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Subject: "Memories (not the RB bill)" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2640
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Flight

14-04-02, 09:23 PM (GMT)
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"Memories (not the RB bill)"
 
   I hope you don't mind me asking, but as I have evidently come across some wonderfully knowledgable people who have seen lots and lots of dance, some of them over a long period of time, I thought I might.

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I'd absolutely love to hear some of your memories about the ballets you've been to, the dancers you've seen, the debuts, the farewell performances...all of your memorable performances. Just a very loose topic, really, but it would be marvellous if you could recall them.

Thank you very very much!


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Helen 15-04-02 1
     RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Robert 15-04-02 2
         RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Flight 15-04-02 3
  RE: Memories (not the RB bill) alinaromania 15-04-02 4
     RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Flight 15-04-02 5
         RE: Memories (not the RB bill) alinaromania 15-04-02 6
             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Flight 15-04-02 7
                 RE: Memories (not the RB bill) alinaromania 15-04-02 8
                     RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Flight 15-04-02 9
                         RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Richard Jones 15-04-02 10
                         RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Jim 15-04-02 11
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Flight 15-04-02 12
             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) David L 15-04-02 13
                 RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Jim 16-04-02 14
             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Bruceadmin 16-04-02 15
                 RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Helen 16-04-02 16
                     RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Flight 16-04-02 17
                         RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Jim 16-04-02 18
                         RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Helen 16-04-02 19
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Jim 16-04-02 20
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) katharine kanter 16-04-02 21
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Helen 16-04-02 22
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) katharine kanter 16-04-02 23
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) AnnaM 16-04-02 25
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Wendy Glavis 16-04-02 24
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) katharine kanter 16-04-02 26
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) AEHandley 16-04-02 30
  RE: Memories (not the RB bill) AnnaM 16-04-02 27
     RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Helen 16-04-02 28
         RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Flight 16-04-02 29
             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Wendy Glavis 17-04-02 31
                 RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Flight 17-04-02 32
         RE: Memories (not the RB bill) AnnaM 17-04-02 33
             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Brendan McCarthymoderator 17-04-02 34
                 RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Robert 17-04-02 35
                     RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Helen 17-04-02 36
                         RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Robert 17-04-02 37
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Paul A 17-04-02 38
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Richard Jones 17-04-02 39
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Tim Powell 17-04-02 40
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) AEHandley 17-04-02 41
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Michael LL 18-04-02 42
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Paul A 18-04-02 43
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) MAB 18-04-02 44
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Helen 18-04-02 45
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Robert 18-04-02 46
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Flight 18-04-02 47
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Shantrice 19-04-02 48
                             RE: Memories (not the RB bill) Flight 19-04-02 49

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Helen

15-04-02, 12:25 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #0
 
   Flight, I am thinking about my list - you have been warned!


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Robert

15-04-02, 03:42 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #1
 
   I kept a lot of my programmes in the fifties, which are now fascinating, well known people on the up excetra. I have a lot of Sadlers Wells and also Roland Petit's Ballet de Paris, some Covent Garden too. I wish I had something on the Ballet Joose as I have good memories of them, and did woodcuts based on their dances. I also remember seeing Alicia Markova when I was a teenager.(Do teenage boys still go to the ballet?)


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Flight

15-04-02, 04:55 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #2
 
   Yes. I was flirting with one during a Q&A session conducted by the director of Arc Dance.


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alinaromania

15-04-02, 06:29 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #0
 
   Darcey's Aurora debut.

My favourite critic at the time
said that it would be 2 years
before she wanted to see SB again.

For me it was 10, although it did
help me to miss the old DonQ.

Waiting now for Darcey's DonQ
and Alina's Juliet.


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Flight

15-04-02, 07:04 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #4
 
   LAST EDITED ON 15-04-02 AT 07:10 PM (GMT)

Darcey's debut as Aurora must have been wonderful. You are making me jealous! I've only ever seen her once so far, in Monotones and Mark Baldwin's Towards Poetry.

