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Found 63 results

  1. Thread for all the mixed-company MacMillan celebrations at the Royal Opera House this autumn. It kicks off tonight with Birmingham Royal Ballet in Concerto, Scottish Ballet in Le Baiser de la fée (or The Fairy's Kiss, if you prefer) and a mixed-company performance of Elite Syncopations, if I'm not mistaken. And to start us off, here's a link back to David's notes on Le Baiser de la fée
  2. Birmingham Royal Ballet: Wink, Arcadia, The Moor's Pavane, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham (Saturday 6 May). BRB's South tour opened in Cheltenham last Friday and as I had never seen the company and was staying in Cirencester, my sister and I took her daughters (12 and 10, ballet fans but who have never learned) to the Saturday matinée. Of particular interest to me was that the programme included two works by female choreographers, plus the rarely-seen Limón piece. Not to mention that as a visitor from Australia I would see Tzu-Chao Chou dance for the first time since he left what the company insists be called The Australian Ballet (capital T please). I knew very little of the company but what I had read online, although former TAB dancers Elisha Willis, Matthew Lawrence and Gaylene Cummerfield spent large chunks of their careers there, and "we" now have Aussie Chris Rodgers-Wilson (RBS then BRB) back (I saw his Franz in Coppélia at Christmas and all that promise is coming to fruition). Was I impressed! I was able to do my favourite thing (watching class) before the show, which gave me some impressions of the dancers, and we then settled in to our seats in this lovely theatre, centre rear stalls (bang in front of the technical desk). Wink, by Jessica Lang, featured César Morales, with whose dancing I fell in love. The use of spoken word (Shakespeare sonnets) framed each section (solo, pdd, quintet of men, three pairs, etc). Tzu-Chao was in this and despite carrying a niggle is still one of my favourite dancers to watch. Company dancer Ruth Brill's Arcadia showcased Brandon Lawrence as Pan, and the piece was an instant hit with the nieces. He was magnetic, and Céline Gittens, in a small but featured role as the moon goddess Selene, was lovely. We were also treated to the presence of the composer, John Harles, in the pit as saxophone soloist. We were told Arcadia is to be included in the company's Sadler's Wells season later this year, and I do recommend it. Also, cheers to BRB for giving a female company member the opportunity of a main-stage commission, with all the support that ought to, but sometimes doesn't, go with that. The Moor's Pavane, danced by Morales, Chi Cao, Yvette Knight and Samara Downs, was one of the most beautiful short ballets I have ever seen. I was told afterwards that it has only entered the company's repertoire this year, and that the four we saw spent months working on the particular style required. It was stunning. The artistry of these four dancers was undeniable and of a very high standard, and even the nieces sighed happily and said it was beautiful. Nor did they need the story explained, it was presented so clearly. The very small stage (compressed further by the proscenium arch) forced some compromises in that some jumps were half-in, half-out of the wings, but no-one looked to be holding back. After the show the nieces begged to "get autographs and say thank you" (we train them well) and were delighted at the very generous response of the dancers, particularly Lachlan Monaghan, Brandon Lawrence, Ruth Brill, Chi Cao and César Morales. They were very amused to see one pair disappear into the next-door Italian restaurant - "pasta at four o'clock! They must work hard!" All in all, a delightful first experience of the company and one I will certainly repeat at the earliest opportunity.
