China Report: Dancer, Nathalie Leger, shares her day travelling from Hangzhou to Beijing

December 18, 2007 at 3:12 pm (Artist's News, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , , , )

Sebastian and Sarah. Photography by Neil G Jarman

6.45am Wake up alarm, a bit tired this morning. Leaving 8.30am Hangzhou to Beijing. People enjoying last breakfast here. Mr Wheeler in good form this morning! Make me laugh! Check out all fine and bye bye Hangzhou. Dancers, Technicians and others tired but excited to go to the Capital. Will be great to see how things are changing for the Olympic Games coming up. Plus, will be able to settle down for 9 days count down to Christmas day! Minus 7 days!! Yeah! Finally, will open suitcases, hang out clothes properly, laundry time!!! Complete free day tomorrow in Beijing GREAT DAY!
8.30am 2 Coaches. We are missing one dancer! Did anyone went to the Loo last minute! Tisch, Company Manager, needs to count again! Now we have one too many!? Well better this way – Let’s Go
Weather is still fine – not even cold. Lot of rain these past few days but not a big change from England! Trip to Airport give you time to look around! The poverty of people is visible; dirt and pollution are making your vision unclear; laundry outside balcony are turning gray; and suddenly you can see a full duck or fish drying outside on this unhealthy air!! (getting hungry) but one thing I love and give me a smile: it’s the fashion style – never one colour managing the other! A green shirt with red pants!!! Not so Chanel style. Passing a river and seeing little pagodas floating! Lovely! But then I realised how everybody is so quiet today – reading listening to music or looking through the window like me
10.00 amCheck in Airport Hangzhou. Quicker than Manchester and Paris. Who would think that? Waiting for boarding but Ms Sibson and Mr Goldsmith are called to the Check in again? Something wrong in the suitcase? They are back – just the camera battery from Darren’s suitcase. Did look like a kind of bomb on the screen! Good laugh!
11.15am Boarding. Airbus 300 – enormous plane! Pack of people and NBT. Two halves flying – smells are moving around….. and honestly not the most enjoyable one! ( not really Armani perfume)
1.50am – Plane arrive Beijing. Long way from Terminal so bus ride for miles it seems. Long wait for baggage for some reason. Darren’s bag does not arrive – have they decided it is security risk! Then – last bag – it arrives so all is well. Journey to Poly Plaza Hotel not too long but check in takes long time. Some Principal dancers have Press Conference and not able to change as rooms not all ready.
4.10pm Press Conference goes ok! Lots of journalists asking questions. Once it is over – everybody free to enjoy the rest of the day plus free day tomorrow ! Poly Plaza hotel great so everybody happy!!

Sebastian and Toby

Long queue to check-in

The press reception

Interpreted<br>  r Jackie and Victoria

Mark, Keiko and Kenny

the press reception introduces Double Troubles

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China Report: Second Performance in Hangzhou

December 17, 2007 at 5:04 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

Chiaki Nagao. Photography by Neil G Jarman

The Company had some free time today until we went to the theatre at 2pm for class. This evening’s performance was the first of three events for our sponsors and was hosted by Yorkshire Forward. The event was attended by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Simon Hill from Yorkshire Forward and Prof. Stephen Parkinson from Leeds Met University all of who spoke at the pre-performance event. We did encounter one or two issues with the flying system this evening (or it might have been the operators) but at one point the computer console was surrounded by 12 Chinese Technicians!. We had a slightly larger audience than last night and the performance seemed to be appreciated. Yi Song danced the role of The Bonze/Yamadori/Samurai for the first time this evening.

Professor Steven Parkinson speaking of collaboration between Hangzhou and Leeds, also celebrated his 30th visit to the region

Guests of Yorkshire Forwards and Leeds Met listen to the speaches

Mark Skipper,NBT's CEO, intruduces Dan d'Andrade to Brian Cleasby, Mayor of Leeds - photo: Neil G Jarman

Final curtain call for Hangzhou

Chiaki and Darren with 'Trouble' - photo: Neil G jarman

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China Report: First Performance in Hangzhou

December 16, 2007 at 5:09 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

Keiko as Butterfly - Photo: Neil G Jarman

The Technicians had a tough day today but performed magnificently. In the UK, we would normally have 12 hours on the first day of the fit up and 4 hours the second day before class and Technical Rehearsal. In Hangzhou, they only had 6½ hours on the first day and 6 today but managed to pull things together to start the Technical rehearsal at 3pm and actually get through the whole ballet by 5.30pm. This was even though the local crew did not arrive at theatre until 12pm despite being called for 9am!

The Company arrived at the theatre for 12pm for class at 12.30pm but before that we had the entertaining job of getting the ballet barres up 12 flights of stairs to the studio. Mission accomplished of course and class started on time.
Tonight was Kenneth Tindall’s premiere in the role of Pinkerton dancing with Keiko Amemori as Butterfly and they gave a great performance in front of a large audience. The performance was well received by the audience and received good applause.

A Promoter from Jianxing came to see the performance tonight and enjoyed the performance but felt that it was probably too short notice to stage a performance in 9 days time and expect to get a reasonable audience. I am hoping that we will get to spend an extra day (Boxing Day) in Beijing before moving on to the next scheduled venue of Nanjing but watch this space!!

Georgina prepares David Ward's hair


Waiting in the wings

Darren and Keiko

Keiko as Butterfly - Photo: Neil G Jarman

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China Report: Wuxi to Hangzhou

December 15, 2007 at 3:18 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

Waiting for ever - Photo: Neil G Jarman

Our fate was taken out of our hands today on the coach journey from Wuxi to Hangzhou. A journey that was scheduled to take 2 ½ hours became close to 6 hours! As soon as we left Wuxi, it became extremely foggy and the roads were incredibly bumpy and the driver seemed to have a death wish. We were on two coaches and there seemed to be an ongoing competition to see which could undertake the other in the most hazardous conditions. It was probably the worst and most scary driving we have ever experienced. Ultimately, it was miraculous that we made it without collision although we did see that aftermath of one or two mishaps on route.

The effects of the fog were brought to bear even more spectacularly when the highway was closed at the toll booth between Jiangsu Province (where Wuxi is situated) and Zhejiang Province (where Hangzhou is situated) due to the weather and we remained stationary for more than an hour. The lack of toilet facilities soon became an issue as we waited with no indication of how long we might be stuck -“sometimes it can be 10 minutes and sometimes 3 hours”

Eventually we did make it to the familiar territory of the New Century Hotel and the Company soon forgot the tedium of the journey and were out re-visiting the places they discovered in January 2006 – and particularly Starbucks.

Not such a good situation for the Technicians who were 2 hours late starting the fit up at the Grand Theatre. The schedule was already tight and this delay did not help. The situation was then further aggravated by the theatre staff deciding that we had to finish at 10pm. The Technicians returned to the hotel in a positive frame of mind and happy that they would be ready for tomorrow’s Technical Rehearsal.

The final piece of news from today is that the Promoter may have found another City for us to perform in on 27 December instead of Hefei. No further information yet but it is incredible that a performance can be agreed 10 days before the date and still get an audience (or not.)

Police blockade the road ahead

There’s always time for a company photo - Photo: Neil G Jarman

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