sat 04/07/2020

dance

Scottish Ballet, Geometry + Grace, Edinburgh Festival Theatre

ismene Brown

Quietly, without pomp and fanfare, Ashley Page has been mustering a balletic strike force over the border in Scotland. Scottish Ballet has launched the new ballet year with a programme that trumps anything else offered in Britain as a season opener, two demanding and brilliant works of the past (well done) and the gamble of a new creation of dance, music and design.

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Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909-1929, V&A

Judith Flanders

Museum shows don’t often evoke a sense of smell, but without even trying, this Ballets Russes exhibition has visitors’ nostrils flared. The show is – intentionally – a feast for the eye, and even for the ear, with ballet scores (sometimes rudely overlapping) playing in every room. But smell?

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

Judith Flanders

I have a friend who loves telling jokes. One night he started a well-worn story: “Please,” he said, “if you’ve heard this before, don’t stop me – it’s one of my favourites.” I am always reminded of that evening when watching Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo – the Trocks to their many thousands of fans across the world – when they touch down in London on one of their regular stops.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Prog 2, Sadler's Wells

Judith Flanders Matthew Rushing, Briana Reed, and Rosalyn Deshauteurs do their thing in Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre is making one of its regular stops in Europe (the company tours commitedly: not only in the USA, but more than two months of each year are spent bringing their bravura dance style to the world). It is to their enduring credit, then, that their performances look as fresh and as spontaneous as they do.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Prog 1, Sadler's Wells

ismene Brown

Alvin Ailey dancers have been dancing about survival, grit, positivity and joy in the Lord for half a century now, and even though the parents of last night’s dancers may not have been born when Ailey did the unthinkable and launched a black dance company in the dark days of 1958 America, the company still evidently has an urge to rejoice running in its veins.

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Shoes, Sadler's Wells Theatre

ismene Brown The Health and Safety number: You too can leave your 'shoe-fession' on the Sadler's Wells site

Every time I go to Sadler’s Wells now I come out wondering if there’s something wrong with my hearing, so loud and numbing are their speakers. It’s a blight on a lot of shows, but on none more so than Shoes, because this is the first major London production written by that celebrated musical witsmith Mr Richard Thomas since his Jerry Springer, The Opera, and last night I missed probably half the words that I’m guessing should be the chief merit.

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theartsdesk MOT: Dirty Dancing, Aldwych Theatre

ismene Brown 'Dirty Dancing': a class-crossing romance where the Fifties meet the Sixties with alarm

I suspect that more than half the audience that goes to see Dirty Dancing on stage has seen the 1987 movie, and that quite a few of them have seen the stage version more than once. There’s a strange feeling of being at a party where everyone knows everyone, and the party’s held nightly at the same house. It surely is not the misleading title that accounts for the wildly enthusiastic flow of fans - there’s nothing dirty about this squeaky-clean story, and there’s not that much...

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Le Cirque Invisible, Queen Elizabeth Hall

ismene Brown Some of the stars of 'Le Cirque Invisible': locking down children and adults in two hours of rapture

Charm is as invisible as the circus but as undeniably present in Le Cirque Invisible, an adorable little presentation for which parents should go miles with children to see this month. Charlie Chaplin’s fourth daughter and her husband are not young things any more, and their two-person show is at least 40 years old in its various guises - but they simply keep adding and subtracting gags, costumes, dressing-up box illusions, magic tricks, rabbits, soap-bubbles, locking down a hall of...

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Cinderella, English National Ballet, London Coliseum

ismene Brown The ball scene designed by David Walker: 'the inky blue court theme allows Cinderella to arrive in her silvery tutu like the full moon in the night'

English National Ballet turns 60 next week, and nowadays just enduring has to be enough. Smelling of greasepaint and tour buses from the very first, it also smelled of stars - Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin who began it, Rudolf Nureyev and Natalia Makarova who created splendid productions for it, and extraordinary late-career performances by Lynn Seymour. Stars have been born in ENB too, even if they burst into full gleam elsewhere - Trinidad Sevillano, Tamara Rojo, and more than likely the...

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Tanguera, Sadler's Wells Theatre

ismene Brown

Strange listening to Sadler’s Wells chief Alistair Spalding timidly defending “cutting-edge” dance on yesterday’s Radio 4 arts debate - having just been to the current SWT dance show, Tanguera.

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