tue 06/10/2015

Dance reviews, news & interviews

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Prog 2, Peacock Theatre

Hanna Weibye

If the Trocks didn't exist, we would have to invent them. Every genre needs its loving parodists, treading the fine line between homage and dommage, and an art form as stylised and convention-governed as classical dance is riper for it than most - as evidenced by the continuing worldwide success of this all-male comedy troupe after more than 40 years. Now they're in London, and this second programme proves that they can be just as diverse as any great Russian company, taking in as it does the...

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Peacock Theatre

David Nice

If you don’t know the steps or the stars being semi-spoofed, will you laugh? Yes, though perhaps not as much as anticipated. The best parody needs to be as good as the original, and “the Trocks”, as Tory Dobrin's New York-based company has been known in its 40-plus years to date, take their Petipa and Ivanov very seriously. The drag gags are mere ornaments to a classical feast, and don’t fly into the fantastical like some of the ones you get in any Matthew Bourne show; the real reward is some...

The King Who Invented Ballet, BBC Four

Hanna Weibye

Someone more unlike Louis XIV than David Bintley is hard to imagine. The latter comes across on TV as the most pleasant, unthreatening, mild-mannered...

Lest We Forget, English National Ballet, Sadler...

Hanna Weibye

When English National Ballet premiered Lest We Forget in April last year, to enthusiastic reviews, they were ahead of the pack with First World War...

An Open Book: Michael Hulls

Ismene Brown

The occupation “lighting designer” is too workaday to describe Michael Hulls. The artistry with which he casts illumination or shadow on some of the...

McGregor/Spuck, Ballett Zürich, Edinburgh Playhouse

Hanna Weibye

Contemporary dance formula ticks boxes, but fails to inspire

Seven, Ballett am Rhein/RSNO, Edinburgh Playhouse

Hanna Weibye

Danced Mahler symphony is tour de force of energy and invention

Lo Real, Israel Galván, Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Hanna Weibye

Uncompromising look at gypsies under fascism is hard going, but rewarding

Swan Lake, St Petersburg Ballet Theatre, London Coliseum

Hanna Weibye

Irina Kolesnikova dominates but doesn't enchant in this mediocre production

Bolshoi Ballet acid attack leader loses his job

Ismene Brown

Sergei Filin's contract will not be renewed, and his post abolished

Matthew Bourne's The Car Man, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

New Adventures company on sizzling form in revival of slick, exciting show

Cinderella, Wheeldon, London Coliseum

Hanna Weibye

Dutch National Ballet give UK première of oddly modernised fairy story

Flamencura, Paco Peña Company, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Top-quality showcase from some of the best in the business

Alston at Home, The Place

Hanna Weibye

New work outshines old in company showcase

Robbins/MacMillan Triple Bill, Royal Ballet

Hanna Weibye

Company strong, principals less so in tame season finale

Sylvie Guillem, Life in Progress, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Ballerina says goodbye with new works from Khan, Maliphant

Dark Arteries, Rambert, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Brass band the highlight of new triple bill

Woolf Works, Wayne McGregor, Royal Ballet

Hanna Weibye

Leaden score and ponderous choreography do an injustice to Bloomsbury author's name

theartsdesk Q&A: Composer Gavin Higgins

Graham Rickson

Rambert Dance Company's inaugural Music Fellow discusses his new ballet score

Maya Plisetskaya, 1925-2015

Ismene Brown

The Bolshoi's deathless über-ballerina is no more

Ahnen, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells

Jenny Gilbert

Family lore and deep-seated fears explored with surprising humour, and a technical glitch

BBC Young Dancer 2015, BBC Four

Hanna Weibye

Impressive talents in remarkably gimmick-free Beeb competition

La Fille mal gardée, Royal Ballet

Jenny Gilbert

Ashton's pastoral comedy of love among the haystacks continues to thrill and delight

Auf dem Gebirge hat man ein Geschrei gehört, Tanztheater Wuppertal, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

1984 work by German choreographic genius Pina Bausch receives UK première

Diana Vishneva, On the Edge, London Coliseum

Hanna Weibye

Superstar ballerina in awkward psychodramas from Maillot and Carlson

theartsdesk Q&A: Choreographer Stephen Mear

Marianka Swain

The theatrical dance dynamo talks striptease, triple threats and the power of escapism

A Streetcar Named Desire, Scottish Ballet, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Contemporary narrative ballet at its very best

The Four Temperaments/Untouchable/Song of the Earth, Royal Ballet

Hanna Weibye

Shechter première odd one out in triple bill with Balanchine and MacMillan

Bayadère - The Ninth Life, Shobana Jeyasingh Company, Linbury Studio Theatre

Hanna Weibye

Engaging dance treatment of Indian-European cultural and disciplinary encounters

Footnote: a brief history of dance in Britain

Britain's reputation as one of the world's great ballet nations has been swiftly won, as home-grown classical ballet started here only in the 1930s. Yet within 30 years the Royal Ballet was recognised as the equal of the greatest and oldest companies in France, Russia or Italy. Now the extraordinary range in British dance from classical ballet to contemporary dance-theatre, from experimental new choreography in small spaces to mass arena-ballet spectaculars, can't be matched in the US or Russia, where nothing like the Arts Council subsidy system exists to encourage new work.

Fonteyn_OndineWhile foreign stars have long been adored by British audiences, from Anna Pavlova and Rudolf Nureyev to Sylvie Guillem, the British ballet and dance movements were offspring of the movement towards a national subsidised theatre. This was first activated in the Thirties by Lilian Baylis and Ninette de Valois in a tie-up between the Old Vic and Sadler's Wells, and led to the founding of what became the Royal Ballet, English National Opera and the National Theatre. From 1926 Marie Rambert's Ballet Club operated out of the tiny Mercury Theatre, Notting Hill, a creative crucible producing early stars such as choreographer Frederick Ashton and ballerina Alicia Markova and which eventually grew into Ballet Rambert and today's Rambert Dance. From all these roots developed Sadlers Wells Theatre Ballet (now Birmingham Royal Ballet), London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet), and Western Theatre Ballet which became Scottish Ballet.

Margot Fonteyn's dominance in the post-war ballet scene (pictured in Ashton's Ondine) and the granting of a Royal charter in 1956 to the Royal Ballet and its school brought the "English ballet" world renown, massively increased when Soviet star Rudolf Nureyev defected from the Kirov Ballet in 1961 and formed with Fonteyn the most iconic partnership in dance history.

The Sixties ballet boom was complemented by the introduction of American abstract modern dance to London, and a mushrooming of independent modern choreographers drawing on fashion and club music (Michael Clark), art and classical music (Richard Alston), movies (Matthew Bourne) and science (Wayne McGregor). Hip-hop, salsa and TV dance shows have recently given a dynamic new twist to contemporary dance. The Arts Desk offers the fastest overnight reviews and ticket booking links for last night's openings, as well as the most thoughtful close-up interviews with major creative figures and performers. Our critics include Ismene Brown, Judith Flanders, David Nice, Matt Wolf and James Woodall

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