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Subject: "Royal Ballet School Performance" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2832
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sylvia

21-06-02, 08:10 PM (GMT)
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"Royal Ballet School Performance"
 
   Does anyone have any idea what they'll be dancing? Or do we not find out until the night?


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Royal Ballet School Performance Helen 21-06-02 1
     RE: Royal Ballet School Performance sylvia 22-06-02 2
  RE: Royal Ballet School Performance alison 22-06-02 3
  RE: Royal Ballet School Performance Terry 24-06-02 4
  RE: Royal Ballet School Performance Terry 15-07-02 5
     RE: Royal Ballet School Performance alison 15-07-02 6
         RE: Royal Ballet School Performance PhilipBadmin 16-07-02 7
             RE: Royal Ballet School Performance Lynette H 16-07-02 8
                 RE: Royal Ballet School Performance SLH 16-07-02 9
                 RE: Royal Ballet School Performance tortie14 16-07-02 10
                     RE: Royal Ballet School Performance Terry Amos 16-07-02 11
                         RE: Royal Ballet School Performance Lynette H 16-07-02 12
                 RE: Royal Ballet School Performance alison 19-07-02 17
  RE: Royal Ballet School Performance Terry 16-07-02 13
     RE: Royal Ballet School Performance Terry Amos 16-07-02 14
         RE: Royal Ballet School Performance vivian2 17-07-02 15
             RE: Royal Ballet School Performance AEHandley 17-07-02 16

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Helen

21-06-02, 09:27 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #0
 
   According to the June Dancing Times, at the ROH they are doing Bintley's Flowers of the Forest, MacMillan's Concerto, Ashton's Pas de Douze from Swan Lake, and Wheeldon's Schubertiade, but the programme isn't (or wasn't when they went to press) finalised.


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sylvia

22-06-02, 03:44 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #1
 
   Thanks Helen! Is anyone going?


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alison

22-06-02, 04:32 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #0
 
   BTW, does anyone know why the RBS doesn't perform at Holland Park any more? I never got to go there, but assume it's a bigger venue than the Linbury Studio, and therefore more suitable to the stuff they do in the ROH.


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Terry

24-06-02, 06:04 AM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #0
 
   I've also read that Momoko Hirata (17 y.o.) will be dancing the Flower Festival of Genzano pas de deux.


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Terry

15-07-02, 05:02 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #0
 
   Did anyone go to the performances?
I'd love to hear some comments.
Thank you!


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alison

15-07-02, 05:36 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #5
 
   I was going to ask how come nobody had posted anything about either the Linbury or the main house performances. Or have we got an unspoken agreement not to subject them to some of the more rigorous comments sometimes expressed on these pages ?


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PhilipBadmin

16-07-02, 09:21 AM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #6
 
   I will be posting, but am currently terribly busy - but don't worry, I only have good things to say!


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Lynette H

16-07-02, 11:24 AM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #7
 
   Royal Ballet School, 13 July 2002, Royal Opera House

There’s a decided difference in the air for the annual performance of the Royal Ballet School at Covent Garden. There’s a marked tension about the place that no other performance there has as anxious relatives grip their programmes and wait for their offspring’s appearance. Audience reactions are always very warm and this year was no exception. Even if you have no involvement in the performance, it’s hard not to get caught up in the atmosphere, particularly in the final defilé where the stage fills with the massed ranks of the lower and upper schools.

One reason I’ve always been fond of the RBS performances is that it’s often a chance to see some elusive pieces that may have slipped out of the repertory, and so it proved on this occasion. There was a delightful Ashton waltz from Swan Lake, long gone from the opera house stage: a rare chance to see some Bournonville (Flower Festival at Genzano); an excerpt from Bintley’s Flowers of the Forest, and MacMillan’s Concerto in full. The programme might have been devised to reassure us that the school at least still has some interest in the English repertoire and tradition, and was dedicated to the memory of Princess Margaret.

To underline this, the programme opened with the youngest pupils in Princess Margaret’s Strathspey, accompanied by Her Maj’s personal piper. The calmness and self possession were quite remarkable. The second item was Irish dancing which brought out rather more exuberance in the performers. Folk dancing has always been part of the performance, though I don’t remember this being quite as Riverdance as this before. Three couples in year 9 then performed a bright and bouncy clog dance.

The next item was rather more unusual in that it mixed a wide variety of student age groups on stage. This was Schubertiade, an early work (1994) by Christopher Wheeldon, made for the School. It begins with a couple of the youngest pupils who are succeeded by older pupils: but there are some interesting experiments where some of the older students dance with the very youngest. I think it was Alexander Jones (year 11) who ended up partnering Sophie Le Roex, and even lifting her while a tiny girl was perched on his shoulders. (Jonathan Cope doesn’t have to put up with this sort of thing, you know). It did show a nice feel for the music, and remarkable confidence by the cast – of all ages.

