fri 15/01/2021

dance

Best of 2020: Dance

Jenny Gilbert

Hard as it is to recall how it felt to sit elbow to elbow in a red plush seat, plenty of us did that during the first 10 weeks of 2020, with no heed at all to who might be breathing over us. I have since wondered what proportion of the dance sector had any inkling of the wrecking ball that was about to hit. None, to judge by the many weeks it took for dance companies and theatres to reinvent themselves online, and to start dredging their archives for decently recorded material.

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The Nutcracker: an end-of-year obituary

Jenny Gilbert

If dance lovers have learnt anything in recent months it's to take nothing for granted. How could we ever have been so blasé about The Nutcracker, whose annual reappearance in multiple productions was as inevitable as crowds on Oxford Street?

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The Seven Deadly Sins, Opera North online review - viscerally thrilling

Jenny Gilbert

Theatres are currently banned from moving scenery and props about on stage and you might expect this to present a major obstacle to a production of The Seven Deadly Sins. How else is the opera’s protagonist to be seen to visit seven American cities, succumbing to a different sin in each?

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The Royal Ballet: Live, Within the Golden Hour review - stunning, joyous dance

Jenny Gilbert

Unfazed by yet another forced cancellation, the Royal Ballet has notched up a small triumph over the virus. When what was to have been a performance to a live audience in the Opera House fell prey to new restrictions, it went ahead anyway.

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Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells review - onward and upward

Jenny Gilbert

It was a night of multiple firsts: the first live performance at Sadler's Wells in seven months (the place hasn’t been dark for so long since the War); the official first day of Carlos Acosta’s tenure as the new director of Birmingham Royal Ballet; and the premiere of his first...

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The Royal Ballet: Back on Stage review - fireworks in the Garden

Jenny Gilbert

"Don’t hold back,” a front-of-house manager told us. “If you want to show your appreciation, go for it.” This was nothing to do with providing sound effects for the imminent streaming to tens of thousands around the world. It was about letting the performers know there was a real, live audience in the House.

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Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer, Barbican Art Gallery review - mould-breaker, ground-shaker

Jenny Gilbert

It must be tough being Michael Clark, subject of one the largest retrospectives ever dedicated to a choreographer still living. Post-punk’s poster boy is that curious thing, a creative figurehead who defined a very particular anti-establishment strand in Britain’s recent history but who is virtually unknown to today’s under-40s. Michael who?

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theartsdesk in Hamburg: Ghost Light - a ballet in the time of corona

Jenny Gilbert

So the Royal Ballet is to make a live comeback, for one night only, on 9 October. Fielding the entire company of 100 dancers, suitably distanced, the enterprise is being hailed as a triumph of logistics. And so it is. But the fact remains that the vast majority of its audience will be watching on a computer screen at home.

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Dancing at Dusk: A Moment with Pina Bausch’s 'The Rite of Spring' review - an explosive African rite

Jenny Gilbert

There’s sun and sand, and both are golden – but this is no holiday beach. Distantly, out of focus, you can make out a man with a donkey and cart. Off-camera, some locals kick a ball. A square of sand about the size of a tennis court has been carefully raked in preparation for a performance – a unique performance, as it turns out.

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The Thread, Sadler's Wells Digital Stage review - Greek folk and contemporary unite

Marianka Swain

The latest Sadler’s Wells digital offering is 2019’s The Thread, a luminous collaboration between choreographer Russell Maliphant and Oscar-winning composer Vangelis (Chariots of Fire, Blade Runner) for the Athens-based production company Lavris.

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