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Dancers Who Make You Cry (or feel very moved)


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I think the question of which dancers move you is an extremely complex one. so much would seem to depend on the individual viewer's response to the character being portrayed, one's own emotional state, how you react to the story, and that is before you've even thought about the dancer! Then there's your reaction to the dancer, their performance, which I am sure can be affected by their own emotional view of the role, to say nothing of how they may be feeling or if they've got a bit of a twinge! Taking all of this into account, it's amazing that so many of us have seen so many performances that we can say really moved us.

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Ninamargaret, I rather agree.  The performance that drove me to tears was not in Dance but one of Elgar's oratorio, Dream of Gerontius, at the Festival Hall, some two to three months after the death of my younger sister.  I had been with her as she died in an Edinburgh hospital and was immediately preoccupied with taking charge of all that had to be done about notifying the death, a funeral, and so forth - a quiet prayer of "In Paradisum"  but no time for tears.  It was that night in London, weeks later, as I listened and realised again that John Henry Newman, through Elgar, is telling the story of the death of a man surrounded by friends, as had happened that night in Edinburgh, and it all became too much.  "Profiscere , anima Christiana, de hoc mundo" was more than I could bear and I spent the Interval in bits.  I have had difficulty with singing Gerontius ever since.

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Totally understand about 

7 hours ago, Ian Macmillan said:

Ninamargaret, I rather agree.  The performance that drove me to tears was not in Dance but one of Elgar's oratorio, Dream of Gerontius, at the Festival Hall, some two to three months after the death of my younger sister.  I had been with her as she died in an Edinburgh hospital and was immediately preoccupied with taking charge of all that had to be done about notifying the death, a funeral, and so forth - a quiet prayer of "In Paradisum"  but no time for tears.  It was that night in London, weeks later, as I listened and realised again that John Henry Newman, through Elgar, is telling the story of the death of a man surrounded by friends, as had happened that night in Edinburgh, and it all became too much.  "Profiscere , anima Christiana, de hoc mundo" was more than I could bear and I spent the Interval in bits.  I have had difficulty with singing Gerontius ever since.

totally understand your post. Have listened to Gerontius under similar circumstances and even now I find it difficult to listen to. So I tend to think that our personal circumstances play a great part in how we react to performances, whether they are music, ballet or whatever.

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On 05/12/2017 at 14:11, Sim said:

A great list, TTP;  how could I have forgotten Thiago Soares as Rudolf?  The first time I saw him I cried at the end and I was astonished;  he was the first Rudolf who had that effect on me!

 

Thanks for describing why you feel like you do;  very interesting!

 

Same.  Soares broke my heart in Mayerling.   Plus:

 

Nuñez and Soares in Onegin.

Cuthbertson in Giselle

Cuthbertson in Infra

Cuthbertson (and Bonelli) in Romeo and Juliet

Genesia Rosato's Berthe in Giselle, at Giselle's death

Cojocaru and Cobborg in Giselle

Yasmine Naghdi as Aurora; her Rose Adagio was just exquisite. 

Most performances of Manon but particularly Muntagirov - he absolutely blew me away. 

 

 

 

 

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I remember watching a performance of Alina Cojocaru in Giselle where in the mad scene instead of running around onstage she simply sat in the center of the stage and cried into her face. She wasn't "mad," she was just heartbroken. It was so moving. At the end of Act 2 before she went back to the grave she dropped a daisy petal by Albrecht. Of all the Giselles I've ever seen hers was the most human and moving.

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She even made my husband cry when he saw her Giselle, and he isn't a big ballet-goer.  He kept muttering "astonishing" on the way home, and I told him "THIS is what it's all about!"   

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No-one has mentioned watching their children dance. I cried at my dd's first festival dance. She was about 6 years old and I felt a little ridiculous so I gave myself a good taking to, so now I am dry-eyed, but my parents, when they were alive, and close friends who have known her since she was small do have a few tears. I find music moves me close to tears though whoever is dancing.

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Stella Abrera (ABT principal) as Giselle with Australian Ballet.

Leanne Stojmenov in Ratmansky's Cinderella and Murphy's Romeo and Juliet.

Elisa Badenes and David Moore in Cranko's Romeo and Juliet.

The first time I saw After the Rain - Kirsty Martin and Steven Heathcote - silent tears started falling as they began the pdd and didn't stop until about 15 minutes after they finished! 

Kelvin Coe in the premiere season (1980) and years later (2012) Andrew Killian in the final part of Murphy's Beyond Twelve. Noone else in this role and I've seen them all.

Marianela Nuñez as Giselle (on film).

Vadim Muntagirov in The Two Pigeons.

Leanne Benjamin (guesting) and Robert Curran in Manon in 2008, and in 2014 Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg in Sydney in what was to prove their final Manon together.

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Lynn Seymour as Juliet and Giselle

Alexander Grant as Alain, looking at the ring when he realises Lise will never be his.

