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@JNC I assure you I have no expert knowledge whatsoever & am therefore far more likely to be wrong! What little I know about rehearsals & performances is based on years of going to opera, musicals & plays. Ballet, which I've only been seeing regularly for the last year, seems to be a very different beast & therefore at times confuses me!

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3 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

@JNC I assure you I have no expert knowledge whatsoever & am therefore far more likely to be wrong! What little I know about rehearsals & performances is based on years of going to opera, musicals & plays. Ballet, which I've only been seeing regularly for the last year, seems to be a very different beast & therefore at times confuses me!

 

I think we’re on the same page there! I find it all fascinating though and have learnt a lot through more learned members on this forum! 

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3 hours ago, Ingrid said:

 

Isn't that the reason (meaning the diversity of roles and repertoire) why so many principal dancers in smaller companies later join a bigger company ( like William Bracewell did ) or in the case of the Vaganova school students some prefer the Bolshoi over the Mariinksy? It would be great if the dancers had on average 3 performances to find and develop their roles but I understand that KOH tries his best to give his dancers oportunities, and many dancers have said in interviews ( in english and others in their native language)  how much they appreciate his efforts to do so.

 

 

This is part of reason. And I want to also add marketing and contracts factors into the discussion of casting.

 

First I agree that 2 performances per pair Manon/Des Grieux with so many pairs sounds not ideal.

 

But regarding of rehearsal efforts, actually only debuting/opening/filming pair will be on the very-effort-consuming end. Others will spend a lot of rehearsal time together with other casts, and a bit of time of solo rehearsal with coaches. I saw a photo of La Bayadère rehearsal for Nikiya/Solor. All pairs were together in a room. (Corrales with Osipova, Vadim with Núñez and many others). 

 

Some ballets, like Manon, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, are on stage very often in RoH. Thus for a senior principle who has danced the production a lot, it won't request a lot of efforts for them to rehearsal. So it will be more a question of if they are willing to dance this round. For junior principles, it may ask for more efforts but they are more on wish-to-dance side.

 

So the real question for KOH is who will be given the chance of debuting considering the costume costs(most of principle roles will get personal fit costume) and rehearsal cost. 

 

Also take into consideration is marketing. 

 

I hate to say but it is a fact that technique is not the only requirement to become a principle, but also the ability to attract a fan base, often related to dancer's background, nationality, looking, and many other factors. Thus every principle has some fan base, small or big. It may play very big for some people on deciding if they will go to the ballet. For example, when I was living in San Francisco Bay Area, I received friends coming to visit California from East Asia often. They won't consider to go to a show in SF Ballet, as ballet is not a thing-to-do for a California trip. But they will be interested if Yuanyuan Tan on stage, as she is a famous figure for them. Same things happen more or less here in London as well.

 

Thus in Royal Ballet, they will try to analyses fan base and how to schedule some shows to attract them. And deciding how many shows is needed/enough to satisfy a fan base.

 

Some stars, like Osipova and Nuñez, will have contracts with the company about how many shows they will have on RB stage. KOH will definitely be happy to schedule as many as performance with Nunez, but she will, of course, wish to spend some time on other locations. This round of Manon have Nunez/Bolle, Osipova/Hallberg(I know some of you have doubt on him but he is still a big ticket selling star), kind of world level stars. I doubt that if we can negotiate more than 2 shows per pair. Also want to point out that I am quite impressed by Vadim Muntagirov. He is certainly a star now and he is still very flexible and super hard working for RoH. He took many extra shows as supplement for injured colleges and paired with multiple ballerina for a single round. Especially for something like Don Quixote, it is very effort consuming to pair with another ballerina. No doubt that KOH gives so many filming opportunities as kind of reward. He is really working hard.

 

I am not concerning about effort cost of Manon. The big challenge this season should be Coppelia and Raymonda, not very often on RB stage, difficult especially on female side. Most of current leading principles/soloists have not danced it. Swanilda is a very heavily demanding role, virtually have to dancing all time in Act 1&2. And in Raymonda, each variation is hard.

So I am quite disappoint that Osipova is not scheduled to dance Swanilda, as the only two principles in current RB fleet, has danced Coppelia and really has a reputation for it. (Correct me if I am wrong but AFAIK, the only other is Marianela Nunez who debuted in 2006. Yuhui Choe danced Coppelia PDD on other stages before)

 

Edited by HelenLoveAppleJuice
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I'm reading the Seen and Heard review of the triple bill cinecast, posted in today's links, and I'm baffled by the reviewer saying "Muntagirov is always the most elegant of dancers with bravura leaps and the softest of soft landings. I just wish he didn’t make everything look so easy". I thought one of the main aims of ballet was to try to make difficult movements look easy & that Muntagirov is so highly thought of because he is so good at this. So why does the reviewer complain about it?

