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English National Ballet: Swan Lake, London, Jan 2015


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Foteini Christofilopoulou was at the dress rehearsal in the Coliseum, for ENB's Swan Lake. Here are a few sample photos...

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Cygnets: Senri Kou, Anjuli Hudson, Katja Khanuikova, Crystal Costa
© Foteini Christofilopoulou.
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Artists of the Company
© Foteini Christofilopoulou.
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Ivan Vasiliev as Prince Siegfried
© Foteini Christofilopoulou.
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Set from DanceTabs: English National Ballet - Swan Lake
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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There are no shots of Cojocaru at the moment because none can be released until she has said yes. The only other ballerina who famously went this way was Guillem. All very grand!  Anyway check the gallery later and hopefully some might be up - or not!

 

It's not clear how images are being cleared by Cojocaru and ENB because while we wait, the Guardian has a gallery which includes pictures of the very great lady:

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/gallery/2015/jan/08/english-national-ballet-swan-lake-alina-cojocaru-in-pictures

Edited by Bruce
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Cojocaru's Odette/Odile was one of the greatest performances I have seen from her. Truly one to savour alongside her wonderful interpretations of the dramatic works of MacMillan, Neumeier and Cranko.

 

But, alas, Siegfried is not a role for Vasiliev.

 

The company was on really fine, energised form with excellent dancing in the Act 1 pas de trois (Corrales; McWhinney; Summerscales), from all the swans, and in the Act 3 variations.

 

I appreciate that people on this forum may be holding out against "yet another Swan Lake" but it is a good production and, with such a stellar performance from Alina, it knocks the somewhat pallid Don Q on show 'down the road' into a cocked hat.

Edited by capybara
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Here are some more pictures of Swan Lake without any pictures of Alina as we are still waiting for clearance on pictures of herself.

 

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Michael Coleman as The Tutor and Ivan Vasiliev as Prince Siegfried
 
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Alison McWhinney, Cesar Corrales and Laurretta Summerscales in the Pas de Trois
 
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Fernando Bufala and Crystal Costa in the Neapolitan dance

 

More pictures on www.johnrossballetgallery.co.uk

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The only other ballerina who famously went this way was Guillem. All very grand! 

 

It's not clear how images are being cleared by Cojocaru and ENB because while we wait, the Guardian has a gallery which includes pictures of the very great lady:

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/gallery/2015/jan/08/english-national-ballet-swan-lake-alina-cojocaru-in-pictures

 

At the National Ballet of Canada I believe all dancers have the right to approve their photos before they are published.

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At the National Ballet of Canada I believe all dancers have the right to approve their photos before they are published.

 

That sounds a nightmare. There must be limits - so in a picture of 24 swans, if one swan objects then the picture can't be used?

 

There is a long tradition in London of calls being given one day and images in newspapers the next. Really hard to achieve if one dancer has to bless an image but if it's 2 or more I cant see it working at all.

 

Everybody is more image conscious these days and it will be interesting to see how it changes over the next decade. It might be that we look back over the last 10-15 years as a great period when dance was recorded in reasonable detail, soloists got featured etc as opposed to getting a few set-piece images of absolute perfection. Perhaps the distinction is... are images in galleries rather like News, in recording whats there and what happened, or like advertising, a few stunning images if not telling the wider position?

 

While I'm here - Alina Cojocaru has blessed a couple of Foteini's images and they have now been added to the gallery. Here is one...

 

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Alina Cojocaru in Swan Lake

© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

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Foteini Christofilopoulou: ENB in 'Swan Lake' Gallery

Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

Edited by Bruce
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There are plenty pics of Alina on ENB's Flickr site as tweeted by them!  I've just been looking at them. How bizarre.  See for yourself  :)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/englishnationalballet/sets/72157649776798318/

Very nice gallery with 4 images of Alina Cojocaru - which I'm sure will have each been blessed as well. ASH do a lot of work for ENB I think and do a good job.

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I thought it was an excellent swan lake (apart from the Mazurka - the glacial pace and oddly stolid choreography somewhat take the fun out of it) and Cojocaru and Summerscale both left me in raptures. Vasiliev might not be a born Siegfried, but the man looks good on stage whatever he does and the partnership worked pretty well. Very nice pdds. Though I couldn't quite suppress a slight giggle when he delivered the most dramatic eye roll I have yet seen, on stage or off.

 

I've got a couple more of their performances booked and am really looking forward to seeing it again.

 

The orchestra was nice and lively too, which does make a welcome change after one too many DonQs.

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Crikey! An absolutely stunning Swan Lake from Rojo and Lendorf - I've never liked Rojo better, never seen her so relaxed, open and natural  - totally, completely different from the hard, technique-only Aurora from a couple of years ago - and can she still do fouttes? She can, she can. And I've never seen her smile so much, either. So what with Lendorf being the dancer I most enjoy watching these days, I had a very good evening indeed!

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I like the John Ross photo of Ivan Vasiliev and Michael Coleman in act 1, there was a lovely interplay between the two, and I have never seen so much intensity from Siegfried as in the first act solo, nice to see that variation as Siegfried needs all the dancing he can get.

 

In fact Ivan Vasiliev made the evening for me, his partnering wasn't perfect and some technique looked a bit rough, but what charisma, by comparison I found Alina Cojocaru rather pallid, going by the reviews I'm obviously in the minority, and it might have been the low lighting (as seen from  high above) that made it difficult to follow act 2 and even act 3 in places. The production is fast and energetic like the Bolshoi's, especially the choreography for Rothbart, and undeniably exciting, but lacked poetry and magic for me, what has happened to Odette's entrance, very odd.

