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BristolBillyBob

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About BristolBillyBob

  • Birthday August 8

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  1. Hi all! Long time no post, sorry! How is everyone? 😃 I'm off to see this tonight and am flying solo. If anyone else is in Edinburgh for it, do shout and we can say hello! I always like to meet fellow forumites!
  2. Hi all, I just wanted to check back in and thank you for all your wonderful suggestions again. I said I'd refer back to them as I went round NYC, and I did! The Circle Line boat tour was fantastic - I agree well worth it! I went atop The Rock, which was a stunning view - I've got quite a few panoramic photos from there... I made sure I went to the MoMa which was incredible. My two favourite pictures - Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World and Edward Hopper's New York Movie - were remarkably just in the hallway by the stairs! I went to Katz's just before lunchtime which worked well and happily nommed my way through a metric ton of pastrami and gherkins while soaking up the 'atmos'. I was lucky enough that the High Line started just from my hotel, so that was a fabulous way to get into the city - I did it a couple of times and earlier in the morning would be my recommendation to have a more leisurely stroll before the crowds arrive. I tried to go to the Jerome Robbins collection but the woman on the front desk said it was archived and didn't seem to get that I wanted to have a look at the archives - I would've tried more but I only had 45 minutes before curtain up so had to give that one best. I had a good ol' stroll around Central Park and Battery Park too, which were very much needed to get a breather from the pace of the city, and explored lots of the different areas on foot. I will try and share some photos when I'm back in the UK (I'm in Ottawa currently). If I didn't do your suggestion, it certainly wasn't that it was a bad one, I simply found that NYC has way more to do than can fit into a five-day jaunt, so I'll definitely be back! In terms of ballet, I saw three NYCB shows, with a total of eight different short ballets. I won't go into them all, but Justin Peck's The Times Are Racing absolutely knocked me for six. It literally took my breath away. Kinetic, energetic, narrative-free but with an emotional arc, it was up there - and if I'm honest, probably surpasses - Akram Khan's Giselle as the best thing I've seen on a stage. Honestly, it might be even the single best thing my eyes have seen in 40 years of looking at stuff. Given that Peck is only 31, and with life expectancy for men in NY at 78 years, I'm thrilled to see what the next 47 years of Peck production brings. Principal Lauren Lovette, who I saw again later in the week and is now up there with my all-time favourites, was utterly sublime in The Times Are Racing as was Brittany Pollack, whose pointe shoes are coming home to Bristol with me - the first time I've bought any. It was also great to see so much Balanchine choreography, it really made sense of the dancing style of NYCB as a company. To me, they seemed to have pace and attack, while maintaining a definite lyricism, but with a focus on technique over musicality compared to other companies (although obviously having both in droves). They also danced with a lightness I've only ever seen once before at the Royal Danish Ballet. Quite a remarkable featherweight touch. As you'd expect, they came across as a supremely talented company and I was deeply impressed. I'd also pick out Taylor Stanley who was absolutely magnetic on the stage. Chatting to various people after the performances, it's clear he's a NY audience favourite and rightly so. Oh, and finally, I sat in Orchestra stalls, and the first and second rings, and have to say that none were bad seats at all. My pick for bang-for-buck would probably be the second ring, and if you're sitting in the stalls, really avoid the first six rows or so, the rake angle looked pretty poor for those so not great if you're short! Anyway, great time had, thank you all so much for your suggestions!
  3. Thanks again for the additional tips (the forum stopped notifying me for some reason)! I've booked three shows at NYCB 😃 - I definitely recommend looking at 'Flex' subscriber tickets if you're ever doing the same, there's a reasonable discount there. They say they won't send tickets internationally but the envelope nonetheless arrived on my doorstep a few days later, amazingly showing just $0.65 postage!
