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Royal Ballet school Performance July 14th


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Yesterday went to the RBS performance at ROH and what a wonderful experience this was!!

The atmosphere in the House was fantastic and because I had such a good seat in the stalls circle (never been quite that close to the stage before) I was looking back into the auditorium and could feel the good vibes so must have been great for the dancers as well. I just wished I could have conjured up a dancing son or daughter that day to complete the family feel to the occasion for me! As it was so hot I even had my floaty skirt on instead of the usual jeans so after a nice drink of free cooling water outside upstairs in the "garden balcony".....another first....I just never go out there as a rule as its usually too cold...found seat and soaked up the atmosphere....so many excited parents and relations it really was catching.

 

The first piece Youth Concerto (Dmitry Kabalevsky Piano concerto no.3) showed off the classical expertise of the young dancers beautifully lots of blue tutus!! The choreography fitted the dancers well I thought and might be a piece other company's with youthful dancers might want to have a go at.

 

It was the next piece which really "blew me away" as the expression goes a feeling of watching something special. This was Canon in D Major (Otto Bubenicek after Johann Pachelbel) choreography by jiri Bubenicek . It's a piece for three male dancers.....and just what three dancers the Royal had to show off!!!

Esteban Hernandez, Takahiro Tamagawa and Joan Zamora. They were absolutely fantastic and I could have gone on watching this piece for much longer than it lasted. Not only was the dancing first class(this is a more contemporary piece) but because I was so near the stage could see their facial inter reactions and the joy with which they danced....it was so moving as one also sensed this could be the last time they would dance together. If I had been a parent of one of these I would have been in floods!!

None of these three who also stood out in other pieces will be with the Royal Company next year but Joan Zamora is going to ENB.....so watch out for him! Esteban who is such a talented dancer and looks good in pure classical as well is going to San Francisco Ballet....so lucky them watch out for him there. Takahiro is going to Dortmund ballet so hopefully his career may get of to a flying start there.

In the end this was my favourite piece of the afternoon and I hope this work can be done by other main company's as it deserves more of a showing but perhaps this performance was particularly special.

Will do further comment on the show but am aware this post is already overly long!!

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I loved the Seven Greek Dances (music by Mikis Theodorakis....winner for a start) and choreography by Bejart. Again I don't know why this piece is not more widely performed....perhaps it is but just not in UK? The whole piece was just thoroughly enjoyable from unusual slow beginning to sounds of the sea(and with the heat yesterday one could imagine being in Greece) and then bursting into this lovely Greek music and dancing. I just loved the whole choreography and wanted to get up and join in the dance myself!! But good job I didn't as the lovely Yaoquian Shang and again Esteban Hernandez are stars in the making......and the good news is that Yaoquian is going to BRB so lucky you lot up in Birmingham....look out for her!! I thought she brought out some of the more "fun" moves really well. (I happened to see her outside in Floral Street with family and friends and you wonder how someone so petit has so much graceful STRENGTH ) but this is also true of a lot of the female students. I also particularly liked the dance for two male dancers in this piece on this occasion David Donnelly and Matthew Knight showing the other side the strength with the BEAUTY of the movement. Their inter reaction was great to see as well.....it is amazing how much more you see in a good seat though!! Anyway very well done by all!

 

La Destinee was the story ballet of the afternoon music by Michael England and choreography by Mark Annear who I believe has something to do with Outreach programmes of the RBS.

This ballet drew more on the acting talents of the four main dancers and they did not fall short....inspite of what I thought was an especially long time for a young dancer to have to hold the stage while hardly making any movement as the woman in later life at the beginning. Lucie Dennis did this admirably and I don't even think she is a graduate yet. In fact this whole afternoon I had to keep reminding myself that these were such young dancers still to pull off these wonderful performances! I do think more could be made of this role in the beginning.....from both the choreographic and dramatic point of view I hastened to say....with perhaps a little more movement round "the room" as well as the more standing in contemplation part, just my opinion.

The story is an old one....an old flame meets up with now married man etc....but can't leave his wife in the conventions of the time.

Both Annette Buvoli.....as the woman when young...and Danielle Muir as the wife got across the emotions they were feeling...two very outstanding dancers and David Donnelly as the husband torn by his emotions did a superb job as well, showing some fine lead dancer and partnering skills again from such a young dancer. This is another piece that might be good for a youth dance company to have a go out as has some good roles and "company dancing" to support them. Both Annette and David will be joining the Royal so should be seeing more of them. Danielle is going to Berlin ballet so their gain.

