Monday, February 12, 2007


Odette/Odile: Zenaida Yanowsky
Prince Siegfried: Kenneth Greve
Von Rothbart: William Tuckett

In Act 1, Kenneth Greve gave a dignified performance as Prince Siegfried. He carried an unpretentiousness grace and allure. The cheery threesome, Helen Crawford, Hikaru Kobayashi and Kenta Kura lead the Pas de Trios with brightness and buoyancy. Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Rosanna Whittle were like little sparkling stars on stage, a delight to watch.

Act 2
Odette is one of the most beautiful characters in many ballet stories. Zenaida Yanowsky’s elegance and beauty enhanced her suitability to the role as Odette. Yanowsky’s gentle interpretation was enthralling. Technically, she infused her grace into all the steps making her Odette an exclusive and heart-warming one. Greve was an excellent partner. Both dancers embraced this act with sublime interpretation.
The crystallized effect on the set, gave a magical and ethereal atmosphere. William Tuckett’s menacing performance as Evil Spirit/Von Rothbart was commendable. However, personally, I am not too keen on his giant-feathered-shoulderpads costume. One of the strongest assets to Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake is the corp de ballet. Dancers from the school and the company were divine both individually and as a whole.

Act 3 is charged with a mixture of opulence and a touch of evil. The six princesses waltzed across in their peach gowns and massive feathered fans whilst, Christina Arestis illuminated in her blood-red gown as Siegfried’s Mother.
Despite the dark and sinister-like atmosphere, Laura Morera and Ricardo Cervera lit up the stage with their excellent dancing in the Neapolitan Dance Pas de Deux. Deirdre Chapman and Martin Harvey gave an enjoyable and charming performance in their Spanish Dance.
Act 3 also revealed a completely different side of Yanowsky. Bewitching, evil and terribly seductive was her Odile. Both scheming and manipulative, Yanowsky’s Odile and Tuckett’s Von Rothbart collaborated to great finesse of evilness. Yanowsky flawless attack to the Black Swan Pas De Deux is a memorable one. Greve, an accomplished and dignified dancer in his own right, however, one feels, that there is a lack of prowess and expansiveness to this highlight of the ballet. Nevertheless, his rapport and support with Yanowsky is truly remarkable.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Cast on 16th Jan 2007
Mara Galeazzi, Marianela Nunez, Lauren Cuthbertson, Belinda Hatley, Laura Morera, Jonathan Watkins, Fernando Montano, Jose Martin, Steven Mcrae

Napoli Divertissements is part of a double bill (along with La Sylphide). Produced by Johan Kobborg, it started as a disappointment for me, as the dancing from the corp started with full level of energy, but halfway through the ensemble looked exhausted, and their lines and forms were comprimised. I think it is encouraging for the artists in the company to do more central roles in this production, however, I felt, it may be something too big to serve on their plate.
Nevertheless, some of the solos by the principals and first soloists were utterly delightful and Bournaville-esque. Mara Galeazzi, Marianela Nunez and Laura Morera's effortless dancing offered beauty in their movements and style.

Steven McRae provided his exciting beats and soared acrossed the stage with his jetes. Fernando Montano's solo was very raw, with plenty of fine-tuning to be done. An extremely hyperflexible dancer, who took too much concern to his extensions rather than the fine details of Bournaville. Lauren Cuthbertson and Belinda Hatley seemed to be underused in this production, nevertheless, they sparkled and gave a bright coloured performance.

Lauren Cuthbertson's partnership with Johannes Stepanek was a pleasure to watch. Both dancers, looked rather compatible, with good height and lines. One wish, the company would use Stepanek more than just the corp. Jose Martin seemed to struggle with the wittiness in the Bournaville footwork, but gave good flavour in his tarantella with Laura Morera.

Cast on 17th Jan 2007
Alexandra Ansanelli, Marianela Nunez, Lauren Cuthbertson, Hikaru Kobayashi, Yuhui Choe, Jonathan Watkins, Fernando Montano, Paul Kay, Steven Mcrae

This evening's performance was better than the opening night in general, well, slightly. The four leading ladies, Alexandra Ansanelli, Marianela Nunez, Lauren Cuthbertson, Hikaru Kobayashi, Yuhui Choe, seemed to struggle with keeping up with each other, and height of legs varied when they are meant to be in unison. Despite this, each gave stunning solos individually. Alexandra Ansanelli gave a delightful solo to a tricky number, Effortlessly, and a sparkling smile, she completed her solo with an American flair.

Marianela Nunez was brilliant as she always is. Divine dancer who easily make her movements on the upper body gentle and delicate (when needed), whilst her lower body are quick and nimble, and utterly musical. Yuhui Choe danced the same role as Laura Morera from the previous evening, was a gem. She sparkled ever so brightly in her yellow costumes, but the radiance that she brought out was from her stage presence. Beautiful lines and control, it is terribly difficult to not take notice of her while she is in the corp, let alone say, her solo. Fernando Montano gave a much more assured performance this evening, a cleaner finish and subtle outburst of limbs. Paul Kay proved to be a reliable understudy of Jose Martin, and gave an enjoyable performance.

Steven Mcrae did not fail at all (never once have I imagine) to steal the limelight. His elevations and landing were succelent. His solos were flawlessly executed, with the Bournaville style and charm. It was a worthwhile, and enjoyable performance.

Friday, January 12, 2007


My visit to the London Coliseum was greeted by angry anti-BNP protesters demonstrating at the entrance.

Mary Skeaping’s Giselle was led by Simone Clarke and Dmitri Gruzdyev as the ill-fated lovers. They were supported by Fabian Reimair as Hilarion, and Sarah McIlroy as Myrtha.
Act 1 greeted the audience with a sense of vintage-ness atmosphere, which was strongly contributed by David Walker’s rustic and warmth-coloured designs and Adolphe Adam’s music, under the baton of Martin West.
Skeaping’s Giselle seemed to focus more miming in the first act and more dancing in the second act. The character Hilarion, get hardly any dancing opportunities in the first act, however, it showcased Reimair’s dramatic talents. Another mime solo by Giselle’s mother, Berthe, performed by Laura Hussey, was another highlight. Hussey clearly acted out her mime scene, but I thought there was too much fuss with undoing Giselle’s hair after the latter’s collapse.
In the Peasant Pas de Deux, Maria Kochetlkova gave a bright and fluent performance; partnered by Medhi Angot, who gave an excellent solo, filled with sharp batteries and tours en l’airs. A strong air of gaiety amongst the corp de ballet in Act 1, which was a joy to watch, however some may have struggled with some of the fast footwork.
Clarke portrayed an innocent and joyous Giselle, with a strong and buoyant technique. Her effortless leaps were airy and light. Her solos were beautifully executed with a peasant-like charm. Despite disruption in the stalls by protesters, Clarke continued dancing in her role, supported by her encouraging cohorts. Her ‘mad’ scene was delivered with subtlety. Her delicate and fragile approach urged one’s sympathy rather than thinking her madness was absurd. Gruzdyev played a confidant and assured Albrecht, who seemed to look awkward in his solo in the first Act. Personally, I felt that his Albrecht started to fall deeper in love with Giselle after her ‘mad’ scene, as he reluctantly left the ‘death scene’ out of grief rather than guilt.

When the royal purple-coloured velvet curtains arose to reveal the mystical sets of Act 2, the warmth from Act 1 has instantly disappeared. Walker’s sets presented a chilling yet humble atmosphere, with the dried ice and green lighting, which enhanced the spookiness and the strobe lights, that gave a dramatic effect to this act. McIlroy’s Myrtha was assured, powerful and authoritative, and the same goes for her dancing. Her Wilis corp were on top form. Lines and togetherness were strongly emphasised. Hilarion finally danced in Act 2, Reimair’s Hilarion’s excellent solo was unfortunately short lived, and I wished there was more dancing of him.

Apart from the technical demands in her second act, which she effortlessly executed a refined Wili, Clarke approached this act with immense delicacy, care and ethereality. Gruzdyev seemed to get more into the character and dancing in the second Act. His dejected Albrecht performed all his solos flawlessly, and gave assured support to his ballerina. One of the best moments in this production that touched my heart was when Albrecht shared his last moments with Giselle at the crack of dawn. David Mohr’s splendid lighting enhanced the effect of this moment. The yellow trail of light from downstage, shining on Giselle’s effortful attempt to revive the tired Albrecht by putting his one arm over her shoulders to lift him to his feet.

The entire performance was like a visit to an old library, and opening one of the old books; dusting away the years of dust it has collected and discovering the beautiful rusticity of ballet all over again.


Herr Drosselmeyer: Christopher Saunders
Clara: Natasha Oughtred
Hans-Peter/The Nutcracker: Steven McRae
Sugar Plum Fairy: Laura Morera
The Prince: Viacheslav Samodurov

Act 1
Saunders, an experienced Herr Drosselmeyer, seemed to be rushing through his mime and brashly executed his actions. Then again, it may have been the music; conducted by Boris Gruzin, which may have speed up the score in the first act, resulting in a lot of wishy washy footwork. With the exceptionally fast music in Act 1, Oughtred’s Clara and her partner, James Wilkie, along with the white lodgers as children, struggled to keep up, and compensated with messy footwork and lines.
Act 1 Party Scene’s dazzling star belonged to Samantha Raine’s Vivandiere. Her superb performance was filled with dashing, smart and good attack. She is a dancer who have improved tremenduously this season. Sian Murphy as Columbine was very unsteady, with a few wobbles and misses. Personally I enjoyed Philip Mosley and Olivia Cowley, as the Grandparents, the most; both dancers put on a sweet and lovely act.

