After having seen the La Scala Ballet School's ‘end of year' performance of the Bournonville's Napoli Divertissements, I went digging around to find other versions to watch, and found that on YouTube there are surprising few clips. One is of the Ballet Rambert's end of year show.
Digging around in the old VHS tapes that are (very) slowly getting transferred to digital formats, there was a bad quality black and white video from 1985. Bad quality video, but high quality dancing.
It is in black and white as it was copied from a French tape, back in the days when France used a different system to everywhere else in the Europe. It is of the Paris Opera Ballet performing in quite a small theatre (can anyone identify it?) in 1985. As it is a dress rehearsal it has some unfinished variations, not very elegant bowing, and exhausted faces… all those things that friends and family can see in the dress, but are usually (!) hidden from the paying punter. All great fun. Especially when you look at the cast list, which has many of the top names from the Paris company at that time:
Florence Clerc and Charles Jude dance with Laurent Hilaire, Manuel Legris, Isabelle Guérin, Marie-Claude Pietragalla, Karin Averty and Clotilde Vayer!
I've put it on YouTube… Enjoy.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.
OMG everybody is in this — A true historical document — some enterprising historian will start collecting these someday — my hunch is that most TV stations have long ago destroyed their old copies — especially if it was done before digital recording — If you ever come across the old BW recording of Sibley and Dowell doing Ashtons’ The Dream which was shown for Shakespears BD in the 70’s ?? I would love to see it.