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Jan McNulty

Do you go to the Stage Door?

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1 hour ago, MAB said:

 

Times have certainly changed as The Nags Head used to be full of dancers in the 1970's, early 80's.

 

It's possible, of course, that I just have a nose for a "singers' pub" (unsurprising as I am a singer myself?) whereas the dancers go somewhere I don't!  (I also have several good friends in the ROH Chorus, but don't really know any dancers personally, so it stands to reason I drink where my friends do.) 

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In the 90's when I was working at the Liverpool Philharmonic I was thrilled to discover that Lynn Seymour was appearing there, so after the event, and 'armed' with a couple of her books, I approached her and basically just gushed. I was such a huge fan. I was shocked at just how tiny she was - she didn't appear small when she had danced. She signed her old books and was sweet and patience with me this star struck scouser. Happy memories.....

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I love going to the stage door!

 

I blame my mum who when I was not quite four took me round to Floral Street and pointed out the homeward-bound ballerinas after my first ballet - Ashton's Cinderella. She told me it was polite to say "thank you" if I'd enjoyed something they'd done. So apparently I thanked Sibley, Dowell, Parkinson, Ashton, Helpmann, Ann Jenner, Deanne Bergsma, Wayne Eagling, David Drew, and Derek Rencher - Mum still has the signed programme, which she refuses to give over to me as she paid for it. Apparently I get it with the amethysts and the fur-lined parka after she's gone.

 

I do possess the Nureyev/Park/Kelly/Collier/Rencher Manon programme from July 1974, back in the days when they still bound the cast list into the programme (stapled binding, so...), unsigned as I was too scared to ask for myself. Twenty years later I got Rencher to sign a Don Q programme after he'd played the Don for Benjamin and Mukhamedov.

 

In the interval I was hanging around stage doors in Australia, a practice I continue to this day, including in London/Cheltenham/Berlin/Stuttgart/Paris this year, my European return after 23 years...I have great difficulty restraining my gushing tendencies but usually (I think!) manage to produce something vaguely resembling intelligence.

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May I retell a story from a while ago about my daughter's good fortune at a stage door?

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Geoff

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We very rarely are able to go to the stage door as we travel a fair distance and don't get home until 1-1.30 am. However, we did have the opportunity after last Saturday's Sylvia  and saw lots of cast and non-cast dancers emerging. We might have been waiting for Osipova/Muntagirov, but the real treat was obviously the start of a 'boys day(night) out'. Just had to share this.....

 

DRMack6X4AEDPTy.jpg 

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Nice one Mummykool. My wife was wondering if they have a Christmas party after the performance - now we know!

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@Mummykool and @Timmie, Benn Gartside called it #boysxmascurrynight 😂 (screenshot from my Instagram but had to resize the pic to make it fit into the posting requirements, sorry the text is a bit blurry!)

IMG_20171219_005136.jpg

Who can give them all the correct name? I could only recognise five.

Edited by Sophoife
Added text
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Back row left to right

Tom Whitehead, Lukas Bjorneboe (I think), Robert Clark and James Hay

Front row

Ben Gartside, Liam Scarlett and Ryochi Hirano

 

Liam and Ryochi's suits had flashing lights. Quietly understated!!!!

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I stayed after The Nutcracker and spoke to Nicol Edmonds, Matthew Ball, and Yasmine Naghdi (all so lovely, and Yasmine let me have a picture with her)! I was just about to leave when I saw a slightly flustered looking Francesca Hayward leaving (she was performing that night). Despite being in a hurry she very kindly autographed my programme! Also stood next to (but didn’t get to speak to) Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Gary Avis. I felt a bit silly but it was great fun! 

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I must say, although I have never been to the stage door after ballet (and as I may already have said earlier in this thread, I only very occasionally do so after opera when I am waiting for somebody specific who knows I'm coming), one of my favourite "small pleasures" after a matinee of Nutcracker or Sleeping Beauty or whatever is to go and get a window seat in Busaba Eathai restaurant directly opposite the stage door, and watch the dancers come out and greet the waiting kids :)

Edited by RuthE
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On 1/26/2014 at 13:40, Terpsichore said:

But I think you are very wise not to press for her autograph now.   You saw Sibley when she was in her prime and there is still plenty of footage of her from that time. You don't need a scrap of paper.

