sun 26/05/2024

dance

Morphoses, Sadler's Wells

Ismene Brown Wheeldon's Commedia: short on ambiguous sexuality and satire of commedia dell'arte

Britain’s favourite ballet choreographer Chris Wheeldon rode into his homeland last night, bringing with his Anglo-American company Morphoses work by himself and by Britain’s second favourite ballet choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. Two favourites should be enough to guarantee the opening programme, but there are two drawbacks: the pieces filling the middle of the programme, and the limp video in which it’s all wrapped. And the whole represents a split in taste between US and British ballet...

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In the Spirit of Diaghilev, Sadler's Wells

Ismene Brown

Where to start with reviewing the "Diaghilev" evening of new choreographies at Sadler’s Wells last night? With the cool clean head of Wayne McGregor’s or the hot poxed genitals of Javier de Frutos’s? Well, as it’s a 100th birthday party for Diaghilev's iconoclastic Ballets Russes, there’s no harm in pointing out that the poxed genitals are an awful lot more amusing (with the accent on awful) than the familiar McGregorian chant of BSc theses to swot up while watching his dances.

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Mayerling, Royal Ballet

Ismene Brown

Last night was Sun night at the Royal Opera House, when the opening night of the ballet season was supposedly entirely attended by winners of The Sun’s ballet-ballot.

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Cloud Gate, Wind Shadow, Barbican Theatre

Ismene Brown

A white kite flies high in black space, trembling, eagerly poised on a wind that shushes almost inaudibly. A man wearing black enters below, and in a low scoop of light prepares slowly in t'ai chi fashion with the calm of a ritual, making great black shadows with his arms and precisely angled legs. Then a small figure sheathed in black bodysuit, faceless, depersonalised, scuttles on and glues its feet to the man’s like a second black shadow.

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Scottish Ballet, Rubies/ Workwithinwork/ In Light and Shadow, Sadler's Wells

Ismene Brown

Rubies is a ballet for a girl comfortable with her curves, who can slink her hips and tip her bottom and relish seeing the men’s eyes widen. That the said girl is a ballerina, for whom curves are usually anathema, shows the personality challenge that this snazzy, jazzy George Balanchine ballet sets to its leading lady.

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Theyam, Kerala and the Barbican

Peter Culshaw Theyam: a trance-like ritual that loses its fire when taken out of its home

4 am. Eternal. I'm at an all-night temple festival somewhere in north Kerala in southern India - not so much in the middle of nowhere as on the outskirts of nowhere. There's wild chenda drumming and a terrifying apparition of a man who has gone into a trance – the goddess Babrakali, they tell me, has possessed him. He's wearing an outrageous red costume 12ft high, and he is charging right at me. The fact that his outfit is on fire, that he's just bitten the head off a live cockerel...

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Bonachela Dance Company, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Ismene Brown

A modern choreographer has arrived when he gets to run two companies in parallel, the institution that appoints him director, and - as a sort of personal couture line - his own group. Wayne McGregor does it with the Royal Ballet and his Random Dance, now it’s Rafael Bonachela who took on Sydney Dance Company at the end of last year, while retaining his own Bonachela Dance Company at the South Bank Centre.

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Goldberg, Linbury Studio Theatre

Ismene Brown

At last a seriously good new ballet created not just inside the Royal Opera House’s bunker-like Linbury Studio Theatre but actually making complete sense of its space and atmosphere. Kim Brandstrup’s new creation with the Royal Ballet star Tamara Rojo, Goldberg, is a beautiful, grown-up piece of fine musical feeling and drama, and with a design and lighting scheme to die for.

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Insane in the Brain, Peacock Theatre

Ismene Brown

On Britain’s Got Talent this year Diversity and Flawless raised the bar for street dance as far as mass British audiences were concerned, a public increasingly schooled by Sadler’s Wells’ smart and eclectic annual spring hip-hop festival. So Bounce, the Swedish crew  returning to London with its 2006 version of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, has new standards to compete with.

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Zeitung, Rosas, Sadler's Wells

Ismene Brown

Having felt thoroughly racked by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s marathonian and bone-dry Rosas danst Rosas on Wednesday, I was hardly expecting charm and beguilement from the even longer Zeitung last night. But Zeitung is one of the most delightful and intelligent evenings about modern dance’s volatile relationship with classical music that I’ve seen.

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