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  1. I watched the Perm Fille last night. Given that it's based on Dauberval's plot , like Ashton's, there are very many similarities, Pantomime dame for the widow, use of ribbons, thunderstorm, kitchen scene etc, although there are no human hens or real ponies. Alain's umbrella is green not red. The mime that Karsavina taught Ashton from the Petipa production is not replicated, although there are a couple of allusions to similar daydreams. The music is by Peter Hertel , like most Russian versions, until the third act when suddenly it changes to Delibes and Coppelia. The choreography is mostly by Kirill Smorgover, apart from the pas de deux in the harvest scene, which is by Gorsky- and the clog dance is by Petipa! Most of the choreography is pleasant enough but nothing like the quality of Ashton's masterpiece. Perhaps the biggest difference is that the humour is played just for laughs, there is none of the humanity that is so integral to Ashton's version, so Alain and the widow are just comic characters. The performance was filmed in 2018. Lise is Elizabeta Domracheva who has a good technique and is charming and amusing, she makes a good Lise. Colas was Ivan Surodeev. The night before I'd seen the Perm Sylphide. It was produced by Elsa von Rosen, so is authentic Bournonville. The sylphide was Ksenia Barbashyova who is an elegant dancer with very graceful hands and arms. James was Nikita Cherverikovi. If you like Bournonville it's worth watching this performance (2017)
  2. Buddy, you ask about Isadora Duncan and also refer to Ashton. Well, as you may be aware, Ashton saw Duncan and was almost as inspired by her as by Pavolva. He created a solo ballet on Lynn Seymour, 'Five Brahms Waltzes in the manner of Isadora Duncan'. People who had seen Duncan said it evoked her remarkably well.
  3. Last night I watched the latest Perm offering. It was The Bluebird and Princess Florine- so explained the backstory of the Bluebird pas de deux. It's a complicated fairy story with a bad fairy, a bit like Carabosse but younger and better looking, who abducts the princess and later transforms the prince she's in love with into a bluebird, but they are rescued by 2 good fairies. The performance was from several years ago and the standard of dancing was variable but the main dancer, the princess (the prince and bluebird were danced by 2 different dancers, of very different height and technical ability), Natalia Dromatchova, was good, had a nice lyrical quality.
  4. What a treat to finally see some Ashton! And well danced. It brought back happy memories of SWRB doing it, not to mention BRB later and the Royal. But how sad that it's a Russian, not an English, company that offers the first Ashton offering. And another treat to see Winter Dreams, one of MacMillan's better ballets because there's no padding, and some expressive choreography, as ever. The Perm company has an impressive range of ballets, from all the major masters. I saw them at the Robbins season in Paris in 2018 and, although I admired their enthusiasm, I feel the quality of their dancing in the 3 ballets we saw today, filmed in 2019, plus in their DON Q, is even better. If times were different I'd be hoping they could have a London season.
  5. I love Balanchine's ballets that are based on the Odette theme (especially 2nd movement of Symphony in C) so I was really pleased to see Diamonds. But, unlike Jeannette and Bruce, I was ever so slightly disappointed. In the first half the music seemed to be played a little more slowly than usual. And, although Sara Mearns is one of my favourite dancers, I felt she was too careful, even to the point of seeming a tad strained at times. I agree with what Jeannette says about her tension due, in part, to the muscular build of her shoulders, which several other American dancers share, even Tiler Peck. Also, American training, which excels in so many ways, tends not to develop epaulement in the way that Russian or Cecchetti training does. In the more classical choreographies good epaulement can add extra elegance and expressiveness. My one regret about the NYCB choices is that none of the black of the black and white Balanchine ballets has been shown, apart from an excerpt of Four Temperaments, which unfortunately was, in my opinion, the least well danced of all the NYCB ballets. Well danced it's a terrific ballet, belying its 73 years, and Agon, Symphony in 3 Movements, Violin Concerto, all will still seem modern when the ballets of certain acclaimed contemporary choreographers have long since disappeared.