 

The Grand defile where the whole school ends up on the stage to music by Karl Czerny from Etudes was done with such panash...very exciting and probably not a dry eye in the House by then!!

A really great end of year performance so well done to all and one feels the Royal Ballet will be strong for years to come even if there has been a loss of principal dancers recently....this young lot will soon be ready to step into their shoes!! :)

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The first piece "Youth Concerto" was performed by years 10, 11 and 6.1 and is the only piece that involved the lower school. The first movement was year 11 (with some year 10 supporting roles), the second movement was 6.1 and the third movement was a combination. Without wishing to re-open the debate about foreign students, it was interesting that the girls main roles for both years went to Japanese students. I think I am also right in saying that the solo role for the year 11 piece was given to a girl who hasn't been accepted to Upper School, which seems odd when there are other girls who have been. There was another girl in the first movement who seemed to be placed as the second main role and she performed beautifully with real connection. The music was heavenly and all in all it was a very pleasing and enjoyable performance which really showed off the talents of those three years.

 

The rest of the performances were also super, but I agree with Lin; Esteban Hernandez was incredible and truly a joy to watch. After the interval, there was a piece called 'La Destinee', choreographed by Mark Annear from the RBS staff. To be honest, I found this a bit long and the choregraphy a bit repetitive but it did a great job of showcasing the talents of Annette and David and we will see more of them at RB next year.

 

Defile as ever was wonderful and I only wish they did it twice as it is all over in a flash. All in all a lovely performance. I also noticed some famous names in the audience - Marion Tait and I think, Tamara.

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My first time at the annual performance and I also made the Saturday performance at the Linbury.  They are without doubt fantastic young people and lets not forget the wonderful staff who give them the chance to perform. I thought the program really showcased the boys which has already been covered; there are some stars their. I have also read that a number of the girls are in Tokyo with the RB.

 

I am not going to tell everyone to go see because I want tickets for next year. A wonderful show - and the "defile" at the end - well not a dry eye in the house

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I had a thoroughly brilliant time yesterday afternoon at the RBS graduation showing.  The first act was DEFINITELY the highlight of the programme ... NO QUESTION - and I agree that CANON IN D MAJOR and SEVEN GREEK DANCES stood out therein.  

 

(LinMM, part of the reason why I believe Bejart is not seen more often here is due to a string of unfortunate reviews on his works' initial outings in this country.  This goes too for, say, Kylian and John Neumeier and certainly the latter works of the most noted ENGLISH-BORN choreographer of the last century, Tudor - although that was for distinctly political reasons.  From many of the comments on this forum as much as from certain current critics such as Clement Crisp I now find myself fearing the future fate in these isles (whist they ALL remain 'British' of course) of Ratmansky.  Of course none of these considerable talents need have feared.  They ALL have shown that they can do very well thank you very much without 'little Britain' if needs absolutely must - and in some instances they did. It's only that producers, be they state or commercial ones, usually play safe here and this, I fear, has sometimes played havoc in developing the devoted British ballet audience's courage in diversity.  Thus It was ESPECIALLY wonderful to see a focus on such in this RBS programme - much as it was in the new regime for the ENBS.  Bravi Ms. Stock and Ms. Rojo.  

 

What stood out for me here was the strength of young men in general.  This certainly hasn't always been the case in the past and needs to be applauded.  I was especially thrilled by Esteban Hernandez in all three pieces in which he was featured.  (He did appear in the second act's LA DESTINEE in a minor role as well - which was created for ALL in the Upper School.  That I fear I found rather twee overall, certainly in terms of the rather tired overstatement of the choreography and masking costumes.  There was a tad too much 'general' filler in the steps for my taste, especially after the drama had been highlighted in a dumbshow.  This was made all the more sad when you consider the very fine dramatic original score by Michael England.  (How grand it was for once that the composer actually forewent the large part of his own [deserved] bow and applauded the orchestra.  Taste personified.)  

