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English National Ballet School Summer Performances

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I saw the matinee yesterday which was very good value for money with an hour and forty minutes of actual dancing. I've been musing on the curation of such shows which have to fulfil a number of sometimes competing functions: provide performance opportunities for the students; give the students' parents and relatives an account of what their child/relative has been doing for the past year; showcase the school to potential applicants and their parents (and possibly industry professionals) and, finally, keep the paying public happy. I've not been to any student shows before and so I've nothing to compare it with but this one did not feature any excerpts from the classics in the form of pdds, pdts etc or corps dances and there was not a tutu in sight until the end when the curtain rose on a tableau of a large group of dancers all in white (romantic and pancake tutus and white neapolitan dance type costumes - very pretty). This was Petal Miller Ashmole's Ecole Classique which, as its name suggests, featured a variety of classical dancing beginning with the romantic style. It was a bit reminiscent of Suite en Blanc and I think that some of the music (Lalo) was the same as that used for Etudes.


Kylian's Evening Songs - the piece which had attracted me to the programme - was a bit of a damp squib for me but I don't think that this was the fault of the (first year) dancers. Perhaps its appeal was just too subtle for me.


There were newly choreographed pieces by Ricardo Amarante (a classical, tango inflected piece danced by the third years), Renato Paroni de Castro (I'm afraid that I was so distracted by something which I won't mention publicly that I can't fairly comment on this) and Jose Agudo (a 'tribal', Sub (Gallili) type piece for the third year men wearing black turkish style baggy trousers).


There was a (Hungarian?) gypsy dance performed with great brio by a large group of first and second years plus George Williamson's attractive classical piece, Tryce, for two men and one woman (Archie Sullivan,and Kaylee Marko of Young Dancer fame plus a very attractive and versatile dancer who I could also see at Northern Ballet). Finally there were three pieces from the School's choreographic competition, including Babel which featured in ENB's recent Choreographics. Personally, I feel that these pieces (which I enjoyed) could have been replaced by a couple of things from the classics to make a more rounded programme but perhaps excerpts from the classics featured in a programme earlier in the year. (On a side point, it would be nice to see some of the students choreograph some classical pieces; all the works shown were contemporary).


All in all, it was a very enjoyable performance. The standard of the dancing seemed high and the students presented themselves very professionally on stage. I felt that the men slightly outshone the women but there were a couple of women who caught the eye as well.

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I thought the standard of the dancing was high.  A lot of focus on contemporary.  The boys were given more to do than the girls ...the final piece in Act One was danced very emotionally...and the third years were not featured as much as last years third years.  EG. Third year girls were not shown in a contemporary piece.  A shame we did not see more of them.


I also saw the matinee, Billboyd.  I am intrigued by what distracted you during the Peroni piece...I wasn't aware of anything going on in the theatre apart from the dancing on stage ;)

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Aileen..she was one of the little ones in the Peroni piece.

At graduation they said 50% girls and 95% boys have contacts. Not bad. Sadly mine without so far...tho has offer of grad programme at Northern. She would love to do it but our funds limited and still have 2 dancers to get through. Having had 2 on dads and 2 on MDS has crippled us as one dept doesn't take account what is paid out on the other. Very frustrating !

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