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maryrosesatonapin

Favourite underappreciated dancers

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I like them both, but we’ve only really heard one side of the story there, and possibly that’s all we’ll get. So I do reserve judgement slightly.

 

Also - I’m not sure Durante, Watson, Kobborg and least of all Cojocaru sit comfortably in an underappreciated dancers thread. 

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49 minutes ago, penelopesimpson said:

 

And now... Ed Watson.  Seemingly vanished with no fanfare, no announcement, no acknowledgement of his immense contribution.  I never thought he would be discarded so quickly

It’s generally known that Edward Watson has been off with an injury. He has not retired or left the RB. He was dancing with members of the RB last week at the Joyce Theatre, see my review of Programme D in performances seen . He looked fit and well. 

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Posted (edited)

I, myself, have often felt - much like Deborah Bull - that Laura Morera falls into this category - but understand that there are often reasons that we cannot be aware of why this may be so.  

 

Certainly I would have LOVED to have seen her in Month in the Country - as much as I would - once more - adore to see her in Oneign - which, obviously, is not to be.  

 

She has done such yeoman service.  I pray that she might be kept about even after she has stopped dancing on the ROH stage - to handle some of the Ashton coaching in the RB future.  I can but feel that it would be keenly appreciated.  

 

Elsewhere I have often felt that Novikova at the Mariinsky has not achieved all that she deserved/deserves - but I understand that many - perhaps even most - here will not have had a chance to see her live.  She is, I promise, magical. 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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37 minutes ago, Bruce Wall said:

I, myself, have often felt - much like Deborah Bull - that Laura Morera falls into this category - but understand that there are often reasons that we cannot be aware of why this may be so.  

 

Certainly I would have LOVED to have seen her in Month in the Country - as much as I would - once more - adore to see her in Oneign - which, obviously, is not to be.  

 

She has done such yeoman service.  I pray that she might be kept about even after she has stopped dancing on the ROH stage - to handle some of the Ashton coaching in the RB future.  I can but feel that it would be keenly appreciated.  

 

Elsewhere I have often felt that Novikova at the Mariinsky has not achieved all that she deserved/deserves - but I understand that many - perhaps even most - here will not have had a chance to see her live.  She is, I promise, magical. 

 

I agree re Laura.. she is so very expressive in Ashton and MacMillan, I've loved her as Larisch and in Fille with Ricardo Cervera, I miss their partnership too... I would have loved them both to be principals and dancing together...

I saw Novikova once this July as La Sylphide and she was beautiful.

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12 hours ago, Springbourne3 said:

Here is my list of the the dancers I felt weren’t fully appreciated when they were at the ‘height’ of their dance careers;

 

Ann Jenner

 

Deborah Bull - an amazing and athletic dancer and I preferred her to D Bussell to be honest

 

Fiona Chadwick (overshadowed by Briony Brind Maybe?) Beautiful lyrical dancer

 

Rosalyn Whitten

 

and more recently,

 

Romany Padjek - thankfully she has been recently promoted though!

 

Emma Maguire (now left the RB but I always felt she was a bit under-appreciated)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I loved Ann Jenner and Rosalyn Written, and Deborah Bull has been one of my favourite female dancers ever. We are now seeing more of Romany Pajdak and I absolutely agree that she is much under-rated artist. I’m not sure how many wider opportunities her relatively late promotion will afford, but I am very pleased it has happened.

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As I understand it, Ed Watson has been back from injury for some time which makes it even more difficult to understand why he is not dancing at ROH.

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4 hours ago, Lizbie1 said:

I like them both, but we’ve only really heard one side of the story there, and possibly that’s all we’ll get. So I do reserve judgement slightly.

 

Also - I’m not sure Durante, Watson, Kobborg and least of all Cojocaru sit comfortably in an underappreciated dancers thread. 

They do for me.

 Durante repeatedly lost out in favour of Darcey and then left in what seemed a manufactured row.