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Interesting post Helen. I too am disappointed that Osipova is not dancing Swanilda. I well recall her Bolshoi performance, albeit I only saw it in the cinema. I wonder if she didn’t want to dance it.

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28 minutes ago, Shade said:

Interesting post Helen. I too am disappointed that Osipova is not dancing Swanilda. I well recall her Bolshoi performance, albeit I only saw it in the cinema. I wonder if she didn’t want to dance it.

 

I too am disappointed Osipova is not dancing Swanilda. I think she would be great in the role - but then to be honest, when I look at casting choices for Coppelia I want to see all the casts as all look like a perfect fit! 

 

@HelenLoveAppleJuice your post is very interesting, I hadn't even thought about factoring in dancers' non ROH international commitments into scheduling. You are right - Nunez/Osipova particularly seem to do a lot of international appearances (e.g. Nunez in Milan recently with La Scala and Osipova in London/Sydney with her Pure Dance programme) so perhaps they really only can do a limited number of performances due to these other commitments. 

 

I have to say I did feel it was slightly unfair for Hamilton/Clarke not to get 2 performances of Manon - it seems a lot of effort just for one performance, which wasn't even open to the public anyway...I think 2 performances should be a minimum, and preferably 3 considering discussions above about absorbing a role etc. But I conclude by saying I think O'Hare is doing a great job with casting, ensuring a good spread of roles and opportunities across the ranks as well as giving the principals new challenges too. The company is in a very strong position at the moment. 

 

Thanks all for sharing thoughts/contributions on the mixed bill and other interesting topical asides! 

 

Edited by JNC
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37 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

I'm reading the Seen and Heard review of the triple bill cinecast, posted in today's links, and I'm baffled by the reviewer saying "Muntagirov is always the most elegant of dancers with bravura leaps and the softest of soft landings. I just wish he didn’t make everything look so easy". I thought one of the main aims of ballet was to try to make difficult movements look easy & that Muntagirov is so highly thought of because he is so good at this. So why does the reviewer complain about it?

 

Yes - if he was a fellow dancer I could understand it since it could induce exasperation or envy! But for a reviewer, it is indeed baffling.

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46 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

I'm reading the Seen and Heard review of the triple bill cinecast, posted in today's links, and I'm baffled by the reviewer saying "Muntagirov is always the most elegant of dancers with bravura leaps and the softest of soft landings. I just wish he didn’t make everything look so easy". I thought one of the main aims of ballet was to try to make difficult movements look easy & that Muntagirov is so highly thought of because he is so good at this. So why does the reviewer complain about it?


I read that and thought it was one of the more fatuous comments I have seen from a reviewer. Why on earth would you want it to look effortful? It’s one of the things I love about Muntagirov mainly - but some others too - that he makes the most fiendish choreography look like a walk in the park. I don’t want it to look like hard work.

Edited by Balletfanp
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23 hours ago, capybara said:

 

A really good idea. Have you got time to write in about this @Rachel.H ?

 

I tagged the ROH when I mentioned it from my own Twitter feed. I didn't get a reply, but wouldn't necessarily expect one in that context. It'd be interesting to see if they were to implement any suggestion  (I say in hope more than anything else).

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2 hours ago, JNC said:

 

I too am disappointed Osipova is not dancing Swanilda. I think she would be great in the role - but then to be honest, when I look at casting choices for Coppelia I want to see all the casts as all look like a perfect fit! 

 

I noticed that she is not on stage for RB for most of December last year and this year. Her last performance 2018 is Symphony in C in the triple bill ended in beginning of December if I recalled correctly. And this year 2019 her last is Sleeping Beauty December 2nd. And returning on Jan 18, 2020 for the Onegin. This round Coppelia is starting Nov 28 and heavily focusing on holiday pierod. It seems to be a pattern for her to spend pre-Christmas and Christmas out of London.

 

It is not unusual for a star level principle to ask for a longer rest over holiday. Nunez also has her last performance at Dec 10. Usually pre-Christmas is nutcracker season and it sells no need with big names, also a good chance for junior dancer to get a bigger role. This year is special by the return of Coppelia.

 

I doubt that it is possible to schedule 2+ shows with her within Nov 28- early December possible. And plus, if the filming is going to Nunez, then the schedule will be planned around Nunez availability for the best.

 

PS: No wonder Vadim is getting slimmer and slimmer. He has to debut&film for Raymonda and Coppelia (does he danced those role before?), and do Sleeping Beauty with both Nunez and Osipova. Rehears Onegin. Franz in Coppelia and Onegin are both heavy role....

