Monday, 29 March 2010

Cupcakes & Conversation with Rachael Gillespie, Dancer, NBT

Cupcakes & Conversation with Rachael Gillespie, Dancer, Northern Ballet Theatre

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
Provided I’ve had a good night’s sleep, for me the motivation is simply the fact that I’m doing a job that I love! I’m very grateful to not only be dancing, but to be in a Company that really feels like a family to me. I’m quite a morning person anyway, but a good brew with my breakfast and Chris Moyles on Radio 1 is all it really takes!

What are you looking forward to dancing in 2010 ?
Northern Ballet Theatre have some great repertoire to look to look forward this year, so it’s going to be a fantastic couple of seasons. One of my favourites is definitely Wuthering Heights! It’s a truly passionate and dramatic ballet - one I will never tire of! It was actually the first performance I saw by NBT when I was thinking of full time-dance training and it completely inspired me, so I think I may also have a personal attachment to it! I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of NBT Ballet Master Daniel De Andrade’s new work; Glass Cannon. As his first piece with the Company, it’s been a great experience and has felt like a real team effort , so I’m really excited to perform it as part of the mixed bill.

Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
I’m happy to work on any role! But I would love to be able to perform Northern Ballet Theatre’s Juliet!

If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
Funny you should ask this, but this year we’re off to Hong Kong on tour with Peter Pan. This for me is like a dream come true, as I have a great deal of family out there. I’ve only been able to visit them a few times, so to be able to dance in front of them will be wonderful! (The shopping’s great too!!!!)

Photograph :  Andrew Ross

How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
Normally I begin by sewing on the ribbons, followed by attaching elastic to the heels to prevent the backs from slipping off. After this, I use a Stanley knife to cut the material off the tips off the shoes and then shave a bit off the edge of the soles so I can feel the floor better when I’m on flat. I then hammer my shoes on the backs to stop them from being too noisy.

What is your daily routine at the moment ?
This usually varies depending on whether we’re at base rehearsing, or performing at the theatre. At the moment, we’re currently rehearsing the mixed bill at base, so it’s up at 7:45am and into work for an hour’s warm up before class. Company training is usually an hour and fifteen, and is followed by rehearsals until lunch. After an hour’s lunch break (complete with a paper or good magazine!) its rehearsals until 6:30. Then home!

You can ask six famous people to dinner - who would you invite ?
Jackie Chan, Coco Chanel, Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Gene Kelly and Jamie Oliver (my theory is he’d be able to save my guests from my cooking!)

What would surprise people about you ?
As my mother is Chinese and my father is English, my features sometimes confuse people, a lot of people ask me where I’m from and are surprised when I reply with my home town -“Swindon!”

Who inspired you to dance ?
I don’t think I can really narrow it down to one person. I’ve been very lucky to have had wonderful teachers, supportive family and friends, and exposure to big names who have always inspired me, but I don’t think there has ever been one key moment where I decided I wanted to dance, it’s just always been in my blood since I can remember! I just love it! However, I first started taking ballet classes when I was three, after a friend of my mum’s suggested I go because I was always jumping around to music! I also had a video of The Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker my parents recorded for me at Christmas when I was six (I used to watch it religiously complete with a pair of satin ballet shoes I used to stuff with tissue and try to go on pointe!)

What is your best piece of advice ?
Follow your own instinct, and remain committed to it. In this profession, there can be no half measures, it has to be 100% dedication. You either want to do it or you don’t.

Christopher Hinton-Lewis, Hannah Bateman, Victoria Sibson & Rachael Gillespie
in NBT's Dracula
Photograph :  Merlin Hendy

How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
Before a show, I like to have a bit of quiet time by myself, whether it’s a good play list on my iPod, or popping out to get coffee. I think it’s important to get fresh air for a good clear mind before a performance by taking a proper break. You need to have a fresh attitude towards each show otherwise it’s easy to become stale when performing the same repertoire for a long period of time. This way you can find new ways of developing your roles and stimulating your performances. This is especially important as member of a theatre ballet company, as we carry out a great deal of narrative work.

