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BBC's "Christmas" Dance Offerings 2015


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'attacking, snide, spiteful or dismissive'......Nasty

 

 

Billboyd, one sentence contributions that add so little, only a tinge of negativity. Bah Ballet!

 

I think Darcey is OK, I think the way she presents is a universal problem between the 'class' of dancers and the class of attendees to the ballet.

 

To me it always seems that Darcey feels she needs to force an 'upper class' accent.  (it is clear she is not from this set)  Also she has a very 'clunky' walk just between shots, which is very non-ballerina, However I believe she is great thing to bring ballet closer to home. She ,makes great points, and for non-ballet fans is very inclusive. She is very much a positive contributer.

 

 

She is a very positive contribution to ballet. IMHO.

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Dancer was a wonderful series! It aired just as I was starting to watch ballet and it stoked the fires even more! This programme sparked my interest in the Bournonville style and my keen-ness on the RDB. Did you get the book that accompanied the series Odyssey?

Yes I did. I also have the series on video somewhere if I can get to find it. Do you remember the Ballerina series that proceeded it introduced by Makarova again with a very nice book to accompany the series?

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Yes, and I've got that book too!  And I do believe I've got at least bits of the series on video even though I no longer have a video player!

 

I'm just catching up on the Ballet Heroes programme and thoroughly enjoying it.  I like Ms Bussell's presentation and her choice of dancers to highlight.  I particularly loved the section on the RDB, Peter & Luke Schaufuss and the Bournonville style.

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Just to be absolutely correct - Dancer was the first series, Ballerina the second.  And - here we go again - the rights situation of both series is incredibly complicated.  At the time they were made, they were

both very expensive series and to save money, the minimum rights were secured to ensure they could be made at all.  This meant that they could be transmitted once only.  It is heartbreaking now to think they probably cannot be shown again on the BBC.

 

Edited to add:  I also watched the Darcey programme and found it much more interesting than I had expected.  I notice that the director was Ross McGibbon - formerly of the RB and a most experienced ballet director.  I suspect he had a considerable input into content.  Although a named presenter such as Darcey, Peter Schaufuss (Dancer) and Natalia Makarova (Ballerina) will have contributions to make and opinions that will be listened to, the producer has quite as many, and will also shape the final programme.

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Have just caught up with Darceys Ballet Heroes and Carmen

 

First Darcey ....I thought her presentation in this programme was actually fine and definitely picked up on her genuine excitement at meeting some of her heroes! I enjoyed the programme enormously and would have liked to see a bit more in fact. I love the way Julie Kavanagh ( and surely we must have met at some point on one of those flower throwing episodes when the flower market was still at Covent Garden) said that whilst everybody thought Nureyev was having an affair with Fonteyn he was writing love letters to Bruhn!! I never believed in the Nureyev Fonteyn affair thing anyway!! It's probably difficult for some to fully appreciate though the effect Nureyev did have. Fonteyn often danced with Michael Soames before and although he was a fine dancer in many ways and rather typically English Nureyev was a relevation at the time a true trail blazer as strong male dancing is more or less the norm now. I never saw Bruhn dance as he was a little before my ballet going time but the wonderful beats....lightness of jumps ...and amazing turns of the Danish style are very much to be cherished and every bit as valuable as the more bravura Russian style and I thought this was well communicated in this programme.

Yes I too was taken in by the Nijinsky film!! There was me just saying to my partner ....well this is new have never seen this film of Nijinski before ...(not that he was exactly falling of his chair or anything anyway) and then Darcey revealed was a fake!!

Well before I drooled over pictures of a very real live Nureyev I drooled over pictures of Nijinski ......they both seem to have a certain unusual exotic quality......and I used to be fascinated by that period in Russian ballet.

I'm glad Edward Watson ......a dancer truly willing to experiment....and Matthew Bourne were in there .....as advocates of male dancing strengths etc which left the programme at an interesting point. Men and women do have equality in Dance now so what does the future hold? One just has to hope that the baby isn't thrown out with the bath water where classical dance is concerned and that it can survive both side by side with and as the basis of innovation.

 

Which sort of brings me to Carmen.

Well the truth is I was expecting the very worst .....from all the comments on this forum and some of the critics.

