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According to the Daily Telegraph article provided in today's Links http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/bbc/12009837/Male-ballet-dancers-are-now-centre-stage-says-Darcey-Bussell.html, "The programme [Darcey's Ballet Heroes] is intended to be broadcast at the end of the BBC's Year of Song and Dance, and will be joined by documentaries about Nureyev, Acosta, and Pina Bausch."

 

Can't say I'd been particularly aware of the "Year of Song and Dance", but there you are.

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According to the Daily Telegraph article provided in today's Links http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/bbc/12009837/Male-ballet-dancers-are-now-centre-stage-says-Darcey-Bussell.html, "The programme [Darcey's Ballet Heroes] is intended to be broadcast at the end of the BBC's Year of Song and Dance, and will be joined by documentaries about Nureyev, Acosta, and Pina Bausch."

 

Can't say I'd been particularly aware of the "Year of Song and Dance", but there you are.

 

I haven't been at all aware of this supposed BBC initiative but anything is welcome, really, and I did hear talk about the programme on Carlos Acosta.

 

Wish it didn't have to be Darcey Bussell *again*, however.

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Deborah Bull is infinitely better at TV presentation than Darcey Bussell and is an ex Royal Ballet principal.. I wish she did the cinema broadcasts. Alternatively Natasha Kaplinska is a ballet fan often supporting ENB I am sure she'd be good too or Fiona Bruce who was in the last ROH cinema relay.

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Wish it didn't have to be Darcey Bussell *again*, however.

 

The trouble is, look at the BBC (and other?) schedules. Programmes aren't put on on the merits of their subject-matter anymore: the titles are "[celebrity name] looks at [subject]".  The subject alone is no longer deemed sufficiently of interest to sell a programme - the cult of celebrity has become such that you can't do anything without them.  Look at things like Strictly: "Come Dancing" used to be a programme of expert ballroom dancers - Strictly now is a programme of celebrities (in a loose sense) learning to ballroom dance from scratch.  If you put "ordinary" people in the programme, would people watch it? 

 

If the programme didn't have Darcey's name to it, would it even have been made?  Can you imagine "Bill Bloggs' Ballet Dancer Heroes"?

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Darcey B has done a fantastic job of promoting ballet on tv. I'm sure that at least a few people after watching Strictly will have YouTubed her dancing. I came to ballet very late (all those years in the wilderness!) It was Darcey's lovely programme about her top ten ballet moments that inspired me. I watched it so often, I wore it out! I love anything by David Bintley too. What an inspiring man he is.

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According to the Daily Telegraph article provided in today's Links http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/bbc/12009837/Male-ballet-dancers-are-now-centre-stage-says-Darcey-Bussell.html, "The programme [Darcey's Ballet Heroes] is intended to be broadcast at the end of the BBC's Year of Song and Dance, and will be joined by documentaries about Nureyev, Acosta, and Pina Bausch."

 

Can't say I'd been particularly aware of the "Year of Song and Dance", but there you are.

 

I was amused that this trailer for a programme about male dancers was embellished by four photos of Darcey, none of any male person.

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I wish I had Darcey's agent!  He or she does a wonderful job of keeping her firmly in the public eye.

 

Sorry, but the fact that she is presenting it is enought to put me off watching, she simply isn't very good at it, and she really should be, given the amount of chances she has had. 

 

I also find this quote rather odd: "Bussell will then interview two stars of the future: Eric Underwood and Alban Lendorf, who are taking ballet into a new era of men who are viewed as equally glamorous as ballerinas."

 

I know nothing about Alban Lendorf, but it seems to imply that in order to classify as one of Darcey's ballet "heroes", you have to be gorgeous looking as well as talented.  And Eric Underwood has been dancing with the Royal Ballet for nearly 10 years.  He is hardly a newcomer. 

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Can't say I'd been particularly aware of the "Year of Song and Dance", but there you are.

 

Well I believe the only dance announced at the January 2015 press conference were the BBC Young Dancer Competition, David Bintley's 'The King Dances' and the BalletBoyz documentary. Which is pretty much all we got, till now.