Which role has tested you the most & how ?
At the beginning of the autumn season, I was lucky enough to be one of the three brides in David Nixon’s Dracula. This was a fantastic opportunity and challenge, as I needed to mature as an actress as well as a dancer. Rehearsing this directly with David Nixon was a true privilege, as well as receiving a great deal of help and advice from two experienced dancers in the Company who had previously performed the role. I knew I had a lot to catch up on, but they were really supportive and helpful with the process.

If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create?
I love fashion, so designing a costume would be great fun! I’m quite a creative person, so if it’s not clothes, then I enjoy making jewellery or more recently leotards! For me, I like things with detail and texture - so I guess it would be something eye-catching with exotic fabric! Ultimately I think it’s important to flatter both the work and the dancer.

What do you look for in a dance partner ?
I’m happy to dance with anyone who’s willing to give it their all. I love to feel a sense of team work , trust and achievement with a partner, but at the end of the day I think it’s important to form a good relationship and to be able to have fun together.

What is your favourite quote ?
I can resist everything but temptation! - Oscar Wilde

Do you have a ‘signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you?
I enjoy adage and grande allegro, but I think it’s important as a dancer not to focus on what you prefer or favour, as much as on what you need to work on. This way it widens what you have to offer, and strengthens what you already have.

A phrase I use far too often is ... ?
“It wasn’t me!” Being one of three sisters, I had the tendency to use it when we got into trouble!

What’s been your best on-stage moment so far ?
That’s a tough one! Live theatre is always so unpredictable so it’s hard to choose. So far, I guess it would have to be my first company performance and realization of a long standing ambition to become a professional dancer.

Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
I’m a bit of a mimic! I love doing impressions and accents!

In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now?
Still enjoying it as much as I do now, and still applying myself fully to my work. I’ve learnt
to be patient with self progress and to take each day as it comes, but ultimately I’d love to be able to work on some soloist roles.

Thursday, 25 March 2010


Earlier this week Bennet Gartside sat in the Royal Ballet office facing a team of three and was asked, an hour before the general rehearsal for The Judas Tree, “so, moment of truth; do you know it ?” Unfazed, he replied “I know what I know and I’ll do what I can do.”

Photography throughout : Elliott Franks

This meeting came about because Principal Thiago Soares had been indisposed since last weekend’s Nureyev gala, and in order for the second cast to have their stage rehearsal, they wanted Bennet to take Thiago’s role. Stage rehearsals are significant because it’s the dancers’ first chance to perform with the orchestra, the sets and the costumes, in the theatre setting, which is a very different place from the studio. There is also an audience, albeit one aware that it’s a rehearsal and not a performance.

Bennet is a First Soloist with the company, and regular readers will recall his honest and charming interview for BALLET NEWS last year. When I asked him with whom he’d most like to dance, he had everyone literally in the palm of his hand with his reply : “Actually I’ve been lucky to dance with some great names over my career, Sylvie Guillem. Darcey Bussell, Alina Cojocaru, Tamara Rojo, Marianela Nunez, Sarah Wildor, but I think I might have to say my wife. She’s not a dancer – works in PR. At our wedding we did a Tango that was brilliant. I’ve never seen her so nervous in her life! I think because a lot of the guests were dancers, it really got her wound up. But I have dreams of what it could be like if…!”

Bennet Gartside, Mara Galeazzi and Johannes Stepanek

He also explained that his motivation for starting the week was “that I’m in control of my own future.” Within the company, though, his future is decided by a combination of the Artistic Director (currently Monica Mason) and the misfortunes of his colleagues (and the reverse is also true). Which brings us back to the general rehearsal, and these vivid images captured by photographer Elliott Franks.

