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Odyssey

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  1. One of my favourite watches during lockdown. It captures the angry, spirit and grace of this wonderful company of dancers, musicians and of course, not forgetting the wonderful chorographer.
  2. I really enjoyed the BBC4 programme last night, but I think I would enjoy any programme which included interviews and clips of these wonderful dancers given that they are an endangered species on television channels, including the joke that is Sky Arts. I do agree that there were elements which were frustrating as you longed for certain themes/interviews to be developed. The length of time spent on Nureyev was for me the most irritating aspect - I began to think that Ed Watson wasn't going to feature. How desperately we need a full series that enables a serious look at ballet in this country.
  3. Yes, I think the choices have been a little strange. but I agree that they may well be trying to demonstrate the range. I would have thought a triple bill would be a good idea. I must say The Winter's Tale has stood out for me as a particularly good choice. Incidentally, it was lovely to have Christopher Wheeldon contributing on Twitter during the 'live' streaming.
  4. A lovely idea. I am thinking of dusting off a diamanté tiara I have only worn once for a Murder Mystery party.
  5. I am hoping the Opera House will be extend their initiative of 'opening up' to adding more from screened performances online. This could be a good opportunity to grow a new audience.
  6. A lovely review Northstar. You capture exactly my feelings about this production which I have loved since at first saw it in its first season with the wonderful Samsova dancing. I think there are clear traces of her Russian influence in the production which she worked on with Sir Peter Wright. I saw Samara Downs and Yasuo Atsuji in Birmingham at the start of the run and was impressed by Downs. I echo the attack she showed in act 3. I found Atsuji, a little less convincing, needing to project the character a little more, but a very light and elegant dancer. I imagine their partnership has developed during this run. I also agree with your sentiment regarding how fortunate we are to have such a quality company touring the country. I hope the tour continues to be well attended, but then Swan Lake rarely suffers from the lack of an audience.
  7. I think the view you have of this production’s ending is inevitably shaped by your emotional response to the experience of seeing the ballet for the first time. Quite a few of us here have been ‘suckled’ by a reassuring apotheosis in which the couple, clearly reunited in an afterlife, would glide gently upstage across the lake watched over by the flock of swans. I like that Scarlett’s ending challenges this trope -it suits the sentiment and complexity of the time we live in. However, from my single viewing of the production, it did leave me flat, let down and a sense that it was out of kilter with the nuances of the music. I am uncertain to what extent this was a harking back to sentiments associated with early memories or whether it was that the choreography or the acting didn’t carry the moment. I look forward to hearing more about any discernible differences in the way the various Siegfrieds approach this during the run.
  8. Can someone tell me who danced Odette/Odile and Siegfried at the General Rehearsal last week. Thank you
  9. Rob S, really appreciate you taking the time to post the cast sheet so that we can see the dancers in the minor roles. Would be lovely if this is something that those fortunate enough to have tickets for this run could continue. Thank you .
  10. I am pleasantly surprised by the coverage that the BBC has given The Cellist ( perhaps there are plans to screen it sometime this year following the live broadcast - they did this for Woolf Works and Frankenstein). I know Will Gompertz is a general arts critic , but I was a tad disappointed how little he wrote about the dancing, including no mention of Matthew Ball. Also a slightly skewed review around the notion of beauty. However he reviewed a ballet!!
  11. i think one reason the Butterworth may have been chosen is that it has excellent acoustics as, of course, does the Symphony Hall. These evenings have always been equally shared billing between the orchestra and the dancers and I love to see the players away from the orchestra pit. I had thought the dancing space might have been slightly larger that in Birminghsm but if it was, it was only fractional. perhaps the placing of the chair in the Two Pigeons is what confused #2 Pigeon ! I was fortunate to have a very central seat so was able to appreciate Kit Holder’s placement of the three couples. Thank you Northstar for correcting me about Mitzutani, a very lovely dancer.. What talent there is in this company.
  12. I’ve just returned from the second evening held at Warwick University Arts Centre feeling quite disappointed. This disappointment stems largely from an announcement half way through the first half by the compère (more about him to follow) that, owing to unforeseen circumstances, we would not be having the Romeo and Juliet pas de deux in the second part of the programme, and neither would we have the Don Quixote pas de deux! Unsurprisingly there was an audible groan from the audience. No further explanation was offered so I am still non the wiser why we lost two pieces from the evening. This left us with just four dance items which, were it not for the scintillating performance of the Sinfonia, would have made me feel we were really short changed. Of the ballet extracts, Samara Downs made a very lovely Odette in the Act 2 pas de deux and Yamoussoukro Atsuji was a very attentive and noble looking partner. The Cinderella pas de deux was beautifully danced by Momoko Hirata and Tyrone Singleton, but shame on whoever prepared the notes for the compère that there was no mention that this was choreography by Sir David Bintley. Highlight of the evening for me was the composition by Kit Holder to Greig’s Piano Concerto 2nd movement. The piece for six dancers reminded me in places of Ashton’s Symphonic Variations -a high compliment indeed and was led by Céline Gittens and Brandon Lawrence. What an exquisite pair of dancers they are. I just wished it could have been longer and do hope we get to see this piece again. The Two Pigeons pas de deux, which closed the evening, was danced by Maureya Lebowitz and Max Maslen and very warmly received. The second pigeon preferred to settle on the young man’s back rather than the chair, but made it just in the last second much to the delight of the audience. Now to that compère. Those of us who have been attending this annual event for a few years, have had the pleasure of the insights and anecdotes provided by Sir David Bintley. Tonight we had a previous contestant from Strictly who although of a very pleasant disposition knows about as much about ballet as my cat. He stuck to the prompt cards which contained the bare minimum of information and provided very little sense of continuity between the items. I gather the previous night had been Nick Owen and I’d be interested to know if made a better job of things. I know he had the pleasure of interviewing Carlos Acosta - another reason to feel peeved about this evening as this wasn’t on offer the second night. Why the powers that be didn’t think that it would be a good idea to feature someone who could add something to the event is beyond me. It also meant that the whole evening passed very quickly as the gentlemen had only a few sentences to say for each item. So all in all not the best of evenings. I feel sorry for anyone who had braved the weather and travelled a long way for such meagre pickings.
  13. Definitely one of the most enjoyable insights. A treat to see so many of the current young talented dancers alongside those who have had illustrious careers passing on the torch. This is the second time recently that Wayne Sleep has been filmed coaching a role. Unsurprisingly, he is a fun and interesting character, but I also like his behaviour towards the dancers - demanding, courteous and appreciative. I imagine they enjoy working with him. Zenaida Yanowsky similarly demonstrated why being coached by dancers who have inhabited a role must be so stimulating. Encouraging a dancer to find their own interpretation, once they have mastered the steps, must be the Holy Grail, and her comments about teaching showed the sensitivity and intelligence surrounding corrections. There is no one ‘right’ way to dance a role. Ignoring the cloud currently hanging over the company, there is a lovely atmosphere that seems to emanate from Kevin O’Hare’s management and manifests itself in the glimpses we get from various rehearsals and classes.
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