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  1. If he is leaving at the end of November he may not even be present at the 40th year anniversary gala on 3 December. I was very surprised at the opening night of West Side Story Symphonic Dances that he didn't appear to take a bow at the end, despite the rapturous applause for his choreography and dancers. Perhaps the reason for his non-appearance is in some way connected to his decision to return to South Africa. I am gutted. As a dancer he had the most wonderful liquid quality and I regretted that he seemed likely to give up dancing when he took over the directorship. But when you met him or read interviews with him his modesty and humanity were inspirational. Very sad for the company who tonight give the second performance of his new Bernstein work. I had hoped that under his directorship there would be a closer partnership with Northern Ballet. The two companies share a building but, up to now, there has been little cooperation.
  2. Obviously I meant artistic, not academic, direction. My proofreading skills seem to be failing as badly as all my other abilities!
  3. Dane Hurst has started his academic direction of Phoenix Dance Theatre with a bang. The company shares the stage with Opera North in a double bill celebrating Bernstein's music in the 1950s. The opera, Trouble in Haiti, a satire on the American dream, takes the first half of the bill. The second half starts with a mixed performance of spoken poetry represented by all the Phoenix dancers in Dane's choreography. Then follows his choreography to a suite made up of Bernstein's music for the West Side Story musical, albeit generic, divorced from the specific dramatic structure of the musical. The publicity beforehand promised mambos, waltzes and cha-chas but my overall impression was of visceral contemporary dance, some of it not that different from Robbins's own choreography for the musical and for the ballet that Robbins later composed for NYCB of dances from the musical. There was a mixture of relationships, some angry and conflictual ; Hurst says he was influenced by the tensions in his native South Africa. There are also varied emotional and sexual relationships but, like the musical, the dance culminates in a final climax of murder. There is clever use of scenery which the dancers frequently move round, often climbing up it or hiding behind it, reminding one of some of the scenes in the musical, indeed much of what takes place reminded me of the musical, whilst being entirely original. The dancers are excellent, dynamic and musical, helped by the stunning playing of the Opera North orchestra which brings out all the colours and rhythms of Bernstein's score. Altogether a wonderful start to Dane Hurst's directorship. There are 10 more performances altogether. It can be seen at Leeds (the Grand), Newcastle Theatre Royal, The Lowry, Salford, Nottingham Theatre Royal. In addition Phoenix Dance Theatre have an interesting mixed bill touring and a gala in December celebrating their 40th birthday.
  4. You seem to have to sign up to the Telegraph in order to read reviews published in that. Pity, there's an impressive list of dancers listed.
  5. Overall I thought it was the best of the 3 casts I saw. I agree very much with capybara about Suzuki, such a moving performer. I thought Sara Kundi was good as the doctor but equally so were the other two doctors. Henry Dowden surprisingly made more impact (at least on me) as the Captain than Saruhashi or Frola (although I couldn't understand why Frola wasn't the Creature!) and James Streeter was as good as Reimair as the Major but in a slightly different characterisation of that role. He made me think of the men in that equally dystopian drama, The Handmaid's tale. As for Andres, a character one often didn't notice, Rentaro Nakaaki made much more impact than the other two. But of course where the Creature is concerned Arrieta and Hernandez, good though they were, could not compete with the absolutely astounding performance by Cirio, the performance of a lifetime.
  6. Today's Guardian has a photo of Osipova, Kittelberger and (Isaac) Hernandez rehearsing for a new production of Carmen to be shown in Edinburgh this December. I've not spotted a reference to it on the forum and have checked the main theatres in Edinburgh, but can't find any info. Does anyone know anything about it? Given the participants it could be a Sadler's Wells venture, like The Mother, which Osipova did (in Manchester??) one December, prior to a showing at the Wells the next summer.
  7. I'm afraid I was probably wrong. I've just heard from the Ashton Foundation that the Ashton evening in late October will be streamed (at a later date). I now think that the funding offer I heard related to the Ashton evening, not the 2022 programme.
  8. I may well be wrong but I have a feeling that I heard someone, possibly from the Ballet Association, say that they were offering funding for the streaming of the Ashton programme. So maybe the ROH is having to get financial support for streaming the different programmes.
  9. Has anyone seen dates for the Bolshoi screenings? I've got dates (eg Spartacus, 7 November) but the source may have been for screenings in France; and when I checked that date for the cinema I usually travel to, in York, there was no mention.
  10. Mark Bruce has just sent out an email aimed at recruiting new dancers, so they intend to continue, but there's no reference to future performances. Ballet Black is performing in York, in October (the same programme as at the Linbury). Phoenix (under their new director, Dane Hurst) is performing an interesting programme in York, in November, as well as premiering a new piece by Hurst, choreographed to Bernstein's Westside Story Suite, in partnership with Opera North, in Leeds, Newcastle, Salford, Nottingham, from October. On 3 December Phoenix have a gala, celebrating 40 years of the company, and including dancers from the National Dance Company of Wales, Scottish Dance Theatre, Ballet Black, Motionhouse, ACE dance and Music, plus their neighbours, Northern Ballet.
  11. I'm currently reading through ballet magazines from the early '60s and have been impressed at the range of activities LBC organised then- eg hosting a celebratory dinner for Sir Fred, organising a meal for Bolshoi dancers, arranging trips to watch performances outside London.
  12. It was fascinating reading Alastair Macaulay's blog, so helpfully included in today's Links, that Ashton created the first ballet featuring Jacques d'Amboise, two years before Balanchine created a major role for him. The photos were very interesting but it was difficult to recognise him, with the beard and with the poses being so different from the lively movement shown in photos of him performing In Balanchine's ballets, above all Apollo. Although the text rightly referred to Diana Adams dancing the main female role in Picnic at Tintagel, the captions named her as Diana Gould, who of course was the wonderful English dancer who eventually married Yehudi Menuhin. I've not been able to find whether that was the original name of Diana Adams; but I'm pretty sure that she was known as Diana Adams throughout her remarkable career.
  13. It's very good news, overall, but I'll miss her when she leaves Essential Classics, just as I miss Sarah Walker, who always comes across as genuinely interested in many genres of music (she does now do the Sunday morning show) and whose partner creates music for a number of dance groups. It would be great if Suzy Klein were able to commission more ballet for TV. I am currently reading through some of my ballet magazines from the '50s and early '60s and it's stunning how each month there were several ballet programmes. For instance, the June 1958 Dance and Dancers reviews (1) A Blue Rose (Peter Wright's first major ballet, cast includes the wonderful Anne Heaton and Donald MacLeary), shown on Granada. (2) Royal Danes (BBC Children's Television; excerpts from La Sylphide plus Nutcracker- starring those Bournonville experts, Henning Kronstam and Kirsten Simone. I remember this programme, my first introduction to Bournonville. (3) Les Sylphides, BBC, Nadia Nerina, Rowena Jackson, Julia Farron, Philip Chatfield.
  14. SkyArts keep showing a series called The Agony and the Ecstasy (eg midnight this coming Tuesday). Is this the ENB series showing the problems facing Daria and a very young Vadim, inter alia ? I've never checked as I've got it recorded but others might want to watch it, if it is.
  15. I've now had a response, stating "we have no firm details at this point but it's possible we may offer some streams in the future." They suggest checking the site periodically.
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