Curtain call: Steven McRae and Natasha Oughtred as Hans-Peter and Clara [photo by DaveM]
In the transformation scene, the short duet between Hans-Peter and Clara, McRae was gorgeous, divine even; with fluidity in his adagios and he lingers his extensions and balances till the final moment. While his jumps hovered forever in the air, those arabesques, was almost equivalent to a penchee. Oughtred gave a steadier performance as compared to the earlier scenes, one would assume that with McRae around, he might have boost her confidance a little. She blossomed much more when dancing with him, but in this case, the male dancer took the limelight.
Amidst the snow kingdom, the corp de ballet gave a brilliant performance, with Tara-Brigitte Bhavnani shining the brightest.
Act 2

Cast curtain call [photo by DaveM]
Christina Arestis, partnered by David Makhateli, Johannes Stepanek and Ernst Meisner in the Arabian Dance. Makhateli proved to be a sturdy support for his tall dancer, while Arestis gave a clean performance. Excellent dancing in the Russian Dance sequence, Zachary Faruque and Steven McRae were wonderful. Close to finishing this sequence, McRae skidded on his front on stage as the other dancers finished above him. One was worried that he may skidded into the pit. Isabel McMeekan replaced Gillian Revie as the Rose Fairy. The former gave a safe and clean performance. Amongst her escorts, Ricardo Cervera, Kenta Kura and Martin Harvey demonstrated amazing batteries and fantastic jumps.
Curtain Call from left: Natasha Oughtred, Christopher Saunders, Laura Morera and Viacheslav Samodurov [photo by Celine Tan]
In the Grand Pas de Deux, Laura Morera’s Sugar Plum Fairy was partnered by
Viacheslav Samodurov, who was in place for an injured Yohei Sasaki. Being partnered by a different partner, Samodurov played safe with the supported pirouettes, by pedaling Morera ever so slowly. For one who have seen Morera’s style of dancing, one would expect electrifying and sharp turns from this petit ballerina. Apart from the pirouettes, he gave her an assuring support throughout the pas de deux.
His solo and coda exhibited his strength and what great things he can do with his jumps and tour en l’air, however he was not on time with the music, or rather, all these over-spilling of fanciful stuff did not seemed to fit the music. It was almost putting a Don Quixote’s solo to a Giselle Act 1 solo.
Morera’s solo was clean and neat, very safe, but nothing as wonderful as her Princess Florine from The Sleeping Beauty. Her coda was clean and crisp with her sharp and definite fouettes, ending with a delightful finish.

Friday, December 22, 2006


The Sleeping Beauty [photo by DaveM]
Without a doubt, it was one of the best Sleeping Beauty evenings I have ever had. With the mixture of the misty fog and cold windy air of London on the other side of the Opera House gate, the Opera House is filled with comfort, warmth and opulence of the Christmas magic.
It was the final evening for Royal Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty with Marianela Nunez as Princess Aurora, Thiago Soares as Prince Florimund, Isabel McMeekan as Lilac Fairy and Genesia Rosato as Carabosse. And it was a treat to have Lauren Cuthbertson and Kenta Kura As Princess Florine and Bluebird.

Boris Gruzin, prepared the orchestra with much oomph and gusto; bringing that extra warmth within the auditorium. The curtains rose to reveal the court of King Florestan and His Queen. Alastair Marriott as Cattalabutte was elegant and gave such delicate hand gestures. The sweeping action of his wrist was refined and exquisitely delivered. Gary Avis’s King Florestan proved to be strong and domineering, while Queen (Elizabeth McGorian) was endearing and motherly.
Lauren Cuthbertson and Steven McRae stood out exceptionally with strong stage presence as Fairy of the Enchanted Garden and her Cavalier. Both Ricardo Cervera and McRae’s batteries were sharp, crisp and clearly executed, probably the best beaters amongst the other Cavaliers. Fairy of the Crystal Fountain’s solo was performed with grace and beauty by the talented Alexandra Ansanelli. She made the solo looked exquisite and easy, it was probably the best person I have seen to perform this solo. Cuthbertson’s Fairy of the Enchanted Garden was also performed with charm and ease. Once again, Laura Morera’s Fairy of the Golden Vine was delivered with attack, crisp and style. Curtain call: Isabel McMeekan as Lilac Fairy [photo by DaveM]
Isabel McMeekan’s Lilac Fairy was carefully executed, projecting a clean and safe solo. However, one feels, Lilac Fairy seemed to be icy cold. Genesia Rosato’s Carabosse seemed to lack viciousness and strength of all great evilness. However, her costume looked like a great Christmas-inspired outfit; have the right colours, and theatrical glitz. The Rats were also brilliant with their leaps and rolling around. It must be a nightmare dancing in those heavy headgears in such dim lightings.

Act 1
Christopher Wheeldon’s Garland Dance was joyously danced by the company, and Aurora Friends’ sequences were clean and neat.
Princess Aurora was flawlessly performed by Marianela Nunez. Her entrance was lit up with warmth and radiance. Portraying as a cheeky, coquettish 16 year old princess, Nunez flavours her performance with fun, and fearless renvéses and pirouettes. There may be a couple of wobbles (if one is being picky and critical), in her balances, but she made it up with her double renvéses, and an exciting solo. Nunez’s solo was peerless. A lyrical dancer, who danced as if she was conducting the orchestra with her body, fully utilizing every notes on the score. What would Tchaikovsky say if he was here?

Act 2
Commendable work from the corp de ballet, simply spot on. Thiago’s Adagio solo was performed with ease, and grace. Flawless and totally in control of the stage and music. He sustained his jumps and landed without a sound; he managed his pirouettes carefully to finish neatly in arabesques. His characterisation was also commendable. His solo was thoroughly self-indulgent, sorrowful and longing. Nunez in Act 2 was divine. Very sincere pleadings and divine dancing. Nunez tackled her solo with strong and sustained envelopes, ensuring on each envelope, she lets her gesturing leg lingers and creeps down her supporting leg, while staying on pointe. As her legs are demonstrating the technical proficiency, her upper body delivered an endearing and fluid performance.

Act 3
The stage once again lit up with lavish and opulence. The flamboyant feathers, elaborated gold and salmon colour palette embraced a rich rococo atmosphere. The shimmering gold dusted trees for Red Riding Hood mimicked fragments of the Christmas trees.

Florestan and his Sisters were performed by Bennet Gartside, Laura Morera and Hikaru Kobayashi. Gartside managed to deliver his solo easily and neatly, but without the sparkles. One was surprised that after seeing his many Florestan that he has not manage any decent grand jetés. Morera led the first Sister’s solo with a chirpy personality to the dancing, once again, she handled the solo with ease and charm. Kobayashi, too, was immaculate in her solo, definitely a delight to watch. Curtain call from left: Laura Morera, Bennet Gartside and Hikaru Kobayashi as Prince Florestan and Sisters [photo by DaveM]

Jonathan Howells and Iohna Loots as Puss-in-Boots and the petit White Cat. Both dancers seemed to be enjoying the work as much as the audience are. Caroline Duprot and David Pickering as the candid Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. Pickering gave good elevation despite his puffy Wolf suit and heavy head-dress. Curtain Call: Caroline Dupront as Red Riding Hood, and Iohna Loots as Puss in Boots [photo by DaveM]

Kenta Kura’s Bluebird was airy, giving sustained jumps and soft landings. Intensely bird-liked arms and a warmth stage presence with clean and clear beats but a lack of suppleness in the upper back for those temps du poisson. Cuthbertson’s Princess Florine was elegant and full of radiance. A bright and confidant performance that was executed with great ease and grace. Curtain Call: Kenta Kura and Lauren Cuthbertson as Bluebird and Princess Florine [photo by DaveM]

Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares as Sleeping Beauty and Prince Florimund[photo by DaveM]In the Grand Pas de deux, Nunez and Soares once again illuminated the stage with their warmth presence. The adagio was sophisticatedly performed. Soares provided excellent support and complementing the ballerina’s lines. Amazing use of the body throughout the work from Nunez. An adrenaline-packed performance from Soares’ solo, with stunning turns, hovering jumps and luscious landings. At some point, one would think this lyrical danseur hovered in the air a little longer to enjoy the trailing beauty of the music. In the coda, Soares gave an explosive entrance and Nunez followed suit, and both finished with much exuberance. Curtain Call: Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares as Sleeping Beauty and Prince Florimund[photo by DaveM]

The audience enjoyed the performance very much, and would be sad to see Sleeping Beauty put to rest for a while. As for me, this magical performance will always remain in my memory, for the experience I had, was unforgettable. All I can say was from the beginning of the performance, the orchestra warms up the theatre with their beautiful music, while Nunez and Thiago’s dancing warms our hearts.


Just some of my personal afterthoughts about the first 2 shows, and a rehearsal, now, i felt thoroughly charged for a new season!
I thought Talbot did a fab job with the score. there was one point in Chroma, he had the majority of the orchestra putting their instruments away, and snapping their fingers away, producing this unique sound to accompany part of the performance. Brilliant idea, I thought.
With these 3 works, it has given me this impression that these 3 works clearly signified the past, present and future of dance in the 20th and 21st Century.

Balanchine's Four Temperaments demonstrate clean classical vocabulary, with nice defined arabesques. Most of the movement vocabulary can be found in the classical terminology dictionary, ranging from poses temp leve, temp de fleche. And of course, a little 'against-the-rules' with the wrist, and some 'turned-in' positions to add some flavour. but i thought, ultimately, its core is still darn classical, i mean, to begin with, the costumes are practice clothes, and dancers were doing grand battements coming on stage, and the male soloists were doing sissonnes, etc. Using Paul Hindemith score, terribly suited for dance of that period.

