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  1. I was also there last night - one of the most enjoyable evenings I've had at ROH for a while. I concur with all the other members praising the Concerto second movement - it was simply beautiful. Frankie Hayward was a delight, Fumi Kaneko was gorgeous and Vadim floated... plus all the others to numerous to mention, the whole programme was a treat. I was sipping a house red before the show in the Amphi bar and spotted Bella Brouwers of ENB - it's good to see that professional dancers still choose to go watch ballet to relax!
  2. I saw the working stage rehearsal a couple of days ago, which was fantastic - top cast of Rojo/Streeter/Quagebeur/Cirio. It seems even sharper and more dramatic than last year - perhaps there have been some further tweaks. Just as when I go to Mizu I always have the yaki udon despite the extensive menu, when I see this Giselle I always want Stina Quagebeur as Myrthe despite the fine alternatives available. She absolutely owns that role.
  3. A packed and wildly varied programme at the Linbury last night from the Kazakh company. There were four pieces, most of which broke down into a series of scenes that felt quite distinct - so it felt like a long list of one act-ers and the audience was rather unclear at one point as to whether might have finished (it hadn't..). The first piece was to Edith Piaf music, neoclassical in style, the second was an extended Salomé that was very dramatic but perhaps needed a somewhat larger stage, then came a series of traditional Kazakh folk-oriented pieces. That was very impressive from a costume and spectacle perspective (my wife loved this section) but felt a bit Soviet-era folklorski spektakl to me. The final piece was based around the tango, but on pointe. Overall, an energetic and athletic, almost gymnastic young company that gave a hugely entertaining evening - not always tightly controlled, but no moments of longueur. I was pleased for them that it was very well received by what appeared to be a full house.
  4. Hope you didn't put money on that! I thought there were some interesting strands in the women's US Open this year. The Townsend saga was fascinating - particularly how she beat a completely exasperated Halep, who just could not adapt her game to that relentless serve and volley. There were some dramatic doubles matches along the way too, though the final was dull. A classy, gracious victory over young Coco Gauff by Naomi Osaka, comforting and keeping her on court for the interview. Then Andreescu beating Serena... what a resourceful player she has proved to be, and what a journey over the last year! The women's draws had it hands down this year. I could probably have rephrased that last sentence but I'll just leave it out there..
  5. I used to dabble in Fives at school, which has a court modelled on a corner of Eton college, with a split level floor and a buttress coming out of the wall - and played with a gloved hand. Tennis was similarly originally 'jeu de paume' so I wonder if that too originated in some specific building, with its echo just surviving now in the real tennis court?
  6. I can relate to your views here. There does seem to be a conscious decision here to make a big thing about race, including people for whom it has never been an issue or major factor. I am the father of two mixed race sons, and race just doesn't figure much at all in their self perception - it's not one of the characteristics they would typically describe themselves by. It would annoy all of us if someone associated their personal or professional achievements with their ethnicity. There are some dancers for whom race looms large - I'd say Misty Copeland has embraced that aspect - and that's fine as it's their choice, but I've never had any sense that Francesca is that interested in it. I may be presumptuous here but I'd imagine her primary self-definition would be seeing herself an excellent dancer, not as an ethnic ambassador. The Telegraph also recently tried to spin up some nonsense about 'whitewashing' around Francesca's Cats character. This trivialises their core achievements.
  7. I think Francesca looks great in her cat guise. The size inconsistencies others have pointed out are bizarre, but the dancing looks promising. I really can't bear musicals because of the style of singing but I will happily watch this (with earplugs firmly screwed in). Edit: I see the Telegraph is now trying to spin up a 'whitewashing' controversy about her appearance
  8. Language is dynamic (cf the Canutian efforts of the Académie Française to resist language change..) - if most people call it Sadler's then one small pocket of people making a conscious effort not to isn't going to change things. Personally I've never heard 'The Wells'.
  9. Few pics from yesterday. Good to see Silva and Hoyt just won again. Pics of them, Coco et Aoyama from yesterday
  10. We had Centre Court tickets yesterday but they were right at the back of level 5, so it was like looking out of a postbox, and we had a 'leaner' in front who took out half the court. The matches there were not that great (Kevin Anderson is really dull) so we mostly spent the day watching fantastic doubles on outside courts which would have cost a tenth of the price. It was good to see local girl Eden Silva and Evan Hoyt beat Storus and Paes, and there was a cracking ladies doubles of Sabalenka/Mertens v Krunic/Aoyama. Krunic repeatedly fell flat on her back volleying at the net and was back on her feet to return the return - reflexes of a cat! We were looking forward to the Cori Gauff match, given all the media frenzy about her, but frankly found it rather dull. She was extremely cautious, and both of them were nervous, so it was mostly 70s style baseline rallying. Maybe I'm missing something, and it's clearly still amazing for a 15 year old to get his far, but from that performance the quality of her actual tennis has been rather overhyped.
  11. Just noticed this on Tara-Brigitte Bhavnani's instagram and thought some here may be interested. She is having her long hair cut and using the event as a fundraiser - all donors of £25 or over get a pair of signed pointe shoes. A very worthy cause. Her text and links below... tarabhavs I'm sorry I didn't play with you more, but I think you'll have a great time on some sweet child's head💕 Thank you hair. Good bye😘💇‍♀️💕 Today I'm cutting my hair for @officiallittleprincesstrust Probably a good 10 years of growth in those 20 odd inches...we've been through a lot, but it's time to share the fun we've had. My hair will be made into a beautiful wig for a child who has lost their hair due to cancer and other illnesses and your donation will go towards making this happen! I'm also doing a pointe shoe giveaway! To celebrate my haircut, I'm giving away autographed pointe shoes to EVERYONE who donates £25 or more to the Little Princess Trust via www.justgiving.com/tarabb Once you have made your donation, please send your name and address to info@brigitteballet.com
  12. Mrs Quintus sent me a photo today from Boodles of her with Tsitsipas. His being 6'4 to her 4'11 made for a difficult composition, even more extreme than when I snapped her with Krystina Pliskova, pushing 6'2, a couple of weeks ago... 😂
  13. Pleased to see Yulia Putintseva, my 'discovery' from the Kazakh Fed cup match on an earlier post, get a big break in beating Naomi Osaka...... We just spent the weekend and Monday at the Birmingham Classic, and had another 'discovery' in the form of Iga Swiatek, last year's Wimbledon juniors winner. She is clearly inexperienced but has a great style to watch, and I think will develop to do very well. Both her and Yulia have got into Wimbledon... Must admit more and more I pick matches to watch based on the style of play rather than the ranking of the players. Konta bores me absolutely witless, whereas some lower ranking players are really exciting to watch - even when they lose.. Heather Watson lost but was looking in better form than I've seen for a long time
  14. Selling as I have a cough... SFB Welch/Scarlett/Peck bill at Sadler's Wells - second circle N 13, £15 e-ticket so can email.
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