Monthly Archive: July 2023


“Ballet Matinee”
John Cranko School
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
July 23, 2023

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2023 by Ilona Landgraf

1. R.Suginohara, W.Tohara, and A.Jensen; “The Nutcracker” by M.Petipa, L.Ivanov, and V.Vainonen, John Cranko School 2023 © R.Novitzky / Stuttgart BalletStuttgart’s John Cranko School presented its work to the public in two matinees this July, both hosted by the Stuttgart State Opera. I chose to see the second one, which – as part of the annual Ballet in the Park program – was also streamed live to an outdoor audience in the Schlossgarten Park right in front of the opera house. Only upon arrival I learned that nearly half of the program was identical to what the school had presented in nearby Ludwigsburg this March.

As in Ludwigsburg, the students first showed an excerpt of the second act of “The Nutcracker” (Petipa, Ivanov, and Vainonen’s choreography). This time Alice McArthur danced the Sugar Plum Fairy, and in the role of her cavalier was again Joshua Nunamaker. Both are among this year’s graduates and exemplify what I observed throughout the matinee: Cranko School students deliver precise positions, clean lines, strong jumps, clear accentuation, solid balances, and – above all – they are fearless. Not a single student failed to rise to the occasion (I admired, above all, Keisuke Miyazaki in his “Swan Lake” variation and Alexei Orohovsky in a variation from “Paquita”). (more…)


The Australian Ballet
Arts Centre Melbourne / State Theatre
Melbourne, Australia
July 06, 2023 (livestream)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2023 by Ilona Landgraf

1. D.Hedditch, K.Sonnekus, and L.Kiyoto-Ward, “Jewels” by G.Balanchine, The Australian Ballet 2023 © R.Lantry David Hallberg, artistic director of the Australian Ballet, has a knack for presenting his company in a complimentary light. Of the many troupes which streamed their performances live during the pandemic, only the Australians have maintained and enhanced this practice. The most recent livestream proved their ability to produce a compelling digital program. Livinia Nixon, who gave her debut as presenter alongside the ever-smiling Hallberg, kept me glued to the screen during the intervals, offering a steady flow of interesting interviews and behind-the-scenes clips. Each of them revealed the warmth and camaraderie within the company that has so often been mentioned in previous livestreams.

Celebrating their sixtieth anniversary this season, the company presented a sparkling new acquisition – Balanchine’s “Jewels” (1967) complete with Barbara Karinska’s sumptuous original costumes. One year of painstaking handicraft was spent on the latter’s recreation, requiring many volunteering hands and two months to sew and glue more than 29.500 beads, crystals, and pearls to dresses, tops, and tiaras. (more…)


“Hungarian National Ballet Institute Exam 2023”
Hungarian National Ballet Institute
Eiffel Art Studios
Budapest, Hungary
June 24, 2023 (matinee)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2023 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Spanish dance (advanced 1st group and grade I), “Hungarian National Ballet Institute Exam 2023”, Hungarian National Ballet Institute 2023 © T.Nánási / Hungarian State Opera Everyone seemed in a flurry ahead of the Hungarian National Ballet Institute’s end-of-the-year exam. Groups of last-minute guests queued at the ticket stall, impatient for picking up their tickets. Staff members scanned the computer for bookings which miraculously had disappeared (mine included); one mother nervously waved for someone to deliver a packet of dance tights to her daughter backstage. The show started ten minutes late and – due to a packed program – lasted twenty minutes longer.

No less than thirty-eight pieces were presented in the two-part gala by – if correctly counted at curtain call – sixty-seven students in total. That only nine of them were male, substantiates Balanchine’s famous statement that “Ballet is woman”. (more…)