Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Naomi M

Miyako Yoshida's Farewell Performance

Recommended Posts

Miyako Yoshida's Farewell performance titled "Last Dance" was on August 7th and 8th. A huge demand for the tickets and it was sold out in 6 minutes, so many of her fans were unable to secure tickets but this will be broadcast later. 

 

Yoshida danced 4 works, first the gala opened with the opening  solo of Ashton's Cinderella when she returns from the ball and dances with her memories of last night, In the end of the solo she puts out the glass slipper from last night, to remember that it was not a dream. Many of us must thought that the glass slipper represented ballet for Yoshida, a dream. 

Then there was Birthday Offering, Yoshida danced the Fonteyn part with Federico Bonneli, with 6 pairs of dancers who are the principals of various Japanese ballet companies, a feast of stars. Of course Yoshida's Ashton style is  like no other, the clarity of the steps, the precise movements and elegance, and Bonneli also beautiful with gorgeous leaps. 

 

The opening of the latter half was a pas de deux from Peter Wright's Swan Lake, once again she was partnered with Bonneli. She still had the lovely Odette lines and fluidity, and the tragic dramatic expressions were heartbreaking. Wright's Swan Lake will replace the current Swan Lake when Yoshida takes over National Ballet of Japan in Autumn 2020. 

 

There were video messages from Kevin O'Hare, David Bintley and also a very beautiful touching message from Sir Peter Wright, telling Yoshida that she was the most wonderful ballerina with his fond memories of her in her youth. 

 

And the gala closed with Wright's Mirror Walkers, Yoshida was partnered with Irek MuKhamedov. Although Mukhamedov looked like a retired dancer, it was surprising that he danced so well, he even made some soaring leaps and cabrioles, and partnered and lifted Yoshida with such deep affection. Yoshida looked so young, like a teenage girl and everyone forgot she was 53 years old.  She looked so fulfilled and happy in the arms of Mukhamedov.  It was such a happy ending to a brilliant career. 

 

Also there were guests from RB and BRB, and they all danced works that were Yoshida's favorites. Yasmine Naghdi and Ryoichi Hirano danced the Sugar Plum fairy, Naghdi's fouette turns in the coda were amazing and a beautiful partnership between them. Megan Grace Hinkis and Valentino Zuchetti danced Tarantella and a pas de duex from La Fille mal Gardee which were delightful. Momoko Hirata and James Hay danced the Kshesinskaya pas de deux from Anastasia, very regal and classy. The program was curated by former BRB soloist Kosuke Yamamoto.

 

I must not forget to mention that National Ballet of Japan which Yoshida will take leadership boasts two brilliant world class ballerinas, Yui Yonezawa and Ayako Ono. Yonezawa danced Don Quixote with Yasuomi Akimoto (of Tokyo Ballet) with polished secure technique, throwing in some triple turns in her fourettes while raising and lowering her fan. so gorgeous. Ayako Ono danced with colleague Yudai Fukuoka, Bintley's Sylvia (I think Yoshida was one of the first ballerinas in the premiere) with such delightfulness and airyness, so ethereal. (some of you might have seen them as guests at BRB) . They deserve to be known internationally.  Also,dancers from  Star Dancers Ballet danced Bintley's Flowers of the Forest which is also a lovely work.  

 

A short news clip from this performance

 

I wish the recording of this gala would be broadcasted or issued as a DVD because I believe there are many fans of Yoshida in the UK. It was such a beautiful celebration to this beloved  ballerina. 

  • Like 28

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe it is to be broadcast on Japanese TV in early October

SO wish I could have been there!

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds brilliant - thank you so much for this lovely report, Naomi!

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the report of Naomi.

 

It would be wonderful if the filmed performance could get an international release.

 

My main memories of Miyako Yoshida as a dancer are from her days with SWRB/BRB.  Looking at the video clip she hasn't changed a bit!!  I remember seeing her perform Odette/Odile at the Liverpool Empire.  When she exited from the stage at the end of Act 2, with her back to the audience the entire audience gasped because her back was so fluid and she really did look as though she was a swan.

