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The Royal Ballet in Sweden have just presented a wonderful triple bill, varied and well balanced, comprising three masterpieces: Robbins' In The Night, The Concert, and Balanchine's Theme and Variations. (When will we see a good triple bill again?) I was able to attend two performances. According to a video discussion available on the company website it was the first time the company had performed works by either choreographer so the level was competent rather than exceptional. The Concert never fails, one of the very few funny ballets where the humour survives, and mostly the dancers didn't overdo the humour, always a risk as Robbins coach Ben Huys said on the video. (He himself was amusing when describing Robbins' own notorious rehearsal technique, describing how he would make the dancers spend infuriating hour after hour gazing into the distance at that passage in Dances at a Gathering when the dancers are together, immobile, at the end.) Robbins' choreography, like Ashton's, looks much less difficult than it is, and it can be difficult for dancers new to his work to capture his style, but overall the dancers did well. The second pas de deux in In The Night almost invariably presents partnering problems ( true when The Royal did it) and this was no exception. But at the second performance I saw Rikako Shibamoto and Kentaro Mitsumori were exceptionally good in the first pas de deux, musical phrasing , capturing the delicate emotional engagement wonderfully. The theatre is grandly baroque inside but the auditorium feels quite intimate. There was a display of Swan Lake costumes and information on the history of Swan Lake in Sweden. It turns out that the first time Swan Lake was danced in Sweden was 1908, with the Mariinsky and Anna Pavlova in her first performances outside of Russia. But it wasn't called Swan Lake- but Swan Pond! The Ballets Russes also called the ballet Swan Pond when they took it to Stockholm in 1937, starring Igor Youskevich (who created Theme and Variations 10 years later, with Alicia Alonso, a coincidence that the theatre didn't note). The company itself has had seven productions, including by Mary Skeaping, Mts Ek, Peter Wright and Nureyev. There is a dance museum, quite close to the theatre and all the royal and government buildings, and on a main shopping street. Currently it has an exhibition on Nureyev that includes many of his costumes and many photographs, including some not seen in public before, owned by Charles Jude, one of the wonderful dancers Nureyev nurtured, and who, with his wife, did much to support Nureyev in his final months. The general material in the museum includes information about Pavlova, including the film of her in The Dying Swan, and a sculpture of one of her feet! It also has a pair of tiny pointe shoes owned by Galina Ulanova, and a huge sculpture of her dancing. There's a considerable amount of information on the Ballets Suedois in the 1920s and other key figures in Swedish ballet history. Well wort visiting.
Was at the dress rehearsal at ROH for the final Royal Ballet mixed bill of the season, featuring 'Afternoon of a Faun' and 'In the Night' both by Jerome Robbins, along with Kenneth MacMillan's masterpiece, 'Song of the Earth'. The season seems to have flashed by! anyhoo, here are a few photos: Afternoon of a Faun: Sarah Lamb, Federico Bonelli © Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr In the Night: Thiago Soares, Marianela Nunez, Emma Maguire, Alexander Campbell, Zenaida Yanowsky, Nehemiah Kish © Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr Song of the Earth: Ryoichi Hirano, Lauren Cuthbertson, Edward Watson © Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr See more... Set from DanceTabs: Royal Ballet - mixed bill Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr By kind permission of the Royal Opera House
Just noticed that casting is up..! http://www.roh.org.uk/mixed-programmes/afternoon-of-a-faun-in-the-night-song-of-the-earth Afternoon of a Faun 29 May: Bonelli, Lamb 30 May: Muntagirov, Hamilton 1 Jun: Muntagirov, Hamilton 4 Jun: Bonelli, Lamb In the Night 29 may: Maguire, Campbell, Yanowsky, Kish, Nunez, Soares 30 May: Lamb, Bonelli, Kobayashi, Hristov, Marques, Pennefather 1 Jun: Lamb, Bonelli, Kobayashi, Hristov, Marques, Pennefather 4 Jun: Maguire, Campbell, Yanowsky, Kish, Nunez, Soares Song of the Earth 29 may: Cuthbertson, Pennefather, Watson 30 May: Morera, Kish, McRae 1 Jun: Nunez, Acosta, Soares 4 Jun: Cuthbertson, Pennefather, Watson
With Christmas only a few days, the Royal Ballet starts ... a triple bill. Please discuss it here (did anyone see the general rehearsal, or wasn't it an open one?)