Month: October 2015

Mixed Bill – The Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House, October 26 2015

The Bill: Viscera

Afternoon of a Faun

Tchaikovsky Pas de deux

Carmen (world premiere)

Lots to enjoy here, and lots to puzzle over.

A new piece, two 20th classics – one pretending it is from the 19th century, the other using ballet to tell a ten minute story and a dance piece steeped in neoclassical dance. If anything, the programme showed just how broad the term ‘ballet’ can be.


Swan Lake – Birmingham Royal Ballet – Mathews, Lawrence, Maslen – October 14th Matinee

Delia Mathews Odette is one of the most exquisite characterisations of the role I have ever had the pleasure to see. (Her Odette is excellent too.) Rarely have I been more moved by the slow story of new love which is the Act II pas de deux. Mathews found the lyricism inherent in the narrative, and matched it with dancing that was beautifully serene. Steps were unrushed and were given “soul”. She found the drama in the dancing.


Giselle – Bolshoi Ballet – Zakharova, Polunin, Shipulina – October 11th 2015 (In Cinema)

This was a strongly danced and acted Giselle, with two principals at the height of their powers.

Svetlana Zakharova‘s Giselle was convincingly enamoured of her Albrecht, and he of her too. He (Sergei Polunin)’s looks of tenderness and solicitude looked genuine and in close up, touching. His evident joy at seeing Giselle and finding his feelings still reciprocated was well done: smiles, longing looks, this was real chemistry from the pair. At one point Albrecht asks, with a glance “are you ok?” after Giselle’s little heart twinge. She nodded. He smiled. In close up this was lovely to see. In fact, knowing what was to come, I got a bit emotional at these parts.


Ariadne auf Naxos – Mattila, Smith, Archibald, Donose – October 10th 2015 – The Royal Opera House

Part I

Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos is a strange thing. Part light comedy (Prologue), part drama (The Opera) and at times a weird mixture of both (The Opera, again). Strauss seems to be playing with our expectations of what those forms of entertainment mean and what they can offer us of value.


Sleeping Beauty Trailer

La Scala have released a trailer for the production of Sleeping Beauty. Even there one can see hints of its unique qualities (and Lilac Fairy standing on a hidden footstool!)

I hope it gives viewers an impression of its genteel and modest dancing, couched in lavish designs!

After Petipa – (Video)

Anyone who has been interested in my posts about Ratmansky and Fullington and how they have resurrected ballet from old dance notation may find the videos below interesting.

We see it so often in programs and on adverts for our familiar and loved ballets. In them, Doug Fullington discusses what “After Petipa” really means.

The whole video is lovely, and so informative, but my favourite part is when the princess Florine version is danced side by side, old vs new.

This second video has excerpts from La Bayadère and Le Roi Candaule and Le Corsaire.

I for one prefer Petipa all the way.

The Sleeping Beauty – La Scala – Manni, Andrijashenko, Zeni – October 1 2015

NB: this is the review of my first viewing. My second viewing brought out more points, and was a better evening.

Beautiful in decor, in costume and in lighting; in choreography gloriously fresh, in intent noble: Ratmansky’s Sleeping Beauty is a treasure entire, fit to be a jewel in any ballet company’s crown. Shown at American Ballet Theater this Summer, and garnering distinct acclaim and consistenly praising reviews there it was deemed a success. Critics lauded all, and loved it. My expectations were therefore high.


The Sleeping Beauty – La Scala – Zakharova, Tissi, Murru – October 2 2015

It became apparent to me on this, my second viewing, that Team Ratmansky and Doug Fullington’s reconstruction of this ballet is something of a master-work. Genuinely fairy-tale like, it has an unashamed aspiration to be beautiful. Some would say it is High Art and I agree. It is importantly, crafted with love.