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4 hours ago, Lindsay said:

I remain completely baffled as to the continual commissioning of Scarlett ..... 

 

Yep, me too. Far too much money invested in a mediocre choreographic talent which has been masked by expensive, lavish productions. Hopefully, the dire ticket sales for this revival of Frankenstein will at least ensure that doesn't see the light of day again.

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30 minutes ago, annamk said:

 

Yep, me too. Far too much money invested in a mediocre choreographic talent which has been masked by expensive, lavish productions. Hopefully, the dire ticket sales for this revival of Frankenstein will at least ensure that doesn't see the light of day again.

 

Well I will reserve judgement about Frankenstein until I've seen it again. But I do think that Asphodel Meadows is the best thing he's ever done; which is not really as it should be. He clearly does have talent, and a sense of visual drama which I like; but he also too often has flawed judgement which mars the end product.

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Another example of a “professional “ critic not knowing their stuff:  Mark Monahan in The Telegraph casts aspersions on the standard of dancing at the RBS, saying it’s worrying that not one of the 21 finalists in this year’s Prix de Lausanne hailed from the school.  That, Mr Monahan, is because they aren’t allowed to enter, NOT because they aren’t good enough.  A bit of research wouldn’t go amiss before making such implications.  😤😤

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Yes indeed Sim. This is not the first time Mr Monahan's reviews raise an eyebrow or two. His reviews are often in contrast with what the audience has experienced. He is prejudiced, no doubt, and occasionally uninformed.

His last review illustrates that his pedantic fault-finding is in total contrast with what the audience experienced: when loud cheers and applause start well before curtain down it shows how much the audience enjoyed it. His nitpicking is totally irrelevant to the immense joy the dancers gave their audience. (and don't get me started about Emma Byrne, the ES so-called ballet "critic"!). I don't care a hoot about those reviewers, what matters to me is the pleasure I get from watching the dancers' performance.

 

Edited by Xandra Newman
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10 hours ago, Sim said:

Another example of a “professional “ critic not knowing their stuff:  Mark Monahan in The Telegraph casts aspersions on the standard of dancing at the RBS, saying it’s worrying that not one of the 21 finalists in this year’s Prix de Lausanne hailed from the school.  That, Mr Monahan, is because they aren’t allowed to enter, NOT because they aren’t good enough.  A bit of research wouldn’t go amiss before making such implications.  😤😤

 

I didn't know that they were no longer allowed to enter, Sim.  When was that rule brought in?  I can think of at least two ex female RB principals who entered and achieved success.  

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7 hours ago, Xandra Newman said:

Yes indeed Sim. This is not the first time Mr Monahan's reviews raise an eyebrow or two. His reviews are often in contrast with what the audience has experienced. He is prejudiced, no doubt, and occasionally uninformed.

His last review illustrates that his pedantic fault-finding is in total contrast with what the audience experienced: when loud cheers and applause start well before curtain down it shows how much the audience enjoyed it. His nitpicking is totally irrelevant to the immense joy the dancers gave their audience. (and don't get me started about Emma Byrne, the ES so-called ballet "critic"!). I don't care a hoot about those reviewers, what matters to me is the pleasure I get from watching the dancers' performance.

 

 

Leaving aside the RB/Prix comment I find Mark Monahan's review interesting and worth reading. I'm not sure why you conclude he is prejudiced, pedantic fault-finding and nit-picking ? He's just giving his opinion so what does it matter if he isn't as enthusiastic as some of the audience ? 

 

I saw the Naghdi/Hay/Kaneko Pigeons this afternoon and I'm in the (small) camp of those who weren't bowled over by Naghdi's Young Girl. Her portrayal had its good moments but in places I found her exaggerated, not all her details were as sharp as Takada and I have also seen better comic timing. Kaneko's Gypsy Girl was terrific but I agree with Monahan when he says "she lacked the lip-smacking, lock-up-your-husbands quality that Laura Morera brought"  Very happy to see the oh so elegant Hay's pitch perfect Young Man and Yudes mighty fine Gypsy Boy. 

 

The attractions of The Cunning Young Vixen just passed me by. It would have been better in the school end of year show. 

 

Disappointing to see so many empty seats in the stalls. 