 

My heart leaped too when I saw that Mr. Hernandez (Mexican Born) will follow his brother (now a prinicipal with HET Ballet) into SFB.  This is EXACTLY the right place I think. Already in his choice he has shown a sign of distinct maturity.  Here is a place where he will be able to grow in a company of individuals so clearly rooted as a whole much as we saw again for ourselves this season and much as he would also have found if he had chosen to go to, say, Boston Ballet, NYCB or Paris.  Immediately after the RBS showing I myself dashed across to the Coli and caught the second act of the Stravinsky's Copellia, again with Polunin.  (I laughed on the way of that heated dash remembering that Hernandez had exactly the same featured spot in the Grand Defile that Polunin had shone in during his own graduation not all that long ago.)  How I bet Polunin now wishes he had done things for himself in a different career choice order; taken more concerted charge of his own destiny instead of waiting til he found he could wait NO LONGER.  It would have paid off handsomely for all I think.  Herrnandez will have an excellent opportunity to grow in ALL aspects within the climb he has (wisely in my book) chosen.   I do SO hope that in years to come - when HE feels he's ready and not before - that he might consider guesting with the RB.  Still, it will be on his OWN terms - none of this 'fearing the director' nonsense - and that, in and of itself, will make it special.  Mr. Hernandez is, like the weather we are currently enjoying, a ray of sunshine..  The radiance of his chosen joy stands out by a mile.   

Edited by Meunier
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Yes I might too go that extra mile to see Esteban perform especially when he has a couple of years under his belt at San Francisco!! What a talent! But that is to take nothing away from the others of course and I agree that the talents of the men stood out particularly this year.

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Thank you Meunier for the info about Esteban Hernandez. I remember being blown away by his Corsaire pdd two years ago and thought then he was then sure to join the RB sooner or later.

 

Without reigniting debates about dancers' prospects depending on the company they start their career in (Marcelino Sambe after all seems off to a good and very deserved start), it makes sense he would choose to be closer to his family.

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Not understanding above post because Esteban is NOT joining the Royal Ballet he is gong to San Francisco Ballet and any thought that he may join in the future is off course pure speculation....albeit a very nice speculation!!

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I was there too on Sunday and it was amazing!!! My favourite piece was Canon in D which seems to have been the case for many people. I was blown away by (I think) Esteban Hernandez - was he the one out first? Absolutely phenomenal. I also really enjoyed the Seven Greek Dances.

I have to say, though that I'm in agreement with those above who found La Destinee slightly dull - the dancers were themselves wonderful but the narrative didn't seem to go anywhere much. It did work well to showcase every single dancer though. It's very interesting that no one has yet mentioned the Sonata for Six (dancers in red!) as this goes along with my impression too, it was pleasant to watch but not memorable. More to do with the choreography than the dancers.

 

The first piece, the Youth Concerto, was lovely to watch even from very high up in the Upper Amphitheatre although such a shame for the girl in the solo pair who took a tumble - the sympathy from the audience was palpable. I'm afraid I don't know her name, I think she was year 6.1, but aside from that she was beautiful to watch. I had thought that all the year 11 girls in this piece had got into Upper School but I may well be wrong there - anyone know? It also looked to me like the year 10 girls got quite a lot of semi-solo bits but again from so far away it was difficult to know.

 

The defile was breathtaking, that's the first time I've seen it and I am SO going again next year, it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up! The little year 7s were so small, but such amazing dancers, which was the overall impression I was left with - as others have said, it was so easy to forget how young they are because they were so good!

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Those year sevens were so good if I could do my jumps with lovely pointed feet like that I would be SO delighted!

 

Yes it was Takahiro out first in the Canon Piece.....what amazing hand movements he had!

 

I agree that the defile was so short perhaps could have seen a bit more from each year group but then maybe the fact that it is short but racy makes it so effective.

 

Also in the Youth dance piece(first one) there were some very young dancers there and some very young men in this group already showing lots of promise too....I say this because the girls are invariably almost always very good anyway.

I also thought the second lead.....the one who stumbled was lovely to watch as well but in fact there were so many watchable girls in that front group it was difficult to keep tabs on them!!

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The first piece, the Youth Concerto, was lovely to watch even from very high up in the Upper Amphitheatre although such a shame for the girl in the solo pair who took a tumble - the sympathy from the audience was palpable. I'm afraid I don't know her name, I think she was year 6.1, but aside from that she was beautiful to watch. I had thought that all the year 11 girls in this piece had got into Upper School but I may well be wrong there - anyone know? It also looked to me like the year 10 girls got quite a lot of semi-solo bits but again from so far away it was difficult to know.

