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Gala for Ghana evening - Sunday 2nd February 2014


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Here is a slight adaptation to a review that I posted elsewhere. I should like to thank Josephine, Bangor Ballet Boy and everyone else who made it possible for me to attend. It was a wonderful evening - my second treat in one day:

 

"Last Sunday some of our finest performers gave up their evening (and no doubt a lot more rehearsal time) to dance, sing and make music at a gala at the Britten Theatre for Ashanti Development. This is a charity set up by Ghanaians living in London to raise money for development in the Ashanti region of Ghana. It has done some remarkable work in health care, sanitation, education and income generation. It was a wonderful evening and I for one am doubly grateful to the artists not only for their magnificent performances but also for supporting a very worthwhile cause.

 

The evening consisted of 14 items introduced by Harriet Thorpe.  Though now an actor Thorpe said that she had studied at the Royal Ballet School. "That training never leaves you" said Thorpe and she offered to stand in for any dancer who might be indisposed. Happily, nobody was indisposed  but I have no reason to doubt that she would have risen to the occasion had she been put to the test.

 

The works were as follows:

 

Two ballets were premièred on Sunday - Avant la Haine and Clair de Lune - and we saw Volver, Volver only a few days after MEN IN MOTION's première and these were three of the works that impressed me most. It was the first time I had seen choreography by Ondiviela and Zucchetti and I am certainly looking froward to seeing more.


Avant la Haine means Before the Hatred and if I understood the ballet correctly it tracks the breakup of a relationship. I had last seen Whitehead in Giselle and I may be biased because he comes from Bradford but Whitehead has become one of my favourite dancers. In this ballet he appears to fight with Bracher actually delivering what seemed to be a rabbit punch. 

 

Zucchetti's Clair de Lune was one of the most delightful new ballets I have seen for some time. Part of the credit must go to Debussy whose music like Aaron Copland's is particularly apt for ballet but much must got to the lyrical choreography and the elegance by which it was interpreted by the dancers. I hope to see this work again.

 

Watson was, of course, magnificent. It devolved in a fascinating way which I won't reveal from those who are to see MEN IN MOTION. I was urged to go by Susan Dalgetty who pressed a flyer into my hands at the London Ballet Circle AGM. I did not buy a ticket largely because one can't see everything, especially if it means trekking to London but I think I made the wrong choice. When I see a dancer like Watson I am reminded of the remark attributed to Einstein about dancers being "the athletes of God."

 

And what of the rest? I had decided not to go to this gala until I saw Dave Wilson's post on BalletcoForum that Glurdjidze was to dance the Dying Swan. This was a ballet that I had always wanted to see but have never managed to catch. When she was a little girl my mother saw Pavlova dance it in Leeds and the impression never left her.  I have seen some flickering footage of Pavlova many times but I have always wanted to see it on stage. Owing to a problem with the Royal College's e-commerce system I feared I would not get a ticket for the show but thanks to Josephine and Bangor Ballet Boy they put me in touch with a lady who had a ticket to sell. It was a good seat too right in the centre of the dress circle. I am so grateful to all concerned.  Well Dying Swan lived up to my expectations. It was danced beautifully by Hamilton. I became pretty emotional earlier in the day when I saw Antoinette Sibley again for the first time in decades. Tears do not come to me easily but I felt the tears welling up when I saw Hamilton. It was good that we had Wagner and Strauss before more dancing.

 

But my favourite work of the evening was Cuthbertson's Requiem.  I admire her greatly.  More perhaps than any ballerina in the Royal Ballet since Sibley. Indeed she reminds me a little of Sibley. She shows the same grace. In this work she danced to a voice that complemented her movement remarkably. I long to see this work again and preferably with the same artists.

 

The evening was over too quickly. But the show did not exactly end there. On the way out there was more music and dance from two Ghanaian ladies with collection buckets rattling their containers to a rhythm and chant "Thank you! God bless you!" My only surprise and slight regret was that there were no Ghanaians on stage and few even in the audience. Well it was a sell out and ballet is only beginning to establish itself in Sub-Saharan Africa. But it is taking root there as I have mentioned elsewhere. I hope to see a Ghanaian ballerina or premier danseur noble step out on stage in my lifetime. There is already a Sierra Leonean on her way to the Linbury on the 28 and 29 May 2014."

