We have some very exciting news here at Pointe. From January 2–15, we will be streaming Scottish Ballet's production of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's The Fairy's Kiss (Le Baiser de la Fée). The free broadcast, filmed live in October at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, will be available on Pointe's Facebook page and our website starting at noon (EST) on January 2.
Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Ice Maiden," The Fairy's Kiss is a one-act ballet composed by Igor Stravinsky in 1928. (Read the synopsis here.) While several choreographers have tackled the ballet over the years, MacMillan's version is especially rare. Created for The Royal Ballet in 1960, the production's sets and costumes proved so elaborate that it was too difficult to pair with other ballets, and the company shelved it after 33 performances. Although The Fairy's Kiss was briefly revived in 1986, Scottish Ballet is the first company to perform it since, honoring of the 25th anniversary of MacMillan's death.
Mia Thompson in "The Fairy's Kiss." Photo by Andy Ross, Courtesy Scottish Ballet.
The broadcast stars Scottish Ballet principals Constance Devernay, Bethany Kingsley-Garner and Andrew Peasgood, with sets and costumes by Gary Harris. Check out some behind-the-scenes footage below—then call your friends and plan your viewing party!
From January 2-15, 2018, Pointe is streaming Scottish Ballet's production of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's The Fairy's Kiss (Le Baiser de la Fée) on our Facebook page and website. Read the ballet's synopsis below.
The Lullaby in the Storm
A mother with her child struggles through the storm. The Fairy with her attendants appears and pursues her. The Fairy separates the mother from her child. Passing villagers find the body of the mother, now dead, and guided by the Fairy, they find the child. The Fairy kisses him on the forehead. The villagers become frightened and taking the child with them, they run away.
Photo by Andy Ross, Courtesy Scottish Ballet.
A Village Fête
The villagers gather for the fête. The child, now a young man, appears with his fiancée. A gypsy endeavors to tell the fortune of the young man and during the fortune telling the fiancée leaves with the villagers; left alone the young man discovers that the gypsy is the Fairy in disguise. She subjects him to her will, and promises him great happiness. Captivated, the young man is led to his fiancée.
Mia Thompson as the Gypsy. Photo by Andy Ross, courtesy Scottish Ballet.
At the Mill
Guided by the Fairy, the young man arrives at the mill, where he finds his fiancée playing games among her friends. The fairy disappears. They all dance. The Fairy appears again, and the young man is confused. The fiancée leaves with her friends and the young man is once more left alone. The Fairy reappears and the young man mistakes her for his fiancée. Suddenly the Fairy throws off her cloak and, dumbfounded, the young man realizes his mistake. He is defenseless before the supernatural power of the Fairy. His resistance overcome, she holds him in her power. She kisses him.
Constance Devernay and Andrew Peasgood. Photo by Andy Ross, courtesy Scottish Ballet.
The Lullaby of the Land Beyond Time and Place
The fiancée, lonely and sad, looks in vain for her lost love. The young man, now completely submissive to the power of the Fairy, is taken to the Land Beyond Time and Place; to live there eternally, marked by the kiss of the Fairy.
Text provided by Scottish Ballet
When Hope Muir was asked to apply to be Charlotte Ballet's new artistic director, the Scottish Ballet assistant artistic director flew stateside to North Carolina for some sneaky reconnaissance. After scouting out the city and the company, Muir gathered it would be a good fit. She worked as artistic advisor for Charlotte Ballet last season, but officially took over her new post on July 1.
While Muir's vision for the company emphasizes new commissions and collaborations, she's committed to building on the legacy of former director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. Famed Balanchine dancer Patricia McBride is staying on as associate artistic director. "I have a firm belief in the classical training and will continue to produce works on pointe and with storytelling," says Muir, formerly a dancer with English National Ballet, among other companies. "I'm just coming at it with a different experience and skill set, and am hoping to introduce new ways of doing things."
Muir with Charlotte Ballet dancers. Photo by Justin Driscoll, Courtesy Charlotte Ballet.
Last Thursday was World Ballet Day LIVE, the official 22-hour live-stream relay showcasing companies across the globe. If you were busy (we know that you don't always have the luxury to spend an entire day watching ballet), don't fret. Many of the companies involved recorded their classes, rehearsals and interviews from the day of, and we rounded them up for you to watch at your leisure. Careful, though; there are more than twenty hours of footage included here... make sure you take a break to, you know, sleep.
First up is San Francisco Ballet with a full five hours, including rehearsal for Balanchine's timeless classic, Serenade.
The Royal Ballet's WBD stream is split into three parts. Here's the first chunk, featuring company rehearsals of a few Sir Kenneth MacMillan ballets as well as Christopher Wheeldon's Alice in Wonderland (a measly two hours and 45 minutes). You can find part 2 here and the full company class here. The video also features a quick aerial tour of London from the balcony of the Royal Opera House.
For some of us, every day feels like World Ballet Day LIVE. But the official event takes place on Thursday, October 5, with a free 22-hour live-stream relay showcasing The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet. Each will welcome the world into company classes, rehearsals and behind-the-scenes extras.
Unassuming audience members were in for a shock when 12 male dancers from Scottish Ballet performed Angelin Preljocaj's MC 14/22 (Ceci est mon corps) at the 2016 Edinburgh International Festival. The work explores virility and violence through a series of biblical allusions. Striking in its harshness and punishing physicality, it at times seemed almost cruel to inflict upon the dancers, who performed with a vicious beauty. But artistic director Christopher Hampson chose the contemporary piece for its thought-provoking, emotional impact. As the Scottish Ballet's repertoire keeps growing, Hampson continues to challenge the typical notions of ballet.
He established himself as a dancer and then as a choreographer for the English National Ballet, subsequently choreographing for Royal New Zealand Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and The Royal Ballet. In 2012, the Manchester native became the artistic director of Scotland's national dance company, in Glasgow, and incorporated the position of chief executive director in 2015.
Fresh off the heels of Aurélie Dupont's appointment as artistic director at the Paris Opéra Ballet, and Julie Kent's appointment to the same position at The Washington Ballet, further changes are hitting the ballet world.
This morning Johan Kobborg, international star and director of the National Ballet of Romania, tweeted that his name had been removed from the company's web page listing artistic staff. It's now, strangely, listed under "Artists"—the equivalent of the corps de ballet.
— johan kobborg (@KOBBORG) April 5, 2016
Indeed, the only name currently listed for company management is interim general manager Tiberiu-Ionuț Soare. As of yesterday, Kobborg was two years into a four-year contract and had instigated upgrades to the company's repertoire and physical infrastructure. In December, 2015, Kobborg and his on- and offstage partner, the iconic Romanian ballerina Alina Cojucaru, organized a gala to raise awareness for the company. Neither the company nor Kobborg have yet responded to inquiries about the situation.
Additionally Ballet Nacional Sodre artistic director and former American Ballet Theatre star Julio Bocca is taking an undefined leave of absence from the company. In a statement, he wrote that it was "not a goodbye, but a see-you-later." Sofía Sajac, who Bocca describes as his "right hand," will step into the leadership position during his absence. Reasons for his leave aren't clear. Argentine newspaper La Nación reported that Bocca had faced bureaucratic obstacles, including union protests (follow the link for reporting in Spanish).
In happier news, Scottish Ballet assistant artistic director Hope Muir has been selected as Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux's successor at Charlotte Ballet. Her tenure begins in July, 2017.