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Danciest Movies Of 2018

Danciest Movies Of 2018

Dance Magazine – Dance in Pop Culture

From JLaw to Ralph Fiennes, Here Are the Danciest Movies in the Works for 2018

danciest movies 2018
Oleg Ivenko and Ralph Fiennes on the set of The White Crow, an upcoming feature film dramatizing Rudolf Nureyev’s defection. Photo via variety.com

Oh, Hollywood. In any given year, Tinseltown’s use of dance in film veers from the woefully disappointing to the surprisingly delightful, but one thing’s for certain: It’s rarely boring. Here’s our not-at-all-comprehensive and completely-subject-to-change list of the new dance-related movies coming soon to a theater (or laptop screen) near you.

Red Sparrow

Based on Jason Matthews’ novel of the same name, the feature film tells the story of an ex-ballerina-turned-Russian-spy (Jennifer Lawrence) and her entanglement with a CIA agent. Crosses, double-crosses and an ill-timed romance ensue, but the real excitement comes from the ballet talent in the cast and crew: Sergei Polunin has a role, Isabella Boylston is Lawrence’s dance double and Justin Peck was brought on to choreograph. In theaters March 2.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

We aren’t sure how much dancing will be in the final cut of this live-action take on the E.T.A. Hoffmann story that inspired the ubiquitous ballet, but amongst the Hollywood A-listers are a couple of very familiar names: Misty Copeland and Sergei Polunin. She’ll lead what may well be the only major dance sequence in the movie, with choreography by Liam Scarlett. In theaters Nov. 2.

Suspiria

A fan-made trailer for the 1977 original

A remake of the 1977 horror movie of the same name, it follows a young American dancer (Dakota Johnson) who travels to Berlin to study at a prestigious academy where things quickly take a dark turn. Johnson trained in dance in preparation for her role, but we’re expecting more emphasis on terror than technique. Tentatively slated for a 2018 release.

The White Crow

Oleg Ivenko stars as Rudolf Nureyev in The White Crow. Photo by Jessica Forde, Courtesy Premier

Based on Julie Kavanagh’s Rudolf Nureyev: The Life, the Ralph Fiennes–directed drama focuses on the circumstances surrounding the dance legend’s 1961 defection. Gabrielle Tana, who produced the Sergei Polunin documentary DANCER, developed and is co-producing the project. The cast includes Russian dancer Oleg Ivenko (as Nureyev) as well as Polunin, with choreography by Johan Kobborg. Tentatively slated for a 2018 release.

Untitled Tiler Peck documentary

A new documentary on NYCB star Tiler Peck is in production. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB

Directed by Steven Cantor (who previously directed DANCER) and with actress Elisabeth Moss as an executive producer, the documentary will follow the New York City Ballet star as she prepares for her curatorial debut with BalletNOW, which took place at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles last July. The program’s cast was ridiculously star-studded, with dancers from NYCB, American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opéra Ballet, The Royal Ballet and Dorrance Dance joining Peck. We can’t wait to see the backstage shenanigans. Slated for release on Hulu in 2018.

Yuli

A dance-centric biopic based on Carlos Acosta’s memoir—and starring Acosta and his company—is in production. Photo by Kristie Kahns

Carlos Acosta will star in this biopic, produced by BBC Films and inspired by his memoir No Way Home, charting his rise to the top of the ballet world. The film’s script is from Paul Laverty, best known for his searing, socially conscious work with British director Kenneth Loach. Acosta Danza will also appear in dance sequences choreographed by Acosta. Release date TBA.

Benjamin Millepied is making his feature-film directorial debut with a new Carmen. Photo by Agathe Poupeney, Courtesy Paris Opéra Ballet

Benjamin Millepied’s directorial debut for a feature-length film will be a contemporary musical drama inspired by the iconic opera. Millepied will once again choreograph for the big screen (having previously done so for Black Swan) and is working with a creative team that includes composer Nicholas Britell (Moonlight). Filming will begin early this year. Release date TBA.

Magic Boy

Magic Boy

Over the years, Sergei has earned a nickname among his many supporters.  For reasons too obvious to go into, they call him “Magic Boy.”

