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  1. Two interesting observations. First, Olga Smirnova was apparently very well received. Second, this Raymonda has a significant change in plot. Raymonda falls in love with Abderakhman. Here's a quick preview featuring Principal Dancer, Maia Makhateli, who debuted the work and can be seen with the complete work in May on an internet broadcast. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdgNplp8JQM (Thanks to Sophia at Dansomanie) Here's a description of Olga Smirnova's reception from an unofficial review. "By the end, everyone in the hall was delighted. In the course of the action, shouts of "Bravo!" were constantly heard. - both to Olga, and to Victor Caixeta, and to Konstantin Allen and to the soloists of individual episodes. The performance ended with thunderous applause. The performers of the main roles were presented with huge bouquets and both young people gave their bouquets to Olga, who, it seems to me, was very touched by the reception of the public. "In my opinion, Olga is treated very well in the troupe and I hope she will take root there." Here's a look back from the Mariinsky archives. https://www.mariinsky.ru/about/exhibitions/petipa200/raimonda/ Google translator: https://translate.google.com
  2. Good morning all As many subscribers to this website know, I have a particularly soft spot for the Dutch National Ballet, I was attracted to it originally by the recruitment of Michaela De Prince to the Junior Company. Over the years I have got to know other members of the company. I had hoped to visit Amsterdam next month for Rachel Beaujean's new production of "Raymonda" but I injured myself in Powerhouse Ballet's "Waltz of the Flowers" intensive. I underwent emergency surgery in Leeds General Infirmary 2 weeks ago. While recuperating from the operation I contracted coronavirus which has prevented me from going anywhere, I have had to miss Hannah Bateman's last show in Northern Ballet's "Casanova", Ballet Cymru's "Made in Wales", in Newport and Ballet Black at The Barbican as well as "Raymonda". "Well" as the Sergeant-Major in "It ain't half hot Mum" used to say: "Oh Dear!", "How Sad!" "Never Mind!" And the reason I am not too sad is that HNB has just published its new programme which includes: "Celebrations" a mixed bill with works by Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon and Ted Brandson in September Peter Wright's "Sleeping Beauty" between October and January Another mixed bill in November with works by Balanchine, Van Manen and Aeques A David Dawson double bill which includes a new ballet by Dawson to be called "Dawson" in December A nationwide tour by the Junior Company Rudi van Dantzig's "Swan Lake" between 11 May and 16 June "Verdi's Requiem" in conjunction with the Dutch National Opera in February, and "Dporian" a joint ballet/hip hop production based on the Oscar Wilde story by Ernst Meisner. Anybody who wants more details including links will find them in "Terpsichore". I am particularly looking forward to "Dawson" as I am a massive David Dawson fan. Dawson's "Swan Lake" for the Scottish Ballet impressed me greatly. I don't generally like reinterpreting my favourite ballets, I have never really liked David Nixon's "Swan Lake" or Akram Khan's "Giselle" (though I respect the opinions of those who think otherwise. I think Dawson got "Swan Lake" right, With best wishes
  3. Maybe we could gather news about dance in the Netherlands here, as their two famous companies have announced their next season: Het Nationale with a Balanchine bill, Rudi van Dantzig's Romeo and Juliet, a Nutcracker by Wayne Eagling and Toer van Schayk, the world premiere of "Frida" by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Giselle, a triple bill by Wayne McGregor, David Dawson and Juanjo Arqués, and a Beethoven triple bill by Hans van Manen, Toer van Schayk and Wubkje Kuindersma/Ernst Meisner/Remi Wörtmeyer. https://www.operaballet.nl/en/program/ballet?filter=543 After a five year hiatus, Nederlands Dans Theater is dancing Kylián again!! For their 60th anniversary season, they show repertory by former directors Hans van Manen und Kylián, together with many new ballets by Lightfoot/León, Crystal Pite, Marco Goecke, Edward Clug, Damien Jalet, Medhi Walerksi, and repertory by Gabriela Carrizo, Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar, Yoann Bourgeois, Johan Inger and Ohad Naharin. They announce a tour to London https://www.ndt.nl/en/discover/news/ndt-celebrates-60-years.html
  4. I know that this run still has a week to go before opening night but I thought some may enjoy reading my interview with Delia Mathews as she prepares to make her debut as Aurora alongside Brandon Lawrence. http://tothepointemagazine.wixsite.com/tothepointemagazine/single-post/2018/01/27/ToThePointe-Meets-Delia-Mathews xx
  5. Well, this is a very unusual Don Quixote that I'm currently streaming. I had a look for an existing thread but couldn't find one, but I'm sure Don Q Fan must have written about it before? Is it a Ratmansky creation rather than a re-creation?
