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  1. This opened yesterday evening, I was at the matinee today. I've seen it at every revival and I still find it a mesmerising, raw and powerful piece, perhaps even more than I did when I first saw it. Personally, I find it better not to spend too much time trying to work out the detail of what is happening; it wasn't entirely clear at the premiere and it still isn't. But for me the broad brush of the story line is there and is more than enough to be satisfying. The hypnotic beat of the music (brilliantly played by the ENB orchestra) drives the ballet forward and enhances the sense of raw and ferocious tribal energy in the opening choreography. I love the choreography: there is a frantic intensity for much of the corps in Act 1, but moments of stillness too. In Act 2 the Willis are terrifying, but the final pdd for Giselle and Albrecht is sublime, full of tenderness and forgiveness. I found this afternoon's principle performers simply superb: Giselle (Fernanda Oliveira), Albrecht (Aitor Arrieta), Erik Woolhouse making a stunning debut as Hilarion. The second circle was filled with many young teen school kids and it must be a huge tribute to the quality of the performance to note that even in the quiet moments you could have heard a pin drop (except for a mobile phone going off which I cannot say belonged to the kids) !
  2. With a month to go, I thought a topic for news/comments, pre-performance, might be useful. I am pleased to see from social media that on 20 February Steven McRae began rehearsals at the RB with Akane Takada, her debut as Juliet being set for 28 March.
  3. Looking at this & rather confused....maybe I have missed something Am I right that for selection process you can choose to either send in an audition video or attend alive audition? For latter it states that you must write preferred date/venue on application form & refers you to audition page on website for dates. These dates seem surely to relate just to entry for Full Time Training? Or are these for Summer School also? From people's past experience, by roughly what time do people hear if they have been selected for SS? I imagine it to be a case of the sooner accommodation is booked, the cheaper it is..... And are there are scholarships/funding routes at all? Ever hopeful
  4. This evening is the premiere of Ratmansky's new Giselle for the Bolshoi. This news video is in Russian so even though I can't understand it's still interesting to see the costumes and staging. https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ru&sp=nmt4&u=https://tvrain.ru/teleshow/vechernee_shou/meldonij_dlja_balerin-497766/&xid=25657,15700023,15700186,15700190,15700256,15700259,15700262,15700265,15700271,15700283&usg=ALkJrhij0y84wnEnM-Z0c4iIy9RMP_FSFg
  5. Came across this do thought I would start a thread. Congratulations to Vadim Muntagirov and John McFarlane for their nominations! <At a press conference in the Bolshoi Theater of Russia, the nominees for the International Ballet Prize Benois de la Dance (Benois de la danse) were announced. 28 artists from Russia, USA, France, Austria and other countries will compete for the victory. Six choreographers claim for the award: Juanho Arques (Birmingham Royal Ballet), Septim Webre (Kansas City Ballet), Manuel Legrey (Vienna State Ballet), Justin Peck (San Francisco Ballet), Fredrik Benke Reedman (Stockholm State Ballet), Christian Shpuk (Zurich Ballet). Anastasia Stashkevich (Bolshoi Theater), Amandine Albison (Paris Opera Ballet), Ashley Bauder (New York City Ballet), Eliza Carrillo Cabrera (Berlin State Ballet), Maya Makhateli (Netherlands National Ballet), Yuan Yuan Tan (San Francisco Ballet), Kaho Yanagisawa (Swedish Royal Ballet). Vyacheslav Lopatin (Bolshoi Theater), Audric Besar (Paris Opera Ballet), Andile Ndlovu (Washington Ballet), Daniel Simkin (American Ballet Theater), Daniel Camargo (Netherlands National Ballet), Vadim Muntagirov (Royal Ballet of Great Britain) will compete for the title of best dancer , Abel Rojo (Malpaso). In the Composers category, Matthew Pierce (The Wizard of Oz, Kansas City Ballet) and Kate Wheatley (Flame, Birmingham Royal Ballet) are nominated. In addition, four artists are applying for the prize: Jerome Kaplan (“Bayadere”, Berlin State Secretariat), John Macfarlane (“Swan Lake”, Royal Ballet of Great Britain), Robert Perdiola (“Harlequinade”, American Ballet Theater), and Michael Rayford and Liz Vandall (The Wizard of Oz, Kansas City Ballet). The award ceremony will take place on 21 May.>
  6. This truly 'mixed bill' starts tonight and, on the basis of yesterday's rehearsal (where there were additional cast changes!), it's going to be a terrific end to a wonderful Royal Ballet Season.
