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I’m curious about some of the touring ballet companies that have a lower profile than the big well known names. For example,  I’m going to see Varna International’s Giselle in Oxford, in January. And I’ve recently come across Ballet Theatre UK who seem to be on the road a lot. Does anyone here have any experience, tips, information, views etc? On these or other companies, perhaps?

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Ballet promoter/producer Paul Godfrey warns that current touring companies may be Russian touring companies … merely renamed.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CmyuTfOoOoK/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

 

Paul Godfrey was a promoter/producer of Bolshoi and Mariinsky tours and of PoluninInk R&J in London.  He is now promoter/producer for the Ukrainian Giselle in London/Netherlands and their subsequent tours. 

Edited by FionaE
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In early December I saw a post on fb from King's International Ballet School wishing toi, toi, toi to their ex pupil Luca Burns who is touring with Varna International ballet. I asked if Luca would be dancing in Bournemouth as they are scheduled to dance at the Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre in March. He replied that it is the UK group who will dance there and that he is on the Korea tour. So maybe they have split the company for touring - like BRB used to do - or maybe they have employed extra dancers. It appears to be the ballet from the Opera House in Varna, Bulgaria.  The Varna International ballet competition has been running for decades is one of the most reputable.

Edited by Pas de Quatre
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Before Christmas,  I stumbled across an advertising on FB for these events/performances in Germany, without naming the company:

 

https://mein-ballett.de/

 

I sent an email and got the following reply:

"the performances in Berlin will be danced by an international guest ensemble based in the Republic of Moldova.

The soloists are Kateryna Floria (Ukraine), Anastasia Manzyuk (Moldova), Haruka Iguchi (Japan), Makino Nanaho (Japan), Ali Talantbekov (Kyrgyzstan)."

Edited by Sabine0308
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The plot thickens - yesterday I received an E-mail from the Theatre Royal Brighton inviting me to buy discounted tickets for the Varna International Ballet, and as the prices were high I got one for Giselle on 13th February,( Nutcracker and Swan Lake are on the next two nights) without checking up, I've just looked again and it says the Company was founded in 1947 and this is their first UK tour, with dancers from Ukraine and European countries, this is the information that the Theatre Royal has been given.

 

I don't mind, it will just be lovely to see Giselle without a train journey!!!

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I have seen a lot of touring companies in my area over the years. I think many were Russian, but these visits were not in recent years (the last one was four years ago) as I am near to London and just adore TRB and support them whenever I am able to. I would say, generally, I got what I paid for - if that makes sense? Tickets were very cheap, comparatively. If you cannot make the journey to London or wherever a larger company is performing, then it is worth a visit, in my opinion. I did not expect RB standards, but I really enjoyed what I saw, all things considered. Obviously, the music was not a live orchestra and was a recorded backing track in the performances I went to, but that wasn't a problem for me. 

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11 minutes ago, Linnzi5 said:

I have seen a lot of touring companies in my area over the years. I think many were Russian, but these visits were not in recent years (the last one was four years ago) as I am near to London and just adore TRB and support them whenever I am able to. I would say, generally, I got what I paid for - if that makes sense? Tickets were very cheap, comparatively. If you cannot make the journey to London or wherever a larger company is performing, then it is worth a visit, in my opinion. I did not expect RB standards, but I really enjoyed what I saw, all things considered. Obviously, the music was not a live orchestra and was a recorded backing track in the performances I went to, but that wasn't a problem for me. 


Who or what is TRB please?

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I think it’s just the Royal Ballet! Most people just call it RB!! 
I took awhile to cotton on reading another thread here on who TAB were!! 
It’s the Australian Ballet! 
I kept thinking it was some sort of new  hybrid Company Tasmanian Australian Ballet 🙄 ( the thread was connected to chat about things Oz.) 

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9 hours ago, LinMM said:

I took awhile to cotton on reading another thread here on who TAB were!! 
It’s the Australian Ballet! 
I kept thinking it was some sort of new  hybrid Company Tasmanian Australian Ballet 🙄 ( the thread was connected to chat about things Oz.) 