I saw Cojocaru's debut as Giselle, which I will always remember. I feel quite delerious just thinking about it - one of those performances you think about and it makes you feel happy. One of the ones that one hasn't come down from yet when one has to go to school the next day.

Now I'm looking forward to my first Guillem!


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alinaromania

15-04-02, 07:19 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #5
 
   On the latter point, I have to register
an interest. Don't bother.

I too have seen Darcey's overwhelming
control in Monotones and Alina's
Giselle which is beyond comment.

Part of my work involves encouraging
interest in Alina's work. Please
check www.AlinaCojocaru.org

Regards, Philip
Member, ShaolinTempleUK.org


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Flight

15-04-02, 07:41 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #6
 
   I rather think I will, if no one has any objections. I am intigued to see this intelligent dancer.


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alinaromania

15-04-02, 07:48 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #7
 
   You're certainly rude enough to be one
of her admirers. Don't tease.


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Flight

15-04-02, 08:06 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #8
 
   I wouldn't call myself an admirer, yet. I simply respect her


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Richard Jones

15-04-02, 10:02 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #9
 
   For starters (from way back!):

Sibley and Dowell in R&J (March 1965); also David Blair as Mercutio (the part was created for him)

Fonteyn and Nureyev in Petit's 'Paradise Lost'

Jenny Penney (with Anthony Dowell) in Robbins' 'Afternoon of a faun'

The revival of 'Les Noces' by Nijinska (with Beriosova)

Monica Mason in 'The Rite of Spring'

Rambert's 'L'apres-midi d'un faune' (it must have been Christopher Bruce dancing the main role, though I haven't now got the programme)

I'd put Ruzimatov in Scheherezade in the same category, though of course that's more recent.


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Jim

15-04-02, 10:04 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #9
 
   Oh dear, Flight, you've pushed me down memory lane (nicely, of course

Where do I start? I fell in love with Merle Park in her "Neapolitan Dance" (Swan Lake) in the sixties; was mesmorized by Beryl Grey in her Odette; enchanted by Fonteyn in her Ondine. And who can forget the original cast of Fille? Those names still trip off the tongue so easily - Nerina, Blair, Holden, Grant and Edwards.
More recently I've been accused of being totally besotted by Sylvie. Of course, I protest. But isn't she lovely? I think her performance in R & J at the Fonteyn gala was so tinglificating, and her Manon so meltifying. But then there was Leslie Collier in Mayerling... And lately Tamara in Giselle, Leanne in The Firebird.... Oooooh, I think I need a rest.....


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Flight

15-04-02, 10:25 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #11
 
   Oh, Ruzimatov in Scheherezade! I will have lovely dreams all night. And Blair as mercutio - I watched that on video this afternoon. He may not have had the highest jump or the nicest feet, but such personality! And I would love to see Penney and Beriosova!

I saw a picture of Park in the Neopolitan dance today. And how wonderful to have seen Fonteyn in Ondine!


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David L

15-04-02, 11:22 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #6
 
   LAST EDITED ON 15-04-02 AT 11:48 PM (GMT)

LAST EDITED ON 15-04-02 AT 11:32 PM (GMT)

>Part of my work involves encouraging
>
>interest in Alina's work.


"Part of my work"? OK, so are you telling us you're employed by Ms. Cojocaru? And if not by her, by whom?

And she approves of you slagging off Sylvie Guillem?

>Please check www.AlinaCojocaru.org


There's not, actually, very much to look at, apart from one nice graphic and several potential links that don't lead anywhere.


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Jim

16-04-02, 00:52 AM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #13
 
   >There's not, actually, very much to look at

I couldn't find anything to look at, except some flash stuff with revolving footballs and stars! Not a single link worked!

