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BBC's "Christmas" Dance Offerings 2015

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I thought this [the Imagine programme on Carlos Acosta] was a very enjoyable and detailed documentary. Some interesting archive footage and very interesting to hear Carlos talk about his exciting project in Cuba.

Edited by alison
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I thought this was a very enjoyable and detailed documentary. Some interesting archive footage and very interesting to hear Carlos talk about his exciting project in Cuba.

I really enjoyed it.  I still can't help wishing that he had let his dancing be his swansong at ROH rather than choreography.  Maybe the management felt they owed him which is why the execrable Carmen got through (hopefully never to be seen again), but they should have learnt from DQ which was hardly a triumph.  Mr. Acosta is a peerless dancer who has given great joy in his career, but a choreographer he is not and RB did him no favours pretending that he was.

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I've opened this thread for us to discuss the BBC's dance offerings over - more or less - the festive season.

 

Did anyone see Pina on Sunday night on BBC4?

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I really enjoyed it.  I still can't help wishing that he had let his dancing be his swansong at ROH rather than choreography.  

 

Well, he did dance two roles in it ... :)

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Did anyone see Pina on Sunday night on BBC4?

I recorded it, and decided to watch it last night.

 

I'd completely forgotten that the Carlos Acosta programme was on, and ended up missing most of it and only saw the last ten minutes - what a twit I am!! Are they going to be repeating it, does anyone know?

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So did I - but at least I sort of caught a bit more of it than you did!  Fortunately I *had* set the video.

 

I think most "Imagines" probably do get repeated at some stage, but you'd have to be mighty clever to spot when - it would probably be on BBC4 in the depths of the night, some months later.  iPlayer?

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I recorded it, and decided to watch it last night.

 

I'd completely forgotten that the Carlos Acosta programme was on, and ended up missing most of it and only saw the last ten minutes - what a twit I am!! Are they going to be repeating it, does anyone know?

Oh no, so did I....so not even recorded! :( Doh. I guess we can watch it on iPlayer, thank goodness!

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I was busy watching something else I'd recorded, finished it, deleted, and scrolled up and down the list to find something else I could watch, and saw "Carlos Acosta ...".  Oh, wait, it's on at the moment, I thought - already partway through :facepalm:

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I thought the Acosta documentary was wonderful - fascinating seeing all the footage of Cuba past and present, and of Acosta throughout his life and career. Excellent interviews including with Tamara Rojo. Included extracts from Carmen and the on-stage farewell after the last performance, but is of much wider interest too. Brought home how incredible his 'journey' has been, and how brave he has been to follow it.

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I enjoyed the Acosta programme, particularly the references to Cuba's cultural history. Mr Yentob could have stayed at home as I felt Mr Acosta's knowledge and personality carried the show. I am looking forward to his performances next year.

Did anyone catch the interview with Ivan Putrov on Wednesday's Channel 5 evening news? I only came across it by chance. It seemed to be about the increasing number of boys choosing ballet now and that it is the second most popular choice. They didn't say where this statistic came from or what was at number one, unless I missed that bit. There was the obligatory clip from Billy Elliot in which the boy's father has a meltdown at the sight of his son dancing. I wish they could drop that sort of thing. Why not just discuss ballet as a career choice or something to be interested in, rather than keep wheeling out all the prejudices. 

Anyway, there was a clip of Ivan doing his thing and he made some good comments about ballet and expression, and how there is far more to it than people might think. The interview was very short though and the Acosta programme was on very late - for me anyway, I watched it on iPlayer. I assume this is the regular time slot for Imagine. A pity it couldn't be shown at a more reasonable time as it was interesting on many levels. Nothing in it to cause offence or frighten the horses. Then again, late or short, it is better than nothing.

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So what do you think of the two BBC4 programmes. Some interesting clips in the first one, wish they were longer. In the second ("modern") one the clips were too long. That's what I thought.

