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Everything posted by Sim

  1. Now that the Royal Ballet's season has just come to an end, and those of ENB, BRB and others will be ending soon, now is the time to reflect on what we have seen this past year. What have been your favourite moments? Revelations? Disappointments? This question is aimed at those who watch companies outside of the UK too; we would be very interested to hear your thoughts. My starter for ten (although much more will occur to me, I'm sure!): Postives: - Seeing La Bayadere again. It is beautiful and gives good dance opportunities to many company members. Loved it. - DonQ. Joyous, great dancing, and sent me home with a smile each time. - Ivan Putrov's Against the Stream - this is how a gala evening should be done. - Ditto the tribute to Margot Fonteyn. - The Hayward/Corrales partnership in R&J. This was a dream cast and knocked me for six all three times. - Matthew Ball's Tybalt....a revelation and a truly magnificent interpretation of the role, in a way I had never seen before and was incredibly effective. - Marcellino Sambe's Mercutio....probably the best I have ever seen. - Beatriz Stix-Brunell's portrayal of a feisty Juliet. - Naghdi/Ball's R&J, especially the broadcast performance. - Two Pigeons. 'Nuff said. - ENB's She Persisted triple bill. Let's hear it for the girls! Negatives: - Meh-dusa
  2. INTERVIEW WITH RUTH BRILL, JUNE 2019 Ruth Brill has announced her departure from Birmingham Royal Ballet so that she can concentrate on choreography. BalletcoForum talked to her about her future plans, the most immediate of which is re-staging Cathy Marston's Ballet Shoes to celebrate the 25th anniversary of London Children's Ballet (LCB). Ruth, let's go back before going forward. How did you start dancing? When I was a very small girl, I would always be dancing in the living room at home. My parents have a huge record collection and there was always music around. So lots of dancing! Finally my mum sent me to a ballet class in the village hall in Kent where we lived. I was sent to expend energy. After that I went to theatre school so did other things such as singing and acting. I just found myself dancing all the time. I loved it, and went to Tring at 15. I loved it. I was a year ahead of my age group. I got maths, biology and dance A Levels. I didn't want to stop learning academically. After that I went straight to the 2nd year at ENB school. I was then accepted into the company, and from 2007 to 2012 was living the dream and dancing with ENB. Then I was asked to perform Dorabella from Enigma Variations at a Cecchetti gala. It wasn’t in the ENB repertoire so I went up to BRB to rehearse it. I immediately loved the atmosphere at BRB. To dance repertoire such as Ashton and MacMillan was such a pull. I was very lucky and was offered a place in the company, and joined in 2012. That year I participated in an in-house choreographic workshop. It snowballed from there. So, more recently you have been concentrating on choreography rather than performing? Arcadia was my first piece for the main stage - a full production with designer, composer etc. Once I had seen how it all works on the other side of things, I now can't un-see it. I feel like I have more to give as a choreographer than as a performer now. I've had such a brilliant and busy year, what with Peter and the Wolf and LCB rehearsals and dancing, so something had to give. I love dance but my passion for choreography has now taken over. I’m also getting married this summer, so it is the right time for a change. I don't feel scared to make the jump; I feel this is the right moment! It feels very natural to go now. I am not scared, just excited for new challenges. I will miss equally the other dancers, and performing. I have so many lovely friends in the company, and I will miss the camaraderie. You get really closely knit as a group when you tour so much. Being out there on my own will be very different. But I will still be around as Peter & The Wolf returns to BRB in the Autumn. A lot of people have supported me here on my journey, for which I’m so grateful. But it will also be good for me to do things outside the BRB bubble. In the near future I have the remaining Peter and The Wolf shows for BRB, LCB Ballet Shoes performances and the New English Ballet Theatre Choreographic Lab. I have taken on an interim Artistic Director role (together with Drew McOnie and assisted by Carrie Johnson) of National Youth Ballet and will also be choreographing a new piece for them. How did you get involved with re-staging LCB's Ballet Shoes for their 25th anniversary performance? Well, I danced in Cathy Marston's Ballet Shoes 18 years ago when I was 12. I danced with them for four years. Since then, I have gone to see their show every year unless I've been away on tour, and have danced at some of their fund raising galas. For this anniversary, they asked Cathy to re-stage it but she is very busy so suggested that perhaps I could do it. It's been great re-connecting with her, she’s been really supportive. Ex Royal Ballet soloist Laura McCulloch has been the ballet mistress and she’s brilliant. There is a good company spirit and ethos at LCB. It's free to the participants and open to dancers of all backgrounds, so everyone can audition. We look for all sorts of different dancers, regardless of whether they are going to go on and dance professionally; they could be a good fit for someone in the story. LCB is funded by lots of loyal supporters and we have a great fundraising team, and high profile patrons such as Darcey Bussell and the Royal Ballet's Lauren Cuthbertson. We were lucky to have the Royal Ballet's Marcelino Sambé come and help the boys too. That was so inspirational for them. How have you gone about the re-staging process for Ballet Shoes? Most of the choreography is just from videos taken at the time of the original piece 18 years ago. I've tweaked some of it. The standard of dancing has