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BRB Midscale Tour North East 2012


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Wow. How fantastic. Only the 2nd ballet we've ever been to and we absolutely loved it.

 

My dd didn' t take her eyes off it - she was looking forward to pineapple poll and didn't want it to end, bless her.

 

I enjoyed the hobsons choice clog dance and the pas de deux but it was all amazing.

 

My dd left on a real high.

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Hi Smallbythesea,

I was also at York to see BRB yesterday with my 2 dds. I totally agree with you - it was absolutely fantastic! I really wasn't expecting to enjoy Lyric Pieces, yet it moved me beyond words and when I looked at my youngest dd, she actually had tears in her eyes! All the performances were brilliant in our opinion.

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Ok Janet , fingers to the key board before my nerve goes ! I have just enjoyed the final afternoon of B.R.B. Midscale tour, in Buxton.

We finished the afternoon with a super performance of Pineapple Poll, always guaranteed to send me home with a smile.

Before that we had three bitesized pieces; the Clog Dance and pd from Hobsons Choice, a ballet I could watch all week and Oliver Till joined the ranks of splendid Will Mossops. Followed by the Bethena Concert Waltz from Elite Syncopations and one of my favourites , the pas de deux from Don Quixote. As Basilio, I thought Mathias Dingman was awesome.

The afternoon began with the new ballet Lyric Pieces, first performed a couple of weeks ago by BRB, at the International Dance Festival Birmingham. Choreographed by Jessica Lang and danced to music by Grieg. It is the second time that I have seen this ballet in full and I get more from it with each viewing; it is beautiful and I could not pick out any one dancer, they were all breathtaking. I was lucky enough to see part of the ballet in rehearsal, with Jessica Lang and see that the construction was very much in collaboration with her dancers. Yes I am taken with this ballet and there will be the chance to see why when BRB perform it again in Birmingham in September and at Sadlers Wells in October.

No expertise on my part ,just 60+ years of watching and loving ballet.

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Marg S, agree with you completely, having watched the performance last night. Both myself and my husband loved Lyric Pieces, this was our first viewing as we hadn't been at the IDF in Birmingham. How clever was the use of the pieces of movable scenery, allowing a change of mood in line with the theme of the music and dancing as the dancers changed the scenes effortlessly using concertina/fan like props to create back drops, water, bridges, huge fans and countless other images, but without detracting from the dancing, only enhancing the mood. I will mention my favourite moments and dancers, they are only my views as a member of the audience, as Marg says, no expertise here either!

In Lyric Pieces I really enjoyed James Barton in Elves' Dance, what a lively,cheeky and commanding Elf he was, I would love to see him as Puck in The Dream. I also enjoyed the Brook, (the ladies dance) and March of the Trolls, in particular Maureya Lebowitz with her lively charm and enjoyment of dance communicating with the audience so effortlessly. I have to mention Phantom with the sublime Jenna Roberts, so fragile, lyrical and long limbed contrasting to the powerful Iain Mackay, their performance was both sensitive and passionate.

 

I haven't had the opportunity to see Hobson's Choice so it was a treat for me to see the Clog Dance and Lily of Laguna pas de deux. Oliver Twill was fabulous, characterful, charming and left me wanting to watch more, so its a ballet I will definitely go out of my way to see. I do like Elite Syncopations and as the piano starts to play at the beginning of Bethena Concert Waltz, I feel reminiscent and a little melancholy, only to be cheered up and my mood switched by the dancing. Delia Mathews and Benjamin Soerel didn't disappoint and how fabulous to see a piece of Kenneth MacMillan choreography.

 

PIneapple Poll is splendid entertainment and the audience around me thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

My overarching impression of the evening is what an incredibly versatile company BRB are, the breadth of rep, from Cranko, MacMillan, to David Bintley and Jessica Lang, oh and with a bit of Petipa included too! It was also lovely to see younger company members given the opportunity to shine, with some newer ladies taking parts at Sweethearts and Wives in Pineapple Poll with very theatrical and enjoyable performances, not to mention the young William Bracewell partnering the highly experienced and long tenured Nao Sukama in the Don Quixote pas de deux.