  6. I am wondering which Summer Schools people recommend for a 15 year old (as a precursor to Upper school application year)? Has anyone been/ applied for the Vaganova Academy by video please?
  7. As in previous years I attended the opening night gala of the Dutch National Ballet on Tuesday night at the Music Theatre in Amsterdam. The gala is not just a ballet performance. It is also a party. Unlimited wine, beer, soft drinks and nibbles are included in the ticket price. They are on offer from the moment the theatre opens until well after midnight It is a very grand occasion with the gentlemen in dinner jackets and in at least one case shoes that resembled Delft china and the ladies in the most gorgeous evening attire. The gala which takes place during the first few days of September follows a pattern. The evening opens with a Grand Défilé, a march of the whole company to the polonaise from the Sleeping Beauty starting with the youngest students at the National Ballet Academy and finishing with the principals. The women sre in dazzling white classical tutus and the men in dashing tunics. Next, Ted Brandsen, the director, makes a speech which in previous years has been delivered partly in English. There then follows extracts from the current repertoire or works staged specially for the occasion. There is always a work by Hans van Manen, usually works by Rudi van Dantzig and Toer van Schayk and often ballets by the company's resident choreographers such as David Dawson, Jianjo Arques or Ernst Meisner. Also at the gala, the Alexandra Radius prize is presented by the great ballerina herself to the dancer of the year, This year's gala seemed to be shorter than previous years' with only 6 pieces all but one of which had some connection with George Balanchine. Guest artists Xander Parish and Maria Khoreva danced the Diamonds pas de deux from Balanchine's Jewels which was my favourite of the evening. Other works included a pas de deux for Conrad and Medora from which had been created by Balanchine's teacher for his students , van Manen's Trois Gnossiennes, and Balanchine's Symphony in Three Movements and Who Cares? Edo Wijnen won this year's Radius prize. A video of his work over the year shows that he was a very worthy winner. The party was excellent, especially after the dancers joined the audience in the celebrations. The company's press officer, Richard Heideman, has sent me some lovely photos of the evening which he has licensed me to post to my blog. Unfortunately he has not licensed me to upload them anywhere else. Over the next week or so I plan to exhibit them all. I start today with a glorious photo of Xander Parish and Maria Khoreva.
  8. Guest

    Upper School and 16+

    Hello, Looking for know how and advice! My son will start y11 in Sept 2019, looking to apply for upper schools for sept 2020. It’s make or break year, and the threat of loss of identity if he doesn’t make it is looming large. His dream is ELmhurst, we will also apply to ENB and Central. He does not want to do a course that is more modern or contemporary. Does anyone have any advice, about the audition process, or what other options there are? We live in London which helps. Are there other options?