That nickname inspired a video of mine.  Without further ado… “Magic Boy”

 

Anna Pavlova Gala Review 2012

Anna Pavlova Gala Review 2012

Anna Pavlova gala: Seven magazine review, by Louise Levene

Seven rating: * * * *

Just when you worry that Sergei Polunin might have been oversold, you see him dance again and realise it was all true. Even in the ultra-starry company of last Sunday’s gala in memory of Anna Pavlova – Vadim Muntagirov, Uliana Lopatkina, Evgenia Obraztsova, Svetlana Zakharova – the Royal Ballet runaway was ablaze with classical artistry.

Wayne Eagling and Ensemble Productions delivered a mixed evening, and the variation in quality between the party pieces seemed to render time elastic. Tamara Rojo’s risible duet with live goldfish seemed to last longer than Titanic, while Polunin’s Raymonda variations zipped by in a heartbeat.

We don’t see nearly enough of Raymonda. The Royal Ballet haven’t danced their glorious Nureyev-staged Act III for nearly a decade and the Bolshoi haven’t brought theirs since 1999. Glazunov, Petipa, a shimmering ballerina and two superb male roles: what’s not to love?

Polunin’s performance at the Coliseum gala was certainly a one-man advertisement for the ballet. The bravura tricks were all in place but there was no sense of display, no hint of preparation, and the soft landings to the knee were every bit as treasurable as the great arcing leaps. The Boston critic HT Parker once wrote of Pavlova that she “accomplishes every feat of technical virtuosity with an air almost of simplicity”, and Polunin’s easy grandeur was in precisely that spirit.

Pavlova danced her last performance back in 1930 but her influence was incalculable, and British theatregoers are only one degree of separation from her greatness thanks to the impact she had on the cornerstones of our national ballet: Alicia Markova, Ninette de Valois and, of course, Frederick Ashton.

Peace, Love, & Ballet… Groovy.

Peace, Love, & Ballet… Groovy.

Peace Love Ballet

Sergei Polunin is many things… and usually the superlative of every last one.   In this post, I choose to focus on something that (like most of what he does) not all of us come by naturally… his groove.  Sergei is, without a doubt, wicked groovy.  Boasting the swagger of the young and carefree, he fuses exquisite ballet technique, superb natural abilities, and stunning physical attributes into one very cool persona.   Sergei palling up with David LaChapelle for the Diesel “Make Love, Not Walls” promotion was a groundbreaking, masterpiece of psychedelic peace, love, and harmony.

Yes, he is a white tights ballet god if there ever was one, but, never has a pair of jeans looked so good.  The film footage is stunning and shows off his youth, talent, and exuberance.  His happiness is contagious, and one cannot help but smile and step a little lighter after watching the production.

I choreograph with pixels

Now, as one who looks at video as a raw medium to be played with, celebrated, promoted, and spread forth even farther across the vast interwebs, “Make Love, Not Walls” was irresistible.  First off, I give complete and utter props to those who created it in the first place and it is with great care that I honor their vision.  It is my goal to maintain their original ideas, plans, and wishes, and send worthy reincarnations of it out to to reiterate and reinforce their conception.

That being said, here are a trio of my works that were inspired by and born of Diesel’s amazing 2017 advertising campaign “Make Love, Not Walls,” by David LaChapelle.

 Let there be PEACE love ballet

Then, peace LOVE ballet

And peace love BALLET

Finally, peace love ballet SERGEI

Sergei’s Swan Swims

Sergei’s Swan Swims

“And The Swan Is Swimming”

Belcanto.ru

 Ekaterina Belyaeva, 11.10.2012

"Swan Lake" at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater

The ballet season at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater opened on September 29 with Swan Lake.  Vladimir Burmeister’s version. Apart from the fact that it is a cult spectacle for the theater and, in general, a cult Russian ballet, plus the highest-grossing ballet of all time.  The “Swan” Burmeister celebrates several dates this season. Sixty years from the day of his birth will be celebrated with official festivities and even a mini-festival at the MAMT in April 2013.  Secondly, on September 9, it will be eighty-five years from the birthday of the first Odette-Odile Violetta Trofimovna Bovt (1927-1995).  The famous Moscow ballerina danced for thirty-five years on the stage of her native Stasika, becoming the first performer of many ballets of the post-war repertoire.

The main reason to visit this first performance of the season was not his “bearded” jubilees, but the debuts of young performers – Erika Mikirticheva and Sergei Polunin .

