Raffa meets his idols in the UK

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Hey guys! Guess what?! Raffa is back! He’s taken time out of the busy Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo tour to keep you up to date on everything the company has been up to!

The Color of Fall is Orange,
The Color of Fall is New
The Mood looks lost in thought,
The many things to seek,
Fall is the season to Think,
With the leaves all over to bunk,
Fall season is finally here!

No, those are not my words, I am not a poet, but I am so happy Fall, or Autumn as you might be more used to say, is finally here.

I always loved this season.

Probably because  I was born in October, and my Name day is at the very end of September, so Autumn has always meant celebration.

Now I do not celebrate on my Name day any longer: it is a tradition like many others that has been lost. But when I was a kid I used to get a little gift on September 29th, then again on October 21st, for my Birthday. I was always very happy.

I love the atmosphere, the bright colours of Autumn.

The temperatures are dropping but some days are still lovely and warm and the palette of nature is so beautiful. One of those days is today!

I am sitting on the beach in Brighton: the sun is shining but the air is crisp and fresh. Not too many people around, maybe still recovering from the partying weekend. It was Halloween two nights ago and we all know how crazy that can get!

Right now it is so lovely: the music from the Pier and the Ferry Wheel is far away enough that is not bothering, but giving me the feeling of a different kind of happiness…and the sound of the breaking  waves just in front of me, more relaxing and calming is helping me to think…since, as the poem says, Autumn is the time to think..

Luckily enough, on our last day off during this tour we had a gorgeous day as well. We were in Inverness then, and a big group of us took the opportunity to take a short cruise on Lochness. What spectacular views: The light was just perfect and we could all enjoy the wonderful nature around us, with a view of Urquhart Castle that one sees only on nice postcards or in the best documentaries.

The only thing that could  have probably made the day even more perfect would have been catching a sight of Nessie….but she was shy and did not come up…pity..

The company during this wonderful tour has been lucky enough to have the opportunity to do some really nice sightseeing on our travel days as well. On our way from Southampton to Cardiff we stopped at Stonehenge; while on our trip from Bradford to Nottingham we could visit Chatsworth House. I had visited Stonehenge  previously, so this time I did not participate on the tour, waiting for all the other guys at the gift shop. I  did visit Chatsworth House and it was incredible.

I could spend hours just talking about this visit, but I am afraid I would repeat myself in saying how beautiful the park was with all the colours of Fall giving it the center of attention. I was impressed by the interior of the house as well,  by learning about all the people that have lived or visited there. Somehow, if only for tourism, I felt important as well for a view moments. (www.chatsworth.org)

Now in Brighton, and  we have some time to walk around and possibly visit the Royal Pavillion: this exotic palace in the center of town with a colorful history. Built as a seaside pleasure palace for King Goeorge IV, this historic house mixes Regency grandeur with the visual style of India and China. Fascinating.

It could sound, by reading these few lines, that all Trockadero has done during this tour has been Sightseeing and Fun. It is true: we have had a lot of fun throughout the tour, but we have also been working hard. I have had the opportunity to dance a lot and enjoy the warmth of the audiences in each and every city. Also, I had the wonderful experience to teach the DYING SWAN workshops intended for people  of around 50 years old and over.

It was touching to see how deeply involved these people were during the class. But those classes have given me the chance for a more introspected analysis of my career. The Dying Swan was the first important role  I danced with Ballets Trockadero. I premiered it only a few months after I joined the company back in October 2001, and I have been dancing it numerous time.

By teaching my version of the Dying Swan, telling all the thoughts that pass through my mind every time I dance it, explaining the evolution it has had throughout the years, I can say I have also explained the evolution of my personality.

I joined this company when I was 25 years old. I am now 40..so many things have changed in my life and my personality with a direct consequence in the interpretation of my roles, that I think has become more human, I would say. Another moment during the tour when I got to think about all the changes in the way I approach my roles was when I met Irek Mukhamedov.

Raffa with Irek Mukhamedov

Irek was a big star of the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow and then of the Royal Ballet in London. He is now coach at the English National Ballet. While we were  performing at the Peacock Theater in London, at the beginning of the tour, he came to watch our show twice, and during the second week he also came on stage during the first intermission when we could all meet him. We only had time to take a quick photo together and for a brief chat, but to me it was a very important moment.

Irek was my idol in my teen years, when I used to watch him on VHS of Spartacus, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Golden Age, Legend of Love, all with the Bolshoi Ballet,  or later Bayadere and Winter Dreams, Mayerling with the Royal Ballet. He was a very charismatic dancer and, while always keeping his personality and just refining his particular style through the years, he was always very thorough in his approach to each different role.

That is something I have always tried to do my self, though before I always wanted  to look like a dancer. Now, I much rather have the audience see my personality through my roles than the roles through my dancing..After meeting Irek I couldn’t help but thinking how he had influenced my career and why I loved his dancing so much…I think he was also very human, and I liked it.

Raffa with David Suchet

Yes,  I was Star Struck when I met him, just like I was again, a few days later, when I could meet another, more recent idol of mine. This time an Actor, not a dancer. I am talking about David Suchet. Repeating myself from previous blogs, I love Agatha Christie. David Suchet has become famous in the past 20 plus years for his on screen interpretation of Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective born from the pen of Agatha Christie.

I loved him in his role, and, by listening to many interviews on how he approached this and many other roles in his career, I found him very inspirational. His in depth research of the character Poirot,  respecting the way “it was written by its author” and the effort not to make people laugh at him but smile with him are a true example to follow. I went to see him on stage in the “Importance of Being Earnest” playing the role of  Lady Bracknell. He played, just like the Trocks, En travestie, so I could not miss the opportunity to witness live how one of my favourite actors would approach such task. He played it very refined and elegantly funny, never grotesque: I loved it.

This tour has been just wonderful. Professionally it has been very challenging yet greatly rewarding: As a Dancer because the audiences have been great every where, and the reviews have all been very positive, including a 5 star review on the Times..

As Ballet Master, with the opportunities of various Masterclasses, I could meet very interesting people to whom I could explain not only the technical side of my dancing, but how each role reflects my personality…

Thanks to all the people that work  actively “behind the scenes” this tour has been so nicely organized that we could even include sightseeing in our schedule…and that is very unusual.

It happened during my favorite season, and I celebrated my 40th birthday surrounded by friends.

What a Happy Tour!

This tour is almost over and I am a little bit sad. But in just ten days I will go to Zurich, to partake in a Christmas Show. Is going to be a very different experience for me and I will be on stage with many different artists. A new adventure, a new challenge, all very exciting!

I wish I could say more about it, but all I know now is that I am really looking forward to it.

I will keep on Trockin’ in a different way….

We will visit a couple of more cities after Brighton: Salford and Birmingham. We still have a few opportunities to enjoy the UK, just like all of you ,who have not been able to see us, still have a few chances to come to one of our shows!

For now I say good bye.

I will see you soon again, in just a few years, when the Trocks will be back for yet another extraordinary tour.


Yours truly, Raffaele