Jump to content

Elena Glurdjidze's Talk to the London Ballet Circle 10 Feb 2014


Recommended Posts

 

I have just nipped down to London and back to see  Elena Glurdjidze. On the train back to Luton Parkway to pick up my car I tweeted:

"@DaveTriesBallet I have just seen and spoken to Elena Glurdjidze at @BalletCircle. So lovely and so gracious. Looking forward to Cinderella"

For those of you who don't already know, @DaveTriesBallet keeps the Dave Tries Ballet blog of which I am a great fan.
 
One reason I tweeted Dave about the talk is that he is a member of the Bristol Russian Youth Ballet Company which will dance Cinderella this Sunday at 16:00 at the Stockport Plaza to raise funds for Reuben's Retreat and Glurdjidze and Arionel Vargas will be the guest principals. Glurdjidze described it as a wonderful charity which indeed it is,
 
The other reason I tweeted Dave is that he alerted me to Glurdjidze's dancing The Dying Swan in the Gala for Ghana. I had intended to give this event a miss but I changed my mind after learning that Dying Swan was to be performed. As I said previously my late mother saw Pavlova dance the Dying Swan at The Grand in Leeds when my mother was a small girl and it made such an impression on her that I resolved to see a modern ballerina dance it one day. Last week at the Royal College of Music I fulfilled that resolution. I think Glurdjidze made on me a similar impression to the one that Pavlova had made upon my mother all those years ago.
 
The meeting took place in the dining room of the Civil Service Club which is a few hundred yards from Charing Cross station.  I arrived just before the meeting was due to start.  I did not count the audience but there were about 7 or 8 rows of chairs of about 20 each and not many empty seats.  The room was big enough to require a public address system. Glurdjidze sat at a table with an interviewer facing the audience. She was dressed very simply but elegantly.
 
The speaker and interviewer were introduced by our chair, Susan Dalgetty-Ezra.  Speaking softly but very clearly from the table our guest answered questions put to her by the interviewer. 
 
She said that she had been born in Georgia. Her father was a scientist.  Though talented in  other ways, none of her family was in ballet. She was sent to a performing arts school where she took up ballet. She showed such promise that her teachers directed her to theVaganova Ballet Academy where so many great dancers and choreographers were trained. Baller school was not easy.  Discipline was strict and classes were demanding.  Everything was in Russian which was a new language for her. She had to board.  She missed her family and her family missed her.  She said that she cried every night for the first few weeks at the school.
 
Nevertheless, she survived and graduated into one of the new companies that were established by former dancers of the Kirov after the fall of communism.  She came to the notice of the English National Ballet who recruited her as a principal in 2002. She said that at that time she spoke very little English and that even now she makes a few errors.  One of her personal ambitions is to perfect her knowledge of our language. I have to say that if she still makes errors I did not spot any last night. I could not help reflecting after hearing Eric  Pickles's performance in the House of Commons on the drive back home that Elena Glurdjidze could teach our Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government a thing or two in that regard.
 
While in London Elena Glurdjidze met her husband, also a dancer and also a Georgian. They have a 9 year old son who is very bright with a good voice and shows talent in many directions.  They are not pushing him into ballet though, of course, he could not have a better start in that career if that is what he wanted to do.
 
Glurdjidze talked about her roles. She has, of course, performed all the classics, Odette-Odile, Giselle, Juliet and so on.  She said she had never danced in Le Corsaire and would like to perform in that ballet.  She will be dancing just one matinee with Vargas in Romeo and Juliet at the Albert Hall in June.  As for the long term she hopes to teach dance and it was then that she mentioned her work with the Bristol Russian Ballet School.
 
Remembering an earlier tweet from Dave that she had trained with this teacher I asked her to say a little more about her connection with the Bristol School and her performance in Stockport on Sunday when the meeting was opened to the floor. She spoke about her friendship with the founder of that school from the days when they were both at the Vaganova Academy, about the impressive work that her friend was doing, about the request to dance in a charity show and about the cause being a wonderful project.  The clip that is embedded in this post is a rehearsal for that ballet.  My admiration for Glurdjidze increased all the more. She is not simply a great dancer. She is also a lovely human being.
 
Others asked her about her pointe shoes; about the differences between the regime in the Royal Ballet School and the Vaganova Academy; whether she had considered choreography and her plans for the future including the performance at the Albert Hall that I mentioned above.  
 
After we had asked her everything that could reasonably be asked of her our Chair presented her with a gift from the Circle.  However, she stayed for a few minutes to talk to her fans, sign programmes and pose for photographs.  Forming an orderly queue we each had a few words with her.  A gentleman in front of me said that he was a schoolmaster and he could tell that she had much to give her pupils.  That reminded me of Clement Crisp's conversation with Dame Antoinette Sibley and I told her about Dame Antoinette's affection for her teachers and her advice on teaching.  Glurdjidze replied that Sibley had taught her a lot particularly about the role of Manonwhich, of course, was created for Sibley.  When it came to my turn I told Gurdjidze how I had longed to see Dying Swan ever since I had heard about Pavlova in Leeds and how I had been moved by her performance. I added that I was looking forward to Cinderella this Sunday. Glurdjidze accepted everybody's compliments including mine with grace.
 
