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Yeo Valley Balley Sun 18th July The Royal Ballet at Yeo Valley Farm , Blagdon nr Bristol.


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The Royal Ballet at Yeo Valley Sunday 18th July 

Dance in Somerset presented by Muse a Muse and Yeo Valley Organic Farm. 

 

I’d been advised not to rely on Sat Nav 

I assumed I would get lost. Hence, I arrived in Blagdon, at the Yeo Valley Organic Farm, in record time, probably ahead of everyone else except the organisers. Which gave me plenty of opportunity to explore the beautiful Gardens and enjoy relaxing before my friend arrived and we could enter the picnic area. The location is beyond beautiful. Rolling hills and valleys, dew-eyed cows, and beautiful sunshine. Too much sunshine in fact.  

How were the dancers going to cope in 30 degrees of shade-less sunshine, clad in lycra, and dance? 

 

We soon found out...they coped incredibly well, with the knowledge that afterwards the swimming pool behind the farm house was available for a refreshing dip! 

The audience, with sensible hats, Factor 30, parasols galore and plenty of water...soon found there was a major issue. The stage was about 2 feet off the ground. The seating area was pretty flat, perhaps a slight ‘rake’ was discernible. But it meant that you could not see well unless you were in the front row. And so...we decided to stand, which was permitted, off to the side, not in anyone’s way, and then we could see perfectly..... 

And this is what we saw.... after a rousing introductory duet ( Poulenc) by Rob Clark and Kate Shipway at adjacent pianos, luckily in the shade of a gazebo , the ballet performance commenced with Claire Calvert as Aurora in the Rose Adage from Sleeping Beauty. Claire showed wonderful control and grace, ably supported by her cavaliers: Gary Avis, Nicol Edmonds, Leo Dixon and Daichi Ikarashi. Those balances are so tricky and she accomplished them with aplomb. 

 

Mayara Magri danced Will Tuckett’s Song Without Words, a moving contemporary piece to the music of JS Bach. Its quite simple but shows a yearning, perhaps for a lost love? 

The pdd from Wayne McGregor’s Infra was danced by Ed Watson and Leticia Dyas, the angles and contortions of this piece are unusual, challenging and demanding, driven by the music of Max Richter. Such a pleasure for me to see Ed dancing again after a long time... 

The cellist Hetty Snell played another piece by JS Bach, to which Leo Dixon performed a recent work choreographed by himself in collaboration with Valentino Zucchetti. It was a mixture of classic and contemporary steps, which I enjoyed. 

A real highlight for me was the following pdd from After The Rain by Chris Wheeldon. Fumi Kaneko and Reece Clark are, in my opinion ,perfect in this piece... so graceful, so in tune. 

We then had a much-needed water/shade break...we were all roasting by now so it was very sensible for the organisers to come round to everyone with fresh water.   

Nicol Edmonds performed a piece called Loom which he choreographed himself, in a contemporary style, with beautiful swirling arms and interesting attention to detail...music by Arnolds and Bonabo 

The first of our two Dying Swans on the programme was the classic version by Fokine, danced here by Claire Calvert in her second full costume, tutu and tights. She melted and wilted very enigmatically to the well know Swan by St Saens 

 

To complete the first half we had Rhapsody, that gorgeous Rachmaninoff music lending itself so well to Ashton’s choreographic genius. Daichi Ikarashi danced the solo, followed by Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Alexander Cambell in the pdd. Those accented alternate uplifting hand gestures which Anna did so well were a favourite moment of mine. 

 

The second half began with Rob and Kate’s piano duet Brazileira, a very lively piece by Darius Milhaud. 

Two excerpts from the recently seen Dances at a Gathering were delightful: Alex Campbell as the winsome Brown Boy, and Mayara Magri and NIcol Edmonds in the green/lilac pdd, Robbin’s choreography still fresh and lyrical , to Chopin’s music. 

McGregor’s Chroma pdd is a huge favourite of mine, and the debut performances by Leo Dixon and Anna Rose O’Sullivan were fantastic, pushed on by the bold music of Jody Talbot and Jack White. 

In complete contrast, the next piece was the delicate and delightful Raymonda Act 3 solo, danced by Leticia Dias. She clearly enjoyed this very much. 

Another chance to see Ed Watson followed, in the unusual One with D by Javier de Frutos. Ed was joined onstage by the singer Dan Gillespie Sells singing ‘I can give you the starlight’ by Ivor Novello  . Ed is as limber as ever, this piece accentuating his flexibility, whilst telling a rather abstract story of ? Loss ? Lost love? 

Next was another gala favourite, MacMillan’s Concerto pdd, danced by Mathew Ball and Mayara Magri to Shostakovich, its apparent simplicity was so cool and classic, even in the remarkable heat.  

The second Dying Swan came ready to die, to the same music, but in a very different way! Leo Dixon was torn apart by a fatal disability, a nerve tremor, a rigid hand, a gradual collapse to the final pose...very interesting and modern choreography by Calvin Richardson. 

As a little piquant, light relief, we were given The Tango from Façade by Ashton. It was delicious from the be-ringed fingers of Gary Avis sending shivers down Claire Calvert’s spine, to the proud feather plumes of Claire’s headdress. Some sublimely funny moments ensued.  

The penultimate and very technically assured piece was Corsaire (Ali’s solo) by Daichi Ikarashi. Superb control of those very tricky steps, well done! 