 Kobborg was coming to the end of his dancing life and deserved to be given a quality farewell of the calibre bestowed on Acosta.  Losing Cojocaru should never have happened and failing to give her and Kobborg a proper sendoff probably means that we shall never see her at ROH again which, for me, is a travesty.  

Equally, I am at  a loss to understand why Watson is not dancing as he cannot continue forever and It would be nice to enjoy him while we can. I can imagine the uproar there would be if forum favourites Nunez and Muntagirov were similarly treated.

 

 

 

 

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I agree with you, Penelope. I’m a Facebook friend of Johan Kobborg’s and he was very hurt. He said so and since he and Alina Cojocaru were my favourite dancers after Adam Cooper and Sarah Wildor, I thought that the Royal Ballet hadn’t treated any of them too well. I cried when I read Johan’s description of the farewell. It was more like a brush off. They deserved so much more, in my humble opinion.

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As regards dancers leaving companies, or not getting various chances, perhaps we can never really know, or not for many years, what went on behind the scenes in some of these stories.

I would not necessarily assume dancers were always 'treated' badly or otherwise- they are not just passive figures,  and  might have made their own choices:  to leave suddenly, to avoid a fuss, or whatever - some dancers might even behave unreasonably on occasion. I have no idea, no individuals in mind when I say this - I am just suggesting we can't be absolutely sure that anyone has been badly treated in this respect. Many years working in a large organisation makes me aware of times when someone has become a popular martyr, when in fact I knew there was more to it than that- or, sometimes, a member of staff had in fact turned down a promotion, or wanted to go with no leaving formalities at all-but nobody knew this - it happens.

 

So I would reserve judgement too.

 

Alina Cojocaru- a sublime dancer and a favourite of mine too- does regularly appear in her best roles in this country and Kobborg has played a major role in the ballet world in Europe:  leaving ROH is not quite the same as artistic death.

 

That was a wonderful partnership at ROH and I treasure the memories -ballet is such a fleeting thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I believe they weren't given a proper farewell because they both just walked off with no notice;  all of a sudden their last Mayerling was announced as their final performance with the RB.  I remember having to scramble to buy a ticket and all I could get was lower slips standing so could only see half the stage.  A real disappointment after I had been watching them since 2003.  They were and are one of my all-time favourite dance pairings and I am sorry it all ended the way it did.  There are all kinds of rumours and reasons that they walked off like they did, but I am sure that if they had given notice of their departure and it had been on friendly terms they would have got a proper farewell.  I also read Johan's post on Facebook at the time, and he was indeed hurt, but I also remember someone replying to his post "well what do you expect if you both just walk off and leave the company and your audience in the lurch, with no notice?"  So there are two sides to every story....

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I would suggest another criterion we could consider.  This is very likely to be somewhat BRB centric but I would like to list a few artists who may be considered to be underappreciated or not but definitely finished their careers with very few filmed performances left as permanent records.

 

Kevin O'Hare, by his own definition a Principal but not a star.  However you judge him here is someone who practically carried the company single handedly for a while.  There was a tour of somewhere in the Far East when he had to dance 5 performances of the Snow Queen and 2 of Coppelia in one week.

Robert Parker

Iain Mackay 

Joe Cipolla

Wolfgang Stollwitzer

Iain Webb

Michael O'Hare - although we do have Hobson's Choice

Desmond Kelly

 

and just to prove that I do sometimes pay attention to ballerinas

 

Marion Tait

Margaret Barbieri

Galina Samsova

Patricia Ruanne

Nao Sakuma

Ambra Vallo

Leticia Muller 

Sabrina Lenzi

 

I realise that for most of the older dancers filming was a much greater rarity than it is now but I would suggest that were they still dancing now it is very likely that little would have changed.  Had he not moved to the Royal Ballet I suspect Alexander Campbell would have been on the list too.

 

I have probably diverted from the original point or this may be subject for another thread.  But my basic point is that when you have an artist who has ballets created for them and gives their working lives to entertaining the public it is a real shame when there is nothing permanent as a record.

 

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I absolutely agree with you TP.  Of course I would also add Chi Cao to the list and a couple of the dancers were before my ballet-watching time.