 

Have to mention the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, as well as the pianist Mathew Drury, who were ever splendid and what a treat for the Buxton audience to have a live orchestra these days.....exactly what the Buxton Opera House was built for!

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Thanks Marg and Nana for posting your thoughts. It was lovely seeing you yesterday Marg.

 

Well, where do I begin?

 

Buxton Opera House is the most lovely of theatres; designed by Frank Matcham, it was his rehearsal for the Coliseum in London. It's got a bigger stage than some of the midscale venues but it has a fearsome rake.

 

The NE midscale tour comprised the new Lyric Pieces, Clog dance/Lily of Laguna from Hobson's, Bethena Concert Waltz from Elite, Don Q PDD and Pineapple Poll.

 

I have truly fallen in love with Lyric Pieces - it is so gentle and lyrical with gorgeous flowing choreography. The various paper concertinas enhance the action too. We saw both casts over the three performances and they were both brilliant. Mathias Dingman really stood out and I was very taken with Yvette Knight's serenity.

 

We had two wonderful casts for Hobson's - Laetitia lo Sardo/James Barton and Ambra Vallo/Oliver Till. Both pairs were supberb and managed to convince us of their characters despite the excerpt being out of context.

 

Bethena Concert Waltz was well danced by the three casts we saw.

 

All three casts for the Don Q GPDD were excellent and all three brought something different to this bravura piece. On Tuesday evening Ambra Valla and Tzu-Chao Chou had a delicious and warm rapport - I could feel a silly grin spreading across my face the whole time. We had pyrotechnics aplenty from Maureya Lebowitz and Mathias Dingman on Wednesday afternoon. On Wednesday evening Nao Sakuma and William Bracewell fizzed and sparkled and William danced with a breath-taking elegance of line that was gorgeous to watch.

 

All three performances of Pineapple Poll were wonderful fun to watch. Iain Mackay was HILARIOUS as the Captain with the always wonderful Ambra Vallo as his Poll. Youngster Benjamin Soerel had been thrown in at the deepend earlier in the tour and was just a joy to watch. His Polls were Maureya Lebowita and the divine Angela Paul. We came out on a high from all three performances.

 

One of the nice things about this tour has been seeing some of the more junior members of the company grabbing their chances with both hands and giving us terrific performances. The future of BRB is looking good!

 

Edited to add a couple of words and make more sense!

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My sister and I have just returned from 24 hours in Buxton and I promised Janet McN. that I would write afew words! I love going to watch some of the Split Tour as it is great to get together with other BRB Friends, and there is always the chance that you might see young up and coming dancers being given the opportunity to dance big roles. We were not disappointed on either score!

The highlight for me had to be seeing the wonderfully elegant and graceful William Bracewell dancing the Don Quixote pdd with Nao Sakuma. This young man is going to be so exciting for us to watch over the next few years.

We were lucky enough to see 2 performances, so we also saw this pdd danced by Maureya L. and Matthias Dingman; also splendid to watch, and Maureya seems to throw her personality into everything she dances, so she is very watchable indeed.

I have seen Lyric Pieces several times now ( Crescent Theatre) and it definitely grows on you. I found it particularly beautiful watched from the Dress Circle, having seen it from the Stalls previously. The piano music which accompanies it is wonderful.

In the Bitesized ballet we saw Oliver Till dancing an excellent Will Mossop, full of charm and fun; partnered in the Lily of Laguna pdd by Ambra Vallo. Nobody does Maggie Hobson like Ambra Vallo! It was delightful and the audience loved it.

Then Pineaple Poll, which was hugely popular with the Buxton audience. It's always interesting to listen to the comments of people who have never seen it before. And for those of us who have seen it many times, what a treat to see Benjamin Soerel as a splendid Captain Belaye. Great fun and beautifully danced too.

All in all two excellent performances and I do hope BRB return to Buxton.

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The highlight for me had to be seeing the wonderfully elegant and graceful William Bracewell dancing the Don Quixote pdd with Nao Sakuma. This young man is going to be so exciting for us to watch over the next few years.

 

Glad to hear it. He impressed me in the RBS performance.

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Final note on William Bracewell - I have just been lucky enough to see him dance the Don Quixote pdd again at an Elmhurst Concert. It was a Concert they put on as a Tribute to their artistic Director Desmond Kelly who retires in July, and as part of the concert there were guest performances from BRB dancers;William B. and Nao Sakuma danced this pdd. I can only say it was even better than at Buxton and he will be such an inspiration to the Elmhurst Students.

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Sue S. Agree completely, Really enjoyed watching them on Wednesday, but Friday night was very special, there was a definite magical quality about their performance.

 

PS. apologies to Oliver Till, and the typo I made of his name.

 

NL

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One advantage of following BRB’s mid-scale tours is that it involves visiting some very attractive towns and cities. Usually the Northern tour goes to Durham and York, as it did this year, but to those two was added Buxton, a sort of mini “City of Bath” in the Peak District.

 

Having watched the SW tour at Poole and Truro, I caught up with the Northern tour at Buxton and saw the three performances there. The town and its hotels were fine, the theatre, or at least its auditorium, was excellent. However, the stage is far from flat and attendances were not great – less than 50% in the evening although the matinee was better. In spite of this, I hope BRB will continue to go there. Regular visits will help to build up audiences and get the dancers used to the stage.

 

The programme for the North was well chosen and made for very entertaining and enjoyable viewing. Mostly I agree with what the other people contributing to this thread have written about that and there is no point in my just repeating it. Instead I will concentrate on what is said to be another advantage of these tours namely that it gives younger dancers the chance to show what they can do with bigger roles. I hope my concentration on people at Artist level will not be misunderstood. It is not because I felt the more experienced dancers at Soloist and Principal levels were in any way unsatisfactory; quite the contrary they all performed at the high standard we have come to expect of them.

 

When a choreographer new to BRB comes to work with the company, it is interesting to see who is chosen for roles in his or her ballet. In the two casts at Buxton and a third cast to be made up from those on the SW tour, Jessica Lang certainly picked some of the most promising younger dancers for Lyric Pieces. Among the younger ladies, I thought Yijing Zhang was excellent as also was Yvette Knight, particularly in the Peasant’s Song solo. Delia Matthews was another to shine in that solo. I liked her too in the Bethena Concert Waltz (BCW) from Elite Syncopations. She has been very unlucky with injuries but this season she seems fully fit and dancing very well.

 

Of the five men I consider, most were in Lyric Pieces. Indeed, James Barton and Oliver Till seemed to be a matched pair since they shared the same role in Lyric Pieces and both delighted us all as Will Mossop in the Bitesized episodes from Hobson’s Choice. Perhaps it was surprising that Brandon Lawrence was another chosen by Jessica Lang since this is his first year with the company. However, he is very tall, has a huge jump and knows how to perform so maybe it wasn’t so surprising. If he continues the way he has started, he will be a terrific asset to the company.

 

Because Chi Cao, who should have been on the tour, was injured and couldn’t go there was a shortage of experienced male dancers and this gave the younger men their chance. The two best examples of this were Benjamin Soerel and William Bracewell. Soerel found himself, after almost no rehearsal, dancing as Captain Belaye in most performances. It was not so much the quality of his dancing in this which impressed me, although that was impressive enough, but rather the way he brought forth the character. He also showed that he was a good partner with Delia Matthews in BCW.

 

The highly regarded Bracewell replaced Chi Cao as Nao Sakuma’s partner in the Don Q pas de deux. He is very elegant with all the qualities required of a first-class male dancer and he lived up to his reputation in the Don Q, although, largely because of the stage one feels, it was danced better at Elmhurst than at Buxton as previous postings have pointed out.

 

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Perhaps it was surprising that Brandon Lawrence was another chosen by Jessica Lang since this is his first year with the company. However, he is very tall, has a huge jump and knows how to perform so maybe it wasn’t so surprising. If he continues the way he has started, he will be a terrific asset to the company.

 

From the little of him I've seen so far, I think so too.

 

Thanks for the report, Terry.

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