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Subject: "Dowell Gala..." Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1705
Reading Topic #1705
Bruce Madmin

26-05-01, 01:55 PM (GMT)
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"Dowell Gala..."
 
   Is somebody going to do a review?!


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Dowell Gala... Wendy Glavis 27-05-01 1
     RE: Dowell Gala... junko 27-05-01 2
     RE: Dowell Gala... Terry 27-05-01 3
         RE: Dowell Gala... Clement Crisp - dance critic FT 07-06-01 6
             RE: Dowell Gala... Viviane 07-06-01 7
             NOT Clement Crisp Bruce Madmin 15-06-01 17
     RE: Dowell Gala... Bruce Madmin 27-05-01 4
     RE: Dowell Gala... martinjay 27-05-01 5
         Guillem and the Dowell Gala... Jim 07-06-01 8
             RE: Guillem and the Dowell Gala... Fuzzyface 07-06-01 9
                 RE: Guillem and the Dowell Gala... alison 07-06-01 10
                     RE: Guillem and the Dowell Gala... sonia 07-06-01 12
                 RE: Guillem and the Dowell Gala... Jim 07-06-01 11
                     RE: Guillem and the Dowell Gala... Viviane 07-06-01 13
                         RE: Guillem and the Dowell Gala... Clement Crisp - FT dance critic 08-06-01 14
                             RE: Guillem and the Dowell Gala... Ann Williams 08-06-01 15
                             NOT Clement Crisp Bruce Madmin 15-06-01 16
  RE: Dowell Gala... 743 15-06-01 18

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Wendy Glavis

27-05-01, 01:34 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #0
 
   LAST EDITED ON 27-05-01 AT 01:46 AM (GMT)

Gosh, Bruce, I thought you were going to write one yourself - which is why I posted mine on Ballet Alert. But if no-one else is going to say anything....then I'll post it here too, with a few corrections and additions - and apologies to those who have read it already.

Actually, I'm not sure if this qualifies as a proper review. The Gala was such an emotional occasion that I found it hard to be objective. It was also my first Gala and I was still in a state of shock when I wrote this.

(I was also still in shock that I'd managed to be there at all. Like so many others, I applied for a ticket, but didn't get one. So in a fit of insanity - or so I thought at the time - I went down to London to queue for returns, expecting to find that 10,000 other ballet fans had had the same idea. To my amazement, I was second in the queue, but the word was that there was a waiting list of 100..200...700 depending on who you'd been talking to. There was NO chance of returns. NONE. But the queue didn't budge and eventually....we got in. Amazing.)

Inside, there were tons of flowers. The programmes were being sold by girls from The Royal Ballet Upper School (wearing blue tutus and mostly standing in taking-a-call ballet poses). They looked sweet and told me they had standing room for the performance. (In the light of a posting on another thread, I would have to say that I didn't actually notice whether they were thin or not. I DID notice that they were very polite and that there was someone with them, a teacher, I presume.)

As for the Gala itself, Anthony Dowell narrated between performances (at the end of each one, the dancers curtseyed - or bowed - to him before going off stage) and was both interesting and audible (important for those of us in the upper Amphi). The dances were from roles for which he was famous.

I'm not going to go into detail about everything that happened, however, or it would take about six months to write it all down. Perhaps other fans will help me out here and add things, or expand on what they liked. I'll just mention the highlights (for me!). The standard of dancing was very high throughout the evening, but I think the men felt they had a lot to live up to.

The first half of the programme was:

- a piece for all the boys at the Royal Ballet School - great to see the students dance (and dance SO WELL!).

-'Scherzo' from the 'Dream' (Ethan Stiefel, Giacomo Ciriaci, Jane Burn, Mara Galeazzi, Laura Morera and Jenny Tattersall.) Well danced by all.

- The black swan pdd from Swan Lake with Yoshida and Johan Kobborg - liked Kobborg very much in this and Yoshida, as usual, danced beautifully.

- 'Monotones' with Zenaida Yanowsky, Maurice Vodegel-Matzen, Alastair Marriott. (Really liked Zenaida in this.)

- First highlight for me was the 'Awakening pas de deux' from 'Sleeping Beauty' - some Ashton choreography I'd never seen before (but would like to see again). The Kirov play this music during the interval before the Awakening scene. It was beautifully danced by Belinda Hatley and Igor Zelensky.

- The 'Troyte' solo from 'Enigma Variations' came next, well danced by Edward Watson, who got quite a good reception from the audience.
Beforehand, Dowell told us about one of his early performances. He had a tricky entrance through some scenery and the music was supposed to start when he got on stage. One day they had a famous guest conductor (I'm still not sure who this conductor was - can anyone remember?)...and the music started while Dowell was still in the wings. 'I don't think I've ever run so fast,' he said, and it took him some time to catch up with the music.

- Another highlight was the 'Thais' pdd (Leanne Benjamin and Roberto Bolle). Roberto looked absolutely stunning....and his dancing was brilliant too. Leanne, too, did a good job.
Talking about his first performance in the role, Dowell said they hadn't had much rehearsal time, (and the costumes were a tricky), so he and Antoinette were extremely relieved that it had gone well. But when Ashton came out for his applause at the end, he held up his hands for quiet. 'Would you like to see it again?' he asked. That, said Dowell, was his only experience of an encore. (Apparently this story was told in the film about Dowell which was screened the night of the Gala.)

