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li tai po

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  1. Two Pigeons, I could not agree more about Lynn Seymour - an amazingly versatile artist, romantic, lyrical, dramatic, passionate and uproariously funny when she wanted to be. She was a muse both for Ashton (The Two Pigeons, A Month in the Country, Five Brahms Waltzes in the manner of Isadora Duncan) and for MacMillan (Juliet, Anastasia, Mary Vetsera). I particularly remember MacMillan's pas de deux, Side Show, which she danced with Rudolf - they both loved the humour of it.
  2. Marianela and Vadim were heart-rending last night in Winter Dreams - she was numb with grief and he was increasingly distraught. A very powerful performance from both of them, awaking echoes of Darcey and Irek. You could see what MacMillan was trying to express and how he exploited the technique and ability of Irek.
  3. Laura Morera danced the Apricot girl in the 2008 and 2009 performances.
  4. Dear Maddie Rose I enjoyed reading your comments and thought I would reply to one or two points you have made. I too enjoyed Fumi Kaneko's performance in both ballets; she is a perceptive actress. Her Polyhymnia was vivacious and full of fun, ending in that moment of horror as she realises she has accidentally spoken. As the green girl she brought an elegance and sophistication in the first solo - I loved her flirtatious backward glance at the audience. She was knocked back by the three boys, but in the end she shrugged her shoulders and exited cheerfully. I too am now a Kaneko fan. You found the ending of Apollo on the stairs (the climb to the summit of Mount Parnassus) sublime. Sadly the Royal Ballet is one of the few companies still performing the original version of the ballet with this ending. Balanchine revised the ballet towards the end of his life to make it more abstract ("neo-classical") and less of a story. He ends the ballet in this version with the so-called "sunburst" pose of Apollo with the splayed arabesques of the three muses - but this eliminates the sublime ending in silhouette on the mountain, which echoes the processional music with its sense of mission. New York City Ballet and the Mariinsky (to name but two) use this dumbed-down ending. You hope that Dances at a Gathering remains in the active repertoire. So do I - it is a ballet I love. It entered the repertoire of the Royal Ballet in 1970 and was performed very frequently until 1976. It was then dropped from the repertoire and I thought I would never see it again - particularly as in those years there was no commercial video of the ballet. I waited 32 years for it to return to the repertoire in 2008 - and since then we have seen it in 2009, 2020 (after another 11 years) and 2021. I certainly hope we will not have another long wait. People ask what Robbins meant, when the brown boy touches the floor in the final movement. Robbins made the ballet in New York, but Rudolf Nureyev was the first cast in London and danced many performances here in the early 1970s. For us, that moment in the ballet was a symbolic reference by Rudolf to the sacred soil of Russia from which he was exiled in those Brezhnev years. It always brings a tear to the eye.
  5. Th audience exploded tonight at Marianela and Vadim - with several bursts of applause. At last, it felt like old times. Fumi Kaneko had an exceptional night, full of irrepressible fun both as Polyhymnia and as the Girl in Green - a worthy successor to Lynn Seymour and Laura Morera.
  6. I saw Bruce Sansom's only Lescaut. It was at the end of the season, when the graduating RBS students start to "walk on" in roles with the main company. Early on in Act One, Bruce slung his jacket at a passing footman, who was making his debut on the ROH stage with the main company. It was Ernst Meisner.
  7. I went to the first night of La clemenza di Tito this evening. It was a rather muted affair. Amphitheatre patrons are segregated from the front of house patrons and the Floral Hall is reserved all evening for pre-booked diners only. You are required to have your ticket scanned at the foot of the side stairs. The rear entrance beside the bookshop is closed, so you need to approach from the tube station via Floral Street. Programmes and cast sheets will not be available until next season. Cast lists are not displayed in the audience areas. You are required to download the cast list on your smartphone.
