"Frederick Ashton" tag
Detail from the book cover of Constant Lambert - Beyond The Rio Grande.© Boydell & Brewer. (Click image for full version of cover)

Book – Constant Lambert, Beyond The Rio Grande – by Stephen Lloyd

Lloyd has written widely on English composers and is meticulous in combing together many fragmentary impressions of Lambert. The book weighs over 1.5 kilos, 419 pages of small print, most heavily annotated in smaller print still, with a further 150 pages of appendices.

Mariinsky Ballet in Concerto DSCH.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Mariinsky Ballet – The Firebird, Marguerite and Armand, Concerto DSCH – London

“This is how ecstasy is danced.” Kimin Kim in Concerto DSCH.

Diana Vishneva (Marguerite) and Konstantin Zverev (Armand) in Marguerite and Armand.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – Mariinsky Ballet in Marguerite and Armand, Concerto DSCH

Gallery by Foteini Christofilopoulou…

Vicktoria Tereshkina in A Midsummer Night's Dream.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Mariinsky Ballet – Apollo, A Midsummer Night’s Dream – London

Viktoria Tereshkina has a warm personality and this enhances her dancing. She has long thin limbs and offers expansive port de bras, while her legs whip up effortlessly but with control.

Gillian Murphy in The Dream.© Rosalie O'Connor. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – The Dream, The Tempest – New York

Who but Frederick Ashton could turn a marital spat into one of the most delightful, touching works in the ballet repertoire? His 1964 The Dream is precisely that…

Birmingham Royal Ballet in Kin.© Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Les Rendezvous, Kin., Elite Syncopations – High Wycombe

I was suitably sent home happy.

Polina Semionova and David Hallberg in Giselle.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Giselle – New York

Few nineteenth-century story ballets are as satisfying as Giselle, with its simple and poetic plot, compact structure and starkly contrasting moods. This week I watched four Giselles, with four distinctly different casts…

Roman Zhurbin and Craig Salstein in Cinderella.© Rosalie O'Connor. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Cinderella – New York

To fully enjoy Ashton, one has to be willing to acquiesce to one’s own softer impulses, a sense of wonder and perhaps a little nostalgia, and to surrender the loveliness of small things.

Tara-Brigitte Bhavani & Romany Pajdak in Ludovic Ondiviela's Untitled, Draft Works 2014.© Tristram Kenton / ROH, 2014. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Draft Works 2014 – London

At the outset I have to say I thought this year was one of the better years and we should all feel encouraged at the creativity on show.

Steven McRae (with Marcelino Sambe, Matthew Ball, Luca Acri and Tomas Mock) in Alastair Marriott's Connectome.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Dream, Connectome, Concert – London

In the Royal Ballet’s last programme for this season two old favourites frame the first performances of Alastair Marriott’s latest work, Connectome. It’s a well-balanced evening and gives the new piece every chance to shine.

Vladimir Shishov and Jurgita Dronina as Prince Florimund and Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty.© Francesco Squeglia. (Click image for larger version)

Rome Opera Ballet – The Sleeping Beauty – Rome

Finding myself in Rome for a few weeks, I decided to test the local waters and was happy to discover that the Rome Opera Ballet was performing Tchaikovsky’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’, with several casts. I chose a cast almost at random…

Natalia Osipova in Alastair Marriott's Connectome.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – Royal Ballet in The Dream, Connectome (premiere) and The Concert

Gallery by Dave Morgan…

Zoe White, John O'Gara and Alice Handford in Leanne King's Toots Goes to Charleston.© Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Ballet Central – 2014 Tour – London

Of all the school shows I most appreciate the one by Central School of Ballet. Their show, under the name Ballet Central, invariably has the widest range of dance, from ballet to contemporary to musical theatre and more. And importantly they tour it…

Danielle Brown and Ricardo Rhodes in Frederick Ashton's Birthday Offering.© Frank Atura. (Click image for larger version)

Sarasota Ballet – Sir Frederick Ashton Festival, Programmes 1-4 – Sarasota

Both as a tribute to Ashton and as a coming-out party, it’s hard to imagine how the festival could have gone better. The ballets are in good hands.

Jenna Roberts in Alexander Whitley's Kin.© Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet at IDFB 2014 – Quatrain, Kin., Façade – Birmingham

Choreographically Alexander Whitley’s ‘Kin.’ was probably the best new thing I’ve seen BRB premiere these last 4 years…

Anastasia Soboleva and Victor Lebedev in La Fille mal gardée.© Stas Levshin. (Click image for larger version)

Mikhailovsky Ballet – La Fille mal gardee – St. Petersburg

…the audience was in thrall to the bucolic genius of Ashton’s production with as many curtain calls at the premiere as I can recall witnessing for a very long time.

Momoko Hirata (Princess Belle Sakuma) and Joseph Caley (Salamander Prince) in The Prince of the Pagodas.© Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Prince of the Pagodas (Caley/Hirata) – London

In his programme note, Bintley claims to have foregone sexual romance in favour of ‘something more mystical and subtle’, connected with Japanese veneration of its Imperial family. It doesn’t resonate in this royal kingdom.

Misa Kuranaga and Jeffrey Cirio in Cinderella.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

Boston Ballet – Cinderella – Boston

Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella is one of the great ballets of the 20th century and a triumph of his career.

Alice Renavand in Fall River Legend.© Anne Deniau. (Click image for larger version)

Paris Opera Ballet – Fall River Legend, Miss Julie – Paris

…an unusual choice of bill. Unusual firstly as the work of two women choreographers, and secondly in that it gives audiences a rare chance to see ballets from the extremely interesting and creative period of the 1940’s and 1950’s, now sadly neglected.

Eric Underwood, Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares in Tetractys - The Art of Fugue.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Tetractys -The Art of Fugue, Rhapsody, Gloria – London

The Royal Ballet’s latest triple bill has a happy beginning and a sad ending and in the middle there’s Wayne McGregor’s new piece, Tetractys, an emotionally-neutral blank sheet on which you can write your own feelings – or more likely, your own thoughts.

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