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Well, we all know that these programmes are really all about Darcey....

 

Took the words out of my mouth - and the problem is that she/it comes across that way.

 

 

I know nothing about Alban Lendorf, but it seems to imply that in order to classify as one of Darcey's ballet "heroes", you have to be gorgeous looking as well as talented.  

 

Why on earth have someone whose (few) main appearances in the UK have been as a guest with ENB and who now dances with ABT?

 

And, if they really are thinking newcomers and gorgeous looking here, why not Matthew Ball (RB), Isaac Hernandez (ENB) and/or Brandon Lawrence (BRB), none of them aged over 25 and all very much 'of the future'.

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I know nothing about Alban Lendorf, but it seems to imply that in order to classify as one of Darcey's ballet "heroes", you have to be gorgeous looking as well as talented.  And Eric Underwood has been dancing with the Royal Ballet for nearly 10 years.  He is hardly a newcomer. 

 

I would hardly call Lendorf a 'newcomer' either, surely he's been dancing leading roles for at least three years. 

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I also find this quote rather odd: "Bussell will then interview two stars of the future: Eric Underwood and Alban Lendorf, who are taking ballet into a new era of men who are viewed as equally glamorous as ballerinas."

 

[...] And Eric Underwood has been dancing with the Royal Ballet for nearly 10 years.  He is hardly a newcomer. 

 

My reaction too.  Although he does seem to be getting a lot of promotion at the moment (of the press and media sort, rather than the pay-increase sort) - there are a couple of things I could infer from that.

 

Well I believe the only dance announced at the January 2015 press conference were the BBC Young Dancer Competition, David Bintley's 'The King Dances' and the BalletBoyz documentary. Which is pretty much all we got, till now.

 

That was all I remembered seeing, certainly.  I suppose the "Song" side has had the better part of the deal?   (And the repeats: I note that the Antonio Pappano "Voices" series has just been repeated - can't remember what else may have come under that side of it)

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Agree. It's silly isn't it.

Of course there have always been very glamorous male dancers.

 

 

The very BEST dancers, in my opinion, make you think they are gorgeous , when the role requires it, regardless of their real looks. Glamour in the theatre is not about looks in the OK Magazine sense at all.

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The very BEST dancers, in my opinion, make you think they are gorgeous , when the role requires it, regardless of their real looks. 

 

Agreed. There are several prominent male dancers in the UK to whom this description applies. Sometimes their performances are all the more affecting because they are not traditionally handsome.

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Unfortunately TV goes in waves of presenters - whoever is popular now is wanted for EVERYTHING. It works the same for history programmes (I've done research for them!). In the same way you find Lucy Worsley presenting absolutely everything under the sun whether or not she has any real expertise on the subject at hand (that ridiculous BBC4 thing she did on horses, for instance). I suppose at least Darcey does know what she is talking about when it comes to dance, although I agree that I don't think she's a very good presenter. I saw a biographical programme about her once and she was interviewed, and she was so much better and so much more natural that way than she is when she interviews other people.

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I would have no problem at all if the programme was "Darcey's Ballet Heroes - as told to...".followed by the name of an experienced presenter.  I thought the chap who co-presented Romeo and Juliet with her was excellent, and they seemed to have a nice rapport together on screen.  Sorry, I can't remember his name. She could relax and talk about her own experiences, and share her knowledge.  The male interviewees such as Underwood could simply talk to camera; it is not necessary for the viewer to hear the questions being put to them.

 

I do wonder why the BBC persists in running programmes where Darcey has to be in shot all the time.  While she is an attractive woman, surely the focus of the programme should be the male dancers.  Unless she is going to get into ballet gear and get them to do a bit of partnering?

