sun 26/05/2024

dance

Swan Lake, English National Ballet, Coliseum review - the story of a deluded prince

Jenny Gilbert

So there’s this prince, see, and he’s not at all happy. For a start, he never got over losing a parent when he was a child. He’s at odds with the world, sick to death with royal protocol and convinced that no one understands him. Worse, having too much time on his hands, he suffers from delusions. Meet Prince Siegfried, who found his soulmate, and met his nemesis, on a moonlit night by a lake.

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Best of 2022: Dance

Jenny Gilbert

Come the end of the year, the ritual glance over the shoulder, what we crave is celebration – this year of all years. "Look, we have come through!" is what we all want to hear from arts practitioners who took such a battering in the previous one.

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Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty, Sadler's Wells review - a gothic romance with loads of goth and not much love

Jenny Gilbert

Matthew Bourne is not the first choreographer to tinker with the story of The Sleeping Beauty and he won't be the last, such is the lure of Tchaikovsky's score and the potency of the plot.

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Ruination, Linbury Theatre review - Medea gets a makeover

Jenny Gilbert

At a time when every other theatre is offering an alternative Christmas show, what to make of the Royal Opera House’s first collaboration with Lost Dog, aka director-choreographer Ben Duke, who has come up with the most un-merry topic imaginable? Meet Medea, the vengeful sorceress of Greek myth, who butchered her brother, nobbled her ex’s new bride and murdered her own children. The Wind in the Willows this is not.

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English National Ballet: Ek, Forsythe, Quagebeur review - two masters, two marvels

Jenny Gilbert

Of all the classic musical scores that could appeal to a choreographer, three are catnip: Ravel’s Bolero, Bizet’s Carmen, and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Each has been set dozens of times and the veteran Swedish dancemaker Mats Ek has...

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Birmingham Royal Ballet: Into the Music, Sadler's Wells review - a visual and aural feast

Jenny Gilbert

Carlos Acosta’s idea of putting live music first and foremost in BRB’s latest mixed bill was a no-brainer. The Midlands-based company, directed by Acosta since early 2020, is unique among British ballet companies in being able to call on its own full-time orchestra (the Royal Ballet has to share theirs with the Opera), and it happens to be a first-class band.

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Light of Passage, Royal Ballet review - a new full-evening work by Crystal Pite is eloquent and moving

Jenny Gilbert

Marshalling a mass of bodies around a stage is what all choreographers do. But nobody does it quite like Crystal Pite, the Canadian whose half-hour piece "Flight Pattern" – a comment on the global refugee crisis – was a hit for the Royal Ballet five years ago, earning an Olivier Award.

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Mayerling, Royal Ballet review - a masterpiece of storytelling, darkly gripping

Jenny Gilbert

Although the loss of its 96-year-old royal patron can hardly have come as a surprise, Covent Garden has been slow to register it. The gold-embroidered ERs on those luscious red velvet stage curtains remain in place, and when Wednesday night’s audience was invited to stand for the playing of the National Anthem, the uninvited vocal response was heard to “send her victorious”. Old habits die hard.

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The Goldberg Variations, De Keersmaeker, Kolesnikov, Sadler's Wells review - keyboard harmony and atonal dance

David Nice

Jean-Guihen Queyras and five dancers of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Rosas company in the Bach Cello Suites was a thing of constantly evolving wonder. So too is Pavel Kolesnikov’s ongoing dialogue with Bach’s Goldberg Variations, different every time he plays them. Would De Keersmaeker alone be able to hold her own dancing to this inventory of technical rigour and human emotions?

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theartsdesk at the Ravenna Festival 2022 - body and soul in perfect balance

David Nice

For once, a festival theme has meaning. “Tra la carne e il cielo”, “Between flesh and heaven”, is how Pier Paolo Pasolini, the centenary of whose birth we mark this year, defined his early experience of hearing the Siciliana movement of Bach’s First Violin Sonata (adding that he inclined to the fleshly). It provided the perfect epigraph to the four Ravenna Festival performances I attended this year, three of them as stunning as any hybrid event I’ve ever witnessed.

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