  4. Thank you all so, so much for such amazing suggestions and tips! 😃 The tips for the Lincoln Center are really useful. They've got photos on the website of the views from certain seats, but it's hard to get a feel for what it'll actually be like when you're there watching a show, so your advice is hugely appreciated. I think it looks like the best balance for me is going to be the centre-most of the side seats in the middle rings - and yes, @DrewCo, that made sense! 😄 It looks as though you only sacrifice the smallest sliver of stage view for a significant $ saving, so that seems like the right balance. And in terms of tips for what to do while I'm in town, I couldn't be more excited now after all of your suggestions! The boat trip is I think a given, but your suggestions of delis, the high line, the library, Battery Park (I'll be staying close to there), Ellis Island, MOMA, NYU, and all the other tips, are all such great ideas I'll be referring back to them regularly during my trip! I doubt I'll have time to do them all, but I can always come back! Oh, and @Douglas Allen, thanks for the jazz club suggestions - I do love a jazz club but have been unable to find anything in Europe to match the great ones I stumbled upon in Chicago, so that's definitely on my aftershow list! Sadly I can't make the ABT dates as I have exciting plans either side of that - I'm taking a brief sabbatical this spring/summer and the lovely people at Ballet Austin have offered me some career development shadowing for the preceding week which I'm biblically thrilled about - but I'll definitely try and catch them at some point in the future. If I haven't thanked you individually, or mentioned your suggestion, that's only because there were so many! They're all massively appreciated, and I'll be sure to report back on how I got on!
  5. Ooh! File MOMA under 'Things I'd completely forgotten were in NYC and am now even more excited about'! 🤩
  6. Heh, I remember getting some similar advice when I went to Chicago and it was spot on then, too! Thanks!
  7. Thanks! I'll investigate that (and @bangorballetboy's suggestion too)! I'm in NYC for about six days, and yep, this'll be my first time there.
  8. Hi all, Excitingly I'm off to New York in May, and needless to say will be taking out a second mortgage on my legs to see NYCB perform while I'm in town. Only problem is, I want to see three performances. While I'm sorting out the whole not-having-won-the-National-Lottery-yet issue with Camelot I can't really plump for top seats for all three, so does anyone have any suggestions for a decent balance of good seats at the David H. Koch Theater that don't cost the earth? I'd also welcome tips for fun things to do while in NYC! Oh, and if we have any members on the forum in NY who fancy meeting up and saying hello, I'll be flying solo and am always up for meeting fellow balletomane forumites. Thanks!
  9. In no way am I equating myself with somehow being in the same echelon as, say, a Royal Ballet dancer*, but as someone who occasionally treads the boards in an amateur theatre capacity, I'm never anything but chuffed by people coming up to me in the bar afterwards to tell me they enjoyed my performance. Although sometimes on such occasions I suspect their acting abilities outstrip mine. 😄 * - Now known on these boards as "Cheryl Syndrome"
  10. Incredible news for BRB (for whom I have a definite soft spot). Can't wait to see what he does. With him at the helm of BRB, and Tamara Rojo's already fiercely ambitious ENB shaking things up a bit, we could be entering a very exciting era for ballet in the UK. Bring it on!
  11. Yep, online translation can be fun! Or, as they say in Japan, 私のハムスターは自転車に乗ることができません。足が短すぎてペダルに届かないからです
  12. Chatting to Nancy afterwards, she cited getting opportunities like Rubies as one of the reasons she was so happy with RBF. I get the impression they really look after their dancers there. I remember the ENB exodus a few years ago, and it was really disappointing; so much talent left our shores. I'd also include in your list Jeanette Kakareka, who is now at Bayerisches Staatsballett (where Nancy guested). She was always one of the highlights of any ENB show for me, and in fact she graces my living room wall in a wonderful print from Laurent Liotardo...