  7. So, the Royal Ballet season starts tonight. I hope people who are going will report back.
  8. No comment on the dress rehearsal today, for the usual reasons, but did anyone happen to catch the pre-show announcement about two (I think) cast changes? I missed this as my neighbour arrived rather noisily at exactly that moment and so I am puzzling as to who we saw who isn't on the cast list.
  9. For my first “Nutcracker” of the season, and ENB’s second performance in their 32-show run at the Coliseum, there were some disappointments but there was also much to love, not least Tchaikovsky’s ravishing score given its usual Christmas magic by the ENB Philharmonic under the wonderfully sympathetic baton of Gerry Cornelius. Now being rolled out for the tenth year, the sets look in need of refreshing (as do some of the Act I costumes), as they appeared washed out at times with the lighting also appearing somewhat dingy, especially in Act II. Most disappointing was a general lack of style in the dancing of the ladies in their various ensemble dances, starting with the party scene in Act I which lacked its original elegance but my eye was caught by Emily Suzuki and Jia Zhang, mostly dancing at the back of the group, who can always be relied upon to add a touch of class to whatever they do. Likewise, Alison McWhinney brought her ballerina sheen and a much-needed lyricism to the dance of the Snowflakes, with a masterclass in how to fill out a musical phrase with her gorgeous ports de bras, letting the music flow through her entire body. Hopefully the other dancers will follow her example, especially on the beautiful exiting step which needs this wonderful style to give the choreography its true magic. Indeed, it was another pair of dancers who have been in the production since its première, Adela Ramirez and James Forbat, who brought elegance and class to the waltz of the Flowers in Act II, with Ramirez exquisitely demonstrating the wonderful sliding step choreographed by Eagling which seems to have all but disappeared in the last few years. Another ‘veteran’ of the production, Junor Souza, made much of the Arabian Dance, channelling his Ali from “Le Corsaire”, with an extremely sensuous yet always elegant performance, enhanced by a very sultry group of harem ladies. Shevelle Dynott repeated his wickedly mischievous Mouse King, making much of the comedy with his highly amusing body language. The whole evening was presided over by the warm and genial Drosselmeyer of Fabian Reimair with his fatherly love for both his nephew and Clara shining through. Indeed, he and the Nutcracker of Daniel McCormick made the pas de trois, which begins Act II, look effortless as there was an almost carefree manner to the way they lifted and tossed Clara who responded with the most delighted of smiles which took on an extra rapture when the Nutcracker transformed into the fabulous Nephew of Jeffrey Cirio whose devastating charm lit up the whole theatre as well as the face of his adoring Clara, played as a child by the tiny Amelia Clark before transforming in her dream into the exquisite Katja Khaniukova. Less than a week ago, I was watching her on the same stage in the ultra-modern “Radio & Juliet” and yet tonight she was the quintessential classical ballerina displaying her heritage of the Russian school with her heady mix of delicious footwork, evident from her first exquisite run onto the stage in Act I, and beautifully languorous upper body movements and ports de bras, bringing depth of character to Clara who can sometimes be portrayed as rather two-dimensional. There was a moving soulfulness to her first pas de deux with the Nutcracker, especially with her meltingly beautiful bourrées around him as he knelt, which she repeated with even more delicacy in her delectable Sugar Plum solo in Act II. Cirio partnered her to perfection in the Act II grand pas de deux, both of them radiant and glittering in the entrée, and then showed us his beautifully clean technique in his bravura solo and the coda, never losing his youthful charm and that lovely smile. Khaniukova also shone in the coda with her trademark multiple pirouette into an immaculate set of fouetté turns. She and Cirio received rapturous applause and cheering from the capacity audience, many of whom appeared to be seeing the ballet for the first time and were no doubt as enchanted as I was by this glorious partnership.