Flight, may I ask you where you saw your picture of Merle Park in the Neapolitan dance? I have one on a postcard, which I used in an article I wrote about her for Bruce's "Legends" page. I wonder if it was the same one?


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Bruceadmin

16-04-02, 06:16 AM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #6
 
   >Part of my work involves encouraging
>interest in Alina's work. Please
>check www.AlinaCojocaru.org

I can't believe she has sanctioned this. It's a highly inapropriate use of her name and you should stop using it.



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Helen

16-04-02, 08:01 AM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #15
 
   Here's my list - apologies to anyone who has heard all this before.

My first really clear balletic memory is standing in the wings in Liverpool watching Alicia Markova dance The Dying Swan. I was eleven and thought I was in ballet heaven. I and a friend had written to the theatre manager and asked if we could present Markova with a bouquet, and to our amazement he said we could. Isobel took our rather sad little offering, and I was given a huge bouquet of white chrysanthemums to present. Markova kissed me and later sent me a personally inscribed photo, which I still have over 50 years later.

After that, I saw Fonteyn in almost everything - Ondine, Daphnis and Chloe, the classics. I would choose her Odette as my most precious memory - performances so exquisite I was usually in tears. Odile didn't suit her quite so well, and I was always tense for the fouettes - she usually managed about 25. Her Aurora had a radiance I have not seen equalled. For sheer stunning drama, though, you couldn't beat Marguerite and Armand with Nureyev - it seemed completely real and we suffered with them.

Nureyev in Corsaire - London had not witnessed such glamour, at least not since Nijinsky. Great gasps echoed round the auditorium. And his Albrecht, and Solor in the Shades scene.

Alexander Grant as Alain in Fille - unmatched. Ann Jenner as Lise - unforgettably funny, sweet and delightful, and beautifully danced always. Also her Songbirds Fairy in Sleeping Beauty.

Lynn Seymour in everything she did, but especially MacMillan - what drama she brought to everything. Dowell and Sibley in Ashton's Dream, Sibley as Cinderella. Dowell in almost anything, for perfect dancing and incredibly beautiful physical proportions - Dowell as a young man was a work of art!

I know these are all from a long time ago, but I'm being honest, and they are my best memories. I think it is entirely possible that people who are young now might rave similarly about Cojocaru in the future.


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Flight

16-04-02, 08:27 AM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #16
 
   LAST EDITED ON 16-04-02 AT 08:29 AM (GMT)

Jim - are you Mr. Fowler? I found it on a website 'last updated in 1997' made by you and Caz Atkinson.

Fonteyn's Aurora and Odette, and Markova's Dying Swan, are beautiful from what I have seen on video. Fonteyn's Rose Adage makes me feel quite light-headed. And it must have been wonderful to be in the audience of Nureyev in Corsaire.

I'm sure I will be raving about Alina in the future - I've already found the chance to write great long English essays about her debut! I wonder what the examiners thought.


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Jim

16-04-02, 08:47 AM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #17
 
   Flight - yep, that's me. I've pages devoted to Sylvie, Grigoriev and Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes. But it's quite a while since I did anything with them, I'm afraid, and I feel bad about not getting the final 10 years (post-Massine) of that site finished. Caz scanned most of the piccies there, and helped with news of Sylvie.


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Helen

16-04-02, 08:59 AM (GMT)
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19. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #17
 
  
>- I've already found the
>chance to write great long
>English essays about her debut!
>I wonder what the examiners
>thought.


Oh, this takes me back! I used to do that, though not about Alina, obviously - I could get ballet into absolutely anything. It's amazing I ever passed an exam - but I did!


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Jim

16-04-02, 10:02 AM (GMT)
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20. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #19
 
   >Oh, this takes me back! I
>used to do that, though
>not about Alina, obviously -
>I could get ballet into
>absolutely anything. It's amazing I
>ever passed an exam -
>but I did!

