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June 3, 2005

The Royal Ballet

Apologies, because I'm on assignment the notes will be cursory rather than detailed.

The 1987 Anthony Dowell production of Swan Lake is not considered one of the better British productions. It shows the state of Swan Lake in New York that it’s heads and shoulders better than both of ours. At least it’s an actual Swan Lake with only minimal Freudianism. Ivan Putrov, their Siegfried, ought to be better known. He has the best ballon I've seen in a while - airy jumps with beautiful soft silent landings. He's admirably refined for someone with that sort of pyrotechnical ability. You don't often see soft virtuosi, at least in America. He also uses his weight extremely well; he really dances into the floor. I'm a bit surprised he isn't better known outside of the UK, he is good enough. He's interesting because he is a light dancer with breadth and weight. I can imagine he would be a fine Spectre. I would like to see his James.

Last night’s mixed bill had two ballets by Ashton and one by Nijinska, and I’m delighted I’ll be seeing it twice more. I’d like to see Symphonic Variations sixteen more times from every area of the theater just to know it better. I didn’t know what to expect from Les Biches; the most interesting thing to me was how topical it was compared to the timelessness of Les Noces. I had last seen A Month in the Country in 1983. I had only been watching ballet about a year and had no clue what I was looking at, so it’s a delight to see it with more experienced eyes. Ashton’s dramaturgy is brilliant, there’s a scene where sets the entire cast to turning a room upside down looking for a key – you know exactly what’s happening, and it’s all ballet.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at June 3, 2005 6:18 AM

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