  10. I think this has been mentioned already somewhere, but details are now up on the Coliseum website: https://londoncoliseum.org/whats-on/modanse-starring-svetlana-zakharova/
  11. Melbourne: The Happy Prince - new Graeme Murphy - 19-26 March Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Wheeldon - 8-22 June LAC - Jean-Christophe Maillot - Les Ballets de Monte Carlo - 27 June-6 July Sylvia - Stanton Welch - 31 August-10 September The Nutcracker - Sir Peter Wright - 17-28 September Sydney: Verve - mixed bill of Stephen Baynes' Constant Variants, Alice Topp's Aurum, and Tim Harbour's Filigree and Shadow - 5-25 April The Happy Prince - 1-18 May Sylvia - 8-23 November The Nutcracker - 30 November-18 December Plus Alice in Brisbane 25 February-2 March and The Nutcracker in Adelaide 8-12 October. Plus Paris in July, and a mixed bill at the Joyce Theater in New York in late May, comprising Aurum, Unspoken Dialogues by Stephen Baynes, and a new Tim Harbour. Casting will be available on the company website approximately one week before each season opens. Allegedly. My brother and I have a joint subscription to Australian Ballet's Melbourne seasons. This means five nights over the period March-September. For 2017 it was $636 each for second-rank seats. For 2018 the exact same seats will cost us $812 each, which is $176 or (I think) a 27% increase. And for three of five shows we're further back than usual as they're removing the front two rows to accommodate a larger orchestra pit. Sadly all the cheaper seats are either way at the side (restricted view although they rarely admit it) or way up the back. Grrr 😡
  12. So it looks as if it's not actually available live on you tube... There's something going on on Facebook but not on You Tube. Not a great start to my day off work as now I need to work out how to get Facebook on my TV! Edited to add that it's now playing a trailer... Looks like You Tube is around ten minutes behind Facebook
  13. Did no Forum contributors go to the Hippodrome last week ? Due to old age this is the first season for over 20 years that I haven’t become a subscriber and due to ill health I had to miss the first of the only three shows booked. I had been hoping ( with mixed feelings) to reading a review of what I had missed. I have heard a rumour that the new work was very good. More information would be very welcome.
  14. I went to ENB performing Chrisopher Wheeldon's Cinderella in Manchester today (Saturday Matinee). Erina Takahashi and Joseph Caley were the leads. I have never been to a Wheeldon ballet before, and not watched the Royal Ballet televised productions of recent years. I must admit to a certain about of ignorant snobbery and prejudice towards this choreographer. Being a lover of the great classical ballet canon, I had a bias that it might be, (especially judging from the Cinderella promotional images) rather too 'Matthew Bourne-ish' (again, I admit to being quite ignorant of Bourne too). The excellent reviews on this forum of this Cinderella (in the round, in the Albert Hall) encouraged me that it was worthwhile to go and see. Thank you Ballet Forum! I found it was a splendid cinematic dance theatre with more than enough of the classical style to satisfy me. For sheer visual effect, it is impressive and sophisticated. The colours of the staging and costume are extremely rich and splendid, lustrous. I did wonder in some scenes if they crossed the line into garishness but they just stayed on the right side, I think. The varied effects are very striking, wonderful (I particularly liked the row of chairs levitating in Act III). The choreography I found very interesting and often extremely pleasing. I loved the use of the male quartet of 'Fates' throughout. As with the other Cinderella I've seen (BRB Bintley) the Seasons dances are a highlight, and Precious Adam's leading Winter was probably my favourite. Perhaps some of the step sequences were a little 'busy', particularly in the (infrequent) solos, and I must admit I didn't find the grand pdd's conveyed the overwhelming emotion I thought they should have. The national dance section was again a little busy but I love this music and regret that it doesn't feature in the BRB version. But overall the dance was continually creative, impressive, surprising and consistently high standard. And I will admit that at the climax of Act II ballroom scene had me won over - the way the corps formations drew the scene onto it's finale, and portrayed the ticking clock with their arms - I thought this was fabulous. The leads Takahashi and Caley were of course excellent and flawless, but I'm not sure their individual (or pdd) choreography was a sufficient vehicle for either of them to really enrapture or astound the audience. It looks like this production has sold extremely well, far better than ballet usually does in Manchester.
  15. I have just received a notification from the Royal Opera House's Facebook page that World Ballet Day 2019 will take place on Wednesday 23rd October.
