Thursday, 18 February 2016

Sunderland, the Life of Rudolf Nureyev and More Adorable Dogs!

Sorry for the late post of the blog this week, I've been busy with various things but better late than never! Last week the last tango tour took us to the Sunderland Empire, another of the UK's beautiful theatres.

Even though the auditorium is ornate and has been kept in its original state, the dressing rooms have been very nicely refurbished. A particularly nice touch is that every room has been named and dedicated to a past performer.
We have been to the Sunderland Empire several times now with our three shows and my dressing room is always Rudolf Nureyev's, you can't really ask for much more can you!
As a performer each week you look for something (even very small) that will inspire you and keep you alive on stage, being in Nureyev's dressing room does the trick for me.

In each dressing room you will find the performers photograph in a lovely frame and next to it a short biography of their life story, Nureyev's always brings a tear to my eye. I had no idea he passed away at the young age of 54 from a terrible illness, and I cannot believe an amazing dancer like him, had to go through such harsh rejection from the audience at this very theatre during his 'farewell tour'. I can only imagine how painful that must have been for him, and wonder if that did not contribute in some way to his health declining further. 

Here is a short biography for him.

"Rudolf Nureyev was born on the trans-Siberian train while his mother Farida was travelling to Vladivostok where his father Hamat, a Red Army political commissioner was stationed. He was raised as the only son in a Tatar family in a village near Ufa in Soviet Republic of Bashkiria. When his mother smuggled him and his sisters into a performance of the Ballet 'Song of the cranes' he fell in love with Dance. As a child he was encouraged to dance and his precocity was soon noticed by teachers who encourage him to train in Leningard, where he trained at the Kirov Ballet School.

Owing to the disruption of Soviet cultural life caused by World War II, Nureyev was unable to enrol in a major ballet school until 1955 age 17, when he was accepted by the Leningrad choreographic School. In his three years with the Kirov, he Dance 15 roles and became one of the Soviet union's best known dances.

In 1961 Nureyev was chosen as the Kirvo's leading male dancer on the European tour and his performances in Paris electrified audiences and critics. Nureyev's first appearance in Britain was at a Ballet matinee organised by the Royal Ballet's prima ballerina Dame Margot Fontaine.

His first appearance with the company was partnering Margot Fontaine in Gizelle on 21 February 1962. Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fontaine became long-standing dance partners and continue to dance together for many years after Nureyev's departure from the Royal Ballet. Their last performance together was in 'Baroque Pas de Trois' on 16 September 1988 when Fontaine was 69 the Nureyev was aged 50. Nureyev once said to Fontaine that they danced with "one body", one soul".

In 1962, Nureyev made his screen debut in the film version of 'Les Sylphides' and in 1977 he played Rudolph Valentino in Ken Russell's 'Valentino'. but he had decided against an acting career in order to branch into modern dance with the Dutch National Ballet in 1968. In 1972, Robert Helpmann invited him to tour Australia with his own production of Don Quixote, his directional debut. The film version (1973) features Nureyev, Lucette Aldous as Kitri, Hepmann as Le Don Quixote and artist of the Australian Ballet.

During the 1970s Nureyev appeared in several films and toured through the United States in a revival of the Broadway musical 'the king and I'. He was one of the guest stars on the television series the Muppet show where he danced in a parody called 'Swine Lake' sang 'baby it's cold outside' in a hot tub duet with Miss Piggy, and sang and danced in the show's finale, 'top hat'. In 1982 he became a naturalised Australian. In 1983, he was appointed director of the Paris Opera Ballet, where, as well as directing, he continued to dance and to promote younger dancers. He remained there as a dancer and chief of choreography until 1989.

