wed 24/07/2024

dance

Mathilde Monnier and La Ribot, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Ismene Brown La Ribot and Mathilde Monnier: can't live with each other, can't live without each other, just like the election

These past five days in May have seen some fairly oddball goings-on labelled as "New Dance at the Southbank Centre". Accidentally coinciding with other oddball goings-on on the national scene, since it was booked up long ago before elections were called. But no double-act in politics is likely to be quite as peculiar and weirdly stimulating as that between the Spanish cabaret artiste La Ribot (often to be found nude) and the postmodern French choreographer Mathilde Monnier, playing two sides of...

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Electric Counterpoint/ Asphodel Meadows/ Carmen, Royal Ballet

Ismene Brown

Wonder of wonders - a really cracking triple bill at the Royal Ballet last night. The best of the year, by a country mile, and probably the best for several years: a top-notch beauty from Christopher Wheeldon, the love-it-or-loathe-it Marmite of Mats Ek’s Carmen, and in between a comely and reverberant new ballet from a very young Royal Ballet choreographer who looks set to go places.

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Les 7 Doigts, Peacock Theatre/ Cie Deborah Colker, touring

Ismene Brown

As we look on the strictly dieting future that undoubtedly waits for the more esoteric arts after Thursday’s election, it’s evident that the dance landscape has already been blighted - and self-blighted, at that. Somewhere in the past few years a loss of confidence in dancing itself has allowed expressive and aesthetic exploration to become increasingly replaced by undemanding scenic gimmicks and numb circus derivations, subtle matters by dim clichés. My depressed thoughts after watching two...

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Gnosis, Akram Khan, Sadler's Wells Theatre

Ismene Brown

Gnosis means spiritual knowledge, or recognition. Surely Akram Khan has some unusual intuition about what it means to die, since his latest creation is truly a dance of death and the gods certainly seem to have been bent on preventing it.

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Pictures from an Exhibition, Sadler's Wells

Ismene Brown

I’ve seen raping Popes, I’ve seen more naked guys dancing with waggling penises than I can count, I’ve seen naked breasts on dancing girls for what feels like all my adult life. But a man with a blood-stained prosthetic cock that looks like a baby’s bottle? A teacher munching a testicle off his pupil? Well, lor' love a duck.

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La Fille Mal Gardée, Royal Ballet

james Woodall

If you're going to dance before the future King of England, and your company bears his family's crest, you'd better dance well.

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The Sleeping Beauty, Birmingham Royal Ballet, London Coliseum

Ismene Brown

Good dancing - never mind great dancing - calls for an investment of imagination in every point of the foot, every raise of the arm. Why otherwise do the constant drill of turning out the leg, stretching the instep, taking fifth position, if the performer does not find something to stimulate them to make it personal, to dream it, to claim it for their own nuance? Does the violinist play Schubert thinking that it is enough just to get the notes right?

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Cinderella, Royal Ballet

David Nice

No longer, it seems, need ballet's most transformable heroine languish by the seasonal fireside. It's true that you'll have to wait until Christmas to see the most visually striking Cinderella of all again - Ashley Page's fitfully ingenious Scottish Ballet version showcasing magical designs by Antony McDonald. But English National Ballet's Cinders is out and about this spring, and now Ashton's first full-length triumph returns with period glitter to Covent Garden.

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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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