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I noticed that too. I loved Bussell in Song of the Earth, both as a young dancer and before she retired. It suited her combination of strength and innocence and the boldness of her dancing. But although she had a lovely quality about her I didn't generally find her especially involving or dramatically interesting, and I didn't think one role warranted a place on a 'favourites' list. 

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Unfortunately for me most of Bussells career was in the ten years or so I didn't go and see any ballet but I did catch her towards the end and thought she was a lovely easy classical dancer but wasn't tempted to see her in anything dramatic whether this was a mistake or not I'll never know now!

 

I've become a bit supportive of her in recent years just because she gets so much stick and I think,she has some attempted some brave things like the last major dance she tried on TV looking at .....and then trying to re create ....dances of stars she has admired eg Ginger Rogers. Not an easy thing to do so admire her for placing herself at this level of vulnerability.

I never saw her do a Macmillan role and I think he was the choreographer who liked her. Certainly cannot imagine her doing Fille but neither Juliet

Did she do these roles? If so did anybody here see her?

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She's never danced Lise, but I saw her Juliet debut.  I think it was rather overshadowed by Sarah Wildor's that afternoon, according to people who'd seen both.  I think I've only seen her dance it twice.

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Going back to the original posting, it has just occurred to me that some ballerinas crop up in numerous responses. However, hardly anyone has mentioned Darcey Bussell.

 

I find this very interesting. Do people no longer think of her in those terms? Is she thought to be more of a media figure now?

 

Any thoughts?

 

There are probably some thoughts in this thread: http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/2752-why-did-darcey-bussell-become-so-famous/?hl=bussell

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I have loads of favourites but I feel like to truly judge them id have to see them all live. So from those I've seen in a proper live performance my favourites have to be Lauren Cuthbertson and Lauretta Summerscales. They are just such artistic dancers. I wish I could see so many more though. I really want to see Hayward dance, I feel like she'd probably join my list!

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She doesn't dance with other companies, so you won't have any joy there.  She's scheduled to be dancing in the pas de six in the live Giselle broadcast on Wednesday.  Apart from that, she isn't often cast highly enough to feature in advance casting information.  Yet.

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Going back to the original posting, it has just occurred to me that some ballerinas crop up in numerous responses. However, hardly anyone has mentioned Darcey Bussell.

 

I find this very interesting. Do people no longer think of her in those terms? Is she thought to be more of a media figure now?

 

Any thoughts?

 

I found this interesting too. I'm afraid that, apart from an early Song of the Earth (as mentioned above), I found her performances uninvolving and, eventually, did not book for her. For example, I did not want my Manon smiling at the audience rather than being involved in her own story within the stage.

 

So, no, I would not rate her as a great ballerina - nor, indeed, as a strong media performer.

 

However, it is interesting to note those who are emerging as the 'greats' on this thread. We vary on here so much in our tastes, our ballet-watching history and our memories yet certain names are recurring.

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As my interest in ballet is relatively recent & still developing, there are many dancers being listed as favourites (both in the male & female thread) where I have little knowledge of what they were like in performance, as they're now long retired. It's motivating me to start searching out some good recordings online & get better acquainted over the quieter summer months.

 

Of current female dancers, I keep hoping to see Alina Cojocaru (ENB) when they're on tour at the Mayflower, Southampton. But at the rate it's going, I'd better book a London based performance instead!

 

From the RB, who I see relatively regularly now, I greatly enjoy performances from Marianela Nuñez, Laura Morera, Lauren Cuthbertson, Yasmine Naghdi & Francesca Hayward. 

Also Sarah Lamb, Yuhui Choe & Natalia Osipova (but in specific roles).

 

Although I don't have a favourite female dancer, I have to make a special mention of Zenaida Yanowsky: she's been wonderful in a variety of roles I've seen, but also for another reason. 

 

Back in October 2012, I was looking for a way to remember a very dear, very close family member on an anniversary of their death. They had reminisced about doing ballet into their teens (a highlight of which had been dancing as a cygnet in Swan Lake), so when I spotted that the RB were doing a live relay of Swan Lake at my local cinema the evening before the anniversary, it seemed ideal. I'd not seen any ballet since primary school, but felt sure the RB would deliver a good performance. The anniversary is always a raw, emotional time for me & through Acts I & into Act II, I thought about my loved one, especially as the cygnets danced. But something happened as the ballet went on & I became totally immersed in the world of Swan Lake. It was a shock when the curtain fell at the end of Act IV & I found I was crying - but over the fate of Odette & Siegfried.

