sat 04/07/2020

dance

After A Dancemaker Dies, BBC Radio 3

ismene Brown

Two giants of dance died last year: Pina Bausch and Merce Cunningham. Right now audiences aren’t being deprived of seeing why their names are written permanently in lights in dance history (Bausch’s company performs in Edinburgh and London later this year, Cunningham’s is in London in October), but after 2011 they may be. Cunningham’s company will close, while Bausch’s will be in its last of an uncertain three-year grace period.

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Don Quixote, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Opera House

Javier De Frutos

There is a moment when you see dancers at their absolute peak that notches a bit of history in your memory - you never forget when you see it happen. In my area of contemporary choreography you can’t measure it in those terms but you can with classical ballet, and a Don Quixote performance like I saw at the Bolshoi last night sets the bar. This level of performance is Olympic-sized, it erases everything else you have seen.

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Le Corsaire & Paquita Triple Bill, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Opera House

ismene Brown

After all the encomia for Natalia Osipova it’s time for a paean to another Bolshoi ballerina, whose witty underplaying and conquest of style makes her the lady I’d choose to see shipwrecked in full tutu, diamonds and pink satin pointe shoes on any desert island I fetched up on.

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Carlos Acosta, Premieres, London Coliseum

ismene Brown

Great stars get lost sometimes. Up there in outer space, ringed with adulation, when they get a mid-life crisis sometimes they get sucked into a vanity black hole. No light emits, just the tatters of an angel who lost his way in his own legend.

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Serenade & Giselle, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Opera House

ismene Brown

We’re getting used to expecting the extraordinary from Natalia Osipova - and then getting some more. With her impish face and farouche capriciousness, with a spring like a high-jumper and shoulders like a swimmer, she is without doubt the most explosively delightful comedienne and virtuoso around at the Bolshoi, but could she be a Giselle?

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Coppélia, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Opera House

ismene Brown

Coppélia is the name of the doll in the ballet-comedy - not that of the heroine, who is a bad pixie named Swanilda, a girl of youthful capriciousness but a heart of gold.

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Laurencia, Mikhailovsky Ballet, London Coliseum

ismene Brown

Rape, marauding soldiers, peasants on the warpath and a flash hero - are we at the Bolshoi’s Spartacus once again? No, we’re at the Mikhailovsky Ballet down the road at the Coliseum where a rather more Erroll Flynn-type spectacle is being offered, Laurencia.

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Spartacus, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Opera House

David Nice

Roll up, roll up for the ancient Roman circus of a production almost as old as I am. Thrill to the catchy tunes and the oom-pah basses of flash Aram Khachaturian, played with the kind of lurid splendour you thought could only be faked on Soviet-era Melodiya recordings. Enjoy the pageant of sword-waggling, goosestepping cohorts, flagellated slaves, skimpy-tunicked maidens and golden-wigged ephebes.

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Gala programme, Mikhailovsky Ballet, London Coliseum

ismene Brown Le Halte de Cavalerie: 'A Clouseau-like performance from Andrei Bregvadze's Colonel (right) saves the show'

The Mikhailovsky Ballet is full of surprises. Predictably for a Russian company it brought a gala programme yesterday - unpredictably, it brought a rare example of St Petersburg 19th-century ballet comedy and a new commission of contemporary ballet. Neither of these is box office, so how refreshing is that? Then there were the thongs-and-glitter pas de deux of the strenuous 20th-century Soviet athletic style, and a classical jewel from Sleeping Beauty, and a wholly delightful court...

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Swan Lake & Giselle, Mikhailovsky Ballet, London Coliseum

ismene Brown

It would be tough for any Russian ballet company to come into worldly, balletwise London just ahead of the great Bolshoi, but the Mikhailovsky Ballet make a very pleasing impression in their first week at the Coliseum with a pretty and historically interesting Swan Lake and a gently antique Giselle, and dancing that more than most underscores the rare pleasures of period style.

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