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1 hour ago, annamk said:

 

Leaving aside the RB/Prix comment I find Mark Monahan's review interesting and worth reading. I'm not sure why you conclude he is prejudiced, pedantic fault-finding and nit-picking ? He's just giving his opinion so what does it matter if he isn't as enthusiastic as some of the audience ? 

 

I saw the Naghdi/Hay/Kaneko Pigeons this afternoon and I'm in the (small) camp of those who weren't bowled over by Naghdi's Young Girl. Her portrayal had its good moments but in places I found her exaggerated, not all her details were as sharp as Takada and I have also seen better comic timing. Kaneko's Gypsy Girl was terrific but I agree with Monahan when he says "she lacked the lip-smacking, lock-up-your-husbands quality that Laura Morera brought"  Very happy to see the oh so elegant Hay's pitch perfect Young Man and Yudes mighty fine Gypsy Boy. 

 

The attractions of The Cunning Young Vixen just passed me by. It would have been better in the school end of year show. 

 

Disappointing to see so many empty seats in the stalls. 

 

James was excellent this afternoon. I think Yuhui was better when I saw her a fortnight ago. Agree about the empty seats in the stalls - there were about two or three empty (or very nearly) rows near me to my right. Having said that they did seem to fill up for 2 Pigeons. Not sure why you wouldn't go and see the first part of a mixed bill but there we are!

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2 minutes ago, MJW said:

Not sure why you wouldn't go and see the first part of a mixed bill but there we are!

 

TBH it’s what I’d have done had I been able to go today. I didn’t dislike Cunning Little Vixen but there wasn’t anything to draw me back. Two Pigeons on the other hand...

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49 minutes ago, MJW said:

Having said that they did seem to fill up for 2 Pigeons. Not sure why you wouldn't go and see the first part of a mixed bill but there we are!

 

Quite  few people did this today, me among them. The general feeling was that we didn't feel Vixen merited more than one viewing, however much one wanted to support the students. My thought was that, if I wanted to see it again, it would no doubt be programmed at at least one RBS show during the summer.

 

I actually doubt the wisdom of combining a new piece for the RBS with one performed by the RB. I think that we take a different mindset to a school performance from that which we bring when we have booked for the RB.

 

I liked the Naghdi/Hay combo in 2 Pigeons - a lot.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, annamk said:

 

I saw the Naghdi/Hay/Kaneko Pigeons this afternoon and I'm in the (small) camp of those who weren't bowled over by Naghdi's Young Girl. Her portrayal had its good moments but in places I found her exaggerated, not all her details were as sharp as Takada and I have also seen better comic timing. Kaneko's Gypsy Girl was terrific but I agree with Monahan when he says "she lacked the lip-smacking, lock-up-your-husbands quality that Laura Morera brought"  Very happy to see the oh so elegant Hay's pitch perfect Young Man and Yudes mighty fine Gypsy Boy. 

 

 

I really agree with your comments here, Annamk.  Naghdi is a mighty fine dancer, but somehow she isn't particularly suited to this role, I felt. I thought the reconciliation pas de deux was her strongest moment.

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I enjoyed The Cunning Little Vixen more on a second viewing today, but still felt the narrative quite rushed - there was almost too much story to get through to allow any time for it to breathe and develop. I thought the video ‘scenery’ worked well, as it was mostly static I didn’t find it distracting. I didn’t think the choreography Scarlett’s finest, but this does not detract from an undoubtedly fantastic achievement for the young performers. 

 

James Hay on top form again in The Two Pigeons this afternoon, honestly that eye roll and sigh he gives just makes me grin from ear to ear. I also really enjoyed Yuhui Choe and Alexander Campbell’s performance on Thursday - I don’t think anyone does righteous indignation quite like Yuhui, I was glad to be sitting so close to the front to get the full experience of her wonderful facial expressions particularly during Act I. I think I always consider Yuhui to be my top choice for light hearted roles, and yet she also demonstrated a really heart-rending performance of yearning, loss and forgiveness throughout the evening. She is a beautiful dancer. 

 

Found my eye drawn to Leticia Dias and Nadia Mullova-Barley in the gypsy encampment scene -  I felt they were really embodying the sultry, sassy haughtiness of the gypsy girls on another level. David Yudes a brilliant Gypsy Boy - what a change from Sancho Panza last night! 

