The Royal Ballet - 2003
Dancers wearing thrift-store chic gyrated to pop hits in French choreographer Jerome Bel's The show must go on, at the Hong Kong Arts Festival.
The Royal Ballet
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
London, United Kingdom
May 2129, 2003
Reviewed by Allan Ulrich
The Royal Ballet advertised David Bintleys Les Saisons as the companys contemporary creation of the 200203 season, but "contemporary" stretched the point a bit; the most forward-looking of Englands leading classicists has spurned the steamy narratives he has favored in the past for an elegantly appointed forty-five-minute romp through Petipa territory. The music, one of Alexander Glazunovs finest ballet scores, served for one of Petipas final Maryinsky commissions, a tribute to reigning assoluta Mathilda Kschessinskaya; it summoned from Bintley a four-part abstraction that generally hewed to the composers original libretto and sought formal rigor by bringing on its pack of soloists for farewell turns at the end.
In its details, Les Saisons (The Seasons) commands respect for its fluency of gesture. That much was clear during the opening "Winter" section, when Jamie Tapper led her four frosty minionsDeirdre Chapman, Lauren Cuthbertson, Mara Galeazzi, and Marianela Nuñezthrough a series of variations, marked by arched backs and corkscrewing trajectories. "Spring" brought a gorgeous pas de deux for the devastatingly appealing Alina Cojocaru and the elegantly proportioned Johan Kobborg; Bintley reverses the traditional roles. Cojocaru is the pursuer; Kobborg is the delightfully reticent object of desire.
The showier "Summer" duet united the reliable Jonathan Cope with the relentlessly ingratiating Isabel McMeekan for a more conventional allegro pairing, and "Autumn" summoned Martin Harvey and a sextet of randy satyr figures out of Jerome Robbinss Four Seasons. Even when the choreography falls into routine, Bintley sustains a mood of fête galante. One merely hoped for something more adventurous for this return to The Royal. The major assets of the production included Peter J. Davisons delicately brocaded backdrops and Mark Hendersons ultra-modern lighting schemestriking bars of illumination that denote the changes in the calendar.
Beyond Les Saisons, The Royals program mined the companys legacy for two masterworks from an earlier eraFrederick Ashtons Scènes de ballet and Kenneth Macmillans Song of the Earth, both in startlingly good performances. Ashtons geometric 1948 abstraction seems a great gesture of consolidation, melding Balanchine neoclassicism with a typically English reticence. André Beaurepaires de Chirico-esque backdrops and his harlequinade costumes have acquired the patina of history, but the movement remains timeless. In Cojocaru and Kobborg, The Royal has found interpreters to cherish; only a male corps, occasionally missing the requisite stamina, besmirched this revival. Barry Wordsworth conducted the Stravinsky score with uncommon élan.
Most ballets set to Gustav Mahler music owe a debt to the 1965 Song of the Earth, an hour-long saga of death and renewal, set to the famous song-cycle, indifferently rendered by mezzo-soprano Jean Rigby and tenor John Daszak. Carlos Acostas charismatic Messenger of Death, fearsome yet empathetic, compared with the finest exponents of the past. Tamara Rojos overt sensuality and Copes infinitely compassionate partnering skills generated a high level of tension. That the revival was staged by The Royals recently appointed director, Monica Mason (an unforgettable exponent of Song of the Earth in an earlier era) surely helped this new generation of MacMillan interpreters. Call it the good fairys kiss.
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Here's a look at the musicals hitting Broadway in the coming months. We're biding our time until opening night!
If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.
The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
Ah, stretching. It seems so simple, and is yet so complicated.
For example: You don't want to overstretch, but you're not going to see results if you don't stretch enough. You want to focus on areas where you're tight, but you also can't neglect other areas or else you'll be imbalanced. You were taught to hold static stretches growing up, but now everyone is telling you never to hold a stretch longer than a few seconds?
Considering how important stretching correctly is for dancers, it's easy to get confused or overwhelmed. So we came up with 10 common stretching scenarios, and gave you the expert low-down.