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Christmas and New Year 2019/20 dance on television and radio - discussion


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Confined to bed with some virus I have v much enjoyed watching The Snow Queen- it has some lovely sets and costumes, very good use of music, and an engrossing spectacle. I especially liked the market scene, the bandit camp ( reminiscent of Two Pigeons!), the wolves ( reminiscent of M Bourne's Swans!) and the strong female roles, particularly well danced I thought by the Snow Queen herself.

 

This would be a great Christmas outing. I don't think they should have had the knife threat moments though.

 

Has anyone else seen it?

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Just watched the Essential Royal Ballet programme. I enjoyed it, though from a selfish point of view I'd hoped for more interviews and backstage material whereas it was really just a string of quite long excerpts with very small amounts of introductory material. I did think that (with apologies for the technical terminology) there was too much swoony white stuff in the first 20 minutes; I think it might have been better to have more wizzy-bang stuff to excite viewers before going all soulful (which I would imagine can look a bit OTT out of context). It gave a decent impression of the company's rep in the last 10 years, but I would have thought that a bit more context would have been helpful for non-balletomanes.

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Enjoyed Essential Royal Ballet just now on BBC4.

 

It could easily have been 2 or 3 times as long. Trying to represent their entire work of 10 years in 1 hour was a bit challenging. But at least there was a good ratio of clips to talk. Some luscious clips too- one to re watch.

I was reminded -(NOT that I had forgotten)  of many highlights, including how wonderful was Ed Watson in Mayerling, Steven McRae as the Mad Hatter- quite a turn!- Laura Morera in Viscera, the beauty of Symphonic Variations, and how much I liked Woolf Works and would hope to see it again - and  seeing close-up on screen the exquisite nobility and expressiveness of Vadim Muntagirov in Swan Lake and the end of Sleeping Beauty,  was a great treat as I sit  in bed with a cold.

 

It was a chocolate box selection- quite good perhaps to show people the variety of work on offer and give a taste of the incredible artistry of the company. Kevin O'Hare came across very well;  many of the talking heads moments seemed familiar from live screenings- would they have re used them?

 

Now, BBC, please could you follow up with some full length RB ballets....?

 

 

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I agree, I enjoyed it, but it could have easily been considerably longer. Also, as usual, what was missing was interviews with the people who actually have to perform the stuff! They didn't seem to get any mention in the end credits either... It was interesting to watch how the choreography and the technical dance challenges have changed so much over time with the introduction of more contemporary works - it would have been nice if there had been comments from the dancers' perspective.

 

Hey ho, you can't have everything and to be honest I preferred seeing longer excerpts rather than short clips.

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At the very least, I would like to have seen a cast list at the end.  Apart from Nunez, who were the other ladies in Symphonic Variations?  From the brief glimpse I got, was one of them Choe?  I could look it up, of course, but I shouldn't have to.  

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1 minute ago, Fonty said:

At the very least, I would like to have seen a cast list at the end.  Apart from Nunez, who were the other ladies in Symphonic Variations?  From the brief glimpse I got, was one of them Choe?  I could look it up, of course, but I shouldn't have to.  

 

Yes, Choe and Naghdi.

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33 minutes ago, Mary said:

how much I liked Woolf Works and would hope to see it again

 

I'm afraid I had the opposite reaction: the clip of Woolf Works made me determined never to see it live. I thought the choreography jerky & ugly. I'm now dreading Live Fire Exercise in April even more than I was already. I wonder if it would be considered rude to only see one part of a triple bill...?

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Dawnstar- I am not a fan of Wayne McGregor at all. However, I did like Woolf Works, and the clip they showed was the least good bit. The work does in fact contain some almost classical dance, has a strong narrative and is very moving.  So I would urge you to try it once.

However, I could not recommend Live Fire Exercise, which I thought was ghastly. I shall be sitting it out when I go. I don't think that's rude.

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8 hours ago, Mary said:

Confined to bed with some virus I have v much enjoyed watching The Snow Queen- it has some lovely sets and costumes, very good use of music, and an engrossing spectacle. I especially liked the market scene, the bandit camp ( reminiscent of Two Pigeons!), the wolves ( reminiscent of M Bourne's Swans!) and the strong female roles, particularly well danced I thought by the Snow Queen herself.

 

This would be a great Christmas outing. I don't think they should have had the knife threat moments though.

 

Has anyone else seen it?

Mary, we had booked to see it in Edinburgh but like you were confined to bed - so were glad to see it on BBC. I agree it was lovely and original with beautiful music.

