wed 26/02/2020

The Place Prize for Dance/ Cinderella, Royal Ballet | reviews, news & interviews

The Place Prize for Dance/ Cinderella, Royal Ballet

The Place Prize for Dance/ Cinderella, Royal Ballet

The art of choreography is losing the will to live

It Needs Horses: A black-comedy duo for scraggy clown and louche trapezist - the audience choice

Reports of ballet’s death are greatly exaggerated, but I’m not equally sanguine about the craft of choreography. Having sat dumbstruck through the four limping dogs masquerading as finalists in The Place’s prize “for dance” [sic] on Tuesday, I found myself amazed, simply amazed, all over again at the fecundity and sheer knowledge of Ashton’s Cinderella, having its umpteenth revival last night at the Royal Ballet.

The Bloomberg judges aren’t that focused on pure dance so the shortlist hasn’t a smidge of that precious seminal material, curiosity about dance, on view

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It can be depressing - BUT I have just acquired the DVD Kim Brandstrup's Der Untergang des Hauses Usher for the Bregenzer Festspiele with Leanne Benjamin, Steven McRae and Gary Avis and I can't stop playing it. I know, I know - narrative ballet! - but surely interesting and complex choreography? To see the AC/JK pas de deux from Cinderella is particularly galling - Opus Arte have the recording but will not release it because they" already have a Cinderella on their books"!

I know what you mean, Ismene, and appreciate the guts of anyone who reminds us how often the choreographic emperors we are constantly required to enjoy/admire (and their alarmingly increasing hordes of courtiers, if we may extend the allusion) are so distressingly under-dressed. I have felt for quite some time now that new dance (as opposed to ballet) stands in sore need of a shift in emphasis away from the choreographer as the engine and raison d'etre of everything, towards the performers, producer or theatrical director. I suspect it would have a very positive impact on audience interest in a range of new dance. Not very likely, though, is it, when there is so much emphasis in so many UK dance training and HE courses, on encouraging wannabe choreographers, instead of developing excellent performers for the industry? On a brighter note, I did enjoy the Opoku-Addaye & Requardt duet at the Place Prize semi-final last year, and have enjoyed several past Place Prize offerings; although, like you, I have disagreed wildly with the judges' opinions on many occasions - which, I guess, is part of the aim/fun of these competitions? Thanks for The Arts Desk, which I enjoy very much.

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