DGV (Danse à Grande Vitesse) - WHEELDON
With Wheeldon's DGV, it gave me an impression of present. The corp were mainly artists, and they managed all the multiple lifts very very well. It was a delight to finally see most of these artists dancing. It accentuates their strength and also the principals' excellence. Wheeldon is such a wonderful creator with partnering work, with such imaginative forms and shapes; always enjoyable to watch. The dancers seemed to dance with ease and conviction. Michael Nyman's music, which was composed in 1993, was entrancing and captivating..To me, it portrays the 'now' of the company....
Curtain Call from left: Zenaida Yanowsky, Eric Underwood, Edward Watson, Leanne Benjamin, Christopher Wheeldon, Gary Avis, Marianela Nunez. Federico Bonelli [photo by DaveM]
Chroma, brought me to a new dimension. It showed me the future. Something attainable in the near future. With White Stripes' music translated in an orchestral version, the minimalistic sets, lighting and costumes, executed and portrayed respectively in an ornamented auditorium, showed the past and what lies ahead was truly a fusion and a 21st Century approach. Not to forget, the choreography for the individuals, and the partnering were tremenduously innovative. Choice of dancers for this piece was almost like striking the lottery (well, almost). Being someone, who do not get the opportunity to watch so many royal ballet productons, to be able to watch Tamara Rojo and Alina Cojocaru sharing the same stage was an excitement. Both dancers usually share roles and rarely seen dancing alongside each other. Chroma also showed off the dancers' hidden talents, to be able to move in such a way, so unique and so individual. Even when they were in unison, doing the same steps, no two dancers moved in exact same way, or the exact same quality. Also, I thought, for once, it was interesting to see Tamara Rojo and Sarah Lamb, letting their fringe out, framing their beautiful face. I realised classical ballet seemed to be the usual 'hair-off-the-face" discipline...
What a tremenduous interesting experience for an audience to see the evolution of ballet/dance in 2 hours 30 mins.
More pretty please Ms Mason.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


A star-studded cast, a minimalistic set and an innovative orchestral version of White Stripes, composed this highly successful World Premiere of McGregor’s Chroma. Joby Talbot, genius-ly arranged White Stripes’ works on an orchestral scale. There are also moments where he had the majority of the orchestra putting down their instruments, to snap their fingers, to create a unique effect to the music. A mixture of top hits, such as ‘Blue Orchid’, ‘Button to Button’ to name a few. Hearing these hits on a different level, brings out a whole new feel to the White Stripes, and also to the classical auditorium in the House.
John Pawson’s first attempt at stage design, created an immaculate Zen effect to an overly ornamated choreography by McGregor. The wings left with a tall and vertical obolong shaped entrance/exit for dancers. A curved floorboard connects the ground to the ‘walls’, where dancers carefully descend on to the stage when they enter. The floor and walls are white, leaving a long black rectangular opening for dancers to enter and exit on stage. Lighting by Lucy Carter was interestingly done. She lit the side exit/entrance (obolong shaped opening), illuminating the stage creating a surreal effect to some of the slow numbers. Moritz Junge, costume designer, approached the work as what the title depicts. A hue purer than white… And since, the set is minimalistic, the costumes was no fuss skin coloured camisole and briefs, carefully coloured matched to the dancer’s skin colour. Just a special mention that, the female dancers had their fringes down, which was perhaps something new, as most classical works, dancers had their hair up and off their faces. McGregor’s electrifying choreography speaks for itself. The movement of each dancer are uniquely interpreted by each of them, and also showing off their hidden qualities. The company’s wide range of classical repertoire and some modern works do not fully exploit the dancer’s hidden qualities, such as distortion of movements, hyperextension of their limbs, and so forth.

Most of the sequences in the dance were fast paced and intense creating almost an almost increased heart rate. Halfway through the piece, Sarah Lamb and Federico lead a most lyrical and sensual duet.
The ballet begin with most of the dancers on stage, with centring main couple, Alina Cojocaru and Edward Watson. Both hyper-flexible dancers put up an incautious duet to kick off the show, and slowly the rest of the dancers joined in with them. Steven McRae partnered Tamara Rojo in a short duet soon after, which was dimly lit.
Then after, the stage/space was lit up once again to introduce another couple, Lauren Cuthbertson and Eric Underwood. Both dancers enter the stage, from the back (the Black opening), and Cuthbertson began, moving like an object that has limited control of her limbs, while Underwood enters to nsync with her movements and yet attempting to control her at some times.

The complete their duet almost at downstage right, when Cuthbertson broke off from Underwood and went into a short solo and walked over to the other side of the stage, looking back at him; whilst he began a lyrical solo, swaying his hips (quite Salsa-inspired) and lyrical use of arms.
Both dancers exited soon after when the next trio of Steven McRae, Jonathan Watkins and Ludovic Ondiviela enters. McRae, standing in the middle commenced the sequence first, followed by the other two. McRae confidently jutting out his hipbones, and flying into huge sissonnes. They used the space linearly, travelling diagonally up and down the stage. Halfway into their sequence, they broke off to lift and drag each other across the stage, finishing on downstage right, in a triangular shape with McRae in the middle and front. The repeated the movements in unison, finishing with legs in 2nd position in demi plie on demi pointe. At the very instant, the lights went off casting an intimidating darkness around the auditorium. At this point, as an audience, the heartbeat and attention which has been working so hard, went into a standstill, when the unexpected darkness shout out back into our faces. For a moment, the audiences reacted awkwardly, and was (I suppose) in awe, applauded and cheered.

The show continues… Just like turning over a new page in a sketch book, something different unfolds. The long, vertical entrance were lit from within, illuminating the stage with somewhat a mystical and sensual effect. Sarah Lamb and Federico Bonelli broke into a lyrical and arousing duet. Lamb moved around Bonelli like a slithering snake, lusciously unfolds her body into beautiful positions. Bonelli provided a sturdy support and also showed off his gorgeous extensions.
The following duet was performed once again by Watson and Cojocaru. This time round, they broke into a more adventurous attempt at creating some of the finest positions and movements. Watson’s movement seemed to depict an angst, raging personality, and Cojocaru’s a petit but tempestuous vixen.

Just as the duet was coming to an end, the rest of the cast come back onto stage (entering from the Black opening at the back of the stage). The cast scattered randomly on stage, whilst Watson and McRae did a short sequence in unison; however both dancers may have moved in the same steps, but no in the exact same way, or the exact same quality. One could see a much more confident performance from a principal, Watson, and a striving performance from young and talented, McRae. Another short sequence, from Rojo and Cojocaru, which was exceptionally rare to see two prima-ballerinas of today sharing the stage and dancing side by side. A lot of death-defying throws of the females from one partner to another.

Between the two partners, the females have to hover in the air for a few seconds spreading a distance of about 2 to 3 meters perhaps. The cast moved hectically, but it had an invisible harmony cloud encircling their chaotic movement. And as sudden as it began, the entire cast stood still in parallel with their back facing the audience as the lights shut down in an instant. It was indeed an extraordinary display of hidden talents and intensity.
Curtain Call, From Left: Jonathan Watkins, Lauren Cuthbertson, Edward Watson, Ludovic Ondiviela, Sarah Lamb, Joby Talbot, Federico Bonelli, Lucy Carter, Alina Cojocaru, Steven McRae, John Pawson, Tamara Rojo, Wayne McGregor and Eric Underwood [Photos:DaveM]
To say it all, it left me breathless, and left the audience with sore hands from the clapping. It was ultimately a success, without a doubt, a piece that shouts out to not just ballet lovers, but to music lovers, the White Strips’ fans and anyone who dared for an unforgettable experience at the opera house.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Four different choreographic works mark the finesse of the company. Throughout the evening, the company’s strengths unfold after each piece, bringing out the fine quality of the dancers to greater heights.

The evening began with Vier Letzte Lieder, a serene and fluid piece, that had a slight therapeutic effect on me. Set against an illustrated backdrop of soft coloured clouds, landscapes, further enhanced with gentle lighting and earthy tones of green, lilac, orange and mustard coloured costumes. The music was beautifully provided by soprano, Camellia Johnson. The movement and partnering were smooth flowing and there were some mesmerizing moments in the choreography.
Rubinald Rofino Pronk, as the Angel, possessed great elevation, flexibility and strong stage presence, was a dark and powerful figure.

Suite for Two, a world premiere, choreographed by Krzysztof Pastor, was a short piece danced by both principals, Ruta Jezerskyte and Cedric Ygnace, accompanied on stage with cellist Quirine Viersen. Personally I enjoyed this piece very much. There were moments in the choreography, where the movement expressed the music so appropriately, creating a harmonious relationship between them. In addition, the dancers and cellist complemented with one another throughout, making it a sublime performance.

The performance was getting more and more impressive as the program continued. Frank Bridge Variation (Hans van Manen) accentuated the company’s strength. Mostly performed in couples, the dancers demonstrated polished partnering and awareness of unison. One of my personal favourite moments in this piece was in the ‘minimalist’ segment, where dancers walked linearly across the stage, picking up other dancers from the wings, accompanied by a menancing and psycho-like segment of the music; I thought it was cleverly planned with the use of simple and steady walks in unison, yet demonstrating a brilliant use of space and patterning.

