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Jam Dancer

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About Jam Dancer

  • Birthday December 17

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  • Location:
    Tokyo
  • Interests
    Travel, Dance, Languages

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  1. I am so confused by all of this and why there needs to be a discussion at all. Who chooses to be defined by the colour of their skin? How come this is never said about people in the majority? Does anyone think for a minute that Leontyne Price or Jessye Norman wanted to be defined by the colour of their skin? They couldn’t escape it then and most people can’t now. It’s not usually the artists that draws attention to themselves but the people in society who are uncomfortable with people on these spaces. When someone embraces or is unashamed of how the world categorises them (regardless of the uselessness of the designation), why is that choosing to be defined by the colour of their skin? Shock horror that someone considers there are 14 or 15 “women of colour” who are “forces for change.” Why? Because there should only be 2 or 3? I have no doubt there would be less of a discussion if amongst the women chosen there were only a smattering of women not fitting the mould. A lot of this is eye rolling stuff (for me)... discussion about individuals’ complexions and someone being darker....really? Because complexion determines what really ? And the question about why did Francesca agree to be included in the article if she doesn’t want to be defined by the colour of her skin... really? Still picking up my teeth from that one...because being celebrated amongst the likes of Chimamanda Adichie in a magazine that you’ve read since you were a young girl means that you couldn’t possibly be simply honoured to be considered as having a positive influence ...? Apologies for the nonexistent dance related content...
  2. I’m sure the discussion has now moved on to the LA portion of the tour now. This is just a quick post to say that I did manage to see 2 more performances of the Royal Ballet in Japan. Too many things were happening at once (aka work) so I didn’t manage to post reviews. I attended the final performance of Don Quixote with Vadim Muntagirov and Natalia Osipova. Jenny posted a lovely review so I shan’t go on too long. I think they should have finished resurfacing the stage of the Bunka Kaikan by now because Osipova absolutely tore up the floor with her speed. Speed in the travelling pirouettes in the finale of Act 1, speed in the fouettés in the Act 3 variation ..wherever she could, she turned up the tempo. I think I got whiplash . As you can imagine there was a lot of bravura and polished dancing from Muntagirov. I hadn’t realised that the men have so much freedom in the their Act 3 variations. Vadim’s Act 3 was quite different from what I saw Matthew Ball in the first performance I saw. Again, the entire company looked fantastic. There was so much character in the dancing at times I wasn’t sure where to look. Isabella Gasparini’s Amour was a delight and what an infectious smile she has. Impressive individual performances by both Vadim and Natalia but I think I preferred Cuthbertson and Ball (together) in the earlier performance I saw. I do have to admit to fighting jet lag that evening as I had just got back to Japan the Friday before I attended my first performance. And I sort of lost my voice the next day! On my way home, Reece Clarke was in the same carriage of the metro train having dashed out of the theatre after his performance. On Sunday, I attended the (Gala) final performance in Yokohama. I passed Itziar Mendizabal leaving the theatre and having seen me around a number of times during the run she smiled at me and said bye. I’d passed her and Kristen McNally leaving the theatre on my way to the Osipova/ Muntagirov Don Q performance. I really enjoyed the gala. Highlights for me were Claire Calvert, Yasmine Naghdi and Laura Morera in Winter Dreams. The goodbye pas de deux (with Ryochi Hirano) brought a roar of applause from the audience. Then there was the Manon pas de deux with Lauren Cuthbertson and Vadim Muntagirov, the snippet from Ondine with Francesca Hayward (and cameo appearance by Edward Watson) - what an expressive face Francesca has! With an almost bare stage I found myself experiencing the same amazement in whatever it was Ondine was discovering having strayed into another world. Last but not least was Symphony in C which was the icing on the cake. I love the music and this gem of a ballet. Fumi Kaneko in the 1st movement was a standout. It was great seeing the company but I’m sure happy they’re gone! I’ve spent half my retirement savings on them - £16 for a programme !??