  9. I saw Swan Lake on Sunday in Amsterdam. Odette/Odile - Maia Makhateli Siegfried - Daniel Camargo Rothbart - Jared Wright Alexander (Benno) - Semyon Velichko This Swan Lake was choreographed by Rudi Van Dantzig, after Petipa and Ivanov, and was beautifully staged with a lovely set and colourful costumes which enhanced the lovely peasant dances and the pas de trois of Act 1. There were also young dancers from the Ballet School in Act 1 which were very nice, but did make the stage seem rather crowded at times. I was looking out for, and pleased to see, Daniel Silva as one of the noblemen as he is known to a friend of mine and I must say he has a lovely line and an elegance to his dancing especially his hands and finishing of movements. The pas de trois was danced by Siegfried's friend Alexander (Semyon Velichko) with Daniel Camargo as Siegfried helping out in places. The 2 ladies were Yauanyaun Zhang and Aya Okumura who is actually to join Berlin next season. In this Swan Lake Odette represents Siegfried's high ideals and I was thrilled when I read Maia Makhateli was to dance the role of Odette/Odile in this performance as she is one of my favourite dancers. Maia did not disappoint and performed the role with great confidence and the right amount of empathy with Odette, as well as beautiful lines and arms. Maia is well partnered with Daniel Camargo and I have seen them dance together several times now. The swans all performed well with nice straight lines for the most part - and the 4 cygnets were great - I was pleased to see Riho Sakamoto in this piece. The 2 big swans were danced by Vera Tsyganova and Maria Chugai. On to Act 3 which was somewhat extended compared to most other Swan Lakes I have seen. Whilst it was colourful and well danced I found myself getting a little, dare I say it, bored?! The start of the Act features 6 princesses as would be brides for Siegfried, one of whom plays shy - yes it was funny, but was it really appropriate here hmm I'm not sure. I felt the drama that usually attaches to the entrance of Odile was lost a bit because of the over long pas de six. Odile seemed to arrive on stage quite well into the Act and I would have preferred to see her earlier and dance a bit more as a tease to Siegfried. The usual national dances were done - Spanish, Neapolitan and Hungarian Czardas, but the whole Act was somewhat dominated as I say by that overlong Pas de Six. It was nice to see Martin ten Kortenaar in the pd6 along with Floor Eimers and Timothy van Poucke who won the Alexandra Radius Prize this season. However when it finally, finally, came to the fouette section Maia Makhateli blew me away with her amazing, rock solid, tight fouettes, doubles mostly, and she must have whipped off close to 40 ending with huge applause from the audience. Then Camargo followed with his set of turns as well equally applause worthy and then he was finally betrayed - you could feel his shock and sorrow as Odile laughed in his face and dashed off stage with her Father. The final Act was beautifully danced by the corps de ballet swans in their various formations which were well executed. Siegfried meets Odette who forgives him. However he drowns despite defying Rothbart and Alexander finds Siegfried dead on the shore of the lake. Alexander carries Siegfried to the front of the stage and the curtains closed..... The orchestra were wonderful and conducted by Boris Gruzin. At 3.5 hours long this has to be the longest Swan Lake I have ever seen. That was certainly good value for money! It was worth the day trip to Amsterdam although that turned out to be a longer stay thanks to airline problems and I did not get home until the next day via London and trains up to Manchester Airport!! Some photos from the curtain call are below. Maia Makhateli and Daniel Camargo Boris Gruzin/Maia Makhateli/Daniel Camargo Ensemble of Swan Lake Some of the Swans at the curtain call - front centre is Riho Sakamoto.
  10. Hi, I wondered if anyone has any experience of the Dutch National summer school? My DD has been offered a place but it's eye-wateringly expensive as accommodation is extra on top. Is it worth saving for though? Frustratingly, we have to commit before we find out about other schools so not sure what to do.
