From the best of European ballet to Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project – an interview with Axel Ibot and Patricia Zhou

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L.A. Dance Project in Justin Peck’s ‘Murder Ballads’. Photograph: Rose Eichenbaum

American Patricia Zhou and Axel Ibot, who is French, both have very classical backgrounds. The former has danced with the Royal Ballet and the Staatsballett-Berlin, and the latter was “Sujet” in the Paris Opera Ballet before he left to join Benjamin Millepied – French choreographer, ex-director of the Paris Opera Ballet, and founder of the L.A. Dance Project – in Los Angeles.

I wondered what edged them both towards this new beginning in a smaller-sized contemporary company. Continue reading

‘Romeo and Juliet’ reimagined by Adrienne Canterna with the Bad Boys of Dance ~ review and interview

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Adrienne Canterna and Eric Lehn as Juliet and Count Paris in ‘Romeo and Juliet’

In her ‘Romeo and Juliet’, first created in 2013 and starring the Bad Boys of Dance, Adrienne Canterna breaks the rules of traditional ballet. This fresh and exciting version of Shakespeare’s tragedy reaches out to a wide audience, combining classical ballet with modern dance and even hip-hop. Continue reading

‘Solstice’ by Blanca Li ~ review

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‘Solstice’ – copyright Nico Bustos

After successfully portraying the world of artificial intelligence in her 2013 creation ‘Robot’, Blanca Li continues logically on to exploring nature, and its relation with humans, in her new and exciting piece ‘Solstice’.

The curtain opens, and it’s back to the very beginnings of humanity – the rhythm and the movement is primitive, tribal, the basic, nude costumes (designed by Laurent Mercier) accentuate the rawness. Continue reading

Interview with Adrienne Canterna

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Adrienne Canterna in ‘Rock the Ballet’

Meeting international dancer and choreographer Adrienne Canterna was something of a dream come true for me – I have adored her work since I first saw ‘Rock the Ballet’ in 2012.

Adrienne started ballet at three years old, and quickly started taking tap, jazz and modern classes – she then got into acrobatics: “Everything just kept coming, one thing after another!” Continue reading

‘Rock the Ballet’ by Adrienne Canterna starring Bad Boys of Dance ~ review

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‘Rock the Ballet’

Last week, I went to see ‘Rock the Ballet’, choreographed by Adrienne Canterna and featuring the Bad Boys of Dance.

As soon as ‘Rock the Ballet’ starts, the theatre is filled with contagious fun and energy. The first scene showcases the six Bad Boys of Dance, before dancing beauty Adrienne comes onto the stage, seducing them all. Continue reading

Interview with Yacobson Ballet’s principal dancers

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The Lilac Fairy, Aurora and Prince Désiré in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ – copyright Yacobson Ballet

Before attending St Petersburg’s State Academic Yacobson Ballet’s performance of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, I spoke to three principal dancers: Alla Bocharova (Aurora), Darya Elmakova (the Lilac Fairy), and Andrey Sorokin (Prince Désiré), as well as Lidia Zernova, the company manager.

Alla and Darya both studied at the Vaganova Russian Ballet Academy in St Petersburg, and Andrey studied at Perm State Choreographic College. Andrey has been dancing with Yacobson Ballet for six months, and Alla and Darya are both on their fourth season. Continue reading

Yacobson Ballet’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ ~ review

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‘Sleeping Beauty’ – copyright Yacobson Ballet and M. Logvinov

‘Sleeping Beauty’ was created and first performed in St Petersburg in 1890 – it was lovely to see it revived by a St Petersburg ballet company, and staged by French dancer and choreographer Jean-Guillaume Bart.

Russian ballet is often seen as the best, most prestigious ballet there is, and at the performance I saw, you could just feel the high expectations in the audience… Which were not disappointed. Continue reading

Interview avec Kader Belarbi ~ version française

Kader Belarbi est un ancien danseur étoile de l’Opéra de Paris, où il a travaillé pendant 33 ans. Il est aussi un chorégraphe de renom et l’auteur de plus de 40 ballets. Il est le Directeur de la Danse et chorégraphe au Ballet du Capitole depuis 2012. Il a gentiment accepté de répondre à mes questions par mail – voici la version originale en français. Vous pouvez cliquer ici pour voir la version anglaise.

Des ballets que vous avez créé pour le Ballet du Capitole, lequel est votre préféré et pourquoi?

Je n’ai pas de préférence parce que chaque aventure chorégraphique est une histoire tellement particulière. Elle permet la rencontre avec un grand nombre d’acteurs autant sur le plan artistique et technique. Continue reading

Ballet du Capitole ~ The ballet masters

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Julie Charlet in a rehearsal for ‘Giselle’ – copyright David Herrero

I was lucky to be able to speak to the Ballet’s two ballet masters, Vietnamese Minh Pham and French Emmanuelle Broncin. These interviews were intriguingly different, as you will see.

First I spoke to Minh: “What is your role exactly as ballet master?” He explained to me that he runs the classes, the rehearsals, and assembles ballets as the choreographer’s assistant. And how does he motivate the dancers? “It’s complicated! There isn’t a method, you just have to sense how they are feeling every day: whether they need pushing more, or if they’re tired and they need to go more slowly.” Continue reading

Ballet du Capitole ~ The dancers

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Ballet du Capitole in ‘Giselle’ – copyright David Herrero

During my work experience at the Ballet, a few of the dancers very kindly answered some questions for me:

The answer to my first question “Why did you choose the Ballet du Capitole?” was always pretty much the same: it’s a smaller ballet company with a very interesting and varied repertoire (a good mix of classical, neo-classical and contemporary); some of the dancers just wanted to try something new. They all love dancing here, and say there is a very good atmosphere.

I asked them whether they usually work more with the ballet masters or the choreographer. Continue reading