Acosta & Friends – London Coliseum
March 31 – April 3: http://www.ballet.co.uk/gallery/johnross
13 – 23 March 2008
The pleasure is really our’s as well, Catherine. Thanks again.
Could I please go back to the fifth Swan Lake performance, which was the last of the Swan Lakes that I was able to attend, and convey my thoughts at the time.
Tamara Rojo–“Swan Lake”
Her performance was Excellent–At Times Amazing !
As Odette she was just lovely. She floated around the stage as light as air. For me she was a bit like a little kitten, in a way seeming so lovable and cuddly. To my eyes she performed everything with technical virtuosity and fineness. She was as graceful as could be.
At the end of Act I, she turned her back to the audience and waited on pointe, then rapidly exited the stage on pointe doing the standard swan arm flutter. It was one of the most dramatically impressive interpretations of this famous dance sequence that I have ever seen.
She also expressed her character in a fine theatrical manner, which I enjoy attributing to the great English literary and stage tradition. I certainly feel the same way when I watch Margot Fonteyn videos and I also sense it strongly when I see Alina Cojocaru (Royal Ballet, London) perform. I tend to assume that it is present in the coaching somewhere. Alina Cojocaru has said that she watches lots of television movies just to develop her acting ability. Tamara Rojo’s facial expression was worthy of a very fine actress. She seemed to take her character literally like a stage actress would, almost acting out her perception of things in a wordless manner rather than using symbolic expression.
The Earth Shaker was her Act II Odile performance!
There were two major highlights.
The first was a Balance On Pointe that she might still be holding had not the orchestra insisted on continuing the performance.
The second was her series of Fouette turns. If I recall correctly, they went single, triple, single, triple….consistently to the very end when she did what some of us thought was a quadruple turn. They were done as securely as could be and as smoothly and gracefully as you could possibly hope for from a classical ballerina.
I saw five or six Mariinsky ballerinas in the audience sitting stageside just to see this Act.
Act III was a return to normal—-lovely classical dancing with all the highlight moves performed excellently and a total commitment once again to her captivating swanlike gentleness.
Tamara Rojo is a soft graceful dancer with the ability to rival the technical feats of the NASA outer-space programs. In fact having seen her bravura performance there may no longer be a need for an outer-space program.
Tamara Rojo is a classically beautiful and extremely exciting dancer, who performed marvelously and received another super-enthusiastic Mariinsky audience response.
On Thursday, the Mariinsky Theatre experienced a treat when the Royal Ballet’s celebrated Tamara Rojo joined Igor Kolb in the fifth “Swan Lake” of this festival.
Seemingly no more than five feet tall, Rojo’s command of the stage is nonetheless considerable. One would not expect a woman of such size to excel in legato movements or slower tempi, but in fact, in this performance, these seemed to be her greatest strengths. Rojo is a tiny ball of steel encased in a soft, fluid exterior, and she infuses all of her movements with care. At moments her eight-year tenure at the Royal Ballet were visible: arms in second, neck and spine perfectly erect, for a millisecond she recalled Fonteyn poised en pointe. But Rojo’s movements are never stiff. A strong set of arches and perfect turnout serve her well, particularly in balances. With a retiré passé pulled up above her knee, Rojo performed triple tour degagés in her White Swan variation, and tossed off quadruple pirouettes during her Black Swan variation, which began with a double pirouette into a triple attitude turn that ended in a staccato plié, recalling a snake who sidles up slowly and then attacks its prey. During the Black Swan pas de deux, she held an arabesque en pointe for over eight very slow counts of music. Although many Cuban dancers are said to be doing the same these days in Havana, never, in the past four years here, have I seen a ballerina on this stage perform the same feat. Rojo’s fouettes, punctuated with triples every third turn, and a quadruple thrown in for good measure, instilled confidence in her professionalism. A tiny Spanish ball of steel.
