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Found 5 results

  1. I haven’t started a new thread before so please bear with me. Dance Europe subscribers will see an interesting interview in the July edition with Johan Kobborg (he is always interesting!) on the new Romeo and Juliet he is choreographing for Sergei Polunin and Alina Cojocaru in the main roles for Poluninink company. The premiere will be in the Arena Di Verona on Monday 26th August and it will be classical ballet (women en pointe, men in tights) we are told, with a modern take. Intriguing. There are frequent updates via twitter/instagram, from Johan mostly, including names of the others in the 24 strong cast including Valentino Zucchetti as Mercutio, Nikolas Gaifullin (principal at Atlanta Ballet) as Tybalt, and Ross Freddie Ray McCaw (role not yet known). I’m really looking forward to this unique potentially once in a lifetime event.
  2. I have headed this thread ‘Polunin in London May/June 2019’ so that if anyone saw the triple bill they can add their review(s) too. We went to see Polunin’s ‘Rasputin’ this afternoon. Here’s a review of the performance, but not of the surrounding controversy, as that has been fully discussed in another now-closed thread. I hope if anyone replies to this they too will concentrate on the spectacle rather than perceived faults of the man’s wider persona. First, the audience: my partner and I had a look around and independently guessed it was 85-90% full but it’s difficult to be accurate. The audience appeared not to be entirely typical ballet fans and there seemed to be a crowd of Polunin devotees who cheered his various virtuoso moments and gave very extended applause at the end. So, whatever the critics will say or not say, the audience on the whole seemed enthusiastic. The music: I am not a fan of neo-classical and although there were some yearning passages in minor key, and a very exciting rhythmic period just before the interval (to accompany SP’s most dramatic dancing of the afternoon) on the whole I found it noisy and discordant. I’d rather have straightforward rock (eg the delightful Hozier) or re-use of the rich pre-mid C20th repertoire. But perhaps I’m just an anachronism. The costumes: done by an (apparently) famous Russian Couturier, and mostly very appropriate; mainly understated dark, flowing suits apart from the Tsarina who wore black velvet with a bare mid-riff followed by a white glittery creation. These seemed to emphasise a certain chunkiness. The lighting: loved it. Dramatic use ranged from suggestion of pale dawn to blood-red with black silhouettes dancing in the foreground. I think Konstantin Binkin, another Russian, was an excellent choice here. The set: as the curtain went up I thought we were in a mist-shrouded churchyard, but it quickly became apparent the stylish, monochrome mise-en-scene was actually a giant chess board with a bishop, rook (that cleverly doubled as a throne when turned around), queen, king and knight. There was a considerable amount of moving around of these pieces as time went on and I tried to work out the undoubtedly profound significance, but felt I was only grasping half of what was there. The choreography: some very original (the quirky and jerky transvestite Prince Felix for example); some elegant and classical (Tsar Nicholas II); some clearly written as a showcase for Polunin (fast and furious leaps and pirouettes). I noticed a few subtle references to Russian folk dancing. On the whole I enjoyed the choreography although some details of the story were a little confusing to me. By the way, the performance was a lot shorter than advertised – I think there was little more than an hour of dancing in total. But it was satisfying. The dancers: Djordje Kalenic – wow, what a talent! This young boy was excellent in both technique and acting, I thought. He gave such a good impersonation of a haemophilic child who wanted to play in spite of his worried parents’ mollycoddling. The trio of father, mother and sickly son was genuinely moving with a (for once) pleasing musical accompaniment and explained why they were so susceptible to Rasputin who appeared to be able to help the boy. Sergei Polunin – I have never seen him dance live before so cannot comment on whether he has deteriorated or not, as has been suggested elsewhere on this forum, but he really was very powerful, graceful and expressive with a truly lovely port de bras (except for the many wild instances where this was inapplicable!)There were some times during ‘slow’ periods when he might have been slightly over-acting maybe, but equally there were long periods of sheer brilliance which were much appreciated by the audience. I only wish I had gone to see him when he was dancing with the Royal Ballet (but I was out of the country at that time). As well as bravura technique he possesses a kind of pantherish quality that I haven’t seen since watching Nureyev in the late 70s; but whereas Nureyev’s ‘animalism’ always seemed very sexual to me, Polunin’s came over today as the power of anger. I am not happy with the way I’ve expressed this and hope you can grasp my intention but I have spent too much of your and my time already! Alexey Lyubimov danced the part of the Tsar and I found him refined and accomplished – a delight to watch. I had been looking forward to seeing Johan Kobborg, but sadly he was on in the evening and his part of Prince Felix was ably taken by Semyon Velichko at the matinee. I’d not realised that when I booked. I remember enjoying seeing Kobborg a few years ago and have great respect for him as an artist. The Tsarina, on the other hand, was a disappointment. She is actually an Olympian figure skater (!) called Elena Ilinykh. There was much flinging of her around Overall, I feel that SP’s alleged aim of making dance more popular was attained here, as a lot of people who might see ballet as elitist or boring (oh no, never!) love Polunin for his videos and film appearances, and his spectacular dancing did not disappoint them. I hope this will encourage them to explore the world of dance more in future. On the other hand there were some regular ballet enthusiasts too, and the lovely lady who sat next to us expressed exactly what I had been thinking – the reminder, in Polunin, of Nureyev. She said she had goosebumps in fact! Apparently SP is going to dance ‘Romeo’ to Alina Cojocaru’s Juliet in Verona – in a ‘re-working’ by Kobborg. I think that would be well worth seeing if anyone is in, or can get to, Italy at the time. I myself would find Verona too hot in August or I might be tempted. So, overall, not a perfect experience but we were glad we went. I’m sharing a photo I took of the curtain call. By the way, our cheap (row T of the stalls) tickets had a great view!
  3. Johan Kobborg has just announced on Facebook that his fiancée Alina Cojocaru gave birth to their baby daughter Thalia last week. Congratulations to them both!
  4. 3 JUNE 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg have announced they will leave The Royal Ballet at the end of the 2012/13 season to pursue other artistic challenges. Their last performance at the Royal Opera House as members of The Royal Ballet will be in Mayerling on 5 June. They will fulfil their touring engagement with the Company with their scheduled performances on 10 and 12 July in Tokyo. They will both continue dancing and will shortly announce their future plans. Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, said: “Alina and Johan have given many memorable performances as members of The Royal Ballet both at the Royal Opera House and around the world. Over the past ten years I have greatly enjoyed watching their unique partnership develop, as I know our audiences have, and I wish them every success in the next phase of their careers.” Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg joined The Royal Ballet in 1999. Speaking about their decision to leave the Company, they said: “We have had wonderful experiences with The Royal Ballet over the years and feel fortunate to have worked alongside so many inspiring artists. We wish Kevin O’Hare and The Royal Ballet's dancers and staff all the best for the future and would like to thank our loyal and supporting audience for sharing many magical moments with us.”
  5. Did anyone else see this at the cinema this afternoon? (or live, for that matter ). I was surprised to see how different a "feel" it had from the Royal Ballet version, which is presumably pretty much identical, which was performed a few months ago: it struck me as being rather less Romantic and less obviously Bournonville in style - or was I just not picking it up so much from the figures on a 20-foot (or whatever) screen?
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