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Greetings! Long time lurker who has finally decided to contribute due to the fact have recently moved to Stuttgart and so finally have a chance to see ballet on a fairly regular basis. Last weekend I went to the “Shades of White” programme at Stuttgart ballet and thought some of you might be interested in my (completely novice) view of it. The programme consisted of Concert for Flute and Harp, choreographed my Cranko, music by Mozart The Kingdom of the Shades from La Bayadere (Markova version) Symphony in C (of course by Balanchine) I thought it was an interesting concept for a triple bill, in that all of the pieces are linked by a similar aesthetic. Unfortunately for me, this idea was not completely successful (more on that later). I had two ballet newbies with me and I felt quite stressed because I thought their opinion of ballet would largely be formed based on this. The first piece was the Cranko piece, which is a plotless neoclassical piece. It was the one I knew the least about, and in fact I don’t know if any other ballet company performs it. It quite unconventional, in that it has two principal ballerinas and a male corp of 10(ish) dancers, with two male principal parts embedded within it who occasionally emerge for variations and pas de deux. The choreography was very musical with interesting partnering and very nice moments. Something that really struck me was how much fun everyone on stage seemed to be having. I thought that it must be so nice for some of the male corp dancers to get some limelight and to push themselves technically. I was kind of surprised that it is not more well known, since it was really lovely in many ways. Overall though I felt that it didn’t quite add up to more than the sum of it’s parts. Possibly part of this was the music. Although there is nothing wrong with Mozart, I wasn’t sure how suited this piece was to ballet. The orchestra for it was small and it lacked drama. It was a good job this came first because, although it was very nice, it was followed by two pieces which are (arguably) masterpieces . Apparently La Bayadere has been missing from Stuttgart ballet’s repertoire and this run is a company premiere, not that you would have known that from the performance I saw. The shades passed the wobble test with flying colors during their entrance and the overall effect was nothing short of sublime. It’s something that I think I could see countless times and never fail to be deeply moved by. The three shade variations went well and Solor was suitably dashing, but the real star (along with the corp) was Nikiya, danced by the amazing Hyo-jung Kang. Not that I really know a lot about these things, but I thought she was very sharp technically while at the same time being wonderfully soulful and expressive. She is someone who I would book again specifically to see. This was both mine and my friends’ favourite piece of the evening and both of them said they would come again to see the full version (mission accomplished!). Lastly Symphony in C, and here we come to the drawback if this programme. This is ballet that I have watched extracts of on youtube and wanted to live for a long time, but the time it came around I was suffering slightly from what I have dubbed “white tutu fatigue”. I felt that the Cranko piece at the start owed, at least superficially, a lot to Balanchine and although I think Symphony is a wonderful ballet I couldn’t experience it with as much freshness as I would have wanted. Still, the finale was very impressive. Dancer-wise, the male lead in the first movement, David Moore, really stood out to me (in a good way). I was one of those dancers who somehow seems to draw my eye simply by standing still and doing nothing. Interesting. he trained at the Royal Ballet School, but wasn’t taken into the company. Appologies in advance for any spelling mistakes or typos. Is anyone else on here a regular Stuttgart ballet-goer?
I thought I'd start a thread for this as I'll be making the pilgrimage over to Ghent on 11th October to watch Nancy Osbaldeston performing as Olga. I'm making a bit of a holiday out of it, seeing Ghent for two days and Bruges for two. Very exciting! If anyone is also thinking of making the trip (or is already in Belgium), let me know if you fancy meeting up for a Kwak! Otherwise, I'll be back in a couple of weeks with my thoughts.
So, Stuttgart Ballet are putting on a very brief run of "The Taming of the Shrew" at Sadler's Wells this weekend. I think it's probably the first time it's been seen in the UK since about 1990 when ENB danced it at the Coliseum. Did anyone go, and what did you think? (Oh, and a message from Sadler's Wells warns that the Northern Line at Angel will be out this weekend due to engineering works, so allow extra time to get there if you're going)
I've been having a look at some older recordings of Onegin over the last week or two, and have been surprised to note that various sections of modern-day performances of the ballet "feel" faster, regardless of whether they actually take less time or not. A prime example would be the mirror pas de deux in Act I: nowadays it often seems quite breathtakingly fast and athletic, especially in the "flips", whereas a few decades ago it looks as though it was more romantic, almost languid in places, maybe. I don't know whether this change is international - I haven't seen anyone but the Royal Ballet dance it this century - or local, and whether it has in fact changed over time, perhaps with increasing technical ability, or whether it's my imagination. Certainly I noticed that in later Royal Ballet casts in this run it appeared to be taken more slowly, but I wasn't sure how much of that could be down to Nuñez and Soares both recovering from injury, or (I think Lamb and Hristov were also slower) lesser familiarity with the choreography/partnership. I'd be interested to hear points of view in particular from those who've seen more of this ballet than I have, and/or have a longer and/or more international perspective than I do.