 

 

I now have it on good authority that all the year 11 girls in Youth Concerto got into Upper School EXCEPT the Japanese girl given the solo role in act 1. I don't wish to debate the merits of whether she should or shouldn't have as I don't think anyone except RBS would be placed to say why or not. However what I do think is very odd is that the role was given to her and not one of the other 7 girls who actually did get into Upper School?

 

Yes it was a shame about the girl in 6.1 who tumbled. Unfortunately she did the same thing last year in her solo as well, so she must be feeling bad.

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Ah! Thanks for the info - then it was Takahiro Tamagawa I was particularly blown away by though the other two were also incredible.

 

One of the Yr 11 girls writes a public blog called 'all4ballet' and has put up a post today about Sunday's performance - apparently two girls who had performed in the Youth Concerto throughout the Linbury week had to withdraw from Sunday due to injury, and two Yr 11 'covers' replaced them, one of whom was the author of this blog post. So I guess it wasn't designed in the first place to showcase only those who had got into Upper School. I'm sure they all have fantastic futures in dance regardless :)

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Here's a video of Esteban Hernandez doing the second variation from the Flames of Paris pas in Paris in 2009

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kfj_mUBdKqY

 

Here's a video of the two Hernandez brothers (Isaac and Esteban) doing an original piece to Sinatra's MY WAY of all things in Mexico City last year.  What I found most touching was the footage in the preamble.  The picture of the two brothers arm and arm in the opera house is most telling. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjJXLgjVIwI

 

Here is Esteban in the variation from Diana and Acteon

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A6KCYQ7vfk&NR=1&feature=endscreen

 

San Francisco will have been twice blessed. 

Edited by Meunier
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Just realised dont know why took me so long that Joan Zamora is the young man featured in First Position. I knew he had won sponsorship/scholarship to RBS which is what he dreamed of so dancing on that Covent Garden stage in front of a packed house must have been wonderful for him!! So pleased he can now be followed in UK at ENB!!

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Sorry forgot to say thanks Meunier for the Hernandez videos unfortunately can't see the one of two brothers together as iPad won't let me. But there is another one of the two brothers at what looks like their home studio when much younger. Isaac is a pretty good dancer too!!

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Ah! Thanks for the info - then it was Takahiro Tamagawa I was particularly blown away by though the other two were also incredible.

 

One of the Yr 11 girls writes a public blog called 'all4ballet' and has put up a post today about Sunday's performance - apparently two girls who had performed in the Youth Concerto throughout the Linbury week had to withdraw from Sunday due to injury, and two Yr 11 'covers' replaced them, one of whom was the author of this blog post. So I guess it wasn't designed in the first place to showcase only those who had got into Upper School. I'm sure they all have fantastic futures in dance regardless :)

I thinks its right not to only showcase those who got into Upper School. The choreographers should be free to pick who is best for their piece for starters and it also demonstrates that those who didn't get into Upper School aren't necessarily less talented, just perhaps not  right for Upper School training. I know of many very talented dancers who trained at White Lodge but then didn't get into Upper School. But they still got good professional contracts after completing their training elsewhere. I  think year all 11s at White Lodge should have equal opportunities to get chosen for pieces regardless of their next stage in training.

Afterall they are still part of the school and if they are right for a piece they should also be showcased. It would be quite wrong in my opinion to allow only those who were going to Upper School to perform!

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I was at Linbury but needed to be overseas on the 14th, so am very grateful for the above reports. How were the different works adapted for the main stage and how did they come across? Also was there any student choreography at the matinee? For me this was one of the highlights at Linbury - some really amazing talent.

Thanks

Yaffa
 


 

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No student choreography on the matinee on the 14th. Though Valentino Zucchetti a young dancer with the company did a piece called Sonata for Six to music by Cesar Franck.

Unfortunately this piece followed the Canon piece for three men which was as described was a great piece brilliantly danced and one almost needed a breather after the Canon but the show carried straight on so I think this Sonata though well danced especially by the two lead girls got a bit lost in this show.......because also it was then followed by the fantastic Greek dances piece by Bejart so did not stand out on this occasion unfortunately. Perhaps if there had been another interval(probably because Sunday had to rush through) which might also have been nice for all the parents and rellies this piece might have got a more deserved reception.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've only just looked at this thread - a bit surprised by how upbeat it all is because I thought choreographically it was one of the weakest school shows I've seen in a while. Youth Concerto worked and the core of Bubenicek's 10 minute Canon in D major was good too (if one starts to tire of bare chested boys in pieces). The rest was pretty mediocre or worse even. ENB School featured Balanchine’s Allegro Brilliante and MacMillan’s Soirées Musicales - testing work by major choreographers - where was this in the Royal Ballet show? Gobsmacked also that so much money was clearly invested in La Destinée and it wasn't made by a career choreographer - madness! I just hope that if there's another Protégés season in Washington then it's not the RBS piece.