 

I admit to seeing her dance Juliet with BRB and being distinctly underwhelmed but when I saw her some years later with the Royal Ballet, oh my goodness I was completely blown away!!  Although always wonderful she obviously continued to develop as an artist in every way.  Wonderful memories!

 

If  Ayako Ono and Yudai Fukuoka guested in Aladdin with BRB then yes I saw them and they were absolutely magical.

 

 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Naomi M said:

.... Yoshida looked so young, like a teenage girl and everyone forgot she was 53 years old.  She looked so fulfilled and happy in the arms of Mukhamedov.  

 

Doesn't she just!  I would never have believed she was in her fifties.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like Janet I have wonderful memories of Miyako from her SWRB/BRB days and she is an artist to treasure.  I saw her graduation performance when she shone in the Bluebird past de deux with Errol Pickford and it was so clear that here was a future star par excellence.

 

As well as her dancing, flawless though it was, I admire her hugely for her devotion to Sir Peter Wright.  When the company relocated to Birmingham she came for the 5 years he was director as an act of total loyalty to him.  As the years passed the signs that the devotion was both mutual and permanent.  You only have to read his autobiography to how much he adored and was so proud of her.

 

I have told this story before but I will always remember her last performance (as Aurora) in 1995 with her great friend Kevin O'Hare.  As he took her hand and as she boureed to the front of the stage the tears were pouring down her face.  During the curtain calls she hugged him as though she would never let him go.  This is a lady of committed loyalty to her friends and they adored her in return.

 

It is one if my eternal regrets is that I didn't see enough of her when she joined the Royal.  I tried a number of times but I missed seeing her as Ondine, Cinderella and Raymonda (amongst others) as she was injured.  I began to wonder if I was a jinx on her.   So, having missed much of her later career I will just cherish the memories I have.  I saw her in all the classics but i think my absolute favourite was in Plymouth in Coppelia.

 

The cast was Miyako as Swanilda - obviously - with Kevin as Franz and Michael O'Hare as Dr Coppelius.  They were all having such fun on stage it was totally infectious.

 

She will be so much missed but, boy, what a career!

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that wonderful review, Naomi.  It sounds like it was a worthy and fabulous farewell to this special artist.  Like others, I really wish that it would be shown somewhere online as well as on Japanese TV. 

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like others above have wrote, my strongest memories are from when she danced with SWRB - she was always a delight. I'm so glad I was fortunate to see her perform many times in lots of ballets whilst touring with SWRB. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

Thanks for the report of Naomi.

 

It would be wonderful if the filmed performance could get an international release.

 

My main memories of Miyako Yoshida as a dancer are from her days with SWRB/BRB.  Looking at the video clip she hasn't changed a bit!!  I remember seeing her perform Odette/Odile at the Liverpool Empire.  When she exited from the stage at the end of Act 2, with her back to the audience the entire audience gasped because her back was so fluid and she really did look as though she was a swan.

 

I admit to seeing her dance Juliet with BRB and being distinctly underwhelmed but when I saw her some years later with the Royal Ballet, oh my goodness I was completely blown away!!  Although always wonderful she obviously continued to develop as an artist in every way.  Wonderful memories!

 

If  Ayako Ono and Yudai Fukuoka guested in Aladdin with BRB then yes I saw them and they were absolutely magical.

 

 

So lovely to hear the fond memories of Yoshida, especially of her SWRB/BRB days.

 

Yes, Ayako Ono and Yudai Fukuoka guested in Aladdin at BRB. Especially Ono was in the creation, and she is an absolute gem. one of the very best ballerinas in our country and I hope her opportunities will expand in the coming years. So nice to hear from UK about her. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Janet and Naomi, who did we have in Prince of the Pagodas?