As soon as I could get a signal on the train to Luton I texted my teacher who, like Glurdjidze, leaned ballet in a sunnier clime and cheers me up and motivates me with her antipodean enthusiasm: 
"Oh Jane xXxX I can imagine how special the moment was sXsX ur  lucky woman to be given such as opportunty"
And indeed I am although any member of the public could have shared my good fortune by turning up at the Civil Service Club yesterday.  If you missed Glurdjidze you can still catch Tamara Rojo on the 3 March, Ruth Brill on the 24th and Peter Wright on the 14th April.  Ruth Brill has already tweeted that she is looking forward to her talk.
 
The Circle hopes to increase its membership outside London and our Chair sent me North with a stash of brochures which I am going to take to every class, every ballet and every ballet related event that I attend outside London until I have got rid of them all. So be warned.  Incidentally one can join the London Ballet Circle through its website. I would urge you to do so even if you can't get to London because the Circle supports financially young dancers from all parts of the nation with scholarships to events throughout the land including in particular the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School.
 
I shall give the last words about Glurdjidze to Dave. His response to my tweet was
    "...... So glad to hear! Was so sad to miss the talk. She's truly the loveliest dancer to rehearse with."

About her teaching, he added that although he could not take her class because of injury

    "I still learned so much watching her teach class in the summer. And was amazing to see her coach the girls in the Raymonda Act III variation! Got goosebumps seeing her demonstrate even the simplest moves - sheer perfection!"
I can understand that. I got goosebumps watching her last week and I expect to get more when I see her, Vargas and Dave in Cinderella this Sunday.  
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your loving report Terpsichore.

 

Just a small point .... Elena Glurdjidze's husband is not a dancer but a businessman. I think that the use of the term non-dancer by the interviewer last night got a bit blurred in the microphone! The Civil Service Club is not the easiest of venues in which to hear (or see) the participants.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for that Terpischore. So many dancers still to see......have never seen her dance. A very informative post.

 

Slightly off topic but I'm rather hoping this Bristol Russian Youth Ballet will eventually run some workshops/ masterclasses etc open to adult ballet goers (well I really couldn't get away with attending anything with "Youth" in the title!) Either in Bristol or here in Brighton......a lady trained at RBS has already come here from Bristol to do a weekend workshop and used the lovely dance studio in Brighton College for this. Brighton College are brilliant for offering/sharing their resources with the local community on a regular basis.

But there are also very recently opened studios just for Dance and Dance related activities in the Marina called Marina Studios and they want to get workshops/masterclasses going too.

 

I always thought The London Ballet Circle was biassed in its support towards the Royal Ballet as I looked into joining this a couple of years ago but decided,obviously erroneously, that it might be a bit like an RB supporters club and if I mentioned liking a non RB dancer I might not be too popular!! I also thought you had to be a member to attend events. Maybe I will attend one of their events as a non member then initially!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your loving report Terpsichore.

 

Just a small point .... Elena Glurdjidze's husband is not a dancer but a businessman. I think that the use of the term non-dancer by the interviewer last night got a bit blurred in the microphone! The Civil Service Club is not the easiest of venues in which to hear (or see) the participants.

 

I wish I had known you were there yesterday. I would have loved to have met you. Yesterday was only my second meeting and I networked as much as I could before everybody pushed off.

 

 

LinnMM

 

"Slightly off topic but I'm rather hoping this Bristol Russian Youth Ballet will eventually run some workshops/ masterclasses etc open to adult ballet goers (well I really couldn't get away with attending anything with "Youth" in the title!) Either in Bristol or here in Brighton.....,,,"

 

I am sure it would be worth an email or phone call.  Dave is much younger than us but he must be would also fall outside most definitions of "youth" too.. I believe he started his ballet lessons as a graduate student at Rutgers which was even later than me for I had my first lessons as an undergraduate at St Andrews and gave them up only went to UCLA for graduate studies.

 

"I always thought The London Ballet Circle was biassed in its support towards the Royal Ballet as I looked into joining this a couple of years ago but decided,obviously erroneously, that it might be a bit like an RB supporters club and if I mentioned liking a non RB dancer I might not be too popular!! I also thought you had to be a member to attend events. Maybe I will attend one of their events as a non member then initially!"

 

That was not true when I was last a member in the early 1970s and it is certainly not true now.   Our David Nixon, Birmingham's David Bintley and Newport's Darius James are Vice-Presidents.

 

All meetings are open to the public. Members get in for £5. Non-members pay £8. Do come for Tamara Rojo, Ruth Brill and/or Peter Wright :-)

Edited by terpsichore
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I filed past Glurdjidze on Monday I mentioned that I would be in the audience in tonight's performance of Cinderella. She replied that she would give her best. Well she was as good as her word.  It was an excellent performance.  There were a lot of kids in the audience and one asked her mum whether she could take ballet lessons as she left the auditorium. 

 

This little girl may not find ballet to her taste or she may have no aptitude for it.  But the converse is possible too.  If this child does take to ballet if only for fun she has Glurdjidze to thank for the inspiration.

 

I have always admired Glurdjidze ever since I first saw her dance but I can also say that I really like her.

 

Incidentally Vargas was also splendid.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...