sat 18/05/2024

dance

L'Heure Exquise, Linbury Theatre review - an exquisite tragedy in miniature

Jenny Gilbert

Ballet dancers, even the greatest, don’t expect longevity. There are no Maggie Smiths or Helen Mirrens in the ballet world – there just aren’t the roles. So the news that Alessandra Ferri was to mark the 40th anniversary of her association with the Royal Ballet (she joined aged 17) with a run of performances of a one-woman show was of more than passing interest.

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Bernstein Double Bill, Opera North review - fractured relationships in song and dance

graham Rickson

Leonard Bernstein’s one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti enjoyed a relatively trouble-free gestation, at least compared to his other stage works. Its seven short scenes last around 50 minutes, Bernstein providing his own libretto and completing much of this acerbic, occasionally bitter study of a marriage in crisis whilst on his own honeymoon in 1951.

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The Dante Project, Royal Ballet review - a towering achievement

Jenny Gilbert

Unless you happen to be a student of Italian language or culture, the significance of the 14th-century poet Dante Alighieri’s insights into the human condition may have passed you by, albeit that this year marks 700 years since his death. Where every educated Italian knows the stories and characters within La divina commedia like the back of their hand, we British generally draw a blank.

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Romeo and Juliet, Birmingham Royal Ballet & Royal Ballet review - a storming start to the season

Jenny Gilbert

Two households, both alike in dignity … and both launching their respective seasons with a production of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet.

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The Midnight Bell, New Adventures, Sadler's Wells review - dance theatre at its most compelling

Jenny Gilbert

The British author Patrick Hamilton is best known for two highly successful plays, Rope (1929) and Gaslight (1939), which in turn became highly successful films. But it’s Hamilton’s novels, set among the fog-bound pubs and clubs of 1930s Soho, that have inspired Matthew Bourne’s latest enterprise, The Midnight Bell.

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Creature, English National Ballet, Sadler's Wells review - bombastic and unreadable

Jenny Gilbert

If a new ballet can be doomed by the weight of expectation, then Creature didn’t stand a chance. First scheduled to appear in the spring of 2020, then again last autumn, the publicity drive over the past weeks has had the air of marketing a used car that is taking up space in the showroom.

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Hofesh Shechter Company, Double Murder, Sadler's Wells review - a well-intentioned but misjudged double bill

Jenny Gilbert

If I had to sum up in a single impression the work I’ve seen of Brighton-based, Israeli-born choreographer Hofesh Shechter (now OBE), it would be that of a rock gig. His shows are noisy, populous affairs, and he writes his own drumbeat-driven music.

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Beauty Mixed Programme, Royal Ballet review - no dancers? No problem

Jenny Gilbert

Crisis-management has always been part of a choreographer’s skillset, but staging a new ballet with two large alternating casts has rarely been fraught with so much risk. It was one hell of a week for Valentino Zucchetti, first soloist at the Royal Ballet and creator of Anemoi, the 20-minute work that opens the final programme in the company’s 90th birthday season.

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Solstice, English National Ballet, RFH review - a midsummer treat

Jenny Gilbert

“A tonic to the nation”. That was the hoped-for effect of the Festival of Britain in 1951, and its concrete legacy was the Royal Festival Hall.

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British Ballet Charity Gala, Royal Albert Hall review - a celebration of sorts

Jenny Gilbert

The Royal Albert Hall – 150 years old this year and with a commemorative £5 coin to prove it – is a great  space for many kinds of spectacle but has done few favours for ballet. I make an exception for Derek Deane’s in-the-round Swan Lake, if only on the grounds of its having been seen by 750,000 people many of whom might never have set foot in an actual theatre.

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