  11. Every year in the first week of September the Dutch National Ballet holds a gala at the Stopera to launch the new ballet season. It is a very grand affair. Everyone is in evening dress. Lots of local and some international celebrities attend the event. With the exception of last year, I have been coming since 2015 and each year has been better than the last. The evening opens with a grand defile - a parade starting with the first year students of the National Ballet Academy and ending with the company's principals to the strains of Aurora's wedding from The Sleeping Beauty. This year the orchestra was conducted by our very own Koen Kessels. The company's artistic director then comes on stage and welcomes the audience partly in Dutch and partly in English. There are then a number of performances some created especially for the evening and others classics from the company's repertoire. This year the gala was dedicated to the memory of Rudi van Dantzig and three of his works were danced including his the white and black acts from his Swan Lake. The Netherlands' other towering fenius, Hans van Manen, was also well represented with the performance of three of his works including his Symphony for the Dutch People which particularly impressed me. Other full length works that were dipped into were the first Dutch performance of the Flames of Paris and Neumeir's Lady of the Camelias. Of the shorter works I particularly enjoyed Ernst Meisner's Embers which was danced by Jessica Xuan and Cristiano Principato. When they danced it at Varna earlier in the year Xuan won the first prize and gold medal for her performance. I also liked Grimm which was a collaboration between the Junior Company and ISH and combined ballet with hip hop. Finally, I was glad to see Michaela DePrince back on stage after a very nasty tendon injury. Every year a prize is awarded by Alexandra Radius to the best dancer of the year.. It is usually won by a principal but this year it went to Timothy van Poucke who is one of the company's youngest dancers. They say that the best is the enemy is the good and I think there is some truth in that saying because the gala spoils me for anything else for months on end. There were quite a few Brits this year including my former ward and her little boy who are from Sierra Leone, colleagues from Powerhouse Ballet and DonQFan. I have written a fuller review in my blog if anyone is interested.
  12. It does not seem like five years ago since I saw the first performance of the Dutch National Ballet's Junior Company at the Stadsschouwburg theatre in Amsterdam. I had come to Amsterdam to see the young African-American dancer Michaela DePrince about whom I had heard a lot. When I saw her with Sho Yamada in a pas de deux from Diana and Actaeon I described her as "quite simply the most exciting dancer I have seen for quite a while". But she was not the only one to impress me. Sho Yamada who partnered her in that piece was also a thrill to watch and so in different ways were all the others. DePrince rose very quickly through the Dutch National Ballet's ranks. She entered the main company as an eleve after only a year with the Juniors. She was elevated very quickly to coryphee, grand sujet and soloist. She has written books, given masterclasses, appeared as a guest artist for companies around the world. Still in her early twenties she is probably one of the best known names in ballet. But Yamada has risen quickly too. The last time I was in Amsterdam at the end of February he danced Don Basilio in the company's Don Quixote and his Kitri was his Junior Company contemporary, Riho Sakamoto. Other contemporaries are making their mark in choreography. Cristianp Principato who entered the Junior Company in 2014 managed the whole New Moves sharing of the company's latest choreography. As I have never studied Dutch I can only make out the gist of a speech or conversation but I think the company's director, Red Brandsen, attributed the success of those artists to their time in the Junior Company in an opening speech that he delivered before the Junior Company's 5th anniversary show. If I am right, Brandsen described the Junior Company as a bridge between school and company allowing the young dancer space and time to mature. The fifth anniversary performance took place on Sunday, 15 April at the Staddschouwburg which is where I saw the company for the first time nearly 5 years ago. It is a beautiful theatre which was the National Ballet and Opera companies' home before they moved to the Stopera. The company presented a triple bill starting with extracts from Bournonville's Napoli, continuing with a new work by Juanjo Arques called Fingers in the Air for which members of the audience and cast were issued with miniature red and green torches with which we were asked to vote at various times Big Brother style and finishing off with Hans van Manen's In the Future which was a very witty but somewhat alarming piece. I have reviewed the show in Terpsichore if anyone wants to read it. During the second interval Ted Brandsen spotted me and came over to chat. He very kindly invited me to the after-show party where I was able to discuss Arques's Fingers with their creator. I asked him what would have happened had the votes gone the other way at which he smiled and assured me that was unlikely because he was able to regulate audience reaction. "Sounds a bit like Cambridge Analytica" I ventured. Again he smiled and admitted that his work might have a political dimension. I couldn't stay long as I had a flight back to Leeds early the next morning but I introduced myself to the 12 dancers who had impressed me considerably with their virtuosity and I made the acquaintance of Macro Gerris, the hip hop choreographer who had collaborated with Ernst Meisner very successfully on Narnia - The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe some years ago and who appears to have repeated that success in is latest collaboration with Meisner based on Grimms' Fairy Tales. Every show by the Junior Company has been good but I think last Sunday's was the company''s best yet. The original company has done very well but I suspect that we can expect even greater things from this season's cohort over the next few years.