  8. This is deeply distressing news. Liam was never afraid to use masterworks of the concert hall for his ballets - in that respect, he resembled Kenneth MacMillan. I remember with particular pleasure his early ballet Of Mozart, set to one of the most popular Mozart piano concertos, where he was clearly inspired by working with Laura Morera and Ricardo Cervera - and then his "late" work, the glorious Symphonic Dances, whose music has ironic premonitions of the end in the final movement and which was such a wonderful vehicle for Zenaida Yanowsky, as she neared the end of her career. He was only 35. What a loss!
  9. I wholeheartedly welcome the comments of Floss above, but I would like to add another neglected name to the list of heritage choreographers - Leonide Massine. Dame Ninette did much to embed his work in the repertoire of the Royal Ballet. He came in person to mount his Diaghilev successes of La Boutique Fantasque and The Three-Cornered Hat in 1947 and danced the miller himself with great success, partnering Margot Fonteyn. He also danced the can-can in La Boutique Fantasque with Moira Sheaer and later with Alexandra Danilova. These were the only Diaghilev ballets to be premiered in London, rather than Paris or Monte Carlo, but their centenaries in 2019 went unnoticed, notwithstanding a plaque on the wall outside Masala Zone in Floral Street, recording that Picasso painted the scenery for The Three-Cornered Hat in that building. Massine came back at the end of 1947 to revive his later ballet, Mam'zelle Angot with Fonteyn and Alexander Grant. Madam invited Massine back again in 1962 to revive another of his Diaghilev ballets, The Good-Humoured Ladies, with Diaghilev ballerina, Lydia Sokolova, returning to make guest appearances as the elderly Silvestra and with Anya Linden leading the cast as Costanza. The last Massine seen at the Royal Ballet was Costanza's solo at the reopening gala in 1999, presumably coached by Anya Linden. These ballets often featured in the programmes of the touring company and more recently BRB performed The Three-Cornered Hat. The ballets were immensely popular with audiences, but Massine sadly seems to be so far from the taste of current ballet managements that his ballets are all but forgotten.
  10. Here are two streams on you tube, free of charge. Dancers stay in the Dutch National Ballet Junior Company for only two years, before moving on either into the main company or elsewhere - so coronavirus has been severely restricting their opportunities to gain experience of performing on stage. They are streaming a rare revival of Hans Van Manen's 1983 ballet, In and Out, which is set to music by Laurie Anderson and Nina Hagen. It seems remarkably modern for its time and is a riot of movement and colour. Hans Van Manen is still going strong and is rapidly approaching his 89th birthday. You can also watch an abbreviated class, in which Ernst Meisner guides these young dancers in his usual friendly style.
  11. There is a beautiful performance of Scenes de Ballet from 2004 with Miyako Yoshida and Ivan Putrov (with Martin Harvey, Yohei Sasaki, Joshua Tuifua and Edward Watson, no less). I find this version stylish, witty and full of edge - it has been issued commercially. What is wrong with this performance, Stucha?
  12. The great Kirov/Mariinsky ballerina, Altynai Asylmuratova, is 60 today. She is originally from Kazakhstan. After retiring from performing, she became the director of the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg. She is now director of the Astana Opera Ballet and of the Kazakh National Academy of Choreography (KNAC). The students of KNAC have filmed a birthday tribute to her. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNhWTB4NFXs&feature=youtu.be
  13. My understanding is that the dancers will continue attending the Royal Opera House during the lockdown period and will be able to perform both programmes in an empty house. The intention is to record both programmes for subsequent streaming.
  14. Well I thoroughly enjoyed watching a live show from Astana, for once - and some of the dancers have become quite familiar. The dancing was a bit tentative, but the dancers were clearly enjoying being back on stage after six months' gap. Aigerim Beketaeva and Bakhtyar Adamzhan were fully committed in Notre Dame de Paris, and there was plenty of attack from Anel Rustemova and Daler Zaparov in the Corsair pas de deux. Tomorrow (Saturday) they are streaming a live performance of Scheherazade with Anastasia Zaklinskaya and Bakhtyar Adamzhan - it transmits at 1 pm UK time. The same link https://tengrinews.kz/tv/
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