  6. The Paris Opera Ballet has been running two ballets together without an interval in some programmes for quite a few years. It is not something I have liked as it impairs one's concentration. However, given a trip to London involves nearly a 500 mile return journey for me, if that was the only way for the Royal to put on performances I would be much happier to go for a double bill like that than a single ballet (apart from the wonderful Dances at a Gathering).
  7. It was great to see Square Dance again, so many characteristically Balanchinean choreographic passages, although it was a bit sedately danced in places- and I wish Balanchine had't got rid of the Caller, it used to add a special flavour to the piece. The Arizona company has given us some special ballets. One aspect that is special to this lockdown streaming is that it has given us a chance to watch a wider range of ballets from the masters than what we usually can see. For instance, many British ballet goers will think of Balanchine's work as almost entirely non-narrative, with the exception of Prodigal Son. But Arizona gave us Sonnambula (only older ballet goers will recall seeing it as Night Shadow with LFB) and Lincoln Center Dance Week will be showing his Coppelia, which Danilova helped him produce (I saw Patricia McBride in it, she was , as ever, joyous, well worth catching) and Paris Opera Ballet gave us his Midsummer Night's Dream. Contrariwise, many of us think of Cranko as purely creating narrative ballets- Onegin, Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Pineapple Poll. The chance to see Initials RBME has enlightened us, revealing his talent for pure dance work.
  8. I agree, of course, with all that Bruce says. But as I watched the excerpts I realised that four of the ballets were created on that truly original, and great, dancer, Tanaquil LeClercq. She was in the opening performance of Four Temperaments, in 1946, soon after she joined Ballet Society (later NYCB), and the last ballet created on her was Divertimento, in 1956, soon before she contracted polio and had to retire. She had a key role in Western Symphony and, although the wife and muse of Balanchine, she was also the muse and close friend of Robbins, who created the perfect ballet that is Afternoon of a Faun.
  9. I agree with now voyager, the second movement of MacMillan's Concerto is absolutely beautiful. The same section of music also inspired the most lyrical choreography by Grigorovich, in his Golden Age ballet. It's interesting the way some special pieces of music can inspire choreographers to create their best work.
  10. Well worth watching the San Francisco streaming. Mathilde Froustey is wonderful as Juliet, her dancing is musical and very expressive, her acting utterly convincing. She was one of my favourite dancers at Paris, I was disappointed when she got permission to move for a period to San Francisco and even more when she later decided not to return to Paris;, but she hadn't been promoted to Etoile and the rep at SFB is fantastic so who can blame her. Helgi Tomasson's production is fairly similar to other versions, but gives the nurse a slightly bigger role.
  11. There are two Royal Ballet performances that haven't yet been cancelled! The galas in Doncaster at the first weekend of July are still listed and available for booking by the Cast Theatre. The galas were to have been curated by Federico Bonelli, to celebrate a joint RB/Doncaster council project to introduce dance in all the schools in the area. Obviously the galas won't go ahead but we await news of their cancellation.
  12. She was a tremendous dance actor and wonderful in Giselle. She supported her husband, John Field, in his work as a director- one of the very best ballet directors of the last century, helping to mould the likes of Lynn Seymour and David Wall by developing their understanding of drama and all the arts.
  13. Great to see some Van Manen. Decades ago one of my favourite ballets in the Royal rep was his Four Schumann Pieces and BRB audiences used to find his Grosse Fuge very enjoyable, not to say exciting.
  14. Some wonderful dancing from them all but for me the highlight was the beautiful dancing of Marion Tait; in her time one of the very best ballerinas in Britain, so versatile and such a powerful actor but rarely recognised for her exceptional qualities as she wasn't with the Covent Garden based section of the Royal. And since then she has contributed as much to SWRB/BRB as any of their directors. It was wonderful that her contribution to ballet was recently recognised by a life-time award.
  15. Now Voyager, thank you so much for the correction - fancy being a decade wrong! I never checked my programme or diary, just recalled that we took our daughter when she was in the sixth form (the only time we ever took her out of school in term time- we got well and truly reprimanded). Six weeks of isolation have obviously impaired my arithmetic! I fully agree about Terekhova, she was amazing in whatever role she danced.
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