 

Already disappointed that the run of The Two Pigeons has come to an end, it manages to balance emotion, humour, elegance and boisterousness all wrapped up in some gorgeous choreography, music and designs. Despite a couple of examples of wayward poultry, I’ve not failed to have a lump in my throat when that final pigeon flies across the stage in the closing moments. 

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5 minutes ago, Riva said:

Found my eye drawn to Leticia Dias...........................

 

 Leticia has been very prominently placed in almost every performance lately. And no wonder - she's a joy to watch.

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23 hours ago, bridiem said:

... he also too often has flawed judgement which mars the end product.

 

Whilst I’m sure Bridiem has reasons for what she says and might well have voiced those reasons in posts over the years, this statement to me comes a bit out of the blue on this thread.  I’d welcome some examples of ‘flawed judgement’ as I find it a little difficult to respond to such a statement which seems pretty damning.

 

But onto this afternoon’s matinee.  I very much enjoyed the Royal Ballet School in Liam Scarlett’s Cunning Little Vixen.  A colourful back projection, fabulous costumes, and lovely characterisation of all the woodland creatures.  A super frog with fantastical jumps but a real ensemble piece and one I would be very pleased to see again.  The orchestral arrangement worked well and I thought made for an entertaining, complementary partner to Two Pigeons.  And another happy ending. 

 

In Two Pigeons, James Hay, Fumi Kaneko and David Yudes were stand outs for me.  Yasmine Naghdi was wonderful at the end of Act 1 and Act 2, perhaps a shade too irritating at the outset where I sometimes feel less is more.  

 

An extraordinary 24 hours with the truncated General Rehearsal, opening night Don Q and bringing the curtain down on Two Pigeons.  Thank you Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet School.

 

 

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It must be very efficient, having two different ballet programmes in one day.  Makes it far more convenient - and cost-effective - for the out-of-towners.

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11 minutes ago, JohnS said:

Whilst I’m sure Bridiem has reasons for what she says and might well have voiced those reasons in posts over the years, this statement to me comes a bit out of the blue on this thread.  I’d welcome some examples of ‘flawed judgement’ as I find it a little difficult to respond to such a statement which seems pretty damning.

 

 

I was referring to works such as Sweet Violets, The Age of Anxiety and Frankenstein, all of which I think were so chock full of design, plot, steps, and characters that they were ultimately less successful than they could have been (in spite of all the works having merits - I often really like his works at first viewing when I get swept along by their scale and ambition, but on further viewings I get frustrated by the flaws). It's really good to be ambitious but I sometimes think that 'less is more'. And as you know I think that the ending of the new Swan Lake is misjudged, marring what was otherwise a great achievement.

 

I haven't seen most of his works created for other companies, but I thought that No Man's Land for ENB was excellent. And I do have a great deal of respect for Scarlett - he has undoubted choreographic talent and a lively imagination.

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1 hour ago, alison said:

It must be very efficient, having two different ballet programmes in one day.  Makes it far more convenient - and cost-effective - for the out-of-towners.

as always, I have the greatest admiration for the whole stage management team. considering the highly technical world that theatre is now, I think they do a marvellous job. a couple of years ago.I saw the change over between two different productions at the RSC  and it was like a military operation. Can't imagine that the ROH is any different.

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1 hour ago, bridiem said:

was referring to works such as Sweet Violets, The Age of Anxiety and Frankenstein, all of which I think were so chock full of design, plot, steps, and characters that they were ultimately less successful than they could have been (in spite of all the works having merits - I often really like his works at first viewing when I get swept along by their scale and ambition, but on further viewings I get frustrated by the flaws). It's really good to be ambitious but I sometimes think that 'less is more'. And as you know I think that the ending of the new Swan Lake is misjudged, marring what was otherwise a great achievement.

Yes- I agree. I am pretty sure quite a few posters have said the same, so I wouldn't say it was 'out of the blue'.

 

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I also agree with Bridie’s comments and have said so in threads about those ballets, so these comments are not out of the blue.  I think Scarlett is very talented, but for me he is hit and miss.  I think he needs to find his own choreographic voice;  I find a lot of his work very derivative, especially of MacMillan.  