The very beautiful Manon bedroom pdd was the finale, again the gorgeous pairing of Fumi Kaneko and Reece Clark , they inhabited the characters drawn so well by Sir Kenneth McMillan, danced to the flowing music of Massenet. 

And so it came to an end, a rather hot and sticky one, after our free icecream , but with all the dancers onstage for their curtain call and the presentation of a bouquet each. 

A long but uneventful drive home followed. I did not mind one bit that I hand to stand to see from a purely personal and ? selfish point of view.  

But next time Muse A Muse...get a higher stage platform please 

 

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Fab review Mandy. 
 

All the dancers performed beautifully and the 3 new principal ladies were especially impeccable … their dancing and beauty is wonderful to view this close-up.  Another highlight for me was Reece’s full-on happiness and broad smile in the Manon pdd with Fumi.  
 

Happiness was evident in all the dancers!
 

Very grateful for the extra breaks, chilled water and free ice cream … the heat was fiendish. Some people decamped outside the lawn to sit (or stand) either side where there was shade.  

 

I agree a much higher stage is needed. Perhaps the organisers should look to the one they use on Verdensballetten outdoor summer tour of Denmark which has been running for 13/14 years ... initially set-up and run by Johan Kobborg, and more recently by Steven McRae.  Photo of high stage here ….

https://www.instagram.com/p/BjxBJ88gwKn/?utm_medium=copy_link
 

I didn’t mind standing as I had anticipated the sightline problem, so had knowingly bought the £89.25 ticket hoping (!) to be able to stand.  Being in the first row behind the 5 ‘VIP’ rows in front … we were as close to the stage as possible, but still needed to stand to see anything more than heads of the dancers.   I’d not have been pleased to pay this amount and be at the back with such a limited view.  

Hugely appreciative of all the super performances and for the packed programme.  

 

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That’s a great review Mandy 😊

Is this the first time Yeo Valley have put this on? Such a shame about the stage as otherwise seemed like a really enjoyable day out to see ballet ( though I’d have turned it into a stopover) as £85 even for Charity is a lot to ask if you can’t actually see anything!! Annoying as they are these sight line issues are not quite as bad for watching singing or theatre productions but  for Dance are a bit of a no no.

Hope they can get this fixed.

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38 minutes ago, FionaE said:

I agree a much higher stage is needed.
 

I didn’t mind standing

 

 

or hold it at the bottom of a field with a slope - a la the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury (but on a vastly smaller scale obviously!). A sorta amphitheatre type thing.

 

As for standing - for a tenner, fine. For £85, not so fine (in my opinion)

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1 hour ago, LinMM said:

That’s a great review Mandy 😊

Is this the first time Yeo Valley have put this on? Such a shame about the stage as otherwise seemed like a really enjoyable day out to see ballet ( though I’d have turned it into a stopover) as £85 even for Charity is a lot to ask if you can’t actually see anything!! Annoying as they are these sight line issues are not quite as bad for watching singing or theatre productions but  for Dance are a bit of a no no.

Hope they can get this fixed.

Yes it’s the first time for Yeo Valley Balley 😉

As an aside , I can hugely recommend the Yeo Valley salted caramel ice-cream… best ever ! 

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I thought the organisers sounded familiar, they did the performances in the south of France that various RB dancers went to a few years ago, photos show they put up raised seating for that

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Just now, Mandy Kent said:

Yes it’s the first time for Yeo Valley Balley 😉

As an aside , I can hugely recommend the Yeo Valley salted caramel ice-cream… best ever ! 

 

Good enough to think of it as £85 a pot with a free ballet performance thrown in? 🙂

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, Rob S said:

 

Good enough to think of it as £85 a pot with a free ballet performance thrown in? 🙂

Yes !! 😂

I am absolutely glowing with happiness that I went… or could it be sun burn 😅

Edited by Mandy Kent
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7 hours ago, zxDaveM said:

 

or hold it at the bottom of a field with a slope - a la the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury (but on a vastly smaller scale obviously!). A sorta amphitheatre type thing.

 

As for standing - for a tenner, fine. For £85, not so fine (in my opinion)


 

you misquoted me!   I said … 

 

I didn’t mind standing as I had anticipated the sightline problem, so had knowingly bought the £89.25 ticket hoping (!) to be able to stand.  
 

If this message board would allow larger photo files I could show you how close we were.   In the end I was rather delighted with my expensive standing ticket.  You cannot get that close anywhere in the opera house.  

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12 minutes ago, FionaE said:


 

you misquoted me!   I said … 

 

I didn’t mind standing as I had anticipated the sightline problem, so had knowingly bought the £89.25 ticket hoping (!) to be able to stand.  
 

If this message board would allow larger photo files I could show you how close we were.   In the end I was rather delighted with my expensive standing ticket.  You cannot get that close anywhere in the opera house.  

 

You could reduce the size of your photograph...

 

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2 minutes ago, Jan McNulty said:

 

You could reduce the size of your photograph...

 


Sadly I’ve tried that and it’s still too large 🤔 900+ kB after compression.  And the tool won’t let me compress further.  I used an Image compressor.   Could someone recommend a better tool or method?   No idea why the original photo is so large… I use my iPhone.  

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1 hour ago, FionaE said:


Sadly I’ve tried that and it’s still too large 🤔 900+ kB after compression.  And the tool won’t let me compress further.  I used an Image compressor.   Could someone recommend a better tool or method?   No idea why the original photo is so large… I use my iPhone.  

 

Open a Flickr account (it's free) and host them there, then link to them here...you then don't have get the file size down at all

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