LAST EDITED ON 22-07-02 AT 10:38 AM (GMT)
A few notes in haste, as this sort of dancing merits more thought.
Alina Cojocaru IS the face that launched a thousand ships. This is a person of true spiritual beauty, no matter how one might cavil about this or that aspect of her technique. The performance she, Johann Kobborg and Ivan Putrov gave on the 17th, is one of the greatest theatrical experiences in my forty years with the stage. And, plainly, they had all read a certain not-unknown poem, "Eugene Onegin", by a certain not-unknown author, one Pushkin.
I specifically mention this point, because one might perhaps tend to forget that Pushkin considered himself to be a classicist. Like Goethe and Schiller, he rejected the romantic movement, and in fact, his "Oneguin" is an ATTACK on the Russian version of Young Werther, viz., the cad. Tatiana, as he sees it, is wise, and lucky to escape from the clutches of an idle "viveur".
The interpretation Alina and Johann gave of the two leading roles was, I do believe, extremely accurate and true to Pushkin, in addition of course, to the fact that they are on the same intellectual wave-length. The same of Ivan Putrov. This was not over the top, it was not cheap, wringing out every drop of emotion in some expressionist orgy. This Tatiana, Oneguin and Lensky were strictly classical and thus far above the anti-Pushkin naturalism of a Marcia Haydée.
To see three young people identify themselves with an ancient art form in so rigorously classical a way, proves that there is hope for the future of the ballet.
On the 18th, Miss Galeazzi and Adam Cooper did all the things one had hoped they would not. It was romantic mush, and quite offensive, actually. Mr. Cooper has a very pretty face and figure, and is, clearly, keenly aware of that fact, a thing I always find intensely embarrassing. As he is also a great strapping fellow, why he miffed several lifts in the mirror pas de deux with a woman who is technically, quite competent, is beyond me.
Jane Burn was manifestly rehearsing on stage on the 17th. But on the following night, with the Galeazzi-led cast, many of the difficulties had been ironed out, and there was some creditable dancing.
My only regret is that the injury to Tamara Rojo prevented her from dancing Tatiana on the 18th, as it would surely have been a challenging and most exciting interpretation.
After years of watching the POB, to see the RB corps galumphing about on stage like a herd of baby rhinoceri is always something of a shock. Let this not be taken to mean that I think the ladies are fat ! They may be slightly more corpulent than the POB, but then, not everyone need look like a pet giraffe from Claude Bessy's ménagerie. No, what I mean is that, although one can indeed have too much of a good thing, a little TECHNIQUE now and then would do no harm ! And, of course, the corps was blatantly under-rehearsed, always a great help when one has got technical problems to contend with as well...
I am not suggesting for one moment that the RB corps cannot dance. They certainly can act, much better, in fact, than the POB corps, because they are not CYNICAL. But the corps needs technical help - sloppy feet, inter alia. Is anyone listening ?
One last point. Were I Ross Stretton, and no matter how much that may temporarily disappoint the public, I should be careful not to allow that little beauty, Alina, to dance too much in the next few months. In the Ukraine, they taught her to pick up the leg, from the youngest age. As her bone structure is feather-light, the leg flies up easily, but the ligaments are nonetheless weakened.
Moreover, when one picks up the leg, no matter how light the bone structure, the centre cannot be firmly held. Thus, and even when one weighs but 40 kilos, which I believe Miss Cojocaru does, the full force and impetus bears down on the foot. I am not the first to remark that her feet are overly delicate, and indeed, sometimes not fully stretched. Nor is this helped by the Russian-style, narrow platform shoe, no matter how pretty that might look. Ross Stretton has the future of a person who, by normal standards, would be termed a "genius", in his hands, and we can only hope that he will make sure that Miss Cojocaru gets the technical assistance she needs to be dancing for several decades.