The latter began the duties of the premiere of the Moscow theater at the end of last season, having fled in February from London‘s Covent Garden. Despite his youth (22 years), the artist, apparently, experienced an existential crisis.  He got too much luck – he came from Ukraine, he joined the celebrated English troupe, quickly became principal, he danced a dozen leading roles from Capt. Solyon in the “Winter Dreams” of McMillan to Solor in La Bayadere.  In passing, I found out that he does not need a free flow of roles, if there is no time for reflection.  Polunin resigned and went into hiding until he was caught up with the call of the choreographer of the ballet MAMT Igor Zelensky with an invitation to Moscow to work and with promises of a creative atmosphere (in one interview, the artist complained that his English director, Monica Mason, had never even really talked to him ).

"Swan Lake" at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater

The atmosphere for the dancer was unusual: almost two hours it was necessary to be on stage and only twenty minutes of them to dance – basically as a ballerina supporting partner.

The fact is that Burmeister, when composing his version of Swan in 1953, made changes mainly to the plot, to the composition inside the paintings, to the music and the party of Odile, and Siegfried received almost nothing in comparison with the pre-revolutionary editions.  Burmeister in the play has a prologue and an epilogue, which clearly tells the story of the transformation of Odette into a swan: a curtain opens in the middle of the overture, a young girl in a white dress runs out from the wings, an evil owl (Rothbart) stands on a rock and wings theatrically, the girl disappears imperceptibly,  Then on the flat lake in the background a plastic swan moves in the crown, the curtain closes, and the music still sounds for a few minutes.

The whole of the first picture Prince Siegfried nervously wanders around the stage, drinking wine from the cup, humbly nods to the Queen Mother,

while his friends and a jester entertain him and themselves dancing to the music that was originally written by Tchaikovsky for this picture, but later partially capped, and partially used by Petipa to create his brilliant black pas de deux 3 act.

The courtiers flaunt semiclassical dances, which once made their creator famous, and today look very archaically – as museum exhibits from the era of the USSR. All the time you expect that secondary characters with jumps to dull sixth positions will give way to the handsome prince, but will not happen. The second picture corresponds to the classical white picture of Lev Ivanov, only in a shortened format (there are fewer swans, the amplitude of all movements is more modest).

"Swan Lake" at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater

The main trick for setting Burmeister – the third picture. Odile as a fatal woman appears at the ball along with the Spaniards and accompanied by Rothbart (absolutely pedestrian character). She seduces the prince not because she looks like Odette, whom he is in love with, but because he looks like Carmen, and she seduces everyone. Black pas de deux at Burmeister also exists – but in his author’s choreography (with tricks like a Don-Kikhotovsky jump of a ballerina in the hands of a partner) and to the music known to us on the Pas de de Tchaikovsky-Balanchine. At the same time Rothbart ( Anton Domashov ) constantly sympathetically interferes in the personal life of her daughter and her alleged bridegroom right at the time of their main dance. It is clear already that

Polunin, when he reached his short variation, gave out to the maximum – picturesque pirouettes, double tours with accurate landings in the fifth, stone solid, etc.

In pantomime and gaming pieces Polunin kept in character delicately, which pleased.

The fourth picture is not significant, except for the sugary, fantastic-plastic happy ending. Odette does not just not die a swan, she survives and regains her human appearance (puts on a dress and looks like a fairy Alyonushka) to match Siegfried.

The work of Erika Mikirticheva was rather liked, although she still has to sharpen the role.

There were a lot of technical inconsistencies that would improve in time. Actress’s audacity Odile, she threw out with interest, but not enough aplomb and, in general, hardness in the movements.

In the theater they openly say that they have a change of generations.

Two debuts of the young in the first ballet evening – this is a good start. We will wait for the continuation. October 29 Polunin will dance Basil in “Don Quixote” A. Chichinadze – another rarity from the “treasury” MAMT.

Photos by Mikhail Logvinov

 

Sergei Helps Make A Ballerina 2018

Sergei Helps Make A Ballerina 2018

Need To Turn A Hollywood Star Into a Ballerina? Call Kurt Froman

By Jennifer Stahl for Dance Magazine February 2018

Kurt Froman with Jennifer Lawrence, whom he coached for the upcoming film Red Sparrow
 How does someone go from a New York City Ballet corps member to training Hollywood A-listers like Natalie Portman, Rooney Mara and Jennifer Lawrence? By getting injured, says Kurt Froman.

When an ankle sprain left him sidelined a few years back, Froman was “sitting at home, depressed” when he sent his friend Benjamin Millepied an email asking what he was up to. It turned out that Millepied just been hired to choreograph some scenes for a movie, but had to be in Paris during pre-production. “He needed someone to teach two actors choreography and get them in shape,” says Froman. With nothing else on his plate, he said yes, and started prepping Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis for Black Swan.

