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About Sophoife

  • Birthday February 15

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    Arsenal, ballet, books, food, France, music...

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  1. Arts Centre Melbourne has closed its doors for a month, forcing the cancellation of all but three performances of The Australian Ballet's mixed bill Volt, comprising McGregor's Chroma and Dyad 1929, and Alice Topp's new piece Logos. The Sydney Opera House is closed. Most theatres are closed or closing. But schools and universities are mostly still open, although it is understood they will close soon. Even here in country NSW we now have a drive-through testing centre, although it's acknowledged there are shortages of stuff to be used in the testing kits because of attitudes in government I won't comment on here.
  2. The three finalists for the job were Hallberg and two other men. Both Australian and both danced mostly overseas.
  3. He's 37. I'm excited because he has been informally mentoring and coaching a number of the men in the company for several years now and the results are pretty good. He has the worldwide contacts an AD down here needs. Hopefully the company will be able to acquire some rep from choreographers such as Crystal Pite, and hopefully also he will continue to expand Alice Topp's opportunities, and maybe even follow Patricia Barker (RNZB AD) and Tamara Rojo's leads by programming all-female-created works. He couldn't really do less than the last 20 years in that regard. I'm also hoping the company will revisit some of the Béjart rep it used to do under the directorship of Maina Gielgud. To be brutally honest, if we the audience could have, say, a ten-year break from the Works Of Graeme Murphy, I think it would be of benefit to both us and the dancers. @jmb what do you reckon?
  4. ...maybe the ones who do enter comps from ABS are the ones who want to work outside Australia, as it's their only real opportunity to be seen...if you check the bios on the TAB site, the ones who've done comps tend to be the ones who didn't train at ABS.
  5. I'm not sure why you would say ABS "has been quite reluctant to allow students to do comps". The ABS website states "Select senior students are offered exciting opportunities to participate in a number of international ballet competitions including the Prix de Lausanne, the Asian Pacific International Ballet Competitions held biennially in Tokyo, and the Beijing International Ballet Competition held biennially in Beijing." This is borne out by anecdotal evidence from former students. It's also fairly well evident from those who do get chosen or encouraged or extra-coached (outside school hours) that they're the ones who probably won't suit the company's requirements, for example Hannah O'Neill (première danseuse with Paris Opéra Ballet) who was personally coached by then-school principal Marilyn Rowe for both YAGP and PdL. Also, ABS proudly declares on its website that it is a PdL Partner School. ABS is actually partially federal government funded and although much fee assistance is privately or philanthropically provided, qualifying students can also get fees paid with federal Vocational Education and Training loans, as the full-time courses qualify as Further Education. Most of the small schools such as Tanya Pearson, Prudence Bowen etc are very much private fee-paying schools and they are the ones who encourage their students into comps as it's a business decision for them.
  6. Luxury casting indeed! Lucky you, @maryrosesatonapin! Miss Baulac and Mr Louvet, both étoiles, with premier danseur Mr Alu and première danseuse Miss O'Neill - who yes is half New Zealand and half Japanese, and trained at the Australian Ballet School (where former principal Marilyn Rowe fully supported her desire and aim to dance in Paris). She and Sae Eun Park have had remarkable careers in Paris, especially as neither trained at the Opéra School. The POB Giselle was wonderful in Sydney some years ago: we were treated to a beautifully-drilled corps of Wilis, Audric Bezard was a very handsome Hilarion, Marie-Agnès Gillot as the ultimate Myrthe, and the debut in the title role of Ludmila Pagliero, wowzas. By the way, Mr Alu hasn't had a head of dark curly hair ever...it's a cleverly-angled photo, his hair is actually quite light in colour and very much thinning on top. The shaved head is his look of the last 12 months. Amazing dancer, have a look at his Instagram which often includes videos and some stunning shots by Julien Benhamou, the photographer who took that clever head-shot!
  7. Not just the dancers, @maryrosesatonapin. There's a special agreement in place for all the Opéra backstage peeps, as well as the singers and orchestra members. Agree the Garnier is stunning. Booked back to back tours in 2017, the first in French and the second in English ("just in cases"). Cancelled the English one as the French-language guide was so good I understood everything. Did literally LOL at the ticket office though which tried to make me cancel the French-language tour as "it is for French people, madame, she will not speak slow for you". (NB my much-loved and respected French teacher was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her services to education last week)
