HomeMagazineListingsUpdateLinksContexts

 


 Ballet.co Postings Pages

 Some Special Threads:
  GPDTalk about George Piper Dances ! NEW !
  NBTTalk about Northern Ballet Theatre
  SBTalk about Scottish Ballet
  ENBTalk about English National Ballet
  BRBTalk about Birmingham Royal Ballet
  TodaysLinks - worldwide daily dance links
  Ballet.co GetTogethers - meetings and drinks...

  Help on New Postings


Subject: "Ross Stretton on Front Row last night" Archived thread - Read only
 
  Previous Topic | Next Topic
Printer-friendly copy     Email this topic to a friend    
Conferences What's Happening Topic #2523
Reading Topic #2523
Anneliese

26-02-02, 12:51 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Anneliese Click to send private message to Anneliese Click to add this user to your buddy list  
"Ross Stretton on Front Row last night"
 
   Surprised no-one else has commented on this! What I found most interesting was his admission of his misjudgments (Don Q visuals - btw I don't have a problem with them - uneven quality of choreography in the memories triple bill and probably some other stuff too) but what I found most worrying was his clear desire to move in the direction of very contemporary work. He said of the forthcoming mixed bills etc that we were getting the best of these guys' work and they'd be spending a lot of time with the company and that he hoped that would encourage them to create new works for the RB. Now, I'm not in general backward-looking but all the comment on the risks of flitting between Eks and Ashton is concerning - as is the fact that if we lose the RB's heritage then we lose their USP.

By the way I have to agree with Stretton that opening with Don Q was an excellent way to get EVERYONE on stage dancing their socks off. Mind you Beauty would have allowed that too... (and yes I do like the Bjornson designs even though they do leave the stage a bit full in the first half of the evening).


  Printer-friendly page | Top

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Ross Stretton on Front Row last night Paul A 26-02-02 1
     RE: Ross Stretton on Front Row last night Steven 26-02-02 3
         RE: Ross Stretton on Front Row last night PhilipBadmin 26-02-02 5
  Full transcript of Stretton interview... Bruce Madmin 26-02-02 2
     RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview... Paul A 26-02-02 4
         RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview... Helen 26-02-02 6
         RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview... Avril 03-03-02 7
             RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview... Robert 05-03-02 8
                 RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview... Paul A 05-03-02 9
                     RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview... Viviane 05-03-02 10
                         RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview... katharine kanter 06-03-02 11
                             RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview... alison 06-03-02 12

Conferences | Topics | Previous Topic | Next Topic
Paul A

26-02-02, 01:27 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Paul%20A Click to send private message to Paul%20A Click to add this user to your buddy list  
1. "RE: Ross Stretton on Front Row last night"
In response to message #0
 
  
what I found
>most worrying was his clear
>desire to move in the
>direction of very contemporary work.

> Now, I'm not
>in general backward-looking but all
>the comment on the risks
>of flitting between Eks and
>Ashton is concerning - as
>is the fact that if
>we lose the RB's heritage
>then we lose their USP.
>
Agree - but something doesn't stack up here. The plans that Stretton outlined at the Ballet Association, as posted, represent a more balanced mix that had me feeling more encouraged than by this season's repertory.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Steven

26-02-02, 05:06 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Steven Click to send private message to Steven Click to add this user to your buddy list  
3. "RE: Ross Stretton on Front Row last night"
In response to message #1
 
   It's all clearly a matter of spin. You'd expect Ross Stretton to say something rather different to the Ballet Association - devoted Royal Ballet goers who care passionately about its heritage repertoire - from what he says to a wider audience, the great majority of whom will never have seen a piece by Ashton etc and who are clearly seen as the recruiting ground for a potential new audience. The reality will almost certainly be some combination of both approaches.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
PhilipBadmin

26-02-02, 06:57 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail PhilipB Click to send private message to PhilipB Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
5. "RE: Ross Stretton on Front Row last night"
In response to message #3
 
   >The reality will almost certainly
>be some combination of both
>approaches.