  3. Birmingham Royal Ballet and Sadler's Wells are joining forces for a major new development programme for classical choreographers. The scheme will support large-scale commissions by emerging choreographers as well as offer mentoring from major ballet companies. Ballet Now is specifically for choreographers who have taken a classical route but have not had the opportunity to work on the largest scale. It will also work with composers and designers. The programme is being funded by £1.1 million from Oak Foundation, with BRB looking to match fund the same amount again. Ballet Now will support two commissions each year, helping a total of six artists – one choreographer, composer and designer for each commission. They will create work that will premiere at either BRB or Sadler's Wells in London. BRB currently performs at Sadler's Wells for one week a year, but this will be doubled to accommodate the commissions created for Ballet Now. The programme will also offer the selected artists mentoring from BRB director David Bintley and the company’s music director Koen Kessels. Bintley, who is behind the plans, said the idea had come from a realisation that there is choreographic talent being nurtured through a classical background that is not being used. "If you work in a classical vein it is very hard, if you are not permanently allied with a company, to get work,” he said. Sadler's Wells artistic director Alistair Spalding added: "There seems to be an issue particularly with the development of new talent coming from ballet itself. There is a big trend for contemporary choreographers to go into the ballet situation, and this is trying to address the fact that it needs to also come through ballet itself." The programme will also have an international element, with BRB partnering with ballet companies across the globe to seek out the talent chosen for Ballet Now. This process will be overseen by a creative consortium, made up of experts from across world ballet. They will also provide mentoring opportunities for the selected artists. The programme begins later this year and is planned to run over five years, allowing the work created by Ballet Now to become the "artistic calling cards" needed to forge careers around the world. Bintley went on to describe international collaboration as "very much the way forward" for ballet companies such as BRB, adding that it would be an important element of ballet's future. The creative consortium met for the first time on April 27. https://www.brb.org.uk/post/ballet-now
  4. Anybody seen any casting for the two tours? I know the BRB are normally late announcing casting, but surely they must know by now. Or am i just missing the links?
  5. I received a leaflet for the Big Give today from BRB. This states that the company will be performing in Stanton Welch's staging of La Bayadere in autumn 2017. As far as I can gather this was first produced for the Houston Ballet and then mounted on the Australian Ballet.
  6. Casting for Southampton is now up: https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/cinderella?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=cast_lists_southampton&utm_medium=brb 25th January eve: Momoko Hirata & Joseph Caley 26th January mat: Delia Matthews & Tyrone Singleton 26th January eve: Jenna Roberts and William Bracewell 27th January eve: Momoko Hirata & Joseph Caley 28th January mat: Jenna Roberts & William Bracewell 28th January eve: Delia Matthews & Tyrone Singleton As there are 2 weeks of performances in Birmingham I assume more casts may also be in the pipeline.
  7. Birmingham Royal Ballet's production of The Nutcracker begins at Birmingham Hippodrome today, celebrating the 90th birthday of its creator, Sir Peter Wright. If you see it, do let us know your thoughts.
  8. Casting has just been posted on BRB website. 13 Sugar Plum Fairies.
  9. I've seen three performances of Birmingham Royal Ballet's Shakespeare's Triple Bill this week. Jessica Lang's Wink premiered on midscale and I very much enjoyed it. It looks much better on a bigger stage! We only saw a few of the revolving screens on midscale, on a bigger stage there are five screens at the back and five at the side. Brandon Lawrence is really spectacular as The Poet. I particularly like his duet with Lewis Turner. The choreography is lovely and lyrical with lots of different groupings of the dancers. Are the revolving screens symbolising winks? ... The Moor's Pavane also looks even better on the bigger stage. With so many midscale performances under their belts the dancers have really brought out the casts. Tyrone Singleton, Delia Matthews, Iain Mackay and Elisha Willis are all very powerful performers and bring out the nuances of the characters. The other cast I saw this week - Cesar Morales, Yvette Knight, Chi Cao and Samara Downs are more contained in their performance but give an equally valid performance. Chi, in particular, shows a very subtle touch, making Iago as slippery as a snake with his insinuations to Othello. The evening finished with David Bintley's exuberant Shakespeare Suite. I will never forget Robert Parker in the role of Hamlet but Mathias Dingman, Lewis Turner and particularly Lachlan Monaghan gave really good accounts of the role. Tyrone Singleton and Elisha Willis were outstanding as Othello and Desdemona. Jonathan Caguoia and Momoko Hirata were hilariously dotty as Bottom and Titania. The orchestras sounded wonderful - the first 2 pieces were played by the BRB Sinfonia and the third by Colin Towns Mask Orchestra. As well as Elisah Willis, Jonathan Caguoia is retiring from BRB after 14 years - the Birmingham stage will be a less bright place without him. I would like to wish Jonathan all the very best for the future. Here's a review from Redbrick: http://www.redbrick.me/culture/review-birmingham-royal-ballets-shakespeare-triple-bill/
  10. The casting for the mixed programme at The Lowry has been published: https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/shakespeare-triple-bill-the-dream Scroll down and click on individual performances. I regret the passing of the days when the casting for a whole week was put on one page. Can't wait to see Chi as Oberon again!