Ha! That made me grin! I remember always managing to work birds into anything I wrote, and my younger son's Headmaster used to warn that he should not feel obliged to work the Celtic Football Club into all his essays


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katharine kanter

16-04-02, 01:46 PM (GMT)
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21. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #20
 
   My memories go back to about 1956. Among the ladies, the two greatest dancers I have ever seen, were Galina Ulanova, and Lis Jeppesen. Disagree as one may with many aspects of the Vaganova school, and with Soviet-era choreography, Galina Ulanova was nevertheless an artist to the tips of her fingers, her musicianship was unique, and she was, to boot, a human being of the greatest generosity. I avoid thinking about it, as it brings tears to the eyes when one is supposed to be concentrating on something else.

Lis Jeppesen, who retired in the year 2000, and is now a professor at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen and a character dancer, was far and away the greatest Bournonville dancer, among the ladies, since the War. Her technique, though highly unorthodox (!), was extraordinary, an unbroken, soaring legato, her arabesque, a poem. Her irrepressible, loving personality, her rubato, the way her dancing would "chat" with the orchestra, are sadly missed today. She incarnated Bournonville's ideal.

Lis' international reputation was no doubt dented by the fact that, unlike Ulanova, she was ever the moody dreamer. Those ups and downs meant that she would occasionally turn in a truly bad performance, even when on tour abroad.

I also cherish the memory of performances by Lynn Seymour and Antoinette Sibley, Anne-Marie Dybdal of the RDB, and Alla Sizova of the Maryinski Theatre. And by the eccentric Henriette Muus.

As for the gentlemen, more anon.



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Helen

16-04-02, 02:35 PM (GMT)
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22. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #21
 
   I am so jealous! I didn't see Ulanova - I'm not sure why now. It was Ulanova's Giselle that gave Fonteyn such an (unreasonable) complex about her own performance, I believe.

How could I forget Erik Bruhn? His James in La Sylphide was an example to everyone, and, contrary to popular belief, I thought he could act, too. He gave some powerful performances in the 1960s.


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katharine kanter

16-04-02, 03:41 PM (GMT)
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23. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #22
 
   As for the gentlemen, I must say that apart from Yuri Soloviev, of whom I have distant memories as of something marvellous, the Danes, in general, take precedence, at least as I see it.

Though I must say that the greatest single performance I have ever seen as James in "La Sylphide", was by a dancer from the Paris Opera School, Alexandre de la Caffinière, formerly soloist with the Deutsche Oper Berlin. And the finest "Bluebird", is not a distant memory at all - it was Emmanuel Thibault in the year 2000, who dances with the POB today.

I very much regret never having seen Poul Gnatt, and Henning Kronstam, whom many say far surpassed Erik Bruhn. Flemming Ryberg, now a professor at the Royal Theatre, and character dancer, was a great master in the Bournonville school. He was one of the few, who can be terribly funny, and absolutely classical at the same time. And one should not forget the dancing of Ib Andersen and the less well-known Bjarne Hecht.

As for the mime artists, perhaps one should reprint on this thread the fascinating posting from someone on a recent "Giselle" thread, about the great Gerd Larsen, as the mother. Mime is a vastly underrated area of the ballet today. Fredbjoern Bjoernsen, Niels Bjoern Larsen, Kirsten Simone, Flemming Ryberg, come to mind in recent years.

Perhaps those with memories of mime artists from other theatres, could contribute here.


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AnnaM

16-04-02, 04:10 PM (GMT)
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25. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #23
 