 

Awful sorry @LinMM I'm probably she who's guilty of that abbreviation! 

 

The Australian Ballet chooses to call itself The Australian Ballet and is quite fussy about the capital T.

 

They abbreviate themselves as TAB, which is rather funny because the Totalisator Agency Boards (formerly government-owned, now privatised betting shops/online betting) in Australia and New Zealand are also abbreviated to TAB.

 

The difference is that TAB ballet is usually pronounced spelled out as "T-A-B", while the TAB betting is usually pronounced "tab" although those of us old enough to remember the time before The Internet call it "the T-A-B".

 

I use either AusBallet or TAB depending on how much typing I can be bothered to do.

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On Thursday I went to see Ballet Theatre UK perform Beauty and the Beast at the Brighton Dome. 
I’ve seen quite a lot of their productions over the last few years either in Brighton or at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon.
My favourite still remains The Snow Queen though also liked The Little Mermaid a lot too.   I’ve only seen one of the more major classics they perform and that was Nutcracker but am hoping to catch their Romeo and Juliet which is going to be on tour in 2023. 
Although I did enjoy parts of Beauty and the Beast I felt it lacked a bit of imagination ….more in the staging and having more variety of scenes… though of course appreciate they are a small Company visiting various venues so not easy. 
There were probably just too many groups of pairs dancing similar choreography but in different costumes!! Though there were a nice couple of pas de deux for Beauty and her father and Beauty and the Beast. 
The role of the enchantress on that night …a Finnish dancer …was particularly well danced. 
The music ..recorded of course.. was fine  (and recognised bits of it as Smetana I think) but was played far too loud through the speakers so at times quite deafening so did need to cover the ears occasionally….but I’ve experienced this at Sadlers Wells too so not sure how much say a Dance Company has in how loudly the music is played when recorded etc. 

The costumes were all very nice with some dazzling tutus at the end which probably pleased those who don’t get to the ballet that often!  
It was well received anyway with lots of clapping and cheering at the end. 
Unfortunately I did not manage to buy a programme they all seemed to disappear once it started!! 

This means it’s difficult to identify dancers by name who were on that night but may have another go from the BTUK website

Unfortunately finding out what the music is for productions is difficult from the website too though don’t know if this is clearer in any programmes sold. 
I might be able to post screen shots of a friends programme but probably won’t work here on the Forum ( file is always too big)  
If you live somewhere where it’s difficult to get to the ballet then this Company is worth catching…as long as you don’t expect RB Principal standards the dancers are all quite good and some of them very good so worth an evening/afternoon trip out even on a cold rainy January evening! 

 

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15 hours ago, alison said:

 

I have to admit, it had occurred to me to wonder whether that might be the case. 


I’m not sure I agree with Paul Godfrey’s view that Russian dancers trying to make a living by touring  the UK (or wherever) should he ostracised.   How is this different to Smirnova, Osipova, etc.  

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Well I’m looking forward to Varna’s ‘Giselle’ and will report back. (I’m still slightly fizzing after seeing Mariko Sasaki as Sugar Plum Fairy on December 23rd. ) 
Happy New Year to all 

Edited by gdallas
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3 hours ago, FionaE said:


I’m not sure I agree with Paul Godfrey’s view that Russian dancers trying to make a living by touring  the UK (or wherever) should he ostracised.   How is this different to Smirnova, Osipova, etc.  

 

I'm slightly torn about this: a lot of the justification for e.g. cancelling the Bolshoi tour focused on the cultural capital that Russia has always sought and received for such, so it does seem inconsistent to widen the opprobrium to companies going out of their way not to badge themselves as Russian. However I think it's a valid point that if a company is made up principally of Russian dancers and has previously promoted itself on that basis, there is some dishonesty in now sailing under a flag of convenience.

 

As to the Smirnova/Osipova point: both have made public statements (neither, as far as I know, under duress) about their abhorrence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I don't know if the touring dancers or their promoters have done likewise; if not, that is surely a clear difference.

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In May there was a long article published in Bounemouth Daily Echo by Kirill Karabits, the Ukrainian Chief Conductor of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He talked about the programme for the 2022-23 season beginning in October. Here are a few quotes, I found the whole thing so interesting I cut it out and kept it.