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I thoroughly enjoyed Naghdi’s performance and thought her characterisation in act 1 was good. I really felt sorry for Campbell (who was superb all round) having to put up with her self-involved antics. It really made sense of the Young Man’s decision to leave, meaning that the final PdD was all the more powerful as both had learnt from their mistakes. I do agree that some of Naghdi’s dancing may have lacked the precision of Takada’s, but this was made up for by her chemistry with Campbell. Maybe it is just a matter of experience in the role; I hope Naghdi gets the chance to revisit Pigeons soon.

 

Kaneko is an amazing dancer with beautifully crisp and sparky technique, but she seems almost too cultured for gypsy/mistress type roles. I found her to be a particularly sophisticated Mitzi Casper for instance. She makes it work brilliantly, but has a totally different energy to dancers like Calvert and Magri, who seem more earthy. Her Mytha was something to behold though, stern and spookily etherial. I await her Kitri with great anticipation. 

 

Thinking of Magri, I got a pair of her pointe shoes a few years back when Olivia Cowley was selling them for charity. This season has made me feel rather smug!

 

I too have misgivings about The Cunning Little Vixen. The choreography seemed derivative: I’m with Lindsay on the Caucus from Alice, also shades of MacMillan in the PdD. The story telling felt acted rather than danced, with no sympathetic characters. Am I supposed to like the Vixen? She was a bully and I was left wishing for Janáček’s ending with the Vixen getting her comeuppance. Also, to my eyes the stage was so barren it had the feeling of a gala piece, giving the unfortunate impression that these dancers were only borrowing the stage and did not belong there. I did, however, enjoy the wonderfully committed and accomplished performances, particularly Madison Bailey and Daichi Ikarashi but everyone really. It really was a pleasure to see the students perform on the main stage and I thank Liam Scarlett for that. They deserve all the plaudits they get and I look forward to getting to know some of them better when they join the company. 

 

In the end, 4 of the 9 performances were opened to student standby: 19th Jan, 2nd Feb Matinée, 12th Feb, and 14th Feb. One wonders what affect this will have on the bottom line, especially if Frankenstein is shaping up the same way. Two Pigeons is a brilliant ballet and I hope to see it back soon, but if they can’t shift tickets it can only be a matter of time until it is mothballed once again. 

 

Whatever happens, these performances, and particularly the image of Reece Clarke’s ridiculously long neck clucking away, will live long in the memory! Sincere thanks to all concerned. 

Edited by Saodan
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Now it's over, just a few thoughts on these two double bills.


Firstly a big thank you to Kevin O'Hare for having the faith to bring back Two Pigeons. I had never seen it before 2015 - what a wonderful ballet  it is. It provides some meaty principal roles, plenty of dancing for the corps, it's funny, and by God, can it tug at the heartstrings!  I have derived so much pleasure from watching this piece.

 

Scarlett's contributions: I think Asphodel Meadows is marvellous and I hope it's kept in the repertoire for years to come - it really is the best we have seen from him, followed, I think, by Symphonic Dances (although I need to see that again to make up my mind.) Agree with posts above: Frankenstein, Age of Anxiety are duds, and also, to lesser extent, The Cunning Little Vixen (but that is not to detract from the beautifully accomplished dancing of all RBS students involved, particularly The Vixen herself and her foxy and froggy family and friends. All dancers were top notch.)


I think Scarlett could learn a lot from Ashton about how to pace a ballet: something fast here, something slow there; not too much business and a little more space here, more colour and action there, and so on.  Ashton really understands how to tell a story clearly and how to manage the stage action to highlight the important things: Scarlett's work can seem over busy. (Viscera, I didn't enjoy because I didn't get anything from the music and it seemed very dark. I saw it once and that felt enough, especially as it was sharing a bill with Acosta's 'special' ballet).

 

I feel hesitant about Scarlett's work, but Asphodel Meadows is so accomplished and it's a real beacon of hope. I sincerely hope he goes on to surpass this work.

 

I didn't get to see all casts: sadly, for me, I missed all of Morera's performances in both ballets, but here are my stand out performers:

 

Nunez in Asphodel - Scarlett created something that really brought out the best in her and beautifully supported, this time by Hirano. I had been more than content by the performance of Kaneko (with Richardson), but the partnership of Nunez and Hirano was just so solid and showed off performers and choreographer at their best.