  8. The Australian Ballet (TAB) was founded in 1962 and sort of emerged from the ashes of the Borovansky Ballet. I have never seen the company referred to as ABC, largely because the word "company" has never been part of their name...and I haven't missed a season since 1978. Queensland Ballet (QB) was founded in 1960. West Australian Ballet (WAB) is older still, having been founded in 1952. On the other side of the Tasman, Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) was founded in 1953. American Ballet Theatre (ABT) was founded by Lucia Chase and Richard Pleasant in 1939. Definitely not the company of Balanchine. New York City Ballet (NYCB) was founded by Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine in 1948. Google is your friend 😉 as am I.
  9. There is a wealth of information regarding the Ballets Russes tours of Australia on the Australian Ballet's website, as they did a multi-year project. Then there is the documentary with both archival footage and present-day (2005, when the film was made) interviews, called Ballets Russes. Available on iTunes and Google Play. Also try the following links: A Thousand Encores: the Ballets Russes in Australia (Australian Ballet documentary) National Library of Australia A paper on the Ballets Russes in Australia
  10. When AusBallet finally got Onegin back, all the dancers in the lead rôles (Onegin, Tatiana, Lensky, Olga) were naturally making débuts and I thought it Wrong And Against Tradition that the company doesn't have a début recognition policy. So four nights in a row I bought four bouquets and took them to the theatre. Cost me a fortune even though I got a discount from the florist for volume and the fourth lot were almost free, but every single dancer who received one made a point of thanking me and expressing their pleasure at the reason (the cards all said "on your début as X"), most in person but a couple in actual handwriting. None were presented on stage as that isn't company policy except for retirements and company-provided bouquets on opening nights. Since then I've restricted myself to retirements. It's cheaper! 😊
  11. Aw @capybara you spoilsport 😉 yes he's easily recognisable but I was trying to share the fun I had recognising him!
  12. Stella Abrera's Instagram alerted me to this account https://instagram.com/albertcoblegit?igshid=upuhrx1kdf6r Former Royal Ballet principal Albert Cob is making a comeback, and documenting it https://instagram.com/dyingswanseries?igshid=5yku4wdsakym Fun 😂
  13. Robert Curran, now AD in Louisville, Kentucky, was the partner par excellence for me, and many of us here in Australia a) think he retired much too soon, b) wish he had been called upon to coach after he did retire, and c) are still waiting for his replacement. Rudy Hawkes was shaping up pretty well, but then he, too, retired much too soon. But Mr Curran made anyone and everyone look good, I've been told he was very caring and generous as a partner.
  14. My brother and I saw this on our Subscription Night in Melbourne. We had the cast of Benedicte Bemet (Sylvia), Chris Rodgers-Wilson (Shepherd), Dimity Azoury (Artemis), Nathan Brook (Orion), Jill Ogai (Psyche), Brett Chynoweth (Eros), and Andrew Killian (Evil Kidnapper River God), with Franco Leo (Old Shepherd). Love to know which casts you saw @jmb! The music was very well played and it's such a beautiful score, even my brother said he liked it (he doesn't really "do" classical music). Having had the Good Luck to have been indoctrinated with Greek myths and legends by my dad (as was my brother), we had no trouble following any of the three plotlines, except for being bemused by the fact that they were all bunged in to one ballet! The delightful costumes and their colour-coding also made it easy to differentiate the stories. However we both spent both intervals explaining plot points to our (regular) neighbours! Due to the larger stage and backstage areas in Melbourne, the sets were amazing, and there was plenty of room for the ensemble pieces. Ours was the third or fourth show of the run and the ensemble pieces looked good, but my goodness, Chynoweth! Wow wow wow. Seems as if Stanton Welch choreographed Eros specifically to show off all his (very) strong points and boy did it come off! Also Rodgers-Wilson was back on beautiful form as the Shepherd (something to please @Jan McNulty). For a female-centric ballet, I was disappointed in Bemet's Sylvia - I didn't feel the steely strength I wanted to, although the pdds with the Shepherd were romantic and drew us all in. The Generals, lead by Nicola Curry, felt fierce. Azoury's Artemis was the strong woman I wanted Sylvia to be. Ogai was terrific in her facial expressions and eyes, and beautifully romantic (she could hardly have been otherwise with Chynoweth as her partner) in her pdds. The Fauns were spot-on in the casting and obviously having great fun. I'm looking forward to seeing it again this Friday...
  15. Mmm yeah @DD Driver sad to say the AB ones that most excite me are Alice's new piece, Month (and I bet you we get Hallberg for that), and Molto Vivace plus Chroma which to my surprise I enjoyed last time round. Never liked Anna Karenina from when I first read it. Both QB and WAB are doing Beauty, Nutcracker and Dracula - you would think Li Cunxin and Aurélien Scannella might at least have chosen slightly different full-length ballets! 😉
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