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So what do you think of the two BBC4 programmes. Some interesting clips in the first one, wish they were longer. In the second ("modern") one the clips were too long. That's what I thought.

 

I was very interested to see the couple of clips of Façade in the first one.  Does this mean the beeb have a complete recording?  If so, I hope they show it sometime.

 

I had planned to stop watching the second programme once they'd done Nijinska but I got reeled in.  Reinforced many of the reasons I don't care so strongly about contemporary dance (similar to contemporary art, I suppose - if someone needs to tell me why it's art, it's not art).

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Intrigued to see two clips from Les Noces, would like to know who was in the earlier one as I don't ever remember seeing it on TV before. Anyone remember it?

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Intrigued to see two clips from Les Noces, would like to know who was in the earlier one as I don't ever remember seeing it on TV before. Anyone remember it?

 

Looked like Beriosova (but before my time!).

 

Cast should be on the ROH performance database.

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I saw the first programme about Ballrooms and Ballerinas.  On reflection, I suppose the programme gave a good overall view of the sort of coverage the BBC has shown over the years, but it was frustrating to see tantalising five second glimpses of recorded performances, and made me long to see longer versions of the recorded programme. 

 

First of all, I was surprised they showed so much ballet on television in the past.  I've got so used to it being an occasional item, shoved on to BB4.  I enjoyed the tiny snippets of ballet that they showed, particularly the footage of Markova.  I don't think I have seen her dancing before.  Also, I couldn't get over how small she was.  When Fonteyn stood next to her, she seemed quite a bit taller.  As Fonteyn was about 5'3" (I think?) then Markova can't have been much over 5 foot tall. 

 

However, I found it irritating that the banner that came up with the title and date of the original programme hid the dancers' legs and feet.  To me, it was a bit like having a clip of a famous opera singer performing, then muting their singing while a voice over tells you all about them.  Finally, you get to hear 3 seconds of the aria, if you are lucky.  I appreciate it was merely a round up, but I still found it annoying!

 

The section on ballroom seemed to me to be primarily interested in poking fun at the Come Dancing programme and its participants.  I felt the voice over resembled Come Dine with Me in places, particularly when it singled out clips of people talking about the dresses, or whether their relationship with their dance partner made their real life partners jealous.  

 

It was interesting to see the excerpts from the film about boys at the Royal Ballet.  Does anyone know who the boy being interviewed was?  I was surprised his name didn't come up on screen.   

Edited by Fonty

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I had planned to stop watching the second programme once they'd done Nijinska but I got reeled in.  Reinforced many of the reasons I don't care so strongly about contemporary dance (similar to contemporary art, I suppose - if someone needs to tell me why it's art, it's not art).

 

I thought it was a well-presented overview of modern dance during the last 100 years or so, putting the work of the choreographers in their historical context. A lot of good talking heads with interesting contributions from Forsythe and McGregor. Judith Mackrell (another participant) tweeted today that it was originally proposed as a more ambitious multi-part documentary rather than a single programme, albeit one of 90 minutes duration. Condensed and selective it certainly was, but nonetheless interesting, illuminating and well worth watching.

 

Available on iPlayer for a month.

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It was interesting to see the excerpts from the film about boys at the Royal Ballet.  Does anyone know who the boy being interviewed was?  I was surprised his name didn't come up on screen.   

 

I was sure I ought to recognise him from later years, certainly.

 

Which reminds me: we had a quick glimpse of a young Darcey Bussell and her co-students on Blue Peter.  I wasn't recording the programme, and didn't get to see that bit properly, so I still can't be sure who they were.  Guess I shall have to have a late night on Thursday and check.

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Alison, I've seen that snippet from Blue Peter before, they showed it when they were streaming Bussell's last performance live from the Opera House.  They don't say who the other students are, although they might have done in the original BP programme.   

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Alison, I've seen that snippet from Blue Peter before, they showed it when they were streaming Bussell's last performance live from the Opera House.  They don't say who the other students are, although they might have done in the original BP programme.   