Well, it better be! Doesn't make much sense forcing the Royal Ballet, populated by classically-trained ballet dancers with little experience or expertise in modern grammar (if there is such a standard), to become a contemporary company who roll out the odd classic on occasion. If he's going to (try and) do that, he's got too much power, IMO. Or he's suffering a serious case of new-broom-itis and it will all blow over.
Oh no, I'm posting in haste again. I shall stop now and reflect.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Bruce Madmin

26-02-02, 04:59 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce%20M Click to send private message to Bruce%20M Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
2. "Full transcript of Stretton interview..."
In response to message #0
 
   Here is a complete transcription of the BBC Radio 4 Ross Stretton interview.

I've refrained from adding any commentary, very interesting though I found it! I'm sure you'll all have lots of interesting thoughts on it. And don't forget the Ballet Association interview with Stretton that we are running in this months Ballet.co magazine:
http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_02/feb02/interview_stretton.htm


Ross Stretton interview on BBC Radio 4
By Mark Lawson

on Front Row
19:15 on 25 February 2002
as transcribed by Bruce Marriott

We start tonight with one of the two high profile foreigners running English institutions. At about the same time that the Swedish Coach Sven Goran Erikson was given charge of the England Football team it was announced that Ross Stretton, an Australian who had been to the Royal Opera House in London only twice as a spectator, was taking over as Director there of the Royal Ballet. Stretton has now been in place for six months and is about to open a season of modern dance pieces by choreographers including William Forsythe, Nacho Duato, and featuring Royal Ballet stars such as Sylvie Guillem and Darcey Bussell.



Nacho Duato's Remanso.
Photograph by Guillermo Mendo

Whereas the progress of football's Mr Erikson is measured simply in results and qualification, it's harder for Stretton to know how he's doing. He started with a critical defeat - bad reviews for his opening production, a revival of Nureyev's Don Quixote. This was quickly followed by a victory - a warm response to John Cranko's ballet Onegin. But when I met Ross Stretton in his office at the Royal Opera House...

ML: ...I started by asking if he'd been unsettled by the hostile notices for Don Quixote?

RS: No I didn't find it hostile - I thought it was right: I mean the reaction was as I would have expected.

ML: Right in what way?

RS: Well the things they wrote, I mean I'm not going to be able to please everybody and the things they wrote about with the designs and the sets and the costumes that was perhaps right. I don't have a problem with that. I did DonQ, I wanted to see Onegin first and if I could have opened my Directorship with Onegin I would have. But the availability of the Cranko estate wasn't to be. But on the other side Don Q gave me an opportunity to see the dancers at the maximum - you know at all levels and really enjoy and assess the company. So nobody criticised the dancing, nobody criticised the corps de ballet for the first time in the history of the Royal Ballet and nobody criticised the Principals and it was more about the exterior things and I agree with that criticism and it was the same with the last triple bill. Um, yes there were some good works and not so good works but I expected all of that and the criticism I thought was quite justified.

ML: But we now get into what is coming up in the next few productions, that's very much your core repertoire - this is the new radical dance

RS: It's got two works by Nacho Duarto and two works by Billy Forsythe and I think they are both key choreographers and they will be involved with the direction of the Royal Ballet and the future of these dancers. Following that we've got Mats Ek coming in. Mats is already rehearsing now, and again that will take the company in another direction and all of these works are the latest and best works of these choreographers. And that is for them to become familiar with the dancers, and the organisation, the way it works on the stage, and how it looks, and in the hope that they come back and create new works in years to come on these young dancers.

ML: Now audiences is another question. There was some research last week released by Tony Hall which surprised a lot of people, which um.. Basically the truth is no one really believes it but it appeared to suggest that it's low income people that really come to the Royal Opera House. Now that's exactly opposite to most people visual experience of the place. But that research can be justified can it?

RS: It can be justified - yes. Also they are consistent people, they are ballet lovers or opera lovers and they go to see different casts of people and different works all the time. So that's a consistent group of people that are coming.

ML: But they must have done it by only asking people in the cheaper seats, because, I mean, the kind of seat prices there are in this place if you were earning 15,000 a year you'd be sending most of your disposable income on just coming here!

RS: I know, I know. It's an expensive place, Tony Hall is aware of that. Even myself I've sat in a particular seat and I've gone back to Tony the next day and said "Go and sit in that seat and tell me how much you would pay to sit in that seat!". {sound of a chuckle?} And we've gone all around the different areas and it's really to give people an indication of how much they can and can't see of the main stage.

