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Xandra Newman

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About Xandra Newman

  • Birthday 05/02/1952

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    Shepherd's Bush

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  1. I wish Yasmine Naghdi a very speedy recovery! I am really looking forward to seeing her dance in Concerto (it's been far too long since last June). If my memory serves me right this is the first time ever in her 10 year career Miss Naghdi needs to be replaced (it has always been the other way round). Isn't she due to dance Dorabella in "Enigma Variations"?
  2. Hopefully the "La Bayadere" and "Romeo&Juliet" DVD will be released latest by the beginning of December!
  3. Not really. The last one dates back to seven years ago, the one with Cuthbertson and Bonelli (2012). Great news, thanks Riva!
  4. It's all down to available rehearsal time. The company was exceptionally busy over the last few weeks, performing a Triple Bill, Romeo&Juliet, Fonteyn Gala at ROH and preparing for everything they are due to perform in Japan. There's a limit to what they can do or squeeze into their rehearsal and performance schedule, and....they also need to be able to rest!
  5. There are 14 public performances (plus 1 closed School Matinee) and 8 existing Manons: Nunez, Lamb, Cuthbertson, Hamilton, Hayward, Osipova, Takada and Morera each dancing 2 performances (Hamilton the closed School Performance). Where would they/could they "squeeze" in Naghdi as a new Manon? Sadly it seems they could make no room for her and we'll have to wait until it comes back after this run (god knows when?)
  6. The Royal Ballet is to be applauded for enabling millions of people, in various countries, multiple continents, to watch ballet, free of charge via the open-air Big Screen in the UK and in cinemas worldwide. People who have never seen a ballet, people who have never seen/will never get to see the RB perform at the ROH, people who cannot afford to buy a ROH ticket, people who live too far away from London, people who would never travel to London from the country they live in...millions watched R&J from the USA, all over Europe, in Japan and all over the UK. The majority will have never heard of Kenneth Macmillan, let alone have any idea what Macmillan choreography entails, they will have never seen Fonteyn dance Juliet. All that matters to them is to watch a beautifully danced ballet with gorgeous dancers and costumes and a great score, all that matters is that they have had the chance to watch ballet and that they greatly enjoyed the experience. They won't remark "She's too classical or she's too regal or she's too aristocratic or..." (that's precisely what their idea of a ballerina is) or " he is too princely or he didn't know what facial expressions he should put on or his Romeo was not this and her Juliet was not that...". They don't compare, they just enjoyed the show! What matters is that millions of people were moved by this ballet, what matters is that the live stream and open-air screening will hopefully encourage more people to go and see ballet and encourage young boys and girls to take up ballet lessons. Many commented on social media saying how fresh and new Naghdi and Ball made R&J look, and I agree with Bridiem saying the ballet now has its own life. It was danced by a new generation of dancers who brought R&J well into the 21st century. Ballet is an art form which must evolve and not remain static - if not it just becomes a museum piece, becomes old-fashioned and unappealing to the younger generation - just as any other art form. The regulars (incl. myself) are now a minority, some can afford to watch multiple casts but the majority are not regulars, they do not watch multiple casts and they have not seen the dancers who performed it in the 20th century. Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball are the RB's youngest principals, they are principals who appeal to the current generation of young people and it is precisely this group which needs to be groomed for future attendance at the ROH, they certainly appealed to the masses last week and are admired by the current generation of dancers-in-training because they are closer to their own age. If rumours are correct that a DVD will be produced of Naghdi/Ball's R&J performance it certainly demonstrates that the AD Mr. Kevin O'Hare, RB Management, and Lady Macmillan fully approve of their beautiful performance, making R&J look modern, fresh and totally relevant to a new (to-be-groomed) generation of ballet fans. They were meticulously coached by Leslie Collier who compliments their wonderful technic and clearly shows her fond love for the dancers (in the Bussell interview with her and Naghdi). PS. Yes, clean dancers' shoes do get dirty on a dirty stage . They can't change their shoes in the middle of an act. Surely they are concentrating on their dancing and not looking at their shoes to check if they are clean or not! Osipova is the queen of dirty pointe shoes.
  7. FYI: Sambe will only become a principal at the start of Season 2019-2020. As for now he remains a first soloist.
