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  1. 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.
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