Since then, one gig has led to another. Froman helped Rooney Mara get more comfortable in her body for some dance-y scenes in Terrence Malick’s Song to Song. Amazon hired him to train Christina Ricci to perform a short solo on pointe for its TV series “Z: The Beginning of Everything.”

His latest highprofile gig was training Jennifer Lawrence for the big-budget spy thriller Red Sparrow, in theaters March 2. He talked to Dance Magazine about what it takes to speed-learn ballet, how much these kinds of gigs pay and what he has to say to all the ballet-in-Hollywood haters.

Froman Had To Create A Believable Bolshoi Principal

With no prior dance training, Lawrence had to pass for a Bolshoi principal during a six-minute sequence Justin Peck was choreographing for the beginning of Red Sparrow. Although Isabella Boylston would be her dance double, Lawrence needed to be able to hit the right marks at the right time, with believable épaulement and port de bras for the visual effects to work.

“Jen had to know all six minutes of choreography, the rises and falls of the body, how to hold her arms correctly, how to be lifted by her partner [Sergei Polunin], how to do finger turns and spot her head,” Froman says. To make sure she hit the right steps at the right time, they filmed her under tempo at about 75 percent of the actual speed. But she impressed everyone involved by memorizing the full sequence.

Froman Teaches More Than Just Ballet Class

Froman and Lawrence worked together for three and a half months, four hours a day, five days a week. Before diving into Peck’s lightning-fast choreography, they’d start with 45 minutes at the barre each morning to help Lawrence learn the rules of ballet. “Also, for the character, it was helpful for her to have the discipline and get used to someone touching her and correcting her like ballet masters would,” says Froman. They worked with rotation disks to help her understand turnout, and did strength training to develop a ballet dancer’s deltoid muscles. (Lawrence also had a separate Pilates and fitness teacher.)

He Breaks Down All the Little Details

Training a Hollywood actor isn’t just about teaching them steps. Froman also has to break down things like the philosophy of ballet—why a certain angle is considered more beautiful than another—and how dancers hold and care for their bodies.

Froman showed Lawrence archival films of iconic Balanchine ballerinas like Merrill Ashley, Maria Tallchief and Melissa Hayden performing Firebird to explain the difference between this bird and Odette/Odile.

“The director, Francis Lawrence, also had me talk to her about things like how would a dancer sit—if she were sitting on a bed, would she be rubbing her feet, or doing a hamstring stretch? How would she walk down the street? Things that had to be carried throughout the film.”

The Paycheck Is Surprisingly…Ordinary

Froman says the pay for these projects varies based on who’s hiring him and what the budget is. But he hasn’t exactly hit the Hollywood jackpot. For Black Swan, he agreed to a flat fee that didn’t amount to much once he put in all the hours. Now he charges an hourly fee. “It’s adequate compensation,” he says, “but no more than what a personal trainer would get.”

Froman on the set of Black Swan. Photo via Vimeo

He’s Tapping An Undiscovered Market

Froman has realized that, beyond just training in ballet, there are many actors who simply want to be more comfortable in their bodies. “If they know there’s a dance scene, they want to feel capable and confident, they want to have options for what they can do in the moment.”

Froman Loves Helping Bring Ballet To The Masses

Although Hollywood sometimes gets flak from the dance world for misrepresenting the art form, Froman relishes the opportunity to reach a broad audience. “When I started dancing in Texas in the 80s, there wasn’t anything out there that I had as an example of what I wanted to do, except The Turning Point, which I would watch every day,” he says. “I’ve loved having a hand in this process, and feel lucky to pass on my art form.”

 

It’s Elemental!

It’s Elemental!

Earth, Air, Fire, Water… and Sergei!!

“Elemental” Sergei Polunin / Сергей Полунин

Earth – La Bayadere

Air – Sleeping Beauty

Fire – Marguerite & Armand

Water – Sleeping Beauty

Music: “The Long Story” by Damiano Baldoni with permission under license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

Please subscribe to my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/PamBoehmeSimon For additional videos and info, please visit my fan site at https://sergeipoluningracefulbeast.com

Sergei Polunin is a Ukrainian ballet dancer famous for his “once every hundred years” talent, his incredulous elevation, his impeccable technique, and glorious dramatic range. He brought an unprecedented new awareness to ballet when he danced in Hozier’s viral video ”Take Me To Church.” He starred in Diesel’s “Make Love Not Walls” campaign, and is a much sought after model and actor. He has appeared in such films as Murder On The Orient Express, Dancer (a documentary of his life), White Crow, and Red Sparrow.

