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Memorable Partnerships


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On a couple of threads recently a few mentions of memorable partnerships have come up so I thought I would start a new thread.

 

I never had the privilege of seeing Fonteyn/Nureyev, Seymour Gable (except in A Simple Man where she played his mother) or Sibley Dowell but there have been several partnerships I have seen over the years where i felt there was a special on-stage rapport:

 

 

Trinidad Sevillano and Patrick Armand are the first partnership I remember having an effect on me (when they were both at LFB (now ENB), especially breath-taking in Ashton's Romeo and Juliet.

 

Then it was Jayne Regan and Denis Malinkine at Northern Ballet.  They were just so in tune with each other on stage I used to get swept away watching them.

 

In current times there are several partnerships that cause (or may come to cause) goosebumps when I see their names together on a cast sheet:

 

Nao Sakuma and Chi Cao of BRB are a long-established on stage partnership who are so in tune that tingles run down my spine when I watch them together.

 

Martha Leebolt and Toby Batley of Northern Ballet just light up the stage together.  The intensity of their performances in the current run of Cinderella have set the stage on fire and reduced me to tears of joy!

 

Daria Klimentova and Vadim Muntagirov of ENB are sublime together - nuff said!

 

 A partnership in the making? - Natalia Osipova and Steven McRae of the RB who set the stage ablaze in Rubies.

 

Of course there have been other partnerships I have enjoyed seeing, even if it has only been in specific roles but the above are the ones who linger in my memory.

 

I'd love to hear what others think!

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I can remember a few partnerships which really moved me in certain roles, for example - Merle Park and Wayne Eagling in Manon as well as some of the classics.  I was lucky enough to see Sibley and Dowell but I would also mention Makarova and Dowell

 

some more off the wall suggestions:-

 

Haydee and Cragun in Ongin and Taming of the Shrew

Evdokimova and Schaufuss in La Sylphide and Giselle

 

and as someone has to assist Janet in supporting ballet outside of London

 

Sandra Madgwick and Michael O'Hare in anything by Ashton but principally Fille and (above all) Two Pigeons

Monica Zamora and Joseph Cipolla in anything dramatic

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I still find it hard to shake multiple memories of Suzanne Farrell and Peter Martins in so many key Balanchine roles (some of which were in ballets which have sadly never been seen here).  Think Osipova and Vasiliev were, in many ways, MEANT to be a partnership ... much like Daria and Vadim.  Also fondly remember Kirkland and Baryishnikov.  All to be cherished certainly. 

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My favourite partnership for many years was Beriosova/Macleary, especially in Swan Lake, Doreen Wells and David Wall, Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev of course although I only saw them twice, Agnes Oaks and Thomas Edur, Alessandra Ferri and Wayne Eagling, lately Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, Alina Cojocaru and Johann Kobborg, Daria Klimentova and Vadim Muntagirov (so pleased I saw them recently in Nutcracker).

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Apart from being linked romantically like Alina and Johan, I've often wondered what makes a special partnership.

 Alina/Johan would be the first to trip off my tongue (or keyboard) of people I've actually seen. Then Thomas Edur/Agnes Oakes. In 'contemporary ballet', Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb dazzle.

 

As for making a partnership - dancing superbly of course, then emoting in an appropriate but passionate manner, would do it for me.

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Trinidad Sevillano and Patrick Armand are the first partnership I remember having an effect on me (when they were both at LFB (now ENB), especially breath-taking in Ashton's Romeo and Juliet.

 

I'd certainly agree with you there, Janet: I guess they were the first partnership I ever really took to, although in fact I didn't really see them in that much together apart from R&J, and that was only once they'd moved to Boston Ballet and were guesting with ENB (when I think I saw most of their performances - heart-rending in the Ashton).  Apart from that, only half a Swan Lake comes to mind (back in the days of the Makarova version when Odette/Odile was often cast between 2 ballerinas and Sevillano was only dancing Odile).  Armand seems to have been cast with several ballerinas, so I tended to see him more than Sevillano, plus of course he came back to ENB after Boston, so I caught him then in what was promising to be a very good Giselle (I had to miss the end because of trains) with Erina Takahashi.

 

Also fondly remember Kirkland and Baryishnikov.   

 

I don't get the impression she does.  (Sorry, was reading "Dancing on my Grave" only recently).

 

Apart from that, how could I possibly leave out Cojocaru and Kobborg?  The rest needs more thinking about.

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Apart from being linked romantically like Alina and Johan, I've often wondered what makes a special partnership.

 

Not that romantic linkage is a prerequisite, of course - and the dance partnership in that case started before the off-stage one.  In fact, several of my probable favourite partnerships definitely weren't romantically linked.

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In fact, people performing on stage together don't even have to get on off-stage to have a magic about them together on-stage!

 

I'm not going to name names but many years ago I had just seen a fabulous performance of Romeo and Juliet when someone told me that Romeo and Juliet really did not like each other at all!  You never could have told!

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As I recall Vivian Leigh (Scarlett) and Clark Gable (Rhett) weren't especially enamoured of one another.  

 

As for what makes a great dance partnership?  It's like asking why did you fall in love?   Or why are there stars in the heavens?  

 

Or why are we here?

 

Well, to that last question - there is an answer - we are here to dance. 

 

Seriously - for me - great parnerships are those in which the partners look at one another and see - really see - the other.

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Seriously - for me - great parnerships are those in which the partners look at one another and see - really see - the other.

 

So agree, Anjuli Bai - and also, perhaps, sense one another's feelings as well as their movement and have great mutual respect for one another's artistry.