  8. I do not recall a RB cinema relay generating so many reactions and discussion. The vast majority absolutely loved this cast (bar a few who didn't, De gustibus non est disputandum, in matters of taste, there can be no disputes). Yasmine Naghdi, Matthew Ball and the entire cast were excellent ambassadors for The Royal Ballet to be seen worldwide. I have been reflecting on why it is that I am so taken with this particular cast (yes there were other really lovely Juliet's and Romeo's during this run!). One of the many aspects I so value and appreciate in Yasmine Naghdi's interpretation (and her dancing in general) is that she dances on the music, as if the notes of the score function as her notation, she uses the score as if the music is her leitmotiv, she makes the notes visible (I have seen that too in other performances of hers). She is known as a highly musical dancer and I think this is what moved me so much in her Juliet interpretation; she simply rides high on the waves of this incredible Prokofiev score. The Macmillan notation is embedded in her feet and body but equally the music is embodied in her dancing and facial expressions. It is this rare combination and ability which moves me so much. Her performances are driven by her tremendous technical control (Firebird. Sleeping Beauty adagios. Swan Lake, to name a few) and her classicism is perfectly explained and justified by To The Pointe here below. Juliet is after all from an aristocratic family and she behaves and acts according to her education, until she manages to escape the strict harness of her controlling parents and her environment, discovers love and takes charge of her own destiny. To The Pointe wrote: (sorry don't know how to get two quotes in here) "I think it’s quite interesting how some find Naghdi too classical for Juliet. Naghdi and Takada are, in my opinion, the next big classical stars at the RB and I loved both of their Juliets because they looked so aristocratic. Because they naturally have such a classical hold, they really looked like they belonged in the Capulets' decadent mansion, and I think this worked really well. It explains how she is meant to be paired with Paris and married off and why she is a product of her upbringing. I really dislike it when Juliet is made to be too feral which I found with Osipova’s take. She ran into the ballroom looking completely in awe of her surroundings and completely shocked that someone like her could have a place in such a magnificent setting. To me, that is more like Giselle turning up to an extravagant party. Although it’s likely to be Juliet’s first party, it’s being held in her house, and she would be very aware and used to the glorious setting of it all. Naghdi and Takada are so classical, elegant and graceful that I think they were perfectly suited to depict the aristocratic nature of Juliet. I also felt that they cleverly ‘loosened’ as they fell in love, culminating in complete despair and limp like bodies by the end".
  9. Last night was wonderful and I loved Cuthbertson and Muntagirov's interpretation the most out of all the casts. They were very moving. For Naghdi to dance the role of Juliet as well as The Firebird within the space of 24 hours is a real tour de force, not only physically very demanding but also to have to perform two such very different roles one right after the other. Her beautiful Juliet was still so fresh in my mind and it felt a bit surreal to see her so soon after as an avian mythical creature. Symphony in C is always beautiful to watch. The dancers must be near exhaustion, they have all been amazing, such a long R&J run, followed by this magnificent Triple Bill. I wish them all much success in Japan, and thereafter a well-deserved rest. What an amazing season this has been for the RB!
  10. I noticed this too and it was a very beautiful moment! Just one last time being close to her before he was to die, feeling her body next to his. Very touching! What was amazing is that both Ball and Naghdi each brought their own individual touches to their performance. No carbon copies but a unique performance.
  11. I noticed this too and I really loved this detail in Naghdi's interpretation. After waking up she was delighted to finally see her Romeo again...but gradually realised he is was dead. Her scream was all the more effective and heartbreaking. I attended the Insight with her and Deborah Macmillan (and Avis) and during their conversation Yasmine and Deborah both said what is so wonderful about Macmillan's choreography is that he allowed his dancers the freedom to interpret their role, to tell their own story, as long as they stick to the notation.
  12. Just back from the cinema relay. Well well OMG. Mr O'Hare please release this Naghdi/Ball R&J of tonight on DVD! Naghdi is out of this world and what a superb actress she is. Every single emotion, every change in her state of mind, every thought that went through her was so readable on the big screen, and she was so luminous. She and Ball look so good together. Ball was a lovely Romeo but Naghdi was much more readable, more dramatic. What a superlative performance to end this season. From Gary Avis, Kristin McNally, Nicol Edmonds to Sambe and Beatriz Stix Brunell (wonderful as one of three Harlots), everyone gave it their all. Bravo to all the corps dancers too. What an amazing company the RB is right now. A giant stunning bouquet was delivered (Naghdi was visibly surprised) followed by many other bouquets. So lovely to see all the dancers in close-up. An amazing night at the cinema and a superlative performance by all involved.
  13. I am wondering how much/how little rehearsal time Muntagirov and Naghdi must have had to work on their Le Corsaire variation? Muntagirov has danced this many times before but for her it was the first time dancing this highly demanding variation. She just danced her debut of The Firebird on Tuesday, followed by Symphony in C on Wednesday, having danced R&J the previous Saturday, whilst rehearsing Kitri for Japan as well as Winter Dreams. I frankly wonder how on earth she keeps going, performing three different ballets and Le Corsaire variation all in the space of one week plus next week dancing R&J on Tuesday and The Firebird on Wednesday. She certainly is the busiest principal right at the end of this season.
  14. Something clearly happened to the music at a crucial moment in their Variation, the music sounded increasingly rushed (and not nicely played). The conductor changed the tempo (why? did he loose his concentration?) right at the start of Naghdi's killer fouttees and she only got a fraction of a second time to adjust to the conductor's tempo. Must be nervewrecking when this happens. Well done to her. When the conductor makes a mistake he rarely gets the blame...
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