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Subject: "Out of favour dancers" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2718
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gd

09-05-02, 01:50 PM (GMT)
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"Out of favour dancers"
 
   How many other posters are, as I am, frustrated and disappointed at the continuing absence of both Leanne Benjamin and Miyako Yoshida from the performing schedules? This must have a lot to do with Stretton's taste in dancers, the fact that he seems almost paranoid at using dancers 'favoured' by his predecessor (just look at his strange choices of casting at soloist level...)and his obsession with youth.

Miyako and Leanne both have a wealth of experience and a depth of understanding out of reach at present for the younger dancers. Whatismore they continue to be able to give performeances of great quality but are simply not given the chance. That neither was scheduled for Giselle or R+J is nothing short of scandalous, and appears deeply insulting and verging on the cruel when one realises that they are both now 'mature' dancers with relatively few years left to them.

If one couples their plight with the excision of Sarah Wildor, one can only begin to hear alarm bells loud and clear.

For me, the direction Stretton seems to be taking with these artists of note is both wrong and misguided...


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Out of favour dancers phil 09-05-02 1
     RE: Out of favour dancers AnnaM 09-05-02 2
         RE: Out of favour dancers Paul A 09-05-02 3
             RE: Out of favour dancers Robert 09-05-02 4
     RE: Out of favour dancers Tim Powell 09-05-02 5
         RE: Out of favour dancers Odette 09-05-02 6
             RE: Out of favour dancers AnnaM 09-05-02 8
         RE: Out of favour dancers gd 10-05-02 10
  RE: Out of favour dancers alison 09-05-02 7
     RE: Out of favour dancers sylvia 10-05-02 9
         RE: Stretton's casting... gd 10-05-02 11
             RE: Stretton's casting... emma 10-05-02 12
                 RE: Stretton's casting... alison 10-05-02 13
                     RE: Stretton's casting... Flight 10-05-02 14
                         RE: Stretton's casting... Wendy Glavis 11-05-02 15
                             RE: Stretton's casting... Bruceadmin 12-05-02 16
                             RE: Stretton's casting... vivian2 13-05-02 17

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phil

09-05-02, 02:38 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Out of favour dancers"
In response to message #0
 
   whilst i feel sorry for fans who's favourite dancers
are 'out of favour' i cannot help feeling that ballet
is no different than the music business or the world
of sport ... younger talent is emerging all the time and
natural selection will inevitably mean that some people
will have to choose between being a big fish in a small pond etc (like sarah wilder)... stretton is like any business
man ... even ballet has to adhere to 'bums on seats' and
when paying 66 for a seat people want to see the best
talent and unfortunately loyalty to dancers/singers or
sportsman who have been loyal servants to their 'team'
is not something that can enter the equation ! i am not
saying it's right but it is inevitable because this is the
opposite side of the coin to the 'give new talent a chance'
argument. i suspect that the bottom line is that if benjamin and yoshida outsold rojo and cojocaru
at the box office they would be getting the roles!


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AnnaM

09-05-02, 03:30 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Out of favour dancers"
In response to message #1
 
   Yes, fine.
But what the argument emphasizes is merely a more equal distribution of roles/performances between the dancers!
Why are alina and tamara out there most of the times (though thank god sylvie is dancing so often) and almost none of the others?

Ok, Bussel got her token two R&Js, Yoshida has to wait until August for two Coppelias, but I am also sadly missing so many other talented artists these days in addition to new faces.

Put up the question "what would you say to Ross given half a chance" as a new mini-poll.... grumble-grummble...


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Paul A

09-05-02, 04:03 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Out of favour dancers"
In response to message #2
 
   Would it not help if the RB actually performed more: I don't get the argument that the company is not large enough to sustain more performances.


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Robert

09-05-02, 04:18 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Out of favour dancers"
In response to message #3
 
   I would certainly pay to see Yoshida, unfortunately I do not get much chance. Ross Stretton does not like them so they are out, I wish the same could be said about him!


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Tim Powell

09-05-02, 04:27 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Out of favour dancers"
In response to message #1
 
   Your argument might hold water if Stretton were getting bums on seats but we read of half empty houses, reduced price seats and free champagne to tempt punters in. It is his poor choice of repertory which is the main cause. For as long as I can remember the ROH has lionised a small number of dancers and treated the rest as also rans which does register with the non dedicated occasional visitor and I am not sure that Stretton can blamed for following this tradition.


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Odette

09-05-02, 05:15 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Out of favour dancers"
In response to message #5
 
   What-more performances-how many more do you want!!! Its hard enough on everyone as it is-the injury list is huge!!!


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AnnaM

09-05-02, 05:33 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Out of favour dancers"
In response to message #6
 
   I agree with you that there are a lot of ballet performances on but don't many of the injuries also stem from a diverse style in the dancing in addition to a very tight schedule?
I don't know it is probably a combination of all, and certainly none of us would like to overwork the dancers.

As a general question to those of you in the know:
Do the dancers themselves as a group have a say in all this? I guess they do not have a union here in Britain but can't they give feedback as a group how they think management is pushing them?
In the corporate world in one way or another you can comment on your project's management. How about in the Art's world?
I assume the dancers themselves are the only experts we should ask whether or not they are overworked, underchallenged, or what have you.
I would be curious to know what they think of this season...


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gd

10-05-02, 10:13 AM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Out of favour dancers"
In response to message #5
 
   >Your argument might hold water if
>Stretton were getting bums on
>seats but we read of
>half empty houses, reduced price
>seats and free champagne to
>tempt punters in. It is
>his poor choice of repertory
>which is the main cause.
>For as long as I
>can remember the ROH has
>lionised a small number of
>dancers and treated the rest
>as also rans which does
>register with the non dedicated
>occasional visitor and I am
>not sure that Stretton can
>blamed for following this tradition.
>
Given that Stretton seems hell-bent on NOT following ANY tradition, I think we can blame him.