You get a strong sense of the teamwork on stage; the atmosphere, which Bennet describes to me, “when the curtain came down everyone back stage was applauding and it was all very nice, all very kind from everyone.” They knew that he had been covering the role, but “they also knew that I had never done it, never done a rehearsal, I was never given a go in the studio.”

Mara Galeazzi, Bennet Gartside and Sergei Polunin

There are two casts for The Judas Tree (part of a triple bill) with the Principal roles of The Woman and The Foreman cast as Leanne Benjamin and Carlos Acosta; Mara Galeazzi and Thiago Soares respectively. Bennet was cast as Peter and Monica asked him to cover The Foreman, “I said to myself : ‘learn it, make sure you know it because anything can happen, just try and learn what you can’. And who knows things might happen, and it did.”

Bennet had spent time in the studio watching Irek Mukhamedov coaching Carlos and Thiago. Both of them also had private calls to rehearse the pas de deux, and Bennet stood in the studio without a partner “I didn’t have a girl to cover because one of the girls that was covering it wasn’t there because she was working too heavily on other things. So I used to just stand and watch it and take in what I could take in”.

Luckily the role of the Woman was danced by Mara Galeazzi, who relishes the challenge of new partners. Just as well, since Bennet describes the process, “I’ve never done anything with her, of these rehearsals, so we just literally went into it blind. I just did what I could do. So, you know, everything starts aching, your arms are tired, but I just wanted to keep going because there was an audience out there.”

Was he was happy with the rehearsal ? “I was. Given the circumstances, I felt I did something. Finding the character came throughout the piece. So difficult, but, as I say, I was happy. Mara was very happy. They were all very nice about it and the support backstage from management when we came off – they were all very complimentary about it.”

After completing the rehearsal, Bennet had to prepare to dance the Peter role for the evening performance, which was being filmed.

This story is tinged with a sadness though. At the beginning I talked about being in a company and how that works for you and sometimes against you. The good news is that Thiago is back; for Bennet that means his hard work won’t come to fruition in terms of a performance. But this is an extra bittersweet tale because while you are, to an extent, at the mercy of the Artistic Director and of fortune, as a dancer the clock is also always ticking furiously and this may have been Bennet’s last opportunity to dance a role he covets.

The cast congratulate Bennet who had an hour's notice for the general rehearsal

The triple bill of Concerto|The Judas Tree|Elite Syncopations is currently in rep until 15th April at The Royal Opera House. Please take note of the warning on the booking page. You've probably got the idea from these photographs.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Homage to Nureyev

Homage to Nureyev
London Coliseum
March 21st 2010
Erina Takahashi and Dmitri Gruzdyev in the Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake
Photography throughout :  Tim Cross

I’ve never seen Rudolph Hametovich Nureyev dance live. But I felt his compelling presence in every corner of the stage this evening, which is surely the aim in paying homage to him. I’m not a fan of the gala format – any gala – I think it needs updating so that you don’t get to the end feeling that you’ve had enough, and you definitely don’t want an already long gala to over-run by forty minutes or so. Fine if you’ve got a limo waiting in line outside; not so great if you need to catch a train or a bus on a Sunday night.

Nureyev came relatively late to ballet – though he knew he wanted to be on stage from the age of seven, it wasn’t until he was seventeen that he won a scholarship to the Vaganova School. Claiming asylum at twenty three, it wasn’t long before he was dancing in London and went on to form one of ballets most famous partnerships with Margot Fonteyn, who was forty two when they danced Giselle.

Olga Esenia and Inaki Urlezaga in the pas de deux from Don Quixote

Most people say that Nureyev was generous with his knowledge and a great teacher, despite his relative youth and late start in ballet. Mark Twain said "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can be great". Nureyev made others feel great; that is the gift of his talent and that is why he is still revered today.

The Moor's Pavane

The Moor’s Pavane, loosely based on Othello, tells the story of a Moor, his wife and another couple. Danced to perfection in stunning costumes, especially the bright orange dress and the sleeves of the white dress, by Farukh Ruzimatov, Irina Perren, Vera Arbuzova and Alexander Omar. Very stylised with little jerks and very adagio in speed, it set the mood for the evening.

