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Subject: "Scottish Ballet's Pigeons" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2622
Reading Topic #2622
Ann Welsh

07-04-02, 05:18 PM (GMT)
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"Scottish Ballet's Pigeons"
 
   Oh how sad that the Edinburgh Festival Theatre on a Saturday night was only half full for the SB double bill. I tried to figure out why - was it because Scottish audiences had never heard of Sarah Wildor - was it because of the furor surrounding the company - I really don't know.

Bach Dances was OK, very pretty to look at but a bit incomprehensible. Yes, we figured out that Bach was the bloke in the wig and suit. What went on the rest of the time, apart from lots of running around for the corps (a la Mark Morris) was a bit of a mystery. Pretty courageous of North to precede Ashton with a piece of his own, tho.

As for Pigeons - I have seen better, BRB's performance especially.

Sarah I thought, seemed to slightly over-act the role of the daft, frustrating girlfriend in Act I and (I hate to say this) looked a bit "sturdy" . Maybe that fluffy costume didn't help. But maybe she just seemed to be over-acting against the slightly subdued presence of her partner.

Ivan Dinev (poor lad) did his very best and all credit to him, but there just wasn't that chemistry.

Lorna Scott, the Gypsy girl fared better, with some neat little dancing - but I sometimes think that the gypsy girl has more to get her teeth into as opposed to the saccharine young girl.

Sarah did, however, come into her own during the final scene, but I'm always a sucker for this. And again Dinev supported her bravely, but somehow there wasn't that spark.

I'm trying very hard not to be negative about this, and also not to be swayed by recent developments. The company tried its best, but just seemed to lack the verve and that special oomph which makes you feel that you've had a great night out.

I just hope Glasgow manages to raise a bigger audience.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons Michael LL 07-04-02 1
  RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons alison 10-04-02 2
     RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons Jane S 11-04-02 3
         RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons Carly Gillies 18-04-02 4
             RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons Terry Amos 26-04-02 5
                 RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons Nigel 29-04-02 6
                     RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons Flight 29-04-02 7
                         RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons Flight 29-04-02 8
                             RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons Michael LL 30-04-02 9
  RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons alison 30-04-02 10
     RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons Flight 30-04-02 11

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Michael LL

07-04-02, 08:16 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons"
In response to message #0
 
   The theatre was about 80% full on Wednesday and Thursday, and the audience succumbed to the charms of the Two Pigeons. I thought Sarah Wildor was simply enchanting as the Young Girl - she was born to play the part, and I wish she had been dancing it with one of the RB companies. She has certainly put on a little weight but this hasn't diminshed her energy, and she looked adorable. Her performance is already amazingly assured with beautiful footwork, and she was very touching in the final scene. This exquisite ballet has been absent far too long from Covent Garden,and I hope it and Miss Wildor will reappear there for the centenary season. SB are full of life and enthusiasm but there was a certain lack of finesse in a company not well used to Ashton. However if it wasn't for them, we probably wouldn't have the pleasure of seeing Wildor in it. Lorna Scott showed great verve and attack as the Gipsy Girl. Ivan Dinev was a good soloist level Young Man - some of the partnering was clearly difficult for him but his solos were beautifully phrased.

The best I can say about Bach Dances is that is was charmingly danced, and unlike Beyond Bach, isn't pretentious. The decor was fresh and colourful. My favourite prelude to Pigeons was always the one act Bayadere.


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alison

10-04-02, 01:17 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons"
In response to message #0
 
   A friend of mine saw a couple of performances, both featuring Dinev, but with different partners, and she said that she felt that the non-Wildor cast was a rather better match because they balanced each other better. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to see it, so can't comment.


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Jane S

11-04-02, 03:43 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons"
In response to message #2
 
   Alison, I can imagine that your friend was right about the non-Wildor cast being more balanced - I had wondered if that would be the case.

However, I wouldn't have missed Wildor for worlds. She didn't look entirely happy in the very first scene - all that fidgeting about - but the 'competition' with the gypsy girl was very funny and in the reconciliation scene she was wonderful. If I had to choose one performance of that pas de deux I'd go for a more balanced couple - Thorogood/Wall or Seymour/Gable, probably - but Wildor danced it as movingly and beautifully as anyone I've ever seen. It is such a delight to see Ashton dancing like that again.