  13. With the premier of Mata Hari having taken place last weekend to good reviews, I am really looking forward to seeing Sunday's matinee! If anyone else is going please can you post your thoughts here? I have been following the excellent videos by Dutch National Ballet on the making of Mata Hari and I have watched a biography documentary as well so I hope I am prepared ahead of the ballet!! You can find the videos on the DNB YouTUbe channel here:- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW6ru0sy_mpgJ9boWJS59fg http://www.operaballet.nl/en/ballet/2015-2016/show/mata-hari
  14. The new ballet season for 2017/18 has been announced. It's going to be expensive for me!!! Best of all there is a re-run of the amazing Mata Hari and my beloved DonQ plus Sleeping Beauty - the big classics that I love. One happy ballet fan here! The performances are detailed from page 100 in the PDF season brochure and there are lots of weekends which you can tie in with a Sunday matinee. http://www.operaballet.nl/sites/default/files/documents/pdfs/Seizoensbrochure_NO-B_1718_web.pdf
  15. I was lucky enough to attend the 2 weekend performances of Makarova's La Bayadere in Amsterdam. I was not disappointed. On Saturday I saw Anna Tsygankova with Daniel Camargo in the lead roles with Wen Ting Guan as Gamzatti. The performance was very nice, however I much preferred Sunday's performance of the 2 I saw, which was danced by Anna Ol and Young Gyu Choi with Qian Liu as Gamzatti. I found the latter's portrayal of Gamzatti far more convincing than that of Saturday. As Solor, Choi was far superior to Camargo with far better acting skill as well as physical strength as a dancer - his turns and jumps were much stronger and he was able to carry out the required lifts correctly. On Saturday Camargo was not able to fully lift Guan and she sort of slithered down from the height of the lift far sooner than she should have done. That said he was an elegant dancer but I did not get much emotion from Camargo and did not really notice the mime when he danced whereas Choi was very clear with his mime. Anna Tsygankova is a fine dancer indeed executing her moves with grace and ease and it is always lovely to see her dance. Anna Ol was a gentle sensitive Nikiya and you could feel her despair and I really liked her performance. Hard to say who was better, if at all. The corps de ballet and divertissements were all beautifully danced. However the icing on the cake was The Kingdom of The Shades. Saturday night's scene was magnificent so good that a hush fell over the auditorium it really was a special thing to see. Sunday's KotS was very good too just a wobble short of Saturday's maybe, plus the audience was not as quiet. Either way though both Kingdoms were impressive and a credit to the ballet masters/mistresses. The music was fabulous under the baton of Ermano Florio it really was a treat to hear. Costumes were bright and beautiful. I was a little underwhelmed by the Bronze Idol (although he is coloured gold?!) I have seen more bravura choreography for him i n other productions but both Sho Yamada and OScar Valdes gave good strong performances on Saturday and Sunday respectively. At the curtain call on Saturday there was a bit of a flower throw anyway it transpires that it was Anna Tsygankova's birthday so that was nice to see! There are a handful of performances left so if you get a chance to see one I would recommend seeing the show. Photo - Anna Tsygankova/Daniel Camargo/Wen Ting Guan Photo - Anna Ol/Young Gyu Choi/Qian Liu
  16. Casting for the forthcoming production of La Bayadere has been posted - subject to change. Nikiya Solor Gamzatti Sa 8 October 16 20:15 prem Anna Tsygankova Daniel Camargo Sasha Mukhamedov Su 9 October 16 14:00 Anna Ol Artur Shesterikov Suzanna Kaic Tu 11 October 16 20:15 Igone de Jongh Vito Mazzeo Floor Eimers We 12 October 16 20:15 Anna Tsygankova Daniel Camargo Sasha Mukhamedov Fr 14 October 16 20:15 Igone de Jongh Vito Mazzeo Floor Eimers Sa 15 October 16 20:15 Anna Ol Artur Shesterikov Suzanna Kaic Sa 5 November 16 20:15 Anna Tsygankova Daniel Camargo Wen Ting Guan Su 6 November 16 14:00 Anna Ol Young Gyu Choi Qian Liu Tu 8 November 16 20:15 Anna Ol Young Gyu Choi Qian Liu Th 10 November 16 20:15 Sasha Mukhamedov Jozef Varga Vera Tsyganova Sa 12 November 16 20:15 Anna Tsygankova Daniel Camargo Wen Ting Guan Su 13 November 16 14:00 Sasha Mukhamedov Jozef Varga Vera Tsyganova