 

Magri and Dyer, wonderfully elegiac in that fabulous second section and Hinkis and Acri exuberant and sharp in the third. Thinking of promotions, all the dancers I have mentioned thus far look like they are ready to go up a rung.

 

In Pigeons (didn't see the Cuthbertson cast this time around), I thought Stix- Brunell was by far best suited to The Young Girl, followed by Choe and Takada.

 

As the Young Man, Campbell just pipped it to first place for me with his interpretation, but I loved Hay in this role too - such a beautiful classical dancer. Both men have such amazing high and fast tours en l'air and their solos after the Gypsy Camp had me in tears. I hope Reece Clarke also gets another go at this role sometime because his debut (and one and only show) was really engaging too.

 

As the Gypsy Girl, I just have to mention Calvert's mega-sized changements in her second act solo. She has no worries about landing too early in the music - she's flying - love it!!! (and the rest of her interpretation looked more confident than 3 years ago.)

Kaneko, as some have mentioned, was possibly the politest of them all, but still totally magnetic and easy to be bewitched by. I thought Mendizibal brilliantly brought out an animalistic side of the Gypsy (like in the way a cat defends it's territory); though her ultra-lean physique makes her look naturally less voluptuous than the others, I enjoyed the threatening build up to her shimmies in her confrontation with The Young Girl. Strangely, Magri (who, to me, totally looked like a Principal-in-waiting in Asphodel) failed to hit the spot: I think it's a question of stagecraft - where to focus, when, for how long etc - she could learn a thing or two about this from Campbell, he has it in spades.

 

Edmonds, and Zucchetti particularly, were both fine as the Gypsy Girl's lover. 

 

The absolute stand out Gypsy Boy for me was David Yudes - he seems to be made for this and so many other roles in the repertoire: (Alain and Puck). I hope the company treasures him. Sissens looked more comfortable by his last performance, but I think this role looks better on someone slightly shorter. Did Sambe or Kay or anyone else (apart from AcrI, who was also good) dance this role this time around?

 

Special mention for the ever-watchable Meaghan Grace Hinkis as one of the girl's friends in the little, but important, moment of 'look...there's a Pigeon...flutter, flutter!' (Second cast, could work on fluttering hands more for next time!!!) If this ballet is brought back again (please don't leave it 30 years or even 5), I would love to see Hinkis, O'Sullivan and Hayward have a go at The Young Girl: it seems to me the hardest character in this ballet to bring off successfully.

 

Watching this time around, I noticed more bird-motifs scattered throughout the choreography than I had previously: such as the 'shake your tail feather' moment of the two young lovers in their pas de deux in Act 1 surrounded by her friends (this pas de deux, rehearsed by Christopher Carr, with Choe and Campbell, is on YouTube); also the flapping movements of the Gypsy Boy in his solo - so obvious really, but somehow I hadn't made that connection before. And I noticed how the moment where the Young Man, captured in the centre of the ropes, pirouettes, feels rather related to Lise's amazing ribbon moment in Fille; except she is supported by her friends. Ashton: what a genius!

 

 

 

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I rather liked the Cunning Vixen. I loved the opera when I saw it a couple of years ago and was a bit surprised at the happy ending, but it does make it more accessible to a younger audience without traumatising them a la Bambi (I knew a kid with Bambi trauma - he insisted on watching it again and again, and cried his little heart out each time when the mother was shot).

 

Seeing it the first time, I thought it'll make a charming starter ballet, with a bit of interest for the more mature audience and anyone who loves a good bug costume or czech fairy tales (Me! Me again!). The music worked beautifully for the ballet and the story really captured the character and escapades of the Vixen. One of the beauties of czech fairy tales / children films is that the characters tend to be multifaceted and 'realistic for a fairy tale', having good as well as bad sides and behaviours and are never in danger of being mistaken for a Disney Princess.  Anyway, I digress.

 

Seeing it for a second time, I fell in love with the ballet. What I thought initially were some longueurs, eg the chicken house disturbance, looked a lot more together, or perhaps being familiar with the ballet overall allowed looking at the detail that made these scenes interesting. But the real revelation to me were the young lead dancers, whose character interpretations were the star of the show for me. The utter delight of the Vixen after biting the dog, the cunning manipulation of chickens, taking gleeful revenge on badger - it was all there. I thought Madison Bailey was a fantastic young dancer, beautifully paired by Liam Boswell and the rest of the students. 

