sat 04/07/2020

dance

The Royal Ballet in Cuba, More4 / The Rite of Spring, BBC Three

ismene Brown

There were some odd sights in Christmas Day viewing but none more discomfiting, I’d bet, than seeing a ballerina lying on a physio’s couch having a leg dragged quickly up to touch the side of her head while the other leg lay perfectly still pointing downwards. Can the body really do that? Another weird sight - dozens of people in full 18th-century French costume and wigs dancing in 40-degree heat on a Cuban stage.

Read more...

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, Sadler's Wells

ismene Brown

For a choreographer the moment your work becomes a classic is when the audience tells you that you’re casting it wrong. I’ve seen Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake more than a dozen times for professional reasons since it first took off from Sadler’s Wells nearly 15 years ago, and it’s not Adam Cooper’s blinding image all those years ago that’s telling me the press night cast last night wasn’t delivering what the work is worth.

Read more...

Pied Piper, Barbican & Into the Hoods, QEH

ismene Brown

Hip hop is the new ballet. Instead of mostly girls in tutus, mostly boys in tracksuits; instead of pointe-shoes, trainers; instead of arabesques and fouettés, handstands and windmills; above all, instead of nice, nasty. The smell on stage is burning rubber from the shoes; the atmosphere is electric; lights fractured; discipline razor-sharp.

Read more...

Les Patineurs & Tales of Beatrix Potter, Royal Ballet

ismene Brown Les Patineurs: 'William Chappell’s vintage Quality Street designs alone make it treasurable'

The well-prepared adult accompanying an under-10 to the Royal Ballet’s Tales of Beatrix Potter will take with them a pillow and a potty, the pillow for themselves, the potty to tuck under the seat for the necessary moment during this 70-minute marathon. Should the Stasi at Bag Search at the Opera House entrance insist on the potty being checked into the cloakroom, the canny adult carries a supersized handkerchief as backup, to stuff into the child’s wailing mouth when - 30 minutes...

Read more...

Carlos Acosta, Sadler's Wells

ismene Brown

It‘s when you see how popstar fame can reach people with more luck than work that Carlos Acosta’s achievement in becoming a truly popular ballet star is underlined. Ballet is just the toughest discipline there is.

Read more...

Margot, BBC Four

ismene Brown

If Margot Fonteyn and Rudy Nureyev were the most massively important people who ever existed in ballet, then the most massively important question that ever existed in ballet was, did they sleep together? Last night Margot got this over pleasingly quickly. There was the quivery BBC anno at the start that there would be scenes “of a sexual nature”, and hop-skip-jump the couple were at it like rabbits straight after their first performance together.

Read more...

The Nutcracker, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Hippodrome

Ian Palmer

Peter Wright’s superlative production of The Nutcracker has returned to Birmingham Royal Ballet's repertory for Christmas, a production he created for the company in 1990 and to my mind superior to any other presented in the UK today. Magic, the awesomeness of the Tchaikovsky score, are realised upon the stage and shown in its dances with a childlike sense of fantasy. The Christmas tree rises, the rats play, the snow-goose flies - and the audience gasps.

Read more...

Akram Khan and Nitin Sawhney, Sadler's Wells

ismene Brown

Akram Khan and Nitin Sawhney are too famous to need defining in terms of racial culture, and yet they make a lot of it in the spiel about their offering Confluence, closing the two-week Svapnagata festival at Sadler’s Wells this weekend.

Read more...

Akram Khan, Solos, Sadler's Wells

ismene Brown

What do you call a dancer with a fractured shoulder and only half a show to offer, who nevertheless takes you to the outer reaches of dance nirvana? It can only be Akram Khan. Now fêted as a (reasonable) contemporary choreographer, the favourite of Kylie, Juliette Binoche, Sylvie Guillem, Khan is too little celebrated for what he does at a level beyond anything most of us are ever likely to see, which is dancing in his magnificent, complex, disturbing traditional Indian form of Kathak.

Read more...

Birmingham Royal Ballet, Cyrano, Sadler's Wells

ismene Brown

Lush, romantic storyballets are as scarce as hens' teeth these days, despite the longing of much of the ballet audience to see them. Not because they're too elementary for today's dancemakers, I'd guess, but because to make one with lively dancing characters (male, female, young, old, good, bad, rich, poor), with a flowing story, lashings of set opportunities and an atmospheric score, takes multiple theatre skills few choreographers now develop. David Bintley's Cyrano is one of...

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

theartsdesk Q&A: filmmaker Mike Hodges

Mike Hodges arrived in cinema through television, including a stint on the rightly revered Granada Television current affairs series World in...

Album: The Jayhawks - XOXO

If one song best captures the overall mood of XOXO, it's the Beatles-meets-country strains of "Living in a...

Dom Joly/ Daniel Sloss, Brent Cross reviews - UK's firs...

It was a weary and frustrated Dom Joly (**) who left the stage after performing the first drive-in comedy show in the UK. Sadly...

Les Blancs, National Theatre at Home review – triumphant rev...

Lorraine Hansberry’s debut, A Raisin in the Sun, was the first drama written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, where it opened...

Back Roads review - nice cheekbones, not much else

Back Roads has languished largely unseen since its completion in 2017, and one can see why: lurid to the point of absurdity, this...

Family Romance, LLC review - the chameleon blues

Werner Herzog’s appearance in The Mandalorian paid for this deadpan,...

Toast, Lawrence Batley Theatre online review - pungent adapt...

I knew what a Howard Hodgkin painting would look like before I ever saw one because of...

Album: Polly Scattergood - In This Moment

A decade ago, Polly Scattergood was Mute Records’ newest, most-likely-to signing and, while she never crossed over like similar unconventional...

Theatre Lockdown Special 12: An American rarity, a British s...

Can this weekly lineup really now be three months old?  As we move towards at least some degree of relaxation on the social restrictions that...