It was 1991 in the twilight of his career that Rudolf Nureyev came to the Sunderland Empire with his 'farewell tour' Nureyev and friends. Unfortunately the show wasn't well received starting late after last-minute changes in the programme by Nureyev. The production also famously featured a ballet danced in complete silence when a cassette player was not switched on. It was the Empire however that had to cope with outraged fans demanding their money back, it even had to fight successfully a legal battle with one disgruntled theatregoer who sued for the return of his ticket price and travelling expenses

When Nureyev started to become ill he simply denied for several years that anything was wrong. When about 1990 he became undeniably ill, he is said to have tried several experimental treatments. Unfortunately they did not stop his deteriorating health. His final work was a production of 'la Bayadere' at the Palais Garnier in 1992 and for which he received a standing ovation. The French culture Minister Jack Lang presented him with France's highest cultural award, the 'Commendeur de l'Orde des Arts et des Lettres'. A few months later he passed away January to 6th 1993 at the age of 54 years old. He was buried at the Russian cemetery of Sainte-Genevieve -Des-Bois, near Paris."

Luckily for me, this week saw the return of 'Tony and Teddy's tea Tours'.
As we were in Sunderland we decided a trip to the beautiful Durham Cathedral was in order. I'd never been to Durham before and seeing as I love visiting old churches iand have visited many in cities all over the world, I was very much looking forward to it.
Durham Cathedral certainly did not disappoint, absolutely stunning in every way. It is known to be amongst the greatest churches ever built. What I always find difficult to digest is that it begun to be built in 1081 and took around 40 years to be completed.

Most of the cathedral was built in the Norman Romanesque style. As we were walking round admiring such incredible architecture we couldn't help but wonder how on earth they ever managed to build such intricacy out of such heavy materials and at such great heights with minimal tools and technology at their disposal, It almost doesn't seem possible. I did have a chuckle to myself as I though about how complicated and expensive it can be nowadays to get a single storey extension built on your house. I do wonder if today's architects and builders would even be capable of creating such beauty out of such impressive materials?

At the end of our visit to Durham Cathedral we decided to go for a spot of lunch, and what better than a Chinese buffet on the beautiful river that overlooks the stunning cathedral.
Very nice it was too, I especially liked my jasmine tea..

In the short time we were there it was clear to see Durham is a very vibrant place to live, with both beautiful historic buildings and at the same time a real buzz of students from the university. A lot of beautiful walks to go on too which is something that's always on top of my wish list.

On the way back from Durham we decided to take a stop at South Shields so Mabel could stretch her legs and have a run around. We stopped off by the coast in a place called Leas right at the edge of a cliff where the drop was certainly extreme. Mabel who is fearless as most dogs are was always venturing that little bit to close to the edge for my liking, but she knew exactly where she was going and what she was doing.
The views were spectacular as you can see from the photos and the drive back along the coast all the way to the Sunderland Empire was the perfect cherry on the cake. Thank you 'Tony and Teddy's tea tours' for another fab day out!

Check these photos out. They certainly put a smile my face this week,

Pets That Are Stuck But Pretending Everything Is Fine

Next week were at the New Wimbledon Theatre come say hi if you're around. See you next week x
Tweets Of The Week
First tweet of the week goes to Melissa Chappell ‏@MellyChaps
Best one yet. @FlaviaCacace and @vincentsimone brilliant in #TheLastTango

Second tweet of the week goes to Norman ‏@BeldomN
@FlaviaCacace @Dilly4 Must get rid of this dog he keeps digging up the garden! LoL

By.Flavia news & tip of the week

This is going to be a very exciting year for the By.Flavia range, I'm still working on and perfecting my sweet almond oil scrub and matching bubble bath. Very much looking forward to sharing these new products with you all once I am completely happy with them. There will also be some exciting promotions in the lead up to Valentine's Day so watch this space for some not to be missed special offers. 

You can see our full range of By.Flavia products by visiting our website here.

Final thought

Check out National doodle day and place your bids x

Hope you have a great week, see you next time.

1 comment:

  1. Saw you in Bristol wow.... Got a couple of life of the two of you dancing for the wall. Lovely to hear about how amazing dancers became amazing dancers, and see the beauty of different places.... Namely Durham... Thank you... And for many beautiful dance memories...