Almost anybody in the last section of Song dof the Earth.

Beriosova and her partners at the end of Enigma Variations (Derek Rencher and ANOther - to whom I apologise for forgetting his name)

Fonteyn in Giselle

Durante and Mukhamedov at the end of one very special performance of Manon

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Fascinating thread. I see Giselle mentioned a lot in the responses and the most immediate memory that springs to mind of being tearful at a ballet is the RB cinema broadcast of Giselle with Marianella Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov (2016 I think), I can still recall now the heartbreak, desperation and anguish and fatality of it all. Nunez astonished me, I'd always thought of her as a dancer of stunningly beautiful technique that I'd love to see dance live, but never imagined her ability to dramatically portray tragedy in her dancing. I'd never been so moved at a ballet and had to fight to keep myself from breaking down. I'd just like to concur with ToThePointe on the 'crossing' of the Wilis in Act II, with the music swelling, it's so powerful and again another strong memory in the RB performance I saw.  

 

Otherwise other time I remember was seeing Elisha Willis dance Aurora in the Sleeping Beauty at the Lowry, Salford in 2012 with BRB. In her solo and the coda of the Wedding Act III, her sheer brilliance and poetry of motion was just too much and I felt tears pricking my eyes. Hard to explain this sort of emotion, I suppose it's a bit like a real wedding or maybe even a great sporting achievement where despite the obvious happiness of the event,  the perfection of it all is just too much. 

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I'll start by saying that I cried today, but that was for slightly different reasons because I took my step granddaughter to the ROH for the first time to see the Nutcracker and she was entranced. Watching her face was entrancing for me too and I found the ballet moving - I love the Hans Peter/ Clara pdd.    But I was also thinking that I first went at the age of 4 (Swan Lake and Beryl Grey) which astonishingly , I do remember - a look how that started a lifetime of loving ballet. Let's hope it's the same for Meg.

 

Now down to the nitty gritty.  I don't often cry at ballet, but I am moved and my benchmark is the hairs on the back of the neck feeling.

 

I did cry when I saw Francesca Hayward's debut as Aurora with Alexander Campbell which was phenomenal and incredibly beautiful.  

 

My Top 10, not necessarily in any order as that's too difficult

 

Francesca Hayward and Alexander Campbell in the Sleeping Beauty.  

Thiago Soares in Mayerling

Daria Klimentová's final performance as Juliet with Vadim.  Electric - and when he went down on one knee and opened his arms to her in the balcony scene...........

Marianela and Thiago in Onegin

Sylvie Guillem and Jonathan Cope in Manon, Marguerite & Armand

Zenaida and Roberto Bolle in her last Manon

Carlos Acosta in Spartacus

Irek Mukhamedov in Mayerling (last performance)

Thomas Edur and Agnes Oakes in Swan Lake (in the round)

Francesca Hayward and Gary Avis in the Invitation

 

I feel bad about not including favourites like La Fille and , but they just make me happy, not emotional in the same way.  

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Recently I have seen Ferri in Woolf Works, which has moments seared in my memory. Aside from that her turn in M&A was splendid. True tears for Woolf.

Olga Smirnova in Swan Lake.

Semyon Chudin in the same.

Osipova as Lise in Fille, final act and in "ribbon carousel"

Osmolkina as Odette - stunning characterisation, small details...beautiful beyond words.

Sara Mearns as Odette.

I think were I to see Muntagirov as Lensky again, I'd be moved.

Nunez in Onegin. Harrowing.

I recall enjoying Polunin on the Bolshoi Giselle. I really felt Albrecht's love for Giselle.

Brandon Lawrence and Delia Mathews in any classical ballet. Their Odette/Siegfried destroyed me 😭

 

 

All these dancers have produced tears.

 

 

And as above a moment which works well: Two pigeons.  I recall loving Choe in the role. What an ending. Pigeons might not be dancers but they produce emotion inside me! 😄

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, JennyTaylor said:

Daria Klimentová's final performance as Juliet with Vadim.  Electric - and when he went down on one knee and opened his arms to her in the balcony scene...........

 

 

Oh my word, how could I have forgotten that?? I was already pretty tearful at the Balcony pas de Deux, but when he fell on his knees I almost lost control and started bawling out loud in the Albert Hall! Had to swallow very hard a number of times and concentrate furiously in order not to disgrace myself....🙂

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12 hours ago, JennyTaylor said:

 

Daria Klimentová's final performance as Juliet with Vadim.  Electric - and when he went down on one knee and opened his arms to her in the balcony scene...........

 

 

I agree. Muntagirov opening his arms to her Clara in ENB's Nutcracker was similarly affecting. And, since his more to the RB, there have been many similar moments when his  gestures have touched the heart strings, not necessarily because the moment is emotional in itself but because his portrayal is so real and true.

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