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Subject: "Cooper's dancing quality" Archived thread - Read only
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20-01-02, 04:26 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail lara Click to send private message to lara Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
"Cooper's dancing quality"
   I have read most all that has been written oneline about Onegin, Adam Cooper and how many make remarks that his dancing is not up to Kobberg's or as one poster just wrote they preferred Tewsley's dancing. And the latest article said:

"Ironically, Cooper has never been a top-notch classical dancer as he wasn’t blessed with a natural ballet body, but he works hard to overcome his technical shortcomings."

What I am curious about is what does that mean!? What is a natural ballet body for a man?

Why does one prefer Tewsley's or Kobborg's dancing.

What about it makes it better?

What are his technical shortcomings exactly?

It seems to me that Cooper must have the technical skills in order to perform the ballet in addition to his acting skills, or he wouldn't have been chosen to be in it.

In the very long thread on Onegin one poster wrote

>>Perhaps I shouldn't have seen Kobborg in the role first, but I was less impressed with Cooper - obviously his dancing isn't of the same quality<<<

And I asked the question then what that meant, but no response. It got kinda lost in the thread, which I can understand.

I know do not a lot about the technical aspect of ballet so I am really very curious about what people mean when they make the "lacks quality" statement. There is never any explanation!

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Cooper's dancing quality sylvia 20-01-02 1
     RE: Cooper's dancing quality lara 22-01-02 2
         RE: Cooper's dancing quality Ann Welsh 22-01-02 3
             RE: Cooper's dancing quality alison 23-01-02 4
             RE: Cooper's dancing quality AEHandley 23-01-02 5
                 RE: Kobborg alison 24-01-02 6

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20-01-02, 05:51 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail sylvia Click to send private message to sylvia Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
1. "RE: Cooper's dancing quality"
In response to message #0
   LAST EDITED ON 20-01-02 AT 07:53 PM (GMT)

I don't have much of a ballet vocabulary but I'll try to explain anyway.

I keep going on about Tewsley's 'bouncy' quality. He's like a human rubber ball, the way he suddenly springs from one step to another. He went from complete stillness to speeding across the stage and finished each step so impeccably and beautifully. His double tours en l'air were landed in perfect position. He has such beautiful jumps - is ballon the word? His pirouettes are incredibly fast and don't move a millimetre off the mark. I've commented before on how lyrical he seems to be and what that means to me is harder to explain - like trying to describe the quality in which he simply extends a leg. They're just lots of little things that come together and make his performance so memorable and they aren't so apparent in Adam's dancing.

Tewsley's more slightly built than Adam - he has such slim legs! - and maybe he has better 'lines' thought this isn't something I consciously looked for. Maybe all of what I just said is just an illusion because of the way his body is built, but he did appear lighter and quicker on his feet.

It didn't really occur to me that Adam had technical short-comings. It's easier to explain what makes Tewsley better.
On the contrary I thought Cooper was a very strong dancer and an excellent partner judging from last night. He does have all the technical skills - it's just that in comparison Tewsley seemed more impressive!

As for Kobborg, some of what I said about Tewsley applies to him as well but December is a bit of a distant memory! It's all subjective of course but these are just impressions I got. I hope this helps a little. I'd like to hear what others think. I'll get back to you on this after Thursday.

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22-01-02, 03:29 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail lara Click to send private message to lara Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
2. "RE: Cooper's dancing quality"
In response to message #1
   Thanks for your thoughts Sylvia, I figured that was you that made the comments about Tewsley.

Anyone else care to contribute? Many comments are made about quality and dance body, I was hoping to get a thread going about how people come to the conclusions they do about dancers especially when they say so-and-so doesn't have the quality that X has. A good conversation I think, but maybe not???

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Ann Welsh

22-01-02, 11:59 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Cooper's dancing quality"
In response to message #2
   I'm really a bit perplexed over this. What is quality in a good male dancer? Surely each brings to the stage his own individuality.