  16. I was at The Lowry last night to see Russell Maliphant's latest work Silent Lines and I absolutely LOVED it! The work is short - just over an hour - but I could not feel short-changed! It is for 5 dancers (three men and two women), with the lighting/projections almost as a 6th dancer. The work opened in near darkness with the five dancers and the stage covered in light projections that reminded me of looking at the refracted light in a swimming pool. They moved as a sensual swarm holding hands. It was a very slow section but it never dragged. Eventually four of the dancers disappeared into the gloom leaving one of the lady dancers doing the most beautiful sensuous and fluid solo highlighted on her own on the dark stage. The work consisted of a number of solos, duets and trios, sometimes faster, sometimes slower. There was lots of spinning and turning (occasionally reminding me of film I have seen of whirling Dervishes). The upper body movements were particularly beautiful. The lighting highlighted the dancers or sometimes just part of the dancer. The movements were supple and fluid with no jumping or partnering anywhere in sight. The soundscape was engrossing, sometimes with a driving beat and sometimes very lyrical. The piece ended with the swimming pool effect projection and it rounded the evening off beautifully. The dancers were incredibly supple and lyrical and basically fantastic. I found this piece totally mesmerising and if it was on at the Lowry again tonight I would be back there like a shot.
  17. The casting for the Birmingham Giselle performances is now on the website: https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/giselle Casting order: Giselle, Albrecht, Hilarion Wednesday 25th September - Momoko Hirata, Cesar Morales, Kit Holder Thursday matinee 26th - Celine Gittens, Brandon Lawrence, Alexander Yap Thursday evening 26th - Miki Mizutani, Mathias Dingman, Lachlan Monaghan Friday 27th - Delia Matthews, Tyrone Singleton, Yasuo Atsuji Saturday matinee 28th - Momoko Hirata, Cesar Morales, Kit Holder Saturday evening 28th - Celine Gittens, Brandon Lawrence, Alexander Yap
  18. (I posted this in the wrong place!) It's too late for Birmingham, but the casting for Plymouth and Sadler's Wells can be accessed from this page: https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/giselle#dates-and-times I suppose the absence of the Gittens/Lawrence cast means I don't have to go to all 3 performances
  19. Two snakes for the price of one Having seen two performances of La Bayadere in Berlin in September, although enjoying them, I was left wondering whether this Ratmansky reconstruction was as revelatory as his versions of Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake which I have also seen. The extensive mime passages particularly in the first scene, while interesting, added very little more to the narrative that we already know. As in the previous reconstructions there is more demi pointe work for the female corps de ballet. And the Final scene of the destruction of the Temple was little different from the Markarova version for the RB, albeit better staged and with high tech projections. Also interpolated in this scene was music from Don Quixote which was used for the variations of Gamzatti. The only reinstated scene I found in any way revealing was at the beginning of act 2 after the death of Nikya and before the shades scene. Solor returns home deeply distressed and his servant sensing this, makes 2 attempts to distract him. Firstly he summons 2 women to dance for Solor. This is interrupted by a vision of Nikya seen only by Solor who attempts to reunite with her as she quickly disappears. He then angrily dismisses the dancers. The servant then brings in a snake charmer (yes, really) who proceeds to play his pipe and charm the snake out of the basket in an endearing piece of old fashioned stagecraft. Nikya appears again and Solor rushes towards her as she disappears again. In anger he dismisses the snake charmer. How could his poor servant know? Dancing women and a snake were probably the last things Solor needed to see at that point. But the thing about that scene is that it sets up Solor's increasing distress before he goes for the opium which induces the dream/shades scene instead of rushing to the pipe as soon as he arrives. This also improves the pacing of the narrative at that point. The sets and costumes by Jerome Kaplan were adequate and offered nothing new but there were some unfortunate colour combinations of bilious green and faded orange in some women's costumes. I assume that the framing of the set with borders was to create the effect of looking at an Indian miniature. I had hoped to see 2 different casts but it was the same for both perfs. Salenko who was extremely good and invested in the drama, and Daniil Simkin also very good but weaker on the acting side of things. There was quite a bit of wobbling in the shades scene on the Friday night but the company generally performed very well and with great commitment. The story was clearly communicated throughout. So I am left with the feeling that over the years and various different productions, La Bayadere has not suffered too badly from the various revisions and changes and that while interesting to see the reconstruction for me it has a certain antique charm but is not the revelation I had hoped for.
