sun 25/06/2017

Dance reviews, news & interviews

Scottish Ballet, Sadler's Wells review - striking and memorable dance

Hanna Weibye

Years ago, MC14/22 (Ceci est mon corps), the Angelin Preljoçaj piece with which this Scottish Ballet double bill opens, made a deep impression on Christopher Hampson.

Sergei Vikharev, master ballet-reconstructor, 1962-2017

Ismene Brown

Just as the 200th anniversary is about to be celebrated of the great genius of 19th-century classical ballets, Marius Petipa, the creator of The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, La Bayadère, half of Swan Lake, and many other masterpieces, his oeuvre's most remarkable reconstructor has died suddenly, aged only 55.

Ashton triple bill, Royal Ballet review – fond...

Hanna Weibye

Nicely covering the many bases of Frederick Ashton's genius, the Royal Ballet triple bill which opened last night is a chance to see both the company...

Koen Kessels: 'there's a joke in ballet...

Hanna Weibye

Koen Kessels is on a mission to change the culture around music in ballet. Anyone who has heard the Belgian conduct will know that he is the right...

m¡longa, Brighton Festival review - sensual tango...

Thomas H Green

Watching tango dancers Gisela Galeassi and Nikito Cornejo own the apron of the stage during the second half of m¡longa, the brain finds it difficult...

Symphonic Dances, Royal Ballet review - a truly interesting creation

Hanna Weibye

New Scarlett creation shines in a musical mixed bill

Ghost Dances: Rambert, Sadler's Wells review - vital and joyfully precise dancing

Jenny Gilbert

This South American triple bill is highly entertaining, but should it be?

Mayerling, Royal Ballet review - 'every ballet fan should see this'

Hanna Weibye

Watson and Osipova hypnotic in MacMillan's character-driven masterpiece

DVD: Dancer

Jenny Gilbert

Steven Cantor’s film tracks the making and breaking of ballet superstar Sergei Polunin

Betroffenheit, Crystal Pite & Jonathon Young, Sadler's Wells

Sanjoy Roy

Astonishing, unclassifiable work of dance theatre about an unrepresentable subject

Brighton Festival 2017: 12 Free Events

Thomas H Green

Brighton Festival CEO Andrew Comben's guide to this year's best free stuff

Matthew Bourne's Early Adventures, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Choreographer's young works make up in sparkle what they lack in depth

Balanchine's Jewels, Royal Ballet

Hanna Weibye

A glittering, precise account of a 20th century classic

Pina Bausch's Rite of Spring, English National Ballet, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Dancers wow in iconic Stravinsky piece, but Forsythe and van Manen need more work

Crystal Pite, Flight Pattern, Royal Ballet

Hanna Weibye

Extraordinary première by Canadian choreographer explores refugee experience through dance, plus Christopher Wheeldon and David Dawson

Project Polunin, Sadler's Wells

Katie Colombus

Can ballet's bad boy live up to the hype?

DVD: Reset

Jenny Gilbert

Benjamin Millepied at the helm of the Paris Opera Ballet - what really happened?

Tree of Codes, Wayne McGregor, Sadler's Wells

Katie Colombus

An outstanding collaboration between movement, sound and sight

FLA.CO.MEN, Israel Galván, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Maverick dancer opens annual flamenco festival with a playful jam-session of a show

Masurca Fogo, Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Tanztheater Wuppertal in one of their founder's lightweight works

Giselle, English National Ballet, London Coliseum

Hanna Weibye

Cojocaru and Hernández delicious in perfect heritage production

Best of 2016: Dance & Ballet

Hanna Weibye

Tamara Rojo's ENB and Akram Khan trump Royal Ballet in theartsdesk's highlights

Strictly Come Dancing 2016 Final, BBC One

Jasper Rees

Ore Oduba's win is evidence that light entertainment isn't just white entertainment

The Red Shoes, Sadler's Wells

Jenny Gilbert

Matthew Bourne's latest adaptation of a classic is a cineaste's dream

Swan Lake/Loch na hEala, Sadler’s Wells

Jenny Gilbert

Agony meets ecstasy in radical Irish take on the ballet

Conceal/Reveal, Russell Maliphant Company, Messums Barn

Ismene Brown

Modern dance finds a serene new home in a 13th-century tithe barn

The Nutcracker, Royal Ballet

Hanna Weibye

Christmas classic is never disappointing - and these principals always winning

Akram Khan's Giselle, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Narrative dance takes a new direction in choreographer's visionary re-imagining for English National Ballet

Wayne McGregor triple bill, Royal Ballet

Hanna Weibye

Choreographer is as concept-heavy and content-light as ever in two revivals and a premiere

Footnote: a brief history of dance in Britain

Britain's reputation as one of the world's great ballet nations has been swiftly won, as home-grown classical ballet started here only in the 1930s. Yet within 30 years the Royal Ballet was recognised as the equal of the greatest and oldest companies in France, Russia or Italy. Now the extraordinary range in British dance from classical ballet to contemporary dance-theatre, from experimental new choreography in small spaces to mass arena-ballet spectaculars, can't be matched in the US or Russia, where nothing like the Arts Council subsidy system exists to encourage new work.

Fonteyn_OndineWhile foreign stars have long been adored by British audiences, from Anna Pavlova and Rudolf Nureyev to Sylvie Guillem, the British ballet and dance movements were offspring of the movement towards a national subsidised theatre. This was first activated in the Thirties by Lilian Baylis and Ninette de Valois in a tie-up between the Old Vic and Sadler's Wells, and led to the founding of what became the Royal Ballet, English National Opera and the National Theatre. From 1926 Marie Rambert's Ballet Club operated out of the tiny Mercury Theatre, Notting Hill, a creative crucible producing early stars such as choreographer Frederick Ashton and ballerina Alicia Markova and which eventually grew into Ballet Rambert and today's Rambert Dance. From all these roots developed Sadlers Wells Theatre Ballet (now Birmingham Royal Ballet), London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet), and Western Theatre Ballet which became Scottish Ballet.

Margot Fonteyn's dominance in the post-war ballet scene (pictured in Ashton's Ondine) and the granting of a Royal charter in 1956 to the Royal Ballet and its school brought the "English ballet" world renown, massively increased when Soviet star Rudolf Nureyev defected from the Kirov Ballet in 1961 and formed with Fonteyn the most iconic partnership in dance history.

The Sixties ballet boom was complemented by the introduction of American abstract modern dance to London, and a mushrooming of independent modern choreographers drawing on fashion and club music (Michael Clark), art and classical music (Richard Alston), movies (Matthew Bourne) and science (Wayne McGregor). Hip-hop, salsa and TV dance shows have recently given a dynamic new twist to contemporary dance. The Arts Desk offers the fastest overnight reviews and ticket booking links for last night's openings, as well as the most thoughtful close-up interviews with major creative figures and performers. Our critics include Ismene Brown, Judith Flanders, David Nice, Matt Wolf and James Woodall

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