ML: And my great discovery when I started going is that, this is my theory anyway, that you have treat it as, look at it like sport really, that you're looking at the use people are making of their bodies. I mean people have an extraordinary ability with their bodies.

RS: Well some of the new contemporary works definitely. Again Carmen is the most demanding role and someone like Sylvie is an extraordinary dancer and is approaching it in a very physical way, but also a very feminine way. So yes we are athletes, there's no competition, we don't win or lose, there's no clock, er... and our ultimate goal is to look the right form on stage, the classicism, whether its contemporary works or classical works, there's still a look of a dancer and we spend 24 hours a day refining the body, tuning it out so the lines are beautiful to look at.

ML: The other discovery I made and some people got quite upset when I wrote it in a newspaper, but I stand by it, is that ballet is really, it's raw sex - that was the thing that amazed me. And it is astonishingly physical and sexual!

RS: From the audience point of view, if they can relate to what's happening in that body, whether it's soft, whether it's hard, whether it's sensual whether it's the music that's driving the force - the body is amazing in what it can say. Probably more so than the voice and someone like these great artists, Darcey and Sylvie, er performing these roles they come from the guts and the inside and its really powerful the way it explodes and comes out. {brief pause} I'm avoiding the word sexual! {sounds of mirth and giggling}

ML: Rather more sensual we can agree on?!

RS: Sensual we can agree on, yes.

ML: Do you think of doing it in terms of bringing in quite separate audiences - that some will come to watch the modern stuff, some will come to watch the classical, or are you, do you hope to make them cross-over?

RS: I'm sure that there will be a cross-over when the audiences start to see these different works. And there is a group of people that will come consistently to the Royal Ballet and see, you know, the diversity of it. I think that also there is a group of people that are interested in the work simply of Mats Ek, and Kylian, and so on coming into the house, and that will bring in a new generation of audience as well. I can't please everybody, I don't intend to please everybody, I intend to say there is something here for you and you will enjoy it, but I'm not pretending that I can make everybody satisfied. {another laugh}

ML: Sven Goran Erikson, he'll know, because if he gets to the quarter finals or semi-finals he can be judged. It's not as clear cut for you. Do you have, is there something you're aiming for, that you will see in the repertoire or the building or the audience, that you will think you've achieved what you want to achieve?

RS: I think it's just an ongoing thing. Yes we will see the audiences rise, and yes we will see repertoire change, and yes I can sense when the dancers are being fed and going in the right direction. It's all of those different levels that I will feel. Critical acclaim is one of them, audience acclaim. I'm not here to teach dancers how to dance, I'm here to guide them through a long and healthy career.

ML: I hate to keep using football managers, but another one occurs to me which is that you, what everyone says about you is that you are what they call a "track suit manager" - you're in there with the dancers, you're in the rehearsal rooms, that's the way you do it.

RS: Yes. I like to get involved and that's a way of me understanding where they are at, where their head is at. Its a hard career, it's stressful and you're in competition with yourself. And if you fail, you've only got yourself to blame, and then you need the support around you to bring you out of that and bring you back onto the main line of what we are trying to do, and give a career to somebody - so that's important.

ML: Ross Stretton. The Royal Ballet season of contemporary dance opens next monday with Enduring images which features pieces by William Forsythe and Nacho Duarto. Carmen with choreography by Mats Ek opens in April.

END


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Paul A

26-02-02, 05:26 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Paul%20A Click to send private message to Paul%20A Click to add this user to your buddy list  
4. "RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview..."
In response to message #2
 
   Oh no! He mentioned Kylian - the dance equivalent of macaroni cheese!!


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Helen

26-02-02, 07:15 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Helen Click to send private message to Helen Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
6. "RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview..."
In response to message #4
 
   LAST EDITED ON 26-02-02 AT 07:15 PM (GMT)

So you have to "look at it like sport, really"? Oh dear. Well, at least it wasn't Stretton who said that.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Avril

03-03-02, 09:56 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Avril Click to send private message to Avril Click to add this user to your buddy list  
7. "RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview..."
In response to message #4
 
   All of Kylian Paul or just some-if so which of his pieces?