 

 

 

Edited by HelenLoveAppleJuice
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HelenLoveAppleJuice - I don't want to appear rude but you appear to be making a lot of assumptions and presenting them as if they were facts. Across your recent posts, I believe - no, I know - that you are mistaken on several counts. The practice in one company is not necessarily replicated elsewhere. 

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On 07/11/2019 at 18:57, Ingrid said:


I’m gonna write my thoughts on the triple bill over the weekend but couldn’t pass up saying that I wish Magri was up for variation 4 on the cinema relay after all the rave reviews she received. From what I read in pretty much all the reviews is that she was the one who was really swinging and going for it. 

 

I did not see Magri in Variation 4.

For the filming performance, I have to say that I am not impressed by Beatriz Stix-Brunell's performance variation 4. I have enjoyed many of her performances and really like her smiling nature. But this time her steps/jumps were a bit messy. 

 

Comparing with POB filming one, Dorothée Gilbert did this variation in almost same choreography much better. 

 

Hope that they will use Magri footage if it is also recorded in DVD

Edited by HelenLoveAppleJuice
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25 minutes ago, capybara said:

HelenLoveAppleJuice - I don't want to appear rude but you appear to be making a lot of assumptions and presenting them as if they were facts. Across your recent posts, I believe - no, I know - that you are mistaken on several counts. The practice in one company is not necessarily replicated elsewhere. 

 

Thanks very much for your comments. I wish to make it clear that I don't have insights of RB management other than their public disclosure information. I have friends working in opera and dancing industry. And I want to put it into record that the post today I made are answer from my understanding of why so many pairs of Manon are scheduled. Of course, the practice in one company is not same at other places. And don't take my comments as accountable about RB.

 

I will try to put attributes and references into my post as many as possible but also happy to hear from you, either directly or in private message, about my misunderstanding part. Happy to extend my knowledge.

 

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11 hours ago, HelenLoveAppleJuice said:

 

I did not see Magri in Variation 4.

For the filming performance, I have to say that I am not impressed by Beatriz Stix-Brunell's performance variation 4. I have enjoyed many of her performances and really like her smiling nature. But this time her steps/jumps were a bit messy. 

 

Comparing with POB filming one, Dorothée Gilbert did this variation in almost same choreography much better. 

 

Hope that they will use Magri footage if it is also recorded in DVD

Gilbert is a principal with POB so I would expect her to be better and perhaps she has danced the role before? 

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To be honest I can't really see Osipova as Swanhilda .....now that is!

In many ways the role should suit that feisty side of Osipova but somehow I always think this role really suits the younger dancers and is a good way to try out these younger dancers in a main role. Although there are some tricky solos it's not hugely demanding on other levels. 

I'm sure a few years back Osipova would have been great in it but now ....I'm not so sure it's for her. 

 

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Didn’t Osipova leave the Bolshoi because she was only ever given soubrette roles? Perhaps Swanhilda reminds her of that? 

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Well she did dance a lot of Don Q there as well but that is a bit more demanding than Swanhilda 

I’m not putting the role down ....I’d love to do it it’s a bit of fun ( have danced Franz at amateur level ha ha) I had a terrible job trying not to laugh some nights ...it’s definitely a jolly ballet to perform but I think the main role is for the younger ones as it’s even a sillier storyline than Fille........

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Regarding gaps over December/January for Osipova and Nunez, I’d guess they have international commitments elsewhere?  North (ABT?) and South America respectively?  Or guesting elsewhere ....

 

Thanks to KOH’s enlightened management these principals and many other RB dancers are increasingly juggling external projects and guesting elsewhere with RB repertoire (eg. Melissa Hamilton with BRB in Northern Ireland this weekend, Valentino Zucchetti’s Bolero in Mexico a week ago, to name just two).  Hoorah.  

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10 minutes ago, FionaE said:

 

Thanks to KOH’s enlightened management these principals and many other RB dancers are increasingly juggling external projects and guesting elsewhere with RB repertoire (eg. Melissa Hamilton with BRB in Northern Ireland this weekend, Valentino Zucchetti’s Bolero in Mexico a week ago, to name just two).  Hoorah.  

 

Hoorah as long as they are still able to fully meet their commitments at RB.

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14 hours ago, HelenLoveAppleJuice said:

I will try to put attributes and references into my post as many as possible but also happy to hear from you, either directly or in private message, about my misunderstanding part. Happy to extend my knowledge.

 


It is very tempting to respond to this invitation but it would be getting this Forum into areas of discussion which are personal to dancers or concern matters which are private within companies. 