But hey and I promise I hadn't had a single drink for over 24 hrs when I watched these programmes I didn't mind it that much at all!!

 

I think maybe the thing is that this was on the ROH stage. If this had been at Sadlers Wells as a more "experimental" piece it may have been better received. ( though I can feel many on here would now like to get me at that Spanish tomato throwing festival for saying this!!)

The chairs thing was only about 30 secs and yes it was very modern on the whole and the choir and singers were on the stage etc etc

But it was definitely watchable with a couple of really good pas de deuxs and loved Bonelli in his role....perhaps this could have been made more of. The horned thingamy was verging on the naff yes.....but this is a Spanish piece and the devil is in the bull fighting I think and all that surrounds it.

So I think it was innovative in part ...... just not to everybody's taste. So obviously revealing my taste is in the lower order of things I think this Carmen is nowhere near as bad as it seems to have been painted.....though much like some other ballets probably okay to see only every five years or so!

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I think Darcey does make ballet accessible to newcomers and that must be praised. I did enjoy the programme. She did seem genuinely excited to meet people. I think it would be even better if they broadened the range of ballet presenters.

 

I thought the 'Morecambe and Wise style' jumps during the final credits were bizarre.

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Precisely. I haven't seen the programme but no matter whether I think she was excellent or not, she has the name and that is enough to draw newcomers in. After that there is so much to learn and I think that if Darcy is making ballet accessible and educating a different audience who would otherwise never even consider watching it must be a good thing?

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I haven't been a fan of Darcey's live work, but I really enjoyed the programme and I thought her presentation of it was fine. The selection of dancers were not surprising apart from maybe Alban Lendorf, but there was a nice logic and narrative to the choices. I also agree that her Strictly Come Dancing judging makes her name a much bigger draw than other dancers, and even her own ballerina status, especially to younger viewers.

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Well I always thought her "thing" for the male dancers on Strictly was deliberately(on her part) over the top for entertainment value but probably the way she refers to the other judges as "the boys" can be a bit irritatating and outdated I admit.

 

But she was certainly okay in this programme for me.

 

Now as for the Morecambe and Wise kicks ....well to be honest why not....just showing off a bit of her silly side!

 

Have done much worse than that after performances at the ROH on the way home with friends .....including doing a take off of Nureyev walking on stage and then emoting "with THAT cloak" over Giselles grave! (Shown in the programme) In fact nearly got thrown out from standing as one particular friend and myself got an uncontrollable attack of the giggles because we had had a bet that his cloak would be even bigger than previously etc etc.

And my mum and me thoroughly embarrassed poor dad dancing down the street after we saw West Side Story ...........

 

I rather liked those takes as she is usually so controlled so nice to see her just being normal (or not as the case may be.................)

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I just thought: what a waste of screen time when we could have had more snippets of her heroes dancing :)

 

But that aside, I thought it was a good programme: better than the ballerina one, if I remember correctly.

 

 I do wonder why, that when RB can do a cinema stream, why it isn't on BBC2 or BBC4. Is it a matter of revenues? Licensing? Lack of interest?

 

[sorry, quotes still not working properly here]

SwissBalletFan, we have wondered this a lot ourselves, too!  It does rather look as though Sky Arts had some sort of deal with the RB, maybe for exclusivity of showings: certainly La Bayadere, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and various others (I'm sure people who keep track of Sky more than I do will be able to fill in the others) have all later appeared on Sky.  Yet on the other hand both The Winter's Tale and Alice have appeared on the BBC (several times, in the case of Alice), only months after they were premiered.  Does the fact that they are contemporary ballets have anything to do with it, I wonder?  Was Sky not initially interested in those?  Has the fact that Sky Arts 2 is now defunct and the whole of Sky's "arts" coverage is now shoehorned into Sky Arts along with all the more mainstream performances got anything to do with it?  Does Tony Hall's departure from ROH Chief Executive to head of the BBC?  Who will get the new Scarlett Frankenstein? (assuming that someone does)

 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the RB, like a number of UK arts companies, is supported by the taxpayer.  It seems to me only fair that its output should be seen on free-to-air television rather than subscription-only channels.  Of course, if the free-to-air channels don't want it, that's another matter.

