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Audience "Best of 2015"


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I have seen quite a few companies this year and many varied dance styles and ballets  but my best performance  of 2015 was of  La Fille Mal Gardee performed by Morera and Muntagirov .Anyone who saw this cast will not need an explanation. But for those who did not it was a very warm performance and as close as you are likely to get to perfection technically.Muntagirov's Colas had youthful charm  as well as technique and Morera's Lise is up there with the very best. She is still the best Ashton dancer the RB has got. It was one of those performances that restores your faith in ballet,using the classical dance vocabulary, as an art form.

 

A close second Cuthbertson as the Woman in the Song of the Earth, sorrow and resignation in the right measure in the last section. I also thought that Gittens and Singleton were wonderful in BRB's Swan Lake.

Edited by FLOSS
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OK, here's my list:

Yasmine Naghdi/Matthew Ball's Olga/Lensky - virtually stole the show in Onegin (RB)

The opening night cast in Symphonic Variations were sublime. Sadly, they were only all together the once (RB)

Ballet Black in the Linbury - I always seem to love what they do!

The Ann Maguire gala at Sadlers Wells - really well done under difficult circumstances. Very poignant

Woolf Works (first and third parts, and not just because of Alexandra Ferri, though that didn't hurt!) (RB)

Dutch National Ballet's Cinderella. Really enjoyed thsi - perhaps cos no gallumping 'ugly sisters'

Sylvie Guillem's 'Life in progress'. Maybe not the best thing she's ever done. but it was the last time I'll see her dance.

ENB's 'Lest We Forget' trilogy at Sadlers Wells. 'Dust' alone worth the entry fee for me.

Yasmine Naghdi/Matthew Ball again, this time in the leads as Juliet and Romeo. One of my favourite performances of the year - easily my fave R&J (possibly ever)

BRB's 'Variations' mixed bill at Sadlers Wells (even though I'm not keen on Enigma Variations). Kings Dances was extraordinary in the flesh.

Ballet Cymru (with Cerys Matthews) TIR mixed bill in Lilian Baylis studio theatre. Hearing the old songs did make me ever so homesick!

Nutcrackers - first time I've managed to photograph all 3 'major' Nutcrackers in one season (RB, BRB  and ENB). And I always enjoy the RB Nutcracker, no matter how many times I see it.

 

oops - gone over 10, I wasn't counting when I started typing...

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Anything involving Celine Gittens and Tyrone Singleton

Anything involving Delia Matthews and Brandon Lawrence

 

This next remark is NOT to be taken as Xenophobic

 

We had two casts of seminarians in Carmina Burana in Birmingham which made a total of 6 male dancers. Of those 5 were British. If you include Iain Mackay that is 6 out of 7. This makes me feel that there is real hope for British dance students that they can achieve worthwhile careers within ballet.

 

The exception was Mathias Dingman and I would like to say how fortunate we are to have him as one of our principals.

Edited by Two Pigeons
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Ah top 10 is it, ok:

 

6) ...I'll add Muntagirov in anything he dances to the list - and also hope that 2016 finds him in a role (old or new) that really defines his presence at the RB

7) Osipova and Hayward in Month in the Country

8) ENB war triple - Dust in particular

9) Ballett am Rhein triple with Symphonic

10) The Ratmansky at Bavarian and Berlin State Ballets

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I don't feel that 2015 was a stellar year for ballet. I actually saw a lot, which seems to have detracted from my enjoyment of what I saw rather than increased it. Obviously, some people enjoy seeing different interpretations of the same role and different partnerships but in my case I found that seeing several casts only made me more critical and I felt that I was searching for the holy grail of the perfect performance and was almost invariably disappointed. I was struck by something that a poster said on another thread a while ago along the lines of people being jaded and hard to please because they were seeing too many performances of the same programme. That struck a chord for me and I think that she is right, in my case at least. Consequently, I began returning tickets for performances so that I was only seeing each programme once. Of course, if you are only seeing one performance you risk not seeing the 'best' one or the one with the 'best' cast but unless you see every performance or at least every cast that is the risk you run.

 

As for the highlights of the year, I feel that, whilst Woolf Works was not perfect and I didn't enjoy all of it, it was a sophisticated work showcasing a variety of choreography and staging based on interesting and challenging source material. I think that it is a keeper for its originality and sweep.

 

For sheer enjoyment and entertainment I would choose Matthew Bourne's The Car Man.

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  1. Morera/Muntagirov Fille

  2. Woolf Works

The return (to London) of Alessandra Ferri – Woolf Works and Chéri

Dust

barbarians – Hofesh Shechter

The King Dances

Hayward – Juliet

The Two Pigeons

Acosta and Nunez - Diana and Actaeon pas de deux

Hayward, Campbell and Avis – RB Nutcracker

Edited by bridiem
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Woolf Works tops them all, the ballet, the music, and the dancers, especially Alessandra Ferri.

