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Mandy Kent

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  1. ‘Shadow Aspect… my journey of expression’ is a new book written by Mara Galeazzi, former principal ballerina of The Royal Ballet. ‘ Italian ballerina Lady Mara Galeazzi OMRI, a former principal dancer with The Royal Ballet, graced the world’s stage over 3,000 times during her career. In her memoir Shadow Aspect, Mara collaborated with photographer Jason Ashwood to provide the first insight into her life behind the stage as a freelance dancer and reveals how struggles with childhood depression, anxiety, and illness drives her world-renowned stage presence. Centred around her performance in Tim Podesta’s ballet Shadow Aspect, Mara reflects upon the shadows of her childhood and later life. Unable to confront them, ballet became Mara’s voice as she found her way to express the words she could never speak. Through her story, Mara hopes that you, too, will also find more within yourself than you thought possible.
  2. Previously, in an earlier run, the front few rows were offered rain capes… if I remember correctly…not this time. One family I saw were distinctly damp. They loved it !
  3. Just correcting myself....the choreography is by Andrew Wright. And the set design including 14,000 litres of water every show is by Simon Higlett.
  4. This show makes a splash...literally if you are sitting in the front 6 rows ! I attended the Sunday 1st August matinee...one of the previews...the show is fabulously entertaining from start to finish. Adam Cooper plays Don Lockwood, his fine tenor voice and hoofing skills are top notch, and his friend Cosmo, played brilliantly by Kevin Clifton ( of Strictly fame) is a perfect foil. Charlotte Gooch is a beautiful Kathy Seldon with a sweet voice and she's a lovely dancer too. For me, Fay Tozer was a wowzer as Lina ( I cant stand him) Lamont...I think she almost stole the show. But the show is Adam's...his choreography and dancing skills, those wonderful arms, his fine voice, I thought he was wonderful. He doesn't try to be Gene Kelly. I left Singin........
  5. Ballet Central Tour 2021 Britten Theatre, Royal School of Music, London Tues 20th July 2021 The penultimate performance of the graduate students show proved what a talented group they are. Despite the adversities of lockdown and ‘working from home’ these dancers and their teachers achieved a highly professional performance with little time for real-life rehearsals. Hats off indeed to their Artistic Director, Christopher Marney, for all he has achieved during his tenure. His connection with Central, as a student and as a teacher, has been long-lasting and the accolades that were given at the end of the show are testimony to his dedication and inspiration. It’s a Swansong for Chris though, as he leaves Central School of Ballet for pastures new at the end of the week. He can rightly be proud of his legacy and of his students for their talent and enthusiasm in tonight’s performance... There were three pieces; the first half comprised of classical The Corsaire Act 1 (Petipa), and after a pause a new contemporary work ‘jigsaw’ by Charlotte Edmonds. Following the interval, the second act of Highland Fling (Sir Matthew Bourne) was extremely well done and very entertaining. As you can imagine this level of diversity had its challenges but provided a perfect display case of the dancer's many talents in the classical and contemporary style. The Corsaire (Petipa and Mazilier, revised and additional choreography by Christopher Marney) is a fabulous treasure chest of Pirates, Pirate women, Odalisque Girls, A Dancing Slave Ali, a Scimitar wielding Conrad and a beautiful slave girl Medora. The Pirate Chief Lakendem ( Xholindi Muci) was suitably proud, jealous and exuberant. Medora ( Angela Albonetti) beautiful and winsome, Conrad ( Owen Horsford) determined to get his girl and Gulnare ( Sakura Kawamura) beguiling us with her harem dances. Everyone danced their hearts out, in fabulous costumes and perfectly executed steps. What a romp. Ali certainly had a chance to shine although the famous PDT with Conrad, Medora and Ali is in Act 2 so we will have to watch out for more from these terrific dancers at a later date... Edmonds’ jigsaw’ was a spiky, contemporary piece, lit by ‘moonbeams’ and with dry ice swirling around the dancers. Live music composed and played live by Philip Feeney created the impetus for the dance which was superb. A cast of eight, with their individual choreography slightly off kilter, produced a mesmerising work.The group movements were spikey, jittery and dis-jointed, the duet at its heart (Brandon Brereton and Sakura Sato) was elegant, fluid and romantic in an alternative way. In the interval we were treated to a drinks reception where I had the opportunity to say hello to Dominic North who was there to help stage Highland Fling. Many of you will remember Dom in Sir Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake as the Prince. It was also good to see Ricardo Cervera of the Royal Ballet and Royal Ballet School giving his support. Last but not least was Act 2 of Highland Fling, one of Sir Matthew Bourne’s earlier works which I remember seeing with the fabulous Will Kemp. The plot is based loosely on La Sylphide by Petipa, with music by Herman Lovenskiold. It's set in Scotland and in the opening scene we find an inebriated James (Xholindi Muci ...definitely one to watch!) sprawled by some rubbish bins, who suddenly realises he is in a forest...an enchanted wood where sylphs flitter and flutter around, not quite visible to James, though he half senses their presence. The Sylph, beautifully danced by Risa Maki, is in love with James in a pure, simple way...yet when James tries to embrace her, she has always slipped through his arms. I won't give away the denouement, however the students really had this work within their hearts and gave a fantastic performance. After the show a presentation was made to the departing Artistic Director which almost became a ‘Chris Marney..This Is Your Life !’ Chris then had a chance to say how much Central Ballet School means to him, describing his connection with the school. We all wish Chris well, and also the graduate students who were so impressive in their show. Congratulations to all!
