fri 12/07/2024

dance

Ashton Celebrated, Royal Ballet review - peerless delights from the master step-smith

Jenny Gilbert

Launching a four-year global project to proclaim the genius of Frederick Ashton might seem unnecessary. His work is the bedrock of what’s widely known as The English Style and rarely absent from any British ballet season, whether at the Royal Ballet (for whom he created much of it), or elsewhere.

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Rocio Molina, Sadler's Wells Flamenco Festival review - mystery and dark magic, with a giggle

Jenny Gilbert

Success in running a large and expanding dance-house enterprise requires knowing when to play safe and when to play with fire, trusting that your audience will come with you.

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The Winter's Tale, Royal Ballet review - what a story, and what a way to tell it!

Jenny Gilbert

If there is a more striking, more moving, more downright enjoyable way to experience Shakespeare’s second-from-last play, I have yet to see it.

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All You Need Is Death review - a future folk horror classic

Justine Elias

Music, when the singer’s voice dies away, vibrates in the memory. In the hypnotic new Irish horror film All You Need Is Death, those who search for long-unheard songs crave a certain melody that works a terrible magic on the living. In this pleasingly eldritch narrative debut by documentary-maker Paul Duane, it’s unclear whether the forbidden tune will turn out to be a love ballad, a curse, or both.

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MacMillan Celebrated, Royal Ballet review - out of mothballs, three vintage works to marvel at

Jenny Gilbert

Triple bills can be a difficult sell for ballet companies. Audiences prefer big sets and costumes, and a storyline they can hum. It’s not hard to see why Kenneth MacMillan’s full-evening hits Romeo and Juliet and Manon have turned out to be such a valuable legacy for his widow and daughter – companies around the world have an endless appetite for staging them.

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Carmen, English National Ballet review - lots of energy, even violence, but nothing new to say

Jenny Gilbert

The story of Carmen is catnip to choreographers. No matter how many times this 180-year-old narrative has been tweaked and reframed in art, theatre, opera, dance and film, they keep coming back for more – which is curious when you consider that Carmen began life in a saucy French novella read in smoking rooms and gentlemen’s clubs.

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WAKE, National Stadium, Dublin review - a rainbow river of dance, song, and so much else

David Nice

In what feels like the beginning, or at least the Old Testament, there was Riverdance. Now, ready to flow through the world once the world knows it needs it, there’s a rainbow-coloured river of just about everything musical and choreographic that’s found its place in contemporary Ireland, performed with a pulsating energy as well as a poetry that stops you wondering too much about all the connections.

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Swan Lake, Royal Ballet review - grand, eloquent, superb

Jenny Gilbert

In uncertain times like these, the single thing that every flagship ballet company needs is a convincing iteration of a 19th-century blockbuster. New works are all very well and necessary, but they don’t have the pulling power of Swan Lake, or the staying power.

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Dance for Ukraine Gala, London Palladium review - a second rich helping of international dancers

Helen Hawkins

It’s tempting to see the second gala created by Ukrainian-born Ivan Putrov as a reflection of the shift in Ukraine’s fortunes since his first one in March 2022. Somehow, just weeks after Ukraine was invaded, Putrov and his fellow student in Kyiv, Alina Cojocaru, brought the world’s finest principals to the London Coliseum for a show-stopping gala that was as moving as it was finely executed.

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Nelken: A Piece by Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells review - welcome return for an indelible classic

Helen Hawkins

Perhaps the most memorable of the stage designs Peter Pabst created for Pina Bausch is back in London after nearly 20 years: a sea of erect pink silk carnations, the Nelken of the title. It’s canonical that there are 8,000 of them, but only the backstage team know the truth of that. 

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