  11. MEDIA RELEASE: Monday 4 July 2016 BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET ANNOUNCEMENTS 2016 At the end of the 2015/2016 season, Birmingham Royal Ballet is able to announce the following: Samara Downs is promoted from First Soloist to Principal. Céline Gittens is promoted from First Soloist to Principal. Delia Mathews is promoted from Soloist to First Soloist. Yijing Zhang is promoted from First Artist to Soloist. Feargus Campbell is promoted from First Artist to Soloist. Brandon Lawrence is promoted from First Artist to Soloist. Valentin Olovyannikov is promoted from First Artist to Soloist. Yaoqian Shang is promoted from Artist to Soloist. Reina Fuchigami is promoted from Artist to First Artist. Jade Heusen is promoted from Artist to First Artist. Max Maslen is promoted from Artist to First Artist. Lachlan Monaghan is promoted from Artist to First Artist. The following dancers will join the company: Gabriel Anderson, graduate of the Royal Ballet School, will join as an Artist. Tim Dutson, graduate of English National Ballet School, will join as an Artist. Aitor Galende, graduate of the Royal Ballet School, will join as an Artist. The following dancers leave the company: Elisha Willis leaves Birmingham Royal Ballet after thirteen years with the Company, twelve of those years as a Principal. Elisha is retiring from ballet and is going to pursue a career in costume making. Jonathan Caguioa leaves Birmingham Royal Ballet after fourteen years with the Company, four of those years as a Soloist. Jonathan is returning to London to undertake a Pilates teaching course. Steven Monteith left Birmingham Royal Ballet earlier this season after eighteen years with the Company, six of those years as a Soloist. Steven is currently studying for the Professional Dancers’ Teaching Diploma at the Royal Academy of Dance. Oliver Till leaves Birmingham Royal Ballet after nine years with the Company. Oliver was promoted to Soloist earlier this season. He is now moving to the United States to pursue different opportunities. Leticia Dias Domingues leaves Birmingham Royal Ballet after a year with the Company. Leticia is joining the Royal Ballet as an Artist. Luke Schaufuss leaves Birmingham Royal Ballet after three years with the Company. Luke is joining Scottish Ballet as a Soloist.
  12. Last Sunday I attended with other members of the London Ballet Circle the opening night of the Hungarian National Ballet's production of The Sleeping Beauty by our patron, Sir Peter Wright, at the Budapest Opera House. It was a great occasion and crowned a day in which I attended class with the Hungarian dancer, choreographer and teacher Imre Andrasi in the company with Mel Wong which I have described in the Simply Adult Ballet thread. The leading roles were danced by Aliya Tankpayeva and Dimitry Timofeev whom you can see in the photograph above. As for the other roles, the Lilac Fairy was danced by Zsuzsanna Papp, Carabosse by Karina Sarkissova and Bluebird by Maksym Kovtun who also doubled as Puss in Boots. In that latter role he was partnered by the young Canadian dancer Danielle Gould who danced the white cat and who impressed me very much indeed. The ballet was staged with assistance from the Birmingham Royal Ballet, The sets and costumes were Philip Prowse's and the lighting was arranged by Peter Teigen. I enjoyed the performances of all the dancers but Tanlpaeyeva and Timofeev danced Aurora and Desire somewhat differently from the way I remember the principals of the Birmingham Royal Ballet when I last saw it at the Lowry over 2 years ago. After the show I was lucky enough to be invited back stage for the cast party where my friend Gita Mistry took the photo that appears above. If anyone is interested I have reviewed the show in my blog.
  13. Janet posted a link to the programme in Cheltenham but I haven't been able to find any information about the the other venues and the programmes at those venues. Does anyone know if the company is coming to High Wycombe or Woking and, if so, what programmes it will be bringing?
  14. Something to look forward to later this year: David Bintley's new full-length adaptation of "The Tempest", which premieres at the Birmingham Hippodrome on 1st October. I can't wait! ETA: Damnation, I should have posted this in Dance News...