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alison

09-05-02, 05:30 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Out of favour dancers"
In response to message #0
 
   >How many other posters are, as
>I am, frustrated and disappointed
>at the continuing absence of
>both Leanne Benjamin and Miyako
>Yoshida from the performing schedules?

Me, very definitely. Bad enough not seeing Yoshida as Juliet, but to leave Leanne out when she's such a good MacMillan dancer ... Unless the dancers actually *asked* not to be cast, but I wouldn't have thought that likely.

> This must have a
>lot to do with Stretton's
>taste in dancers, the fact
>that he seems almost paranoid
>at using dancers 'favoured' by
>his predecessor

I'm not sure that's fair. He seems to be using people like Cojocaru, Nunez (promoted by Dowell straight from the corps to First Soloist, if you remember) and Putrov well enough. Though he doesn't seem to have been favouring the "Ashton" dancers thus far ... The youthful aspect is one I'm more concerned about - there's a group of dancers around the late 20s/early 30s mark who do seem to be losing out.

>Miyako and Leanne both have a
>wealth of experience and a
>depth of understanding out of
>reach at present for the
>younger dancers. Whatismore they
>continue to be able to
>give performeances of great quality
>but are simply not given
>the chance.

Quite.

>That neither was
>scheduled for Giselle or R+J
>is nothing short of scandalous,

They were both scheduled for Giselle, actually, if you check your programme.

>For me, the direction Stretton seems
>to be taking with these
>artists of note is both
>wrong and misguided...

Diverging from the Royal Ballet here, and not, therefore, casting any particular aspersions on Stretton, I have in the last few years heard of a number of cases of maturer principals in various companies around the world complaining that they aren't getting the in-depth coaching that they need to develop their interpretations further, once they get beyond what you might call the technical problems. But I suspect that could be the subject of a whole other thread ...


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sylvia

10-05-02, 03:58 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Out of favour dancers"
In response to message #7
 
   Miyako and Leanne aren't favourites of mine but I am lamenting that we've seen next to nothing of them this season. Miyako especially - she's been in what, 4 ballets so far? And 2 of them were Sugarplum Fairy and Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, the latter of which I thought was a misuse of her talents and added up to a whole load of nothing. Is she dancing in Trilogy? I wonder why Stretton hasn't incorporated her into Beyond Bach or Leaves because I thought unlike the more 'modern' work, that these are ballets she's very suited to.

I understand that box-office rules though. I remember when they had to do special offers for Bayadere, and I felt rather bad because they were all for Leanne and Johan Kobborg's performances. The R&Js I get, I mean there are only 9.

Does Stretton make casting decisions in a vacuum? I wonder if people from Dowell's reign like Monica Mason ever push him to make use of dancers like Leanne and Miyako. I hope Stretton is just a bit slow to realize, casting is already set etc - Miyako's Giselle was so special and she earned such terrific reviews for Don Q which I didn't see and had hoped to this summer but I guess not. I don't know what AD could not be moved and want to cast her in everything.


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gd

10-05-02, 10:23 AM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Stretton's casting..."
In response to message #9
 
   Some thought-provoking postings - thank you. I'm not sure that the argument of 'new talent' really holds water - look at R+J casting... Personally, I would have gone more than once if there had been some interesting 'new' casts and/or debuts - Galeazzi, Tapper, Morera spring to mind.
No, Stretton obviously favours a certain type of dancer, but I am sure his principal motivations for casting are look and technique rather than artistry and understanding. If the former, this is a MAJOR departure for the Royal Ballet and would merely confirm my supicions that Stretton is determined to ride roughshod over the traditions and history of the company.
Am I, incidentally, the only one to find his continual invocation of de Valois' emphasis on innovation a mere smoke screen which is being revealed increasingly as simply disingenuous?


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emma

10-05-02, 10:37 AM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Stretton's casting..."
In response to message #11
 
   I think Yoshida was great in DonQ she certainly portrayed youthful well enough that I was confused when people started talking about her being an older dancer.

Are performances often part empty? It always seems choc-a-block to me, but I've only been a few times, plus I'm in the amp so don't always see how bust or not it is 'down below'.
Are the mixed bills usually quieter?


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alison

10-05-02, 01:19 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Stretton's casting..."
In response to message #12
 
   There have been quite a lot of empty seats for mixed bills, particularly when they don't feature Guillem.


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Flight

10-05-02, 08:21 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Stretton's casting..."
In response to message #13
 
   Perhaps Yoshida should rejoin BRB? The fans would welcome her!


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Wendy Glavis

11-05-02, 12:40 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Stretton's casting..."
In response to message #14
 
   Can I put in a word for Vanessa Palmer? Thought she was a revelation on Thursday night and would love to see her given more to do.


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Bruceadmin

12-05-02, 08:57 AM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Stretton's casting..."
In response to message #15
 
   >Can I put in a word
>for Vanessa Palmer

Yes, yes. A glorious dancer. Alas, as has been noted a few times, it seems to be youth that particularly catches the new bosses eye.


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vivian2

13-05-02, 08:33 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Stretton's casting..."
In response to message #16
 
  
Fully agreed, a lovely dancer. Stick insect legs seem to be more in favour than artistry and musical expression. Such a shame when many prefer the latter.

I can't comprehend the current trend for ultra thin legs and skeletal bodies which seems to take precedence over dance quality these days. I prefer to watch real dancers with human shape and emotion, not spindles. When will this awful trend change and how many beautiful dancers will be passed over in the meantime?


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