Olga Enisa dances Kitri's variation from the Don Quixote pas de deux

Tristan and Isolde was amazing; one of the two highlights of the evening. The dancers, Svetlana Zakharova and Andrei Merkuriev seemed to be made from water, so fluid and beautifully soft were their movements. Wagner’s music and Krzysztof Pastor’s choreography melted together to form a dance of exquisite beauty and refinement.

The Black Swan pas de deux is standard gala fare, included here because Nureyev danced Siegfried so many times in his career and created three productions of his own. One of his great gifts to ballet was his arrival in the West with the entire ballerina variations in his head – such was his memory. Danced tonight by English National Ballet’s Erina Takahashi and Dmitri Gruzdyev it demonstrated just why those 32 fouttés are such a challenge.

Erina Takahashi and Dmitri Gruzdyev in the Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake

Gil Roman, who shares a likeness to Nureyev, danced Adagietto choreographed by Maurice Béjart. Nureyev worked with Béjart many times and shared his passion for theatre. The piece is based on La Muette (The Mute).
Roberta Marquez and David Makhateli in Manon

The Bedroom pas de deux from Manon is another gala favourite. I’m not sure it fares so well out of context, and the missing bed didn’t help to set the mood set by these two lovers (in the ballet). The Royal Ballet’s Roberta Marquez and David Makhateli (also Artistic Adviser for this gala) danced full out – perhaps a little too much as they got so close to the table by the end that Marquez was slightly thumped to the floor by Makhateli, which surely isn’t the mood the characters are trying to create.

Roberta Marquez and David Makhateli in Manon

Quite a strange choice – Russkaya – with such familiar music out of place (more usually the Russian dance from Act 111 of Swan Lake), danced by Ulyana Lopatkina in a brightly coloured folk inspired costume which in fact proved to be a perky little number rarely seen in the West.

A Picture Of… danced by Manuel Legris, was an exceptionally difficult solo performed exceptionally well. Easy to see why Legris was picked out by Nureyev at the Paris Opera Ballet (Nureyev took over directorship of the company in 1983).

Ivan Putrov, Mara Galeazzi and Edward Watson in Pierrot Lunaire

The beginning of the second half had me reaching for my ear defenders. I had come prepared, knowing that the challenge that is Pierrot Lunaire was on the bill. You either love it or hate it. Nureyev was captured on a short film in the role, and it’s one that Royal Ballet Principal Ivan Putrov really can call his own. I’ve seen him dance it many times (yes, each time with ear defenders) and he told me that the music is difficult to dance to. Accompanied by the sublime Mara Galeazzi in a mad red wig and Edward Watson, the trio duly climbed the scaffolding to the screechy ‘Sprechgesang’ (spoken song) until eventually the curtain came down.

Elegy, danced by Olga Esina and Vladimir Shishov with music by Rachmaninov was created for the dancers performing it tonight. It premiered at the Rudolph Nureyev International Festival in Kazan (Nureyev gave the festival its name and Kazan is his Mother’s homeland). Elegy was inspired by Nureyev's meeting with Fonteyn.

Marianela Nunez and David Makhateli in Odette's pas de deux from Swan Lake

We were due to see the Diana and Actaeon pas de deux from La Esmerelda, a mouth-watering prospect even though it too is standard gala fare, with Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares. Soares, however, was indisposed, which left Nunez partnered by Makhateli in another scene from Swan Lake – not the most inspired choice perhaps but circumstances are what they are and Nunez danced Odette’s variation as she always does – with soulful expression. Makhateli was the perfect Prince, blending into the background and partnering the starry Nunez very well.

So to the other gem of the night, a piece called Trois Gnossiennes and danced beautifully by Ulyana Lopatkina and Ivan Kozlov. Theirs was a stunning partnership to choreography by Hans Van Manen, whose work Nureyev had admired.