 

The reference to the Sierra Leonean dancer is to Muchaela de Prince who will be dancing with the Junior Company of the Dutch National Ballet on 28 and 29 May 2014. She is one of the most exciting dancers I have seen for a while.

 

Oh dear. I thought I had left a link in the article but I see that it has just moved.

Edited by terpsichore
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Well Dying Swan lived up to my expectations. It was danced beautifully by Hamilton. I became pretty emotional earlier in the day when I saw Antoinette Sibley again for the first time in decades. Tears do not come to me easily but I felt the tears welling up when I saw Hamilton.

Actually, as you posted further above, it was Glurdjidze :)

 

I was glad to see the Watson piece again because, as I haven't got around to writing on the Men in Motion thread yet, at the Coliseum I had a very restricted view which meant that I missed a lot of the introductory part, and couldn't see why people were reacting the way they were. A shame about the costume malfunction, which rather gave the game away to those who hadn't already seen it, though.

 

Sorry to have missed you: I'd injured my back and was trying to stay out of the crowds to protect it.

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What an interesting detailed review thank you Terpsichore. I would so much like to have seen it. In particular I am intrigued by the Zucchetti-Sambe piece having just enjoyed so much seeing them dance together in the pas de six in Giselle. Is Zucchetti choreographing anything for RB I wonder? It looks as if I shall be seeing him again in the RB triple bill on Saturday- looking forward!

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What an interesting detailed review thank you Terpsichore. I would so much like to have seen it. In particular I am intrigued by the Zucchetti-Sambe piece having just enjoyed so much seeing them dance together in the pas de six in Giselle.

 

I am wondering if there was a mistake in the programme, because Ceremony of Innocence to Britten's Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge is a work by Kim Brandstrup. I was at its premiere at Snape Maltings last June - Marcelino Sambé was in the cast.

 

James

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I am wondering if there was a mistake in the programme, because Ceremony of Innocence to Britten's Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge is a work by Kim Brandstrup. I was at its premiere at Snape Maltings last June - Marcelino Sambé was in the cast.

 

James

I don't know if there is a mistake on the program, but you are right: Ceremony of Innocence  is by Brandstrup. Zucchetti presented is new Claire de Lune (the evolution of the piece performed at the first draft the past year).

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That's right. I went to see Draft Works at the Linbury last year and I remember Zucchetti created his "Claire de Lune" on Yasmine Naghdi and Dawid Trzensimiech. If I am not mistaken he further developed "Claire de Lune" for the RBS,  just before the Summer.

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There may be more than one mistake in the programme because Alison tells us that we saw Elena Glurdjidze and not Melissa Hamilton in Dying Swan. I relied on the programme when listing the works that had been performed and if I have misled anyone that is why. The rest of the review is based on what I did see.

 

Changing the subject, you may recall that I tried unsuccessfully to buy a ticket from the box office. One Ennis from the Royal College has written me a very nice email which I reproduce below together with my reply:

 

"Dear Terpsichore,

 

Firstly may I take this opportunity to apologise, both for the difficulty which you experienced in booking for the Gala for Ghana, and for the delay in getting back to you.

 

The RCM box office is generally only open from Monday to Friday, as most of our own events are held during the week, but as this external event was being held on a Sunday, we only opened for an hour before the start time. As a result, there was no one on site to see your email, or indeed to notice that we were experiencing technical difficulties. We had such a large volume of phone calls relating to this issue yesterday, that it was not possible to respond to your email until now.

 

The difficulties were due to an anomaly which has never before occurred, and which completely prevented any users to log in to our website. The issue has now been resolved, but because of the unfortunate timing ahead of Sunday’s concert, you and several other customers were seriously inconvenienced. For this we would like to apologise most sincerely.

 

We are currently in the process of modernising our box office system, which should prevent such an incident occurring again, but this process will not be complete until early summer.

