Saturday, 12 August 2017

Welcoming the Mariinsky: Looking Forward to the Original Bayadere

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The Mariinsky have been in London since the 24 July but this afternoon's matinee performance of La Bayadere will be the only time I shall get to see them on this visit. I usually get to the ballet at least once a week and sometimes much more often, but, unless you count Citrus Arts' Savage Hart and Northern Ballet's preview of The Little Mermaid, today's performance of La Bayadere will be the first show that I will have attended since the Dutch National Ballet's New Moves in Amsterdam at the end of June. I have gone to a few classes but that has been just about it.

The reason I have seen and done so little ballet for the last few weeks is that I have been invited to address the Cambridge IP Law Summer School on Thursday. I don't get a fee but I do get a chance to attend the week's conference which normally costs £3,498 to hear some of the leading practitioners in my field. The topic on which I have been asked to speak is a controversial one on a jurisdiction that allows companies and other private investors to claim compensation from foreign governments in certain circumstances.  There have been two big arbitration decisions on claims brought under this jurisdiction, one of which was decided just a few months ago. As I want to do a good job I have focused all my time and energies on legal research over the last 6 weeks.

I have now written my hand out and sent my Powerpoint to the conference organizer.  I can now concentrate on today's performance.  It should be good. The Mariinsky are the successors to the Imperial Russian Ballet which first performed the work in St Petersburg just over 140 years ago. I will get the chance to see three of the company's rising stars, namely Nadezhda Batoeva, Timur Askerov and Yekaterina Chebykina. I shall watch the ballet with my classmate and friend, Yoshie, who also attended Jane Tucker's La Bayadere intensive at KNT last year (see La Bayadère Intensive Day 1: There's Life in the Old Girl Yet 16 Aug 2016,  La Bayadere Intensive Day 2: Idols and Disembodied Shades 17 Aug 2016 and La Bayadere Intensive Day 3: No Snakes 17 Aug 2016). We shall watch and learn what we should have done from the experts.

La Bayadere is not performed very often in this country.  Most of the versions that we see trace their origins to the Mariinsky by one route or another. One big exception is Stanton Welch's for the Houston Ballet. There was an appeal last year for funds to bring that ballet to Birmingham (see A Birmingham Bayadere 24 Nov 2016). Alas, that project was scuppered when the local authority's reduced its subvention to the company (see How Nikiya must have felt when she saw a snake 21 Jan 2017). I have  seen the trailer for Welch's ballet and several extracts but it is the following parody that really whets my appetite for his show:

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And I used to think Americans lacked a sense of humour.

Jane Tucker will offer another intensive on Coppelia the week after next for which I have to get back into shape quickly. I am packing my ballet bag in the hope of finding some drop in adult ballet classes in or around Cambridge next week.  Do any of my readers have any suggestions?  I should like to take a class in the East of England but if there are none London is not too far away.

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