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BRB2 - Carlos Acosta's Classical Selection - Cheltenham & on tour, Spring 2024

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I was lucky to get to Cheltenham for the matinee on Saturday afternoon (11th May).




BRB2 is Birmingham Royal Ballet's Junior Company with about 10 members supplemented by a couple of main company dancers.  I think it gives the young dancers a great idea of what it's like to be on tour and gives them a chance to perform more than just spear-carrying roles.


Five of last year's cohort have now been confirmed as main company members with 5 new dancers.


Carlos Acosta has used the same format as he had previously used for his Carlos & Friends performances as seen at Sadler's Wells in years gone by.  The dancers are shown by a ballet barre at the back of a stage getting ready after class.  I personally find this unnecessary and, at times, downright irritating.


The programme itself is a mix of old warhorse favourites and some newer works and the content really worked for me.  I thought the dancers were all excellent.


As it is one of my favourite ballets I particularly enjoyed the excerpt from La Sylphide and thought Olivia Chang Clarke and Ryan Felix were excellent in it.  Olivia had a gorgeous romantic style and I would really like to see her in the full length version.  Ryan was a great James and did really well in "that" solo.


I also loved the Dying Swans.  It was made using some electronic whooshing sounds and the Saint-Saens music (played live by a pianist and cellist).  Ariana Allen performed the familiar Fokine choreography and Oscar Kempsey-Fagg performed the male version.  They were lovely!


Alisa Garkavenko and Mason King finished the first half in great style performing Diana and Actaeon with panache.  How on earth Mason, who is on the taller side, coped with the tiny stage is beyond me but cope he did and did well.  The audience was abuzz at the end of this first act.




The second act was slightly different and, in part, taken directly from one of Carlos Acosta's own shows - there was a much more latin flavour.




Frieda Kaden and Jack Easton were sublime in Ben Stevenson's End of Time duet.


The afternoon almost finished on an enormous high with Majisimo - a gorgeous piece for 4 couples that really got the audience cheering.  It was fab.


Unfortunately that rousing final piece was not the end of the performance as all the dancers congregated at the bar and got changed into practice clothes.  It lost all the impetus of the cheering as the audience just didn't know what to do!  Fortunately the curtain eventually fell and then rose again for a more conventional finish and the audience was able to applaud the dancers wildly.  


Despite my quibbles about the format this really is a terrific programme.


So, if there is a venue near you do go and see this programme as it is worth seeing the dancers giving their all and perhaps trying to predict who will rise to the top in future years.





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We were meant to be in Chelt and I hoped to see this but we had to change plans so I never made it.  However, pleased to see bookings seemed good and it seemed nearly sold out. 

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8 hours ago, jmhopton said:

We were meant to be in Chelt and I hoped to see this but we had to change plans so I never made it.  However, pleased to see bookings seemed good and it seemed nearly sold out. 



It was a bit more than sold out Joan.  When I arrived on Saturday afternoon I met a friend who told me there had been chaos on Friday night because the theatre had sold the front 2 rows that weren't actually there due to the small orchestra pit being put in!!  Not everyone was able to be re-seated and apparently some were told there was no seat for them.  My friend who had booked the front row last September ended up on the top level for both Friday night and Saturday afternoon and was not amused.  

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Wow,lucky I didn't make a special trip then! Really pleased for BRB but bad organisation by the Everyman.  Hope to see LCB there in August.  Perhaps I'd better book early and avoid front stalls! Though not sure they're bringing an orchestra.

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Posted (edited)

A pity they couldn't send those disappointed in Cheltenham back in time to the performance I was at in Peterborough last year, which could have done with considerably more audience members!

Edited by Dawnstar
Missed out an "at".
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Saw the Saturday matinee on 18th May at Poole Lighthouse. A full house with a very appreciative audience. Such a joy to watch such talented dancers. The programme was interesting, giving lots of  contrasting pieces.  My only caveat is in the classical section, possibly the choice of such iconic excerpts from the Classical repertoire was a little ambitious.  These were excellent young dancers at the beginning of their careers, whereas these piece are normally danced by polished professionals with many years experience.  For me Tom Hazelby was the outstanding dancer, both in La Sylphide and Les Bourgeois.


I agree with Janet, I didn't care for the "backstage" format. But my companions did like it.

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