 

I am so delighted to see Sibley again after all those years. Though Fonteyn is the dancer I most admired, Sibley is the dancer I most liked.

 

Agreed!

 

Sorry to veer off the topic a bit. Speaking of footage, do you know if there is any chance I can find a recording of the 1969 BBC broadcast of Sibley and Dowell's Sleeping Beauty anywhere? I've been desperate to find one...

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Went to the stage door tonight. Takada and Ella came out together looking radiant, and spent lots of time talking to the waiting people and signing programmes etc. I got a photo with Takada (typically I looked dreadful!) They were both so sweet and modest. Alexander Campbell was also lovely - I was lucky to spot him as he wasn’t performing! Stix-Brunell and Calvert were also very gracious. 

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Sorry if this ground has already been covered, but I’m taking my 9yo half-Spanish niece to Saturday’s Nutcracker matinee and  am thinking she might like to go to the stage door after and perhaps beg an autograph off of Marianela Nuñez in particular. Does anyone know how busy it’s likely to be for a Nutcracker matinee with a starry cast, or how long the wait for them to appear normally is? As you can probably tell I don’t do this often!

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1 minute ago, Lizbie1 said:

Sorry if this ground has already been covered, but I’m taking my 9yo half-Spanish niece to Saturday’s Nutcracker matinee and  am thinking she might like to go to the stage door after and perhaps beg an autograph off of Marianela Nuñez in particular. Does anyone know how busy it’s likely to be for a Nutcracker matinee with a starry cast, or how long the wait for them to appear normally is? As you can probably tell I don’t do this often!

 

That's a lovely idea. The Stage Door can get very crowded after a matinee and, unfortunately, because of the wigs worn by the SPF and The Prince (and the way they have to be fitted), they both take longer than usual to come out. However, Marianela Nunez sometimes comes to the Stage Door to sign autographs with her make-up and hair still on - so fingers crossed that she might do that on Saturday.

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Very difficult to say how long any dancers will be really but at least after a matinee probably not so bad as not such a big rush to get home etc. It will be a lovely experience for a young ballet fan.

Talking of feeling silly as I do think that on the whole the stage door is more for younger members of the audience ....well let's say 40 and under .....but I did go recently too. Perhaps it's okay again as the granny figure!!

Anyway  I had  gone with a small group of others including Sander Blommaert  to await and say hallo to Camille Bracher after the recent triple bill as she has now left the Royal and will be taking over some of Sander Blommaert's classes. 

Anyway while we were waiting ( for ages) I said to the others well maybe Joseph Sissons will come out too ...who had also been dancing that night ....I might pluck up courage and speak to him just say how much I enjoy his dancing. 

Well after what seemed to be about an hour Camille finally emerged and the others were all going for drinks but being the Granny and it being nearly 11pm by then I said I'd be off home.

After they had gone I thought I'd wait just another 5 mins in case Joseph came out ....but alas he didn't ....so made my way along Floral St anxious to get home when a group of four people were coming towards me and just as they were about to pass saw Joseph was among them ! It is quite ridiculous but I said "Joseph Sissons" ( I'm sure it came out a bit like a police officer about to say" I'm arresting you under the ........what .....Prevention of too much good dancing Act" .

Anyway he responded with a "yes" without looking too shocked or anything ......(though no doubt thinking ...oh no not another adoring old granny to deal with just want to get home now) and I did tell him how much I enjoyed his dancing....in everything....and even told him the story of seeing him at YBSS with my young Australian ballet student there  (and mum) ....and she had been too shy to speak to him....(his talent had been very very obvious even back in 2013....and  he was very much admired by the other young dancers) 

Well in the end he signed my programme .....even had to lend me the pen ....and meanwhile his entourage all very patiently waiting poor things!!  

He was so nice and appreciative .......am even more of a fan now ....though won't be going back to the stage door any time soon .....only want to make a ballet fool of myself once a year I think!! 

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1 hour ago, LinMM said:

Talking of feeling silly as I do think that on the whole the stage door is more for younger members of the audience ....well let's say 40 and under .....but I did go recently too. Perhaps it's okay again as the granny figure!!