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Partnerships I like seeing/would book to see would be:-

Osipova/Vasiliev (Don Q!)

Oaks/Edur

Sakuma/Cao

Cojacaru/Kobborg

Klimentova/Vogel 

Klimentova/Muntagirov )

Nunez/Soares (their Onegin lives long in my memory, Diamonds)

Nunez Acosta

Rojo/Polunin - short lived but had promise!

Semionova/Malakhov

Novikova/Sarafanov

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Just to add, looking at some of the famous names of the past, did Moira Shearer have a regular partner?

 

And what about Nadia Nerina? 

 

I have just come across a book with some fabulous pictures of both of these dancers.  They were both so good looking, and they both seemed to ooze glamour.

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Nadia Nerina's first regular partner was Alexis Rassine - I never saw this partnership as it was 'before my time' as a regular ballet goer.  She often danced with David Blair - they created 'Fille' together.  She had hopes of making a partnership with Erik Bruhn, but the arrival of Nureyev meant he was never invited to become a guest member of the Royal Ballet.

 

I was lucky enough to see Fonteyn/Nureyev, Dowell/Sibley, Seymour/Gable and many of the other great 1960s partnerships.  I also saw Maximova and Vasiliev.  Although today some people do seem to dance together quite frequently - e.g. McRae/Marquez - they don't seem to be 'partnerships' in the sense of some of the earlier pairings - don't quite see why.

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Nadia Nerina's first regular partner was Alexis Rassine - I never saw this partnership as it was 'before my time' as a regular ballet goer.  She often danced with David Blair - they created 'Fille' together.  She had hopes of making a partnership with Erik Bruhn, but the arrival of Nureyev meant he was never invited to become a guest member of the Royal Ballet.

 

 

 

Ah, now that would explain something I read, that the arrival of Nureyev put the breaks on Nerina's career.  I could not understand it at the time, but that makes sense now.  Bruhn and Nerina would probably have made a dazzling partnership. 

 

It does seem that Fonteyn was definitely the favourite, as far as the Royal Ballet were concerned.  I am not saying this is Fonteyn's fault, and there is no doubt she was one of the greats, but she was given every help in order to achieve that greatness. 

 

Other Principal females seem to have been given a hard time in comparison. 

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I suppose Ashton as the main choreographer at the time played a part as any choreographer does. He loved Fonteyn and so that made her have a higher profile.......as well as her talent of course!

 

Though I still think if she had been that much younger when Macmillan arrived she would have been high on his list as well!!

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It seems to be the case currently at the RB (possibly for practical or artistic reasons) that the dancers don't have regular partnerships. For example, Marienela dances with Carlos, Thiago and Federico and Roberta has danced with Steven, Nehemiah and Alexander in the past year.

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About two years ago, I saw Anastasia and Denis Matvienko in Swan Lake at the Mariinsky Theatre.  They were beautiful together.  At times, I felt I was intruding on a private moment.  There is something special about the chemistry between married dancing partners.

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Looking forward  Sho Yamada and Michaela dePrince were impressive in a pas de deux from Diana and Acteon  You can see snatches from that ballet in the clip to this post and you can see Yamada and dePrince individually in this clip.

 

Yamada and dePrince danced that same pas de deux as part of the Dutch national tribute to Mr Mandela which says something about their talent.

 

They will of course graduate from the junior company soon but I hope they stick together because they are good,

 

Looking back, I have never seen anything to compare with Dowell and Sibley - not even Nureyev and Fonteyn. Dowell and Sibley danced as though they were one creature,

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Cojocaru and Kobborg were unbeatable for me, and I did, just the once, see Mukhamedov and Durante.  I always thought Viviana was sidelined because Darcey Bussell was ROB's favourite.  Darcey was great but she never had the beautiful emotional lyricisim for me that Durante had.  I think she was a great loss to RB.

 

I am wondering who they will develop as Osipova's partner.  Macrae was great last night but I don't think he is the right partner for the romantic leads.  They are using Acosta mostly at the moment but he is surely on the way out so who will she get?

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I am wondering who they will develop as Osipova's partner.  Macrae was great last night but I don't think he is the right partner for the romantic leads.  They are using Acosta mostly at the moment but he is surely on the way out so who will she get?

 

Well, Osipova isn't just as a  'romantic' dancer anyway and Macrae is growing in technique and artistry all the time.  Personally I would love to see their partnership develop.

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I guess it'll be "mix and match" for a while, until they find out who really suits.  But I really think that, considering that Acosta reckons he's only got another season of ballet left, pairing her with him is not the best option.  And that includes box-office-wise, since we know he's quite capable of selling out performances on his own anyway.

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Well, Osipova isn't just as a  'romantic' dancer anyway and Macrae is growing in technique and artistry all the time.  Personally I would love to see their partnership develop.

Yes, but in a limited number of ballets of certain type, like the Rubies and some modern stuff.

I wouldn't like to see him as her Romeo, Albert or De Griex where physical compatibility is important, IMHO.

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That was my point, Amelia.  Macrae was wonderful with Osipova last night in Rubies but I couldn't see them as a partnership in any of the great tragedies.  The physical compatibility does matter.

 

I can't understand why they are putting Acosta with her most of the time.  He is winding down now and she needs to develop partnerships with others.  And, as another poster said, they can each sell out performances on their own.  I wanted to see her in Giselle but the tickets went before I could turn round.

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Amelia, in what way do you think that they are physically incompatible? They are both bravura dancers, but she is a bit tall and leggy for him IMO. Is that what you mean? It will be interesting to see who become(s) her regular partner(s).

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