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  1. Mid to end of July sees the annual performances by the John Cranko School. I saw the performance on 14 July from within the Opera House and on 21 July as part of Ballet in the Park. It was great to catch up with Yumiko again following yesterday’s performance – until next year, or earlier. Some of the works shown had also been presented last year, and were now being performed by a different cast. Air! by Uwe Scholz, George Balanchine’s Glinka Pas de Trois and Stephen Shropshire’s Lamento della Ninfa. Air! – I just love the jubilant and uplifting atmosphere and was very happy to see this piece again. Lots of arabesques, jetes and movements in canon; 2 serene PDD in the middle that included similar movements at different times without being in canon; a bouncy male quartet that was in perfect sync; interaction between male and female dancers that came with some gentle flirting; the full cast coming together again for the finale, displaying friendship and individuality within the group. A wonderful performance all around. Two pieces showcased the technical skills of the younger students, Viva Vivaldi by Stefania Sansavini/ Valentina Falcini and Extract from Najade and the Fisher by Jules Perrot. In particular with regards to Viva Vivaldi which was performed by classes 1 - 3 of the Lower School, it was heartening to see the intense focus of these youngest dancers and their visible joy when things went well (and it did). Full-scale contemporary with Todos os ais Sao Meus by Catarina Antunes Moreira, performed by graduating student Motomi Kiyota. He is equally and utterly at home in classical (Glinka PdT) as well as in contemporary works. I admire his virtuosity, his smile, his charismatic stage presence, it all looks so effortless. I will miss him dearly. Graduating students also for Extracts from The Creation by Uwe Scholz, as part of which Gabriel Figueredo performed a long solo. The skill, artistry and poetry of his dancing made me cry yesterday, it was so serene, emotional and beautiful. What a performance. There was a bit of a murmur of appreciation going through the audience when he appeared for his solo as part of Extracts from Etudes last Sunday (not something that I’ve come across in the past three years for anyone else during Extracts from Etudes). Lots and lots of appreciation for him yesterday at the curtain calls for Extracts from The Creation, he received a massive ovation, and I guess I’ve seen curtain calls for company dancers that didn’t come with as much of an ovation as that for Gabriel Figueredo yesterday. I feel so incredibly lucky to see him join the company next season. As every year, the performance closed with Extracts from Etudes by the school’s Director, Tadeusz Matacz, bringing on stage students of all age groups. Standouts in terms of dancers for this year were – no surprise – Gabriel Figueredo and Motomi Kiyota, it was a pleasure following them through the years since I first saw them in 2016, Alexander Smith with his performances in both Air! & Extracts from The Creation as well as Irene Yang and Danil Zinovyev, both with 2 more years to go until graduation, and already performing with the Academy/ Upper School in soloist roles (Irene Yang in the Glinka PdT, full of delicacy and poetry; Danil Zinovyev in Air! – both assured and dancing without any discernible difference in terms of technical skills in my - non-expert - eyes). There was one very clear standout in terms of choreography with Tabitha Dombroski, another graduating student, who contributed 3 (!) works to this year’s annual performances – Test Run, Meditative State and Cut the World. Test Run, a large-scale work for students of classes 5 and 6 (the two most senior years of the Lower School) – soft flowing contemporary movements with a classical basis and some acro here and there (cartwheels/ walkovers); Meditative State for two male dancers of the Academy/ Upper School – a recorded voice provides guidance with regards to entering such meditative state followed by music and some more voice/ music, I’ve taken the choreography as depicting what happens within someone who is in the process of entering said state; Cut the World to music by Anthony and the Johnsons, a solo for another graduating student who is wondering “when will [he] turn and cut the world”. Wow, what a choreographic talent, three works, three different styles, number of dancers, musical choices, all soft, fluid, contemplative, the kind of contemporary that I like most. Sonia Santiago, who hosted also this event in the park, interviewed her during the interval, and Tabitha Dombroski explained that it had been her contemporary teacher back in New Zealand who encouraged her to start choreographing, that her application by video to the John Cranko School came with a video of one of her choreographies, and that she has already created 10 works on graduating students that have since been performed in a number of countries around the world, including competitions. I do hope to see her back in Stuttgart soon, maybe as part of the Young Choreographer’s Evenings and/ or the annual school performance next year. The programme booklet lists the companies that the graduates have engagements with, without providing a breakdown by student or stating which of these are apprentice/ corps etc. contracts. This year’s graduates join Stuttgart Ballet (Gabriel Figueredo - corps de ballet, 5 other students as apprentice), Ballet Dortmund (googling the graduate’s names, I found 2 of them with Dortmund), The Hungarian National Ballet (3), The Estonian National Ballet, Northern Ballet (I’ve seen from a post about Northern Ballet on the forum that this is Alessandra Bramante), The Royal Ballet Fehervar and The Czech National Ballet. In addition to the contracts mentioned in the programme book, Tabitha Dombroski mentioned during the interview with Sonia Santiago that she had a contract with a company in Switzerland and a number of (choreographic?) projects lined up.
