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.