Feature: Kenneth MacMillan

Tuesday 13 November 2012 by Sarah Kearney

As the English National Ballet tour MacMillan’s production of The Sleeping Beauty and the Royal Ballet present a triple bill of his work opening this weekend, Jessica Duchen reflects back on the enduring appeal of his choreography.

‘MacMillan’s ballets were of their time, dealing with issues such as repressed sexuality and complex familial relationships that were in vogue during his heyday between the 1960s and 1980s. One might have expected them to seem dated by now… Not a bit of it.’

Ballets such as Manon, The Judas Tree and Mayerling that were initially controversial and drew negative responses from the critics, are now established as works of great value.

‘Lady Deborah MacMillan, essentially the custodian of her late husband’s ballets, credits their longevity to his insights into human psychology and interaction. “Kenneth revealed himself by what he did on stage more than he ever did in life,” she comments.’

Read the full article in, The Independent, 13 November 2012

49 years since he performed the lead role in MacMillan’s Las Hermanas, former dancer with American Ballet Theatre and the Stuttgart Ballet, Ray Barra is coaching Royal Ballet dancers for their performances in the ballet,
“MacMillan knew exactly what he wanted and we would try and try [to please him],” says Barra, recalling one pas de deux where he was supposed to position Haydée on his waist and turn her around without moving. “It was impossible. We worked on it for days and then [MacMillan] said, ‘We’ll cut that.’”
Mark Brown, Guardian, 16 November 2012

Booking details:
The Royal Ballet, MacMillan triple bill, Royal Opera House, 17, 21, 27, 29, 30 Nov & 5 Dec. Online booking

The English National Ballet tour The Sleeping Beauty Online info & booking

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