  3. I'll try to add to Jenny's and Naomi’s Report. I am quoting Naomi's review because she mentioned Lauren Cuthbertson's change of spotting in the latter half of her fouettés which sort of blew me away because 1) I must be the only person that gets bored after four fouettés and 2) I didn't expect it from her - not that I don't think she isn't capable but having never seen her in this type of role, I wasn't sure what to expect but I think she was excellent. I am getting ahead of myself though. On my way to the theatre I passed Beatriz Stix-Brunell leaving (day off) and my excitement went up another notch. I didn't have the best of seats Level 4 on the left side of the stage but I think the sight lines in the Bunka Kaikan are quite good so I still had an unimpeded view of the stage. Shortly before the lights were dimmed, I saw Olga Evirinoff making her way to her seat and I knew that she had been coaching Lauren and Matthew (Ball) so I got even more excited. By the way, I guess it's usual for coaches to watch the performances? Then as the doors closed, in popped Kevin O'Hare (in his usual black on black) rushing to his seat. By this time, I was overexcited and quite hot and started wondering why the air conditioning hadn't been turned up a bit higher. I saw this production 3 times during the initial run but I've not seen it since, and I wasn't able to make any of the earlier performances so I've got nothing to which to compare it. I can say that I enjoyed it much more this time around than the first run. The company is in a different place and they performed at a really high level on Sunday afternoon. Lauren and Matthew look really good together and there was tongue in cheek quality to their performance. They were having fun and there was this warm chemistry between them, fun-loving and a bit rebellious. I just loved Lauren's expressions - she was such a cheeky Kitri. Not to mention the deep back bends - I thought at one point she was going to hurt something. Lauren really threw herself into the role and conquered the technical feats yet they were so refined as a couple - can you have a refined performance of Don Quixote? It's not a ballet I know well or have seen often. Not having seen Matthew Ball dance in a little while, I was impressed with his confidence and his attack on this role. Claire Calvert was Mercedes for the 3rd straight show and although I missed some of the "colour" that Laura Morera brings to this role, Claire danced it well yesterday. And Reece Clarke...gosh I knew he'd been injured but I didn't know that he'd had surgery only nine weeks ago. Bravo to him for coming back with Espada and performing so confidently and cool. It was a joy to see him dance this. I think the last time I saw him dance was in the last run of Symphonic Variations. Romany Padjak and Fuki Kaneko were Kitri's friends and they were both delightful to watch. Queen of the Dryads was a very impressive Yuhui Choe just knocking off the variation as if going for a stroll in the park. Meaghan Grace Hinkis was a sprightly Amour and Thomas Whitehead's Gamache made me giggle. I couldn't help but notice Joseph Sissens and Sae Maeda and Chisato Katsura also caught my eye. The applause at the end was rapturous. There was quite generous applause during the performance as well and the curtain calls seem to go on forever. My hands were stinging a bit and of course I was now feeling much hotter than at the start of the performance. With all the excitement, I did something I’ve never done in all my years of attending performances at Covent Garden, I went outside to join the Japanese crowds waiting for the dancers to exit. It's not every day that you get to see what your home ballet company in Tokyo where you happen to be living at the moment. I've gone on too long but just to say that the Royal Ballet dancers are a gracious lot. So many of them came out and took time to sign autographs, take selfies with the fans and just soak up the atmosphere. It was nice seeing some of the dancers up close and in person so to speak but I found myself getting carried away and cheering and calling out names (as if I didn't-t already stick out in the crowd waiting there). I know some people have seen the dancers' social media feeds showing the crowds, so I thought I'd attach a couple of photos I took (not very good) whilst being a bit of a groupie. Unfortunately, I'm having issues doing that at the minute so I'll abandon for now.
  4. I disagree - Naomi has posted on the forum a number of times clearly as someone who lives in Japan. I think the reminder could have taken the context into consideration. We aren’t all insiders and some of us don’t care to be. There is a lot of stern unnecessary snapping /sniping and perhaps the original reminder wasn’t meant to be but knowing the spirit in which Naomi intended the post, I felt for her. I’ll await my upbraiding now (but that’s me done now too).
  5. I am living in Tokyo at the moment and plan to attend 3 performances of the Royal Ballet tour but I must say it is sometimes very challenging to post on the forum. I usually force myself into the conversations none the less 😊. Sometimes I need a stiff drink first and by then the details of what I wanted to add are a bit less clear... Naomi is quite obviously a non-native English speaker and she has said as much before. For her to be as generous as she has been with taking the time to post a review and then be needled about full names is a bit too much. In an earlier post about the Japan tour, she was also taken to task after having taken time to translate dancers’ names from katakana to English when she made a mistake in the spelling of the surname of someone’s favourite dancer🙄. For the record I agree with citing full names but can’t we all recognise the context sometimes and just encourage others to participate. If you recognise who the dancers are then perhaps given the context, supplement the post and add them even if with question marks? Or is better to chase away someone who is obviously trying to contribute positively to the forum? Ok - off soapbox now and on to looking forward to Sunday’s matinée performance of Don Q with Lauren Cuthbertson and Matthew Ball.