 

I like the combination of student performance followed by RB and hope to see that again one day, and I hope that Vixen gets more performances available / advertised to the wider public - perhaps something similar to ENBs performances for young children, or as part of a child friendly bill on the main stage.

 

I'm always interested in the criticism of Scarlett using movement that another choreographer has previously used as the worst indictment of his 'failures'. Seeing that the ballet vocabulary is fairly restricted, isn't it a given that this will happen if you stay within the confines of neo-classical ballet? Wheeldon veers towards dance theatre and the aesthetics of musicals, McGregor is modern bendy dance with pointe shoes, Scarlett does emotions and the swirly stuff - does that really make him a mere derivative of Macmillan?  Is Macmillan just a derivative of every choreographer before him?

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Coated
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I find the charge against Scarlett of being derivative of MacMillan interesting: from what I've seen (Swan Lake, Asphodel Meadows, Symphonic Variations, No Man's Land), I'd put the influence of Ashton higher, specifically in the emphasis on epaulement and (recently) deep bends.

 

(Cunning Little Vixen I'd class separately as he was working within the constraints of providing choreography for student dancers.)

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4 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

I'd put the influence of Ashton higher

Yes Lizbie I was thinking the same, but wasn't sure if I was knowledgeable enough to make that judgement.

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On 03/02/2019 at 12:16, RobR said:

 

Not sure that any of the female dancers would appreciate being described as 'larger', whether slightly or otherwise. Magri certainly isn’t 'larger'.

 

Slightly taller perhaps but, given the relative heights of dancers currently in the RB, I’m not even sure about that 😊

I think Magri is exceptionally talented, however, it is a fact that she is of a "heavier" build and not particularly petite - I say this without any malice, just stating fact.  

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On 17/02/2019 at 01:01, Saodan said:

I thoroughly enjoyed Naghdi’s performance and thought her characterisation in act 1 was good. I really felt sorry for Campbell (who was superb all round) having to put up with her self-involved antics. It really made sense of the Young Man’s decision to leave, meaning that the final PdD was all the more powerful as both had learnt from their mistakes. I do agree that some of Naghdi’s dancing may have lacked the precision of Takada’s, but this was made up for by her chemistry with Campbell. Maybe it is just a matter of experience in the role; I hope Naghdi gets the chance to revisit Pigeons soon.

 

Kaneko is an amazing dancer with beautifully crisp and sparky technique, but she seems almost too cultured for gypsy/mistress type roles. I found her to be a particularly sophisticated Mitzi Casper for instance. She makes it work brilliantly, but has a totally different energy to dancers like Calvert and Magri, who seem more earthy. Her Mytha was something to behold though, stern and spookily etherial. I await her Kitri with great anticipation. 

 

Thinking of Magri, I got a pair of her pointe shoes a few years back when Olivia Cowley was selling them for charity. This season has made me feel rather smug!

 

I too have misgivings about The Cunning Little Vixen. The choreography seemed derivative: I’m with Lindsay on the Caucus from Alice, also shades of MacMillan in the PdD. The story telling felt acted rather than danced, with no sympathetic characters. Am I supposed to like the Vixen? She was a bully and I was left wishing for Janáček’s ending with the Vixen getting her comeuppance. Also, to my eyes the stage was so barren it had the feeling of a gala piece, giving the unfortunate impression that these dancers were only borrowing the stage and did not belong there. I did, however, enjoy the wonderfully committed and accomplished performances, particularly Madison Bailey and Daichi Ikarashi but everyone really. It really was a pleasure to see the students perform on the main stage and I thank Liam Scarlett for that. They deserve all the plaudits they get and I look forward to getting to know some of them better when they join the company. 

 

In the end, 4 of the 9 performances were opened to student standby: 19th Jan, 2nd Feb Matinée, 12th Feb, and 14th Feb. One wonders what affect this will have on the bottom line, especially if Frankenstein is shaping up the same way. Two Pigeons is a brilliant ballet and I hope to see it back soon, but if they can’t shift tickets it can only be a matter of time until it is mothballed once again. 

 

Whatever happens, these performances, and particularly the image of Reece Clarke’s ridiculously long neck clucking away, will live long in the memory! Sincere thanks to all concerned. 