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Son and I watched the Darcey programme tonight. I'm not a fan of her live presenting but I really enjoyed the programme (and caught a glimpse of ds on screen in an unexpected manner much to our amusement). He said at the end that it was good to watch a programme about male ballet dancers and also that the ending showed that she doesn't take herself too seriously.

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The documentary was not bad given that it was a single programme. The choice of dancers made some sense if you look at twentieth century dance from a western perspective,This was not, as far as I could see, intended to be a programme about Darcey's favourite dancers or about popular dancers but about dancers who influenced the development of male dancing outside Russia in the twentieth century because that is what it looked like initially.Nijinsky restores the concept of male dancing in the West. Bruhn restores the concept of stylish, elegant male dancing in countries where Massine's demi character style had held sway.Nureyev introduced the heroic Soviet school to the West and raised the barre as far as technical accomplishment is concerned.His commitment to the art form influenced all the dancers he worked with. He was a superstar and people who had not previously thought of going to the ballet bought tickets just to see him.Like Pavlova he made the artform popular without compromising standards.Unfortunately he went on dancing far too long. Baryshnikov, the man who had no technical weaknesses reinforced and extended the status of the male dancer. Both Baryshnikov and Nureyev are important because of their influence on dancers in general not just the dancers in their companies and their impact on public expectations wherever they danced.

 

Now we come to the point that I don't really understand the inclusion of Schaufuss and Mukhamedov in the documentary.They were both great dancers but as far as I can see neither had the same significance internationally  as Nijinsky, Bruhn, Nureyev or Baryshnikov. It was as if there was a second documentary fighting to escape, one about male dancing in Britain and this involved Mukhamedov  and Schaufuss. Mukhamedov was of course a Bolshoi star but did either he or Schaufuss have an impact on the status of male dancing comparable to Nureyev or Baryshnikov? I think that their impact was local rather than across the entire western world of ballet.But these are, supposedly,her ballet heroes so  we must accept the decision to exclude or include dancers even those decisions seem to distort or undermine the programme's argument.

.

What was she doing identifying Lendorf and Underwood as the future of male dancing? Is it fair on them to single them out in this way?  She did not say it is dancers like these who will play a part in the development of male dancing  or that it is dangerous to speculate about what will happen next because somewhere there may be a choreographer who will suddenly alter what we expect of dancers in general and male dancers in particular.

 

As far as Acosta's Carmen is concerned I don't think the adverse responses to it are the result of the ballet audience's failure to accept innovation.There was very little innovation in it. The problem is that Acosta failed as an effective storyteller and choreographer. I don't think that ballet is any more constrained by its conventions than opera and drama are by theirs. It is unfortunate but Acosta has little feeling for what will be effective theatrically and in  his forties has less idea of structure and the necessity in a narrative work of providing opportunities for dance which arise out of the action than Nureyev had when he was in his mid twenties. There were too many gaps when nothing was happening and all his choreography for the corps was trite and boring.Even worse than in the theatre.

Edited by FLOSS
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Well Acosta's Carmen was not exactly a masterpiece of choreography I do agree!!

 

However I don't think it deserved some of the more extreme criticism it received.

 

Probably just not really right for the ROH somehow and perhaps some were more upset that this was also part of his swan song and were hoping for some more definitive work. But he did say he didn't want it to be too classical so didn't see it himself perhaps as a truly serious piece of work? In which case again should probably have been part of some farewell performance at the Wells rather than ROH.

 

Going back to the Darcy doc I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Dowell although perhaps he was more influential in UK than on entire western world but he was another dancer round about Nureyev's time who was also very exciting in an entirely different way......for the purity of his classical style and of course wonderful partnership with Sibley which rivalled that of Fonteyn and Nureyev at the time.

I didn't realise that Darcy was saying Lendorf and Underwood were the future of Ballet! I took it that she was referring to styles ....the more classical....and the more modern....and how they would be taken into the future (by such dancers as these two)

though Edward Watson would have sufficed I think!!

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Son and I watched the Darcey programme tonight. I'm not a fan of her live presenting but I really enjoyed the programme (and caught a glimpse of ds on screen in an unexpected manner much to our amusement). He said at the end that it was good to watch a programme about male ballet dancers and also that the ending showed that she doesn't take herself too seriously.

I'm going to have to rewatch it for that glimpse now Julie!