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49 minutes ago, Jan McNulty said:

 

Hoorah as long as they are still able to fully meet their commitments at RB.

 

What I was trying to say, is that many dancers appear now to be able to negotiate their future external schedules and RB commitments with RB management.  So someone like Natalia Osipova might choose to not participate in this run of Coppelia, if she has something more interesting to do or prepare for, from her point of view.  After all, it’s their career and it’s a short career, so each dancer must use it to their satisfaction, not anyone else’s view or demands.

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33 minutes ago, FionaE said:

What I was trying to say, is that many dancers appear now to be able to negotiate their future external schedules and RB commitments with RB management.

 

Hasn’t this been the case for a long time anyway when it comes to the most senior principals?

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24 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

Hasn’t this been the case for a long time anyway when it comes to the most senior principals?

 

It depends what you mean by a ‘long time’ and ‘the most senior principals’.  

 

So yes it has been the case for a few years.   Although not as long as one might think.  Eg.  this was one of Sergei Polunin’s reasons for leaving in 2012, and that’s only 7 years ago.  On the other hand Sylvie Guillem before that was able to dictate her schedule.   

 

However this wasn’t the track I was heading down, I was originally responding to the comments about the gaps over December/January for Osipova and Nunez and remarking that they might have alternative projects / guesting opportunities rather than just extended breaks over that period.  And applauding KOH for accommodating these.  I suspect he may also has a hand in arranging other opportunities too. 

 

But we are now getting off topic for this thread ....

Edited by FionaE
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Loved the triple bill so much, that I’m thinking of going to the encore screening this weekend to catch more of the fabulous dancing.  

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2 hours ago, Shade said:

Me too Fiona. I am going Monday afternoon

 

Where is on on Monday, please?

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Various Picturehouses in and around London, certainly.  Try using the cinema broadcasts filter on the ROH website to look for either "Encore" or (more likely) "Recorded" performances.  (I'd do it myself, but I'm not using my usual browser)

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10 hours ago, FionaE said:

Regarding gaps over December/January for Osipova and Nunez, I’d guess they have international commitments elsewhere?  North (ABT?) and South America respectively?  Or guesting elsewhere ....

 

I want to apologize for that I gave the misinformation about Nunez's last 2019 performance in RoH is early December. Just realised that she will dance Raymonda on December 18&20 as well, paired with Vadim. Still lots of good seats available online. Anyone who missed last several performance, this is the chance:)

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Having seen the Concerto Triple Bill at the ROH on bonfire night, we went to an encore screening of the broadcast yesterday to catch a glimpse of the on-stage fireworks from a different perspective.

 

Unsurprisingly, it was as much as I remembered it - including that wonderful 'comedy sneeze' from an audience member in the silence just before the Sorokin emerged to conduct Concerto.

If they do release the performance on DVD, I do hope they keep that in! (though they do tend to remove incongruences. For the Anastasia broadcast, my partner and I were literally the only ones in the auditorium to applaud when Osipova made her roller-skating entrance. When the DVD was finally released we were devastated to find our sole claim to immortality had been over-dubbed into oblivion with generic applause! :rolleyes: )

 

I've been frustrated with the 'directing' of some of the past broadcasts (too much emphasis on 'tight' shots of torsos rather than dancing), but Ross MacGibbon has turned out some good ones recently - and yesterday's continued that welcome trend. 

 

I was really impressed with how the performance of Concerto came across in the cinema. The only time dismembered torsos dominated the screen was when the main dancers were standing still or walking. The sense of dancers (individual or in groups) interacting dynamically with the open spaces of the stage was clearly portrayed.

I remember one shot (of literally the whole stage - breadth and height) where a large group was dancing, but tucked away in the left-hand corner of the screen. It gave a wonderful sense of what it was like to be there - of the opposite, yet harmonious relationship between the 'positive space' of the dancers and the 'negative space' of the colourful void that was the ROH stage.

Even the very last bit of Concerto - after Hay and O'Sullivan have stepped back into view for one final lift, was shown in wide-shot. Brilliant!