   Yup, that was me and I am happy to reprint my enthusing over Gerd as Giselle's mother. What happened to her anyway, is she gone from the RB?
*************************
Ach, but I sadly missed Gerd Larsen as Giselle's mother. Her mime was fantastic and unsurpassable. I would need a webcam to demonstrate the nuances she found... She shooed the village crowd away and forced them backwards by looking down between her outstretched arms running her circle. That way she marked her space without looking at the dancers. She cleared the village ground to create and to ready her own space, her own stage for her story. The peasants backed away obeying that border and were already spooked by her. This gave her authority as well as our attention. She could have claimed at that moment the earth was FLAT, and we would have listened.
Her imitation of the carefree young man wandering in the woods contained all the advice and warning a wise, experienced mother could give her daughter about the silliness of air-headed young gentlemen - and all that with a twirl of her wrist. She told the story of the young man's fatal ending with such gusto that made you want to listen as if eager for more gossip and not as if witnessing mime of a cornish ghost-story. And her concluding gesture to show the man dies had all the exclamation of : "And then he DIED! There, ts, ts, ts!!! Now CAN you believe that?!".
We certainly could!
I certainly did.


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Wendy Glavis

16-04-02, 03:46 PM (GMT)
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24. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #22
 
   Inspired by all these descriptions, I'm now wondering if any ballet.co memories go even further back. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who saw performances of wartime (as in World War 2) ballet, particularly those at Leicester Square by the company which became the Rambert. Does Lunch Ballet ring a bell? Or perhaps you remember hearing about them from your parents? (Or grandparents??) There are references to this period in books, of course, but I'm looking for new material.


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katharine kanter

16-04-02, 05:14 PM (GMT)
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26. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #24
 
   If I'm not mistaken, Gerd Larsen died in the same year as the great professor Hans Brenaa, 1988.


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AEHandley

16-04-02, 10:47 PM (GMT)
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30. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #26
 
   I think you are mistaken - I think it was less than 10 years ago. But my memory's a bit rocky.


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AnnaM

16-04-02, 05:47 PM (GMT)
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27. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #0
 
   Some of the moments I remember best are particularly those that caught me by surprise. Artists I hadn't know before; dances I didn't expect much of; movements I never noticed, but then was completely fascinated with:

Leanne Benjamin dancing the second movement by Kenneth MacMillans choreography to Shostakovic's (?) concerto at the ROH in 2000. It is a simple pas des deux, inspired by a ballerina's daily barre exercises. Her and him, warm colors, pastel orange dark yellow costumes and background. Soft light.
Her liquid back, those sweeping movements. He serves as the barre that she holds on to, doing her exercises. She sings to the music, very legato, very moving. She finishes an arabesque sideways to the audience, he picks her up and turns her around facing the other way, her holding that position as if unaware of the gentle manipulation. Then she executes the movement again. As if lost in the dance, oblivious to outside influences.
She never looks at him directly; he is her barre. He follows her, assists her, guides her, lifts her, almost protectively, tentatively, guidingly. Tenderly.
At the last cord of music, she leans backwards in his arms, they turn their arms and torsos to each other. They pause, as if in a half embrace, their eyes meet. For the first time she looks at him. They hold this picture. She has loosened herself to him, and their partnership has become a relationship. Very subtle. Very, very beautiful.

Or Sabrina smthsmth(?) from the La Scala ballet dancing Giselle in Sylvie Guillem's production at the ROH last August. The one movement in Act II where Albrecht stands behind her, holding her by the waist, she faces the audience and opens that famous port de bras to the audience. The music and her melting arms, dissolving as the shape becomes not just forgiveness but Absolution - almost religious in its intensity.

Or Matthew Bourne's Swanlake with Adam Cooper. Every moment of it!


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Helen

16-04-02, 08:05 PM (GMT)
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28. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #27
 
   Katharine, you are mistaken. Gerd Larsen died in October last year. She was one of those performers, like Leslie Edwards, who influenced the whole atmosphere of a ballet, the way it unfolded, yet who rarely got much public glory.

I agree absolutely that mime is very neglected, but I thought Muriel Valtat did a good job as Giselle's mother recently - even though she should have been dancing Giselle.

