wed 02/09/2015

Dance reviews, news & interviews

McGregor/Spuck, Ballett Zürich, Edinburgh Playhouse

Hanna Weibye

New Edinburgh Festival director Fergus Linehan has made it clear he wants to offer things people actually want to see. So including Wayne McGregor - prolific, popular, energetically self-promoting doyen of contemporary dance - in the dance programme for the first time makes plenty of sense. Since McGregor's frequent collaborator, contemporary composer Max Richter, was also being given his EIF debut this year, the chance to stage the UK première of one of their joint offerings, Kairos (2014) set...

Seven, Ballett am Rhein/RSNO, Edinburgh Playhouse

Hanna Weibye

When the Royal Opera House told Kenneth MacMillan that Mahler was unsuitable for ballet, he went – where else? – to Germany. Though the success of MacMillan's Lied von der Erde for Stuttgart Ballet led to its happy adoption into Royal Ballet repertoire, making ballet to Mahler still seems to draw German companies more than others – whether because the orchestras, audiences, or state subsidies are better, who knows?But the company visiting the Edinburgh International Festival last night was not...

Lo Real, Israel Galván, Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Hanna Weibye

It is an axiom of Israel Galván criticism to say the Spaniard is wired differently. He's the "Bowie of flamenco" - leggy and intense, unpredictably...

Swan Lake, St Petersburg Ballet Theatre, London...

Hanna Weibye

St Petersburg Ballet Theatre is a phenomenon of the new Russia: not anchored in centuries of history or state patronage like its neighbours the...

Bolshoi Ballet acid attack leader loses his job

Ismene Brown

Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi Ballet artistic director whose sight was maimed two years ago by an acid attack organized by a disgruntled dancer, will...

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

Serenade/Carmina Burana, Birmingham Royal Ballet, London Coliseum

Judith Flanders

Balanchine and Bintley showcase BRB's contrasting talents

The Pursuit of Now, Sadler's Wells

Matthew Wright

The parts of this stellar dance-with-jazz line-up dazzle, without quite making a whole

Modern Masters, English National Ballet, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Company stake their claim to Kylián, Neumeier and Forsythe with style

Say Yes To Another Excess - TWERK, Sadler's Wells

Heidi Goldsmith

Twitching rumps and UK grime are observed from an objective distance

Nómada, Compañía Manuel Liñán, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Style and showmanship aplenty from one of flamenco's innovators

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

Close Footnote

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

latest in today

People, Places and Things, National Theatre

New drama about addiction is informative, didactic, clever, funny and often...

Heartless Bastards - Borderline

Texan garage band shows that vocally, bigger can, indeed, be better

CD: Nicolas Godin - Contrepoint

Stylish Bach-inspired solo album from one half of French band AIR

Listed: Essential Operas 2015-16

Our classical/opera writers choose 12 highlights of the coming season

Miss Julie

Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell are the mistress and servant messing wit...

DVD: Far From The Madding Crowd

Carey Mulligan sparkles but Thomas Vinterberg's Hardy is only a partia...

Prom 60: Denk, San Francisco Symphony, Tilson Thomas

Glamorous visitors bring a crazy concerto, luminous Mahler, and a bit of ch...

The Trials of Jimmy Rose, ITV

Ray Winstone surprises as concerned grandad - but old habits die hard

We Made It: Ballet costumier Anna Willetts

The secrets of Birmingham Royal Ballet's costume department are unveil...

Murmel Murmel, King's Theatre, Edinburgh

Absurdist romp from Berlin's Volksbühne proves a hallucinatory if mela...

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters