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Subject: "ENB 50th Birthday Gala, 16/01/01" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Lynette H

17-01-01, 04:08 PM (GMT)
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"ENB 50th Birthday Gala, 16/01/01"
 
   ENBís Gala evening at the Coliseum was to celebrate its 50th anniversary and also to belatedly celebrate the 90th birthday of its founder ballerina, Alicia Markova. Such an occasion, you think, would be glittering indeed. As a gala occasion, though, it proved curiously half hearted. The major part of the bill - Les Sylphides and Etudes - was the same as the triple bill offered on other nights, with a few items supplying the gala element instead of Voluntaries.

Itís possible we have been rather spoiled by some very well thought out galas and tributes in the past. The Royalís gala for the reopening of the ROH had a carefully thought out scheme of what had been shown there which illustrated the history of the company, including a few glimpses of rare and unusual items which hadnít been seen for some time. The tribute to de Valois a couple of years ago revived some excerpts of her work. This could have been the opportunity for Deane, who has complained about how cost constraints mean he is unable to revive some of the ballets in the companyís heritage, to show us a glimpse (albeit without sets) of what could be done. Or perhaps to feature some roles particularly associated with Markova in the past - Giselle, perhaps.

What we got was, however, very much your standard gala fare. The Corsaire pas de deux, Don Q pas de deux, and pas de deux Swan Lake Act 2. And a Deane piece for Oaks and Edur (Impromptu) which was pleasant enough, and certainly showed off Edurís selfless partnering. Perhaps this is more what the ENB audience wants to see. They certainly liked it.

The evening as a whole was not as successful as last weekís Swan Lake. The turnover of dancers in ENB is such that Deane has been pushing some very young dancers forward into principal roles. Erina Takahashi, recently made a principal, danced in Corsaire, and Fernande Oliveira, who only graduated from the RBS last summer, appeared as Odette. Both these dancers have technical strengths, but so far donít have the stage experience to command quite the authority that they should have, or to put across their persona. This may come in time, but itís not there yet. Overall, the standard of dancing seemed more varied than last week.

Which doesnít mean that it didnít have its high points. Yosvani Ramos had a decent shot at Corsaire, which was wildly popular. Yat Sen Chang was his usual totally irrepressible self in the Don Q pas de deux, and as ever looked like he was having a wonderful time. His jumps were as huge as usual. Itís difficult not to warm to him because he seems to be enjoying himself so much. Monica Perego looked very confident as his partner.

Les Syphides, opening the proceedings, looked a little tense, and perhaps not quite as smoothly or as musically executed as one would like, though it is hard to pin down exactly what was missing.

Etudes, the closing item, is a real ENB staple - the 739th performance. (I was surprised how many of the audience left before this piece, given it is supposed to be such an ENB favourite) Somehow, this performance failed to catch fire as it really ought too. The audience would respond enthusiastically to one passage and then would subside for some time. It wasnít as dazzling as a performance on such an occasion ought to be. The principals (Armand, Perego, Gruzdyev) seemed rather bland in their dancing no matter how many turns they did. Towards the end, it is very much a showpiece look-at-me work, where one piece of virtuosity should succeed another, ever more astonishingly. After a while, though, I began to get a post-Christmas overstuffed feeling. I just couldnít face another pirouette.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: ENB 50th Birthday Gala, 16/01/01 alison 18-01-01 1
     RE: ENB 50th Birthday Gala, 16/01/01 Fuzzyface 18-01-01 2

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alison

18-01-01, 01:07 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: ENB 50th Birthday Gala, 16/01/01"
In response to message #0
 
   I quite agree with you about the selection of "Celebration" items, Lynette. Considering that they were supposed to celebrate the history of the Company, why on earth have the Don Q and Corsaire pdd, when as far as I can remember the company has danced neither complete ballet? And "Impromptu", although very well danced, is hardly part of the company's heritage either. Only the Swan Lake pdd has any claim to be "heritage" (and Derek Deane did announce at the beginning that it would be danced by a first-year corps de ballet member). I imagine that time and money must have been considerable constraints, but in that case wny not have the Nutcracker pdd (needs no rehearsal, everyone has current costumes, and after all it is a major part of the Company's history)? Or we could have had the balcony pdd from Nureyev's Romeo and Juliet, which I think was created on the company and which Oaks and Edur have danced in the not-too-distant past. Or a snippet from Graduation Ball? I know they've still got costumes for that! It was just standard gala fare, with no individuality at all. Or ...

I was also disappointed to see that Durante didn't appear - and what happened to the former dancers which the BBC's website announced (as dancing! - coming out of retirement?) the other day?

Most of all, though, I regret the timing of the bill, virtually at the end of a long, busy season, when injuries had taken their toll and the dancers were tired. Not the best way of showing the company at its best.


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Fuzzyface

18-01-01, 01:34 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: ENB 50th Birthday Gala, 16/01/01"
In response to message #1
 
   Hi Alison,

ENB did do a complete "Don Q" in the early 1970's. It starred Samsova & Prokovsky at the time, but didn't last very long in the repertoire. I never saw it, but I do remember seeing photos of it in my "Princess Tina Ballet Annual"!!!!!!!!!


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