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.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Widow Simone: Philip Mosley
Lise: Laura Morera (First performance)
Colas: Ricardo Cervera
Alain: Giacomo Ciriaci
Laura Morera and Ricardo Cervera
It was definitely a very very special night for Laura Morera. She sparkled radiantly as Lise. She handled the characterisation of Lise naturally. Apart from her acting, personally, I felt that she managed Ashton's choreography brilliantly. Her quick footwork was handled with crisp and attack, and her upper body was filled with lovely epaulment and fluid port de bras.
Laura Morera

Laura Morera as Lise and Ricardo Cervera as Colas
Ricardo Cervera's Colas was full of youth and cheekiness. However, he didn't quite managed his solos as he would have on previous nights. His pirouettes were unsteady, however, his leaps were particularly buoyant and interesting to watch.
It was utmost enjoyable to watch such a lovely partnership dancing on stage. Both dancers synchronized their lines and attack, creating a very harmonious effect on stage.
Giacomo Ciriaci was a heartwarming Alain, Philip Mosley was a delightful Widow Simone. His/her clog dance was performed with zest of the character. It was great pleasure to see the rest of the company in their characters and enjoying themselves on stage. Apart from one of the harvesters being out of line, the rest of the company was very much in sync. Also, it was nice to see Royal Ballet School's Sergiy Polunin (Winner of 2006 Prix de Lausanne, and 2006 Young America Grand Priz) on stage. Company Cast
It was a jubilant and enjoyable performance. It was a special evening for a new Lise. Morera deserved her little glory. Congratulations to Morera and the company for the happy vibes they sent, throughout their performance.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


it was an extremely enjoyable and fruitful evening. as a newcomer myself too, I felt that I gained a lot more indepth knowledge in the works for the Mixed Bill. It was informal and there was a warmth atmosphere. I thought I add on a bit to what gill m had mentioned.
Jane Pritchard provided some background information about the history of the mixed bill, and little details of how de Valois came up with her choreography for Rake's Progress by looking at painting. Barry Wordsworth shared his experience of when he worked with de Valois on the Rake's Progress.. "It was a pleasure working with de Valois" he said. He continued to said that de Valois had so much respect for music. The dancers on that evening, both Zenaida and Rupert worked extremely hard, despite a long day of rehearsals prior to that evening. Zenaida, having done several insight evenings, seemed to be quite comfortable with an upclose audience. she was very natural and 'at-home'. Both Jean Bedells and Zen shared a close and heartiness relationship which was very dear to see. Jean shared some nostalgic memories of working with Ashton, telling some of the younger audience what Ashton was like. "He had a wicked sense of humor". Also, Jean was such a sweetie, she turned all bashful when she said about, without the world war, she wouldn't had met her husband and her dear friends. One member of the audience, shared her experience about surviving the war and when she watched Bedells' performance back during the 1940s. At that moment, I, personally, felt how lucky I am to be here, to be in an environment where there are people who survived the war, and sharing their love of ballet, through different means, under the same roof.Jonathan Cope coached Rupert Pennefather in the Air solo. Jonathan talked a little about Michael Somes' solo. Rupert danced well, good elevation, but his port de bras needed more fluidity. As he is in his early stages of rehearsals now, I believe this promising young dancer will shine on stage when the time comes. Henry Roche accompanied the rehearsals for both Dante Sonata and the Air solo.Barry Wordsworth gave extensive indepth information on both the scores of Rake's Progress (by Gavin Gordon) and Homage to the Queen (by Malcom Arnold). Barry is very excited about working on these masterpieces and spoke highly of the composers and the music. Personally I enjoyed Homage to the Queen, each section of the music, Earth, Water, Fire and Air, has their unique characteristic, quality and motifs, which is extremely interesting to listen to. Being a non-musically trained person, I thought that the beginning of Earth reminded me of Stravinsky's opening in Le Sacre du Printemps (Rite of Spring).
Personally, I thought, the evening was an amazing experience. To be able to see one of the most successful ballerina in history rehearsing another acomplished ballerina of our time, on stage, was simply marvelous, and that both ballerinas shared such a lovely and warmth relationship, it was just wonderful to watch.
It was a pleasurable evening, watching wonderful working relations between the dancers and their rehearsal master/mistress, listening to beautiful music and understanding the origins of how these two choregraphic works began... I look forward to more insight events held by the opera house.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Royal Ballet had an 'informal' event, ROYAL BALLET MASTERCLASS in the LINBURY, presenting rehearsals from Birthday Offering (Ashton), and The Sleeping Beauty (Petipa, de Valois, Ashton, Dowell, Wheeldon) Artist involved in this event were, the legendary Donald MacLeary, First Soloist, Alexandra Ansanelli and Soloist, Valeri Hristov. Pianist was Philip Cornfield.
In Birthday Offering, both dancers rehearsed the pas de deux. Ansanelli was a delight to watch, her technique was clean and neat. Her balances were very assured. Valeri Hristov provide more support than dancing in this pas de deux. As much as Anasanelli is a technically strong dancer, I believe firmer handling from Hristov would be helpful.
In Sleeping Beauty section, Ansanelli rehearsed Aurora's solo from Act 1. She did a slightly different version from the Royal Ballet's, which MacLeary then amend and re-rehease. Ansanelli's strength lies in her prolonged balances which most of the audience hold their breath as she holds hers. Strong technique, joyful and pleasant personality, I believe her future is bright with the Royal. MacLeary shared some nostalgic memories of his, when he was a dancer and student, personally I appreciate greatly, as I believe the heritage of ballet needs to be preserved and shared amongst the generations. MacLeary mentioned an issue, which I strongly agree, that ballet is an art form and not an atheletic presentation. "We are dancing to tell a story, we are not training dancers for the olympics." Which is very very true. There is no pleasure watching a person getting their legs by their ears or doing world-breaking record of fouette pirouettes when they cannot even show any emotions on their face.
I am personally very grateful to have this ticket to watch the Royal Ballet Masterclass, it was highly informative and inspiring.