  2. hey everyone, do you have info about the John Cranko Ballet School in Stuttgart?my dd is 16 years old and she would like to apply there. Has anyone studying there? Can you give me some feedbacks please. thank you
  3. This year’s programme of “Ballet in the Park” included the live broadcast of Maximiliano Guerra’s Don Quixote by Stuttgart Ballet on Saturday evening and a mixed programme performed by the John Cranko School on Sunday morning. This was also the 11th anniversary of such live broadcasts, and it was explained that the inspiration came from a public viewing in Trafalqar Square in 2006! With approximately 7,500 people in attendance on Saturday evening (I’ve also seen a figure of 10,000 though this will maybe include the broadcast on Sunday morning), the area dedicated to the live broadcast was closed to avoid overcrowding, and people were thus watching even from across the lake just outside the Opera House. I went to see Don Quixote predominantly for the wedding celebrations in act 3, with the lead roles danced by Elisa Badenes and Adhonay Soares da Silva. Once I was there, I realised that this was also one more opportunity to see Robert Robinson and Myriam Simon perform before they leave the company at the end of this season, and to witness the official farewell to Georgette Tsinguirides, who retires after 72 years with the company. There was a short speech by Reid Anderson in praise of Tsinguirides before the start of the performance, she gave a sparkling and humorous interview during one of the intervals, and there was a procession of dancers and colleagues past (Birgit Keil, Vladimir Klos, Egon Madsen … and others whom I didn’t recognise) and present following the final curtain call, presenting her with red roses and other flowers and some very intensive, memorable and emotional hugs. On to Elisa Badenes and Adhonay Soares da Silva in the lead roles of Kitri and Basilio. Oh, act 3 was so much worth the wait with their magnificent solo variations and PDD! I couldn’t take my eyes of Soares da Silva, only 20 years old, and promoted to the rank of Soloist recently. Clean double tours en l’air followed by pirouettes followed by double tours …, and on and on it went, all with an exuberant smile. Also, the scene in act 3 where he pretends to be dead was so funny, right from when he falls down on the floor, then Kitri removing the knife with his upper body bouncing up, and Basilio reaching out for her body (which is not something that I would normally find overly funny however this was so much over the top, I just couldn’t help bursting out laughing). What a night! Back in the park on Sunday morning for a performance by the John Cranko School. I got badly sunburnt and didn’t notice a thing while I was there as I was so mesmerised by the dancing. The programme covered the broad spectrum of the students’ training, from Lavrovsky’s Classical Symphony via neoclassical choreography to a number of short contemporary works, and closing off with “Extracts from Etudes”, bringing together students of all age groups, from flexing/ pointing of toes by the youngest students to highly technical jumps and turns by the graduating class. Highlights for me were seeing The Four Seasons again (more about this work in last year’s post ... extract below), Classical Symphony with Gabriel Figueredo (who was so impressive as Tadzio in Death in Venice recently) as male lead in the first part and Natalie Thornley-Hall as female lead in the second part (luminous and full of poise and maturity), and Goecke’s revised version of A Spell on You. I am very happy to be back to see the same programme from within the Opera House next Sunday. Next year’s Ballet in the Park broadcasts will be gala performances by the company and the school, both with international guests, as part of the festive week to celebrate Reid Anderson’s directorship.
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