Forsythe’s The Second Detail intensified the company’s talent. Set against a white backdrop, 13 stools upstage, enclosed wings, and cool grey bodysuits, the attention is drawn to the technical prowess of the dancers. Thom Willems’ music was terribly creative and impact-ful. The music with the choreography and the dancing seemed to magnetize one another. The dynamic 13 dancers performed with much zeal, demonstrating definite sharp lines and ductile use of the body. Marisa Lopez stood out most significantly with her effortless dancing and fine showmanship. Her solo had good attack and her movements were sharp and precise.

When strong choreography coupled with strong dancing, it would create an excellent experience for an audience. Throughout the evening, after each piece when the dancers take their bow, the audience relentlessly applauded, cheered and whistled for the hugely deserving dancers and musicians. It seemed like it was a remarkably enjoyable evening for the performers and the audience.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Lauren Cuthbertson Federico Bonelli Alexandra Ansanelli
This evening is a special one. Tonight it marks the debut of Lauren Cuthbertson’s first full length ballet, as Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. The only British Sleeping Beauty in this season is supported by the encouraging cast of Christopher Saunders as King Florestan XXIV, and Elizabeth McGorian as his queen, Alexandra Ansanelli as the Lilac Fairy, Federico Bonelli as Prince Florimund and Valeriy Ovsyanikov in the Orchestra pit.

Saunders brought out a wise and gentle side of King Florestan, whilst, Joshua Tuifua presented a lively Cattalabutte. Alexandra Ansanelli is a calm and gracious Lilac Fairy. She seemed to be growing into the character, and a sense of serenity seemed to be glowing from within. The six leading fairies and their cavaliers danced beautifully.
Strong and convincing miming from Victoria Hewitt, however, her solo was handled nervously. A sparkling performance by Caroline Duprot as the Song Bird Fairy and sharp and crispy dancing from Samantha Raine’s Golden Vine Fairy.

Act 1
Wheeldon’s Garland Dance was splendidly performed by the company’s artists. It was a delight to see new faces to perform this sequence. Celisa Diuana, stood out for me, as one of Aurora’s friends for the nice line and stage presence.
Lauren Cuthbertson’s entrance was highly anticipated. The audience welcomed her Aurora with applause. A witty entrance followed by the Rose Adagio, where she handled with care, and supported by strong partners, particularly Gary Avis who gave her sturdy support and encouragement. Halfway into the Rose Adagio, Cuthbertson has found her comfort zone and performed with ease and when it got to her solo, she was confidant and on fine fettle.

Act 2
Vision Scene
Alexandra Ansanelli’s Lilac Fairy brought out grace and beauty. The corp de ballet were wonderful too. The duo of Ansanelli and Cuthbertson on the same stage was a joy to watch. Bonelli tackled his solo (choreographed by Ashton) with care and control. Cuthbertson’s solo in the vision scene, especially her renversés were beautifully crafted. There were some moments where Cuthbertson hovered few seconds longer in her balances making her performance more exciting to watch.

Act 3
Florestan and his sisters, was unfortunately performed awkwardly by Andrej Uspenski, Isabel McMeekan and Christina Elida Salerno. Uspenski had a good attempt at Florestan, but McMeekan and Salerno were not with the music, it seemed that they were dancing with a different music in their head. Ludovic Ondiviela and Leanne Cope lighten up the atmosphere with Puss in Boots and the White Cat. They brought some laughter amongst the audience and tone down the seriousness of the ballet.
Yuhui Choe and Zachary Faruque dazzled as Princess Florine and the Bluebird. Superb performance from the two; Choe had the repertoire at her fingertips, she called the shots. Splendid solo with good sense of musicality, technique and wonderful stage presence. Choe intentionally hovered on some of her balances till the final seconds, and yet still in sync with the music. Faruque’s solo was well executed, commendable performance throughout. However, if I could add a point; if he brought his arms to 5th position faster, crispier, in his temps du poisson, it will be a fine moment for picture perfect. It will be a shame, if a picture is taken in his temps du poisson, displaying his supple use of the back, and strong elevated jump but to have his arms in mid position.
The grand pas de deux of Aurora and Prince Florimund, was stunning. Flawlessly done, and one could see that this pas de deux must have clocked in most of the rehearsals hours. Cuthbertson and Bonelli made their movements in sync with the musical notes. They brought justice to Petipa’s repertoire and Tchaikovsky’s music. Both dancers demonstrated what Tchaikovsky wanted the music to illustrate. Bonelli’s solo was impeccable, he ended all his tours en l’air in neat 5th position, and demonstrated clean carriage of the arms throughout. Cuthbertson may have play safe with only double pirouettes in her solo, nevertheless, she danced the entire pas de deux at ease and assurance.
It was an enjoyable evening of fine dancing on vivacious sets and glorious music from the old master. A special evening for Cuthbertson’s debut and I am thankful to be part of it. Cuthbertson reminded me of a vintage beauty ballerina, with her dazzling smile and lovely features, she also reminds me of a younger Julie Kent. Cuthbertson rose to the occasion and brought out her finest. One would say, Odile/Odette, bring it on!

Saturday, October 21, 2006



Curtain Call, Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares
Coppelia was created in the period when Romanticism in ballet crossed over to Imperialism. Tutus became shorter, showing more legs, and more technique.
Hence the arm lines maintained the Romantic feel, while the leg lines followed the Classical trademark. Centuries after the introduction of Romantic ballet, this tradition is still strongly maintained by many professional companies around the world, despite the huge evolution of the classical technique.

The second performance by the Nunez’s and Soares’ Coppelia partnership at the Royal Opera House, was a divine showcase of how the rustic tradition of Romantic meets Classical. Benjamin Pope once again led the orchestra to full heights with Delibes’ score. William Tuckett provided the X-factor to the ballet with his Dr Coppelius. His use of subtle actions and gestures, replacing explicit miming, results in enormous dramatic effects and intentions. In the final act, when he insisted more money from the Duke, instead of physically pointing his finger at that extra bag of money, he just did a tilt of his chin to acknowledge, “and that?” Act 1, when he realized his house has been broken into, he instantly brought up his walking stick as a form of self defence, which is atypical sight on stage. Tuckett’s Dr Coppelius was just right for me, not too much over the top.

Curtain call: Marianela Nunez as Swanhilda
Nunez demonstrated her thorough understanding of the repertoire requirement. She maintained a forward tilt in her upper body framed with soft and rounded arm lines, demonstrating the Romantic movement style. An alluring and expressive Swanhilda with sincere smiles that charmed the audience. Soares, tailored as Franz, portrayed the role almost as true to what the character should be. A clueless, simple-minded lad looking for a fling but still truly in love with Swanhilda. Soares’ made Franz’s fling with a ‘real’ girl, Leading peasant girl (danced by Sian Murphy), as a mission to provoke jealousy in Swanhilda. This may be Franz’s way of testing Swanhilda’s true love for him, just the same as she questioned his sincerity with an ear of corn. It is all good intention, I would say. Their peasant-ly love chemistry was maintained strongly throughout the ballet. During the Mazurka, Franz made several attempts to 'make up' to Swanhilda by relentlessly showing kisses and affection, trying to win her back. Unfortunately, she rejected and walks away from him. There was a point when Franz flouted at Swanhilda, she sneered back at him, as she haughtily did her relevé passés at the end of her Act 1 solo. Also, during the Czardas, Swanhilda was still fuming with anger and overwhelming with jealousy, her friends surround her to calm her down by fanning their skirts in her face. Victoria Hewitt as one of Swanhilda’s friends, was excellent and mimed very well with the music. Jubilant performance from the peasant girls, boys and Swanhilda’s friends. Special mention of Romany Pajdak and Steven McRae’s charismatic performance with splendid use of the upper body and wonderful execution in their Mazurka and Czardas.

Watching from a different view in the auditorium, one saw the majestic sets for Act 2. Thoroughly impressive stage design, the use of the high beams in Dr Coppelius’ workshop/house was cleverly made to create a realistic perspective, displaying depth and form. Nunez exaggerated bossy stride across the stage was comical, but appropriate for her character.

In the final Act, the Hours corps were beautiful to watch with soft fluid use of the arms, and neat footwork. A control and confidant Aurora from Alexandra Ansanelli. Gemma Sykes tackled her demanding and challenging solo with care and grace. The choreography in this Prayer solo may looked easy, but doing all the slow adagio and balancing with a small wooden platform of her pointe shoe, on a spacious stage with a spotlight shining on her throughout the solo and the pressure from the orchestra (because of the duration of her balance in sync with the music), and the audience, is definitely no easy peasy. My heart goes out to all Prayers.

Curtain call: Gemma Sykes as Prayer (left) and Alexandra Ansanelli as Aurora (right)
The grand pas de deux, by lead couple Nunez and Soares, was ever so beautiful to watch (over and over again). Nunez grasped Delibes’ music in her body, and made her body express what the music is trying to express. At the end of her Adagio with Soares, and the slow music towards the end, she lyrically unfolds her body as her leg unfolds into an arabesque. Their affectionate adagio was united with control, and it was a lovely sight.
Soares’s solo was wonderfully executed. He maintained the characterization of Franz’s charming demi-character style and performed his solo with flair, and gusto. He was probably born to dance Franz.
Nunez’s solo is impeccable with an extra touch of vivacity and charm. By this time, both dancers have probably just warmed the audience up in preparation for their exhilarating coda. A fearless coda from both dancers; Soares soaring into the air with his jumps while Nunez attacked with a leap into each of her posés pirouettes en dedan en manège.