Wendy, my mother went to ballet during the war and well before, but unfortunately she is no longer around for you to pick her brains. She wasn't in London, so wouldn't have been at the lunches, but ballet tended to tour more then. She talked a lot about "Dante Sonata" and The Ballet Jooss "Green Table" - both comments on the futility of war that clearly had a great impact on many people at the time. She also saw Pavlova in the 1920s. She was fond of saying "I've seen everybody" - I think this meant Pavlova, Fonteyn, Rachmaninov and Britten!


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Flight

16-04-02, 08:12 PM (GMT)
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29. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #28
 
   Anne, that MacMillan ballet sounds absolutely wonderful!


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Wendy Glavis

17-04-02, 01:45 AM (GMT)
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31. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #29
 
   Thanks, Helen, your Mother must have seen some wonderful performances - and had a brilliant time. It's great that she told you about some of her experiences. I wonder how often a love of ballet passes from one generation to another. Makes you think, we should all be keeping diaries and saving photos and programmes like mad.

The Rambert at the time I'm talking about were doing Sylphides, Spectre, Florentine Pictures, the odd act from 'Sleeping Princess' or similar. They were in London for much of 1940, but also did some tours.


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Flight

17-04-02, 11:45 AM (GMT)
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32. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #31
 
   Or even Anna. Sorry!


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AnnaM

17-04-02, 11:59 AM (GMT)
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33. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #28
 
   >Katharine, you are mistaken. Gerd Larsen died in October last year.

I need to add a comment to heighten the confusion!

Last night I checked my notes and found that I had noticed Rosalind Eyre (May 2001) as a fabulous Giselle's mother.
However in the Giselle program from *this* season I clearly recognized Gerd Larsen on a photo as the one I was so impressed by.
So either of those two lovely ladies - whoever happened to be alive and dancing - deserves special praise.....

By the way, it was Sabrina *Brazzo* from the La Scala I mentioned.


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

17-04-02, 12:07 PM (GMT)
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34. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #33
 
   Mary Clarke's obituary of Gerd Lawsen is one of several that appeared around the time of her death.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4281349,00.html


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Robert

17-04-02, 01:41 PM (GMT)
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35. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #34
 
   Robert Helpman as The Rake in The Rakes Progress is one of my greatest ballet memories. He literally threw himself into the part. He was so extreme in his acting and gesture that it left a memory for ever. I remember David Blaire as a technically superb dancer. It was a pity he died young, but his career had been blocked by Nureyev. I can remember Macmillan dancing, but he was too tall and seemed a little diffident. I think he suffered from nerves. None of us realised that he would turn to Choreography.
I saw ballet as a child as my father took us to see the 'nancy boys'. Leaving my mother and I to watch while he was in the theatre bar. Unfortunately my memories are a bit hazy for that period. I have better memories of some of the plays I saw.


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Helen

17-04-02, 02:49 PM (GMT)
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36. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #35
 
   Helpmann was amazing - I think I only saw him in Cinderella, as the thin, tart Ugly Sister, a perfect foil to Ashton's fluttering pathetic one. He was in danger of stealing the whole show - I'm sure he wanted to. I'm not sure that he was ever much of a dancer, but what a personality! Younger people may have seen him as the Child Catcher in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

I've got most of my programmes from the 60s, but not from before that, alas. I'm sure I saw some famous people I have forgotten now.


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Robert

17-04-02, 05:12 PM (GMT)
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37. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #36
 
   Helpmann
Once seen never forgotten. People always say he could not dance, but the book I am reading at the moment (circa 1947) says this is unfair, he was a good classical as well as character dancer. He was Morgot Fonteyn's prefered partner for years although this is forgotten now. I would be interested to see some of his ballet's revived, although someone described them to Ashton as walking about to music!


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Paul A

17-04-02, 05:21 PM (GMT)
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38. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #37
 
   First sighting of Fille in 1976 - Galina Samsova's debut.

Lesley Collier's farewell as Giselle in 1995 - for Mukhamedov as much as her, and all the flowers (a basket standing taller than her).

Pagodas in 1990 - shimmering.

