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Douglas Allen

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    Sunderland UK
  • Interests
    Classical, Neo-classical and the Romantic Ballet; Ashton and Balanchine.

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  1. Bruce, may I thank you for starting this very valuable thread and the assiduity with which you have worked on it. It has bee immensely helpful in keeping us au fait with happenings elsewhere. It's very much appreciated.
  2. In theory that is perfectly correct, Sim, I would add, though, that (in my view anyway) that the current state of City Ballet is very depressing, especially on the male side. I've never known the lack of talent at senior levels of that company to be so obvious. The current Spring season has been depressing - there have been performances where simply to get through to the end of a ballet has seemed like an achievement. At the same time, the younger male dancers show great potential. The women are stronger, if not great. Paradoxically, the presentation and preservation of an authentic Balanchine tradition seems secure with much more of the coaching back in the hands of distinguished former dancers (both male and female) This ties in with my view of the Royal, don't wait for people to "get experience"/"work through the ranks"/demonstrate an injury-free period" before promoting to principal level. The director should grasp the opportunity of having some younger dancers who are showing enormous potential at the moment and promote now.The Royal has, in my view anyway, some of the most promising young dancers it has ever had and I fear that if they are not promoted quickly, they won't develop fully and be stifled by dancing their umpteenth pas de trois in Swan Lake and we will be left to consider the "if only..." thoughts. If we worry too much about if someone is ready and opt for so-called safety by waiting for another year to give them more time, then we likely will lose some potentially great dancers. I believe there isn't a fixed number of principals - it seems to be a matter of finance. Historically, the Royal Ballet used to have rather more principals than has recently been the case and certainly the numbers of principals as a proportion of the whole company is far lower now than it used to be. Perhaps reducing the numbers in media, marketing and website development would help fund a few more principals (a joke, but I wish it were serious!). Additionally, I would also like to see a rejection of the idea that every principal dancer gets to dance the lead in every full-length ballet. It's one of the more-stupid ideas that seems to have developed recently. Apologies to have strayed (slightly) off-topic - but if you want names, my suggestions would be O'Sullivan, Gasparini, Stix-Brunell, Sambe, Corrales, Sissens and Hay - for starters.
  3. Richard, if you are suggesting that nothing is official until it appears on the ROH website, then we are living in cloud cuckoo land. The website is a mess and has been so for months. The website does not contain all cast changes, not even ex post facto - we all know that. We weren't even told what were the cast changes in the cinema broadcast - just that there were some. Big help, especially with those costumes! I suggest the media posts of the dancers are not just desirable, but positively necessary All power to them. The idea that Sambe might face criticism is absurd - the criticism should be directed to the website managers for their culpable slowness.
  4. Thanks for pointing out the review and the (implicit) confirmation of hesitations/disagreements/objections (who knows?) on the part of the MacMillan Estate. I never saw the first attempt with Western Theatre Ballet (with Anya Linden and Cleo Laine), but I did see the 1973 version with Jenny Penney and Georgia Brown. I only saw two performances and after 46 years (gulp!) my memory isn't that clear - but I remember the work as both interesting and convoluted. On the whole it worked well, at times the dance appeared to comment on the singing and at other points the singing referred back to the dancing. The reception was, as always with MacMillan at that time, mixed with lots of applause and cheering at the first night interspersed with some booing and catcalls. In 1973 MacMillan was still unpopular with a section of the audience because he wasn't Ashton - nothing to do with his qualities as a choreographer. Both his Anastasia and Beauty had not been well received and 7 Deadlies provoked a similar reaction. I was surprised that it was allowed to die, though, as it had a lot going for it.
  5. I think, in general terms, we have to trust the director and planners in the company on this. I don't believe that they bring in guests from abroad for the sake of it and I don't believe there is any bias against individuals in casting. Just because one of our favourites doesn't get cast for any particular performance isn't an indicator of prejudice against him or her. We (the audience) don't know the fitness of any particular dancer, nor do we know any other commitments they may have. Their contractual arrangements may also affect the situation. In general terms, I would prefer to arrange casting from within the company, but that may, perfectly reasonably, not be possible so I would defer to Kevin O'Hare's judgement . As far as I have seen, the people brought in have been fine.
  6. My initial reaction is one of disappointment, with more than a tinge of shock and anger. The bias in favour of the full-length ballets at the expense of mixed bills continues to grow, so that the number of works being performed in the season continues being reduced and we, the audience, get fewer chances to experience the diversity of choreographic creativity. I assume the new Marston must be expected to be of some significant length as it is part of a double (rather than a triple) bill. I'm appalled that the only Ashton choreography on the main stage in the coming season is the 35 minutes or so of Enigma. The absence of any Balanchine (and is there any Robbins either?) is just as deplorable. I notice the last performance of the season for the Royal Ballet appears to be an 11.30 Saturday matinee on 13 June. I can't recall if a tour has been announced - has it? There are also quite a number of evenings, especially in the 2020 part of the season when there aren't performances on the main stage. It doesn't look, from the adjacent rep as if it is due to stage rehearsals - I can only assume that the main auditorium is being rented out for other occasions - does anyone know? In general, what is in the season seems quite a reasonable bunch of ballets and I wouldn't disagree with any of them, I just feel that there should be fewer performances of a number of the shows and additional works (particularly one-acters) should be added. I know this adds to rehearsal costs, but the Royal Ballet should be more than simply putting on long runs of big narrative ballets. Both the company and the audience deserve better.