It was a superb performance that was tremendously enjoyed. Details are strongly acknowledged and not being taken lightly by Christopher Carr, Grant Coyle, the notators, the coaches and, of course, the dancers. I greatly appreciate Royal Ballet for keeping this tradition of Dame Ninette de Valois, Lev Ivanov and Enrico Cecchetti alive. This is one way how ballet is passed on to our children and the generations that follow. Kudos to all.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Curtain Call: Federico Bonelli and Miyako Yoshida
Revisiting the classical ballet repertoire and music of the 19th Century, it reminded us how ballet used to be made. Geniuses of the different art forms collaborated to create a magic that lives on two centuries later, and possibly more to come.

This is a light-hearted, sunny ballet that warms the hearts of all ages. An innocent and fun-loving storyline, the joyous music, the glorious dancing, and a vibrant set. These seemed to be the ingredient to an enjoyable and heart-warming experience at the Opera House.

When the music started playing in the vast auditorium, one was taken into a joyous and lively mood. Benjamin Pope conducted his orchestra wonderfully; making Delibes’ music came alive. The music was colourful, matching the vivacious set. Surrounded by the vibrant and sparkling music and set, Yoshida, and Marriott gave their characters life.

The curtains rose and revealed a child’s storybook centrespread. The bright blue sky with puffy white clouds spread around the vast backdrop; in the foreground, the town square was designed with a bubbly personality. The female dancers were dressed in huge puffed up sleeves, bright coloured aprons on whites or coloured dresses, whilst the male dancers complemented with bright coloured vest, tights and boots. Francesca Filpi, Hikaru Kobayashi, Steven McRae and Bennet Gartside led the Mazurka with flair and charisma. Leading Peasant Girl, Gillian Revie, was stunning, captivating and stylistic in the Czardas.

The second act revealed a darker, sinister world of Dr Coppelius. His home, workshop was dark and had clockwork dolls hanging and sitting around. Yoshida added colour in his workshop, brightening the place with her dancing and her expressive face.

Curtain Call: Laura Morera as Aurora (left) and Francesca Filpi as Prayer (right)
The final act returns to the town square, with more dancing and merrymaking. The Dance of the Hours was well rehearsed and thought out and was beautifully performed by all the dancers, Laura Morera as Aurora in Act 3 was flawless. Her solo was crisp and sharp, bringing out the essence of the choreography. Francesca Filpi’s Prayer was tackled with too much care and apprehension, resulting to being off the music at times.

The grand pas de deux was flawlessly executed by two of the best technicians of the company. Both demonstrated good understanding of the clean 19th Century ballet style. Bonelli’s expansive and bravura jumps were wonderfully executed with ease. Yoshida, likewise, took on her solo with ease and excellence.

The ballet’s fun and laughter would not have been possible without Dr Coppelius. Marriott made this role special and different from his peers. He was agile and animated, making Dr Coppelius a much more welcoming and less grouchy character.
Curtain Call:Miyako Yoshida as Swanhilda
On the whole, Yoshida’s Swanhilda was charming, lovable and mischievous. Her expressive dancing scored tops. Demonstrating well-defined technique and colourful expression, she added magic to the role. For him, neat technique and expressive face made his Franz seemed to be more princely than peasantly. I thought he was Albrecht in the wrong costume with the same girl.

After the performance, I exited with mixed feelings. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. After watching couple of different versions on different mediums, this production warms my heart and make me chuckle. However it also made one ponders; a pair of good and established leading dancers, a strong corps and supporting cast, does it make this performance perfect? Based on the libretto, they were meant to be a couplet, but there was no love and affection. They done the job of making their own character came to life, but where is the love? Everything was right, the dancing, the sets, and music, but the leading couple seemed to be dancing to each other, and not with each other.

Nevertheless, Coppelia is a timeless ballet, that works its magic at every production.


5th October 2006, was the opening night of the opening season of the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, and Stravinsky Violin Concerto was the opening act.
Three plotless ballets boldly put together to welcome back the old patrons, loyal fans and appeal to the new audience.
5th October Cast: Darcey Bussell, Edward Watson, Leanne Benjamin, Johan Kobborg
7th October Cast: Zenaida Yanowsky, David Makhateli, Alexandra Ansanelli, Viacheslav Samodurov
10th October Cast: Darcey Bussell, Edward Watson, Leanne Benjamin, Ricardo Cervera
The opening night was almost a sell-out. The cast for Stravinsky Violin Concerto were on full force. To begin with the corps were strong, on the ball and in terribly good shape. It was most impressive. The piece commenced with Leanne Benjamin did a small number with 4 male dancers, followed by Darcey Bussell and 4 other male dancers. This pattern repeats in opposition, when Edward Watson enters on stage with 4 female dancers, followed by Johan Kobborg and 4 other female dancers. Leanne Benjamin then takes the stage with 4 of the female dancers, and the same pattern repeats for the 3 other leading cast. When Kobborg danced his tiny solo with 4 other boys, he was the only one that made his animated movements with as much naturalisticism as he possibly could, whereas Samodurov and Cerava overdid theirs.
The first duet, performed by Darcey Bussell and Edward Watson, was performed with precision and flair. Bussell handled Balanchine’s style cleverly, whilst Watson’s pliable limbs were joint with a neo-classical style. Both long-limbed English principals dancers of the company, made use of their assets to the fullest. The same duet was also performed by Zenaida Yanowsky and David Makhateli. Yanowsky shone like a diamond in this duet, while Makhateli looked out of place throughout the ballet. The next duet, which was seen during the Insight Evening, was beautifully choreographed and performed by Leanne Benjamin with partner Johan Kobborg on the first night, and with Ricardo Cervera on the following evening. Balanchine was inspired by the relationship between Stravinksy and his wife, Vera, and he created this emotional duet. Leanne Benjamin and Johan Kobborg were splendid, but with Ricardo Cervera, it was emotionally painful and realistic. When this duet lies in the hands of New York City Ballet Balachine-trained Alexandra Ansanelli, the effects were different. She was on the music and delivered the steps with assurance and rapport. She used her back beautifully, however, her partner was oddly uncomfortable and not involved emotionally on his face in regards to this duet.
After the two duet, the dancers come together and prepared the mass Slavic-inspired ballet steps. Watson seemed to be the only one enjoying himself in the mass act.
Personally, I think, to make Stravinsky Violin Concerto work, one would wish that the partners were swap. Zen and Ed, Kobborg and Ansanelli, and the ballet would hopefully be more exciting to watch.

5th, 10th October Cast: Alina Cojocaru, Federico Bonelli, Sarah Lamb, Thiago Soares, Rupert Pennefather
7th October Cast:Marianela Nunez, Jason Reilly (Guest Principal Artist from Stuttgart Ballet), Mara Galeazzi, Valeri Kristov, Bennet Gartside
A huge huge challenge of the repertoire for the Royal Ballet. The almost-impossible lifts, and extensive use of the back were the essence of this piece. Danced, and created to Poulenc’s lyrical music, the dancers enjoyed the music as they tackled the steps. It was a good thing to see the company blossomed into what they are today, and take on new challenges to their portfolio. It must be a good boost of motivation for most. With Jason Reilly as a guest, the dancers seemed to love dancing with him, and the audience loved watching him. Both casts demonstrated different feel and approach to the work, but both did tremendously wonderful on all the performances.

Alina Cojocaru and Sarah Lamb approached the work with more feminity. It was almost like the male counterparts were worshipping the two sacred dancers. Whereas, Marianela Nunez, and Mara Galeazzi’s cast, both female and male dancers were almost on par with each other, making the relationship more complete, giving it a more wholesome feel to it. Both different approach, both wonderful dancing.
With the mesmerising music, and beautiful choreography, the costumes were extremely dated. White lycra on both female and male, with various coloured dots on the bodice and legs. The costumes for the men were not at all flattering.
All in all, the corps for this and the previous piece worked extremely hard, bless them…

Cast: Company
Sinfonietta by Kylian seemed to be one of those works that you either love it or hate it. Well, for me, it was not exactly a hate, but definitely not a love. To begin with, this free-moving piece was made in 2 weeks, but received extensive positive response and made its mark then calling it a masterpiece. Well, a masterpiece, made by a master (Kylian), as many would agree, but I thought the work for the Royal Ballet was unjustified. The choreography was clearly made without much creativity. The main movement that appeared in the 25 minutes piece was simply jetes; and they came in all shapes, sizes and ways of doing it. They were either done with a developpe, or without, and they can be taken with the arms in high V or in another position, alternatively, the jetes are supported in duets. The male dancers were just doing jetes 3/4 of the time. Personally I just thought that the entire piece is a prolonged grand allegro exercise. Perhaps I do not fully comprehend the style of Kylian’s; but I have seen his other works in which I adore very much, but Sinfonietta, despite its international success, it did not work the sparks for me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Once again, the Royal Ballet's Insight Evening team had brought together an enriching and spectacular evening in the Clore Studio. The program had some of the top A-listers from the industry to share with us their knowledge, experience and contribution to the 3 works from the Mixed Bill, namely, Stravinsky Violin Concerto (Balanchine, 1972), Voluntaries (Tetley, 1973) and Sinfonietta (Kylián, 1978)

This evening's program commenced with Jane Pritchard's valuable presentation of some indept information to each of the pieces. She began by listing the similarities of the three pieces. Made in the 70s, these works borrowed the classical vocabulary and the contemporary technique, specifically the use of the upper body. In addition, they are well crafted by the choreographers geometrically in both aspects, individually in the dancer's body, and also spatially on the vast stage. Lastly, all three choreographers' works are based hugely on the musical score, written by Stravinsky, Poulenc and Janáček, respectively. Pritchard continued to give a more comprehensive thought to the 3 works individually.