  6. Yes !! 😂 I am absolutely glowing with happiness that I went… or could it be sun burn 😅
  7. Yes it’s the first time for Yeo Valley Balley 😉 As an aside , I can hugely recommend the Yeo Valley salted caramel ice-cream… best ever !
  8. I've posted my review on Performances seen. If Admin you prefer to place it here then feel free, best wishes
  9. The Royal Ballet at Yeo Valley Sunday 18th July Dance in Somerset presented by Muse a Muse and Yeo Valley Organic Farm. I’d been advised not to rely on Sat Nav I assumed I would get lost. Hence, I arrived in Blagdon, at the Yeo Valley Organic Farm, in record time, probably ahead of everyone else except the organisers. Which gave me plenty of opportunity to explore the beautiful Gardens and enjoy relaxing before my friend arrived and we could enter the picnic area. The location is beyond beautiful. Rolling hills and valleys, dew-eyed cows, and beautiful sunshine. Too much sunshine in fact. How were the dancers going to cope in 30 degrees of shade-less sunshine, clad in lycra, and dance? We soon found out...they coped incredibly well, with the knowledge that afterwards the swimming pool behind the farm house was available for a refreshing dip! The audience, with sensible hats, Factor 30, parasols galore and plenty of water...soon found there was a major issue. The stage was about 2 feet off the ground. The seating area was pretty flat, perhaps a slight ‘rake’ was discernible. But it meant that you could not see well unless you were in the front row. And so...we decided to stand, which was permitted, off to the side, not in anyone’s way, and then we could see perfectly..... And this is what we saw.... after a rousing introductory duet ( Poulenc) by Rob Clark and Kate Shipway at adjacent pianos, luckily in the shade of a gazebo , the ballet performance commenced with Claire Calvert as Aurora in the Rose Adage from Sleeping Beauty. Claire showed wonderful control and grace, ably supported by her cavaliers: Gary Avis, Nicol Edmonds, Leo Dixon and Daichi Ikarashi. Those balances are so tricky and she accomplished them with aplomb. Mayara Magri danced Will Tuckett’s Song Without Words, a moving contemporary piece to the music of JS Bach. Its quite simple but shows a yearning, perhaps for a lost love? The pdd from Wayne McGregor’s Infra was danced by Ed Watson and Leticia Dyas, the angles and contortions of this piece are unusual, challenging and demanding, driven by the music of Max Richter. Such a pleasure for me to see Ed dancing again after a long time... The cellist Hetty Snell played another piece by JS Bach, to which Leo Dixon performed a recent work choreographed by himself in collaboration with Valentino Zucchetti. It was a mixture of classic and contemporary steps, which I enjoyed. A real highlight for me was the following pdd from After The Rain by Chris Wheeldon. Fumi Kaneko and Reece Clark are, in my opinion ,perfect in this piece... so graceful, so in tune. We then had a much-needed water/shade break...we were all roasting by now so it was very sensible for the organisers to come round to everyone with fresh water. Nicol Edmonds performed a piece called Loom which he choreographed himself, in a contemporary style, with beautiful swirling arms and interesting attention to detail...music by Arnolds and Bonabo The first of our two Dying Swans on the programme was the classic version by Fokine, danced here by Claire Calvert in her second full costume, tutu and tights. She melted and wilted very enigmatically to the well know Swan by St Saens To complete the first half we had Rhapsody, that gorgeous Rachmaninoff music lending itself so well to Ashton’s choreographic genius. Daichi Ikarashi danced the solo, followed by Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Alexander Cambell in the pdd. Those accented alternate uplifting hand gestures which Anna did so well were a favourite moment of mine. The second half began with Rob and Kate’s piano duet Brazileira, a very lively piece by Darius Milhaud. Two excerpts from the recently seen Dances at a Gathering were delightful: Alex Campbell as the winsome Brown Boy, and Mayara Magri and NIcol Edmonds in the green/lilac pdd, Robbin’s choreography still fresh and lyrical , to Chopin’s music. McGregor’s Chroma pdd is a huge favourite of mine, and the debut performances by Leo Dixon and Anna Rose O’Sullivan were fantastic, pushed on by the bold music of Jody Talbot and Jack White. In complete contrast, the