 

Great soloists as always with ENB, Cesar Corrales is new to me.

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I've always assumed that Odette's entrance, like some other bits of the lakeside scenes, is left over from the in-the-round version, where she can't just run in from the wings - but I think it's a poor substitute and I wish Derek Deane would change it. The other thing I'd complain about is the painfully slow tempo in both the Act 2 pas de deux (which I suppose we're going to have to live with for ever now) and in Odette's solo, which must be near-impossibly difficult to do at that speed.

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Really looking forward to this, I am going next week.  I had to book according to the date, rather than the cast, but I am sure I will enjoy it.

 

Who was responsible for that funereal pace?  Was Makarova the first to slow it down so much?

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Whatever its flaws, imo ENB's version is far preferable to the RB's and this current run has more interesting casts. I'm only going to see Vadim, who is down to dance with Lauren; none of the other casts holds any interest for me. I don't know what Lauren is like in the role and hope that I don't end up with Sarah or Akane if she's still injured, which I fear she will be. They are both good dancers with secure technique but Sarah doesn't do anything for me and I'm a bit fed up with seeing Vadim dance with Akane as I don't feel that there's any real chemistry between them and Akane doesn't seem to 'give' much to her partners (or to Vadim at least). I think that it's always very interesting to see how the two leads relate to each other at curtain call. Are they merely polite or does there seem to be any warmth between them? Just my opinions, of course.

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Whatever its flaws, imo ENB's version is far preferable to the RB's and this current run has more interesting casts. I'm only going to see Vadim, who is down to dance with Lauren; none of the other casts holds any interest for me. I don't know what Lauren is like in the role and hope that I don't end up with Sarah or Akane if she's still injured, which I fear she will be. They are both good dancers with secure technique but Sarah doesn't do anything for me and I'm a bit fed up with seeing Vadim dance with Akane as I don't feel that there's any real chemistry between them and Akane doesn't seem to 'give' much to her partners (or to Vadim at least). I think that it's always very interesting to see how the two leads relate to each other at curtain call. Are they merely polite or does there seem to be any warmth between them? Just my opinions, of course.

 

Aileen, not being funny but would this post have been better in an RB thread?  I thought for a few seconds that some RB dancers were guesting with ENB!

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Oh, for goodness sake, Bill! You never like any criticism of any dancers. Would you prefer it if we all just said how marvellous everyone was in every performance? That would make a very dull forum. What I said was critical but respectful.

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Why is everyone surprised by the choice of very slow tempi in Act 2? After all if I recall both Rojo and Cojocaru expressed great

admiration for Markarova's interpretation of Odette in the documentary on Swan Lake .No one seems to remember that at the time we were first exposed to Markarova's distortion of the role and the score there were more people who were critical of her approach than were enthusiastic supporters of it. Personally I still think that a great interpretation of Odette requires sensitivity to the score.rather than incredible balances which have the effect of chopping the choreography up into a series of poses but then I  don't think that you measure the greatness of an Aurora by how long a dancer manages to balance and how many of her suitors she manages to ignore in the Rose Adagio.

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Gratuitous....insulting...hypothetical....unnecessary....insensitive...unjustified.....(I could go on)

But it takes all types and sizes and not everybody will love all they see. Many seem to hold to the mantra "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all..." but all that does is give a very skewed and overly happy view of dance life. Its not reality.

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Why is everyone surprised by the choice of very slow tempi in Act 2? After all if I recall both Rojo and Cojocaru expressed great

admiration for Markarova's interpretation of Odette in the documentary on Swan Lake .No one seems to remember that at the time we were first exposed to Markarova's distortion of the role and the score there were more people who were critical of her approach than were enthusiastic supporters of it. Personally I still think that a great interpretation of Odette requires sensitivity to the score.rather than incredible balances which have the effect of chopping the choreography up into a series of poses but then I  don't think that you measure the greatness of an Aurora by how long a dancer manages to balance and how many of her suitors she manages to ignore in the Rose Adagio.

 

The surprise for me is that everyone chooses to do it that way now.  Surely there is room for a more individual interpretation, including a faster one?

 

How much choice do the dancers have?  Not having danced professionally, I would be interested to know.  Can you discuss this personally with the conductor?  I remember years ago a Principal with the RB was interviewed on television, and she said that when she was on tour, some conductors would ask, "Do you want the slow or fast version?" I recall her saying that as she was given no idea what the actual tempo would be, she replied, "Just play it and I will follow you." 

 

I can't remember what the ballet was. 

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But it takes all types and sizes and not everybody will love all they see. 

 

I really appreciate the threads (such as this one and that re the RB's Don Q) where there are differences of view because they help me develop my own thinking about productions and performances.

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I recall a talk that Barry Wordsworth gave about ten years ago when he explained that a tempo was agreed for an entire run of a revival so the orchestra did not end up playing fast one night and slowly the next. It was a compromise but I think he suggested that the tempo was set pretty much by the speed that the ballerina on opening night wanted.Presumably because that dancer tended in the past to be the most senior dancer appearing in the work.

 

I do not know if something similar happens at ENB But I would not necessarily assume that Deane exercises control over the speed at which the ballerina's role is danced in this production. I know that I used to avoid performances at Covent Garden conducted by Emmanuel Young because I found them sluggish.I was amused to discover that Donald MacLeary did not rate him too highly either something to do with being too accommodating to the dancers if I recall. 

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