tue 21/05/2024

dance

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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Ailey 2, Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury review - young, black and fabulous

Jenny Gilbert

Dance lovers with no access to a major city could feel genuinely hard done by were it not for Dance Consortium. This sainted organisation works to bring a company from overseas each autumn to a dozen or so large-scale theatres across the UK and Ireland – theatres whose dance offering might otherwise rarely extend beyond the latest Strictly spin-off.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Sadler's Wells review - exhilarating display of a full deck of dance styles

Helen Hawkins

A big welcome awaited the Alvin Ailey dancers at the Wells, on their first international tour since lockdown. The company has scheduled four different mixed bills over 10 days, each with its signature piece, Revelations, as the finale. This is a great idea as the company returned after their final bow on press night to reprise part of the piece and coax the audience onto their feet. No problem.

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Matthew Bourne's Romeo + Juliet, Sadler's Wells review - exhilarating dancing, inventive moves

Helen Hawkins

Matthew Bourne regularly revamps the first version of a new piece so that by the second go-round it really zings. For the return of his 2019 Romeo + Juliet, though, very little has changed, yet it feels refreshed.

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Jewels, The Australian Ballet, Royal Opera House review - a sparkling parade of great dancing

Helen Hawkins

Every time you see Jewels, George Balanchine’s masterpiece from 1967, something new emerges from its treasure trove. What the Australian Ballet pleasurably bring to the fore is its playful, and play-acting, side.

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Carlos at 50, Royal Opera House review - lovingly designed gala from a still impressive star

Helen Hawkins

On the day Mick Jagger turned 80, that spring chicken Carlos Acosta, 50 this year, returned to the stage of the Royal Opera House, which he had left in 2015 after 17 years. Carlos at 50 was a wonderfully sunny, warm embrace of a return: the audience greeted his first appearance ecstatically, and his wide grin reflected how happy he was to be there too.

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theartsdesk at the Ravenna Festival - invisible cities and possible dreams

David Nice

Came for the music, returned for the theatre. I oversimplify: Riccardo Muti’s Roads of Friendship events, meetings of his Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra with players from other places – since 1997, they have included Sarajevo, Lebanon, Kenya, Iran and this year Jordan – will always be the big cornerstones of the Ravenna Festival.

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Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras, Sadler's Wells - a roaring start to the Flamenco Festival

Jenny Gilbert

When flamenco first came out of the shadows and started to fill big theatres, it was like something out of a historical pageant. The shows that played London in the early 1990s harked back to an imagined gypsy past where old men hammered rhythms on blacksmiths’ anvils and women swirled extravagant frills. The crudely amplified music lost much of its detail but audiences lapped it up anyway.

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Untitled, 2023 / Corybantic Games / Anastasia Act III, Royal Ballet review - a magnificent end to the season

Jenny Gilbert

Is it a cop-out for an artist to label a piece of work “Untitled”? Painters and sculptors make a habit of it, reasoning that they want to leave the viewer free to bring to the experience what they will, unhampered and unlimited by prior information. Odd, then, that dance, being such an ambiguous, free-associating art form, should be so far behind the curve.

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