sat 16/01/2021

dance

Mark Morris's L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, London Coliseum

ismene Brown

In 1988 young contemporary choreographer Mark Morris, newly installed in Brussels’ munificent Théâtre de la Monnaie as resident dancemaker to succeed the Emperor of Big, Maurice Béjart, thought not just big but grandly off-beam.

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Magia de la Danza, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, London Coliseum

ismene Brown

“It’ll be tricky to write about,” said the man next to me last night, a Cubaphile. “It's the good, the bad and the awful.” The Cubans’ second programme, The Magic of Dance, is an old-fashioned warhorse of showstoppers from the classics, a tapas bar of Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Coppelia, Don Quixote, Swan Lake and Gottschalk Symphony. Come again, the last one? It’s a company conga by Alicia Alonso. Enough said.

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Kontakthof, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Barbican Theatre

ismene Brown

A house of contact, a place to make contact - this bare, evocative title sits on one of Pina Bausch’s most appealing works, and also its most elastic. Brought this week to the Barbican posthumously, staged by her company on two amateur casts, Kontakthof didn’t look 32 years old, it looked both timeless and as fresh as fledglings cracking out of their egg shells.

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Swan Lake, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, London Coliseum

ismene Brown

In the Cuban National Ballet’s Swan Lake fourth act, the corps of swans do a curious, aggressive attacking run you don’t see in any other production - they lower their heads and charge at Prince Siegfried, with hands fluttering angrily behind them, as if they were the evil magicians, not the creatures under a spell.

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Concerto/The Judas Tree/Elite Syncopations, Royal Ballet

ismene Brown

Another night, another cast, another Judas Tree (see first-night review below this) - and yet more proof of what a tough, durable, shape-shifting piece Kenneth MacMillan created in his last year of life.

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Cinderella, English National Ballet, touring

ismene Brown

Was it with a hollow laugh that ENB programmed Cinderella for the election period - as a reminder that glittery fairy phaetons are in fact pumpkins with money? Was it a hint that ballet needs political fairy godmothers? With airwaves full of budget cuts, nothing was more welcome yesterday than to go into a Bristol Hippodrome matinee, full of noisy children, and watch this delightful fairytale of wish-fulfilment laid before them. Even better, with the radiant Elena Glurdjidze as the...

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Blaze: the Streetdance Sensation, Peacock Theatre

ismene Brown Blaze: 'This exuberance is guaranteed to rejuvenate you faster than a Red Bull'

With a title like that, and a slug across the posters that so boastingly prejudges last night's premiere, some of us might keep our sceptical specs on when we turn up at the spirits-lowering Peacock Theatre to see this latest leap by mainstream stage forces onto the bandwagon of the most exciting trend in dance of the past 15 years. Sheathe those sceptical specs. This is a show blazing with talent and young exuberance, and it will rejuvenate you faster than a Red Bull.

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Circa, Barbican Theatre

james Woodall Brisbane acrobats Circa: 'These lunatics know exactly what they are doing'

One of the daily tragedies of being human is that notions in our heads of unaided flight, levitation - any thought of lift-off from our material horizon - lie in drastic disproportion to what flesh and muscle permit. As children, we dream of flying, or living, say, on ocean floors without gas-tanks. As adolescents, we dream of many things, most of them impossible. As adults, sportspeople and dancers strain to defy nature, but never do. Most of us go on to live resignedly alongside, or inside,...

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Birmingham Royal Ballet 1990-2010, Birmingham Hippodrome

ismene Brown

What should a choreographer set before a Prince for a Royal Gala performance when his finest hour is a portrayal of Royal buggery with a hot poker? Well, possibly (sotto voce) clogdancing cobblers and pegleg pirates might be found more suitable, and plenty of children on stage. So peglegs and clogdancing is what Prince Charles will duly be served tonight at the celebration of 20 years of Birmingham Royal Ballet. These are not times to be challenging any more.

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Richard Alston Dance Company, Sadler's Wells and touring

ismene Brown

Tim Henman - brilliant and unfairly treated, or... not? Even when John McEnroe passionately enumerates Henman’s qualities, do you both nod hopefully and realistically shake your head? Because, yes, our lad may be a rare craftsman of the grass court game, but if the point is giving us the shock of unexplained genius that is, say, Federer's (or McEnroe's) habit, then no chance, mate.

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