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The documentary was not bad given that it was a single programme. The choice of dancers made some sense if you look at twentieth century dance from a western perspective,This was not, as far as I could see, intended to be a programme about Darcey's favourite dancers or about popular dancers but about dancers who influenced the development of male dancing outside Russia in the twentieth century because that is what it looked like initially.Nijinsky restores the concept of male dancing in the West. Bruhn restores the concept of stylish, elegant male dancing in countries where Massine's demi character style had held sway.Nureyev introduced the heroic Soviet school to the West and raised the barre as far as technical accomplishment is concerned.His commitment to the art form influenced all the dancers he worked with. He was a superstar and people who had not previously thought of going to the ballet bought tickets just to see him.Like Pavlova he made the artform popular without compromising standards.Unfortunately he went on dancing far too long. Baryshnikov, the man who had no technical weaknesses reinforced and extended the status of the male dancer. Both Baryshnikov and Nureyev are important because of their influence on dancers in general not just the dancers in their companies and their impact on public expectations wherever they danced.

 

Now we come to the point that I don't really understand the inclusion of Schaufuss and Mukhamedov in the documentary.They were both great dancers but as far as I can see neither had the same significance internationally  as Nijinsky, Bruhn, Nureyev or Baryshnikov. It was as if there was a second documentary fighting to escape, one about male dancing in Britain and this involved Mukhamedov  and Schaufuss. Mukhamedov was of course a Bolshoi star but did either he or Schaufuss have an impact on the status of male dancing comparable to Nureyev or Baryshnikov? I think that their impact was local rather than across the entire western world of ballet.But these are, supposedly,her ballet heroes so  we must accept the decision to exclude or include dancers even those decisions seem to distort or undermine the programme's argument.

.

What was she doing identifying Lendorf and Underwood as the future of male dancing? Is it fair on them to single them out in this way?  She did not say it is dancers like these who will play a part in the development of male dancing  or that it is dangerous to speculate about what will happen next because somewhere there may be a choreographer who will suddenly alter what we expect of dancers in general and male dancers in particular.

 

As far as Acosta's Carmen is concerned I don't think the adverse responses to it are the result of the ballet audience's failure to accept innovation.There was very little innovation in it. The problem is that Acosta failed as an effective storyteller and choreographer. I don't think that ballet is any more constrained by its conventions than opera and drama are by theirs. It is unfortunate but Acosta has little feeling for what will be effective theatrically and in  his forties has less idea of structure and the necessity in a narrative work of providing opportunities for dance which arise out of the action than Nureyev had when he was in his mid twenties. There were too many gaps when nothing was happening and all his choreography for the corps was trite and boring.Even worse than in the theatre.

 

 

 

Sorry but the quote function seems to be a bit erratic so I have had to post the whole post.

 

I was under the impression that Peter Schaufuss was a dancer of world renown who kept the Bournonville style in the international public eye during his dancing and directorship career prior to his return to Denmark.  I started watching ballet just as he was appointed AD to London Festival Ballet and one of my earliest memories of an unforgettable performance was him and Eva Evdokimova in his production of La Sylphide at RFH in August 1985.  During his international career he danced with Kirov/Mariinsky, POB, ABT and NYCB where roles were created on him by Balanchine.

 

As for Irek Mukhamedov, surely the documentary clips demonstrated why he was worthy of inclusion.

 

This documentary will have been aimed towards a mass audience and I thought it was great for that purpose even if many Forum members may have expected more. 

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I think that Schaufuss and Mukhamedov were indeed both brilliant dancers (the Spartacus clips were incredible!), and important in various ways, but I agree with FLOSS that they weren't ground-breaking in quite the same way as most of the other dancers who were featured. But since they did have particular significance in this country I was glad to see them included, and I suppose since the programme was called 'Darcey's Ballet Heroes' (I think) they could legitimately be included on that ground.

 

I found it slightly irritating that reference was made to Eric Underwood's modelling (of course dancers often have beautiful bodies and are often very attractive, so I'm sure most of them could do modelling if they chose/had time to do so). But if it makes dancing/dancers appear 'cool' to a wider/younger audience I suppose that's good (or at least OK!).

