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Melody

Luke Jennings reflects

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While some of Luke Jennings' pronouncements have annoyed me intensely over the years, I forgive him everything for singling out that very special artist, Elena Glurdjidze. I wish I had seen her Giselle. I also hope I will see Hayward in Rhapsody one day.

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Hayward and Hay in Rhapsody made me weep....such beauty, such emotion, such pure delight!

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I enjoyed this article in particular his memory of Elena Glurdjidze - she was such a wonderful dancer. Whenever I saw her dance in whatever role you knew you were in the presence of a great dancer. That she  became one of Rojo's earliest casualties remains a crying shame. So I thank Luke for remembering  her in his goodbye article.

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It's not just that Jennings mentions Glurdjidze, it is how he does it:

 

People ask me what has been the best thing that I’ve seen, and of course there is no “best”. But if you were to ask me which experience I’d most like to repeat, I think I know. It was a weekday matinee in 2007, and English National Ballet were dancing their traditional version of Giselle, with Elena Glurdjidze in the title role. Then 32, Glurdjidze had studied at the Vaganova Academy in St Petersburg, and had learned Giselle from her teacher, the great Lyubov Kunakova. Her performance reminded me of why I first fell in love with ballet. Nothing she did was technically extraordinary, nothing was showy, her legs hardly ever rose above the horizontal. But such was her transparency, so profound was her identification with the role, that you couldn’t really see the dancing. All was character, all was emotion, all was story. Glurdjidze stopped time, and that is what great dancing can do. Writing about such transformative experiences has been, to say the least, a challenge. But also, as my successor will discover, a joy.

 

He also dares to say a few refreshing things about some highly praised and highly founded mediocrity:

 

A fair amount of new work looked like dross. To me, anyway. Nederlands Dans Theater, for all the technical brilliance of its dancers, appears lost in a wasteland of pretension. I won’t miss Jérôme Bel’s sanctimonious and shallow “non-dance” events; his 3Abschied, a collaboration with choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, who should have known better, was an excruciating indulgence (basically, she sang Mahler’s Der Abschied, or tried to), and as a dud evening out was right up there with Alexander Ekman’s fatuous A Swan Lake (think classically trained dancers splashing around in two inches of water, for hours). And then there’s the whole turgid undertow of the Belgian nouvelle vague, with which I will not detain you.

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On 24/01/2019 at 00:38, Sharon said:

I enjoyed this article in particular his memory of Elena Glurdjidze - she was such a wonderful dancer. Whenever I saw her dance in whatever role you knew you were in the presence of a great dancer. That she  became one of Rojo's earliest casualties remains a crying shame. So I thank Luke for remembering  her in his goodbye article.

 

Do we know why?  She was a bit young to retire, wasn't she?

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If Elena Glurdjidze was 32 in 2007, then she would have been 37 when Tamara Rojo took over ENB in 2012.  A fairly normal age for a dancer to think of retiring.

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4 hours ago, Pas de Quatre said:

If Elena Glurdjidze was 32 in 2007, then she would have been 37 when Tamara Rojo took over ENB in 2012.  A fairly normal age for a dancer to think of retiring.

A fairly normal age for a dancer to 'think' of retiring, but a little premature for a dancer of her calibre to actually retire. 

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Musing on the subject of dancer's ages, I think all current female ENB principals, apart from Dronina and Kase,  are aged 37 or above. It's inevitable that they will retire at some point, but judging on recent performances and comments here, I hope it's no time soon. 

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