I must agree with my other ballet "buddies" on the Forum, that The Cunning Little Vixen was very disappointing.  No inventive choreography and a lot of repetition and langours.  The stage was also badly and dimly lit and I am fed up with the way Scarlett relies on animated film (as he did in Alice) - I come to watch the ballet and not an animated film projection.  That said, I think the RBS students did their best with the material provided, but it was poor material with no memorable choreography.  It was a welcome relief to watch the beauty of Ashton's choreography after the weak opening to this double bill on Saturday afternoon.  I know the Ashtons of the ballet world are a rare breed, but what a beautifully constructed ballet and inventive choreography.  Yasmine Naghdi was absolutely superb, as was her "opponent", Kaneko.  I felt that Hay was a little dull  and that he needed to project more.  However, he partnered Naghdi beautifully and the whole company really shone in this ballet. 

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1 minute ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

Alice was choreographed by Wheeldon.

My error - and of course.  However, there should not be the need for today's choreographers to rely on animated projections.  The inventiveness should be in the choreography. 

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I am relieved to read some positive comments about Liam Scarlett’s Cunning Little Vixen.

Like Coated, I thoroughly enjoyed both the performances which I saw. I found the ballet witty and inventive – and, whether Scarlett found influences in MacMillan or Ashton, I would like to view him as paying homage to the influence which both choreographers have had on him, the Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet School - and the style of dancing was certainly one familiar to the students.

John Lanchbery clearly found inspiration in his arrangement of Messager’s music from different sources. I am sure that others heard Noel Coward’s “London Pride” in one section.  There was another section where the same Massenet music was later mined by Leighton Lucas for a small section of Manon. I have no criticism for either.

For my part, I found the choreography imaginative and it fitted the music and the story to a T.

The final movement of the Cunning Little Vixen suite is titled by Peter Breiner “Vixen Running” and it would have been difficult for Liam Scarlett to have ignored both the title and the essence of the music at the start of this movement.

My wife and I genuinely felt privileged to have seen both performances and to have been introduced to the dancers who had the leading roles. We will follow their careers with interest.

On a more mundane level, you can imagine the production costs of the ballet – even though Liam Scarlett designed the costumes himself! (He is indeed a young man with many talents!)

It would have bankrupted the Royal Ballet School to have paid for all the costumes used!

Given that it has been mentioned elsewhere in this section, I am also pleased to see that Letitia Dias is being given greater prominence as an Artist and I hope that it will mean a promotion soon.

I see that in her ROH biography, there is reference to the principal role which Letitia Dias was given in Liam Scarlett’s Classical Symphony at the end of her second year in the Upper School in 2014. I remember seeing it at the time in the Royal Ballet School annual matinee show and I remember feeling sad that it was unlikely to be seen at Covent Garden again when so much work had gone into its production.

Let’s hope that the Royal Ballet School revives it soon – and again that it is included in a RB/RBS  double bill.

I am sure that the choreography matched in quality the choreography in Asphodel Meadows which my wife and I also saw last week.

Whilst I enjoy seeing the main ballets, I also enjoy seeing new ballets and I do hope that the adverse comments posted by others do not deter future joint Royal Ballet School/Royal Ballet productions on the main stage.

I still remember seeing the Royal Ballet School production of Jiří Kylián’s Sechs Tänze – and again feeling sad that it was not going to be seen by a wider audience.  

The Royal Ballet School is going from strength to strength and I would never feel short changed if I paid for a full price ticket to see any of their productions staged jointly with a Royal Ballet production.

Let’s hope that these joint productions become a regular thing and that we don’t have to wait another 8 years for the next joint production. That is the length of time since the production of Peter and the Wolf/Tales of Beatrix Potter….and I cannot remember another joint production since.

I stand to be corrected!

The experience of dancing on the main stage must also help the students and it must give them a focus for their dancing – and to be involved in the creation of a new ballet is something which I am sure they will remember for the rest of their lives and will assist them in their dancing careers.

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22 minutes ago, fashionista said:

 However, there should not be the need for today's choreographers to rely on animated projections.  The inventiveness should be in the choreography. 

 

I do agree with this generally - occasional use of projections can be effective, but it usually has the effect of making the dance action look small and irrelevant. However I don't think that was the case in Vixen (which some of us did in fact like).

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