces so well, it does mean you get a sense of the geometry and forms from the movement/relative locations of the dancers in a completely different way to the shifting layers that I've seen when watching from closer in at the lower levels. I haven't yet gone multiple times to see a single show; partly for monetary reasons and partly because there are so many things that I haven't seen for a first time yet, but I'm sure it's not long until I start trying to see a show twice just to experience it from above and lower levels. Thanks Quintus. I went to see the ENB triple bill over the weekend and the Rite of Spring was simply magnificent. Despite the massive expectations, and having watched clips online, seeing it for real was such a wonderful and visceral experience. The combination of the dance, the staging and the music was overwhelming in a way that I haven't had at the theatre/concert in a long time. I have little doubt that it will be one of my highlights for the year. I also thought it was brilliant that the preparation of the soil was done with the curtain up; it gave the interval a real sense of ritual and helped to build the anticipation in a way that you wouldn't have just grabbing an ice cream in the foyer while stagehands work behind closed doors. The one negative I have is that I saw it the day after the Human Seasons/After The Rain/Flight Pattern triple bill at the ROH, and I really wish I'd left at least a day between the two. I really enjoyed ROH triple bill. In particular, Flight Pattern was every bit the exciting and emotional spectacle that people have said and it lingered in my mind until the Rite of Spring; it seems my brain can only handle one ballet at a time.
  7. Wow, Mary, Colman, zxDaveM, alison, Moomin, Janet McNulty and ninamargaret thanks so much for taking the time to make such thought-out and helpful responses! When I posted I was hoping to get a reply or two, especially given the time, so this is really beyond what I was expecting! As a newcomer, ballet can sometimes feel like a somewhat intimidating art-form to get into, so it's really nice that there are forums like this one where people are helpful and friendly to newcomers. Thanks for the kind words, suggestions and comments on the different possible classics to try out. I also hadn't thought about watching something like Jewels as a 'stepping stone', or seeing ballets on DVD/cinema, so thanks also for these suggestions too. You've given me a lot to think about, so I'm glad I have some time before some of these go on general release. I'll be sure to post once I've taken that plunge into the classics. Thanks again
  8. Hi everyone, I've lurked here a little while, but I've finally decided to join to make a post. There’s some overlap with the initial question in the existing Mariinsky thread, but I think my question here is different enough to warrant a separate post. However, if I’m mistaken or have broken some forum rule, my apologies and I can remove this post. (oh, and apologies in advance for the wordy post!) I never really thought ballet was something I would enjoy. However, at the start of the year my girlfriend and I decided to see Les Enfants Terribles at the Barbican, admittedly mostly drawn to Philip Glass’ score. I know the reviews haven’t been that great but it absolutely blew me away. Since then I’ve made an effort to catch more. We went to see Woolf Works and Ballet Black both of which I enjoyed (my highlight so far is undoubtedly part 3 of WW), and picked up tickets for the Bausch triple bill, the Human Seasons/Flight Pattern show and Rain. However, I’m aware that these are all modern ballets/dance and now would like to dip my toe into a classic. I’ve spent some time reading online but find it a little difficult to sieve through the information, mainly because I have no real frame of reference, and because I haven’t really found something that explicitly talks about different ballets/companies aimed at beginners. So, does anyone have advice for a classical ballet to see for someone who’s a real newbie? Based on the threads here and elsewhere I’m considering the Mariinsky Swan Lake, Don Quixote or Bayadere or the ENB Le Corsaire, but am open to any suggestions really. Thanks in advance, and apologies for any mistakes in terminology.
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