Over the last four years I have contributed reviews and features to a variety of ballet websites, including the Royal Opera House, The Ballet Bag, and A Younger Theatre. I have also be hired to cover the opening night of Carlos Acosta’s new production of Don Quixote for the Royal Opera House on their social media channels (with The Ballet Bag).
This page is a portfolio of some of these reviews and features, along with select articles from my site chronicling my personal ballet journey: DaveTriesBallet.
As the seemingly endless flower throw of bright red carnations rained down on the cast and production team, I think all would agree that the evening had been a success. Whilst any new production will garner differences of opinion, it really felt that the evening had been a special one. It was an honour to feel that I had been able to contribute to that, sharing the excitement with tweeters across the world. If you followed along, or were there in person, I hope you had as much fun as I did!
Don Quixote Takeover for the Royal Opera House and The Ballet Bag
Article on The Ballet Bag and ROH announcement
I think the most amazing thing about working at the Royal Opera House this week is that you never know what you might end up doing. One minute I was writing a piece on Joyce DiDonato performing at the Last Night of the Proms, the next I was assisting on the production of a trailer for Les Vepres siciliennes, then I was off to meet a Jette Parker Young Artist to discuss ideas for future blogs. A work experience placement at the Royal Opera House in an invaluable experience for anyone wishing to work in the arts. It's rewarding, opinion-forming and valued by employers. I thoroughly recommend it!
Royal Opera House Work Experience
ROH Work experience Article on Royal Opera House and Joyce DiDonato round-up
The finale was Lifar's ever-impressive Suite en Blanc. The opening tableaux is one of the most striking images in ballet (it ranks up there with Balanchine's Serenade), with the company resplendent in startling white tutus and romantic shirts. So striking, in fact, that it garnered its own round of applause before the dancing had even started. The piece perfectly showcases the technical prowess of dancers like Muntagirov, Yonah Acosta and Begoña Cao, be it in the tricky solos or the precise group sections. Stanton Welch once said of Suite en Blanc "Dancers need to do this ballet to prove their worth" and there was no doubt that the company proved themselves with a superb performance.
The Ballet Bag
English National Ballet review and The BalletBoyz review
The following sequence references the previous love duet, but the feel of the piece has completely changed. Juliet is restrained, and Romeo seems to become the instigator of the dance. As he spins her you feel like Juliet is losing her grip on the situation, reflected in her dejected and resigned movements. She has accepted the impossibility of their love, shown in the agonising reprise of the previously defiant arabesque pose – both lovers accepting their doomed fate.
Romeo & Juliet Researched – The Pas de Deux
Early in Act III, Lord and Lady Capulet try to force Juliet to marry Paris and they share a courtship dance in the middle of her bedroom. Unlike the earlier passionate balcony and bedroom pas de deux with Romeo, Juliet is unresponsive to Paris' partnering. She falls limp as he tries to earn her affection. In the middle of this sequence Juliet suddenly snaps her leg into a high arabesque (one leg lifted behind her) recoiling away from Paris. This defiant gesture reveals Juliet's true feelings, a crack in her submissive facade. I cannot think how this level of complexity in Juliet's character could be expressed with more traditional mime.
A Younger Theatre
Feature on MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet and Feature on starting ballet
At the heart of it, Pagodas is about Belle Rose's journey. Originally choreographed for Darcey Bussell, it was a big role to fill, but Marianela Nunez did just that, giving a graceful yet powerful performance as the young heroine. One of the top ballerinas in the country, her musicality is second-to-none, and it is needed for Britten's Gamelan-influenced score. Stepping delicately across the irregular rhythms, Nuñez is as impressive with floating posé arabesques as she is leaping across the stage (one grand jeté in particular had so much height it garnered a gasp from me).
Cloud Dance Festival
Royal Ballet review
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