sat 13/04/2024

dance

Best of 2023: Dance

Jenny Gilbert

Dance lovers have had a better time of it this year as the performance sector starts to find its feet again. In the wake of a general cull of independent dance companies, 2023 has seen signs of fresh growth.

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Edward Scissorhands, Sadler's Wells review - a true Christmas treat, witty and beguiling

Helen Hawkins

The story of Edward Scissorhands may not seem an obvious Christmas subject, but it couldn’t be a more overt call for goodwill to all men. And there’s a hint of The Nutcracker about Matthew Bourne’s dance version, too.

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Nutcracker, Tuff Nutt Jazz Club, Royal Festival Hall review - a fresh, compelling, adult take on a festive favourite

Jenny Gilbert

Intimacy isn’t everything, but there’s nothing like seeing dance live and up close. A good seat in a large theatre will give you the whole stage picture but lose the detail. Lost too will be that quasi-visceral connection with the movement.

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The Dante Project, Royal Ballet review - brave but flawed take on the Divine Comedy returns

David Nice

Singular in its variousness, this is a three-act ballet that need some unpicking. No wonder those hooked on first acquaintance in 2021, like theartsdesk’s dance critic Jenny Gilbert, have been back to see it more than once.

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The Limit, Linbury Theatre review - a dance-theatre romcom that lacks both rom and com

Jenny Gilbert

Imagine a world in which speech has a daily legal limit. Not a limit on what you say, but how many words it takes to say it. Now imagine how such a scenario might work as dance.

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Anemoi / The Cellist, Royal Ballet review - a feast of music in a neat double bill

Jenny Gilbert

Double bills at the ballet don’t often come as neatly gift-wrapped. Each of the works in question was made just before or during lockdown, arriving at its premiere by the skin of its teeth. Each went on to win a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for best choreography.

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Song of Songs, Pam Tanowitz/David Lang, Barbican Theatre review - sublime music and intricate dance bring life to a 2,000-year-old love poem

Jenny Gilbert

On the whole the Bible is not big on sex and sensuality, with the exception of one very short book in the Old Testament. The Song of Solomon – aka Song of Songs – is a hymn to carnal pleasure, one whose vivid descriptions of perfect flesh and brimming wine flagons have divided religious scholars for centuries.

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Don Quixote, Royal Ballet review - crazy Russian-Spanish romcom, brilliant dancing

Jenny Gilbert

It was Carlos Acosta’s new production of Don Quixote that launched the Royal Ballet season in the autumn of 2013, and as it does so again 10 years on, its sunny dynamism is just what the doctor ordered.

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Ballet Nights, Lanterns Studio Theatre review - dance gets its own cabaret season

Jenny Gilbert

The variety show format is hardly new to concert programming. In the early 1900s it was the norm. Go to hear a Beethoven piano sonata or the latest piece by Claude Debussy and you could expect it to be followed by a novelty item on the fiddle, a vocal rendition of “Sally in our Alley” or a ventriloquist. By comparison Ballet Nights – an enterprise headed by impresario-compere Jamiel Devernay-Laurence – is playing safe by focusing on dance.

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Black Sabbath: The Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Hippodrome review - two very different art forms merge

Guy Oddy

These days Black Sabbath aren’t short of admirers in the arts and even further afield. Artists as disparate as veteran soul man, Charles Bradley and Scandi popsters the Cardigans have covered their songs – and then there’s Jazz Sabbath, who do exactly as their name suggests.

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