wed 24/07/2024

dance

On Their Toes!, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Hippodrome

Ismene Brown Dusty Button and César Morales in 'Grosse Fuge': the choreographer Hans van Manen does basic instincts in ballet better than anyone alive

Hans van Manen does basic instincts in ballet better than anyone alive. The Dutch choreographer, nearly 78 and far too little exposed in Britain, is a near-contemporary of Kenneth MacMillan, another specialist in sexual relations, but where MacMillan is fascinatingly drenched in guilt, Van Manen takes a bold, guilt-free stand. Grosse Fuge, which Birmingham Royal Ballet revived in the Hippodrome last night in a smart triple bill to entertain all tastes, is all about mating display...

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Swan Lake, ENB, Royal Albert Hall

Ismene Brown

Within two bars of the overture starting, the first flashes could be seen. English National Ballet’s arena Swan Lake at the Albert Hall - they make no bones about it now - is intended for people who rarely go to the ballet. Actually it is in many cases for people who have no compunction about talking and taking pictures through the ballet quite routinely.

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Michael Clark Company, Come, Been and Gone, Barbican

Ismene Brown

A second coming for Michael Clark's recent Barbican commission Come, Been, Gone. Eight months after the London premiere (on which I opined unenthusiastically below last October), he has added another 20 minutes of choreography, they said, with new costumes and artworks. The revision is also now artfully retitled Come, Been and Gone. Not comma-Gone. And Gone. Makes all the difference.

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Kabuki, Sadler's Wells

Judith Flanders

It is hard to think of anything more "foreign" than kabuki to the Anglo style of acting, a style which reveres naturalism and makes "reality" its ultimate aim. Yet kabuki is gaining a knowledgeable – and welcoming – audience in London. The Shochiku Kabuki Company was at the Barbican last year, performing in Yukio Ninagawa’s brilliant Twelfth Night, and Sadler’s Wells have become almost regular hosts of Japanese performers.

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Royal Ballet New Works, Linbury Studio Theatre, ROH

Ismene Brown Inspired by Balanchine: Melissa Hamilton and Valeri Hristov in Viacheslav Samodurov's fine Trip Trac

Ninette de Valois said the solution to a shortage of choreographic talent was this: “You wait.” Waiting through the Nineties and early Noughties proved the Royal Ballet founder’s point - suddenly new distinctive ballet talent is cropping up all over the place. Taking the pressure off Christopher Wheeldon and Wayne McGregor, young Liam...

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Chroma/ Tryst/ Symphony in C, Royal Ballet

Ismene Brown

A Balanchine on a mixed bill is a reminder of what a choreographer should desire to offer his audience: a specific new experience of art each time,  not a repeated thumbprint in every ballet. Balanchine grew up in a borderless theatre country - jazz, music hall, Broadway, Cubism, Russian imperialism, folklore, classical piano studies, all soaked his personality and fed his imagination.

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Christopher Wheeldon premiere, New York City Ballet

Roslyn Sulcas

What is going on at New York City Ballet, home of the abstract, neo-classical, pared-down, no-scenery, no-story, nothing-extraneous aesthetic that George Balanchine made into an artistic religion? So far, three out of the four pieces commissioned for the company’s ambitious “Architecture of Dance” festival have been - more or less - story ballets (only Wayne McGregor has resisted the lure).

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The Art of Touch/ Rainforest/ A Linha Curva, Rambert, Sadler's Wells

Ismene Brown Pieter Symonds and Jonathan Goddard in 'Rainforest': 'stirring themselves amid the LSD landscape of silver floating pillows'

There are occasionally pieces of dance that you just want not to have to scribble notes about, just to watch and enjoy through your senses, not perming it all through the verbal brain. Siobhan Davies’s The Art of Touch is one of those, and when her company went into something of a creative abeyance to focus on producing a new dance community centre, this was one of Davies’s...

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BABEL (words), Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui & Antony Gormley, Sadler's Wells

Ismene Brown

Collaborations for dance, theatre and other things are coming thick and fast at Sadler’s Wells nowadays - these are not halcyon days for pure choreography.

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Wayne McGregor & Alexei Ratmansky premieres, New York City Ballet

Roslyn Sulcas

In the New York City Ballet’s grand tradition of ambitious festivals of new work, its current offering, Architecture of Dance, is a big, ambitious deal: seven new ballets; four of them to commissioned scores; five sporting sets by the famed architect Santiago Calatrava.

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