  7. Bruce Wall, Many thanks for this. I'd completely missed it. Does anyone know who was taking the rehearsal?
  8. Sebastian, Interesting. From the costumes, it is from the 1939 production prepared for the 1939 state gala at Covent Garden. It is far too big a set to have been taken from a television studio, and from the viewpoint it looks as if it could have been taken from the wings of a theatre, which leads me to suppose that it probably was taken at the ROH as the sets were prepared for that stage and the slightly patchwork look of the stage floor supports that conjecture (there doesn't appear to be a floorcloth). Also, while the Fonteyn footage is from the end of the Rose Adagio, there is a brief cutaway to a snippet from the Bluebird pas de deux (and though I'm not certain, it looks as if it could be June Brae and Harold Turner - though I'm open to correction here). Thanks for posting - it demonstrates once again some of the treasures hidden away on You Tube.
  9. Sim, Many thanks for your full and informative account. I really enjoyed reading it, especially as I wasn't at the performance. I wasn't sure what was your puzzlement about the costumes mentioned above. From the photo they look like the 1970 tweaking of the 1968 costumes. The 1968 production was set in a more medieval period than previous productions and several of the Auroras (and some of the prologue fairies) felt that the tutus were too full and slightly too bell-shaped and too heavily embroidered (leading to some stiffness). They felt that this caused some of the attitudes and poses to be obscured so the designs (or some of them) were modified for the 1970 revival to what Magri was wearing in the picture. The Florimund costume was always like that (perhaps slightly more textured in 1968).
  10. Sadly, just not much about ballet. Thanks, Lynette H , for finding this source, I'd managed to miss it altogether.
  11. Firstly, if this is your first time in NYC - enjoy!! If you're looking for suggestions, don't overbook yourself in advance. Leave lots of time to wander around and have the opportunity to act on impulse. If the third mortgage will stretch to it there are loads of opportunities to shop - but don't forget to add on the sales tax to the advertised prices (unlike VAT they are not included). Also, remember to tip and if in doubt about how much tip very high - as a rough guide in restaurants at least as much as the tax - if in doubt, go higher as I've never met a New Yorker insulted by the offer of a tip!! In shops, at least, you don't tip - but just about everywhere else! If you're able to walk (reasonable distances on sidewalks at highish temperatures), do so as it's a great way to experience the city at least as far as Manhattan is concerned). Where to go or what to see depends very much on what you are interested in. Sim's idea, above, of the boat trip round Manhattan is great as are the helicopter flights over Manhattan (pricy but unforgettable). For museums, as Well as MOMA and the Metropolitan, don't forget the Museum of Natural History and the Planetarium (West 77th and CPW) and The Cloisters if you are into Medieval History - though that involves a longish trip well into The Bronx which can cut into your time. Night life is great so if you like cabaret or jazz there are lots of night spots not only with late opening but with late starts. So your evenings don't have to end with curtain down on a show, you can then go for a meal and then on to a club for a further performance.I used to love the late (11.30 or midnight) shows at the Cafe Carlyle. As far as Broadway shows are concerned, prices have gone stratospheric in the last few years so recourse to tkts is just about essential. They sometimes have tickets the day before (especially matinees). In State Theater (I don't like its present official name), most seats give a good view. I tend to avoid the Fourth Ring as I find the view very distant. Depending on the ticket sales this level is sometimes closed off. Normally i opt for tickets in the Second Ring at the sides - the Third Ring is OK but beginning to get a bit distant - but that might just be me. The First Ring can be a trifle expensive for a frequent attender bu the sides marked row AA is pretty reasonable and relatively affordable. Unlike the side seats in the amphi the seats at State are fixed facing the stage so you don't have to twist your body. AA is much better than BB. There are some really attractive programmes on at City Ballet in May. Have a great time.
  12. Surely paying members of the audience are free to express their approval or disapproval of a performance as they see fit? It's hardly a question of good or bad manners. Whether or not another member of the audience agrees with their reaction is irrelevant.
  13. Richard LH How strange. I tried this link and two others without success. I then tried a manual search through the index pages and, as you said, it had disappeared. I then came back here only to find that the link you posted above now works and that what was missing is now in place again! Wonders, I suppose, will never cease...!
  14. In the context of full-length ballets, don't forget Isadora (though in view of how dreadful it was, forgetfulness might be the best approach!). Incidentally, the 1973 Beauty production for the Royal Ballet was by MacMillan and was based on his earlier Berlin production (though not identical).
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