Nina Kapstova and Dmitry Gudanov in Afternoon of a Faun

Why include Afternoon of a Faun in a gala ? It doesn’t present an obvious section from which to choose an excerpt, and it suffers from being shown out of context. Nina Kapstova did her best, but Dmitry Gudanov seemed far more at ease with himself than with her (perhaps the whole point !) and overall the piece seemed far more ‘precious’ than I have seen it performed anywhere else. Presumably it’s included because Nureyev danced the role with The Royal Ballet in 1972, but I think it could have been left out.

Who wouldn’t want to see Alina Cojocaru dancing ? The pas de deux from Coppelia suits her sunny disposition and wonderful technique and with Sergei Polunin and his plushy jumps and rock-solid partnering(replacing the indisposed Johan Kobborg) the pair fairly romped their way through their variations. I have to say that by this stage, the gala was beginning to over-run, partly because of the inclusion of several (very interesting) film clips and footage of Nureyev (not listed in the programme), which meant that some of the audience started leaving, and carried on doing so for the rest of the gala.

Alina Cojocaru and Sergei Polunin in Coppelia

Such a shame, as they would have missed Svetlana Zakharova and Andrei Merkuriev in Black, the most modern piece of the night created by La Scala dancer Francesco Ventiglia. Both were pin sharp and the partnering was exemplary, beginning with a black stage and two white spots which merged together.

How to end a gala and send everyone home happy ? Don Quixote anyone ? Again, standard gala fare but a real audience pleaser for those remaining (we are now 30 minutes over-running). For Nureyev, the role of Basilio gave him the chance to show off his comic timing as well as his virtuosity, and Olga Esina and Inaki Urlezaga showed just how technical it is in the pas de deux.

Svetlana Zakharova and Andrei Merkuriev in Black

There are hopes that this evening will forge the way for future joint cultural projects between Britain and Tatarstan, and on this showing, there is plenty more good work to be seen here, especially as the gala was sold out. Fitting then, that Nureyev can still fill a theatre.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Nureyev Gala - programme details

BREAKING BALLET NEWS - Johan Kobborg, who is injured, is replaced by Sergei Polunin

If you are attending the Gala tomorrow night in tribute to Nureyev, here is the programme for the evening :

Photograph :  Frederika Davis

Farukh Ruzimatov, Irina Perren, Vera Arbuzova, Alexander Omar
Music: Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Choreography: Jose Limon (1908-1972)

Svetlana Zakharova, Andrei Merkuriev
Music: Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
Choreography: Krzysztof Pastor (b.1956)

Black Swan pas de deux
Erini Takahashi, Dmirti Gruzdyev
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Choreography: Marius Petipa (1818-1910)

from La Muette
Gil Roman
Music: Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) (5th Symphony)
Choreography: Maurice Bejart (1927-2007)

bedroom pas de deux
Roberta Marquez, David Makhateli
Music: Jules Massenet (1842-1912)
Choreography: Kenneth MacMillan (1929-1992)

Ulyana Lopatkina
Music: Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Choreography: Kasian Goleizovsky (1892-1970)

The Picture of...
Manuel Legris
Music: Henry Purcell (1659-1895)
Choreography: Patrick de Bana (b.1968)


3rd movement
Ivan Putrov, Mara Galeazzi, Edward Watson
Music: Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
Choreography: Glen Tetley (b.1926)

Olga Esina, Vladimir Shishov
Music: Sergey Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Choreography: Vakil Usmanov (b.1948)

pas de deux from La Esmeralda
Marianela Nunez, Thiago Soares
Music: Riccardo Drigo (1846-1930)
Choreography: Agrippina Vaganova (1879-1951)

Uliana Lopatkina, Ivan Kozlov
Music: Erik Satie (1866-1925)
Choreography: Hans van Manen (b.1932)

Nina Kaptsova - Dmitri Gudanov
Music: Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Choreography: Jerome Robbins (1918-1998)

pas de deux
Alina Cojocaru, Johan Kobborg
Music: Leo Delibes (1836-1891)
Choreography: Ninette de Valois (1898-2001)

Svetlana Zakharova, Andrei Merkuriev
Music: Rene Aubry (b.1956)
Choreography: Francesco Ventriglia (b.1978)

pas de deux
Olga Esina, Inaki Urlezaga
Music: Ludwig Minkus (1826-1917)
Choreography: Marius Petipa (1818-1910)


If you don't yet have a ticket, please contact the Coliseum box office for further information.

