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Maina Gielgud Masterclass


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I'm not sure if this is the best place to post this but I just wanted to tell people about a masterclass with Maina Gielgud which I attended (as an audience member, I hasten to add) on Thursday evening. I was so impressed with Maina. She was coaching Anais Chalendard for her debut as Odette/Odile in her forthcoming performance at the Coliseum in August. Her coaching was precise and authoritative but also positive and her whole manner was really attractive. Afterwards there was a question and answer session and it was clear what a wealth of knowledge (she danced with a number of companies and has coached many companies around the world) and, most importantly, love of ballet she had. Two things particularly stood out. Firstly, she treated the dancers as individuals; she adjusted her coaching to suit the dancer she was working with and understood and accepted that different dancers would bring different things to the same role (and she welcomed their imput into the role). Secondly, she felt that it was very easy for dancers to get fixated on performing their steps perfectly at the expense of telling the story. In her view, minor imperfections were not important to the audience; what mattered was that the dancers connected with the audience (the eyes were very important) and inhabited the character. It was really refreshing to hear this. As well as coaching dancers for ENB's Swan Lake, Maina was responsible for staging ENB's critically acclaimed Suite en Blanc which I personally absolutely loved. I understand that Maina is a guest coach rather than a permanent member of staff, and I do hope that ENB will not lose her following the change of management.

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It is a pity that this praise of Maina Gielgud, with which we agree wholeheartedly, is located in the section about Jose Martin. We have had the privilege of seeing Maina at work in the studio on many occasions and can attest to the fact that she is always as good as she was at the MasterClass. She really does treat every Principal as an individual and can often be heard exploring interpretations with them and then giving detailed feedback as to whether or not they are conveying what they themselves intend. We too hope that ENB will continue to use her skills to the full - and, of course, her links back into the history of ballets and interpreters make her an invaluable source of knowledge for today's generation of dancers.

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I too am a great fan of Maina's & also thoroughly enjoyed watching her coach Anais last Thurs evening -you have already described the aptness & sensitivity of her coaching - I have nothing to add to that but we must not forget that (as well as having successful international dancing & coaching careers) she has directed big national companies like the Australians and the Royal Danes too - basically she has been there,done it & got all the T-shirts! You started me trawling thro my ballet ephemera & for my personal nostalgia trip, I note that the first cast list I have of her is as Siren in Prodigal Son with SWRB October 1976 and then as Raymonda (just Act 3) April 77 - that got me looking at early Etudes casts I liked - anything to get out of the gardening But I will write about those in another place! Brava Maina - she is a treasure - I trust she will continue her work with ENB for many years.

 

A tiny postscript - does anyone else treasure the memory like me of her last Swan Lake at Covent Garden partnered by guess who? ENB Director (till August anyway) Wayne Eagling.

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A tiny postscript - does anyone else treasure the memory like me of her last Swan Lake at Covent Garden partnered by guess who? ENB Director (till August anyway) Wayne Eagling.

 

Too far back for me, although I was there for Eagling's last performance: a triple bill, I think Requiem, Agon and Month in the Country, though I may be wrong. This was back in the days when they actually acknowledged principals' last performances with a photo and acknowledgement in the cast sheet. Didn't last long after that ...

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is terrible news.

 

Maina and Ros are the ones primarily responsible for the amazingly high standards currently attained by ENB and will be sorely missed.

 

We would like to thank them for everything they have done for the Company and for our enjoyment.

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That is a shame, but perhaps they both have exciting news in terms of their future prospects. It is often understandable when a transition is a difficult one - as by common consent I think Tamara's is seen to be - that it start with a clean slate. Perhaps that is the advice that has been offered to Tamara in terms of most effectively dealing with the combative cuts which we know are concrete. If there is to be blood letting surely it is best delivered with a short sharp shock rather than the drip-drip effect currently dividing Europe and depressing the world. I am certain everyone on this Board wishes ALL the very best wishes and greatest admiration. We are in each of their considerable debt. Sadly, these things were NEVER going to be easy.

Edited by Meunier
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Yes, of course, one is very happy for Maina and Ros if new, exciting opportunities have opened up for them - and Maina is in great demand as a coach all over the world. But, although changes are almost inevitable when a new Artistic Director arrives, the consummate skill these two amazing former Principal dancers bring to their work will be very hard to replace at ENB.

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We would like to thank them for everything they have done for the Company and for our enjoyment.

 

Seconded.

It has been a great privilege to watch them coaching in the public classes and rehearsals that ENB have so generously and imaginatively offered to all-comers at various London venues in recent years.

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Very best wishes for the future to both of them and many thanks for their contributions to some lovely performances which my daughter and I have seen over the last few years. Swan Lake and Suite en Blanc (the latter staged by Maina) have been real highlights for us. I'm so glad that I took the opportunity to attend what must be Maina's last masterclass with ENB. You never know; perhaps Maina will be back to stage Bejart's Songs of a Wayfarer or Nureyev's Don Quixote, recently performed by National Ballet of Canada and Boston Ballet respectively.

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Of course ENB had Nureyev's production of Don Q for many years & he performed it many, many times with Eva Evdokimova & Patricia Ruanne (and others) with great success - I don't know whether they still have it - stored down at Marden - but I imagine its re-mounting would have to have permission from the Nureyev foundation who closely guard the rights to most of his productions - I know Pat Ruanne "looks after" his R&J - she and her husband figured largely in the R&J episode of the Agony and the Ecstasy - and she also mounts the Nureyev Nutcracker which will be on in Vienna this Christmas - I understand Denis Cherevichko who just won gold at Varna will be one of its Prince/Drosselmeyers - very much worth a visit I guess if one is at a loose end December time?

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>>>> Of course ENB had Nureyev's production of Don Q for many years

 

Did they?

 

I'm not at all sure ENB has the Nureyev DonQ. For the record I believe that MainaG has been given the right to stage DonQ by the Nureyev Foundation... which is what she did in Boston.

Edited by Bruce
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