next piece was the delicate and delightful Raymonda Act 3 solo, danced by Leticia Dias. She clearly enjoyed this very much. Another chance to see Ed Watson followed, in the unusual One with D by Javier de Frutos. Ed was joined onstage by the singer Dan Gillespie Sells singing ‘I can give you the starlight’ by Ivor Novello . Ed is as limber as ever, this piece accentuating his flexibility, whilst telling a rather abstract story of ? Loss ? Lost love? Next was another gala favourite, MacMillan’s Concerto pdd, danced by Mathew Ball and Mayara Magri to Shostakovich, its apparent simplicity was so cool and classic, even in the remarkable heat. The second Dying Swan came ready to die, to the same music, but in a very different way! Leo Dixon was torn apart by a fatal disability, a nerve tremor, a rigid hand, a gradual collapse to the final pose...very interesting and modern choreography by Calvin Richardson. As a little piquant, light relief, we were given The Tango from Façade by Ashton. It was delicious from the be-ringed fingers of Gary Avis sending shivers down Claire Calvert’s spine, to the proud feather plumes of Claire’s headdress. Some sublimely funny moments ensued. The penultimate and very technically assured piece was Corsaire (Ali’s solo) by Daichi Ikarashi. Superb control of those very tricky steps, well done! The very beautiful Manon bedroom pdd was the finale, again the gorgeous pairing of Fumi Kaneko and Reece Clark , they inhabited the characters drawn so well by Sir Kenneth McMillan, danced to the flowing music of Massenet. And so it came to an end, a rather hot and sticky one, after our free icecream , but with all the dancers onstage for their curtain call and the presentation of a bouquet each. A long but uneventful drive home followed. I did not mind one bit that I hand to stand to see from a purely personal and ? selfish point of view. But next time Muse A Muse...get a higher stage platform please
  10. I’m not complaining.. I didn’t mind standing after a long drive up there. The location was stunning and the dancing glorious. I like to find the positives in life! Certainly agree that a higher stage would have been far better, perhaps it wasn’t possible in the circumstances. The stage at Athelhampton was higher and I still chose to stand there !!
  11. It was pretty full. They gave everyone water at regular intervals, put in extra breaks for this, gave out free ice-creams in the 2nd half , were very considerate really…
  12. I spoke to the owner and his son after the show. I politely suggested to them that if this event is repeated then a much higher stage is required. But it probably wasn’t up to them. The organiser should have probably sorted this out ?
  13. Because of the sight line problems highlighted above by Simon, my friend Fiona and I stood to one side, out of anyone’s way, and therefore had a perfect view !
  14. Aurora is looking very street is this the hip hop version lol 😂??
  15. Congratulations to Arthur Pita, Trevitt and Nunn and the wonderful dancing of Leo Dixon in Agnus Dei . What a moving experience . One to treasure !
  16. Bringing the subject back to Shale, I'd like to add that whoever his prospective partners might be, and whatever their height, the reason that I will always go to watch Shale dance is that he just inhabits the dance. He is graceful, musical, light and with a deep musicality. He can take on a character and be that character. He is a true artist and that is what drives him. He is also humble, friendly and always willing to learn and progress in his art. I again wish him every success in his future career. See you in Munich!
  17. What fantastic news! Congratulations to Shale Wagman on his well deserved and rapid promotion to soloist. I’ll be visiting Munich next season for sure !
  18. I agree that the Yeo website doesn’t make it clear where the event is taking place! I did put the full address of Holt Farm in my initial post above. I trust it is correct, however if any one of you who has commented above should speak to an admin please can you confirm . I imagine that car/ taxi etc will be the only way https://www.yeovalley.co.uk/come-and-visit-us/dance-in-somerset/ Website: Yeo Valley Organic Garden Telephone: 01761 258155 E-Mail: visit@yeovalleyfarms.co.uk ADDRESS Street: Holt Farm, Bath Road Postcode: BS40 7SQ City: Blagdon County: Somerset Country: United Kingdom . Best wishes Mandy
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