|Marie Taglioni in La Sylphide|
Yesterday I listed my 11 favourite ballets of this year but what about next year? Who knows! But here are some likely candidates.
La Sylphide is not a ballet that we see very often in this country which is strange because it is set in Scotland. It is much less creepy that Giselle though it does have a witch and sylphs. The costumes are gorgeous: colourful tartan for the men and flowing white romantic tutus for the women. Løvenskjold's score is not quite as well known as Adam's but it is not bad. This year we shall have a taster when principals and soloists of the Royal Danish Ballet visit the Peacock on the 9 and 10 Jan 2015 and then the real McCoy in August when the Queensland Ballet come to the Coliseum.
The visit of the Queensland Ballet excites me for another reason. My dear ballet teacher Fiona Noonan, who put me on my feet with ballercise and then coaxed me into ballet just over 2 years ago, trained in Brisbane. She demands the best from her students and we strive to give it to her though I fear I do not always succeed. The name of the company's ballet school - the Queensland Dance School of Excellence - typifies its aspiration. Judging by this trailer for for the 2015 season we are in for quite a treat.
The company will dance at the Coliseum from 4 to 8 Aug 2015 and I have a ticket for the last night.
Last year the Dutch National Ballet Junior Company danced a short season at The Linbury. I reviewed their performance in And can they fly! The Dutch National Ballet Junior Company at Covent Garden 30 June 2014. They are returning to London with 7 new dancers in the first week of June as part of the Springboard season (see my interview with Ernst Meisner on the Junior Company 3 Dec 2015). I will see the show in Amsterdam on 6 Feb 2015 and will report back to you. A week after the Junior Company visits the Linbury the main company will present Wayne McGregor's Chroma and new works by David Dawson and Christopher Wheeldon as part of its Cool Britannia triple bill. It does seem a bit ironic crossing the North Sea to see some of the best of British choreography but there it is.
The one show of the Royal Ballet that I am not going to miss come hell or high water will be Ashton's La Fille mal gardée. This is the oldest ballet in the modern repertory though Ashton's version is a complete reworking and very different from the original work. It is my favourite ballet and I have seen many famous ballerinas dance the leading role. My all time favourite was Merle Park but I think Roberta Marquez, Laura Morera, Marianela Nuñez, Yuhui Choe and Natalia Osipova will all dance Lise well. I also this Carlos Acosta will make a superb Colas.
Another treat at Covent Garden will be Ballet Black's triple bill which will revive Will Tuckett's Depouillement. This was the work that led me to Ballet Black. Here is the pas de deux danced by Jade Hale Christofi and Sarah Kundi.
Christofi and Kundi have both moved on so the pas de deux will be danced by other dancers. When she visited Leeds in November I asked Cassa Pancho who will dance those roles in February. She seemed about to answer my question and then hesitated. "It's a surprise" she smiled. She has lots of good dancers to choose from. My choice would be Damien Johnson and Cira Robinson or Christopher Renfurm and Kanika Carr but any of the dancers of Ballet Black could do it well. There will also be new works by Kit Holder and Mark Bruce. I have tickets for the 14 February which happens to be my birthday. I can't think of a better way of celebrating it than watching this company - can you?
So far I have discussed ballets that will be performed in London but there is some good stuff in Leeds too. Between 4 and 12 March Northern Ballet will dance Jean-Christophe Maillot's Romeo and Juliet at The Grand. Ballet Black will dance their delightful children's ballet Dogs Don't Do Ballet at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre on the 18 and 19 April (see Woof 12 Oct 2014). Northern Ballet will also dance David Nixon's Wuthering Heights in Sheffield. between 18 and 21 Match 2015.
In Scotland there is Peter Darrell's The Nutcracker for Scottish Ballet which I shall see in Edinburgh on Saturday and Ballet West's Romeo and Juliet which I will catch wherever I can. From Wales Ballet Cymru promise a new Cinderella and two new works called Celtic Concerto and Tir. Finally, in Essex there will be a new Carnival of the Animals by Christopher Marney for the wonderful Chelmsford Ballet Company of which I am proud to be a non-dancing associate member. One of the reasons I admire Marney is that his style reminds me of John Cranko. It just so happens that the company will also be dancing Cranko's Pineapple Poll with the new Marney. They will perfrom at the Chelmsford Civic Theatre between the 18 and 21 March. Last year every performance of The Nutcracker was sold out so don't leave it too late to buy a ticket. I wouldn't miss that show for the world,