 

Vadim Muntagirov, especially in La Fille Mal Gardee with Laura Morera.

 

Irina Kolesnikova and Denis Rodkin in La Bayadere.

 

The Two Pigeons.

 

Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball in Romeo and Juliet.

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Anything with Edward Watson in it as he seemed to be a rare sighting since his Manon with Francesca Hayward (wonderful). Please, more of this wonderful dancer whilst he is still at RB - I need to see his Mayerling again...and again...and again!

 

Loved Woolf Works and not for Alessandra Ferri although she was a plus.  It just worked for me and I would like to see it again.  

 

Other than that, not a standout year.  I missed Naghdi and Ball's R&J to my great regret.

 

Worst performance:  Carmen, again, but the opera this time, the one that Jonas Kaufman was very wisely sick for.  Terrible.  Awful waste of money for a pantomime production 

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Well 2015 has been a splendid ballet-watching year for me, right from the start of January.  So, in no particular order:

 

 

1.  The Royal Danish Ballet Group at the Peacock Theatre in January.  I adore the RDB style and this taster programme was a joy to watch - especially with a final chance to see Diana Cuni and Gudrun Bojesen.  What a blissful way to start the year.

 

2.  Northern Ballet performing Maillot's Romeo and Juliet.  It's never going to be a favourite production but it was good to see the company out of their comfort zone still giving stellar performances.  

 

3.  Northern Ballet's revival of Wuthering Heights was a total joy.  Kenny Tindall's retirement performance in Milton Keynes will stay in my memory forever.  Possibly the finest performance of Wuthering Heights I have ever seen was the first night in Bradford in November; the performance was dedicated to the memory of Jonny Ollivier and the dancers just danced their hearts out for him.  It was an intensely emotional performance and most of the cast were in tears at the curtain calls.  Then on the Friday evening Lucia Solari and Javier Torres gave us a performance of glorious abandon to relish.

 

4.  Northern Ballet's midscale tour was an absolute joy with Perpetuum Mobile and a cut down version of Madame Butterfly.  It was a particularly special couple of weeks with me being able to celebrate my birthday with friends enjoying the performance in Blackpool and the company returning to Liverpool after 20-odd years.  Rachael Gillespie was breath-taking as Butterfly; it was a role she was born to dance and her Pinkerton, Javier Torres was very special too!

 

5.  Brandon Lawrence.  Full stop!  Except that I must mention his unforgettable performance in Upper Room.  His presence was so powerful at times I thought it was a solo piece!  His debut as Siegfried at the Lowry with Della Matthews was very special indeed.  They danced for each other and I felt very privileged to witness this performance.

 

6.  Alexander Campbell as Colas and The Young Man - sheer bliss for me!  I love his burgeoning partnership with the very lovely Yuhui Choe.

 

7.  I thought The King Dances was an amazing spectacle and very, very clever.  It looked deceptively simple but I bet it was hell to dance.  I loved it!

 

8.  Wayne McGregor's Tree of Codes in collaboration with POB was a sensual immersion in all senses.  I loved it!

 

9.  Nijinsky, God of Dance in Bratislava was an amazing and complex piece of work.  

 

10.  OK - here it is - my ultimate performance of the year!  David Bentley revived his production of Sylvia for one week only in Birmingham.  We saw 2 casts led by Momoko Hirata/Joe Caley and Miki Mizutani/Chi Cao.  I love this production - it's witty and tells the story really well.  The Saturday evening, led by Miki and Chi was the best performance I have seen of any production by any company all year.  It was incandescent, enthralling, exciting, magical....   I shall never forget it!

 

 

Turkey of the year for me was, I'm afraid, Acosta's Carmen although I did enjoy the performances.

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With the Royal Ballet

- Edward Watson in The Four Temperaments

- Woolf Works

- The summer performances of the Watson casts of The Song of the Earth

- Yasmine Naghdi/ Matthew Ball in Romeo & Juliet

- Yasmine Nagdhi/ Emma Maguire/ Tristan Dyer in Monotones I

- James Hay in Two Pigeons

 

Initials R.B.M.E. with Stuttgart Ballet

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I'm coming at it from a Northern perspective except sadly the one we paid the most money for;

 

1. Last performance by Dane Hurst at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh - Transfigured Night.

Also, Rooster from Rambert at the beginning of the year was also fantastic!