  6. Thanks Naomi! The tickets I managed to get are for Sunday 6/30 performance.
  7. Of course my post was a generalisation and I said as much. It doesn’t make me you more right and me wrong and what is largely a subjective matter. My opinions can only be formed from my experience. You’re reacting as if I claimed I’d done an exhaustive study across the country from the beginning of time. I don’t see what asking me about my educational background would prove even if were to answer any of your questions. However much of an expert you might be, your knowledge would only be based on a period of time and you’ve no idea when I went to school. I’ll just say that I went to what are still considered “good” schools but this means nothing as the standing of a school doesn’t always indicate the quality of its teaching. I don’t recall saying my college courses were disappointing - I mentioned the level of analysis that was required and I cited the difference in approach. My opinion was formed from my interaction with other students in class as well as from friends I made over the years and their experiences compared to mine. I didn’t mention that because I wasn’t trying to claim I had the definitive answer. I didn’t mention my studies in France either that informed my opinion but I didn’t see this as an exhaustive dissertation and as an argument that I had to win. I also mentioned that I did not concentrate on literature which should’ve indicated that I was not making any statements about the study of literature in America. Now that I’ve been duly shown up for the non literature expert that I am with my irrelevant experience at some community college in America that I deigned to relate to this discussion, I’ll leave the comments to the better educated and the better informed.
  8. Interesting discussion - now hoping to be able see Marston’s work as soon as I can. For what it’s worth Angela, I understand what you’re saying and I am inclined to agree with you. I say this as someone with a British-based pre-university education who attended university in America and lived and worked there for 13 years after graduating university. I also popped back some time after for a couple years to do a graduate degree. Saying “Americans” doesn’t literally mean every single American so of course there will be many people who like narrative ballets but in general perhaps they don’t. For me the difference in the manner of how literature was taught in university compared to what I did at a high school level was striking. The level of critical analysis and examination I was asked to bring to my work in literature classes in high school was rarely equalled except in a course entitled “Continental Short Fiction”. Could this be one possible reason for the difference? I find there is a curated/museum-like approach to European and British literature (and history) that can hinder real appreciation/engagement . To be clear, I majored in Computer Science major but insisted on getting as much of a liberal arts education as I could.
  9. Wonderful photos! Much better than my attempts with my phone 😂 I really enjoyed the matinée on Friday and it was a day of firsts for me which made it special. It was my first time sitting in the Donald Gordon tier after having sat in every other section of the ROH over the years. It was my first time seeing the company live this year - I was afraid that jet lag and the 13 hours of travel the day before would mean I’d fall asleep during the performance. It was also My first time ever saying hello to a dancer I admire - Leanne Benjamin was sitting in the same row and I couldn’t help myself when passing by after an interval. Lastly, it was my first time seeing David Hallberg dance although I’ve always wanted to. I enjoyed Hallberg and Natalia Osipova in A Month in the Country. I did think however, that he sure made the role look like hard work. It’s been a while since I last saw the piece performed but I do remember dancers like Rupert Pennefather seeming less harried - minor quibble though. I could feel that Mayara Magri’s Firebird wanted to be free and was doing all she could to free herself from the pesky Ivan. The elevation on her jumps was impressive. Bravo to Fumi Kaneko for not getting rattled after the slip of her shoe at the beginning of Symphony in C. Bravo to Joseph Sissens for just being a joy to watch. I did think that the 2nd movement was a bit slower than it needed to be but it could’ve been jet lag attacking my senses. It was a lovely performance and even more so as some dancers seemed to have got the better of their reported struggles. I am quite excited about seeing the company in Tokyo later this month!
  10. Although I think this is indeed true - Hayward is standing on pointe in the photo.
  11. Thank you Naomi! I am semi literate so I should be able to pick my way through the site. I will definitely give it a try.
  12. Beyond disgusted and a bit heartbroken to wake up this morning to an email from Viagogo saying that the seller can’t provide the tickets to the RB gala for which they took my nearly £300 back in February😡. Had I understood that there was any chance of this happening I would have kept on looking to get actual tickets instead of the imaginary ones that Viagogo is allowed to put up for sale. They are refunding the money I paid but it’s little consolation as it’ll take a miracle for me to get tickets at this late stage. I am thinking of trekking to Yokohama on the day but I know this would be nothing more than an exercise in futility - grrr.
  13. I saw this and was hopi it would clarify the latter half of 2019 but unfortunately it didn’t. No clearer on what’s happening in December 2019/early January 2020.
  14. Given the mixed sources it’s not terribly sophisticated data I’m afraid but yes much of the interest to which I am referring is in classical/neoclassical ballet. I’ve no idea though if there’s increased interest compared to some other period...
  15. No i don’t think that’s the case. There is usually a vocal minority that tends to hog airtime which leads to people believing that they’ve heard from an entire group when only a few who’ve appointed themselves spokespeople have made their feelings known. Whilst the naysayers do exist, there are far more people who don’t make those kinds of statements and who simply have not had the exposure, others who are curious or others who think it’s perhaps beyond them and quite a large number of people who are just indifferent. This brings up the dreaded “r”’word, relevance. These people aren’t necessarily committed fans of the current popular/hip art forms but they don’t think classical music /ballet/opera is relevant to them or to today. I don’t know what the answer in today’s environment of shortened attention spans and what seems to be a lack of appreciation for history. What I do know however, from those I know who do dance outreach work is that there is interest in ballet across groups.
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