  17. Every September the Dutch National Ballet opens its new ballet season with a party in its home at the Stopera. The show begins with a big parade beginning with the first year students of the National Ballet Academy, continues with the second and subsequent years, the Junior Company, Eleves, Corps de Ballet, Coryphees, Grands Sujets, Soloists and ends with the Principals. There is then a speech by the artistic director, Ted Brandsen, which is mainly in Dutch but partly in English to introduce Alexandra Radius who presents the prize which was established in her honour to the best dancer of the previous year. After the prize giving members of the company dance selected pieces from their repertoire. After the performance waiters pass round the theatre with drinks and canapes. The dancers and choreographers meet their fans. Everybody has a good time until well into the morning. I attended the show last year and described it as my best evening at the ballet and I have attended some great shows in my time including Frederick Ashton's retirement gala. I enjoyed this year's even better because several of my favourite artists took part. My overall favourite was the Junior Company's performance of Ernst Meisner's No Time Before Time which I loved from the moment I first saw the video of the finals of the Lausanne prize. I saw it live at the Meervaart Theatre a few weeks later and I was delighted to see it again on Wednesday night. I was also lucky enough to see Meisner dance again for the first time since he left the Royal Ballet. He was on stage together with Floor Elmers, Juanjo Arques, Rachel Beaujean, Marijn Rademaker, James Stout, Alexander Zhembrovskyy, Vito Mazzeo and Igone de Jongh in an extract from van Manen's Kammerballett to celebrate de Jongh's 20th anniversary with the company. Another piece I particularly enjoyed was Balanchine's Tarantella Pas de Deux in which Michaela DePrince danced excitingly with Remi Wörtmeyer. It was good to see a bit of Brandsen's Mata Hari again not to mention extracts from La Bayadere. The Sleeping Beauty. Balanchine's Theme and Variations and so much more. The party was also good. I met several of my favourite artists including Cristiano Principato whose gala in support of Casa Alessia I mentioned on this website earlier this year. I shall return to Amsterdam on 12 November to see La Byadere and Ted Brandsen's Coppelia. I tried to post pictures of the auditorium and Cristiano to this site but apparently it is not allowed even though I have the copyright owner's licence to share her work. They are nice pics and if you want to see them I will post them elsewhere on the web in due course.
  18. On the 28 June 2016 young dancers from the Dutch National Ballet, La Scala, the Vienna State Ballet and the Jas Art Ballet will perform in a benefit gala at the Silvio Pellico Theatre in Trecate near Novara in North West Italy to raise funds for the Italian charity Casa Alessia to carry out reconstruction work at Bujumbura in Burundi. The gala will start with a solo called Tempo which the talented young Italian dancer and choreographer, Cristiano Principato, has created for himself. It will continue with extracts from Swan Lake, Coppelia, The Pharaoh's Daughter and The Sleeping Beauty as well several new works including Palladio which Principato has choreographed for the Dutch National Ballet. The performance will end with Ernst Meisner's Embers which readers may remember from last year's performance by the Junior Company at Covent Garden. It is one of the most beautiful short ballets that I have ever seen. The charity was founded in memory of a young Italian woman called Alessia Mairati who died in a plane crash on her gap year in Ecuador. She had been shocked by the poverty that she seen in Latin America and vowed to do something about it on her return. Alas she was killed before she could fulfil her promise but her father set up the foundation to do the sort of work that she would have done had she lived. Principato's family was very close to Alessia's and they were affected by her death more than most. Every year a concert is held in Novara to raise money for the charity. Principato had always wanted to take part but was not allowed to do so until after he had left ballet school. Now that he has established himself in the Dutch National Ballet he has been able to arrange this show. His father has not seen him dance for many years because owing to an illness that prevented him from travelling long distances so this will be his first opportunity to see what his son can do. I am sure Mr Principato senior will be a very proud man indeed. Admission to the show is free but a collection will be taken and members of the audience will be exhorted to give generously. All the dancers are giving their time for free so every penny (or rather cent) raised will go to the charity. However, anyone wishing to attend is asked to call the number at the bottom of the above poster before the 24 June. Alternatively they can contact me and I will tell Cristiano Principato.