What would one expect of Cope? - lovely tall dancer, great technique, brilliant partnering, not a lot of acting ability (except in the presence of Guillem).

Cooper, maybe not such great technique, but quite extraordinary stage presence and total reliability as a partner and, as Dowell proclaimed in the Bourne docu recently, "he saved the company" in that he learnt roles quickly and was always available whenever other principals were injured. Plus, of course his extreme versatility. And he's tall, so can partner any ballerina. Maybe the backlash on this is that he is spreading himself too much?

I've never seen Tewsley, and only Kobborg on video but each, no doubt, apart from their lovely slim bodies and immaculate technique, has his own personality and attributes to bring to a performance.

So, what I'm trying to say here is - why the emphasis on technique? Why not look at what the dancer brings to the performance as a whole? Irek nearly got there, but I wasn't altogether sure of the smouldering eyes and odd head gestures. But is technique alone what classical ballet is all about?

I realise, as a layperson, I'm setting myself up as a sitting duck here, but you tell me....

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23-01-02, 01:16 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail alison Click to send private message to alison Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
4. "RE: Cooper's dancing quality"
In response to message #3
   >Cooper, maybe not such great technique,
>but quite extraordinary stage presence

I quite agree with what Ann says about Adam, but I think that he himself has admitted that he's not the greatest Classical (note the capital letter) dancer (in the same way that his wife, Sarah Wildor, isn't - she admitted years ago that she'd probably never get to dance Aurora, for instance - yet in Ashton and Macmillan she's generally excellent). His greatest assets, apart from the ability to learn things very quickly, I think are an incredible stage presence, which he seems to be able to turn on and off almost at will - I've walked past him outside the theatre after a performance and scarcely registered his presence - and his abilities as a dramatic and maybe more contemporary dancer. As for his partnering, again I think it's been less successful in some of the Classical roles. I'm reminded of a painful review Bruce wrote of him and Bussell in Swan Lake in the early days on this site. He may be tall, but he's still relatively slightly built, and has sometimes seemed a little short on strength when partnering some dancers.

Looking back on the Onegin thread, I see that I was the one who made the comment comparing him with Kobborg. It wasn't intended as a particular putdown, just the fact that I suspect that probably 99% of professional ballet dancers don't dance as well as Kobborg does! Also, from the point of view of interpretation I felt that Johan, even at his first performance, had steeped himself incredibly deeply in the role, reaching into all the nooks and crannies, in a way that neither Cooper or Tewsley had been able to do at the same stage. I think that was why I was, not disappointed exactly, but certainly less enthusiastic when I saw Cooper.

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23-01-02, 08:57 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail AEHandley Click to send private message to AEHandley Click to add this user to your buddy list  
5. "RE: Cooper's dancing quality"
In response to message #3
   > Irek nearly
>got there, but I wasn't
>altogether sure of the smouldering
>eyes and odd head gestures.

Oooh, I can see we may fall out over this...

Regarding Kobborg, when I saw him do the Napoli solo on TV I had thought "Oh another bouncy Dane, lovely technique", but that was all. When I saw him partnering Leanne Benjamin in the Manon bedroom pdd I was reminded of Anthony Dowell - the same almost androgynous grace, musicality and presence without being OTT. When I saw him do Onegin I was just blown away - the technique really shone but so (to my surprise) did the personality of Onegin. WOW! Can't wait to see him again!

(but still would have loved to see Irek in the role...)

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24-01-02, 01:03 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail alison Click to send private message to alison Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
6. "RE: Kobborg"
In response to message #5
   When I saw the Manon pdd it actually made me desperately (despite rather an overdose of it the last few years) want to have the ballet back again just to see Kobborg's Des Grieux. He'd put so much interpretive effort into what was effectively a gala piece that I can't wait to see what he does with the whole thing next season.

Oh, and Anneliese, have you seen his Albrecht? ... Romeo? ... Song of the Earth? ... erm .... .

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