 

I had no idea ballet could have that power to move, or be so beautiful & involving. So thanks to Gary Avis (Von Rothbart), Nehemiah Kish (Siegfried) & all the cast, but most especially Zenaida Yanowsky (Odette/Odile), I left the cinema that night feeling uplifted & knowing I'd found an art form I wanted to see more of.  My love of ballet has gradually progressed from there.
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One of the disadvantages of the fashion for tall dancers, it seems to me, is that it has tended to lead to an emphasis on a rather static style of dancing which emphasises posing and line rather than flowing movement and fast neat footwork.

 

I couldn't agree more!!! I love Lopatkina but I feel like every role she does is the same. I know she's sublime in Swan Lake (and she'll probably be remembered for it in 100 years time) and the way she dances it with slow, unfolding limbs work very well for that particular role, but not so much for others. However that doesnt stop her from doing it for some reason and for this I find her to be a very one dimensional dancer, more concerned with getting her lines right than trying to bring something new to the role... for example what is the difference between her Odette, her Giselle or her Raymonda??? She all dances them with the same approach.

 

I also feel like this is an recurring trend at Vaganova/Mariinsky nowadays. The technival standard of Vaganova isn't the same as it used to be. Russian dancers have always been known for their brilliant technique, yes, even in the 40s and 50s. They had brilliant footwork, fast and neat, incredible jumps and jaw dropping lifts. I feel like most of this Soviet bravura is gone now, with the exception of some Bolshoi dancers (Maria Alexandrova comes to mind, she is a Bolshoi/Soviet dancer through and through, and eventhough she's tall she can dance with speed no problem). Especially at Vaganova they seem to be more concerned with the upperbody than anything else, and although its true that one of their main characteristics is the supple upperbody, they used to be more than just that... Vaganova was a visionary because she managed to combine the style of the imperial ballet (influenced mostly by the French and the Italians) with a new way of moving your back resulting in a brand new school that combined the best of both worlds. Dancers like Ulanova, Dudinskaya etc. all had brilliant footwork next to a supple upperbody. The current generation of Vaganova graduates do not have that. At all. Watching videos of students i'm completely amazed by their weak feet and ankles, some girls can barely hold theirselves on pointe but seem to be having no problem wacking their legs up to their ears. Ofcourse I realise I'm watching students who are still learning, but the decline of the technical standard is so apparent that I don't think it has anything to do with their age or inexperience. In this video for example there are three Russian students who are fully Vaganova trained and one foreign student (Alexandra Kearny, I think she's Australian?) who got part of her education elsewhere, and the difference is almost painful to watch:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMBytoD7_q8

 

The Russian students all have wonderful lines and beautiful port de bras (as is expected), but are really struggling with their footwork, with shaky ankles and balances. Kearny on the other hand seems much more robust and gives a more solid impression. Its kind of embarrasing to see that a foreign student is technically stronger than the products of what is supposed to be the best ballet school in the world. And it's not like these students are the worst, either. One of them (Svetlana Lunkina) was the top graduate of her year. There are more videos of Vaganova students on youtube that you can watch, and I feel like in every year the footwork is below par. Some things they do are just plain wrong and you wouldnt see it even in the most obscure studio schools. In of the most recent uploads for example I saw a girl hopping straight on pointe rather than rising on point by doing a relevé first... She just hopped straight on pointe!!! Never have I ever seen such a thing... especially not at a school that is supposed to set the standard in the ballet world.

 

And before I completely go off track, here's a list of dancers that ive been enjoying recently:

 

Clairemarie Osta and Isabelle Guérin are my all time favourites, along with Nicolas Le Riche and Laurent Hilaire. Special mentions go to Platel, Moussin, Dupont, Pujol, Albisson, Ould-Braham and Renavand. Young, upcoming dancers that I enjoy are Letizia Galloni, Marion Barbeau, Jennifer Visocchi, Lydie Vareilhes and Ida Viikinkoski.

 

Non-french dancers that I cant get enough of are Yoshida, Collier, Choe, Kaneko, Alexandrova, Krysanova and Nadezhda Batoeva (I'm sure there are others but these are fromt the top of my head). Also there is this young dancer at the Bolshoi named Ana Turazashvili who was COMPLETELY won over my heart, I have never been so in awe with a lower ranked dancer before! Fingers crossed she's going to get far in the company! Oh and now I'm talking about young dancers, there is a corps dancer at the Royal named Chisato Katsura that has caught my eye. She's a Royal ballet school graduate and joined this year. Has anyone noticed her too? She shows so much potential, but maybe its a bit too early to really say anything about it?? It is her first year as a professional dancer after all :)

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[...] There are more videos of Vaganova students on youtube that you can watch, and I feel like in every year the footwork is below par. Some things they do are just plain wrong and you wouldnt see it even in the most obscure studio schools. In of the most recent uploads for example I saw a girl hopping straight on pointe rather than rising on point by doing a relevé first... She just hopped straight on pointe!!! Never have I ever seen such a thing... especially not at a school that is supposed to set the standard in the ballet world. [...]