  19. Dutch national Ballet have announced their season for 2016/17 - I'm happy http://www.operaballet.nl/en/programma/ballet?filter=179
  20. On Tuesday I hope to be in the audience for the opening gala of the Dutch National Ballet at the Stopera in Amsterdam. I had to work all day and well into the night yesterday which meant that I missed the opening night of 1984 which was an enormous sacrifice for me but if Tuesday is anything like this video it will have been worthwhile. The company's website suggests that it will be a great evening, "Nearly two hundred dancers, including the dancers of the Junior Company and pupils from the National Ballet Academy will make their appearance. And after the performance, it’s party time!" Here are some of the delights in store: "This year, the festive programme will consist of new creations, famous pas de deux, work by the Netherlands’ greatest choreographer Hans van Manen and highlights from the repertoire. Artistic director Ted Brandsen will make a selection from the company’s varied repertoire, which will include some ‘appetisers’ that give a taste of special ballets in the coming season. The complete ensemble will perform in a Grand Défilé alongside the youngest dance talents of the Netherlands: the pupils of the National Ballet Academy." There should be quite a substantial British contingent. DonQ Fan will be there for a start as well as the immediate past president of the London Ballet Circle. After Ernst Meisner had addressed the London Ballet Circle a gentleman who introduced himself as a friend of Meisner presented himself to me and suggested that we might form a British branch of the Friends of the Dutch National Ballet along the lines of the American Friends of Covent Garden. I think it is a great idea and have written about it more than once in my blog. If anyone is interested I would love to hear from them. Finally, for the last two years the Junior Company have performed at The Linbury. That auditorium will be closed for a while next year so I hope it will be possible for them to dance somewhere else. I suggested the Stanley and Audrey Burtin Theatre in Leeds and Meisner did not rule it out, If they did come here Team Terpsichore would spoil them to bits.
  21. I am very grateful to Janet McNulty for permission to link this article to my post in Terpsichore. Yesterday the outstanding young dancer Michaela DePrince gave a masterclass at Danceworks' studios in Balderton Street. The general manager of Danceworks, Lesley Osman, very kindly sent me some lovely photos of the class with permission to reproduce them in my blog. She also arranged for one of the students, Ciara Sturrock, to write an account of her experience of that class. I have incorporated both into an article entitled Michaela's Masterclass which you can read at http://jelterps.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/michaelas-masterclass.html I am very grateful to both Lesley and Ciara for those materials, I saw DePrince in Cool Britannia on 27 June 2015 and reviewed the show in Dutch National Ballet's Cool Britannia. I look forward to seeing her dance in Wheeldon's Cinderella on Saturday and at the opening gala of the Dutch ballet season in Amsterdam on 8 Sept.