"When I conduct Russian music I have to find an argument as to why I am doing it. I have to justify it as to why I am conducting Shostakovich or Rachmaninov."

"Some orchestras have refused to invite Russian artists or have excluded Russian music from their programmes but I do not think this is the right way."

"I do not believe by cancelling Russian culture one can achieve peace in Ukraine. I really don't". I can only see the conflict going deeper and deeper if people choose this direction".

Edited by Pas de Quatre
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By the way Sophoife no need to apologise for the TAB abbreviation lol! 
Im just dismayed  it took me longer than it should have to cotton on! 
It’s amazing though what your brain can make up in its ignorance lol! 
Happy New year to you and all the other Balletco’s in Australia. Hope you all get to see some ballet this year …especially TAB!! 

 

Edited by LinMM
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Oh @LinMMthank you for your kind wishes.

 

I already have my tickets for all TAB's Melbourne seasons (including Tokyo Ballet in Giselle), and, inspired by @Bluebird, now have tickets for the Sydney-only Ashton double bill and Swan Lake in December (treating a friend from my cycling-watching posse on Twitter).

 

Most excitingly however I have a ticket for a performance by Colorado Ballet in late April, courtesy of a friend I haven't seen dance live since April 2013, just as he left Australia. Yosvani Ramos is finally hanging up his dance belt (after 26 years and two major injuries in the last five years) and I'm going to see his final performance. Sadly as anyone who knows me will realise, it's Balanchine 😳 Oh well I've never seen the American Rocky Mountains so that's an experience to which to look forward.

 

I'm hoping to tack on a European leg to the trip, either before or after 🤞

 

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Yosvani Ramos …I’ve seen him teaching at Yorkshire Ballet Summer School. That year I had accompanied a couple of girls from Israel from Stansted Airport up to York so got to see a few classes!  
He was a lovely and inspiring teacher. 
I can’t remember if he was also teaching when it was at the Uni in York a couple of years before as went then as well with a friend from Sydney ( well she’s from U.K. but now lives in Sydney) and her daughter was into ballet back then so attending the Summer School in York.  
It’s where I first saw people like Joe Sissens ( he was about 14) and Reece Clarke ( he was more like 17/18 then) 

And a couple of other much younger students who are now with the Royal as Aud Jebsen dancers!! 
Going to Colorado will be very exciting hoping to hear about it here….and the Balanchine!!!! 

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2 hours ago, Sophoife said:

 

 

Most excitingly however I have a ticket for a performance by Colorado Ballet in late April, courtesy of a friend I haven't seen dance live since April 2013, just as he left Australia. Yosvani Ramos is finally hanging up his dance belt (after 26 years and two major injuries in the last five years) and I'm going to see his final performance. Sadly as anyone who knows me will realise, it's Balanchine 😳 Oh well I've never seen the American Rocky Mountains so that's an experience to which to look forward.

 

I'm hoping to tack on a European leg to the trip, either before or after 🤞

 

 

That should be lovely Sophoife and I bet it will be somewhat emotional.

 

Looking at his IG, Yosvani has been teaching in the UK between Christmas and New Year.  Last year (in May 2022) I saw him give company class with Northern Ballet.  I always enjoyed his performances at ENB before he moved to Australia.

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Thank you @LinMMand @Jan McNultyfor those lovely comments about what is, basically, my long service leave trip 😂 

 

As I understand him, Yosvani feels very strongly about passing on what he was taught and has learned, and knowing how he loves teaching in Yorkshire in summer, to see him described as a lovely and inspiring teacher, well, that would make him very happy. And he's still knocking out those gorgeous pirouettes à la seconde at 43!

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On 31/12/2022 at 13:55, LinMM said:

I’m thinking of seeing their Giselle in Brighton in February. 

 

I think I'm seeing this production at the Grand, Blackpool on Fri 13th Jan so I'll report back.

 

Re abbreviations, it took me ages to work out elsewhere on the Forum that SPW is Sir Peter Wright!

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