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Robert

05-03-02, 01:44 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Robert Click to send private message to Robert Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
8. "RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview..."
In response to message #7
 
   I cannot think what Paul means; "Kylian the dance equivilent of macaroni cheese!" I have asked friends and they have no idea either. Please help?


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Paul A

05-03-02, 01:59 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Paul%20A Click to send private message to Paul%20A Click to add this user to your buddy list  
9. "RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview..."
In response to message #8
 
   Think of the shapes, the contortions in Kylian's choreography - think of macaroni on a plate. See the similarities?

And to me both are bland and tasteless. But my wife laments my meat eating tendencies! She likes both as I am sure many do. I would much rather see something with bite that is the natural expression of RB dancers.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Viviane

05-03-02, 02:13 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Viviane Click to send private message to Viviane Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
10. "RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview..."
In response to message #9
 
   Paul ! I don't like 'all' of Kylian either, but you can't deny his mastership ?!


  Printer-friendly page | Top
katharine kanter

06-03-02, 11:09 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail katharine%20kanter Click to send private message to katharine%20kanter Click to add this user to your buddy list  
11. "RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview..."
In response to message #10
 
  
One cannot judge a man by a quarter of an hour's radio interview, but one or two things, more especially what appears to be Mr. Stretton's extremely shallow - though fashionable - view of "classicism", drew my attention nonetheless.

1/ "It's got two works by Nacho Duarto and two works by Billy Forsythe and I think they are both key choreographers and they will be involved with the direction of the Royal Ballet and the future of these dancers. Following that we've got Mats Ek coming in. Mats is already rehearsing now, and again that will take the company in another direction."


2/ "and our ultimate goal is to look the right form on stage, the classicism, whether its contemporary works or classical works, there's still a look of a dancer and we spend 24 hours a day refining the body, tuning it out so the lines are beautiful to look at."

But that is precisely what is WRONG with the ballet today ! It's all bod, no brain. "Beautiful lines", as such - and again, there is room for dispute over what such a line might be - do not suffice to make a classical dancer. Choreographers today are, in the main, monumental cheats. They take highly-trained, very handsome men and women with terrific figures, put them out on stage scantily dressed, and - HEY PRESTO ! - they LOOK GOOD, and the AUDIENCE CLAPS ! That is the BIG Secret, behind Kylian, Mats Ek, et al. Forsythe is a little more talented, but not much.

We had this at Paris just last month, with a "choreographer" known as Blanca Li, a demi-mondaine, night-clubber, and circus contortionist, I believe. Together with Christian Lacroix, the haute couture man, oodles of taxpayer's money were thrown at Miss LI to put up a "Scherazade" on the main Opera stage. The woman had never choreographed a classical ballet in her life ! But the loveliest and most talented women in the POB came out, and writhed about in psychedelic shreds of silk and satin that had cost the earth, and the public clapped, and there was a mock orgy at the end, and the public clapped again.

That's classical for you ! In 2002.

Anyway, if points 1/ and 2/ do indeed reflect Mr. Stretton's Choreographic Credo, one might be justified in advising dancers against any activity - reading a book ? listening to a concert ? thinking ? - that might get in the way of tending to one's little bod "24 hours a day".


  Printer-friendly page | Top
alison

06-03-02, 01:27 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  
12. "RE: Full transcript of Stretton interview..."
In response to message #11
 
   >But that is precisely what is
>WRONG with the ballet today
>! It's all bod,
>no brain.

Quite. Technique is all very well, but to go beyond that you need brain - artistry, musicality, dramatic ability, etc. etc. must all coming from training the brain, surely? That's why I was so pleased, in an article in Dance Europe a few months back, to see Matz Skoog stressing that he was looking for *intelligent* dancers when describing his selection criteria. Come to think of it, it's also why I've been so worried over the last few years to hear so many dancers saying that they don't have the time to go out and attend other dance, theatrical and musical performances, go to galleries or anything else that would feed their minds in a way that could benefit their art.


  Printer-friendly page | Top

Conferences | Topics | Previous Topic | Next Topic

 
Questions or problems regarding this bulletin board should be directed to Bruce Marriott