Violin Concerto by Stravinsky was a piece that George Balanchine is familiar with. The latter once used it for his choreography in 1941; unfortunately, it did not receive much positive response. In 1972 Balanchine used the music once again for Stravinsky Violin Concerto, which was exceptionally meaningful to him. It was significantly to commemorate the 1 year death anniversary of the composer. Much later into the evening, répétiteur, Bart Cook, rehearsed Leanne Benjamin in various part of this piece. Leanne Benjamin, principal dancer, who was called up for the Insight Evening at the last minute, was accompanied by concert master, Vasko Vassilev on the violin and Henry Roche on the piano. Benjamin began rehearsing the opening of the piece, followed by the female sequence from the middle of the piece. The first sequence, was coquettish, playful and captivating. Cook stressed that Balanchine's neoclassical works are different from the classics, when it comes to placement and interpretation. "There's no rules", Cook said. Benjamin responded, "Just like Macmillan's." Cook agreed. There is no hard and fast rules, it is like 'trading styles' for the dancer. The next segment Benjamin rehearsed, was a sequence danced by 3 other female dancers, and it was sleek, sharp, full of speed with a slavic flavor. It was wonderful to watch the professionalism in Benjamin, at her quick ability to transform styles, amend corrections, and to comprehend and tackle Stravinsky's complicating music tempi. The following sequence from the piece that was performed tonight was a duet, performed by Benjamin and Cook. Cook emphasised that this duet was inspired by Stravinsky's relation with his wife, Vera. Motifs from the duet, are direct interpretation of gestures and meanings of a woman's dependency on her man. There were some beautiful moments in the duet, it was emotionally engaging for the dancers, the musicians and the audience. Cook, stood in for Johan Kobborg for the duet, which was performed a couple of times in the evening, was exhausted. However, one can see that twinkle in his eyes, for he was enjoying revisiting the piece in his body again. And indeed, it was lovely to watch one of the dancer, who was invited by Balanchine, himself, to join his company in 1971, and performed in this very same repertoire. Concert master, Vasko Vassilev, added that it was different to play the same music for the ballet than without. He continued that it was definitely different to see movements made to the music. He claimed that, learning from Cook's elaboration on the piece, furthered his understanding and interpretation for the score. Balanchine regarded that this ballet was his most 'well-crafted ballet' he has done. Personally, I am speechless, and captivated by the beauty and the genius.

Pritchard described Voluntaries as a ballet of 7 sections without a break in between. It explores spiritual themes such as life and death, in addition, sharing contrast meanings, such as light-heartedness and sorrow. The piece has a tortured begining, and a sense of freedom in the end. She stressed that this work is challenging for the corp de ballet. She further explained that, similar to Stravinsky Violin Concerto as a memorial piece, Voluntaries is a piece Tetley worked as a tribute to the late John Cranko. With Tetley's familarity of Cranko's style, along with his personal dance background, I believe it will be exhilarating.

Sinfonietta was a much later piece, as compared to the other two which were made consecutively. Kylián worked with his 14 dancers on a tight dateline in 1978. Pritchard explained that there may be certain resemblance to Tetley's Voluntaries; partly due to the fact that Kylián used to work with Cranko, Tetley and Stuttgart Ballet. Both Pritchard and répétiteur, Rosyln Anderson, emphasized the essence of flight in the work. First artists, Gemma Bond and Kenta Kura, worked together with pianist, Tim Qualtrough for the rehearsal of Sinfonietta. Anderson shared some of her personal experience as one of the pioneering dancers to Sinfonietta. She rehearsed Bond and Kura's duet (which would be performed alongside another couple). The quality of the movement were stunning. Bond demonstrated dynamism in her positions. For instance, when she was in an arabesque position, there was an invisible energy that continued to electrify her position to extend to longer lines and greater length. Anderson instructed the use of contraction technique in the upper body, making it more supple, giving the movement a more luscious quality. The combination of clean, distinct lines in the limbs, and softness in the body was like ying and yang, coming together yet repelling at the same time. Anderson was demonstrating some simple gesture in the arms, for one, it was magnificient to watch for with such simple gesture, she maneuvered with grace and charisma.

The evening was close to an end. I was pleased that tonight's Insight Evening was not just a learning experience for the audience, but also the dancers, the musicians and the fellow répétiteurs. I would assume this is one of the ways to share and educate the dance culture to the masses. Jane Pritchard ended her presentation with a phrase, which I cannot agree more. It is "dancing about the music and making the music visible". After tonight's event, I developed a different anticipation for the Mixed Bill, I can't wait to see the dancers make the music of Stravinsky, Poulenc and Janáček come alive.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I decided to try my luck at getting a standby ticket to this 'soldout' production. I was counting my lucky stars when I managed to get a ticket at the eleventh minute. Within seconds of settling into my seat, the house lights were switched off, and the journey begins.
The production was a 'rojak' (an Indian/Malaysian salad dish commonly found in Asia) of talents and creativity. Akram Khan brought together the French, Taiwanese, Solvakian, British, Belgian, German, Australian, Pakistani, Japanese and Indian, onto the stage demonstrating their individual expertise. He brought fusion of music, dance and theatre and introduced culture and tradition. There was interaction between the dancers and the audience, the music and the dancers, the dancers themselves and the musicians themselves. Philip Sheppard, cellist and composer, was excellently moving, Coordt Linke, percussionist, put up an intensified performance. Both vocalists, Faheem Mazhar and Juliette Van Peteghem and violist, Alies Sluiter, were also creditable. The sets and costumes by Japanese designers, Shizuka Hariu and Kei Ito, were raw and zen-like, intimidating yet carries an aura of calmness.
The performance showed reminiscence of other choreographers' style, movement and motifs, which did not impress me much. I was prepared sparks and fireworks, something extraordinary, from this new collaboration of two outstanding performers. However, I did not think it was exciting enough to move me. Sacred Monster, comprises of solos and duets, in which individually demonstrate a new movement style and vocabulary (The solos were choreographed by different choreographers).
Sylvie's solo was choreographed by Lin Hwai Min (Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan). I thought some of the first few movements looked like an acoustic version of Maliphant's Two. For the first couple of minutes into the solo, the movement bears identical flow and motifs, but in a slower pace, to a live vocalist. The solo began to pick up its own form when Sylvie started moving around the vast space, and adding details of hyper-flexed feet (probably inspired by Chinese dance, or Indian dance) whilst merging into much more contemporary movement.
Akram's Kathak solo brought out his best. His lightning-paced footwork with armwork varied from water-rippling to razor-sharp quality. He demonstrated dynamism with clever use of space.
Their first duet commenced with the interlacing of each other's hands, whilst facing each other. While holding on to each other, there seemed to be an invisible force of energy circling around and within them as they moved. Once detached, their Matrix-like movements tried to contain this energy, yet it seemed like it is this energy, that are repelling their bodies like magnet. As they are self-indulged between themselves and the movement, the music seemed to be in a different world, it was like watching 2 different shows on the same stage.
The following duet was in complete contrast to the previous. Movements were staccato, and puppetry. It bears the style of an Indian dance form, basically from the simple transference of weight footwork and its bouncy nature. The gestures from the upper body was animated, fun, and dialogue-ish, almost like a stop-motion film.
The last duet, Sylvie hugs herself around Akram, and unfold her body onto him. That instant, it was an almost similar position from the first duet from Wheeldon's Polyphonia. The only difference was, Sylvie was facing Akram (instead of facing the audience), when she was supported on his hips. Facing each other, encompass a spiritual energy within them. Their movments synchronised and harmonious. Personally, I thought that this part of the duet was organic. Coming to the end of this duet and the performance, both dancers were springing off the floor. I thought it was interesting to see that in their attempt to jump in unison, their feet were doing what they were used to do, she had hers pointed (extended), and he had his relaxed. Was it intentional? Or was it something that both dancers could not escape, tradition?

Monday, July 31, 2006


An evening of mixed bill of classical work and new works but company members. This outdoor event began with a bring your-own-picnic-basket, followed by a hip hop act performed by a school of teenagers. Their number looked unrehearsed as lines were not properly placed, and unison were not taken seriously.
The main event, Singapore Dance Theatre's Ballet Under the Stars kicked off later than the published time. It was delayed for 20 minutes. It began with Petipa's Raymonda Act III. As stated in the given programme that the original choreographer was Marius Petipa, however, the choreography performed by the dancers were changed, and adapted. Of such, the Tarantella solo, performed by Chihiro Uchida, was changed, losing the demi character essence and quality in the use of epaulment. The stage seemed too small for the staging of this act. Dancers in the corp seemed to be struggling to avoid kicking their legs into each other's body.
Zhou Lin and Fu Liang took center stage as the main principal couple. Zhou Lin demonstrated assured technique, however, she was behind the music in most instances, and her interpretation as the leading Raymonda was a disappointment. Fu Liang demonstrated strong and assured technique, showing off virtuosity and style. However, in general, the entire cast did not provide enough entertainment for this number. As an audience, it looked like the dancers were doing steps instead of dancing. Expressionless throughout a wedding number, one may assumed that Petipa will not be pleased with that.

Thierry Malandain's Dying Swan did it for me. The concept behind the piece was done beautifully. He approached Fokine's solo with a twist and modernism. He adapted 3 women, with 3 solos using the same music, but 3 different movement motifs, but still sharing the same theme and style. Natalie Clarke, Zhou Lin, and Sakura Shimizu, each dancer with different physicality, and style of moving looked splendid and priceless in their individual solos. This piece is quirky, soulful and yet meaningful.
Tan Yaling's Mozart was up next. In marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of the classical composer, Yaling created a piece where one dancer, Mohd Noor danced the title role, and 2 other couples. Mohd Noor performed his solo with confidence and ease. His movements were carefully crafted and he made the solo succelent and captivating.
Sakura Shimizu's Reflections of Dusk was a short piece performed by 5 males and 1 female dancer. It was lyrical but the movement vocabulary was closely mirrored to the previous number, and the following piece, Robert Mills' Paradise Falling.
Singapore Dance Theatre is flooded with Chinese export dancers, with 1 female dancer who is native, and a couple of Australians and Japanese. It seemed apparent that the company's strength still lies in contemporary ballet works.