  15. BRB's Ashton double bill opens on Wednesday. Please use this thread for your thoughts. To start us off, BRB have issued a rehearsal video of The Dream from the last run: https://www.brb.org.uk/post/studio-rehearsals-for-the-dream
  16. Casting for Southampton Swan Lake as follows:- Date Odette/Odile//Prince Siegfried//Benno 26 Jan Nao Sakuma/Yasuo Atsuji/William Bracewell 27 Jan Yaoqian Shang/Cesar Morales/Tzu-Chao Chou 28 Mat Samara Downs/Jamie Bond/Feargus Campbell 28 Eve Delia Mathews/Brandon Lawrence/Mathias Dingman 29 Jan ~ as 27 Jan ~ 30 Mat Nao Sakuma/Mathia Dingman/Lewis Turner 30 Eve Samara Downs/Jamie Bond/Max Maslen
  17. It strikes me that neither Royal Ballet company shows as much enthusiasm for programming the works of their founder choreographer as you might expect given the quality of his ballets, Is it a feeling of ambivalence akin to that experienced,at one time, by the Danes towards their Buornonville legacy that is the root cause of the comparative neglect of Ashton's works?
  18. I saw both performances in Birmingham yesterday, where The King Dances is replaced by Kin. I adore Theme and Variations and last night Momoko Hirata was just took my breath away with her speed and precision. She filled the stage with her presence and her partnership with Joe Caley continues to grow. I love Kin and we saw mostly the same dancers in both performances. In the afternoon the leading couple was Elisha Willis and Joe Caley. Elisha has a sublime limpid quality that beautifully suits her opening solo and the duet with Joe. Delia Matthews and William Bracewell led the evening performance. Delia is taller than Elisha and it brings a completely different but equally enjoyable dynamic to the choreography. Tzu-Chao Chou dazzled in his incredibly fast solo. Great stuff! Enigma Variations is just sublime and a total masterpiece. In the evening it was a joy to see Dominic Antonucci as Elgar and Wolfgang Stollwitzer as Jaeger. Their performance of Nimrod with Ana Albutishvili as Lady Elgar was incredibly moving. Jade Heusen was a total delight as Winifred Norbury and I very much enjoyed Yvette Knight and Tom Rogers in the hammock duet. It's a cracking good mixed programme. I am looking forward to seeing T&V, Enigma and The King Dances at Sadler's Wells on Saturday. I'm looking forward to everyone's thoughts...
  19. Apart from the La Sylphide recently mentioned there has been added to the Coliseum dance calendar the following: (1) 10th Anniversary programme for the Russian Icons Gala - 8th March 2015 (2) Birmingham Royal Ballet in Carmina Burana and Serenade, March 2015 (3) Irina Kolesnikova and St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre, Swan Lake / La Bayadere, August 2015 Perhaps given that - as we have been told by a BcoF poster - the Hochhausers are not next year to bring over one of the two major Russian ballet companies, the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre - who regularly tour regionally throughout the UK - felt brave enough to cover the vast expense of the London venue's hire knowing of the local audience's passion for all things balletically Russian when at the ROH during summer sojourns. I pray their investment proves to be a prudent one and not ruinous. Odds are I fear not particularly stacked in their favour in terms of a commercial return given the capacities rendered by the Russian Seasons programmes during Summer 2014 and knowing that their presentation of Swan Lake with noted principals from the Mikhailovsky Ballet was ultimately cancelled due to lack of advance sales. Sadly the balcony is currently closed from sales for ALL of these presentations. Source
  20. I have just got back from seeing this programme and I have come to the conclusion that the scariest three words in ballet remain 'specially commissioned score' seconded by 'imaginative new interpretation'. I will write a fuller review tomorrow of this really odd double bill. It is a really good workout for the men in the company, the girls get their chance next week with Sylvia. All the dancers gave both works their all with fully committed performances but I cannot say that I was that entranced by the evening. I think I will sleep on this now and see what perculates tomorrow. However, I will gave a rave review to Will Bracewell as the first seminarian. I couldn't take my eyes off him.
