World Ballet Day #3: The Royal Ballet

The TV and radio presenter, George Lamb and the Royal Ballet soloist, Kristen McNally were the confident hosts who took the audience from class to numerous rehearsals with ease and charm as they moved from studio to studio chatting to one another, to dancers, choreographers and artistic director, Kevin O’Hare.

Class, taught by Brian Maloney was relatively subdued – at least in comparison with the vivacious Bolshoi and Australian Ballet’s classes – and the pianist stuck mainly to traditional ballet class standards such as O mio babbino caro, a barcarolle, the Charleston and Scott Joplin piece, but the the pace picked up with the coda where the men and some of the women pulled out all the tricks.

Among the many highlights of the Royal’s four-hour segment were the impressive contrasting couple, Carlos Acosta coaching Vadim Muntagirov, in the role of Basilio in Don Quixote and Federico Bonelli partnering Marianela Nuñez in a rehearsal of the final pas de deux in Manon.

The Royal made sure viewers knew all about the upcoming performances of Manon, a revival of Christopher Wheeldon’s Aeternum, Ludovic Ondiviela’s new work, Cassandra, to be staged at the Linbury Studio Theatre at Covent Garden at the end of this month and the Christmas attraction, Wheeldon’s Alice in Wonderland.

We saw intriguing glimpses of Liam Scarlett’s new work, The Age of Anxiety, inspired by W.H. Auden’s poem and set to Bernstein’s Symphony no.2, with principals Laura Morera and Steven McRae (the premiere is on 7 November).

Scarlett is following in the footsteps of Jerome Robbins who choreographed the first Age of Anxiety ballet in 1950.

And we learned more of Woolf Works, Wayne McGregor’s first full-length work for the Royal Ballet, based on Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and other Woolf novels, to premiere at Covent Garden next May.

The Royal’s live streaming ended with a very British conclusion – ballet master Christopher Carr rehearsing Ashton’s Scènes de ballet.

Exactitude? You haven’t seen anything like absolute ballet exactitude until you’ve seen Carr instructing the corps de ballet throughout every count, and every head and shoulder position.

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Vadim Muntagirov and Carlos Acosta, Royal Ballet, rehearsing Don Quixote

Marianela Nuñez and Federico Bonelli, Royal Ballet, rehearsing Manon

Brian Maloney, teacher and former soloist at the Royal Ballet

Yasmin Naghdi rehearsing Aeternum, Royal Ballet