Photographs from the performance along my review will be here soon afterwards.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Royal Ballet Principal Sarah Lamb @ MOVE IT!

Sarah Lamb dances The Dying Swan
Photography throughout :  Tim Cross

Yesterday afternoon at the MOVE IT! show in London's Kensington Olympia, amid much eager anticipation from the sizeable crowd, Royal Ballet Principal Sarah Lamb took to the stage and danced The Dying Swan solo. The stage floor had not been swept beforehand, and it did look as though the previous act had burnt some rubber and left it behind in places. However, the debris did not put Sarah off her fluid, melancholy dancing, and she gracefully picked her way around the stage to great applause.

The Dying Swan was originally choreographed by Mikhail Fokine for Anna Pavlova, to the cello solo, Le Cygne, from Le Carnaval des Animaux (Camille Saint- Saëns). The Dying Swan is (appropriately) what is known as a pièce d'occasion - a piece for a special occasion and a showcase for a great dancer, which depicts the final moments of a swan’s life.

It is a well chosen piece, danced as it is almost entirely en pointe in tiny pas de bourrée steps, which show off Sarah’s beautiful feet and hard-working Bloch pointe shoes.

Sarah is a Bloch Ambassador, and the company have this year, at last, been able to present her at the show, by kind permission Monica Mason, Director of The Royal Ballet.

Sarah brought her own white tutu, the same one as is depicted on the Bloch posters, with a feathered headdress that so spectacularly marks out a swan costume.

I think Bloch probably underestimated how popular Sarah would prove to be, especially as she agreed to a signing after her performance. Once it was announced, the queue immediately snaked around several stands. It is a mark of Sarah’s humbleness that she made her way through the crowds without any of the ‘heavies’ seen with other dancers, despite being a major draw at Covent Garden. She was lovely with everyone who had waited for her, dressed in jeans and “big shoes”- as someone pointed out to me - responding to photo requests and working her way through the Bloch posters.

I met several people who couldn’t face the queue and potential hour long wait to reach the front, to ask for their signed poster by Sarah, so I’m delighted to say that I have one ready to give away to the person who can answer the question set by Bloch, which is :

Which Bloch pointe shoe does Sarah Lamb wear?

The rules of the competition are as follows :

Please leave your answer in the comment box and make sure you can be contacted (anonymous comments don’t count for competitions !).
The closing date is Friday 19th March 8pm GMT.

All correct entries will be placed in a pointe shoe and the winner drawn at random. The winner will be notified as soon as the draw has been made. In the event that I cannot contact the winner, a second name will be drawn from the shoe and so on until a winner can be contacted.

Good luck everyone !

Thursday, 11 March 2010


The casting for the Bolshoi's London visit has just arrived :

Photograph :  Damir Yusopov

July 2010

Mon 19 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Spartacus Ivan Vasiliev Nina Kaptsova
1st night Svetlana Zakharova Alexander Volchkov

Tue 20 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Spartacus Pavel Dmitrichenko Anna Nikulina
Maria Alexandrova Yury Baranov

Wed 21 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Spartacus Mikhail Lobukhin Nina Kaptsova
Ekaterina Krysanova Artem Shpilevsky

Thur 22 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Coppélia Maria Alexandrova Ruslan Skvortsov
1st night

Fri 23 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Coppélia Natalia Osipova Viacheslav Lopatin

