sat 23/03/2019

dance

In the realm of the Nutcracker king

ismene Brown

At this time of year people who love ballet divide into two tribes: those who are too sophisticated for The Nutcracker and those who will never been too sophisticated for The Nutcracker. The former will say that The Nutcracker is a children’s ballet. For the latter, Christmas would not be Christmas without hearing probably the most familiar and adored of Tchaikovsky’s music scores.

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The battle for Balanchine

ismene Brown

THE choreographer George Balanchine died on April 30, 1983, aged 79, of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, a rare, if nowadays notorious, condition only discovered at his autopsy. What had been recognised long before his death, though, was that this man was one of the very greatest geniuses of the 20th century, a figure to be reckoned alongside Pablo Picasso in art and Igor Stravinsky in music.

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Last Dance: Why Our Best Ballets Are Slowly Dying

ismene Brown

Sir Frederick Ashton, Britain's unrivalled genius at creating ballets, had a simple attitude towards posterity. "You've heard his famous remark, 'Fuck posterity'?" says his nephew, Anthony Russell-Roberts, smiling but eyeing me apprehensively.

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Manon: Shock that turned to respect

ismene Brown

One of the first, scathing reviews of Kenneth MacMillan's ballet Manon in 1974 nailed it exactly: "It is an appalling waste of lovely Antoinette Sibley who, as Manon, is reduced to a nasty little diamond-digger." In that sentence all the prevailing attitudes about ballet were summed up - the status of classical ballerinas as princesses on pedestals, the duty of ballet to polish their virtuous crowns, the horror of seeing this porcelain beauty smashed.

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