Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Flying Dutchmen are coming to London

Well they are not all Dutch, of course, and only half of them are men but, as you can see from the clip above. they can all fly. And they are flying in a different sense this week. Having completed a tour of the Netherlands they are going international. Tonight they are performing at the Teatro Campoamor in Oviedo. On Wednesday and Thursday they are coming to the Linbury.

I saw the opening of their tour in Amsterdam on the 24 Nov 2013 (see "The Junior Company of the Dutch National Ballet - Stadsshouwburg Amsterdam 24 Nov 2013"  25 Nov 2013). It was a night I shall always remember. The members of the audience rose to their feet as one and the theatre literally vibrated with the applause. I have known other great performances where there have been standing ovations but I have known only one night to compare with that evening in Amsterdam. That was the gala for Sir Frederick Ashton in the Royal Opera House on the 24 July 1970 (see the photo of the curtain call on the Royal Ballet's Flickr stream). 

I have written a lot about the Junior Company in this blog and on BalletcoForum because they are special. There are other junior companies in the world but this one is different in that its members had already distinguished themselves before they entered its ranks. Michaela DePrince for instance had danced Gulnare in South Africa when she was only 17 and was with the Dance Theatre of Harlem before she joined the company. They are thus the crème de la crème of their generation. The Junior Company is a centre of excellence perhaps comparable with elite institutions in other fields like Harvard Business School or the SAS.

Someone from the Dutch National Ballet posted a message about the Junior Company's visit to London on the Balletco Forum website yesterday which I answered. In their reply to me the spokesperson said:
"Hi Terpischore, yes I've read your post on your website, it was a very special occasion indeed, great that you could make it! and so nice you will come and see the company again. I am curious about your opinion this time, the Junior dancers have really grown up this season :-)"
It was the last 8 words that pulled me up with a jolt. Those artists were already good enough to prompt a standing ovation from one of the most sophisticated audiences in the world six months ago. How much better can they get?

Well on Thursday I shall find out. British interest will focus on Michaela DePrince since there is a massive Sierra Leonean community in this country two of whom will be coming with me. DePrince is the nearest we have to a local girl and we shall want to make her feel at home.  Though there are no British dancers in the Junior Company this year there are plenty of British connections. Meisner himself danced with the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden. The pas de quatre from Sleeping Beauty was choreographed by Sir Peter Wright. The whole of the third Act is a ballet by George Williamson.

As you can see I am already a fan of this company. If you want another view try Sanne Thierens's "Grandiosity from members of the Dutch National Ballet Junior Company" 11 May 2014 in Bachtrack. There are still a few tickets for sale if you hurry.  Call 020 7304 4000 or click this link.

Post Script

The Junior Company's short international tour opened in Oviedo in Asturias last night.

Ernst Meisner tweeted:

Something for us all to look forward to.

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