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Carly Gillies

18-04-02, 03:02 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons"
In response to message #3
 
   Sorry to report that Glasgow's Theatre Royal was similarly 1/2 empty last night.
It seems to me a sorry indictment of the state of Scottish Ballet and Robert North's tenure, that a ballet such as Two Pigeons cannot attract more of an audience than this.
And it seems evident that the claims that Mr North has popularised dance and biult up an audience for SB are just plainly untrue, however much his supporters (and the Board's critics) may want to believe it.

'Bach Dances' summed it all up for me. Yet another uninspired, soft-shoe ballet which challenged neither dancers nor audience. Bach alternately in harmony or discord with his Muse (the excellent Tomomi Sato who I have still to see in anything that uses her abilities in any kind of challenging way); and a corps of dancers for Bach to conduct.
Didn't we see this idea in 'Offenbach'? and what is it about men and muses anyway?
I feel churlish being critical of an outgoing AD, but I pay good money to see SB and we get precious little ballet in Glasgow. 90% of what we've had in the past 3 years has been Robert North's own, and we deserve better!

The company didn't even look that good in 'Bach Dances'. The choreography was so unchallenging that they should have looked great, but you get the impression they've been lulled into a complacent sense of security about their own abilities, and perhaps feel that they're "good enough".

OK Tirade over.

Sarah Wildor - What can I say - She was simply a delight to see, and I agree with all Michael's comments about her.
'Two Pigeons' is a lovely ballet, but I have to agree with Anne that though I enjoyed it, I thought it lacked a bit of verve and sparkle - even if it was a great antidote to 'Bach Dances'.
I thought Ivan Dinev and Lorna Scott did well too.
It's not that the rest were bad, it's just that I feel they can do better than this, and that they deserve to be given the chance.

I feel more than ever though that SB's very future lies in the balance. Quite a challenge for the next AD - whoever it is.


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Terry Amos

26-04-02, 11:15 AM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons"
In response to message #4
 
   I think Two Pigeons has never drawn big crowds. When people see it, most of them enjoy it and find it charming but it's hard to persuade them to go in the first place.

What keeps them out is, perhaps, (a) the title and (b) the fact that it appears to fall between two stools - it isn't a full length work but it isn't a third of a triple bill either.


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Nigel

29-04-02, 03:23 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons"
In response to message #5
 
   I agree with more or less everything that's been said about this enchanting production. I saw it in Glasgow, where the house was depressingly empty but rightly enthusiastic. I wonder if the audience just isn't out there, even for a work as enchanting as this? The public (or at least the public according to the local press) have been clamouring for "proper classical ballet" from the company, and yet when SB puts on just that, they stay away. Whereas for The Snowman (which was charming, but scarcely ballet-as-we-know-it) the house was sold out night after night. Baffling. But Two Pigeons was simply delightful. Incidentally, let's hear it for the orchestra - it's quite a tricky piece to bring off and I thought they played it with a good deal of style and grace. The less said about Bach Dances, the better for all concerned, I'm afraid - but at least it was over and done within the first 25 minutes of the evening.


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Flight

29-04-02, 08:20 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons"
In response to message #6
 
   I am a bit confused...Michael mentioned a centenary season. At first I was even more confused because I thought he meant the Royal's, and I could have sworn it was 2002 (I'm no good with present dates, only historical ones) so we're not quite there yet. Then I realised he must mean Ashton's (2004?). How does everyone know about this? No one ever tells me anything!


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Flight

29-04-02, 08:41 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons"
In response to message #7
 
   Oh, you don't mean a huge gala thing. Such a shame!


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Michael LL

30-04-02, 01:51 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons"
In response to message #8
 
   Ashton was born in 1904, so his centenary seasons could be 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. The Royal Ballet centenary will be in 2031 !! I think Two Pigeons has always sold well in Birmingham and London. It needs a good starter piece, Bayadere or Patineurs or Scenes de Ballet. Don't know how good the SB marketing was.


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alison

30-04-02, 01:19 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons"
In response to message #0
 
   I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for posting about this. Reviews on these pages do tend to get rather London-centred, and it's good to hear what is happening elsewhere in the country.


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Flight

30-04-02, 08:29 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Scottish Ballet's Pigeons"
In response to message #10
 
   I knew that the Royal's was 1931, just didn't know what year this was - keep writing 'February 1999' in all my exercise books.


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