Sunday, 13 May 2012

Ballo Rehearsal

Insight evening: Ballo Della Regina, Linbury Studio Theatre @ ROH – reviewed on 10th May

Another fascinating insight evening took place last week at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre. Principal dancers Marianela Nuñez and Nehemiah Kish rehearsed Balanchine’s 1978 Ballo della Regina under the watchful eye of original cast member Merill Ashley.

Across solos and duets, dancers were repeatedly reminded to use their back muscles to hold the choreography’s twisted poses and maintain strength during rapid footwork. Ballo is also full of sudden changes of direction, moments of surprise and off-balance positions which Ashley was keen to highlight to dancers.

Marianela Nunez and Nehemiah Kish in Ballo della Regina
Photo: Bill Cooper
Nuñez showed her perfectionism, stating that her performance of one solo was “rubbish” and repeating it multiple times in a quest for mastery. It looked (even to my rather critical eye) gorgeous from the outset, but Ashley encouraged Nuñez not to anticipate the music but to respond instead, and to ensure each arm movement dynamic was clear.
Kish’s solos were well-polished but a lifted neckline gave jumps a freer, more joyful feeling. Ashley also reminded Kish of the importance of using the metatarsals to ensure soft, well-controlled landings.

In the pas de deux, Ashley asked Nuñez to look at the audience instead of to the sky, as if “saying a prayer: I hope this goes well!” She also aided the couple with timing, advising which sections should be speeded up and which slowed down.

This was a proper working rehearsal where dancers really endeavoured to improve their performance of Balanchine’s choreography and the observing audience was virtually forgotten. It was another enticing and inspiring glimpse into the life of the hard-working dancers of the Royal Ballet.

No comments:

Post a Comment