 

All that grumpy stuff said I thought the standard of student dancing was good - and like everybody else Esteban Hernandez really registered - lucky SFB. Shame those who are in RB already get to miss out on the show, which would have shone even brighter I think.

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You've probably been to more shows than I have Bruce!! I do go to the student show but not every year so I am sure Ive missed some shows which had "better choreography." But in the end I was looking at the dancing itself as such and even if choreography was poorer in some pieces they all danced their socks off.....a bit like good actors carrying off a poor script then! As so often happens in the Dance world anyway.

Sorry I missed the ENB one that looked good too.

 

hfbrew....returning to comment of yours on the 16th July.

Just returned from Yorkshire Ballet summer school and on thursday happened to catch a bit of A1 in their ballet class and saw a lovely dancer there whose parents by chance I ended up sitting next to on the final demo. Mum told me her daughter had been to the Royal Ballet School but was finishing her training in another school and was not going into upper school. I was really surprised at this as she was one of the three or four who really stood out to me! So it rather bears out what you said about very talented dancers from RBS not always getting into the Upper School. So I would be inclined to agree that anyone who has trained at the school but not necessarily going on to upper should get their chance in the RBS show even in a lead role.

I also agree with the sentiment about the girls already taken into the company slightly early. I wasn't there last year so don't know if these girls played major roles then but otherwise it does seem a shame not to let them shine too at their school leaving show!!

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Gobsmacked also that so much money was clearly invested in La Destinée and it wasn't made by a career choreographer - madness! 

 

I agree Bruce, I don't know what they were thinking. The only small possibility that has been mooted is that they haven't been overly happy with some of the pieces that have been choreographed for them in recent years because the choreography has been done for artistic effect, rather than specifically designed to show off the students' talents to the best of their abilities. Therefore they decided to do it 'in house' this year.

 

 

 

The choreographers should be free to pick who is best for their piece for starters and it also demonstrates that those who didn't get into Upper School aren't necessarily less talented, just perhaps not  right for Upper School training.  I  think year all 11s at White Lodge should have equal opportunities to get chosen for pieces regardless of their next stage in training.

Afterall they are still part of the school and if they are right for a piece they should also be showcased. It would be quite wrong in my opinion to allow only those who were going to Upper School to perform!

 

I agree with you - everyone should have a chance - but we know that at a public performance such as this, the school will put the dancers that they perceive as best in the lead roles e.g. Annette Buvoli who is joining RB got the lead role in La Destinee. What I find odd is that 7 out of 14 girls have been chosen for Upper School. I assume that is because - in the eyes of RBS - they are the most talented? Therefore it seems odd that one of them wasn't chosen for the lead role. None of the other year 11 girls who didn't get into Upper School were cast at all except this one girl who was not only cast, but got the lead role. 

 

Given your view that the choreographers should be free to pick who they want, are we to assume that the choreographers (in this case, two W/Lodge teachers) disagree with the decisions about who has been chosen for Upper School?

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This is going to be a bit out of my comfort zone as I don't know anything AT ALL about the internal machinations of the RBS.

 

However a ballet friend of mine (who has worked for Arts council in UK and Oz, in the field of dance funding) says that she thinks some students are sponsored....which I did know about for Upper School but not for further down the school.....and sometimes sponsors want to see their protégés so to speak! Whether this really does have any bearing on casting I wouldn't know.

 

Perhaps there is a bit of divide sometimes amongst the teachers on who exactly should progress to the Upper school. I sincerely hope this isn't about money though.....as I'm not sure about a child ALREADY at the RBS whether the funding is different for upper school as different funding comes in at 16 I know for other students hoping to get a "sixth form" ballet school place. I am not that happy with the possible idea that suddenly at 16 parents may have to fork out and so another child instead of theirs gets a sponsored place instead at RBS.

It's not that I would be against sponsorship per say....as long as that is the most talented students being sponsored then so to speak....if this makes sense. That other girls just as...or even more talented...are not being deprived of places because they must find a sponsor to enable them to continue.

Apologies if this post not that coherent.....I just can't bear to see talent wasted or not acknowledged.

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