Sat 24 Bolshoi Ballet 2.00pm
Coppélia Anastasia Stashkevich Viacheslav Lopatin

Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Coppélia Natalia Osipova Ruslan Skvortsov

Mon 26 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Serenade Ekaterina Krysanova Anna Leonova
Anastasia Yatsenko Artem Shpilevsky
Giselle Svetlana Zakharova Nikolay Tsiskaridze
1st night Maria Allash

Tue 27 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Serenade Anastasia Yatsenko Anna Leonova
Anastasia Stashkevich Artem Shpilevsky
Giselle Natalia Osipova Alexander Volchkov
Maria Allash

Wed 28 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Serenade Ekaterina Krysanova Anna Leonova
Anastasia Yatsenko Artem Shpilevsky
Giselle Anna Nikulina Ruslan Skvortsov Anna Leonova

Thur 29 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Paquita Maria Alexandrova Alexander Volchkov
Petrushka Ivan Vasiliev Natalia Osipova Denis Savin
Russian Seasons Natalia Osipova Svetlana Zakharova
1st night Andrey Merkuriev

Fri 30 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Paquita Anzhelina Vorontsova Nikolay Tsiskaridze
Petrushka Viacheslav Lopatin Ekaterina Krysanova
Vitaly Biktimirov
Russian Seasons Natalia Osipova

Sat 31 Bolshoi Ballet 2.00pm
Spartacus Pavel Dmitrichenko Anna Nikulina
Yury Baranov Maria Alexandrova or Ekaterina Shipulina??

Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Spartacus Ivan Vasiliev Nina Kaptsova Svetlana Zakharova Alexander Volchkov

Svetlana Zakharova, Maria Allash, Natalia Osipova
in Karin Abdullin
Photograph :  Damir Yusopov


Mon 2 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Le Corsaire Maria Alexandrova Nikolay Tsiskaridze
1st night Ekaterina Krysanova

Tue 3 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Le Corsaire Natalia Osipova Ivan Vasiliev Nina Kaptsova

Wed 4 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Le Corsaire Ekaterina Shipulina Ruslan Skvortsov Anastasia Yatsenko

Thur 5 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Le Corsaire Maria Alexandrova Nikolay Tsiskaridze Ekaterina Krysanova

Fri 6 Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Don Quixote Svetlana Zakharova Mikhail Lobukhin
1st night

Sat 7 Bolshoi Ballet 2.00pm
Don Quixote Ekaterina Krysanova Andrey Merkuriev

Bolshoi Ballet 7.30pm
Don Quixote Natalia Osipova Ivan Vasiliev

Sun 8 Bolshoi Ballet 3.00pm
Don Quixote Svetlana Zakharova Mikhail Lobukhin

Bolshoi Ballet in London @ The Royal Opera House this summer

Victor Hochhauser presents

19 July – 8 August 2010

Public booking opens 6 April 2010

The Bolshoi Ballet will be returning to the Royal Opera House this summer.  Casting is yet to be announced (if you know the Company, you'll know that comes very late and as usual is subject to change).

If Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev are cast in Don Quixote, do everything legal to buy a ticket.

The release goes on to say :

Highlights of the ballet season include the Bolshoi’s joyous revival of Coppélia, which has earned ecstatic accolades since its premiere in Moscow last year, and a fascinating triple bill of three celebrated ballets by some of Russia’s supreme choreographers: Fokine’s immortal Petrushka set to Stravinsky’s extraordinary score; the Grand Pas from Petipa’s masterpiece Paquita, in a revival by Yuri Burlaka; and the British premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons, an exuberant celebration of Russian folk dance.