 

I don't particularly have definitive dancers in roles but whenever I think of Albrecht my first thought is for Denis Malinkine who used to dance for Northern Ballet.  He is my definitive Albrecht.

 

I do not know why Alexander Campbell does not get certain roles at the Royal Ballet.  For the life of me I cannot understand why he has not danced Romeo with them given that he has a proven track record in the role in the MacMillan production with BRB.  I also think he should have had a shot at Oberon.

 

It would be great if more recordings of companies other than the RB were available for us to remember favourite dancers.

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Others have mentioned the dancers who spring to mind for me. Most are from the past or are wonderful artists in their forties (especially Morera in my case) because it is easier to think in terms of a whole career.

It's a difficult question because the 'undervaluing' can seem to come from Directors (as shown in casting etc), the media and, even, posters on forums such as ours. But, maybe, it is also because 1) we, as the audience, simply see things differently and 2) because, for reasons we do not altogether understand, other dancers are over-valued by those in the positions which matter. Being in the right place at the right time (perhaps seizing an opportunity when someone else is injured) can also change the dynamic of perceptions.

Mention has been made of Durante and Bull in the context of Bussell. It seemed that Bussell was favoured and feted all round but, for me, Durante was the artiste and, therefore, the one I chose to book for. Incidentally, I recall hearing Bull vouchsafe (in public) that she knew that she was not at the same technical level as Bussell, just as O'Hare has made modest but also, in my view, accurate comments about his own artistic achievements.

There are some current dancers (in the RB, ENB and BRB) for whom I have my fingers crossed that things will 'look up' soon because I feel that they have what it takes to get to the very top. But I am not going to tempt fate by naming them!

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I do so agree with you about Viviana.  There is a full recording of her Aurora but the original plan was for it to Darcey and who can ever forget Sky Arts trailing the broadcast of Mayerling as ' starring Darcey Bussell' who was playing Mitzi Caspar?  Even  Irek Mukhamedov was relegated to second billing.

 

I know I have caused controversy by saying this before but, for me, Viviana was the ballerina and Darcey was the star.  Maybe 'artiste' is a better word.  Her intelligence really showed in her performances.  Darcey undoubtedly glittered but I found her interpretations less deep.

 

I agree with Kevin's self assessment too but that doesn't mean that he didn't deserve some permanent recordings of his work.

 

P.s.  Janet, sorry I meant to include Chi but clearly got overexcited on my theme and I typed too fast.

Edited by Two Pigeons
Minor alterations to punctuation and one wrong word.
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Posted (edited)

@Two PigeonsI completely agree about lack of recordings for some artists.  And what pains me more is that some even greater world-class dancers have very poor quality film (eg some legendary Bolshoi and Kirov stars, and of course Fonteyn).  It would be so good to be able to watch them for ever, even if just on a small screen.  But we can't change what is past - however we can hope that there will be a greater variety of dancers captured on film now that it is comparatively cheap and easy to capture good images.

Viviana Durante was perfect as Aurora - she seemed like an innocent princess through and through, and her musicality/timing was so beautiful to watch.  Some dancers just seem to get more attention from the media, and once that happens it is self-perpetuating.  They bring in more revenue so are touted by the management, who are always having to bolster funds.  The general public who maybe just go to ballet occasionally, or watch it on screen, only want to see people they have heard of - not realising these dancers aren't necessarily the best.  At least the situation here isn't as bad as in America.

@Jan McNulty - I always think Alexander Campbell looks more like a cheeky schoolboy than a prince or lover.  And he seems kind of short to me and lacking in elegance for a Romeo!  But of course, that's just my silly opinion.  And he's very good in some roles.
 

@penelopesimpson - Yes, why no Watson?  I really don't like to think we won't see him on the ROH stage again.  That is too sad.  Bring him back, RB, even if just for a short while!