gone up a lot, and we have more boys now, so I am able to give more weight to some of the roles. There is still the same score, scenario and scene structure, but I have just elaborated on some of the choreography to reflect the higher standard we have now. I have completely re-done the Midsummer Night’s Dream scene to put my stamp on it. Cathy Marston has given us her blessing. So what can the audience expect to see if they go to the show? The audience can expect to see a very professional production. A lovely story as well, which is inspirational to young people. Kate Ford, who is wonderful, has designed the costumes. She has designed costumes that I have worn at Birmingham Royal Ballet. LCB create new narrative work based on classic stories, to newly commissioned musical scores, and always perform to live orchestra, in the West End, and every year it sells out, all of which is incredible for a youth company. But most of all, you will see lots of passion and energy on stage from our bright young dancers! Ruth Brill Photo: Tina Frances Ruth Brill rehearsing LCB in Cathy Marston's Ballet Shoes Photo: Tina Frances Ruth Brill rehearsing LCB in Cathy Marston's Ballet Shoes Photo: Tina Frances
  3. It was very nice, but a shame Helen Crawford didn’t get a mention after so many years of dedication to the company. I guess only Principals get the full treatment.
  4. Agree with all the superlatives above. A spectacular way to end a wonderful season. Now I am going to dream about Vadream. Not for the first time, he bared his soul tonight and shared it with all of us. We are indeed blessed by the ballet gods to have him. When he was dancing with Anna-Rose my daughter whispered to me “Lensky and Olga.” Yes please! All the dancers were on fire tonight. Thanks to each and every member of the company for giving us such joy this season. Wishing them a fun and successful tour.
  5. Last night, as I was watching Yasmine Naghdi standing very still downstage right towards the end of Firebird, using those incredibly dark expressive eyes to observe all the movements she had initiated amongst the people and creatures, and her arms in classic 'Firebird pose', looking haughty and imperious....I was thinking 'gosh, what an amazing and formidable Myrthe she would make.' Praying to the ballet gods that she will get both roles in the next run of Giselle....
  6. What a shame the R&J pdd isn't Corrales with Hayward.....they were just magical together.
  7. Best wishes to Nehemiah Kish for all of his future endeavours. He was Yasmine Naghdi's first Siegfried and for that I am eternally grateful as she gave such lovely performances with him. Is this a new tactic from the RB press department, to give out promotions and leaver information in dribs and drabs? Have they decided that Principals (new or existing) are now each going to get their own press release about being promoted or leaving? I thought that the Sambe one last week was a one-off as part of a damage limitation exercise?
  8. Hi....I was just about to post that on behalf of a friend I am selling Balcony standing D3 for Friday night. It costs £8. It is quite a way round to the side so is probably a bit restricted, but you can have a look on the website and see what the view is like from there (at least, you used to be able to!!). Please let me know asap if you are interested. Thanks.
  9. Romeo sneaks in wearing a monk's cape and cowl, following the procession of monks who go into the tomb. An aristocratic Italian Renaissance family tomb would have been most likely in the crypt of the family's chapel, and prior to actual burial the body is laid out for mourners to pray over and say goodbye.
  10. Yes. He did it four years ago, and I commented then what a moving and touching act it is. He wants to die lying next to her, but the violence of the poison is agony and makes him retch so he falls off the tomb. I also love the way, when he first notices her, he actually walks upstage and out from the crowd so that the audience can see that he has noticed Juliet. Too often, this very important moment is lost because Romeo is downstage left amongst the guests and the audience is watching Paris and Juliet dance, so very few people notice that Romeo is captivated by this girl's beauty. Johan Kobborg is the first dancer I saw doing this, and to me it makes a lot of sense. I am so pleased that Ball is doing this as well as putting his own deeply emotional touch to his death scene.
  11. Richard LH said: One thing I noticed is that in the tomb, at first Naghdi's Juliet seemed pleased to see Romeo prostrate on the floor, as if she didn't realise he was dead, only doing so when she knelt down to him. As far as I recall, other Juliets realise at first glance that Romeo (like Paris) is dead; Naghdi's interpretation (if intended) is certainly novel (and potentially even more heart rending) but I am not sure it is believable given the context. The RB dancers used to do this more often, but I have noticed this run that it hasn't been done, so I was very pleased to see Naghdi do it. I think it is entirely in context. The tomb is very dark, and Romeo has had to travel a long way to get to it, probably through the night so he wasn't seen re-entering Verona, so would be exhausted. Juliet has been in a deep, deep sleep. She has just woken up in a dark, forbidding place and tripped over Paris' dead body. There are no outward signs of death to Romeo, and it isn't until she kisses him that she realises the awful truth. It is totally feasible that she would think, for a brief moment, that he had fallen asleep whilst waiting for her to wake up. This is just one of the touches that Naghdi, ever the intelligent interpreter, added to her performance that made it so special for me. For those who commented that she didn't stab herself hard enough last time, last night she certainly did, and for good measure, pulled the knife out very slowly ensuring that her pain was shared with all of us. I can almost feel it now.