  22. Photo Angela Sterling Copyright 2015 Dutch National Ballet: all rights reserved Reproduced with the kind permission of Richard Heideman (press officer) on behalf of the company I have just returned from Amsterdam where I saw the Dutch National Ballet's Cool Britannia at The Stopera. The word "stopera" is an abbreviation of the words stadhuis or town hall and opera the meaning of which is obvious. The building combines the functions of Amsterdam's town hall with the national opera house and concert hall. It was my first visit to the Stopera but I hope it will not be my last for it is a magnificent auditorium. This was a triple bill of one act ballets by three leading British choreographers: David Dawson, Christopher Wheeldon and Wayne McGregor. Dawson and Wheeldon created new ballets called Empire Noir and Concerto Concordia which I discussed elsewhere. McGregor contributed Chroma which British audiences already know. Each of those works was very different from the others. Empire Noir showcased the dancers' virtuosity. It was full of spectacular jumps, turns and lifts and looked quite exhausting. Even the dancers' entrances and exits were made at the double. Haines's score was throbbing, vibrant and incessant. I had seen Michaela DePrince and Sho Yamada in the Junior Company last year but this was the first time I had seen Casey Herd, Jozef Varga, Artur Shesterikov and James Stout about whom I had read so much. My only disappointment was missing Igone de Jongh but there was some fine dancing from Samantha Mednick, Sasha Mukhamedov, Floor Elmers and, of course. DePrince. She may only be an apprentice in the company (though I am delighted to learn that she will be elevated to coryphee next year) but she has quite a following in Amsterdam. She received particularly loud applause when she took her bow. The chap next to me rose to his feet as soon as she stepped forward. In the interval I noticed that a stand was selling her t-shirts. The only other dancer with t-shirts on offer was de Jongh. Wheeldon's Concerto Concordia was a quieter and more contemplative work. He chose Poulenc's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D Minor for his music. This is a work with sudden changes of moods could have been written for ballet. It was the first time that I had heard it and I adored it. According to the programme notes Wheeldon created the work for Anna Tsygankova and she was on stage on Saturday accompanied by Varga. They were one of two principal couples who are joined on stage from time to time by six others. The other principal couple was Victoria Ananyan and Serguei Endinian. This was the work that I enjoyed the most, probably because I liked the music. I had seen Chroma once before and remembered the sharp, angular almost robotic movements, the simple set with its large window through which dancers entered or against which they were silhouetted and the curious almost canine sniffing gestures at two points in the show. This cannot be an easy ballet to dance and I was delighted to see Nathan Brhane and Wantao Li who were in the Junior Company last year with Yamada and DePrince. It was good to see those young dancers again and great to see how far they have come in a year. They were led by Herd, Stout and Roman Artyushkin. The crowd loved this ballet and they rose to their feet as one. I like Amsterdam audiences. They see enough ballet to know what's good and what's not but they are much less stingy in their praise than Londoners. The Stopera has a massive stage. I don't know how it compares to Covent Garden's but it seems pretty cavernous to me. There's plenty of reasonably priced seating. I was in the front row of the 1st circle and was as close to the stage as I would have been in the front row of the dress circle in the Royal Opera House. My seat cost 53 euros which is less than I would have paid for the amphitheatre. There was plenty of leg room and although the house was pretty full it did not seem crowded. I was served very quickly when I queued for a drink in the first interval and I was charged less than I would pay in a theatre bar at home. The auditorium overlooks the Amstel and it is possible to step out onto a walkway in warm weather. There is a metro station almost next door and a couple of pubs and two Argentine restaurants across the street. There are flights to Schiphol from Ringway and Yeadon at a fraction of the cost of the train fare to London and hotels are generally cheaper in Amsterdam than London. I am already looking forward to my next trip back.
  23. I saw the premiere of Neumeier"s La Dame aux Camellias last night in Amsterdam. Will write more when I am home but interested to hear if anyone else went and what your thoughts are. Initial thoughts are that it had a lot of huge lifts and a lot of hard work for the main roles. M&A played by Igone de Jonge and Marijn Rademaeker looked physically and emotionally exhausted at the end with Igone looking close to tears. The piano playing was shared by 4 wonderful pianists. John Neumeier joined the cast on stage for the curtain calls. It was a red carpets night as celebs were being photographed mo idea who tho!!!
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