 

Edited by maryrosesatonapin
typo
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I really enjoyed Alexander Campbell’s Oberon in 2017, I think he was stepping in to cover for an injury although I don’t remember who for. I do recall that I noted a real warmth to his performance which for me was very welcome as I generally find it an unsympathetic character. 

 

Ed Watson performed the excerpt of the new McGregor with RB during their LA tour and I expect we’ll see him back on stage at ROH when the full piece is premiered in Spring. I’m also a Watson devotee, but wasn’t surprised not to see him cast on the main stage so far this season as it’s front loaded with so many classical full length productions. Would have been lovely to see him as Des Grieux with Francesca Hayward but perhaps he has made the decision that he wants to rule out certain roles now? I’ll continue to book for whatever he is cast in anyway. 

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I don't think Romeo requires elegance! Passion is more to my taste!!

Corrales had this in spades ....a brilliant new Romeo but you couldn't describe him as elegant! 

I think Campbell would have been excellent as Romeo....he is a very believable dancer. 

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6 minutes ago, LinMM said:

I don't think Romeo requires elegance! Passion is more to my taste!!

Corrales had this in spades ....a brilliant new Romeo but you couldn't describe him as elegant! 

I think Campbell would have been excellent as Romeo....he is a very believable dancer. 

 

I think Campbell is elegant anyway, because of his line and the precision of his dancing. You don't have to be tall to be elegant! (cf Lesley Collier.) And he has been a hugely believable and moving lover in a number of contexts.

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Regarding Watson - it is possible that he has made the decision (as someone states above) not to appear as much. He has been injured a lot and possibly he wants to preserve himself a little?

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Agree Bridiem

There is an elegance of movement and gesture which has nothing to do with height or length of limb.

Cambell is very good at giving his movements full weight and this is ....I think...what makes him so believable.

 

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Posted (edited)

Although Fiona Chadwick reached principal rank at the RB (in 1984) I think she was somewhat underappreciated (and certainly ill-treated in the timing of her departure from the company). She was technically secure but what I loved about her was her slight air of gravitas, no matter what she was performing. She was unshowy but an excellent actress, with a long neck and lovely line. Claire Calvert rather reminds me of her, which is one of the reasons I like Calvert so much. (And I'm afraid the latter is in danger of joining the ranks of the underappreciated...).

Edited by bridiem
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1 hour ago, maryrosesatonapin said:


@Jan McNulty - I always think Alexander Campbell looks more like a cheeky schoolboy than a prince or lover.  And he seems kind of short to me and lacking in elegance for a Romeo!  But of course, that's just my silly opinion.  And he's very good in some roles.
 

 

Having seen his BRB Romeos, with the glorious Ambra Vallo, I can honestly say he was passionate, romantic and young.  

 

I always find find he gives great depth to his characterisations and he was absolutely heart-breaking as Cyrano and moving as Will Mossop.

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17 hours ago, Jamesrhblack said:

I loved Ann Jenner and Rosalyn Written, and Deborah Bull has been one of my favourite female dancers ever. We are now seeing more of Romany Pajdak and I absolutely agree that she is much under-rated artist. I’m not sure how many wider opportunities her relatively late promotion will afford, but I am very pleased it has happened.

I couldn’t agree more re - Romany Padjek and I think she is one of the

most lyrical and musical dancers currently at the RB.

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2 hours ago, bridiem said:

Although Fiona Chadwick reached principal rank at the RB (in 1984) I think she was somewhat underappreciated (and certainly ill-treated in the timing of her departure from the company). She was technically secure but what I loved about her was her slight air of gravitas, no matter what she was performing. She was unshowy but an excellent actress, with a long neck and lovely line. Claire Calvert rather reminds me of her, which is one of the reasons I like Calvert so much. (And I'm afraid the latter is in danger of joining the ranks of the underappreciated...).

I hope not (re - Calvert) but you have echoed my thoughts exactly Bridiem!

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10 hours ago, Fiz said:

I agree with you, Penelope. I’m a Facebook friend of Johan Kobborg’s and he was very hurt. He said so and since he and Alina Cojocaru were my favourite dancers after Adam Cooper and Sarah Wildor, I thought that the Royal Ballet hadn’t treated any of them too well. I cried when I read Johan’s description of the farewell. It was more like a brush off. They deserved so much more, in my humble opinion.