The Flower Festival at Genzano Pas de deux was performed by two students from the Upper School, Momoko Hirata and Paul Kay. This went very smoothly, and they reacted to one another well – it’s difficult to establish a character in such a short time but she seemed shy but charming, and there was some nice footwork particularly from him.

The next two items offered something of a contrast. Verdi Variations was according to the programme ‘structured around classroom exercises’ and it did rather look like it. It got plenty of the students on stage but didn’t really give them much to get their teeth into. The pas de douze from Swan Lake Act 1 by Ashton was such a contrast – a wonderfully musical piece of choreography that really gave the Upper School students something real and alive to dance. It was very nicely done and handsomely costumed – the boys in particular looked very strong in this. This has of course, disappeared from the Royal’s version of Swan Lake some time ago – a pity because it responds to the music so well.

The second part of the programme, which was a long one, had fewer items. It began with an excerpt (Four Scottish Dances) from Bintley’s Flowers of the Forest, danced (in swirling kilts) to music by Sir Malcolm Arnold. This has a small cast and was a good opportunity to get a close look at the performers. I was impressed by all the males in this (they all have jobs – none of them with UK companies, though). It was a light, bright charming work with some opportunities for comedy as well as pure dance which the cast seemed to relish, and the audience liked a good deal.

The next item was an all-female affair, a staging of the Jardin Animé scene from Le Corsaire. This gave opportunities to two leading soloists (Nutnaree Pipithsuksunt and Elizabeth Harrod), supported by a large corps. The staging was a rather sugary pink which set my teeth on edge a little, but that was nothing to do with the performers who looked very poised and well drilled.

The final item was MacMillan’s Concerto, given in full. Nice to see something of his work included in this anniversary year. It’s bold of the School to take this on. The work has been in the repertory of the Royal relatively recently and it isn’t the easiest work to get under the skin of, particularly the slow central pas de deux. (I recall Mara Galeazzi and Michael Nunn taking a number of performances to really get to grips with this and bring out the finer nuances.) Grace Poole and Ross Clarke gave a smooth performance of this, and even the difficult ‘levitating ‘ balance (where she blances over his outstretched knee and seems to float) came off well. He was an unselfish partner (he’s off to Pittsbugh Ballet Theatre). There’s plenty of work for the corps in this work as well, though seeing this on the same programme as the Ashton is a reminder of how much more subtle and varied Ashton’s handling of a corps is – MacMillan organises them in big blocks and with broad strokes and lots of unison, rather than Ashton’s fine detailing. Overall, a very professional performance.



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SLH

16-07-02, 11:44 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #8
 
   I saw the show on Saturday and throughly enjoyed. Agree with the comments made in the Times re Grace Poole and Elizabeth Harrod. They were both splendid and the latter truly exquisite - definitely one to watch and safe bet to end up with the Royal, where I'm looking forward to watching her career develop. I also predict a similar fate for Samara Downs, also very impressive in the first movement of Concerto.


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tortie14

16-07-02, 11:46 AM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #8
 
   Lynette summed it up beautifully.

I have not been to a school performance for a LONG time and it was a delight to be back in that charged atmosphere. I always loved the country dances and was sorry there was no sailors hornpipe. Felt the Riverdancification was a shame because I always liked the simplicity of the country dances. I thoroughly enjoyed Concerto - which I thought was well done all round.

Personally I would have omitted the Verdi Variations. Glad to see Ashton get on the programme but the Pas de Douze mainly made me mourn the loss of the Ashton additions to the old Swan Lake (but that's a bee in my bonnet). I was not wild about the Corsaire excerpt - too cute and VERY pink for my taste.

One young man stood out from all the rest but I could not work out his name. He gives me hope for the future - fingers crossed he makes the grade and we see him in the company in due course.

I hope the Royal Ballet School Performance will continue at the Opera House in future years.


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Terry Amos

16-07-02, 04:35 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #10
 
   I hadn't read any of the earlier postings when I wrote the following. It's interesting to see where we agree and disagree. I hadn't read any of the newspaper reviews either but, now that I have, I find they are pretty varied as well.

RBS Performances July 2002

The Royal Ballet School ended the school year with five performances in the Linbury Studio Theatre the week before last, followed by the graduation performance last Saturday afternoon on the Opera House stage. At least I suppose we have to call it the graduation performance although few of the graduation class actually performed since many of them had been taken into the two Royal Ballet companies earlier in the year. I expect this is why the three performances I saw at the Linbury seemed to be dominated by the Lower School although the balance was restored in the Opera House itself.

