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Everything posted by annamk

  1. Brief thoughts on the opening night. Alina Cojocaru showed us why it really is CRIMINAL that she has been on the RoH stage so little this season, she is a world class dancer and the RB is not exactly stuffed with them. She's pitch perfect as Titania, never overstated, never mannered with exquisite dancing. Personally I MUCH prefer her as a partner to Steven McRae, her classical ease and elegance are a better foil for his natural exuberance and showy tendancies although neither were in evidence last night. I like Steven's distinctive colouring but darkening his hair and lightening his eye make up were masterstrokes. I've had the benefit of reading Ismene Brown's review this morning and as far as his solos were concerned last night I am puzzling as to whether there is something in what she says about his stamina. Side by side with Valentino's virtuoso Puck Steven looked understated which is not normally a word I'd associate with him but then he isn't he supposed to be more majesterial and not "competing" with Puck for dancing ? The final pdd was faultless so at least for last night I didn't mourn the absence of Polunin. Valentino's Puck debut was very exciting, he's a beautiful dancer with a HUGE jump, especially for a short guy. I didn't feel he overdid anything in the way Ismene Brown described but perhaps that point of view depends partly on where you are in the auditorium. Tamara Rojo was the star of Song and I can't express it better than Ismene Brown so here she is http://www.theartsdesk.com/dance/dream-song-earth-royal-ballet The company dancing was all of a very high standard and I it was especially nice to see Brian Maloney back on stage after almost a year !
  2. It was an enjoyable insight. Christopher Carr is a hard taskmaster but always with an eye to engaging the audience and making it interesting for us. Seeing Valentino and James rehearsing the same role gave us an opportunity to appreciate the difference between them. They're both small dancers but stylistically distinct: I find James very elegant and classical and Valentino quick and exciting with a high jump. I'm looking forward to seeing his debut. I agree with Lee, someone in the Education Dept needs to give Claire Thurman some guidance on how to introduce these insights and on interviewing content and technique.
  3. Yet another gala with a title and cast that offered plenty of potential for a fascinating evening but with a disappointing outcome for me. I understand that Le Spectre de la Rose has historical significance but it's a museum piece and as far as I'm concerned it would be better in a museum and not on the stage. Igor Kolb's dancing didn't look like the standard you would expect of a Mariinsky principal but maybe having to wear a ladies flowery pink bathing hat did not help him. Afterlight was much praised by all the critics and yes the lighting was mesmerising and the music,choreography and dancing all beautiful but the effect of the whole on a Sunday afternoon in January was totally soporific, another minute and I would have nodded off. Still it was much better than Putrov's Dance of the Blessed Spirits which opened the second half. Things picked up with Igor Kolb's Solo which was followed by easily the most dynamic performance of the afternoon: Polunin's Narcisse. He's such a brilliant dancer, it's gut wrenching that we won't be seeing him at Covent Garden for the forseeable future, if ever. The afternoon ended on a real low : Ithaka by Putrov, an utterly tedious and very ordinary piece of choreography. Altogether a surprisingly low energy and insubstantial afternoon.
  4. I'm with Bruce on R & J - I'm also tired of it. Maybe I've seen it too often in recent years but I don't quite think that's entirely it. I think I'd be more interested if there were more interesting partnerships. Although I chose not to see Carlos and Tamara this time round I understood what Louise Levene in her review for the Telegraph meant when she said there was something slightly "married" about the great pdd and none of the "grabby desperation" you get in the early days of a partnership. I would like to have seen Tamara (IMO one of the greatest Juliet's I've seen and still utterly convincing as a teenage girl) with a different Romeo: Bonelli or, preferably, Polunin. It will be interesting to see whether Alina & Johan, another long established partnership, can inject some thrills for me into this old war horse of a ballet.
  5. Brief thoughts on Bonelli/Lamb last night (I left at the 2nd interval). Bonelli: handsome, elegant, lovely line, liked his boyishly acted Romeo and his partnering was strong but his solo dancing was not the best, it looks like he is still coming back from injury. Lamb was exquisite although I didn't feel any magic between them, but this may have been me not them. Alexander Campbell was an excellent Mercutio. I thought he had a strong start when he joined the RB last Autumn: he was very good in Jewels but then I was really disappointed with his Bluebird. However, his last 2 performances (Hans-Peter/Nutcracker & Mercutio) have been very impressive indeed. Last night he showed clean, crisp dancing, great footwork and excellent characterisation - nicely young and larky but not too showy - AND he was spot on the music, what a pleasure. A breath of fresh air to see a new face in an old role. On the other hand I thought Jonathan Watkins was miscast as Benvolio - painful and equally painful was Kenta Kura as lead Mandolin. National treasure Gary Avis was his usual excellent self asTybalt. What was going on in the pit I don't know but there was some atrocious squawking from the brass section.
  6. Wulff is spot on. Re the pirouettes, turns, and running out of steam, it's exactly what I thought but didn't quite get across.
  7. I saw her debut. She certainly looked the part: stunning and really elegant, not surprising since she's a very attractive girl. As for her dancing, well she got through it: cautiously it has to be said but that's understandable for a debut. The gargouillades looked fine to me although I wouldn't claim to be an expert but she struggled with her fouettes, not the number of them just doing them at all looked like a problem for her. At times in her variation the tempo of the music slowed almost to a standstill maybe that contributed to it not being a sparkling performance. The grand pdd was fine, it wasn't thrilling but again more than decent for a debut and if at times Polunin could have supported her more strongly there were no howlers. Polunin's variation was better than when I saw him recently in Beauty although I felt he wasn't as good as he can be. Interesting to compare with Akane Takada's debut, they are very different dancers with very different strengths. I'd say Akane's debut showed a much stronger classical dancer than Melissa with much better technique. I see Melissa more likely to do better in MacMillan and contemporary dance. Akane's partner, Dawid T was disappointing: clumpy and inelegant, I don't think he was ready to dance at that level.
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