 

 

Hello Kameliendame, I enjoyed reading your post very much! But I always thought that there are different ways of rising onto pointe (relevé, piqué, sauté) ... in Russia it seems the "sauté method" is more common (in allegro choreography)? So maybe it was not incompetence that this particular dancer did not do the transition via the relevé, but it was appropriate for her at that moment. - That is just what I would suspect (I am just a recreational dancer but my teacher who is Russian trained explained it that way, if I understood her correctly).

 

One of my favourite ballerinas is Aurélie Dupont - always when I saw her I thought I was seeing the whole history of the art form, back to the ballet de cour, the court ballets of the baroque era to the romantic era, Petipa and beyond (she is also my favourite Aurora on that POB dvd, filmed c. 1999). She, M. Legris and D. Hallberg are my favorite "nobles" :)

And then Natalia Osipova, because of her range and fearlessness in trying new things.

Edited by Katharina
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Once seen never forgotten, Miss Piggy as Odette with Nureyev. Then there's that scene in the sauna where she invites him to remove his towel and they start singing. It is either very funny or simply excruciating, depending on your point of view. I can't remember how to do a link but it's all right there on Youtube.  :rolleyes:

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Oh and now I'm talking about young dancers, there is a corps dancer at the Royal named Chisato Katsura that has caught my eye. She's a Royal ballet school graduate and joined this year. Has anyone noticed her too? She shows so much potential, but maybe its a bit too early to really say anything about it?? It is her first year as a professional dancer after all :)

 

In case you are not aware kameliendame:

 

Chisato Katsura won the Young British Dancer of the Year in 2013. She featured prominently in the RBS end or year shows in 2014 (Raymonda Act 3) and 2015 (Gamzatti in an extract from La Bayadere Act 1). She was also the only graduate from the RBS to be taken directly into the RB company last year - the other 5 are apprentices under the Aud Jebsen scheme.

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Hello Kameliendame, I enjoyed reading your post very much! But I always thought that there are different ways of rising onto pointe (relevé, piqué, sauté) ... in Russia it seems the "sauté method" is more common (in allegro choreography)? So maybe it was not incompetence that this particular dancer did not do the transition via the relevé, but it was appropriate for her at that moment. - That is just what I would suspect (I am just a recreational dancer but my teacher who is Russian trained explained it that way, if I understood her correctly).

Thank you for your explanation Katharina! I had no idea there were several methods. I mostly watch French ballet and the French school seems to be mostly using one method, to "rise" on point by letting the movement roll through their foot instead of jumping on pointe straight away. The way that student did it looked very strange to me but I trust your knowledge on the Russian school! However, isn't it dangerous for a dancer to do that? It seems to me that going on pointe without any transition puts too much pressure on the ankle whereas doing a relevé first "prepares" the ankle to carry their body weight. That poor little girl looked like she could snap her ankle anytime....

Edited by kameliendame
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In case you are not aware kameliendame:

 

Chisato Katsura won the Young British Dancer of the Year in 2013. She featured prominently in the RBS end or year shows in 2014 (Raymonda Act 3) and 2015 (Gamzatti in an extract from La Bayadere Act 1). She was also the only graduate from the RBS to be taken directly into the RB company last year - the other 5 are apprentices under the Aud Jebsen scheme.

Thank you capybara I was aware of that! :) She also danced the Cat in Peter and the Wolf, that where I saw her first! She already seemed like a very mature dancer when she was still a student, I can't wait to see how she'll develop artistically now that she's in the company.

 

Random correction, but I just noticed I wrote "Svetlana Lunkina" in my previous post..... I meant Anastasia Lunkina ofcourse, I got her name mixed up with the Bolshoi principal dancer there!

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Thank you for your explanation Katharina! I had no idea there were several methods. I mostly watch French ballet and the French school seems to be mostly using one method, to "rise" on point by letting the movement roll through their foot instead of jumping on pointe straight away. The way that student did it looked very strange to me but I trust your knowledge on the Russian school! However, isn't it dangerous for a dancer to do that? It seems to me that going on pointe without any transition puts too much pressure on the ankle whereas doing a relevé first "prepares" the ankle to carry their body weight. That poor little girl looked like she could snap her ankle anytime....

 

Oh I wouldn´t say I have much "knowledge" of the Russian school :) But I think you are right, the "sauté method" is probably especially stressful and requires strong feet and ankles, which is where we return to your previous post #101.

Maybe one of the dancers/teachers of this forum can explain better? Sorry, off-topic I know.