Mukhamedov burning up the stage as Spartacus in 1986.

Elite Syncopations when new - what fun.

Maina Gielgud as the black queen in Checkmate.

Lynn Seymour in Onegin in 1988.

De Valois gala in 1988.

And first ever experience - Bolshoi in Fountain of Bakchisarai on the Kremlin stage, 1975


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Richard Jones

17-04-02, 07:37 PM (GMT)
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39. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #38
 
   After reading about these various memories of the RB in the 1950's and 60's, I started to think about the effect on the company not only of the Second World War, but also of National Service, which continued in Britain until 1962. A dancer such as David Blair presumably had to take two years out to complete his two years of military service. In fact, if he did National Service at the usual age, he would have been in the forces at the time of the Korean War (1950-53) - National Servicemen were controversially sent to serve in that conflict. I know that David Drew, having made his Covent Garden début, left to undertake his military service before rejoining the company. I've been told that he tells a good story about his time in the forces ("And what were you before you joined the forces, my man".."Ballet dancer, sir.....".....you can just imagine the scene on parade!). Anthony Dowell, being born in 1943, would have been a member of the first year generation not to be called up.

I'm not sure how many other countries still continue with national service, and whether there are more exemptions these days. Also, what would have been the situation in the USSR at the time that Nureyev was training as a dancer? That was the period when Soviet athletes were treated as members of the armed forces, but seemed to spend as much time as they needed in their training. Soviet ballet was inevitably a matter of national prestige; were the dancers looked after like the athletes?


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Tim Powell

17-04-02, 09:00 PM (GMT)
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40. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #39
 
   Although there was some agitation about the prospect of his going at the time in fact David Blair was not taken away for National Service for whatever reason. In fact there was little consistency about this problem for example Donald Britton of the promising group did go and indeed came back to dancing and performed well in his ebullient style.If my memory is correct David Drew achieved commissioned rank, whilst in the Army,which is probably some achievement. He he went away a classical dancer of considerable if not virtuoso ability but became the excellent character artist we are still fortunate to see regularly.


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AEHandley

17-04-02, 10:03 PM (GMT)
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41. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #38
 
  
>
>Lesley Collier's farewell as Giselle in
>1995 - for Mukhamedov as
>much as her, and all
>the flowers (a basket standing
>taller than her).
>
Oh stop it! It makes me MAD that I missed that!

My golden moments? Actually, quite a few on TV (most of my Collier experiences were on TV not live) but the ones that have really stood out are:

Collier & Samson in the Dream; Acosta's Oberon; Durante's Giselle (the best mad scene I've ever seen, was totally enthralled throughout); Bull & Kumakawa's Bluebird pdd (Deborah Bull could dance anyone off the stage in a 5 minute solo, you couldn't take your eyes off her); Viv & Irek in Manon (breathtaking!); Irek and Miyako in Fille (made me cry with delight). Irek, Miyako and Sandra Madgwick in Nutcracker (ditto, and that was on TV! Irek lifted partnering to unsurpassed levels); Cojocaru and Kobborg in Onegin (right up there with Viv & Irek); the original cast of Month in the Country (TV only for me, alas!) which was SO perfect. I have vivid memories of Sandra Madgwick in "solitaire" - she had tremendous charm and musicality.

Latterly I tend to notice small details rather than be overwhelmed by whole performances. Vanessa Palmer in Month in the Country; Mara Galeazzi in a truly crummy pdd with Irek (can't even remember what it was but they were great!) and also in Concerto. Christina McDermott in everything she did (so sorry she's not dancing with the RB any more) - she really set the stage alight in the last mvmt of Concerto. Nunez in Don Q - having at last watched this on TV I understand the fuss, she has a fabulous sense of freedom and also the best beats I've ever seen from a woman.