This is a ballet|Полунин балет iMovie by Pam Boehme Simon.

Thank you for watching.

Sergei Upstages Everyone In Balanchine’s 2010 T&V

Sergei Upstages Everyone In Balanchine’s 2010 T&V

Royal Ballet Mixed Bill – A Review

3/5stars

Royal Opera House, London

Two ballets about separation dominate the Royal’s latest mixed bill – Kim Brandstrup’s Invitus Invitam and MacMillan’s Winter Dreams. Each of them has a pair of tragic lovers at its centre, each attempts to compress their story within a single act.

In every other way the two are poles apart. Brandstrup’s new work makes a poetic virtue of its own compression. Its lovers are the emperor Titus and his mistress Berenice, about whose separation nothing is known beyond a simple report by the historian Suetonius that “against his will and against her will they parted”.

Inspired by the agonised resonance of those few words, Brandstrup constructs his ballet out of three short duets. Set to Thomas Adès’s Three Studies from Couperin, these are passionate, fluent exchanges between Titus (Edward Watson) and Berenice (Leanne Benjamin) in which every small inflection as well as every turbulent lift comes saturated with challenge, tenderness, despair. Particularly eloquent is the transition from the flaring, conflicted lines of the first two duets, where the couple are still in partial denial, to the heartbreak of the third. Here, the spare formality of Adès’s music expands to romantic fullness and the choreography mimics it with a melting folding anguish.

What the ballet deliberately avoids is any sense of why Tito and Berenice have to part. Instead it punctuates the duets with interludes of “real stage time” during which we watch scenery (bare brick walls) being shunted onto the stage. These gaps act as question marks, invitations for us to imagine the backstory ourselves. Yet while they’re one way of solving the problem of narration, especially in a one-act ballet, they introduce an element of awkwardness.

Winter Dreams is awkward in many other ways. In this version of Three Sisters, MacMillan puts all of Chekov’s main characters on stage, then ambitiously attempts to contain their different stories within a succession of short danced vignettes. Given the right ensemble, these vignettes can gel into an atmospheric evocation of the play. But with Carlos Acosta badly miscast as Vershinin, even the delicately drawn suffering of Marianela Núñez’s Masha doesn’t begin to make it hang together.

The fun of the evening comes in the two works that open and close it. Lauren Cuthbertson delivers a pitch perfect fusion of period glamour and intelligent style in Ashton’s La Valse. Sergei Polunin, in a miracle of classical precision, virtuosity, and romantic uplift, upstages even Tamara Rojo in Balanchine’s Theme and Variations.

Tamara Rojo and Sergei Polunin in the Royal Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s ‘Theme and Variations’ at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. (Photos by Robbie Jack/Corbis via Getty Images)

Sergei & Manon, 2011

Sergei & Manon, 2011

Manon, Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Review

Lauren Cuthbertson makes her mark in her debut performance of Manon at the Royal Opera House.

4 out of 5 stars

Sergei Polunin as Des Grieux,  Lauren Cuthbertson as Manon at the Royal Opera House
Perfect: Sergei Polunin as Des Grieux, Lauren Cuthbertson as Manon at the Royal Opera House Photo: Alastair Muir

In 2009 the Royal Ballet principal Lauren Cuthbertson was diagnosed with glandular fever, which turned into agonisingly debilitating ME and necessitated not only an 18-month lay-off from the stage, but long periods of total physical incapacity.

She might never have danced again. In fact, she has returned to the stage, a different and more interesting ballerina, one determined to fulfil her ambition to perform the most challenging roles in the balletic repertoire.

And as challenges go, Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon is up there with the best of them. His three-act interpretation of the Abbé Prévost’s tragic novel is not so much the story of virginal innocence corrupted but of a voracious minx foiled. Manon may be on her way to a convent when we first see her, but she is never in any doubt about the power her beauty grants her in the world, and her treatment of the adoring student Des Grieux, whom she abandons for the jewels and furs offered by a rich protector, is little short of scandalous.

The trick is not only to negotiate the intricate swoops and entanglements of MacMillan’s evocative choreography, which sees Manon constantly passed from man to man like an expensive bauble, but also to make you care about this calculating, irrational heroine.