Two minor deficiencies in Rojo’s portrayal nonetheless distracted from an otherwise stellar performance. The first was a smile. I searched her face for expression throughout both acts, and saw nothing that compared to Tereshkina’s intent focus on Siegfried in Act Two, or even Murphy’s tenderness in Act One. Although she went through the motions, the blank look on Rojo’s face throughout most of her First Act Odette sequences left me wanting more. It wasn’t until the betrayal in the Second Act that Rojo pointed a finger at Kolb, opened her mouth wide in laughter and threw her head back in victory. The moment was overdone compared to the placid expression she wore in previous scenes. It wasn’t until the Russian unison clap began during the Act Two bows that Rojo broke into a full grin, pulling her arms to her heart in gratitude.
The second point of concern was the prevalence of a female persona over that of a swan, as manifested by the lack of Swan-like port de bras. At many points Rojo included a quatrieme position of the arms (one arm in 3rd high Vaganova, the other in second), or other classical port de bras, but not necessarily Swan-like. This may be a regional variation on the Odette/Odile character, perhaps closer to the Royal Ballet’s interpretation, but it did not strengthen her character. Likewise,in Act One Rojo ran as a woman, not as a swan, and at many points she appeared to approach the dance with intuition. In Petersburg, one is used to seeing Swan arms throughout all three acts, for regardless of her human form, Odette is nonetheless a Swan Queen, a woman-swan.
For his part, although a fairly modern haircut distracted slightly from the persona of Prince, Igor Kolb’s cavalier approach and total presence in his role made for a multi-dimensional partnership. Kolb’s uber flexible physique make his Siegfried extra pleasing to watch. His turns in attitude (Act One, Scene One), were upright spins. Likewise his tour-jetés (Act Two) peaked in an airborne split. In addition to such technical talents, Kolb’s acting chops came to the fore in the last half of the evening. He’s one of the Kirov’s most reliable partners and strongest male dancers to date.
In the Pas de Trois this evening, Alexei Timofeev, another corps member, replaced Sherbakov (Sunday night) and Stepin (Wedneday night). Also blessed with a tight set of tours en l’air (he finished in fifth without any readjustments) and considerable ballon, he is slowly developing into an interesting young dancer.
Pavel Bubelnikov conducted an orchestra that wavered at several moments and tended to abrupt changes in tempo during Act Three.
published by: http://www.ballet.co.uk
jdemetre 21-03-08, 08:56 AM (GMT (ST))
32. “review of 20 March Mariinsky Festival”
In response to message #31
LAST EDITED ON 21-03-08 AT 09:15 AM (GMT (ST))
Ms Rojo, the fifth of the festival Swan Queens, harkens as a physical type to an earlier balletic era, when, a woman of 5 feet 8 inches height would have been considered too tall to dance in a classical company. In the contemporary era of balletic ‘basketball squads’, Ms Rojo, like another principal at the Royal Ballet -Alina Cojocaru, broaden the physical aesthetics of the classical dancer to include the woman of small stature. Such dancers also remind us that physical stature has little to say of artistic accomplishment.
In this, my first view of Ms Rojo in any role, I found her to be a dancer of finely focused intensity.
Odette, in the lake scene, proceeded with sequences of mesmerizing interest. Particularly notable are her arabesque lines and her exquisite extended balances.
The pas de deux with Igor Kolb, who repeated his role first performed at the festival on the 15th, seemed to me a very successful match. His strong protective presence complemented her character’s vulnerability, at once soft, fragile and precise.
Her variation unfolded slowly, but with sequences of compelling urgency.
In the Odile sequences, Ms Rojo looked simply beautiful, of face and of demeanor.
Her enchantment of Siegfried proceeded as planned strategems. In the pas de deux, Kolb’s portrayal of Siegfried’s fascination with Odile was clearly drawn.
Her variation created phrases of increasing complexity, like a spider’s web, with which to draw in the victim.
But then came the coda with its fouette sequence. The beautiful Odile revealed herself, in another strategem, as a whirlwind of passion. Rojo unleashed a series of two singles followed by a triple fouette, over and over again until the whole series of thirty-two were completed with a secure finish. A truly exciting technical display.
When I asked my companion what she thought of the performance, she said:
“Her slow work was spectacular, her fast work was spectacular, her pirouettes were spectacular”.
The only new casting in tonight’s performance, that I noted, was
Alexei TImofeyev in the pas de trois of the first scene.
Pavel Bubelnikov conducted.
Cast to be announced