Looking over this lot, surprise surprise it tends to be Irek's performances that stay in the mind. That trmendous presence can't but make an impression, and at his best he is a superb dancer as well as one of the greatest artists of our time, who brings out the best in his partners. From non-RB or BRB companies, the Kirov's Petrushka held me entranced, and Andrian Fadeev and Janna Ayupova both have wonderful qualities that enhance any ballet IMO.


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Michael LL

18-04-02, 02:33 AM (GMT)
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42. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #41
 
   Just a few to start -

Lesley Collier utterly radiant as Aurora and in Birthday Offering

Asylmuratova in Corsaire, Don Q and as Aurora

Bryony Brind and Jay Jolley in Giselle

Nureyev in Spectre de la Rose, for his presence and wonderful arms

Mukhamedov as Spartacus

Sibley and Dowell in Dream and Thais

Fonteyn and Ashton in Acte de Presence at his 80th Birthday gala

Collier and Jeffries in Cyrano

Ananianashvili as Raymonda

Ferri as Juliet


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Paul A

18-04-02, 08:11 AM (GMT)
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43. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #42
 
   >Ferri as Juliet

Yes! How did I forget that - like a gazelle.


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MAB

18-04-02, 11:15 AM (GMT)
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44. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #37
 
   >Helpmann
>I would
>be interested to see some
>of his ballet's revived, although
>someone described them to Ashton
>as walking about to music!
>

I have only seen two of Helpmann's ballets - Sun Dances with the Australian Ballet and the last RB revival of Hamlet. Sun Dances, which I seem to remember featured giant beach balls, would be a suitable candidate for balletic all-time turkey! Hamlet, I enjoyed very much. Like the play, the different interpretations of the role by different dancers (I saw Dowell, Eagling and Batchelor) brought a new dimension at each viewing and I liked the rather florid, almost overbearing decor by Leslie Hurry very much indeed.

The only time I saw Helpmann dance was as an ugly sister in Cinderella. From what I have seen of him on video, he looked a passable classical dancer by the standards of the time.

There is an informative, respectful biography of Helpmann by Elizabeth Salter published around the late 70's or early 80's. There is perhaps more about his theatre career in it than his dance career, but well worth reading none the less.

Helpmann was always thought of as having something of an acerbic personality, but I once met him at a party when he was quite elderly and I have to say I found him an absolute pussycat. Perhaps he had mellowed with age.


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Helen

18-04-02, 01:09 PM (GMT)
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45. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #44
 
   Does anyone remember Helpmann's Elektra? I think that might have been the worst ballet I have ever seen. I have vague memories of Nadia Nerina entwined with a giant axe. We laughed a lot (quietly).

I enjoyed Hamlet, too, and agree about the Leslie Hurry decor - very atmospheric. I didn't know Dowell did it - that would have been interesting. I saw Nureyev, and also Richard Farley in the title role.

Then there was The Display - the one with the lyrebirds. I think I must have seen that on television.


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Robert

18-04-02, 03:07 PM (GMT)
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46. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #44
 
   Helpmann
When I was a student,he turned up at a fancy dress party wearing a sober suite, when he turned round he had a bare bum! He always tried to steal the show, and usually did!


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Flight

18-04-02, 04:22 PM (GMT)
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47. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #46
 
   Michael, I LOVE Thais!


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Shantrice

19-04-02, 06:41 AM (GMT)
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48. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #47
 
   Reading this thread makes me feel very regrettable that I missed many precious historical performances. I saw few of them on recording but never onstage. I should have been born few decades ago. Everytime I see the young dancers of this generation dancing on the famous ballets, I always imagine how Nureyev jumped so high, Fonteyn pilouetted gracefully, Dowell did elegant arabesque, Sibley danced with springy steps, etc... Royal Ballet especially between 60s to 70s will always be the golden age to me.


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Flight

19-04-02, 08:48 AM (GMT)
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49. "RE: Memories (not the RB bill)"
In response to message #48
 
   Yes, I think I would agree. There were so many great dancers!


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