 

I agree with your last sentence, Janet, though I think I actually got more than I expected! Really interesting footage and some great interviews (eg with Arthur Mitchell). Seeing Bruhn dance was thrilling, and seeing him and Nureyev together was very moving. And I'd forgotten quite how sensational Baryshnikov was.

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I agree that this programme was much better than the companion piece on ballerinas but I still cannot believe she left Vassiliev out. Surely he was the other dominant force of the 60s and 70s.

 

My only issue with Darcey as a presenter is that I keep remembering that there are at least two other candidates who are much better. However, given Darcey's tie in with Strictly and given the BBC's habit of cross pollinating its programmes I think we must accept that we should be grateful for everything we do get.

 

I am sorry that Sky Arts are unlikely to produce any more programmes of the calibre of Deborah Bull's Dancing in Russia.

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I shall record the Darcey programme when it is on again.  I am still puzzled by the inclusion of Underwood, though.   I find it quite hard to believe that he is a hero to her, what explanation did she give?

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The documentary was not bad given that it was a single programme. The choice of dancers made some sense if you look at twentieth century dance from a western perspective,This was not, as far as I could see, intended to be a programme about Darcey's favourite dancers or about popular dancers but about dancers who influenced the development of male dancing outside Russia in the twentieth century because that is what it looked like initially.Nijinsky restores the concept of male dancing in the West. Bruhn restores the concept of stylish, elegant male dancing in countries where Massine's demi character style had held sway.Nureyev introduced the heroic Soviet school to the West and raised the barre as far as technical accomplishment is concerned.His commitment to the art form influenced all the dancers he worked with. He was a superstar and people who had not previously thought of going to the ballet bought tickets just to see him.Like Pavlova he made the artform popular without compromising standards.Unfortunately he went on dancing far too long. Baryshnikov, the man who had no technical weaknesses reinforced and extended the status of the male dancer. Both Baryshnikov and Nureyev are important because of their influence on dancers in general not just the dancers in their companies and their impact on public expectations wherever they danced.

 

Now we come to the point that I don't really understand the inclusion of Schaufuss and Mukhamedov in the documentary.They were both great dancers but as far as I can see neither had the same significance internationally  as Nijinsky, Bruhn, Nureyev or Baryshnikov. It was as if there was a second documentary fighting to escape, one about male dancing in Britain and this involved Mukhamedov  and Schaufuss. Mukhamedov was of course a Bolshoi star but did either he or Schaufuss have an impact on the status of male dancing comparable to Nureyev or Baryshnikov? I think that their impact was local rather than across the entire western world of ballet.But these are, supposedly,her ballet heroes so  we must accept the decision to exclude or include dancers even those decisions seem to distort or undermine the programme's argument.

.

What was she doing identifying Lendorf and Underwood as the future of male dancing? Is it fair on them to single them out in this way?  She did not say it is dancers like these who will play a part in the development of male dancing  or that it is dangerous to speculate about what will happen next because somewhere there may be a choreographer who will suddenly alter what we expect of dancers in general and male dancers in particular.

 

As far as Acosta's Carmen is concerned I don't think the adverse responses to it are the result of the ballet audience's failure to accept innovation.There was very little innovation in it. The problem is that Acosta failed as an effective storyteller and choreographer. I don't think that ballet is any more constrained by its conventions than opera and drama are by theirs. It is unfortunate but Acosta has little feeling for what will be effective theatrically and in  his forties has less idea of structure and the necessity in a narrative work of providing opportunities for dance which arise out of the action than Nureyev had when he was in his mid twenties. There were too many gaps when nothing was happening and all his choreography for the corps was trite and boring.Even worse than in the theatre.

As ever, Floss, you give us a mine of information and instructive comment.  I have learnt so much from your posts this last year and would like to express my thanks.

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I actually enjoyed Darcey's programme far more than I expected - very interesting and some stunning footage, plus I found her presentation style far better when she was more relaxed (after all, live presenting when you're not especially used to it must be quite nerve-wracking). I too was a bit puzzled as to why Alban Lendorf and Eric Underwood were specifically singled out - not to knock either dancer, as they are both excellent - but I could think of a number of other supposedly up and coming or newly established dancers equally deserving of some airtime. Good to see Edward Watson though.

