Yesterday the Royal Ballet uploaded rehearsal footage of Alessandra Ferri and Frederico Bonelli in the new work by Wayne McGregor, Woolf Works, which is based on stories written by Virginia Woolf and due to premiere at the RB on May 11th. Although there are two separate casts, Ferri will lead both of them.
McGregor referred to this part of the ballet as the "quiet" section. At about 12:57 in the video, Alessandra and Frederico begin a run-through with the recorded music by Max Richter. Most of the music is comprised of the sound of ocean waves hitting a shore. It's hard to tell from this clip if it is a reference to Woolf's suicide by drowning, but judging from Ferri's facial expression, well, let's just say that we've seen that look in her face before ....
Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oz3gNlnQFA
The RB also upload rehearsal footage of Edward Watson's solo in Woolf Works. It's what one would expect from McGregor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_utmdaYpByQ#t=748
ABT's 75th Anniversary Gala performance has completely omitted Frederick Ashton from among the 24 snippets of ballets presented during that special evening. But they're going to present three excerpts from La Bayadere, none of which are leading principal parts, because as we know, Nikiya can only be danced by a Russian unless it's a matinee.
Meanwhile this evening, our own shining, supremely talented, much-missed Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews will debut as Nikiya and Solor in Stanton Welch's La Bayadere with Houston Ballet.
ABT should never present a ballet that cannot be primarily cast with its own dancers in the leading principal roles. This crap about requiring Russians and Russian guest artists to lead ABT's wallpaper crew has got to stop. Do we have to wait for Makarova to die in order for our own dancers to lead the way? If so, it's time to dump her production and acquire one that ABT's own dancers can lead.
ABT could have easily inserted an Ashton Cinderella variation for the beautiful Stella Abrera to dance at the Gala. But no, her shining moment will be a walk-on as Myrtha to Semionova's bland, watery Giselle. Meanwhile, the Act IV Swan Lake excerpt is reserved for Misty Copeland, for god's sake, so that everyone can "get used to" seeing her muscly, short arms and thick torso in a white tutu under complimentary lighting.
If Gillian Murphy is going to perform the fouette section of Etudes in the gala, as she indicated, why doesn't ABT insert Copeland as a fouette corps dancer behind her in order to give her a little practice? The last time we saw Copeland in the Etudes fouette section several years ago, she managed to complete them but stood out by travelling several yards out of place from the rest of the corps. It doesn't seem that she's been working on them much, does it?
Oh, and there's not a Mark Morris excerpt in the Gala either. No Ashton, no Morris. Surely that will make someone unhappy.