  20. In the order of Cinderella, Prince Guillaume, Benjamin Manchester Thursday 17 October Erina Takahashi, Joseph Caley, Jeffrey Cirio Friday 18 October (mat) Emma Hawes, Francesco Gabriele Frola, Ken Saruhashi Friday 18 October Shiori Kase*, Jeffrey Cirio, Barry Drummond Saturday 19 October (mat) Erina Takahashi, Joseph Caley, Brooklyn Mack*+ Saturday 19 October Emma Hawes, Francesco Gabriele Frola, Ken Saruhashi Southampton Wednesday 23 October Emma Hawes, Francesco Gabriele Frola, Ken Saruhashi Thursday 24 October (mat) Alison McWhinney*, Aitor Arrieta*, Henry Dowden* Thursday 24 October Shiori Kase, Jeffrey Cirio, Barry Drummond Friday 25 October Erina Takahashi, Joseph Caley, Brooklyn Mack Saturday 26 October (mat) Alison McWhinney, Aitor Arrieta, Henry Dowden Saturday 26 October Shiori Kase, Jeffrey Cirio, Barry Drummond *Debut in the role with English National Ballet +Guest Artist
  21. Quoting Bruce's post as it's relevant here too: My purchases went smoothly this morning, too, although like Bruce I don't remember spending so much in the past - and certainly not on so few tickets! I couldn't get nearly everything I wanted, either - although that's partly due to the fact that tickets I might have bought in the past are now outside my budget - so I'll keep my eyes open nearer the time for the "missing" performances. I do find it frustrating, though, having to remember to allow an extra "safety" 5 minutes to do the credit card details by hand each time - I was on-site for around an hour in total, and quite frankly couldn't be bothered to go round and do it all again for a third time.
  22. English National Ballet Akram Khan’s Giselle Sadler’s Wells, London Wednesday 18 – Saturday 28th September 2019 www.ballet.org.uk/akram-khan-giselle/ Akram Khan’s Giselle returns to the UK for the first time since 2017, following acclaimed international performances in Moscow, Luxembourg and Chicago so far this year. Since its world premiere in 2016, Khan’s reimagined Giselle has been seen live by over 86,000 people through tours to eleven cities, in the UK and internationally. Giselle has also been broadcast in cinemas and on television, reaching an audience of over 160,000 through broadcasts internationally. Now the production is returning to Sadler’s Wells, London, for 13 performances from Wednesday 18th – Saturday 28th September. Akram Khan’s Giselle Principal Casting (in order Giselle, Albrecht and Hilarion) Wednesday 18 September Tamara Rojo, James Streeter and Jeffrey Cirio Thursday 19 September (mat) Fernanda Oliveira, Aitor Arrieta and Erik Woolhouse Thursday 19 September Erina Takahashi, Joseph Caley and Ken Saruhashi Friday 20 September Tamara Rojo, James Streeter and Jeffrey Cirio Saturday 21 September (mat) Fernanda Oliveira, Aitor Arrieta and Erik Woolhouse Saturday 21 September Erina Takahashi, Joseph Caley and Ken Saruhashi Monday 23 September Alina Cojocaru, Isaac Hernández and Jeffrey Cirio Tuesday 24 September Tamara Rojo, James Streeter and Ken Saruhashi Wednesday 25 September Crystal Costa, Aitor Arrieta and TBC Thursday 26 September Alina Cojocaru, Isaac Hernández and Jeffrey Cirio Friday 27 September Erina Takahashi, Joseph Caley and Ken Saruhashi Saturday 28 September (mat) Crystal Costa, Aitor Arrieta and TBC Saturday 28 September Alina Cojocaru, Isaac Hernández and Jeffrey Cirio -ENDS- English National Ballet is a National Portfolio Organisation supported by Arts Council England Notes to Editors About English National Ballet English National Ballet has a long and distinguished history. Founded in 1950 as London Festival Ballet by the great English Dancers Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin, it has played a major role in the growth and history of ballet in the UK. Today, English National Ballet is renowned for taking world-class ballet to the widest possible audience through its national and international tour programme, offsite performances at festivals including Glastonbury and Latitude, its distinguished orchestra English National Ballet Philharmonic, and being a UK leader in creative learning and engagement practice and delivery, building innovative partnerships to deliver flagship programmes such as English National Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s. Under the artistic directorship of Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet has gained new acclaim as it introduces innovative new works to the Company’s repertoire while continuing to honour and reinvigorate traditional ballet. www.ballet.org.uk About Arts Council England Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk
  23. Well, I'm assuming that the run of the Bolshoi's Swan Lake starts at the Royal Opera House tonight, so here's your chance to discuss it in detail.
  24. So, a brief run of Ratmansky's The Bright Stream starts tonight. If you're lucky enough to have a ticket, do let us know how it goes!
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