 

Okay, so I can go and watch it for a possibly extended version?  Thanks.  But I wondered if anyone could identify them?  I was particularly interested to note that Darcey didn't do Le Corsaire - I thought I remembered it that she'd done something, but obviously was wrong there.  I can't even see the face of the girl in the tutu in that clip (which is at approximately 53:30, if anyone wants to take a look).

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Was the Blue Peter clip from when Darcey and 3 other students were about to compete in the Prix de Lausanne ? If so the other students were Claire Cattle, Talal Al Muhanna, Nicola Jane Searchfield and Sergiu Probeznic. 

 

(probably got the spelling of the names wrong - apologies !)

Edited by Ellie

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Possibly.  Sergiu would certainly make sense.  Thanks very much.  Not at all what I would have guessed, based on the year.  I didn't know it was PdL-related.

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Enjoyed the ballrooms and ballerinas doc though like Fonty found it frustrating that such short clips were shown. If all these performances are in the BBC archive it would be great if they could show some occasionally and it wouldn't cost them anything. There was talk a while ago about making the BBC archive accessible to viewers but haven't heard much about that lately; perhaps they can't afford it now. It's interesting that early on in the BBCs life dancing and especially ballet was so much to the fore as part of their remit to 'educate and entertain'. Obviously ballet enthusiasts weren't seen as the sidelined minority they appear to be treated as today. As well as the performances the docs looked interesting too. The one about boys learning ballet obviously pre-dated Billy Elliott by many years and the one about girls would never be aired today, the way they discussed the poor girls in front of them as if they weren't there. However, it was interestingly of its time.

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Did anyone see Pina on Sunday night on BBC4?

Yes I watched on iplayer with dd and she loved it so much she watched again on her own

She said she loved the beauty and weirdness

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If all these performances are in the BBC archive it would be great if they could show some occasionally and it wouldn't cost them anything.

Hear hear!

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I have lost count of the number of times I have said on this forum that repeating programmes is not as easy as some people think.  There are rights to be cleared - and quite a lot of the ballet programmes we would all like to see again were co-productions and therefore the BBC does not own the programmes after an initial showing plus, sometimes, a single repeat.  Sometimes the co-producers have gone out of business and no-one is clear who now owns the rights to show the programmes.  I am as keen as anyone to encourage repeats of those wonderful early recordings - but it is truly not just a matter of getting them out of storage!

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I would have thought making archives available on line similar to what the BFI have done would be a fine way of delivering the central remit of a public service broadcast company. How expensive would it be compared to the vast amounts spent on securing broadcasting rights for major sporting fixtures for example? Although the BBC have made, and continue to make, some superb ballet documentaries, the number of productions they screen has been paltry for quite a few years now - perhaps the live cinema screenings which Sky Arts then broadcast, has prevented there being more. I think I'm right in saying that the BBC never repeat any productions they screen - again it seems it might be a less expensive option. Last Christmas I seem to remember the ballet was The Winter's Tale - surely there could be some room in the schedule to show it again ( there's enough repeats of so many other genres of programmes). Or if not this Christmas, why not next? Rather, I expect in twenty years time, a brief extract will surface in a documentary about Wheeldon there will be posts here bemoaning the lack of access to any filmed productions.

Edited by Odyssey

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(Don't know if this has already been flagged somewhere else - apologies if so!)

 

This morning's Times has a large picture of James Forbat (worth a look if your'e a fan) captioned:

 

Pop culture: James Forbat, of the English National Ballet, rehearses a routine for the Queen song Bohemian Rhapsody. It will be broadcast on BBC4 tomorrow.

 

(The Times is having a very balletic week - we've already had 3 RB photos in the main news section.)

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:)  --- That's for James Streeter's fine choregraphy ... as much as for the dancing by his lovely wife and the spectacular Mr. Forbat 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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