 

My absolute favourite people-watching pastime in Covent Garden is getting a window-seat in Busaba Eathai opposite the stage door, half an hour or so after a matinee of a "family" ballet has let out, and watching the dancers talk to all the kids :)

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1 hour ago, LinMM said:

....though won't be going back to the stage door any time soon .....only want to make a ballet fool of myself once a year I think!! 

 

Noone needs to worry about going to the Stage Door. 

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1 hour ago, RuthE said:

 

My absolute favourite people-watching pastime in Covent Garden is getting a window-seat in Busaba Eathai opposite the stage door, half an hour or so after a matinee of a "family" ballet has let out, and watching the dancers talk to all the kids :)

 

Ah, I'm repeating myself! I said the exact same thing a few posts earlier - but it WAS nearly a year ago :unsure:

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I've only ever been to the stage door once and then I lost my nerve when the dancers came out - perhaps it was because I was the only one there late at night!  I did go in last week and leave a note of thanks for Marianela for something particular she had done, and I received the most lovely direct message on Twitter on the same day,  in return.

 

I have spoken to many of the RB dancers on several occasions at RB events and the Ballet Association and I have always found them to be gracious, charming and very polite - no exceptions. I find this delightful in these days of celebrity and the insights I have gained from my conversations with them have really enhanced my enjoyment of the ballets I see.

 

One dancer did once tell me that no-one had ever stopped him outside the stage door and he considered this to be a "good thing".  I'm ambivalent on this point of view - it can go many ways (and no, I'm not going to say who it was) 

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On 16/11/2017 at 13:35, MAB said:

Times have certainly changed as The Nags Head used to be full of dancers in the 1970's, early 80's. 

That takes me back MAB - I remember the ‘Nags Head’ from my  student days (late 70s early 80s) - we students frequently ‘hung out’ there just to catch a glimpse of the RB dancers. 

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In my experience dancers are not as chatty as opera singers at the stage door. The reason is that many of them are leaving with their friends in the company and want dinner. A lot of them are tired or in a rush to leave.  Opera is different -- over the years I've seen some of the BIGGEST stars come out of the stage door alone, and walk (alone) to their hotel room. Unless they are sick/tired/have a party to be at many of them seem to relish talking to fans after the show. And it's always an odd sight to see them lugging big bouquets and gifts to their hotel room alone. I've always thought that singing must be one of the loneliest professions. 

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Hmm. The short answer is yes 😅 Over here (Singapore), the country is small and the local company, i.e. Singapore Dance Theatre, is a modest size (30-odd) -- and I think there's a good chance the principals or some of the others will emerge to meet their friends/ students / fans they've connected with somehow; and under such circumstances, they seem quite willing and happy to take photos with folk who ask. I'll admit I had to work up the nerve to do it.

 

Generally speaking (i.e. re all the discussions on how dancers might feel), perhaps there are universal signs e.g. they're still in costume, they're taking photos with others, or their body language (some may quietly slip past with lowered eyes). To me it always feels as if they're doing me a favour because they must surely want to crash into bed! But perhaps some are still on a performance high or more outgoing by nature, or they like connecting with the audience to know they've had an actual impact. 

 

I wouldn't dare with the touring companies, but a friend of mine has! And everyone he has met has always been happy to stop and say hi. I'm terrible at faces that I'm not familiar with and have just seen flash past under layers of makeup and tulle - slightly concerned I'll embarrass someone or myself 😅

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Love hearing all the above stories.

I have never gone to the stage door, but the other day on my morning commuter train to London, I found myself standing next to Matty Ball. As usual, when packed in like sardines, I try to zen out others and play with my phone. I politely ignored two people chatting above my short head, until the words 'pas de deux' jerked me to attention. There was my fave male dancer inches from my face. He is even more beautiful close-up btw.

I fought the urge to gush, beg for a selfie or other obnoxious behaviour. I would have said a simply hello to tell him how much I enjoy his dancing, except we had many stops to go before London. Didn't seem right to accost him in a space where he'd be trapped in for 30-40 minutes. Perhaps I will go to the stage door at Sadler's Wells when I see Swan Lake and ask if he always takes that same train lol
 

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Similarly I found myself standing next to Ed Watson at a bus stop. It has to be over a year ago now but he was injured back then too and had one of his legs in one of those boot things.

I was wanting to ask him about his leg but thought it might seem a bit odd coming from a stranger! Of course he wasn't a stranger to me but I would have been to him! 

 

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