Were you there that night, Fiz?  Apart from the shock and the sadness, there was this strange atmosphere as if people just couldn’t believe it.  Whatever went on with management, not marking their departure in any way was so shabby and made management look mean-spirited.  I am a great supporter of what KOH has done with RB but there is no excuse for his complete failure that night.

 

Like yourself, I was a huge fan of Cojocaru and Kobborg and don’t think there is another pairing that even comes close.  Kobborg is also an interesting choreographer and should have been given a chance at ROH.  Acosta was allowed to indulge himself twice with mediocre and costly results.

 

As for Watson, nobody mentions him anymore.  If he hasn’t left, then he might just as well have for all we hear of him.  It is all Muntagirov on repeat play, with some Campbell fans asking why he doesn’t get this or that role and the occasional look in for Ball.  Interestingly, I also feel that Macrae is unappreciated.  A very different dancer to Watson and not always my first choice, but he is a sparkling performer with stunning technique but remains a little unloved.

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Posted (edited)

I also think Campbell would make an excellent Romeo and was v.surprised that he wasn’t given a chance in the last run.  I always liked him because he has a strong stage presence, but his Oberon was magnificent and made me see him through different eyes

Edited by penelopesimpson
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During the early 80's one of the young principals of SWRB was Nicola Katrak. Such a wonderful ballerina, but she's never mentioned now. I remember her clearly in Fille  with Roland Price, both of them a delight. She was also fantastic in Coppelia and Two Pigeons. Although young and very sweet one would think that she was ideally suited for just the ballets I've mentioned - however Nicola also had a very secure technique - she just wasn't 'showy'. Her Aurora was wonderful - so musical and a believable young princess - rather like Durante was in this role. She was strong, practically injury free, and more importantly very very dependable. There was one particular season, (84/85?) when several other principals were injured and Nicola was hardly off the stage. I think Peter Wright must of thanked God for her every day. My most vivid memory of her was when she performed Titania in The Dream with Iain Webb. She was glorious and I have never seen a better interpretation since. That she went on to share her knowledge and teach the children at White Lodge is fantastic and I often wonder when I watch young dancer's now if they were lucky enough to of been taught by her.

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Nicola Katrak remains an inspirational figure at The Royal Ballet School and my dd is very very grateful not only for her rigorous teaching but also resurrecting my Young daughter’s  joy of dance,

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4 minutes ago, Sharon said:

During the early 80's one of the young principals of SWRB was Nicola Katrak. Such a wonderful ballerina, but she's never mentioned now. I remember her clearly in Fille  with Roland Price, both of them a delight. She was also fantastic in Coppelia and Two Pigeons. Although young and very sweet one would think that she was ideally suited for just the ballets I've mentioned - however Nicola also had a very secure technique - she just wasn't 'showy'. Her Aurora was wonderful - so musical and a believable young princess - rather like Durante was in this role. She was strong, practically injury free, and more importantly very very dependable. There was one particular season, (84/85?) when several other principals were injured and Nicola was hardly off the stage. I think Peter Wright must of thanked God for her every day. My most vivid memory of her was when she performed Titania in The Dream with Iain Webb. She was glorious and I have never seen a better interpretation since. That she went on to share her knowledge and teach the children at White Lodge is fantastic and I often wonder when I watch young dancer's now if they were lucky enough to of been taught by her.

 

 

I agree with so much of this.  I was lucky enough to see her farewell performance as Giselle, a role very suited to her dramatic intelligence.  She was also a fluent delight hosting various open rehearsals and other events.

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No, I wasn’t there, Penelope, but I seem to remember someone on the previous site was and wrote about it. Then Johan said how he had been spoken to and it was almost unbelievable. Two such wonderful dancers and they were treated so shabbily. They are really nice, good people too. It left a very nasty taste in my mouth. 

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