  12. What a stunning performance tonight. Perfection from Miss Naghdi as Juliet and a wonderfully romantic and believable Romeo from Matthew Ball.
  13. My binoculars must have been trained on Anna-Rose, as they were for most of their time onstage! I didn’t see anything either....
  14. In the next run of Month, which I hope will be in the not-too-distant future, I would love to see David Yudes as Kolya (hopefully sans wig!).
  15. I totally agree with all the positive posts above. Any fear of this being thought of as a cobbled-together evening that wouldn't pay correct homage to the RB's Prima Ballerina Assoluta dissipated as soon as I saw the evening's programme. What a joy it was to see Dame Margot's illustrious career replayed by her artistic descendants in such a beautiful way. I won't go through it all, but highlights for me were: Hayward's Ondine (I have never liked this ballet, but after her performance last night I want to give it another chance), which sparkled and managed to tell her whole story in just this one section. Hayward seems to be the natural successor to previous 'Ashton specialists' and boy do we need an Ashton specialist. I have just loved her in every Ashton in which I've seen her: Dream, Month, Rhapsody, Fille, Ondine.....she has such fleet footwork, lovely epaulement and the supple back required to pull off this difficult choreography. Long may it continue; Naghdi/Muntagirov's Le Corsaire.....fireworks left, right and centre, but always respecting the choreography. A shame the music didn't respect them; maybe the conductor was getting tired towards the end of the night, but the abrupt changes in tempi were inexplicable. No wonder Naghdi had a slight slip during those amazing Italian fouettes, but like the true pro that she is she recovered immediately and finished off those difficult moves perfectly. As for Vadream....I have no words. He just gets better and better: every time I think 'surely he can't ever be better than this'.....he goes and gets better than this!! A rare, rare gem; Bussell and Avis dancing together again. They both looked so comfortable with each other and their turn raised the laughs the piece deserves. I loved Avis gurning when the hat feathers were brushing against his face. Bussell looked absolutely thrilled to be dancing on the ROH stage again, and the audience was thrilled to have her back; O'Sullivan and Campbell in Daphnis and Chloe. If O'Sullivan isn't a Principal within the next two years I will eat one of her pointe shoes; And finally, a few funny/strange moments: a woman in the Stalls shouting something out during Kevin O'Hare's introductory speech (couldn't hear what it was); the spelling mistake referred to above that was there for us all to feast our eyes on for a seemingly very long time (Fonetyn), and my favourite....when two of Sylvia's attendants briefly appeared from the wings during the curtain calls then dashed back in; they had got their cue wrong but it made the audience laugh! I feel a bit disingenuous picking out highlights because everyone did a great job. I didn't like Osipova's wild and way-out Juliet, but I liked Hallberg much better this time. He did fluff one of the lifts, but otherwise his dancing was very good. Unlike most other people, I liked seeing Apparitions as it was a first for me. The costumes and set were borrowed from Sarasota ballet and made for a very colourful ending, followed by that gorgeous film of Salut d'Amour which surely must have brought a tear to every eye in the House. Having said this, I would much prefer to have seen Cuthbertson/Ball dance something from Marguerite and Armand, especially since they had done it together before, and so passionately. But it was nice to see something different. Speaking of different....I so enjoyed seeing snippets of some of Ashton's early works. The evening made me realise a few things: How much Ashton is in the RB repertoire that we never get to see. After everything he did for the RB and British ballet as a whole, his works do not deserve to be abandoned and forgotten, especially at a time when there are dancers who, with the proper coaching, can dance the choreography as it should be danced. The difficulty is still there, the choreographic challenges are still there, even in the earliest pieces, and I am sure many dancers would relish tackling them, just as much of the audience would relish seeing them; How sad it makes me that I am too young to have ever seen Fonteyn dance; How happy it makes me that the ballet fates aligned in the 20th century and gave us Sir Fred, and this special muse who inspired such gorgeous works. Many congratulations to all involved in last night's centenial commemmoration. I am sure that Dame Margot, looking down from ballet heaven, was smiling that beautiful smile and with it lighting up the ROH stage from start to finish.
  16. Neither did I. Naghdi and Vadream danced briefly together in Winter Dreams but yes, this was their first meaty performance together. More please!!
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