  13. D'oh, yes of course! And, then, Nini De Vet not Ana. Good spot. I put this down to three things: 1. Writing that bit of the review nearly a month after the event and trying to decipher the rough notes I made. 2. Getting home at 2am the night before. 3. Well, let's be fair it wouldn't be a BristolBillyBob write up without some kind of error like that, so how about we all agree to pretend I do it deliberately to keep you lot on your toes. 😄
  14. Full disclosure - I wrote most of this shortly after seeing it, but have only just got around to finishing the review, so apologies if it's a bit incomplete. Also apologies for starting a new thread so late! August this year marked my fortieth birthday, and back in the spring when my girlfriend asked what I wanted to do to celebrate, I immediately suggested we could go to Belgium and see Nancy Osbaldeston dance at Royal Ballet Flanders. Those of you who follow my posts will know that she is by far my favourite dancer! So we had a look at RBF's calendar and immediately Amran Khan's Giselle stood out. I've missed it at ENB, but some glittering reviews and recommendations mean it's something I've been excited to see for ages so we booked immediately. A loooong summer of waiting finally ended last week, when we hopped on the Eurostar to Belgium. I'll cut a long story short, this show was possibly the best thing I've seen on a stage. 😃 The word that leapt - or should that be jetéed? - into my mind as I was watching the performance was 'disruptive'. It feels almost like the first of a new generation of works in dance; elements of classical ballet woven seamlessly with contemporary choreography, both married to a taut narrative flow lifted more from the pacing of a film than a languid classical ballet. The doffs of the cap to classical versions of Giselle pleased the ballet geek in me, and the lifting en pointe of Giselle at the start of the second act demonstrated that Khan wasn't about to throw the ballet rulebook out the window, but wanted to push it forward. Whereas Matthew Bourne's contemporary productions can sometimes feel to me a bit like 'musicals with the singing taken out', this comes across like a proper ballet production, albeit one that is resolutely reaching towards the future. The set, the lighting, the use of sound (even from the dancers - gasp!), the willingness by Khan to embrace stillness for long periods all add up to a production that I found utterly mesmerising. Nancy Osbaldeston, for those of you who might not have come across her, stood out to me even in the corps at ENB. She won their Emerging Dancer competition in 2013, and moved from being a First Soloist at ENB to Royal Ballet Flanders in 2014. She was promoted to Soloist in '17 and Principal in '18. Her quick promotion is a testament to just how talented she is. And it's not like she's just a big fish in a small pond; RBF have an exceptional depth and breadth of talent throughout the ranks. Their Onegin eclipsed the Royal Ballet's production for me when I saw both in quick succession a few years ago. They are a fantastic company. Nancy's dancing has a quality that raises her above so many other dancers, but I always find so hard to describe. There's a musicality, a grace of movement that feels effortless, natural; the shapes she creates are like tracing liquid through the air. You know when you gently stir a mug of tea into a mini whirlpool and add the milk slowly, the beautiful patterns it makes? Maybe something like that. 🤔 But married to that, she has a rare gift for communicating so much just through movement. Some technically excellent dancers need to communicate through their eyes or their expressions, but Nancy manages to convey complexity, depth and subtlety of emotion just through the gentle sweep her fingertips, the arc of her toe through the air. Her pas de deux scenes with Albrecht in both acts reminded me of Vera, Stina Quagebeur's superb piece Nancy danced at ENB Choreographics, such was their power. Each movement was packed with meaning, with love, with heartbreak. When Albrecht reaches to Giselle's belly in Act 2, Nancy's dancing infuses that short moment of choreography with utterly desperate sorrow. Daniel Domenech was utterly superb. Danced with attack, power, coupled with sublime technique, his Hilarion was a character instantly recognisable from any city centre pub on a Saturday night. Chest puffed out, self assurance and entitlement sweating from every over-aftershaved pore, small-man-syndrome rage barely suppressed, his Hilarion viewed Giselle as a prize to be won, a commodity to be owned. While Khan's work pre-dates the 'MeToo' movement, Domenech's Hilarion here feels even more fiercely contemporary in the current climate and sublimely easy to despise. Domenech’s Hilarion had an excellent counterpoint in Claudio Canagialosi’s Albrecht, who danced with poise and nobility. Ana Carolina Quaresma utterly inhabited the role of Bathilde. She channeled the perfect blend of otherworldliness, sororal and maternal power, and a purity of rage. As I’m finishing this review nearly an entire month after seeing it - I really should get round to this quicker! - so I’ll round it off there without going into too much more. I urge you to try and catch Nancy Osbaldeston in the future, and I urge you, if you get the chance, to see her with RBF. She’s one of the finest dancers this country has produced in recent years, and RBF are a sensational environment in which to see her. You won't be disappointed, and you never know, it might just end up being the best thing you've ever seen on a stage.
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