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Critical Dance Goes Backstage – A Daily Diary

July 6, 2002

By Stuart Sweeney

The curtain has gone down on the 2002 visit of PNB to London, except for a richly deserved final night party. Remember everyone the flight home leaves at 4.45am! Dwight Hutton, Company Manager, told me that he was delighted with the dancers and the reaction of the audiences. In addition the technical staff at Sadler’s have been a dream to work with and coped with some unexpected requirements without a fuss.

Jeffrey Stanton, Principal, has found the week grueling. He has a major role in Silver Lining and danced the male lead in Divertimento every night, which has a very tough solo. And then he performed Jardi Tancat straight afterwards. He has enjoyed the week but was disappointed with the meanness of some of the London critics. Saying you don’t like something is one thing, but I had to agree that some of the reviews were outrageous and would in fact breach the CriticalDance courtesy rule. Thank goodness that this is a Company that supports each other and Jeffrey told me how he had been cheering on some of the younger male dancers taking on new roles this week. He is now looking forward to a first time visit to Italy and then back to Seattle and rehearsals for Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow.

Crossing the road near Sadler's Wells I exchanged a few words with David Schneider. He has only been in PNB for a year and has a role in Silver Lining. This is his first overseas tour and he has had a great time. An old friend lives in Covent Garden and he has been able to show David around London. He’s off to Paris on Sunday.

While I was having a quick dinner in Islington around six p.m., a group of a dozen came in all dressed in black and some sat down next to me. Lo and behold they were from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra who were playing for PNB and for several of them it’s the first time they’ve played for dancers. They’ve enjoyed the week and have found the Company’s musical team easy to work with. They mentioned John Adams’ Fearful Symmetries and the Jerome Kern songs for Silver Lining as their favourites. They have been surprised at the vitriolic nature of some of the reviews and one musician told me, “It’s difficult enough to get people to attend the Arts without such unnecessarily harsh comments.”

As I think back over the week, the Mixed Bill was a delight and if anything I enjoyed it even more a second time. Highlights were Kaori Nakamura’s technically superb Corsaire pas de trois, Jonathan Poretta’s brilliant footwork and beautiful shapes in two roles in Fearful Symmetries, the entire cast of Jardi Tancat for capturing its emotionally charged soul so fluently, and Louise Nadeau for her sinuous and seriously sexy performances in Silver Lining.

Have a great summer break PNB and recharge those batteries for the new season. Come again soon, y’hear.

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