My general impression is pretty favourable; I think the standard has improved over the past few years and the students seem well-drilled, without losing their individuality, and it was very obvious that they thoroughly enjoyed dancing. The boys seem to have benefitted from this more than the girls although it is a worry that so many of them seem to be on the small side. Having said that I must contradict myself by admitting that, if anyone were wicked enough to insist that I named the half dozen students I thought most likely to succeed, most of them would be girls.

Let me begin with the Lower School and with a complaint. I do feel that the younger students are getting a bit too cute. That idea may have been put into my head by watching Schubertiade, choreographed for the school by Christopher Wheeldon in 1994. It really is awfully twee in places although I don't remember finding it quite so sickly sentimental when I saw it in the past.

Luckily this didn’t carry through into “The Luck of the Irish” a compendium of Irish dancing which used most of the third year (year 9). If not danced with quite the zest and precision of last year’s Irish dance extravaganza, it wasn’t far off. For me it was a highlight; if they go on like this, I’ll have to completely change my views about Irish dancing.

Last year my favourites in the whole school were year 10 from White Lodge. Now they are year 11, the top form in the Lower School, and they are still my favourites. I think they are a wonderfully talented bunch. They showed what they could do, which is plenty, in “Tango” and “Verdi Variations”, the latter choreographed, especially for them I guess, by Petal Millar-Ashmole and how nice it is that she is teaching at the school. It said in the programme that “Verdi Variations” was meant to showcase the talents of the senior students of White Lodge and that’s exactly what it did.

Five students from that year formed the cast of “Elegy” choreographed by another year 11 student, Louise Bennet. It won the Kenneth MacMillan award and surely deserved to. I thought she made excellent use of her dancers in what was a very assured piece. The other choreographic award winner, this time of the de Valois award for younger students, was Russell Ducker of year 9. His short ballet used the Black Rider music from the Lord of the Rings. It was a lot of fun and it was impressive how splendidly he dealt with a large cast. Actually, on counting up in my programme, I see there were only 12 dancers but there seemed far more so well did he manipulate them.

Year 9 had the honour of opening the Opera House performance with “Princess Margaret’s Strathspey” which they danced beautifully. To quote from the programme: “This dance was originally dedicated to Her Royal Highness….by the Dancers of Don (at a) Scottish Children’s League Concert… The Royal Ballet School is proud to perform this dance today in memory of our late President.” I expect she would have loved it, as indeed it seems she loved the RBS. It was fitting, therefore, that the performance at the Opera house was dedicated to her memory.

For the Upper School, I’ll concentrate on the five most prominent works. “Le Jardin Anime” from Le Corsaire was for a corps de ballet plus two lady principals. It looked very pretty with everybody in pink and was very charming, although some, but not me, thought it too old-fashioned. To be sure the corps had very little to do but decorate the stage and look beautiful, which they did, but the roles for the principals were quite taxing. The five girls I saw tackle those roles in various performances all looked promising. One had a particularly strong technique and another had an enchanting stage personality but I’m sticking to the rule of not naming individual dancers.

As a contrast, it was quite a nice change to see just two dancers on stage in the pas de deux from “Flower Festival at Genzano”. In every performance it was danced with great style and panache and drew lots of well-deserved applause. In the Opera House especially the dancers pulled out all the stops so that it looked even better on the bigger stage than at the Linbury.

In her programme “message”, Gailene Stock said that this year the school would “take pride in presenting some works taken from our rich heritage of British choreographers”. What a good idea!! I’ll mention three of these in order of increasing numbers in their casts. “Four Scottish Dances” is the opening, light-hearted section of David Bintley’s ballet “Flowers of the Forest” and why BRB never dance the full ballet any more is a complete mystery to me. I thought the students danced it very well. They obviously enjoyed it and brought out all of its humour. The pas de deux in the middle was lovely.

His “Pas de Douze” to the waltz from Act 1 of “”Swan Lake” showed once again what a master choreographer Ashton is. In the performances it was the last piece in the first half and it brought the curtain down with a bang. Clearly it was choreography that the dancers instinctively responded to and adored doing.

The penultimate ballet at the Opera House was MacMillan’s “Concerto”. It is a favourite of mine so I am sorry to have to say that I found the performance very disappointing. It seemed to be done so carefully and dutifully that all the life went out of it. I couldn’t understand what had happened to the verve, vigour, excitement and sense of enjoyment that we saw in nearly everything else.

Fortunately, that was followed in the graduate performance by the “Grand Defile”, which seems now to have become a tradition. We saw dancers from every year in both the Upper and Lower Schools; some from one year would come on stage, do a few steps then go off to be replaced by some from another year. And so it went on until at the end all of the students in the school were lined up on stage. It was nice that this included most of those who had left to join RB and BRB in February so we saw the school as it was in January. It was terrific and even rather moving to see all these teenagers who are working so hard to develop their talents. And so these performances ended with my feeling very satisfied and quite optimistic.


