Wednesday, 28 December 2016

The Terpsichore Titles: Outstanding Young Dancers of 2016

Standard YouTube Licence

In The Year of the Swans: My Review of 2016 27 Dec 2016 I wrote:
"Every so often one spots a dancer with what I call the wow factor. Michaela DePrince had it when I first saw her in Amsterdam in 2013 and described her as "quite simply the most exciting dancer I have seen for quite a while" (see The Junior Company of the Dutch National Ballet - Stadsshouwburg Amsterdam 24 Nov 2013 25 Nov 2013)."
I have already mentioned Michaela DePrince. Xander Parish stood out in much the same way when I saw him for the first time in York in July 2007.  The outstanding young dancer title is for a young man or woman who impresses me in very much the same way as they did. Such performances do not grow on trees. For many years it may be impossible to make a selection.

Also, such a selection will always be very unfair. As readers can see from the above YouTube clip, all the young dancers in the Dutch National Ballet Junior Company are excellent and they are just one company. Because I live near Manchester most of the performances that I see are in Britain or the near continent. There must be so many great performances that I do not see in Russia and other countries in the former Soviet Union, in the United States the other great powerhouse of dance, not to mention China, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Cuba and the rest of South America and the entire continent of Africa. Indeed, as I live 200 miles north of London, 250 south of Glasgow and at least 100 from Birmingham there will be many breathtaking performances in my own country that I never get to see.

This year there are two dancers who stand out in the way that Parish did in 2007 and DePrince in 2013 and I want to acknowledge them both.

One is the young Brazilan dancer, Daniel Robert Silva, who began Ernst Meisner's No Time before Time at the Meervaart Theatre on 14 Feb 2016 (see Ballet Bubbles 16 Feb 2016), in Lausanne where the ballet was premiered and at the opening gala of the Dutch National Ballet's season. I saw Silva again as the bronze idol in La Bayadere and he impressed me again even more (see Dutch National Ballet's La Bayadere 14 Nov 2016).

The other is Gwenllian Davies of Ballet Cymru. In the Riverfront Theatre on the banks of the Usk in Newport on Guy Fawkes night, I witnessed something extraordinary (see A Romeo and Juliet for our Times 7 Nov 2016). I have seen many of the world's greatest ballerinas dance Juliet. Technically and indeed artistically their performances were brilliant. But when I saw them dance I knew that I was watching Seymour, Tereshkina and Cojocaru. When Davies danced I saw only Juliet. That is why her performance was spellbinding. Perhaps on another night it would not have been but magic was wrought that night.

I want to express my appreciation and gratitude to all the excellent young dancers whom I have admired but not yet acknowledged in this way and to wish them all the very best in their careers and lives.

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