- And the first half ended with the third act pdd from Manon with Viviana Durante (greeted ecstatically by her fans, though in the main this audience was not particularly responsive) and Jonathan Cope (looking great). This was an emotional interpretation, movingly danced.

The interval. Floral Hall was a mob scene. Forget finding anyone you knew or getting a drink. But wonderful to see everyone in 'black tie'.


Part Two

- Once again we began with the Royal Ballet School, this time performing excerpts from 'Souvenirs', an interesting and amusing ballet choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. Wonderful to see so much young talent. And I spotted some pretty powerful jumping.

- Act II pdd from 'Giselle' with Viviana Durante and Kumakawa. For many fans, this was another very emotional moment, and it was good to see both of these dancers back at the Opera House.

- 'A Month in the Country' with Alina Cojocaru and Jonathan Cope. Alina was charming in this, but I would have liked to see her in something more challenging. And Cope danced very well, as usual.

- Another highlight for me was the good old Don Quixote pdd with Carlos Acosta and Tamara Rojo. Acosta was brilliant (intricate and complicated jumps, great height...) Wasn't sure about Tamara at first, but her fouettes...! Usually I count, but this time I lost track. I think, however, that there were at least three triples amongst them. (Yes, all right, she moved a bit...but so did ALL the Bolshoi stars I saw last week, so I'm not going to worry about this.) The audience went crazy.

- Adam Cooper and Sarah Wildor in 'Varii Capricci' - looking great together.

- Luke Heydon in Kulygin's solo from 'Winter Dreams', who did a good job with this (but I prefer him as Bottom).


- Final highlight: Well, we thought the evening was almost over, but the lights dimmed and then we saw a short pdd for Sibley and Dowell. The story concerned the accidental meeting of two ex-lovers on a park bench, who discover that they are each reading the same poem.) I found this extremely moving - and I COULD NOT believe how great they both looked together and how well they danced. I did wonder how Dame Antoinette managed to perform this in shoes with quite high heels, however.

- The programme ended with the Finale from 'Symphony in C' (Yoshida, Yanowsky, Benjamin, Bull, Cope, Acosta, Kumakawa, Persson.) Great stuff. At the end the back curtain went up and we saw all the students from the Royal Ballet School (of course half the proceeds of the evening were going toward the new building for the Upper School of the RBS so it was right that they should be there.) Someone told us later that the Gala had raised 700,000 for the new building. And later it was announced that one of the new studios would be named for Sibley and Dowell.)

- And then we had FLOWERS. Lots of them. And also a 'flower shower' from above. Great to see Darcey Bussell come out with a huge bouquet for Dowell. (Darcey looked terrific.) Then two rather chubby footmen appeared bearing more enormous bouquets...one of the footmen lost 'his' wig....and everyone laughed as they recognized Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. And finally Dowell himself appeared again, with yet another enormous bouquet which he presented to Antoinette Sibley.

What a night.

One thing I WOULD have liked to see was a standing ovation (perhaps they don't do these at Galas?). I wanted to get up after the Sibley/Dowell pas de deux - but dithered and couldn't decide what to do. Finally, at the very end, I thought - Who cares what people think - and stood up and clapped. (A feeble gesture, I know, and probably too late, but I'm glad I did it.)



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junko

27-05-01, 03:44 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #1
 
   Wendy,

Thank you so much for the review that I read carefully several times !!

To those who can't imagine what's like at all, it was very easy to know what happened there.

I was so excited and enjoyed a lot when I read about this gala with the RB and ex-RB great dancers and programs, feeling the atmosphere that night.

This BIG night must be a precious and rare chance for all ballet fans. I wished if I'd been there...

junko


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Terry

27-05-01, 04:58 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #1
 
   Where was Guillem? In the audience?


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Clement Crisp - dance critic FT

07-06-01, 00:29 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #3
 
   My Dear Terry

In what was to be an overwhelmingly emotional tribute to the greatest man in British Ballet, do you really think that an interloper would have been welcome? Indeed do you think it right that Ms Guillem's presence would have been appropriate?

Mademoiselle Non, has long since distanced herself from Sir Anthony and her being there would only have sullied the proceedings.

The night was for those who knew Dowell who loved him and were grateful to him for his sterling service to the cause of British ballet. I myself remember well the first time the youthful Dowell appeared in a divertissement from Napoli. I knew then that something wonderful was unfolding, that a nascent star was beginning to shine.

The night was for love, and those who loved him were there in force. The divine Cojocaru, the exquisite Rojo, the fiery Yoshida.

Tell me Terry, with stars such as these blazing, blazing a trail of love across the firmament of the evening, would it truly have been enriched by the surly self-important carryings on of the Francophile faction?


