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Ballet at Athelhampton House 2021


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Judging by Saturday's event at least, this weekend has been a great success both as a display of some of the wonderful talent at the Royal Ballet, and a much needed fundraiser for the performing arts (the live auction alone raised many £1000s).

Kevin O'Hare must have been very proud to see the company members here on top form, in time for the new season ahead.

They were all great,  but just to pick the stand-outs for me...

Melissa Hamilton's cool elegance in Concerto Pas de Deux

Akane Takada's mesmerising Pas de Deux from Within the Golden Hour with Ryoichi Hirano (who stood in at the last minute as Calvin Richardson was unfortunately injured)

Mayara Magri and William Bracewell in Grand Pas Classique -they were synchronized to perfection in the three difficult  moves where the lady holds position en pointe on one leg whilst the gentleman jumps and turns,   both then finishing down to the floor at the same time  on one knee (apologies for the lack of a better technical description). Searching You Tube I have yet to see this achieved all three times elsewhere!

Sarah Lamb and Matthew Ball in Meditation from Thais - first time I have seen this live.

A very moving Dying Swan from Leo Dixon, standing in for Calvin Richardson

Leo again with Anna Rose O'Sullivan in a dramatic extract from Chroma

A charming Des Grieux Solo from Manon, by Joseph Sissens (who also gets the award for best current hair/beard combo)

Fumi Kaneko's delightful Rose Adage supported by her 4 admirers (Lukas B Braendsrod, David Donelly, Giacomo Rovero, and Leo Dixon)

 

...and some virtuosic violin playing from Sergey Levitin!

 

Many thanks and congratulations to Meaghan Grace Hinkis for putting this all together (as well as providing  some delightful dancing of her own as Juliet, and in Les Lutins ) and to all the dancers and support team who attended.

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It was indeed a splendid afternoon.  Last year it was so special because it was the first live performance for months and still under Covid 19 restrictions, so I was almost apprehensive that this wouldn't be as exciting.  However my fears were groundless, it built on the foundations of last year and was even more inspiring.  

 

Without Covid restrictions they were able to have a larger audience (300 I was told) but it still felt intimate and the slightly higher stage meant that sight lines were much better.  Also last year they only had practice costumes whereas you can see from Richard's photo they had beautiful costumes.  I agree with his comments, but would like to add that I found the dances where the Pianist Michael Pansters and Violinist Sergey Livitin played, either as a solo, or together gave an extra dimension to the performance. 

 

I hope this will become an annual event!

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I loved this gala again this year. so many super performances and everyone in good shape 👏👏👏


My highlights

- Mayara Magri radiant and impeccable in the Grand Pas Classique (and in a gorgeous tutu borrowed from on of the Ukrainian ballerinas from Ivan Putrov’s gala) 

- Melissa Hamilton & Lukas BB in both Concerto and the Craig Davidson pdd.   These two make a super partnership 

- Taisuke Nakao in Les Lutins in the role originated by Steven McRae.   Never seen this done better … technically and the comedy and playfulness.   Clearly benefitted by the personal coaching by Johan Kobborg.  
 

For all the stage was ‘raised’ from last year, I could still see only top halves of dancers from my seat (the cheapest).  However … fortunately my seat was in the back row and so I could stand behind my seat and could actually see all of the dancers’ legs and feet mist of the time.   Hooray!  That’s £50 we’ll spent to stand for a rich and packed programme of the RB’s best.  I’d do it again.   
 

Melissa has uploaded the Craig Davidson pdd on her YouTube channel

 

 

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