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Subject: "From your roving reporter" Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1840
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Trog Woolley

05-07-01, 01:04 PM (GMT)
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"From your roving reporter"
   The following are articles that I have OCR'ed from "The Advertiser" 3rd July 2001. The 'Tiser is Adelaide's daiy rag.

Wandering in a world of dance
By Arts Writer TIM LLOYD

After fourteen years heading the Australian Ballet, Maina Gielgud now lives the wandering life of a freelancer in the very international world of ballet. "I am a traveller," she says. "I travelled from a very early age. We moved to Belgium when I was five and later we lived in France when I was 12."

She is preparing the way for the English National Ballet's arena production of Romeo and Juliet, which began its Australian tour yesterday. She has been appointed to coach the dancers during the four-week tour, which culminates with two performances at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on July 28.

This nurturing role has been a speciality of Gielgud's since she took over the Australian Ballet as artistic director and presided over one of its most successful areas.

Among her proteges is David McAllister, whom she elevated from the corps to principal dancer and who has recently been appointed artistic director of Australian Ballet.

"He is my first-bred artistic director," she says. "He has asked me to come back to Melbourne in February and March to do some coaching."

But the English National Ballet is Gielgud's home company.

"As a dancer in the 1970's, I performed as a principal there for many years, in all the major classical works such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Giselle," she says.

Since leaving the Australian Ballet four years ago, Gielgud, the niece of the late actor Sir John Gielgud has had a stormy career.

She became artistic director of the Danish Ballet only to leave two years into her three-year contract. That was followed by her appointment as artistic director of the Boston Ballet last year, which was due to take effect in June this year.

However, the arrangement broke down in February. She refuses to be drawn on these problems, but says she is still open to taking on an artistic directorship in the future.

"But it really has to be in the right circumstances in terms of support from the administration and the board. Without that support, the artistic director is almost powerless," Gielgud says. But now it's back on the road. Each night during the English National Ballet's month-long Australian tour, Gielgud will be in the audience, taking notes on the dancers. The huge arena production features 140 dancers, including some local recruits, and was choreographed specially for the Albert Hall in London and Australia's even larger entertainment centre stages.

Young feet stepping out

An Adelaide dance school has been entrusted to provide the local youth element to the English National Ballet's Romeo and Juliet.

Ten young dancers chosen by the Sheila Laing Academy of Performing Arts will perform in the production at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on July 28. Academy director Sheila Laing describes the decision as "a feather in our cap".

It will be the first time any of the children have danced with a professional company. In each state it tours, the ballet company uses local dancers to play the children in Romeo and Juliet.

The academy last worked with the English National Ballet in its production of Swan Lake in 1999.

A minor hitch for this production was that there were insufficient boys who fitted the requirements - so the academy has recruited the brothers of female students.

The boys had to be between 152cm and 162cm tall and the girls between 130cm and 150cm. They will appear as the children of Verona in the market scene in acts one and two.

The English National Ballet's teacher/dance officer, Craig Randolph, will arrive on July 25 to teach the children the steps.

For one of the dancers, Irina Nita, 13, the opportunity is "very exciting".

"I feel very lucky to be able to participate in the event," she says.

"It's kind of cool to have on your resume a production of the calibre of the National Ballet." says 13-year-old dancer Edward Ellice-Flint.

Trog has some comments to make about these articles. Is it just me, or are they badly written? The Adelaide Entertainment Centre is basically an indoor athletics stadium, and so is not, in my opinion, a suitable venue for ballet. The stage will be four miles away; they *say* it is the English National Ballet but it could very well anyone. Giving the local dance schools an opportunity to perform with the ENB is wonderful; it will give the aspiring dancers some valuable experience. I am not surprised that there were insufficient boys available. There are very few male dancers in class. I speak from experience; I take adult classes ballet classes, for fun and relaxation. I am the only chap in a room full of scantily clad and very attractive young women. And they say life is unfair. As I have previously pointed out ticket prices for the show are outrageous ($99). Students get cheaper tickets, so hopefully a few will get to see some "real" ballet. I would not like to be the parents of students who would like to see this ballet; it will be an expensive day out. The production is only here for one day (matinee and evening). Same ticket prices regardless of timing. Donations to the worthwhile cause of buying Trog a ticket very gratefully received....

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