Three renowned classics particularly associated with the Bolshoi’s matchless vitality return to the stage of the Royal Opera House. The season opens with Yuri Grigorovich’s legendary staging of Spartacus to Khachaturian’s famous score and closes with Don Quixote, an exhilarating celebration of the Bolshoi’s breathtakingly virtuoso dancing and irrepressible wit. Following its spectacular success in 2007, Alexei Ratmansky’s recreation of Le Corsaire returns with its exotic blend of love, intrigue and deception.
In contrast, Balanchine’s great twentieth-century classic, Serenade and the haunting Giselle, performed in Yuri Grigorovich’s acclaimed version, combine in a programme which displays the elegance and beauty of the Bolshoi’s incomparable dancers.

The full complement of the Bolshoi’s leading dancers including Maria Alexandrova, Anna Antonicheva , Maria Allash, Nina Kaptsova, Natalia Osipova, Ekaterina Shipulina, Svetlana Zakharova and Yuri Baranov, Mikhail Lobukhin, Andrei Merkuriev, Ruslan Skvortsov, Nikolai Tsiskaridze and Ivan Vasiliev will perform in London.

Spartacus 19, 20, 21, 31 July at 7.30pm. 31 July at 2pm
Coppélia 22, 23, 24, July at 7.30pm. 24 July at 2pm
Giselle 26, 27, 28 July at 7.30pm
Triple Bill 29, 30 July at 7.30pm
Le Corsaire 2, 3, 4, 5 August at 7.30pm
Don Quixote 6, 7 August at 7.30pm 7 August at 2pm 8 August at 3pm

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Royal Ballet 2010/2011 Season Announced

It's a season with some sparkling highlights to look forward to - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Onegin (which will hopefully satisfy some ballerina's hopes in terms of casting), and some productions which have already been seen during this current season - Cinderella, Les Patineurs, Tales of Beatrix Potter for example.  So a season of two halves perhaps, and very much a (Monica) Mason vintage.

World Premieres
Christopher Wheeldon goes down the rabbit hole in his much-anticipated Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which is a co-production with The National Ballet of Canada and will premiere in February 2011.

Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor will showcase another new ballet on May 13th 2011 as part of a triple bill (details below).

Kim Brandstrup, whose Rushes - Fragments of a Lost Story has been recently revived, will be back with a new ballet as part of a triple bill opening the new season, in October.

The fourth world premiere is by ROH Associate Artist Aletta Collins, who will choreograph a new work in the smaller Linbury Studio Theatre in June called Duet for One.  This will be paired with La Voix humaine (it's first performance at the Royal Opera House).

Carlos Acosta as Des Grieux in The Royal Ballet's Manon
Photograph :  Bill Cooper

Full length works
Onegin (30 September)
Sylvia (3 November)
Cinderella (20 November and 4 April)
Giselle (11 January 2011)
Swan Lake (22 January 2011)
Manon (21 April 2011)

Alina Cojocaru as Cinderella
Photograph :  Dee Conway

Mixed programmes
LaValse/New Brandstrup/Winter Dreams/Theme and Variations (15 October)
Peter and the Wolf/Les Patineurs/Tales of Beatrix Potter (December 2010)
Faeries (festive season)
Rhapsody/Sensorium/The Rite of Spring (16 March 2011) - The part of The Chosen One will be danced in these performances by a male dancer.
Ballo Della Regina/New McGregor/DGV : Danse A grande Vitesse (13 May 2011)  Balanchine's Ballo della Regina will be a Royal Ballet and European Premiere.
Scenes De Ballet/Voluntaries/Still Life At The Penguin Cafe (28 May 2011) 

Ludovic Ondiviela as Tom Thumb and Iohna Loots as Hunka Munka
 in The Royal Ballet’s Tales of Beatrix Potter
Photograph : Tristram Kenton

In addition, Ballet Black will return to the Linbury Studio Theatre in February 2011 for their fifth successful season, where they will perform a new work.

Cathy Marston's Bern Ballet return with two new works in May, which will be UK premieres.

Booking opens on 29th June 2010, by phone 0207 304 4000 and via the ROH website.

Ryoichi Hirano and Tara-Brigitte Bhavnani in the pas de deux in The Royal Ballet’s Les Patineurs

Photograph : Tristram Kenton