Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Taking Stock of 2016 and Looking Forward to 2017

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I have been comparing what I had tipped last year in Looking Forward to 2016 which I posted on 30 Dec 2015 with The Year of the Swans: My Review of 2016 27 Dec 2016 to see how many of my forecasts turned out to be correct. It seems that most of them were.

I featured a clip of Jean-Christopher Maillot's version of The Taming of the Shrew to Looking Forward to 2016 which was uncannily prescient as I did not get a chance to see it in the cinema until a month later.  As you know, it was my ballet of the year (see The Terpsichore Titles: Ballet of 2016 30 Dec 2016). I was also right about Mata Hari (see Brandsen's Masterpiece 14 Feb 2016), Ballet Bubbles and David Dawson's Swan Lake (see Empire Blanche: Dawson's Swan Lake 4 June 2016) for Ted Brandsen, Ernst Meisner and David Dawson were my choreographers of 2016 (see Terpsichore Titles: Best Choreographers 30 Dec 2016). Also, I was right about Kate Flatt's Undivided Loves because Phoenix ended up as my contemporary company of the year.

On the other hand I missed David Bintley's new work The Tempest and Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Like a lot of bloggers and journalists I expected far too much of Akram Khan's Giselle.

Looking forward to this year, I am very excited by the return of the Mariinsky to Covent Garden between 24 July and 12 Aug 2017. They are bringing Ekaterina Kondaurova, Oxana Skorik, Viktoria Tereshkina, Diana Vishneva, Timur Askerov, Yevgeny Ivanchenko, Kimin Kim Vladimir Shklyarov and of course good old Xander Parish. Not so much of the old perhaps even though the Mariinsky's visit will fall on the 10th anniversary of the first time I saw that remarkable young artist. I saw him and his sister Demelza dance in Christopher Hampson's Echoes at the Grand Opera House in York on my 25th wedding anniversary on the 29 July 2007.  I did not blog about ballet in those days but Charles Hutchinson of The Press reviewed the show in A Summer Gala of Dance and Song, Grand Opera House, York, Sunday 31 July 2007. Incidentally, Xander will be dancing Albrecht in English National Ballet's Giselle later this month.

Returning to the Mariinsky, they will perform Don Quixote on 24, 25, 26 July and 5 Aug at 19:30 and also at 14:00 on 5 Aug, Swan Lake on 27, 28, 29, 31 July and 1,2, 7 Aug at 19:30 and 14:00 on 29 July, Anna Karenina on 3, 4 Aug at 19:39, Contrasts a triple bill consisting of Carmen Suite, Infra and Paquita Grand Pas on 8, 9 Aug at 19:30 and La Bayadere on 10, 11, 12 August at 19:30 and also at 14:00 on 12 Aug. Tickets will be on sale from 7 March for Friends of Covent Garden and 28 March for everyone else.

Other treats coming to Covent Garden are Wayne McGregor's Woolf Works which I missed first time round, a mixed bill consisting of David Dawson's The Human Seasons, Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain and a new ballet by Crystal Pite, Balanchine's Jewels which is unmissable and three of my favourite Ashton works, The Dream, Symphonic Variations and Marguerite and Armand. I may be reaching for a tissue as memories of Fonteyn and Nureyev, Sibley and Dowell come flooding back.

just down Long Acre and right at St Martin's Lane lies The Coliseum where English National Ballet will stage Mary Skeaping's Giselle (see English National Ballet's other Giselle 22 Oct 2016). English National will run Akram Khan's Giselle at Sadler's Wells from the 20 to 23 Sept 2017. As a van Manen fan I am looking forward to the company's Pina Bausch, William Forsythe and Hans van Manen triple bill between 23 March and 1 April 2017.  Having grown up with Festival Ballet's Nutcracker at the Festival Hall it will be good to see them reclaim that space with their Romeo and Juliet between 1 and 5 Aug 2017. I saw that production when they were in Manchester on 28 Nov 2015 (see Manchester's Favourite Ballet Company 29 Dec 2015). A special treat for me as I have been following her ever since she danced in Leeds was Sarah Kundi's performance as Lady Capulet.

The show from Birmingham to which I am most looking forward is Ruth Brill's Arcadia and I explained why in Ruth Brill's Arcadia  16 Dec 2016, It will be performed with The Moor's Pavane and Wink on the company's tour of the South (Cheltenham, Poole and Truro) and at the Hippodrome with Cranko's Pineapple Poll and Macmillan's Le Baiser de la Fee.  Talking of Cranko, the Dutch National Ballet (which was my company of the year in 2016) will dance Onegin in April, That will be unmissable as will Juniors Go Dutch  at the Meervaart.  Crossing back to the Hippodrome, the Birmingham Royal Ballet's Coppelia is another "must see."

I shall be in the audience for Scottish Ballet's Hansel and Gretel in Newcastle next month and also for their visit to Sadler's Wells in June with Emergence and MC14/22 (ceci est mon corps). I shall gladly travel to Glasgow or Edinburgh for Christopher Hampson's new Rite of Spring as well as another Baiser de la Fee in Scottish Ballet Dances Stravinsky. Finally, the company will re-stage Peter Darrell's version of The Nutcracker for Christmas in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.  Having seen  The Nutcracker two years ago I  recommend it highly (see Like meeting an old friend after so many years 4 Jan 2015).

Other shows I hope to see will be Kenneth Tindall's new Casanova. Daniel de Andrade's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and David Nixon's The Little Mermaid for Northern Ballet, Ballet Black's triple bill with new works by Martin Lawrance, Michael Corder and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Alexander Ekman's Swan Lake for the Norwegian Ballet in Paris. The Norwegians impressed me considerably on World Ballet Day.

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