The final show at the Linbury for the Royal Ballet School was a galore of excitement, joy of dancing, and promising showmanship from every performer.
The size of the stage proved to be one of the challenges for the dancers, especially in the mass pieces. In La Bayadere - Waltz from Act 1, 18 dancers tried their best not to thread on each other's feet, and arabesques. Despite the lack of space, extensions and lines were not compromised. Majority of the dancers are in their 1st year, and they displayed nothing less than their seniors.

Bethany West's Dark Twist showed strong potential. Swan Lake - Pas de Douze from Act 1 seemed to show off more of the boys then the girls. Step by Step by Vanessa Fenton was an interesting piece. The dancers displayed wonderful technique and great personality. It was a delight to watch Ruth Bailey, winner of Phyllis Bedells Bursary 2006 and former Young British Dancer of the Year, perfomed with confidence and assurance. Special mention of Year 7's Anna Rose O'Sullivan, who danced the central role in the 3rd Movement, was professional and at ease with her solo. I enjoyed Step by Step greatly, all the dancers seemed to sparkle and shine on the small stage, with smiles that looked like they are genuinely enjoying their time on stage, sharing their joy of dancing with the audience.

Colour Blind by Leigh Alderson was a captivating piece. Despite the unfortunate wrong cueing of music and late lightings, resulting in an encouraging applause from the audience, and some giggle from both dancers, Leigh Alderson and Jade Hale-Christofi, and the audience; the piece was fascinating. Both dancers excelled in their own strength in Alderson's choreography. Alderson showed off his linearity and expression, whilst Hale-Christofi exhibit expressive dancing and strength. There was deep meaning behind the innovative choreographic movements, which could be perhaps performed by a male and female. But both male dancers were very involved and focused, synchronising each others' line and movement. This was one of the highlight pieces for me that evening.

Don Quixote - Excerpts from Act 3 were dominated by the stars students of the evening, Adeline Kaiser and Sergiy Polunin. Adeline Kaiser, winner of Prix de Lausanne "Scholarship" in 2005, and Sergiy Polunin, winner of Prix de Lausanne 2006 and Youth America Grand Prix 2006. Kaiser's Kitri was performed with wit and maturity. The repertoire work of her solo was adapted to display her breathtaking balances in arabesques (Each balance lasted about 8 counts/ a full phrase of the music). Her 32 fouettes looked like a norm to her. Polunin was simply remarkable. He handled his role as Basil with zest, and boyish cheekiness. One could almost see traces of Baryshinikov's flavor in his dancing. Polunin looked like he was flying across the stage in all his leaps. His leaps and turns were assured and perfomed at ease. Both dancers made the pas de deux looked easy peasy. During their curtain call, Polunin whispered/mouthed thank you as he took his bow after his solo. Both audience and him were appreciative of each other.

Jabula was an amazing piece to conclude the program. It brought out the versatility of the dancers. Captivating dancing from Hale-Christofi, Kaiser and Alderson. I thought the partnership between Hale-Christofi and Kaiser was marvellous. Both dancers seemed highly engrossed into the mood of the piece, and into their characters, they literally owned the stage. Alderson, once again, establishing superb emotions and dancing in his solo. The challenging lifts and partnerwork were handled with outstanding flair. Jabula indeed made the dancers looked a million dollar.

It must have be a meaningful performance for the performers, the teachers, the parents and friends. Bravo to all the dancers. All the hard work certainly paid off. Each and everyone of you are stars that shone ever so brightly, showcasing so much promise and aptitude. Congratulations to all. Thank you for putting up a brilliant show, and to share your joy with us.


The final night performance was simply wonderful. All the dancers were on fine fettle. Wordsworth and his orchestra were fantastic too. The entire company's performance seemed to be further enhanced from their opening night, assuming it was their final night, hence less nerves, and being their final show for the season before the tour, everyone just gave their all.
Gordon's Rake's Progress was definitely a masterpiece, just as Wordsworth once mentioned in the Insight Evening. Special part of the ballet that touches my heart was watching Laura Morera as the Betrayed Girl in Rake's Progress and the music in all her solos. I cannot imagine who else would be a better Rake than Johan Kobborg. He seemed to be technically and dramatically at ease with the role.

In the Divertissements, each and everyone of the dancers in their respective roles were remarkable. I could not fish out specifically who was the best, as they are so diverse in terms of characterisation and choreography.

Viacheslav Samodurov in Satan's Solo was majestic, he was fully in control of the music and the stage. His final pose is contradictorily a glorious moment (to me). Zenaida's Dante's Sonata solo was beautifully performed. Amidst the violent head-banging action (which I thought made her hair portray an illusion of a mohican hairstyle), she contrasted it with the fluid use of arms and body.

Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta's Romeo and Juliet was extremely touching. Both of them just do magic to these roles. Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares were fantastic in Elite Syncopations, she was such a delight to watch. Her glowing personality and his charm did wonders to the pas de deux.

Apart from being musically and technically strong, Miyako Yoshida illuminate the joy and love of dance when she is dancing, perhaps this is the x-factor for a beautiful dancer.

Thank goodness for a modern number in the program to show the versatility of Royal Ballet dancers, McGregor's Qualia was an appropriate choice. Both Edward Watson and Leanne Benjamin was extraordinary and captivating.

Homage to the Queen was marvellous. Special mention, Federico Bonelli's Earth solo, which he danced effortlessly with expansiveness and grace, Lauren Cuthbertson and Laura Morera for being a pair of beautiful and contrasting dancers, enhancing and glorifying their individual qualities and, last but not least, Steven McRae, for doing the impossible.

All in all, it was an enjoyable evening. Glorious dancing, glorious music. I was left speechless after the evening's performance. Huge thank you to Monica Mason for a sensational season, and what a superb program to end

Friday, July 07, 2006


Hofesh Shechter
deGENERATION: ‘Cult’, ‘Fragments’, ‘Uprising’
June 2006
London, The Place
It was a wonderful evening of interesting choreography showcase. It showed off Shechter's distinctive style and movement vocabulary.
"Cult" kicked off with an intimidating atmosphere. Total darkness, with loud pumping beats. It carried on for a couple of minutes, which was enough to increase the pulse rates in the audience, and create an impact psychologically. The dancing was strong and definite, all dancers displayed strong stamina and confidence. Shecter's use of space, and choreographic devices created a considerably harmonious effect.
The second piece, a duo, performed by Chris Evans and Claire-Laure Berthier, extended Shechter's movement vocabulary to a new level. Both dancers performed in solos and unison, and very much involved in their character. "Fragments" demonstrates good use of space and creative use of the music. The lightings set for this piece were soft and endearing, enhancing the partnership of the dancers. Personally, I felt this piece strongly brings out the best in the choreographer and his dancers.
"Uprising" commenced with seven men storming towards the audience with a menancing intent to finish right at the tip of downstage in a balance in a retire position. They dispersed into either side of the stage, as the lights began to change. The stage was black and bare, illustrating a fairground for battle royal. One of the motif Shecter used, was an ape-like travelling movement where the dancers were on all fours, darting across the stage. In addition, Shecter used some familiar movements of common male behaviour on the football field. The dancers were running frantically with the body at an angle, almost 60 degrees to the floor, with legs kicking behind, and arms in a 'T' position. (A movement commonly seen on the soccer field when a player scored a goal) Halfway through the piece, all seven men came together in a circle in the middle of the stage. One by one, gave the dancer standing next to him a hard pat on the shoulders, which slowly lead to a very realistic wrestle, without the sound effect. (It reminded me of a scene from David Fincher's Fight Club (1999), starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.) For me, this simple and naturalistic choreographed mayhem, was the climax of this piece. "Uprising" began at a steady pace, which build up to this point, and it ended almost the same as the beginning, which was quite steady and expected. Shechter incorporated the same choreographic formula he had in the previous two pieces into "Uprising", sharing unison, duos and trios, change in level, change in speed of movement and directions.
I agreed with Graham's views about the sound system. The music for "Uprising" was blatant and excruciating to the eardrums. There is no need for loud music to create an impact, it will only cause discomfort to the audience, unless that is the objective of the choreography.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


This solo entitled "Satan's Dance of Triumph" has him dance in Heaven before God's throne, with fast music and insistent repeating figurations and melodically strident. In the final position, Satan kneels in mock adoration before he himself sits on God's throne. This solo was performed by Viacheslav Samodurov (5th and 9th evening) and Martin Harvey (6th and 7th evening). Viacheslav was majestic, capturing the essence of the solo, Martin was fearful and formidable. Both dancers were captivating in their own right.
A short solo which is abundance with emotions and naturalism. Ashton was inspired to create a ballet about the devastation of the war, depeciting the mood and attitudes of the War time period. This wonderful solo was performed by Zenaida Yanowsky (5th, 9th evening) and Marianela Nunez (6th, 7th evening). Both dancers perfomed with lyricism and fluidity. The music was soothing and calming. Due to a short solo, and its naturalistic choreographic movements, it has aroused negative reviews amongst the critics, however, personally, I enjoyed the piece and would wish to watch it again. To be able to portray as much emotions to build up the atmosphere with simple choreography can be a huge challenge for both the dancer, and the musician.
Ashton choreographed the ballet this piece in the 1950s, with the intention of glorifying his ballerinas' talents and qualities. The final pas de deux, was made for Dame Margot Fonteyn, for one of her many qualities, balance was one of them. The music for this piece is terribly glorious, the costumes are extravagant and rich. Jaime Tapper and Rupert Pennefather (5th, 9th evening) and Alexandra Ansanelli and Valeri Hristov (6th, 7th Evening) shared this piece. Jaime on her first night seemed unsure and nervous, the balance were managed, however one could not see that x-factor behind a balance. X-factor, being the ability to extend the balance to gracefully indulge into the following steps.
However, by the final evening, Jaime gave a much more assured and stunning performance, Rupert provided justly partnering skills, however, I feel, he was too relaxed and laid back. One hopes to see him as a prince who care. Alexandra was stunning in the two nights, showing off her wonderful balance and use of the upper back. Valerie gave a promising performance, with the constant eye contact with his partner to provide assurance . However, none of the cast were able to live up to Margot Fonteyn's magic. The two excellent dancers of our time, were lacking of something, the joy to dance.