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I loved the Essential Royal Ballet programme.  Stand-out for me was Watson in Mayerling (and of course Muntagirov whenever he appeared).  I would've liked to see more principals in action as although I love the ones they chose to show, there are other excellent dancers who were ignored.  But I suppose you can't have everything and everyone in a single hour.  I do hope it encourages some non-ballet-goers to dip their toes in the water of the ROH experience.

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As expected, a bit of a clip show from our DVD collections....I'll watch it properly later but flicked through the recording to see what they used however watched Viscera and Symphonic Variations as both are new to me and had Yuhui in them....and also had a great game of guess the ballet from Christopher Carr's decription of 'nothing could be bettered, masterpiece' etc.

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Yep, "clip show" just about sums it up.  If it were opera, it would be referred to as "bleeding chunks", plus a few snippets of interviews from the live relays, all glued together with presentation from Katie Derham and some interviews with Kevin O'Hare.  Nice enough, although I can see that an expert YouTuber could probably have put together much the same thing - I'd hope for more from the BBC.

 

I think I'll move the feedback into a separate thread, otherwise people may lose sight of precisely what's on for the rest of the week.

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(If we have existing threads for individual programmes, e.g. Romeo & Juliet Beyond Words, please post in there rather than here: this is just for feedback covering those programmes which don't have their own thread)

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A fair programme, I thought.  But as  a 'review' of the past decade, I also found myself thinking about what wasn't there - eg Lauren Cuthbertson, whose Alice is somewhat incidental to that Mad Hatter tap scene that, in turn, was all we saw of Steven McCrae.  And how old was that Mayerling extract with Ed Watson and Mara Galeazzi?  Have they missed so much through injury that their recorded presence is brief?  And did I really hear Wayne McGregor refer to his 'alien aesthetic?"  

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Rob S said:

As expected, a bit of a clip show from our DVD collections....

Well yes, for those who have the DVDs of course, or are very familiar with the productions, having seen them live a number of times.

 

For the majority of tv viewers, most (maybe all) of it would have been new to them.

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18 hours ago, Ian Macmillan said:

A fair programme, I thought.  But as  a 'review' of the past decade, I also found myself thinking about what wasn't there - eg Lauren Cuthbertson, whose Alice is somewhat incidental to that Mad Hatter tap scene that, in turn, was all we saw of Steven McCrae.  And how old was that Mayerling extract with Ed Watson and Mara Galeazzi?  Have they missed so much through injury that their recorded presence is brief?  And did I really hear Wayne McGregor refer to his 'alien aesthetic?"  

 

 

 

 

That definitely sounds like something he would say, which is why I never buy programmes with his lengthy explanatory notes in them.  

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2 minutes ago, Sim said:

That definitely sounds like something he would say, which is why I never buy programmes with his lengthy explanatory notes in them.  

 

 

That reminds me of one my favorite memories of recent years. One of the group I was sitting with had brought a programme.  Before the show started, we were sitting there, trying (and failing) to decipher what on earth 'his lengthy explanatory notes' actually meant!

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As mentioned it was just a rehash of clips most of us have seen before. 😴 But, I was reminded of how much I dislike 'Alice'. That I still miss Ed Watson - (& didn't Mara Galeazzi have lovely feet).  And I will never get enough of Symphonic Variations.

It was an ok programme - but hardly "essential".

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2 hours ago, ninamargaret said:

a visiting friend, whose only ballet visit has been to a Matthew Bourne ballet, watched it and was entranced! I think it was probably intended for audiences who go infrequently, not for hardened specimens like readers of this foum!

 

This "hardened specimen" was disappointed. I think they should have gone for a three-parter: the classics; the 'heritage works' and the new rep. with slightly longer extracts and a little more explanation. But I do accept that the target audience was a 'general interest' one, rather than Royal Ballet regulars, and having such a programme made at all represents 'progress'.

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The Royal Ballet hardly lacks exposure these days and it was merely a succession of the DVDs many of us already have.  I am sorry there wasn't a companion programme covering the work done by the other major company, BRB, ENB, NBT, Scottish Ballet and Ballet Black etc.

 

Between them they cover much more of the population of these isles and could open an untapped potential resource of future ballet goers.

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53 minutes ago, Two Pigeons said:

I am sorry there wasn't a companion programme covering the work done by the other major company, BRB, ENB, NBT, Scottish Ballet and Ballet Black etc.

 

Between them they cover much more of the population of these isles and could open an untapped potential resource of future ballet goers.

A very good point!

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