‘One Shoulder Down’
Maina Gielgud – Former Artistic Director Australian Ballet, Freelance Teacher/Coach/Stager

‘One Shoulder Down’

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Maina Gielgud, former Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet & renowned teacher/coach & stager, shares a wonderful tip for helping dancers find movement, grace & épaulement in their upper body.

Trained by the great Russians including Tamara Karsavina and Lubov Egorova, and later Rosella Hightower, Maina Gielgud has had an incredibly diverse career creating works with Maurice Bejart’s XXth Century Ballet, dancing as a principal with London Festival Ballet and Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet, as an international guest artist, and being partnered by Rudolf Nureyev. She then directed The Australian Ballet (1983-1997) and the Royal Danish Ballet (1997-1999). Free-lancing since 1999, she stages her own classical productions, such as her highly acclaimed The Sleeping Beauty and Giselle for The Australian Ballet (staged also for Boston Ballet, Ballet du Rhin, and Houston Ballet), various works choreographed by Maurice Bejart, including Serait-ce la Mort, Bhakti, Webern opus 5, and Songs of a Wayfarer; by Kenneth MacMillan: Manon; Serge Lifar: Suite en Blanc; Rudolf Nureyev's productions of  Don Quixotte and Swan Lake, and classical favourites such as  Les Sylphides, Spectre de la Rose, Paquita. Maina made a comeback in 2003 as a dancer and actress in Bejart's L’Heure Exquise. In the last couple of years, her schedule included staging Kenneth MacMillan's Manon, a production of the Bournonville La Sylphide with new sets and costumes, for the Hungarian National Ballet, and staging Nureyev's Don Quixotte for La Scala Milan.  She travelled to Australia to work with all three classically based companies, then restaging her production of Giselle in Melbourne and Sydney. During the 2015/16 season, she created a new production of Coppelia for the Australian Conservatoire of Ballet performances, was a guest teacher with Tokyo Ballet in Japan, and staged Manon once again for the Hungarian National Ballet.  She was on the Jury of the Helsinki Competition, Finland, then during the summer, gave Masterclasses at the National Ballet School, Toronto, in New York with Ellison Ballet, Ballet Academy East, and ABT Summer intensive. Last season was equally busy, guest teaching with the Royal Ballet, mime and stagecraft classes for the Royal Ballet School, staging Anton Dolin's Variations for 4 for Ellison Ballet and La Scala school in Milan, working on Kenneth Greve's production of Swan Lake with the Finnish National Ballet, as well as returning to Budapest for Manon, and continuing in her position of Artistic Advisor for the Hungarian National Ballet. In June of 2018 Goh Ballet in Vancouver will perform Maina's creation of a full length Cinderella for their 40th anniversary performance . She will be staging a one act ballet for the 275th anniversary of the Vaganova Academy on the Maryinski stage in St Petersburg. Other guesting engagements during the 2017/18 season will take her to Queensland Ballet; she will restage her much loved production of Giselle for The Australian Ballet, once again stage a work for Ellison Ballet's Winter Showcase, and stage Anton Dolin's Pas de Quatre for the New National Ballet of Japan and other companies.  She will also be Principal Artistic Advisor to the newly formed Anton Dolin Foundation. "Coaching the Coaches' on the 1st September 2017 in London, will be a new initiative: an experimental interactive workshop dedicated to discussion and examples of ideas and methods of coaching students for ballet competitions as well as professional dancers for their solo and principal repertoire.


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