 

Of course, Concerto is abstract/neo-classical, so close-ups might be seen as less necessary than in a narrative ballet such as Enigma Variations. But I was really pleased with the balance struck in the broadcast of Enigma between showing the action on the stage and showing the expressions of the characters - very little 'dancing' was sacrificed to convey the narrative. 
This was my second viewing of Enigma (but of the same performance); I don't think it will turn out to be one of my favourite narrative ballets, but I did enjoy seeing it again - and the 'broadcast perspective' meant I did pick up on a couple of things I'd missed first time. 
At the ROH, I'd been so concentrating on the duet between Elgar and his wife (or, more likely, Morera and Saunders so demanded my attention) that I missed the cello player (his back to the audience) on the right of the stage! 
I hadn't realised that the Troyte variation starts and ends with him opening and closing the lid of a piano. I also liked the fact that Matthew Ball kept in character for the curtain-call - brusquely pulling down on his waistcoat. 🙂
The Nimrod variation showed something I hadn't noticed at the ROH (but something someone had alluded to in an earlier post?) - there seemed to be some sort of difference of opinion between Elgar and Jaeger, one that Elgar's wife sought (and succeeded) to reconcile.
My concentration did slip in the cinema (or was inadvertently pushed) by the framing of a couple of brief shots. When the unmistakable Philip Mosely bent down to wipe his shoe, surrounded by youngsters, I couldn't help but think 'clog dance!' A shot of Lady Mary Lygon, with her fluttery 'wings', made me recall the end of Jerome Robbins' The Concert...

 

For Act 3 of Raymonda, again, the cinema broadcast managed to avoid too many close ups - though there were enough to appreciate why @Mary had said 'Osipova was worth the price of admission alone- her expression during her stunning hand-clapping solo was priceless!'
Something else that struck me was Osipova's impeccable timing; there was a bit about a minute into her solo where she pushes down one leg (no idea of the technical term!) in time to a single, low note struck on the piano - I got a real impression of her leg being the finger playing that note.

 

Looking back over the posts, there were mixed views about the presenters. I thought Darcey's co-presenter did really well - she managed to convey a real sense of excitement at being 'back stage'. OK, it wasn't the most polished, but it had an enthusiastic sparkle to it that would otherwise get a bit lost in stuffy formality.
The interviews - live and recorded - were really useful.

Wayne Sleep was completely irrepressible (the presenters had to resort to naming Alfreda Thorogood at one point to stop him answering for her). We did learn that Wayne thinks the current crop of male dancers are superb - to the extent of reintroducing little touches in the GRS man/dog solo such as 'tail-wagging' during spins (though when it came to the broadcast it didn't seem as obvious as Wayne had suggested).

The pre-recorded interviews were an unexpected joy. Osipova speaking, in English, in that wonderfully distinctive voice of hers. Muntagirov, who naturally has a boyish charm about him, seemingly shedding an additional ten years. He even managed to look younger than James Hay, who usually looks so young you would doubt he could even grow the full beard he was sporting! 

 

What a cast! What a broadcast! What a Christmas present a DVD of this would make...  🎄

 

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I also went to an Encore screening today, having seen the same cast live a fortnight ago.

 

I found that I didn't enjoy Concerto as much at the cinema as I did live.  My seat in the ROH was up in the roof, which allowed me to appreciate the scope and movement of all the dancers.  I didn't find the close ups of the faces on film enhanced the performance for me; I found Anna Rose O'Sullivan's smiling face a little bit distracting.  

 

On the other hand, while I enjoyed Enigma live, I thought the cinema performance really enhanced the whole thing for me. Seeing the dancers' expressions in close up made such a difference.  I loved it, and I was so moved by the Nimrod variation I was almost in tears.  I got so carried away I started clapping, forgetting I was in the cinema.  I also clapped after Hayward's solo, to the confusion of the lady sitting 3 seats away.  


As far as Raymonda was concerned,  the set looked completely different when viewed through the camera,  rather than looking down from above in the theatre.  Now I could appreciate that the curtains were hung beautifully, the floor gave the suggestion of patterned, polished marble, and the embroidery on Osipova's tutu looked elegant rather than giving the impression of a dog's bone.  Ironically, for this piece I could have done with a few more close ups, as I don't go to live shows often enough to be able to instantly recognise the dancers.  In the pas de trois and  the pas de quatre. I assume the order they were listed on the cast sheet was the order they were dancing in i.e. Corrales was second from the left as we faced the stage?  It was marvellous to see how high Muntagirov actually jumps (you never really get the true picture when seeing him from the amphitheatre) and Osipova was wonderful again.  The only thing was her claps did sound rather feeble on film.   I know that in real life they were splendid.  

I really enjoyed the fact that the interviews were conducted back stage, rather than in the Floral Hall. I loved the interviews, particularly the ones with Wayne Sleep and Alfreda Thorogood.  She looked tiny.  The other two ladies appeared to be towering over her.  It was great to see the dancers walking back and forth, and I was amused to see one lady in a gorgeous Raymonda tutu go scurrying past in the direction of the stage with an enormous handbag dangling over one arm.   I do wonder what she had in it! 

 

Edited by Fonty
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