 

Edited to add that while Lucy Worsley does seem to be getting a lot of time on the BBC, she is a very lively and interesting personality, and she does seem to be able to bring out the best in the people she is interviewing.  I haven't seen the programme about horses, but I have watched other programmes she has presented, and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Edited by Fonty
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Oh, I get so irritated by programmes on all sorts of topics fronted by a well known TV personality or celebrity. I find those 'journey to / across' programmes particularly tedious. I'm not one of those people who doesn't like the television, far from it, but I find that I watch less and less. So much of the current output is comedy quiz shows, reality TV programmes and programmes based round some sort of competition. I enjoy drama but I find most dramas these days pretty disappointing; there's little fresh or original and the plots are invariably weak. Part of the problem is that when a TV station finds something that pulls in the audience it's done to death. We have an amazing number of channels in our TV package but most evenings I still can't find anything to watch!

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Oh dear so much Bussell bashing. I hope we can agree that is the failure of the TV production teams and not poor old Darcey herself. I think she is a gracious ambassador for ballet. Should she turn down these programmes and deprive us of the few ballet related things on TV?

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Since you have mentioned Lucy Worsley, excuse me for going off topic, but it reminds of her parting comment on her series about the present Royal Family. "There you have it. British Royal Family, made in Germany!

 

No wonder people don't realise the House of Hanover was descended from the Stuarts. And really, the Hanoverians are her area of expertise (at least I think they are), so that's a bit of a jarring parting comment.

 

Maybe we should get her to do some ballet presenting, she'd be able to tell us how the Royal Ballet was made in Russia or something, which would be as simplistically correct as the royal family being made in Germany.

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Oh dear so much Bussell bashing. I hope we can agree that is the failure of the TV production teams and not poor old Darcey herself. I think she is a gracious ambassador for ballet. Should she turn down these programmes and deprive us of the few ballet related things on TV?

It's sad to think that if Darcey turned down these programmes we wouldn't get any ballet on TV. You may well be right about that. It would be nice if producers realised that there is more to British ballet than Darcey Bussell. I am reminded of how well Daniel Jones of ENB came across a few years ago when he did that programme about getting some miners in Newcastle to do ballet! And David Bintley was also excellent on his programme. I know that DB is 'a name' so will pull in the viewers, but there are others out there who could also do a very good job.

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The problem is that on anything other than BBC4, production teams would not be able to sell their ideas for ballet programmes to the controllers of the mainstream channels without a name like DB, because programmes about ballet are still such a niche market unfortunately.

I don't think that Darcey is being used so much because she is a judge on Strictly, but because of her prominence as one of the greatest British ballerinas of all time. The first programme she did, about the ten best ballet moments, was way before Strictly.

I also think that Tamara Rojo is such a wonderful ambassador for ballet. She speaks so intelligently and eloquently on the subject whenever she is interviewed, and English is not even her first language!

I often think about the 'Agony and Ecstacy' programmes made a few years ago, about the ENB, and whilst I loved them and found them fascinating, I sometimes wish I hadn't seen them, as I am still so aware of them when I watch the ENB perform, and remember the scenes, for instance, where Wayne Eagling had not even finished the choreography by the first performance. There is a bit of me still likes to believe in the magic, and I'm not sure that those programmes ultimately did the ENB any favours.

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Today is the day the BBC announced their Christmas highlights

 

They are

 

Darcey’s Ballet Heroes

 

In this 60-minute film for BBC Two, much-loved ballet star and Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell undertakes a very personal journey to meet the heroes and dancers who transformed male ballet; Arthur Mitchell, Anthony Dowell, Peter Schauffus, Irek Mukhamedov, Carlos Acosta and others.

 

Athletic, seductive, complicated, misunderstood: male ballet dancers don’t conform. After almost disappearing from ballet’s centre stage in the 19th century, pushed aside by the newly arrived pointe-shoed, tutu toting, prima ballerinas, over the last 100 years the spotlight has dramatically shifted back to men. From dressing rooms and rehearsal studios in London, Copenhagen, New York and beyond, Darcey takes us behind the scenes and reveals the secrets and the choreography that bring the subject matter vividly to life. The film is rich in archive, insightful commentary, personal anecdotes, and uniquely intimate access that few - other than a former Royal Ballet Prima Ballerina - would be able to secure. This is the story of men in ballet told first hand by the best male dancers in the world.

