tue 24/10/2017

Dance reviews, news & interviews

Michael Clark Company, Barbican Theatre review - bad boy of dance comes good

Jenny Gilbert

If there were an arts award for loyalty, the Barbican Theatre would surely win it for having kept faith with Michael Clark. It’s no secret that the bad-boy image that has clung to Clark since his punk extravaganzas in the 1980s had consequences in his personal and creative life, forcing frequent "early retirements".

Kenneth MacMillan, Royal Opera House review - a sprite proves merciless

Hanna Weibye

There are different ways of celebrating a great artist’s legacy, and I suppose they have to coexist. One approach is raptly to admire his or her acknowledged masterpieces, the equivalent of making straight for Guernica or the Mona Lisa.

Fierce: the Birmingham festival which reaches out...

Aaron Wright

Since its inception in 1997 Fierce, Birmingham’s International Festival of Live Art & Performance, has championed the work of performance makers...

A Celebration of Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Northern...

Hanna Weibye

Northern Ballet do a challenging job really well: on a mid-scale touring company budget and doing all the things mid-scale touring companies have to...

h.Club 100 Awards 2017: The Winners

Theartsdesk

At a festive ceremony on Tuesday night at The Hospital Club in central London, the winners were announced for this year's h.Club 100 Awards. The...

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Royal Ballet review - a feast of visual delights

Hanna Weibye

Return of Wheeldon's shiny, crowd-pleasing version of Lewis Carroll's classic story

Akram Khan's Giselle, Sadler's Wells review - the migrant crisis in a ballet thriller

Jenny Gilbert

English National Ballet gives us the wilis, and then some

La Bayadère, Mariinsky Ballet review - a parade of delights

Hanna Weibye

Russians save the best till last in lavish display of showmanship and art

Contrasts, Mariinsky Ballet review - company shows off range of its powers

Hanna Weibye

Ekaterina Kondaurova the star as Russians display heritage and contemporary works at Royal Opera House

Swan Lake, Mariinsky Ballet review - Xander Parish lacks the spark of wildfire

Hanna Weibye

Heritage company fail to set stage alight in good, but not great, performance at the Royal Opera House

Don Quixote, Mariinsky Ballet review - gentle charm, impressive principals

Hanna Weibye

Tasteful design and perfectly poised dancers in classy first outing for Russians visiting the Royal Opera House

Enter theartsdesk's Young Reviewer of the Year Award

Theartsdesk

In association with The Hospital Club's h.Club 100 Awards, we're launching a new competition to find a brilliant young critic

Scottish Ballet, Sadler's Wells review - striking and memorable dance

Hanna Weibye

Crystal Pite's 'Emergence' is a smart pick for the company

Sergei Vikharev, master ballet-reconstructor, 1962-2017

Ismene Brown

Sudden death at 55 of bold seeker after 'authentic' classical ballet

Ashton triple bill, Royal Ballet review – fond farewell to Zenaida Yanowsky

Hanna Weibye

The prima ballerina bows out in 'Marguerite and Armand' as Akane Takada makes a lovely debut in 'The Dream'

Koen Kessels: 'there's a joke in ballet we only have two tempi' - interview

Hanna Weibye

The Belgian conductor on composers, conducting Swan Lake, and helping young musicians in the dance world

m¡longa, Brighton Festival review - sensual tango explosion

Thomas H Green

Sidi Larbi Charkaoui's tribute to the Argentine dance exudes vibrancy and dexterity

Symphonic Dances, Royal Ballet review - a truly interesting creation

Hanna Weibye

New Scarlett creation shines in a musical mixed bill

Ghost Dances: Rambert, Sadler's Wells review - vital and joyfully precise dancing

Jenny Gilbert

This South American triple bill is highly entertaining, but should it be?

Mayerling, Royal Ballet review - 'every ballet fan should see this'

Hanna Weibye

Watson and Osipova hypnotic in MacMillan's character-driven masterpiece

DVD: Dancer

Jenny Gilbert

Steven Cantor’s film tracks the making and breaking of ballet superstar Sergei Polunin

Betroffenheit, Crystal Pite & Jonathon Young, Sadler's Wells

Sanjoy Roy

Astonishing, unclassifiable work of dance theatre about an unrepresentable subject

Brighton Festival 2017: 12 Free Events

Thomas H Green

Brighton Festival CEO Andrew Comben's guide to this year's best free stuff

Matthew Bourne's Early Adventures, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Choreographer's young works make up in sparkle what they lack in depth

Balanchine's Jewels, Royal Ballet

Hanna Weibye

A glittering, precise account of a 20th century classic

Pina Bausch's Rite of Spring, English National Ballet, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Dancers wow in iconic Stravinsky piece, but Forsythe and van Manen need more work

Crystal Pite, Flight Pattern, Royal Ballet

Hanna Weibye

Extraordinary première by Canadian choreographer explores refugee experience through dance, plus Christopher Wheeldon and David Dawson

Project Polunin, Sadler's Wells

Katie Colombus

Can ballet's bad boy live up to the hype?

DVD: Reset

Jenny Gilbert

Benjamin Millepied at the helm of the Paris Opera Ballet - what really happened?

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 £3.95 per month or £30 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?

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 £3.95 per month or £30 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

W1A, Series 3 Finale, BBC Two review - the satire gets to th...

Repetition can help clarity. It emphasises significance, and shines a light more directly onto something hidden. It can guide us gently into an...

Sleaford Mods, Manchester Academy review - laptop punks stil...

Sleaford Mods are not just those two sweary guys with a laptop from Nottingham. Their unique mix of acerbic, politically conscious lyrics and lo-...

Newnight: Grenfell Tower - The 21st Floor, BBC Two review -...

The streets around Grenfell Tower on the morning after it was consumed by fire heaved with people. A stream of donors brought food, clothes and...

Witness for the Prosecution, London County Hall review - fav...

Some site-specific theatre feels like a really good fit. You could say, in this case, that it seems like poetic justice. Agatha Christie’s 1953...

DVD/Blu-ray review: Land of Mine

Danish director Martin Zandvliet brilliantly explores a little-known...

Soutine's Portraits, Courtauld Gallery review - a super...

This is the latest in a line of beautifully curated, closely focused exhibitions that the...

Listed: 20 Punk Moments that Shook the World

Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols was issued on 28 October...

Total Immersion: Julian Anderson, Barbican review - BBC ense...

Julian Anderson’s 50th birthday this year was the prompt for the latest of the BBC’s Total Immersion days, devoted to the work of a...

Jacqueline du Pré: A Gift Beyond Words, BBC Four review - od...

Hyperbole be damned. The most iconic English classical recording was made on 19 August 1965 in Kingsway Hall, London. Like Maria Callas singing...

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