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Once seen never forgotten, Miss Piggy as Odette with Nureyev. Then there's that scene in the sauna where she invites him to remove his towel and they start singing. It is either very funny or simply excruciating, depending on your point of view. I can't remember how to do a link but it's all right there on Youtube. :rolleyes:

I have this on DVD. Sam the American Eagle refers to Nureyev as his "favourite opera singer"! :)

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From Post 101:

"Random correction, but I just noticed I wrote "Svetlana Lunkina" in my previous post..... I meant Anastasia Lunkina of course..."

 

It seems that the largest part of Post 101 drifted away from the topic. Sorry that I am replying to that particular part.

It is good, kameliendame, that you tried to correct the wrong name. I was reading in mute amazement about Svetlana, a most beautiful ballerina and a Moscow graduate, being reproached for weak feet or footwork.

 

Although you wrote with confidence: ‘I meant Anastasia Lunkina of course’, I am sorry to tell you that your correction was wrong again. The talented graduate of the Vaganova Academy is Anastasia LukinA (not Lunkina), a lyrical dancer with beautiful lines. I admired her back in 2014, a year before her graduation. Her feet with high instep and high arch didn’t look weak at all. Unfortunately, after having joined the Mariinsky Ballet she  was injured and we haven’t heard much about her. I wish her all the best for the next season. You can see here her graduation performance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isyym-cUJR4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt-Akyr9jg0

Edited to change the font.

Edited by Amelia
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y

 

In case you are not aware kameliendame:

 

Chisato Katsura won the Young British Dancer of the Year in 2013. She featured prominently in the RBS end or year shows in 2014 (Raymonda Act 3) and 2015 (Gamzatti in an extract from La Bayadere Act 1). She was also the only graduate from the RBS to be taken directly into the RB company last year - the other 5 are apprentices under the Aud Jebsen scheme.

 

Yes, she's caught my eye too, on several occasions. Look forward to watching her progress

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In case you are not aware kameliendame:

 

Chisato Katsura won the Young British Dancer of the Year in 2013. She featured prominently in the RBS end or year shows in 2014 (Raymonda Act 3) and 2015 (Gamzatti in an extract from La Bayadere Act 1). She was also the only graduate from the RBS to be taken directly into the RB company last year - the other 5 are apprentices under the Aud Jebsen scheme.

 

Chisato also featured in the 2011 recording of Peter and the Wolf. She was still at White Lodge when she gave a superb performance as the cat.  Sergei Polunin was the wolf.   The production was issued on DVD and Blu-ray.  I don’t know if it’s still available.

Edited by Bluebird
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Hope this isn't going too much off topic but Kamiliendame having watched that video I couldn't see a massive difference in these students so couldn't tell you which of them was the Australian!!

The girl in the pink dress had beautiful feet I noticed and often people with such highly arched feet can look a bit "over" when on pointe so may give the appearance of instability but to me she looked okay.......don't know whether such dancers could have probs with ankles eventually but that's for another discussion entirely.

I will look at it again......maybe dance teachers will notice these things more than usual but on first viewing ....as far as footwork went they seemed a pretty similar standard.

I thought the pink lady and the lady in the spotted dress? Had very nice dance quality too.

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And talking of young dancers ....three young dancers of the 18 age group struck me....last year....I did like Chisato but equally two others one has gone to BRB .....don't know whether under this Aud Jebsen scheme .....need to,get programmes for names etc and the other young dancer either didn't get into the RB or didn't want to go there right now but she had an Italian name and I think has gone to Denmark or Norway.....a really beautiful dancer and probably my fave of the three.

In the student performance she danced a duet to songs of Auvergne music.

 

Lots of very young dancers going to be favourites of the future I think!!

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She's never danced Lise, but I saw her Juliet debut.  I think it was rather overshadowed by Sarah Wildor's that afternoon, according to people who'd seen both.  I think I've only seen her dance it twice.

I saw her Juliet and thought she was surprisingly good.  She was never my favourite dancer and I have always been baffled by her fame.  For me Sarah Wildor and Viviana Durante were the real thing.

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One of my all time faves would be Alessandra Ferri. Currently to be seen advertising face cream for Boots so to speak. Apparently the cream has three clinically proven advantages, including reducing the appearance of wrinkles, firmer skin and more even tone.  I don't think it will help one to dance like her though. :(

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I'm going to play here too. Leticia Müller ex BRB. I have a pair of prints on my wall of her by Glynis Barnes-Mellish. Here is one.

Letisha.jpg

 

Also, Lei Zhao another ex-BRBer. She had the unfortunate experience of sitting next to me on the train from London to Brum. Lovely for me though!

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