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  1. Antony Tudor is another great British Choreographer whose work is woefully neglected nowadays. Alina Cojacuru's programme at Sadler's Wells was the last programming here that included a Tudor ballet (sadly, not one of my favourites, The Leaves are Fading, as I find the music soporific; indeed, at one performance, at the Met, the great late critic Clive Barnes who was sat behind us, did fall heavily asleep). His Lilac Garden is an exquisite masterpiece, I would have loved to see Alina do it, she would have delicately brought out its psychological truth, but Kevin O'Hare says it's not suitable for the ROH stage. Yet the RBS performed it there, some years back, and ABT performed it for many years on the huge stage at the Met. Dark Elegies is a very different ballet, more timeless than Lilac Garden, and another masterpiece, which the Royal has performed (admittedly not very successfully compared to the moving performances by Rambert). Apart from the very varied works he made for Rambert, before he left for America, he later created a successful work on Dowell for the Royal Ballet (Shadowplay) and for the Royal Ballet Touring Company (now BRB) , Knight Errant. Yet Tudor doesn't now even make it to the patronisingly termed 'heritage' works!
  2. Yes, and with Romany Pajdak as Giselle. Two lovely expressive dancers.
  3. Actually in the BRB talk he did refer to splitting the company in two (as though it had never happened before!- and so successfully) so that different dancers could tour in different places. This was in answer to a question about touring. He was asked about touring to the Lowry and Sunderland which he said would continue (he turned up at Sunderland last March, just for a single performance as he was then touring with, and dancing for, his other company, Acosta Danza). He stated hurriedly that touring would continue, then enthused at greater length about the importance of international touring (Tamara Rojo also is more enthusiastic about international than national touring, when asked); but then aded the idea of splitting the company for touring, which is encouraging for us provincials! And could also expand the number of ballets danced.
  4. My concern, Jan, is that he may not consider the company's rep as a treasure trove. My detailed notes of the talk don't include any comments that were favourable to the past of BRB/SWRB. I don't mean that I thought he was negative about the rep, just that he thought it was imperative (my word, not his) to move on with the times in order to be relevant (that word again!). He also emphasises his desire to reflect Birmingham and his pride in being an ambassador of the city. But what happens when he moves on? ABT and SFB are looking for new directors. It's too soon for him to apply when he's not been in Brum long but the time may come when he wants to become the director of another major company. What will have happened to the rep by then?
  5. I'm sure this is a factor, Darlex, you can see the effect on other companies, too, in limiting the rep to make it seem more 'relevant'. Acosta said he wanted ballets to be 'stories of our time' and that he wanted the company to present itself as 21st century. I think a major motive for Acosta is to increase diversity, both in the rep and in attracting new audiences; the two go together, to some extent. BRB comms and Brandon in the talk make a lot of having heavy metal as part of the score for the City of One Thousand Trades tribute to Birmingham. Years ago the Royal also boasted of bringing White Stripes to play for a McGregor ballet. The immediate result was an influx of young people who didn't traditionally go to the Opera House- but they didn't seem to come back for other programmes. The danger could be that the company jettisons the loyalty of old supporters but then finds that new audience members fade away. On diversity, he's right to want to encourage children from all backgrounds to engage in ballet training but he didn't seem fully aware of all that BRB has done in the past (Ballet Hoo) and nowadays in teaching children from unprivileged backgrounds or with special needs, which of course most other companies do, too. Another issue he may be referring to is the environment. One of the new ballets, Imminent, is about climate change. The composer was on In Tune a couple of nights ago and the music was very far from heavy metal, and a dancer who participated in the BRB/Carlos talk, Ellis Small, said it was neoclassical in style so the new programme sounds quite mixed (the 3rd ballet is Chacona, to Bach). But on climate change why not do Bintley's Still Life at the Penguin Cafe? Both popular and 'relevant'. At times in his talk it sounded as though he saw it as a brand new company although it would be more of what he called 'the next chapter of the company'. I wonder what all the members of the Board think. He has brought in 3 new members to the Board, who seem to have a similar outlook to his. But best of all, one is a woman who was a star in Ballet Hoo, so has direct experience of some of the issues that concern him.
