wed 21/08/2019

dance

The Two Pigeons, Royal Ballet

Hanna Weibye

With real live birds fluttering across the stage, and a sweetly happy ending – hurrah for young love! – Frederick Ashton's 1961 The Two Pigeons can look like mere frothy fantasy, precisely the kind of trivial, uncomplicated ballet plot that the young Kenneth MacMillan was reacting against in his own work in the early 60s.

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Sacre, Sasha Waltz and Guests, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

What dancemaker wouldn't want to tackle Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) at some point? Just as the Stravinsky score changed music, the original Ballets Russes production changed dance - and was then, conveniently, so completely forgotten that no master-text exists. Everyone is free to take the Stravinsky and run.

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Love, Art and Rock 'n' Roll, Rambert, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

A good triple bill should have something for everyone, so Rambert have all bases covered with their latest: rare must be the person who likes neither love, nor art, nor rock 'n' roll. In fact, it's a safe bet that most people like all of them, and so last night's programme at Sadler's Wells was something of a crowd-pleaser – no mean feat for an evening with two new works, created for this season and here receiving their London première.

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BalletBoyz at the Roundhouse, BBC Four

Hanna Weibye

What I want to know is: has there been a major upsurge in boys taking contemporary dance classes this year? And if not, why not? With the amount of male dancing in the media these days, the excuse that boys lack dancing role models just won't wash any more.

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Gravity Fatigue, Hussein Chalayan, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

If you thought the era of the impresario died with Diaghilev, think again. Alistair Spalding, chief executive of Sadler's Wells, has commercial and artistic vision in spades, and masterfully combines them in his operation at the Wells.

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Carmen, Royal Ballet

Jenny Gilbert

Carlos Acosta is that rare 21st-century phenomenon – a performer who has become a household name without the help of reality TV. Even people who run a mile from ballet know the story of the Havana slum boy made good through perseverance and pure talent, from countless primetime documentaries as well as a self-penned book and stage show.

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The King Dances, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler’s Wells

Jenny Gilbert

For an art form with a marked penchant for looking over its shoulder, it’s surprising how rarely ballet has exploited its own origins story – not least given the fabled opulence and style of its leading character. The Sleeping Beauty makes a nod to Louis XIV and the court of Versailles in its final moments, but in most ballet goers’ mental archive that’s just about it.

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Swan Lake, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Swan Lakes are not created equal. In fact they are not even created the same: ballet is the art form with the evanescent repertoire, in which First Folios – or any folios – are singularly scarce. Even with a classic as beloved as Swan Lake, there is no stable text apart from Ivanov's lakeside choreography for Act II and Tchaikovsky's score (though not even all of that).

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Raven Girl/Connectome, Royal Ballet

Jenny Gilbert

Wayne McGregor wasn't anyone's idea of a ballet man when he was appointed choreographer in residence at the Royal Ballet in 2007. Before then, and since, his work has been abstract, spiky, verging on dysmorphic. His interest lay not in human stories but in the snap of synapses and the speed with which the brain can relay messages to a hyper-flexible body.

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Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Prog 2, Peacock Theatre

Hanna Weibye

If the Trocks didn't exist, we would have to invent them. Every genre needs its loving parodists, treading the fine line between homage and dommage, and an art form as stylised and convention-governed as classical dance is riper for it than most - as evidenced by the continuing worldwide success of this all-male comedy troupe after more than 40 years.

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