Friday, June 09, 2006


The Rake's Progress is a piece not often performed in the Royal Ballet repertoire. It was first produced by the Vic-Wells Ballet at Sadler's Wells in 1935, by Dame Ninette de Valois. She collaborated with Gavin Gordon, who geniusly wrote the beautiful music for the piece. de Valois suggested that she based her inspiration to the several paintings of William Hogart (1697-1764). This ballet is set in the 1700s, where men were in wigs and powderpuffed face, while the women were in balloon skirts.
I have seen 3 performances of The Rake's Progress, which was performed by 2 different casts. On the opening night, and the last night's performance were lead by Johan Kobborg and Laura Morera as the Rake and Betrayed Girl, respectively. Johan provided excellent performance on both nights, showing both technical and dramatic skills readily and effortlessly. He seemed to be a natural in dancing the expressive role of the Rake. Laura provided neat and precise foot work and good use of her body on the first night. She is a clean and wonderful dancer. On the closing night, she gave a little more, she gave compassion and heart in her role. She made the role of the Betrayed Girl more convincing and more dancing from the heart. Special mention to Steven McRae, a star in the making, for making the role of the jockey exicting to watch. In addition, Paul Kay is such a clean and fuss-less dancer as the Dancing Teacher in The Rake's Progress. I believe more work, and rehearsal for this young man will make him an expectional talent in the company. David Pickering as the Gentleman with the Rope in the final scene, danced with immense insanity. His long limbs and maniac facial expression created intensity, building up the atmosphere in the mad house.

Alternatively, on the 6th evening, I was priveleged to watch the other cast dancing the entire The Rake's Progress. The leading roles were managed by Viacheslav Samodurov and Belinda Hatley. Viacheslav showed immense strength in his jumps and provide a few inconsistent emotional context, which was such a waste, for this piece is strongly based on acting and technical skills. Belinda Hatley gave an extremely convincing characterisation of the Betrayed Girl. Belinda used her soft and fluid port de bras to depict the dejected Betrayed Girl, somehow I felt her performance outshined Samodurov. Special mention to Ludovic Ondiviela, an Artist with the Royal Ballet since 2003, danced and shared the role of The Dancing Master in the first scene with Paul Kay. He had grown to be a beautiful dancer, with precise beats and light jumps. Paul Kay on the other hand, also shared the role of the jockey with Steven McRae. Both dancers in their respective alternate roles showed diverse interpretation and dancing quality. On all 3 performances, Gary Avis as The Rake's Friend, was excellent. He mastered and handled the acting perfectly well.

All in all, The Rake's Progress opened up several walls of creativity, acting and visual artrs.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Edward Watson performed a duet with Leanne Benjamin, choreographed by Liam Scarlett at the Linbury Studio Theatre for the event, In Good Company. The piece, Despite, was performed to the music of Rachmanioff and costume designs by Johannes Stepanek. Leanne Benjamin was exceptionally stunning in the piece, personally I adore her costume. It was a light gold laced short dress, with a narrow V front and back opening, very sensual looking. However I didn't feel Edward costumes was suitable. He was in orangey gold 3/4 length trousers and a light organza-looking shirt over a dirty-olive coloured tank top. The shirt was buttoned at the stomach, causing a lot of tightness in the back and restraint in expansive arm movements. And the colours seemed to clash with his hair. Apart from the restricted costumes, it shows Ed being most at home with the contemporary movement. The movement seemed suitable to his personal style of moving, perhaps due to his uncontrolled flexibility in his joints. However, I feel, sometimes he seemed to be throwing his limbs around, and dancing wildly, which is not pleasant to the eye. Also, to add, watching him perform in the Linbury, is very much a close-up affair. His panting after each partnering with Leanne is extremely obvious. Perhaps he is asthmatic, but his deep breathing seemed to portray exhaustion. I noticed that he always have such deep breathing after a short sequence (which is terribly obvious when he is in the corps), both on videos and on stage... It is an interesting event, In Good Company, which presents dancers from Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, National Ballet of Canada and The Australian Ballet. However, I feel the pieces such as Liam Scarlett's Vayamos al Diablo (Performed by Romany Pajdak and Steven McRae) and Jonathan Watkin's Silent Vision (Peformed by Zenaida Yanowsky) are the only two which shows diverse movement vocabulary, the other 4 pieces, each from each company, seemed to show quite similar movement voices.


Cast of Sleeping Beauty Curtain Call, with Valeriy Ovsyanikov (Conductor)
"This production is an enormous pleasure to watch, and the three hours fly by. Everything seems light and airy, colourful and beautiful, and not at all anodyne. This was not the case with the last two productions, whatever their merits, where the settings and lighting somehow drained life out of the ballet. Many of the reviewers have commented that the costumes are less vivid than the Messel originals, so it will be interesting to see how things develop. I would certainly like to see the Prince in a red jacket, as seen in the iconic photo of the awakening from 1946.
Tamara Rojo as The Sleeping Beauty - Aurora
Tamara Rojo is really in her prime - such a beautiful and expressive face, and dancing of great brilliance. Federico Bonelli presents a very noble and elegant Prince. Once again the Grand Pas de Deux was, quite properly, the highlight of the evening. "
Personal Review

Florestan and His Sisters, Isabel McMeekan, David Makhateli, Lauren Cuthbertson
Lauren Cuthbertson danced with wit in her hands and feet in her solo in Act 3. It was very exciting to watch. Princess Florine and the Bluebird, Laura Morera and Yohei Sasaki
Laura Morera was light and gorgeous as Princess Florine, as light as she is, she danced with attack and umph (Not sure if I spelled this correct) Her solo was performed effortlessly. Yohei Sasaki's limelight seemed to be stolen by Morera. Carabosse and The Lilac Fairy, Elizabeth McGorian and Alexandra Ansanelli
Alexandra Ansanelli portrayed as a demure yet powerful Lilac fairy. Her mime scenes were performed with care and her dancing was excellent. Almost flawless. McGorian's evil Carabosse sends chills down my spine. Just to add about Carabosse's costume, I thought her main costume looked exceptionally sensual, with black lace up the chest and an opened neckline. Personally I thought Gary Avis's King Florestan XXIV was mighty and his portrayal was dynamically performed. Princess Aurora and Prince Florimund, Tamara Rojo and Federico Bonelli
Both Tamara Rojo's and Federico Bonelli's dancing in Act 2 and 3 were immaculate. Rojo's Act 2 and 3 were the main highlights of the evening. Her entree in Act 1 and the Rose Adagio was quite disappointing, I feel. I was not convinced that she was a young beautiful princess attending her 16th birthday party. Bonelli's dignified Prince Florimund, seemed to handle his solos and pas de deux with immense confidence.
Curtain Call

I enjoyed Wheeldon's Garland Dance. The choreography is lovely, he played with the use of the Garland, patterns and space, creating an extraordinary harmonious group dance. It was a joy to watch. In addition, the colours of the costumes of the corps for the Garland Dance and by dancing with the garland of flowers (roses), embody the essence of Springtime.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


A star-studded event. A handful of principal dancers and promising soloists were in the class, presented to the public in the Clore studio at the Royal Opera House.
These is a list of names of the Dancers, which I managed to remembered with my limited photographic memory.
Guest Principals:
Darcey Bussell
Principal Character Artist:
Gary Avis
Tamara Rojo
Zenaida Yanowsky
Federico Bonelli
Viacheslav Samodurov
First Soloists:
Sarah Lamb
Thiago Soares
Deirdre Chapman
David Makhateli
Lauren Cuthbertson
Bennet Gartside
Victoria Hewitt
Brian Maloney
Thomas Whitehead
Natasha Oughtred
Johannes Stepanek
Joshua Tuifua
First Artists:
Francesca Filpi
Sian Murphy
Fernando Rodriguez Montano
Xander Parish
Romany Padjak
Erico Montes
Nathalie Harrison
Tara-Brigitte Bhavnani
It was a good sight to watch renowned principal dancers up close and personal... Prior to this event, a similar Royal Ballet In Class was featured 2 weeks ago. In that class, some of the dancers which failed to attend the 17th May class were: Steven McRae, Alexandra Ansanelli, Jose Martin, Jaimie Tapper, Ernst Meisner, Yuhui Choe, Leanne Cope, Celisa Diuana and Pietra Mello-Pittman. And the other class, in January, which I've seen, had Sylvie Guillem, Martin Harvey.