New Year’s Day Concert from Vienna 2016 (also on BBC Four)

 

 

BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC Red Button return to Vienna, the city of music, for the traditional classical start to the New Year; the New Year’s Day Concert given by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Tickets to attend the concert are almost impossible to obtain but BBC viewers can enjoy the best seats in the house.

 

Filmed inside the stunning Golden Hall at the Musikverein in the heart of Vienna the orchestra will present a programme of music from the vast repertoire of the Strauss family and its contemporaries; the finest galops, polkas and waltzes culminating in the ever-popular On the Beautiful Blue Danube and the rousing Radetzky March.

 

2016 marks the 75th anniversary of this much-loved concert which is broadcast in over 90 countries and watched by 50 million television viewers around the world. As well as coverage of the orchestra from inside the Musikverein the programme will also include performance sequences with the Vienna Boys’ Choir and the Vienna State Ballet.

 

The concert is traditionally conducted by a different maestro every year and 2016 sees the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Mariss Jansons whose musical collaboration with the orchestra goes back to 1992. This will be his third time at the New Year’s Day concert having previously conducted in 2006 and 2012.

 

Carmen

 

Join the Royal Ballet for a brand-new production of Carmen from the legendary dancer Carlos Acosta, as makes his retirement from classical dance. Based on Bizet's much-loved opera, the ballet tells the tale of the sultry Carmen (Marianela Nuñez) and her seduction of the soldier, Don José (Carlos Acosta), whom she eventually betrays in the arms of the handsome toreador, Escamillo (Federico Bonelli).

 

It'll be a night to remember - after almost 20 years with the company, Carlos Acosta is making his final performance on the main stage at Covent Garden.

 

Presented from the Royal Opera House by Darcey Bussell.

 

 

(Not ballet I know but I thought people might be interested)

 

Andrea Chénier from the Royal Opera House

 

 

Jonas Kaufmann and Eva-Maria Westbroek star in the Royal Opera’s new production of Umberto Giordano’s passionate drama about liberty and love in the French Revolution.

 

Andrea Chénier has become celebrated for the lyrical music it offers the tenor in the title role – in this production performed by star tenor Jonas Kaufmann, who received an Olivier award for his performance.

 

This new production from director David McVicar contrasts the opulence of pre-Revolutionary France with the horrors of the Reign of Terror, whilst Giordano’s score (conducted by Antonio Pappano) has all the richness and romanticism of Giordano’s contemporary Puccini. Suzy Klein presents the programme.

 

No dates and times were given.

 

Hardly an inspiring line-up though it is only highlights so in theory more may be added and there is always SkyArts.

 

it is very frustrating that only Carmen of the mixed bill is being broadcast when the whole performance was filmed. I really want to see Afternoon of a Faun and the Tchaikovsky pas de deux.I suppose it is still possible they are showing all of the mixed bill but only mentioned Carmen in the highlights because of Carlos' name, or am I clutching at straws?

 

I must say I've been rather disappointed in Tony Hall since he went to the BBC. After spending several years at the ROH and promising more culture on tv the schedules are still dominated by soaps, 'celebrity' shows and reality tv. I know ballet is a fairly minority viewing but I don't think that one full length ballet a year or at least a complete mixed programme is an unreasonable request, especially as so many performances are filmed anyway so the BBC don't have to incur filming expenses. My other tv interest is watching golf and the BBC have virtually given up all golf coverage as well so I lose out twice.

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I often think about the 'Agony and Ecstacy' programmes made a few years ago, about the ENB, and whilst I loved them and found them fascinating, I sometimes wish I hadn't seen them, as I am still so aware of them when I watch the ENB perform, and remember the scenes, for instance, where Wayne Eagling had not even finished the choreography by the first performance. There is a bit of me still likes to believe in the magic, and I'm not sure that those programmes ultimately did the ENB any favours.

Well, the Agony and Ecstacy programmes were responsible for getting me interested in ballet again after years of never seeing a ballet, life taking over, and just losing track and losing interest - I was just hooked on the Daria/Vadim episode! And my first ballet in years was seeing Daria's retirement performance at the RAH. Not looked back since :)

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