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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Changes at the ENB:


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Well this came as something of a surprise when I read about it in the news today...


Many thanks to Wayne Eagling for all his work at ENB, his departure is a great loss!


I have always been a HUGE fan of English National Ballet, over and above the Royal and Birmingham Royal Ballet companies, and never more so than in recent years with Eagling at the helm. What an outstanding contribution he has made to this company. He has taken what was previously considered the lesser competitor of the Royal Ballet and really turned it into a top class company to be reckoned with.


Wayne has done fantastic work over the last 7 years. Some amazing new productions and revivals, building up a quality company of dancers, superb programming, and a thoroughly enjoyable repertoire (albeit a tad restricted and populist) - BRILLIANT!


I'm sure, judging by press reports in the past, that his decision to leave now, must be partly down to the pressure of working in the dual role of company director and principal choreographer. It's clear to me that his only priority is the artform, and that he would prefer not to have to deal with the humdrum aspects of being a company director. However, fingers crossed we will see him back in London again soon with a new ballet for all of us to enjoy.


Wishing him every success in the future!!!

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Thank you, HullDancer!


Being an Artistic Director is certainly not all it's cracked up to be.... I wouldn't want that job- that's for sure!!

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Royal Ballet never steps outside Covent Garden these days. ENB tours widely and takes classics to larger regional theatres - in recent years I have seen Manon, Giselle, Rite of Spring, Romeo and Juliet (Nureyev version) to name just a few of the well known works they have taken on tour. Only when they are in London would there seem to be an overlap of function with RB.


Birmingham Royal Ballet is based at The Hippodrome in Birmingham and also tours larger regional theatres - but with only a few in common with ENB. They also split and tour two smaller companies to medium and smaller venues and are well received by local populations.


Many people feel that the regions are short changed - our taxes fund these companies, so they ought to make more of an effort to get out and about. Just this morning I had this discussion with another ballet teacher friend. We were brought up at opposite ends of the country, but both remember the abundance of ballet performances there used to be.

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Thanks for the Guardian article moddydave...


Much as I've never been a particular admirer of JM as a dance critic, she does raise some interesting points; not least pointing out the comparatively small amount of funding the ENB gets compared with the RB and BRB. Personally I think it is an absolute scandal considering that ENB reaches a much broader audience across the UK, with a popular repertoire that is constantly being refreshed with new productions.


Extortionate administration and marketing costs aside, I do sometimes wonder what exactly the Royal Ballet spends its money on. Its recent Alice in Wonderland is the first full length 'book' ballet made for the company in almost 2 decades and whilst they have produced a number of shorter 'triple-bill' ballets, none of them have been particularly lavish or costly to stage. Then you look at the creaking, arthritic 1980s productions that are wheeled out every year with a few touch ups to the paintwork, and you think... surely they can do better.

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Of course the big question now is who will take over at ENB? I don't know if she's ready to take this on yet, but Tamara Rojo has said in the past that she intends to become an Artistic Director one day. It was when she was with ENB that I first saw her dance and I am sure she would take the company forwards. Anyone else with names to suggest?

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Call me judgmental, but I couldn't think of anyone worse than Tamara Rojo. The Ross Stretton era at the RB serves as a reminder that am ambitious Artistic Director with lots of forward thinking ideas can often turn out to be a ticking time bomb of disappointment. I see Tamara Rojo as someone who simply has directorship as just another tick box on her career checklist, and with her at the helm I imagine ENB would become a stagnant arts-council pleasing troupe, producing lots of supposedly 'innovative' work that has the critics in raptures, but has the audiences scratching their heads and thinking "I thought this was meant to be ballet!"


Under Wayne Eagling, ENB has really returned to the values of Markova and Dolin, whose reason for starting the company was to tour popular ballet to audiences that either can't afford to or wouldn't normally see ballet. And they do it brilliantly. The artistic snobs in the arts council might not like the endless touring schedule of Nutcrackers and Gershwins, but it gets bums on seats, gives audiences an entertaining night at the theatre and most importantly it gives the ballet world a much needed shot in the arm by inspiring new kids with the kind of fluffy, lavish, storybook type ballet that will inspire them into enrolling in a ballet class. ENB must continue this legacy at all costs.


One person we haven't heard from in a while is Johann Kobborg. He did show a vague interest in being considered for directorship of the RB, and if he had any interest in taking over at ENB, he would definitely have my vote. He is quiet, unassuming, completely lacking in ego, hard working and most importantly a great artist... for me, all the ingredients for a great Artistic Director.

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Hi HullDancer - I had no idea Wayne Eagling had stepped down! Probably became despondant in the up hill struggle of balancing creative need against budget cuts! Who could blame him!

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Welcome to America. :dry:

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  • 1 month later...

She will also be dancing with them.


I think she might be better at this than others think... but of course we won't know until we see what happens.


I'll admit that I'm a fan girl, and I always said I'd move back to London for a year to see her final season with RB... sad that is now not happening...

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It was announced at the end of last week that Tamara Rojo will take over as Artistic Director of English National Ballet. I think this is exciting news, when it was announced that Wayne Eagling was leaving, I immediately thought of her for the position.


I have posted a link to an arts interview on BBC4 radio on Friday, not sure if it is accessible from overseas. The section with Tamara Rojo begins at 8 minutes 40 seconds. In it she says she is looking forward to the new position and will continue to perform with ENB while being AD, she names Barishnikov, Nureyev and Peter Schaufuss as examples of successful dancing ADs. On the other hand, she has no ambitions as a choreographer and sees herself as a "curator" director, bringing in the best choreographers from elsewhere.


Also,on page 3 of today's issue of The Sunday Times there is a half page article about her, the main headline reads:-


"Fatten up girls, you're tutu skinny" and the line underneath says "The new chief of English National Ballet says audiences don't want to see thin dancers".


In the body of the article she affirms that "audiences want to see beautiful and healthy-looking dancers yet there is still that pressure to be thin," and she goes on to speak about how she wants dancers, herself included to have long healthy careers.


There is a Chinese saying - "May you live in interesting times". I think we shall as Tamara Rojo brings in her new ideas!

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