 

Carmen - I watched it again in the hope that a second viewing might improve it. Sadly, it didn't; the opposite, in fact. The Pas de Deux between Don José and Carmen that I had previously been OK with looked clunky and a bit clumsy (the excellent dancing from Nunez notwithstanding), and what on earth was that bit where she pokes her head between his knees all about?? As my sister put it, when we saw it at the cinema, "Too much writhing around on the floor". Having said that, there were still bits that I liked, and I still don't think it deserved some of the more extreme comments that have been made. And - and I think this is important - many many comments on the social media were from people who enjoyed it and thought it was fantastic, so it obviously had appeal for quite a number of people (but please, Mr Acosta, stick to what you are best at - your best is so wonderful!).

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i don't think that anyone at Covent Garden was having a fit of the vapours because Acosta's Carmen was not classically based. I think it was a combination of the choreographer's incompetence and the apparent failure of management to control what was put on the stage which led to the response it received. There were plenty of adoring fans in the audience for whom their hero could do no wrong but for the rest of the audience I think that it came as a bit of a shock to discover that Acosta has so little sense of theatre and of what dance,to which he has dedicated most of his life, can and can't do.

 

 It might have done better at Sadler's Wells but are audiences there are less critical of failures in structure and willing to accept tracts of dance which are banal and bring the development of the characters and the drama to a juddering halt ? Perhaps the problem is that Acosta has danced in one too many Don Qs. It seemed as if he was trying to use the corps a bit like it is used in late nineteenth ballets, as they have come down to us, to provide local colour and dance for its own sake. It is very strange that he seems to have learnt nothing from the structure of the dance dramas in which he has appeared.I don't think that the mixture of dance styles was the problem. He could have used one style for the corps and another for what was going on in Don Jose's head quite effectively if he had used the contrasting styles with any degree of skill and had kept the drama to the fore all the time. I am afraid that too often it looked as if he was using the corps because he had run out of ideas for the three main characters and had more music than he knew what to do with.

 

I don't think that anyone was expecting a work of any significance I think that they were hoping for competence. It is interesting to compare Nureyev and Acosta. Both were superstars but Nureyev, it seems to me, had a better understanding of ballet as theatre than Acosta has.While I think that Nureyev piled on the technical challenges when it came to the male solos he set in his stagings  of Petipa's ballets the details of floor plan and text work in a way that Acosta's Don Q does not. Perhaps it is just that Nureyev had access to better versions of these works on which to base his own stagings than Acosta had.After all the Sergeyev versions of Petipa's ballets have held the stage in Saint Petersburg since the 1940's and are readily accepted as the real thing.

 

Then Nureyev had the beneficial experience of having works made on him by choreographers of real talent and occasionally of genius which Acosta has not had. While Ashton claimed that in watching the Fairy Variations he was taking private lessons with Petipa he had also spent time in the studio watching Nijinska create her ballets. I have no doubt that the experience of watching a real choreographer at work was as important  to him as MacMillan said watching Ashton at work was to him. Having said all that the fact remains that Nureyev's re-stagings of the nineteenth century classics are far more effective than his original works such as the Tempest proved to be. Perhaps it is too much to expect that a great dancer should be a decent maker of original dance works.While it may not be true of the nineteenth century choreographers many of the greatest twentieth century choreographers were men who , for one reason or another, became unable to dance or  were unable to dance at the standard they would have wished

Edited by FLOSS
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I shall record the Darcey programme when it is on again.  I am still puzzled by the inclusion of Underwood, though.   I find it quite hard to believe that he is a hero to her, what explanation did she give?

 

I am not that puzzled :)  It's an opportunity to let the TV audience know that "Ballet is for all".

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I don't think that anyone was expecting a work of any significance I think that they were hoping for competence. It is interesting to compare Nureyev and Acosta. Both were superstars but Nureyev, it seems to me, had a better understanding of ballet as theatre than Acosta has.While I think that Nureyev piled on the technical challenges when it came to the male solos he set in his stagings  of Petipa's ballets the details of floor plan and text work in a way that Acosta's Don Q does not. Perhaps it is just that Nureyev had access to better versions of these works on which to base his own stagings than Acosta had.After all the Sergeyev versions of Petipa's ballets have held the stage in Saint Petersburg since the 1940's and are readily accepted as the real thing.