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Viviane

07-06-01, 08:09 AM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #6
 
   This real 'inside-information' throws a new light on the absence of Guillem at the Gala !
What a complex world


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Bruce Madmin

15-06-01, 01:55 PM (GMT)
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17. "NOT Clement Crisp"
In response to message #6
 
   A posting below says a little more on this:
http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/happening/1705.html#16


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Bruce Madmin

27-05-01, 08:06 AM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #1
 
   >Gosh, Bruce, I thought you were
>going to write one yourself

I decided not to go - there was a thread or two about it when the prices were first announced.


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martinjay

27-05-01, 05:29 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #1
 
   Wendy,

Thanks for the review. Re: the standing ovation, from my seat in the balcony, there was certainly standing in that area as well as the stalls.

A wonderful evening!


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Jim

07-06-01, 11:24 AM (GMT)
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8. "Guillem and the Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #5
 
   > Indeed do you think it right that Ms Guillem's presence would have been appropriate?.......

> The night was for love....would it truly have been enriched by the surly self-important carryings on
> of the Francophile faction?

I can scarcely believe Clement Crisp's sentimental and xenophobic response.

I remind readers that it was the appointment of various Guest Artistes, including Sylvie Guillem, at the end of the 80s/early 90s that dragged the Royal Ballet out of the doldrums and set it up for the 21st Century. The improvement in standards after the appointment of Guillem was tangible and I firmly believe that we, the Royal Ballet and Sir Anthony owe her (and the other guest artistes) a very great deal. I am not suggesting that she should have been given star billing on the night, by any means, but some little cameo dance (something like La Luna maybe) would have given the opportunity for the recognition of what Dowell and Guillem owe each other.


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Fuzzyface

07-06-01, 12:15 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Guillem and the Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #8
 
   Jim,
I'm not convinced that the Sylvie Guillem posting was really by Clement Crisp. We also had a very suspicious looking posting alledgedly by Antoinette Sibley recently too.


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alison

07-06-01, 01:05 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Guillem and the Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #9
 
   It can't possibly have been by Clement Crisp. After all, it didn't contain the words "truth" or "felicitous" .

Seriously, though, I think it's in extremely bad taste to post anything on these pages under the names of any living luminary of the dance world.


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sonia

07-06-01, 03:25 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Guillem and the Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #10
 
   Aha! So it's permissible to post under the name of a dead luminary? In that case, I want to be....Margot Fonteyn's pointe shoe.


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Jim

07-06-01, 01:08 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Guillem and the Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #9
 
   >I'm not convinced that the Sylvie Guillem posting was really by
>Clement Crisp.

Thanks for the tip-off. But the body of my reply remains true for those who may not know


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Viviane

07-06-01, 03:32 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Guillem and the Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #11
 
   Haha !!!
Next time I'll better make sure that I have woke up properly before I make a reply


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Clement Crisp - FT dance critic

08-06-01, 01:37 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Guillem and the Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #13
 
   In truth I find it woefully unfelicitous that you should cast aspersions on the veracity of my posting.

Firstly, I am not xenophobic; Rojo, Cojocaru and Yoshida whom I have championed to the hilt are not English. It is Guillem's attitude to our noble Knight that i take issue with.

Secondly, yes Guillem may have upped the ante in terms of technique but I long for those bygone days of the 40's 50's and 60's when the RB was a revelatory experience no matter which night or performance one attended. Those halcyon days depended not on hyperbolic technique, (though it was indeed on display) but on the unrivalled artistry of every principal, soloist and dancer.

Thirdly, I find it in extremely poor taste that my depth of knowledge has been called into question. It is because my love of the Royal Ballet, whom I have championed from the start, is so unequivocal and that the presence of Mademoiselle Non is superfluous to celebrating the career of Sir Anthony, that I felt obliged to write.

Now let that be an end to the matter.

With felicitations

CC


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Ann Williams

08-06-01, 03:38 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Guillem and the Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #14
 
   >It is Guillem's attitude to our noble Knight that i take issue with.<

Well, Clem old boy (forgive my familiarity) you obviously know something we don't, so could you please tell us what Ms Guillem's 'attitude' to Sir Anthony is? Certainly there is no hint of 'attitude' in her tribute to him in the gala programme. On the contrary, it is rather affectionate.


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Bruce Madmin

15-06-01, 01:53 PM (GMT)
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16. "NOT Clement Crisp"
In response to message #14
 
   The long arm of the law eventually catches up. While the real Clement Crisp takes a great interest in what is here he is emphatically not the poster of the above words.

I guess this is an opportunity to say that nobody likes fun more than we do but its not really that constructive or clever to post under false names of living people and we'd ask that you did not.

In general we run a very open, none too moderated, set-up and I'd hate for that to change. But it does rely on posters maintaining a bit of self discipline at times!


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743

15-06-01, 05:51 PM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Dowell Gala..."
In response to message #0
 
   The comments about Sylvie Guillem were completely untrue.

She was there at the Gala supporting Anthony. The reason she wasn't on stage that night was because she was injured - she was scheduled to perform in Manon.

Sylvie is a wonderful and hard working artist, and is very passionate about the Royal Ballet and its dancers. She has brought such artistry, knowledge and experience to the company that can only be seen as positive.


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