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Lynette H

16-07-02, 05:27 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #11
 
   >I hadn't read any of the
>earlier postings when I wrote
>the following. It's interesting
>to see where we agree
>and disagree. I hadn't read
>any of the newspaper reviews
>either but, now that I
>have, I find they are
>pretty varied as well.
>

Just as an aside, I always avoid reading any other reviews before writing anything, and I think Bruce usually does too. Otherwise you start to respond to other people's opinions rather than try to think through your own....but it can be frustrating trying to avoid seeing reviews before you've got your own done !


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alison

19-07-02, 01:59 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #8
 
   My thoughts, for what they're worth. As a disclaimer, I don't go to these performances very often, so don't have any way of judging whether this was a particularly vintage year or not. But I think I did hear that the handful of students who went on the tour to Australia didn't perform in it.

Some potentially good dancers in Schubertiade, I see from my annotated cast sheet, which has quite a few marks on it there! I'm not generally going to mention names except from the upper ranks, as what a dancer is like at the age of 12 and what they're like at 18 may be 2 very different things, but I will say I think I shall be keeping an eye on Alexander Jones, currently in Year 11. Thought the Flower Festival pdd well done, and good to see a bit of Bournonville on a British stage. In Verdi Variations I noticed a positive sign that a number of the girls seemed to be developing some individuality and stage personality, which I hope bodes well for the future.

Flowers of the Forest (graduating cast) was well done, but made me realise that there was a dearth of work on the programme which required any characterisation, which is something I'd like to judge dancers on, rather than just their technique. (In the past, we've had things such as Peter and the Wolf, The Rake's Progress, The Two Pigeons, Le Festin de l'Araignée, etc., which have allowed the dancers more freedom in interpretation).

I thought Concerto generally well done, and particularly liked Grace Poole in the second movement, although it was more difficult to evaluate Ross Clarke in what is so largely a partnering role. I'd be interested to know, though, (this is where greater experience of these performances helps!) how it compared with the 1987 performance, which featured a lot of dancers who ended up at the top of the company (Darcey Bussell, Michael Cassidy, and I think William Trevitt and Michael Nunn were some of the others!).

I did find the printed programme rather disappointing, though. Whether this was because the last time I came was in 1997, which was a gala performance involving principals from the Royal Ballet as well, but that one was far more informative. This one contained nothing about the School itself, just listings of names, and I thought it a bit unfair that dancers' previous teachers weren't credited - after all, there were probably quite a few who'd only been at the School for a year, and the implication that the RBS was the only institution which had been responsible for their development is something that I thought should have been corrected.


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Terry

16-07-02, 07:41 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #0
 
   Thanks everyone, for the great review. Was Ludovic Ondiviela in the program? He won the 2001 Prix de Lausanne Scholarship to the school. He had lots of
potential then. I was wondering if he had performed in anything...


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Terry Amos

16-07-02, 09:12 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #13
 
   Ludovic Ondiviela danced the male lead in the 1st movement of Concerto and he was also in the Ashton Pas de Douze.

I see he is listed as in the 2nd year of the Upper School so he should be in the graduate class next year and looking for a job.


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vivian2

17-07-02, 00:48 AM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #14
 
   Was quite saddened by the review in Financial Times.

I enjoyed the event and found much to be positive about.


Quote "Small quaintnesses, and small evidence of joy in dancing - especially in a Bournonville duet " .
I thought the piece was charming and an excellent choice.

Quote "Jardin anime' from Le Corsaire, and was an imposture".
I would love to know why. Can anyone give me a clue?

Quote Macmillan Piece "The young obliged in subfusc fashion - more rhythmic energy..."

I admit I had to use the dictionary to find out that "subfusc" means "dreary and glum", but I certainly did not find Movement One at all dreary or glum. Quite the opposite, I think. It was joyous!

Samara Downs and Ludovic Oliviera opened the ballet with style and verve and Samara Downs demonstrated excellent musicality, panache and charisma throughout this extremely demanding piece. Movement Two cannot be joyous anyway.

There was much to be enjoyed this year and it is a sad shame to 'knock' down so negatively the RBS effort.


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AEHandley

17-07-02, 10:57 AM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Royal Ballet School Performance"
In response to message #15
 
   >Quote Macmillan Piece "The young
>obliged in subfusc fashion -
>more rhythmic energy..."
>
>I admit I had to use
>the dictionary to find out
>that "subfusc" means "dreary and
>glum", but I certainly did
>not find Movement One at
>all dreary or glum. Quite
>the opposite, I think. It
>was joyous!
>
Subfusc does not really mean dreary and glum - literally "under dark brown", sub fuscus, and is used to describe the clothes that should be worn underneath academic dress. It really means dull or dark coloured, and subdued would be a better interpretation. If I'd read that in the review I think I'd have got the message that it wasn't being danced full-out but was maybe overcautious?


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