In the recent (excellent) documentary on Acosta, I did think it was rather telling in the section towards the end that concentrated on the making of Carmen, that at the first stage call Acosta made some comment along the lines that he hadn't taken into account how having the Corps, opera chorus and the flamenco players all on stage at the same time would take up so much room. Those weren't his actual words but that was the sense of them. Really?? He hadn't thought about that up until that stage? And more to the point, why on earth didn't someone at the RB with (presumably) more experience of staging productions point this out to him (unless he was keeping his plans under wraps)? That may go some way towards explaining the cluttered, messy group sections, but more generally, suggests that he really doesn't have the vision for how ideas that seem great in your head don't always work in practice. Something I would have thought was a vital skill in a good choreographer....

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Well in the end I think FLOSS and some others have probably hit it on the head......some people may be wonderful dancers but that doesn't make them wonderful choreographers!!

Perhaps it's a bit like being a passenger in a car .....you can never really remember the route until you actually drive it yourself for the first time ....no matter how many times someone says "look we've driven this route 100 times now why can't you remember!!"

Things just don't happen by some sort of osmosis.

 

However many dancers never venture into choreography so presumably Acosta must have wanted to do it (not done it reluctantly by request) and he did have some previous experience of creating works ......even for the ROH stage ....so should have had some idea of staging for a large number of people .....but having the chorus and musicians on stage and interacting with the dancers is an interesting idea and goes back to the roots of Spanish music and dance. So I admire him for having a go.....it might have worked!!

 

In his farewell speech he encouraged young dancers to take risks and not be afraid to fail. I admire this advice too.

It will obviously not turn out to be his best work but .....20 years down the line at least he can say he did try to create works for one of the best Companies in the world!!

As time passes many works get lost who were by well known choreographers at the time....eg Fokine an example. Some of his work was ground breaking some probably not so but just remain names ....part of a body of work. Even for the best choreographers not EVERY piece is a masterpiece.

And Carlos will not be the last up against the clock!! Some will remember Wayne Eagling (lovely dancer) being fairly laid back (to appearances at least) not having finished the choreography the day before opening!! I think his dancers saved the day it seemed.

 

 

There is a very discerning audience at Sadlers Wells......no disrespect meant ....but this theatre has more of a reputation for staging experimental works which is very important I feel for choreographers to find their feet so to speak.

The audience tends to expect more unusual events and it doesn't cost nearly as much for a ticket as at the ROH!

 

Anyway enough defending Carlos for me!! Onwards and upwards as they say!

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Perhaps it would have been difficult for Acosta to ask for assistance but there would have been nothing to stop O'Hare offering assistance in some form. Even saying he would like to pop in to see how things were going might have helped. It must have been obvious at a very early stage that Acosta had bitten off more than he could chew.I  just hope that the A.D. learns from this year's mistakes and that they don't result in more  control being imposed on him as far as programming is concerned.

 

The A.D's new year resolutions for 2016 should include:-1) Keep a close eye on inexperienced choreographers however eminent they may be as dancers. 2) Don't revive total failures however well known the choreographer may be.Reviving a turkey  only draws attention to its weaknesses. 3) Revive Tudor's Lilac Garden to instil the understanding,especially among would be choreographers, that brief sections of choreography can tell an audience more than MacMillan can manage in five minutes and  Neumeier in ten. A couple of seasons of well crafted major ballets would work wonders on everyone.

Edited by FLOSS
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In the recent (excellent) documentary on Acosta, I did think it was rather telling in the section towards the end that concentrated on the making of Carmen, that at the first stage call Acosta made some comment along the lines that he hadn't taken into account how having the Corps, opera chorus and the flamenco players all on stage at the same time would take up so much room.

 

I'll hazard a guess here, that they hadn't realised how little space was left 'upstage' once that big circle put in place actually on the main stage, so what was left was a bit more cramped than they'd envisaged. Just a thought, that's all.

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And FLOSS try saying in 5 words what you say in 50. What is sauce for what you say about MacM and Neumeier is sauce for ...

 

;-)

 

I hope that FLOSS will NOT shorten her posts; they are long because she is putting forward complex ideas and arguments as well as factual information. And I'm very grateful to her for doing so. (Writing is not ballet, unless perhaps you're writing poetry.)

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