 

I recognise that this response comes too late for the concert which you missed, but if you are ever hoping to book for another event in the RCM, please email me directly, in reply to this email, and I will gladly issue two complimentary tickets for one of our paid concerts, or to waive the booking fee for a free event.

 

With best wishes,

 

Mark Ennis

Box Office Supervisor"

 

I replied as follows:

 

"Dear Mr Ennis
 
Thank you for your email.
 
As it happens I did make it to the performance because I heard through twitter that someone had a ticket to sell. I attended the performance and enjoyed it very much and have reviewed it in [balletcoForum]. I am told by someone who was also there that I made one mistake. Relying on the programme I wrote that Melissa Hamilton of the Royal Ballet danced the Dying Swan but I am advised by someone who probably sees more of the Royal Ballet and English National Ballet than me that it was Elena Glurdjidze.  I find it hard to distinguish dancers on stage under lights and make-up, especially if I don't see them frequently.  In any case it was danced beautifully.
 
There are plenty of performances on your website that I hope to see and should be grateful if you would retrieve my file and send me a password at your earliest convenience so that I can open an account with the box office and order on line in future.
 
Yours sincerely
 
[Terpsichore]"
 
I think Mr Ennis has been very fair but as I got a very good seat thanks to Bangor Ballet Boy and Josephine he has no need to compensate me. However, I hope he will set up an account so that I can buy  ticket on-line as and when I have the time and money.
Edited by terpsichore
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There may be more than one mistake in the programme because Alison tells us that we saw Elena Glurdjidze and not Melissa Hamilton in Dying Swan. I relied on the programme when listing the works that had been performed and if I have misled anyone that is why. The rest of the review is based on what I did see.

 

I don't think there were any mistakes in the programme, Terpsichore: a "replacement" slip was available, but you may not have been given a copy, or they may have run out.

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I don't think there were any mistakes in the programme, Terpsichore: a "replacement" slip was available, but you may not have been given a copy, or they may have run out.

 

You are right. I did not get a correction slip.

 

I can't correct this article but I can correct the one from which it has been adapted.   I am very cross with myself for not recognizing Elena Glurdjidze but I have not seen her very often and on the occasions that I have it has been from a distance and quite a long time ago.

 

No wonder it was such a good performance. I hope to see Glurdjidze again next Monday at London Ballet Circle and also at Stockport in Cinderella with the Bristol Russian Youth Ballet on the 16 Feb 2014.

 

Even better news is that I have now opened an account with the Royal College of Music and Mr Ennis is pressing me to accept two complimentary tickets even though I managed to attend the ballet. As I live on my own I will offer the spare to whoever would like it when I have selected a show.

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Anyone who saw Elena Glurdjidze dance the Dying Swan on Sunday may wish to attend her talk to the London Ballet Circle  on 10 Feb 2014 at 19:30. It takes place at The Dining Room, Civil Service Club, 13-15 Great Scotland Yard, London SW1A 2HJ. Incidentally a number of other interesting talks are to be given at the same venue by Tamara Rojo, Ruth Brill and Peter Wright. All those talks are open to the public though persons who are not members of the Circle are required to pay a modest premium to attend.

 

Glurdjidze will also dance Cinderella with Arionel Vargas at Stockport Plaza on 16 Feb 2014 in a benefit performance to raise funds for Reuben's Retreat (a project "to provide a retreat in the North West of England countryside that will relieve the distress of families and their close friends who have suffered the bereavement of a child or have a child suffering from a life limiting or life threatening illness") in memory of Reuben Graham, a small boy from Mottram who died of a brain tumour shortly before his second birthday. David Wilson who keeps the entertaining Dave Tries Ballet blog will also dance in that ballet. I believe that his ballet teacher trained with Glurdjidze at the same ballet school. There is some footage of a rehearsal by Gluirdjidze and Vargas (in which I understand the blogger also appears) on YouTube.

 

As you will recall from my review of Gala for Ghana above I was  impressed by Glurdjidze even though I did not recognize her (for which I apologize) and I want to see more of that ballerina. I plan to attend her talk in London on the 10 Feb 2014 and her performance in Stockport on the 16 Feb 2014 and shall report back to this website on both. 

Edited by terpsichore
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