  6. I didn't hear him use the phrase 'treasure trove' Jan. The chair asked a question about 'heritage' ballets. Acosta said of course he would continue to show these, but then only referred to well known classics (one of which BRB doesn't even have in their rep!) BRB has wonderful ballets by Ashton (not just Fille), Tudor, de Mille, Cranko, de Valois, MacMillan (not just R&J), Tudor, Bintley, Balanchine, to name but a few, in its rep, most of which are now unlikely to ever be performed again. John Field and Peter Wright led a wonderful company, which I have supported passionately since my early teens. Most of what Acosta said in that talk gave the impression that he was creating a completely new company although given he acknowledged that he'd still do some classics in reality it would become a hybrid company.
  7. Thanks to everyone for their comments and advice on my tricky cough. I've had it for many years; the only person who has complained was my husband, who found it very embarrassing but died 19 years ago this week (no connection!) But one's always very conscious of how annoying it can be for other people even if they don't complain. All I meant was that it's easy to blame other members of the audience for their irritating behaviour but you can't be sure that people are coughing just for effect, it could be very traumatic for them; it certainly is for me.
  8. Sorry, Dave, but I have a nervous cough as quite a lot of people do. The more I know I mustn't cough, the more irritable my throat becomes so that I'm in absolute agony trying desperately to keep the cough at bey until a spot in the ballet comes where the orchestra gets louder or where a lot of applause is likely. You have no idea what agony it is! And now your comment will make me anxious on my first return to ROH next Sunday. And with Dances being 65 minutes (should be 55 minutes, they take it far too slowly, especially at the beginning) of piano music I could be in for a long drawn out spasm.
  9. If you can't wait to see Ferri in L'heure Exquise at the Linbury in October you can stream it for free tomorrow, 6 June, at 8.30, UK time, from the Ravenna Festival.
  10. I've never forgotten the first time I saw her, in her mid-teens, dancing with the Morphoses company at Sadler's Wells, whilst still, I think, training. Mesmerising. The ROH information is a bit obscure: what do they mean by 'academic career'? Which discipline? As a student? or research? or some teaching capacity? (many dancers take degrees while performing nowadays) Deborah Bull, another remarkably articulate dancer, has ultimately reached the heights of academia in the UK.
  11. Those nostalgic for Sibley and Dowell in Cinderella (with the Walker designs; not to mention Ashton as the timid stepsister, with the far from timid Helpmann) may consider buying the newly released DVD recorded in December 1969. For anyone reluctant to use Amazon I got it for £12.59, post-free, from Hive Books. The standard of dancing is very high; although it's commonplace to comment on how much higher technical standards are nowadays, the quality of the dancing and the truly Ashtonian style would be hard to equal.
  12. I'm sure I saw him dance with ABT, although that company is not listed in the details. He has contributed in very many ways to British ballet, since moving here. The honour is well deserved .
  13. Some of us involved with the company have been wondering for a while if Kenny Tindall was being prepared to take over, eventually, from David Nixon. Javier Torres has been developing a lot of varied experience in arts administration and direction in recent years but would surely need more prolonged experience to take the reins of a company of this size. But there could be an argument, as with any company, to bring in an outsider.
  14. Thanks, Bluebird, very exciting, can't wait to see 2 of my favourite Balanchine ballets and Cranko's R&J, not seen that for years. But I can't work out how to book the season package, I can only see how to book individual performances, separately, any advice, anyone? I do think it's disappointing we can only watch each show once, usually you can watch several times within the time slot.
  15. Although I used to greatly enjoy watching SWRB dance Les Rendezvous, and treasure my video of them doing it, with Marion Tait, especially, the performance I enjoyed most was ABT at the Met in the '80s, with Gelsey Kirkland. She was the absolute epitome of elegance, making me realise how special Markova must have been in the role, even though they were such different dancers. Gelsey was a wonderful Ashton dancer and I've always regretted that she didn't dance Ondine which, if my failing memory isn't letting me down, Dowell was hoping she might do when she guested at the Royal. I have always admired Dowell for inviting her to dance with the Royal, when he was AD, as he knew what a risk he was taking. But when she was on form, and not under the influence, she was incomparable. Some years back I saw Leo Staats's Soir de Fete at the Paris Opera, a lovely ballet- but with very many similarities to Les Rendezvous, in design, structure, atmosphere. It premiered in Paris in 1925 and Ashton must have seen it when he was working in Paris in 1928. The influence may have been unconscious- but influence there was.
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