On her debut, Cuthbertson makes her mark. This is a wonderfully detailed performance, a carefully charted journey from girlish tease to enraptured lover to hard-bitten courtesan and finally to heart-broken and dying waif. She makes you so conscious of Manon’s love of luxury, her longing for the good life, that you understand her rash decisions even if you don’t sympathise with them. Her dancing is sumptuous but careful; there is a tiny bit of abandon lacking.

Her Des Grieux, however, is another matter. Sergei Polunin’s extreme youth makes him perfect for the dewy-eyed dreamer who throws his life away in thrall to Manon’s beauty. When we first see him in a big hat, with clumsy, out-turned feet, he is almost comically the innocent abroad. Then, as the role takes hold, the sheer purity of his movement in the lingering solos and impassioned pas de deux enables him powerfully to express his character’s ardour and despair.

Together, the couple find emotion in unexpected places, not in the big duets, but in the party scene, for example. The moment when Des Grieux pours out his disgust and despair at his love’s behaviour has rarely been more powerful. With wonderful support from Gary Avis as a particularly vulpine Monsieur GM and Jos Martin in ferociously sharp form as the conniving Lescaut, this is an evening to relish.

In repertoire until November 26

Sergei Goes To Cuba 2009

Sergei Goes To Cuba 2009

The Royal Ballet in Cuba A Memorable Dance Event

By: Pedro Quiroga Jimenez / Photos by Ismael Francisco and Royal Ballet Archives, on: Theatre & Performing Arts
May 2009
The Royal Ballet in Cuba A Memorable Dance Event

The Cuban public’s expectations were more than satisfied in July with the London Royal Ballet’s five memorable performances notable for choreographic diversity and the long awaited performances by Spanish Tamara Rojo and Cuban Carlos Acosta.

Rojo and Acosta, leading members of the famous British company, treated the audiences to virtuoso performances of the pas de deux of Le Corsaire for three emotional and ovation laden nights at Havana Gran Teatro.

The ensemble’s contemporaneousness shone in Chroma, by choreographer Wayne McGregor, who tests the physical efforts of each dancer in a game that lays bare the theory of knowledge about the human body. The cleanliness in technique and visible expressive force of each of the performers demonstrated the intensity of a spectacle marked by suggestive breaks from the classical line.

The light and pleasing divertimentos harvested another round of applause.

Alina Cojocaru and José Mart in showed their acting talent in the pas de deux, Voices of Spring, in which they effortlessly execute a sense of movement defying gravity, as in a waltz.

Roberta Márquez and Edward Watson performed Romeo and Jul iet’s balcony scene, choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan, who sets Shakespeare’s plot among the top 20th Century classics with the imposing score by Prokofiev.

Another pas de deux, Farewell, allowed Mara Galeazzi’s intense arabesques and Thiago Soares’s leaps and turns to not only express love, but a diatribe against destiny.

Thais, a pas de deux interpreted by Leanne Benjamín and David Makhatel, responded to the musical lyricism that inspired Massenet’s opera, saturated with an ethereal and romantic humour conceived by the late choreographer Frederick Ashton. Ashton’s 1976 A Month in the Country, a free adaptation of Russian novelist Ivan Turgueniev’s play, placed Zenaida Janowsky in the leading role on the Havana stage.

A highlight of the program was the homage paid to Cuba’s Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso by both Cuban and British dancers.

Tamara Rojo, Spanish prima ballerina and Principal Dancer with the Royal Ballet, was precise, secure and demonstrated a technique she owes in great measure to the Cuban school, during her performance with Cuban dancer Joel Carreño in the pas de deux of Act III of Don Quixote.

Cuban National Ballet’s prima ballerina, Viengsay Valdés, roused enthusiasm with her customary balance and fouettes in the pas de deux The Black Swan, accompanied by Brazil ian Thiago Soares.

Johan Kobborg’s choreography of Les Lutins (the musicians) was pleasant and brief performed by Alina Cojocaru, Steven McRae and Sergei Polunin.

To close the season in Cuba, the Royal Ballet performed the dramatic Manon at the Karl Marx Theatre, the largest in the island, seating 5,000. Manon, one of the most enduring titles in its repertoire, debates greed and personal pride, love and disloyalty, morality and resentment.

The Royal Ballet, together with artistic director Dame Monica Mason, returned to England with a feeling common to Cubans: as she said, having shared a moment memorable in every sense.




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