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|About the Change|
2007 - the results of
Ballet.co's annual poll
Plus a look back 10 years to 1997.
Jane Simpson with a round up of now, and what was then....
It's 10 years since we first ran our annual poll, so we thought it might be interesting to have a look back at what you thought of 1997, as well as seeing who and what were this year's most popular. As usual, thanks to all who posted.
Best production overall: The Royal Ballet's Jewels
Darcey Bussell's farewell
It's clear from the 'Special Mentions' comments that Bussell's farewell performances affected many people deeply. Surprisingly, perhaps, the only time she came top of our 'Best Female Dancer' category was in a triple tie with Guillem and Rojo back in the year 2000; but there's never been any doubt about the breadth of her popularity, and she certainly went out on a high. Gary Avis's support for her, and Belinda Hatley's retirement on the same evening, also came in for a lot of notice.
The whole of the Bolshoi's Coliseum season was a huge success, but there were two performances which dominated people's comments: Carlos Acosta in Spartacus, and the brilliant young pair Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev in Don Quixote.
English National Ballet
This was undoubtedly ENB's best showing since our poll has been running - people obviously think they are in fine shape, and it can only be good to see the Royal Ballet getting some real competition.
It's hard to believe it's really 10 years since we first ran this poll. 1997 was the year the Royal Opera House closed for rebuilding, and Sadler's Wells was also closed - a state of affairs it's hard to imagine now.
The Kirov's productions and dancers took many of the top honours then, with Igor Zelensky 'Best Male Dancer' and Altinai Asylmuratova tying with the RB's Miyako Yoshida as 'Best Female Dancer'. Viviana Durante and Irek Mukhamedov won the 'Best Partnership' category, and then went on to win it twice more, as well as taking the individual categories between them in 1998.
We didn't introduce the 'Most Promising' categoires till our second year. Since then, Zenaida Yanowsky and Maranela Nunez have gone from winning at that level to taking the 'Best' prize, but so far none of the young men who've featured as promising has yet made the leap to the more senior level. (Edward Watson nearly made it this year, though.) So far Yanowsky is the only one to have come top of the 'Best Female' category more than once (2003/4 and 2005), and this year's winner, Elena Glurjidze, is the first from a British company other than the Royal Ballet . As already mentioned, Acosta has won the 'Best Male' five times so far, starting in 1999; Kobborg has won twice, and Zelensky and Thomas Lund (RDB) are the only non-RB dancers to have come top.
Either the Bolshoi or the Kirov has won the 'Best Visiting Company' category every year except for 2005, when it went to the Cuban National Ballet. The Bolshoi is ahead at the moment, but obviously it depends very much on how often they visit.
The most surprising result ever, I think, was in 1998 when the 'Best New Production' category was won by an 'installation piece' called Babel Index at the British Library. The ROH closure may have had something to do with that, but even so it's the only show of that type which has ever seriously featured in our voting. It's also perhaps interesting how relatively rarely the Royal Ballet comes top in the 'New' category - the Chroma/DGV bill won last year, but before that only Christopher Wheeldon's Tryst and Kobborg's production of La Sylphide had made it.
I wonder what we'll be looking back on in 2017?
Back in 1997 we gave the poll prize to Alison Penfold; since then she has contributed many long and interesting entries, and is the only person who voted in 1997 who is still voting. So we are happy to make her this year's prizewinner too.