 

2. Richard Alston Dance Company particularly Nancy Nerantzi and Liam Riddick in Burning.

 

3. Rosie Kay Dance Company 5 Soldiers: The Body is the Frontline at Dance City in Newcastle.

 

4. Scottish Ballet, A Sreetcar Named Desire at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow.

 

5. Kairos, choreographed by Wayne McGregor and performed by Ballet Zurich at EIF.

 

My husband and I both celebrated a significant birthday this year and treated ourselves to a London break in October and our first visit to the ROH. It was an enjoyable evening but Raven Girl and Connectome were both at the bottom of the dance performances we saw this year not least because Connectome seemed under rehearsed. However, we really enjoyed Afternoon of a Faun when we went to the Cinema to see the Royal Ballet Triple Bill (I won't mention Carmen).

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I have enjoyed individual performances by a number of dancers but the stand-out's for me were: 

 

"Symphonic Variations" (Nunez/Muntagirov/Choe/Dyer/Naghdi/Hay)

 

"A Month in the Country": Zenaida Yanowsky/Emma Maguire

 

"Onegin": Osipova/Golding/Naghdi/Ball

 

"Song of The Earth": Lauren Cuthbertson

 

"Fille mal Gardee": Morera/Muntagirov

 

"Monotones I"

 

"The Nutcracker": Hayward's Clara, Campbell, Naghdi's "Rose Fairy"

 

BRB's "The King Dances" 

 

ENB's "Dust"

 

Highlight of the year: "Romeo&Juliet": Naghdi/Ball 

 

Turkey of the year: Carlos Acosta's "Carmen" 

Edited by Nina G.
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5. Kairos, choreographed by Wayne McGregor and performed by Ballet Zurich at EIF.

 

 

 

Great choice Very Skint, and another MacGregor piece that will last the test of time :)

 

For me:

 

1) Viktorina Kapitonova's Giselle, with Roberto Bolle Especially, in Zürich

2) Wayne Macgregor's Kairos in Zürich

3) Roberto Bolle & Viktoria Kapitonova Christian Spuck's Funny Grand Pas De Deux around Italy this year

4) Vadim Muntgarov in Faun thingy :)

5) Mono Lisa add with Maria Eichwald and Roberto Bolle, Itzik Galli

 

One thing I am most looking forward to in 2016

 

Ratmansky's Swan Lake in Zürich and the people in the forum getting to hear about Viktorina Kapitonova

 

The thing I am happy to leave behind in 2015, the conversation about Carlos Acosta's Carmen. A man who inspired a generation of male dancers, who showed that 'black' dancers do not have to be known as a famous 'black dancer', just an amazing dancer for the world. I think he deserved the budget and time for whatever he wanted to choreograph, for all the years and success he gave to RB.

 

The thing I am least looking forward to in 2016: Hearing the name Misty Copeland on more TV and radio, films, etc. etc. etc. etc.

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Are we keeping this to 2015?  A lot of people seem to be mentioning performances which took place early on in the 2014-15 season.

 

I think at this time of year, and regarding the issue that Ballet seasons are not calendar years ,there can be some confusion. Shall we forgive, and spread the goodwill? :)

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OK here goes:

 

1. With no hesitation, the highlight of the year for me was Naghdi/Ball's RnJ.

2. Lauren Cuthbertson's heartfelt return to the stage in Song of the Earth.

3. Alexander Campbell in everything he was in.

4. Ditto Vadim Muntagirov, but especially his Fille with Laura Morera. What a fabulous surprise that was, and I so hope to see them dance it again next time it comes around.

5. Brandon Lawrence and Delia Matthews in BRB's Swan Lake.

6. BRB's production of Swan Lake.

7. ENB's Lest We Forget. Just as good second time around.

8. The young dancers in the lower ranks of the RB who have made such a positive impression.

9. The revival of Two Pigeons.

10. My trip to St. Petersburg in February, where I saw the fantastic Maryinsky three nights in a row...two Bayaderes and one Sylphide. Tereshkina and Shklyarov danced the best Bayadere I have ever seen. An unforgettable and wonderful experience.

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It's been one year since I saw my first ballet (Don Q, which I am apparently in the minority for loving?). Since then I've seen everything the Royal Ballet has done, plus some ENB and contemporary. My highlights are:

 

Woolf Works. Loved the music, and it made me wish that other productions amplified the music. Edward Watson made me sob with one facial expression.

 

Untouchable. Loved the (amplified!) music for that too and for me it was an introduction to Shecter's work.

 

Onegin. Beautiful performance by Osipova.

 

Alice in Wonderland. First time seeing Francesca Hayward and I loved the creativity of the production.

 

Disappointment of the year: Romeo and Juliet. I saw the first performance of Lamb and Muntagirov and I know Lamb was a substitution due to injury, but for me the production didn't gel or have an emotional impact. Surprisingly, Muntagirov's Romeo left me unconvinced.

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