 

I remember the terrific guests we had from Japan for Aladdin but I am sure we had at least one guest for Pagodas too.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Two Pigeons said:

Janet and Naomi, who did we have in Prince of the Pagodas?

 

I remember the terrific guests we had from Japan for Aladdin but I am sure we had at least one guest for Pagodas too.

 

I think Ayako Ono and Yudai Fukuoka also guested in Prince of the Pagodas at BRB too.

Bintley is hugely popular here but Japanese audiences were not used to modern works and ticket sales struggled at that time (and Pagodas have not been revived here) . But Aladdin is still greatly appreciated and has been revived several times as a family friendly piece. Hope Sylvia will be back too.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, Springbourne3 said:

One of my all time favourite ballerinas - the best Sugar Plum Fairy of all in my opinion.

I agree entirely. Yoshida’s Sugar Plum always lives in my memory. I also saw her dance Lise in ‘Gardee’ with Mukhamedov as Colas at Covent Garden and will never forget the perfection of their performance together.

It does sound like it was a wonderful gala. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too can't believe how young she still looks!

 

Thank you, Naomi, for that lovely report.  I do hope the film makes it over here at some stage.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it was a lovely gesture on Yoshida's part to invite Mukhamedov to partner her in her Gala.  It says a lot for what their partnership must have meant to her - and to him, as he has virtually given up dancing or even doing class now.  I would love to see more of the whole evening if the film ever becomes available outside Japan.

Edited by jm365
mistyping of a word - which I have now corrected - should read my posts more carefully before pressing submit
  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw Yoshida and Mukhamedov in "Sleeping Beauty" at Orange County Performing Arts Center in California many years ago.  That got me "hooked" with RB.  I am forever grateful.

Edited by Texan
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can we hope that Yoshida will concentrate significantly on Ashton once she takes up her Artistic Director role?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, alison said:

Can we hope that Yoshida will concentrate significantly on Ashton once she takes up her Artistic Director role?

 

National Ballet of Japan has Ashton's Cinderella in its repertoire for more than 10 years and this production is very popular here, performed every 2 years and tickets selling very well. And it would be possible that Yoshida will add more Ashton works. The Dream, Two Pigeons and La Fille mal Gardee are currently in the repertoire of other Japanese companies. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does the National Ballet of Japan tour internationally? As far as I know it hasn't been to London (though I could well be wrong - anyway I certainly haven't seen it). I wonder if Yoshida's appointment might make that possible/more likely?

Edited by bridiem
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When one of my all time favourite great ballerinas, Nina Ananiasvili, took over at the State Ballet of Georgia she introduced a fair bit of Ashton into the rep there.  Given the huge success of Iain Webb at Sarasota if Miyako does the same in Japan it would be terrific to have more and more international balletomanes have the chance to experience his work.

 

Given the history of David Bintley's and SPW's influence in Japan much of the Ashton rep would probably be a good natural fit for the company there.

Edited by Two Pigeons
Wrong word
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, bridiem said:

Does the National Ballet of Japan tour internationally? As far as I know it hasn't been to London (though I could well be wrong - anyway I certainly haven't seen it). I wonder if Yoshida's appointment might make that possible/more likely?

 

Unfortunately they don't. They did overseas performances twice in the past, once was their tour to Kennedy Center (USA) in 2008 and another to Bolshoi Theatre in 2009 and that's it. They do a few performances outside Tokyo annually but usually focused on their home theatre. But they do have released several DVDs (including Bintley's Aladdin and Eagling's Sleeping Beauty and Nutcracker) and I am sure as Yoshida has close relations with Kevin O'Hare and Sir Peter Wright they might have more opportunities in the UK. 

 

The quality of the dancers in the company is very high and versatile (although most of the repertoire are classical) and I hope the do have more Ashton such as La Fille mal Gardee and Two Pigeons because they are suited to those works. This season they will do Manon and Romeo and Juliet (both MacMillan) and Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and DGV. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...