  21. Also spotted in Graham Watts' interview with David Bintley (http://londondance.com/articles/interviews/david-bintley-interview-part-2/), (Young people being naturally more attracted to contemporary dance,) "Ballet audiences are generally an older group and we have to accept that. Our main challenge is to attract that older audience." Nice to know that *someone* recognises that
  22. I've been catching up with the links today, and was quite surprised to read in Graham Watts' interview with David Bintley (http://londondance.com/articles/interviews/david-bintley-interview-part-1/) "... although we haven’t actually been at full capacity for awhile, partly because I can’t find people good enough." Food for thought?
  23. I'm not perhaps the best equipped technically to actually start a thread on a performance, but as no-one else has on BRB's latest mixed bill, here goes! I saw the matinee performance at the Birmingham Hippodrome yesterday and the first thing that has to be said is what a terrible title it is. Surely no-one says 'Stateside' these days? It sounds awfully like '60s DJ-speak! The good thing is, however, that the title was the only thing that was terrible about it. What we saw were three ballets, totally different in character, but all with a vivid American sheen. First off was Balanchine's Serenade, set to Tchaikovsky's sublime Serenade for Strings. I'd read lots about this work in my stumbling efforts at a ballet education, so I appreciated its iconic status in the history of American ballet. The Telegraph review mentions occasional lapses of unity which my untutored eye picked up occasionally, but as an ensemble piece it worked wonderfully well, full of graceful neo-classicism but filled with the quirky little touches that came from the ad hoc way in which Balanchine created it. Altogether lovely, as were the women's costumes, a feature of all three ballets. The second piece was Jessica Lang's Lyric Pieces, premiered by the company in 2012 and being given a second outing. The mood here again was classical, but with a modern twist in the black folded kraft paper props that the cast manipulated during the course of the piece. At first these seemed a distraction, but as the dances stretched them, fanned them, sat on them and generally played with them they became increasingly an integral part of the piece. I particularly liked they formed the backdrop for a number of tableaux that from time to time interrupted the general movement of the piece. The Grieg piano pieces, played expertly by Jonathan Higgins, were lovely in themselves, and the choreography captured the folk elements in the music in a number of the pieces, particularly in the well-known March of the Trolls. The highlight though was the wonderful pas de deux by Jenna Roberts and Iain Mackay that preceded the finale - simply gorgeous. The final piece was Twyla Tharp's In The Upper Room. I'd never seen any of her work (though she'd been on bucket list for a while), but I was surprised to see it listed as the final work in the programme given the far more well known Serenade was also on the bill. When I saw the piece, however, I understood why - it's such a demanding piece to dance that it must almost impossible to follow it with something else. It's hard to describe it except that it is a complete tour de force, a constant driving, pulsating dynamo of a piece that mixes just about every style you can thing of from contemporary through jazz, taking in a bit of aerobics on the way, to pure ballet steps. It's also one of the sexiest ballets I've yet seen, and the red pointe shoes that four of the dancers wore will live long in my memory! I'm guessing some might have found the smoke effects distracting but the way the groups of dancers emerged out of it was particularly affecting. The work was set to a recorded score by Philip Glass. Glass isn't one of my favourite composers - if I want minimalism I find much more depth and feel in composers like Steve Reich and John Adams. I'm afraid this didn't make me any more of a fan of him, though it fulfilled its task of driving the piece forward relentlessly, if perhaps a bit too loudly at times. A final thought: the title of the piece of course relates to the Last Supper and the programme notes make the point that there are no overt biblical references in the piece. However, I did notice that there were 13 dancers, which of course is the same number that sat together at the Last Supper. Maybe Tharp intended that to be significant or maybe it's just a coincidence! All in all a wonderful afternoon out, though as with the WW1 programme I saw at the Hippodrome before Christmas there were a disappointing number of empty seats. One final comment: it was refreshing to see a programme with two female choreographers, especially in the light of ENB's announcement of an all-female programme at Sadler's Wells next season.
  24. BRB will be opening its newly-refurbished HQ to the public on Sunday 25 January, from 11am to 4pm: http://www.brb.org.uk/2015-open.html
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