fri 22/09/2017

Dance reviews, news & interviews

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

Jenny Gilbert

Of the many good reasons for seeing Akram Khan’s 2016 remake of Giselle – his work is often a headline event, for one – the most compelling is the company performing it. English National Ballet used to be the poor relation of its plusher sister national flagship in WC2. Not any more.

La Bayadère, Mariinsky Ballet review - a parade of delights

Hanna Weibye

There are half as many performances of La Bayadère in this Mariinsky tour as performances of Swan Lake (four vs eight).

Contrasts, Mariinsky Ballet review - company...

Hanna Weibye

There are two approaches to a triple bill: make all three pieces similar so you get one crowd with definite tastes, or make them very different so...

Swan Lake, Mariinsky Ballet review - Xander...

Hanna Weibye

It's a Cinderella story: Xander Parish was plucked from obscurity in the Royal Ballet corps and trained by the Mariinsky to dance the greatest roles...

Don Quixote, Mariinsky Ballet review - gentle...

Hanna Weibye

One of the most Russian things you can do in ballet is dance Don Quixote, which is 100 percent set in Spain. Don't think too hard about it, and...

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?

Tree of Codes, Wayne McGregor, Sadler's Wells

Katie Colombus

An outstanding collaboration between movement, sound and sight

FLA.CO.MEN, Israel Galván, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Maverick dancer opens annual flamenco festival with a playful jam-session of a show

Masurca Fogo, Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Tanztheater Wuppertal in one of their founder's lightweight works

Giselle, English National Ballet, London Coliseum

Hanna Weibye

Cojocaru and Hernández delicious in perfect heritage production

Best of 2016: Dance & Ballet

Hanna Weibye

Tamara Rojo's ENB and Akram Khan trump Royal Ballet in theartsdesk's highlights

Strictly Come Dancing 2016 Final, BBC One

Jasper Rees

Ore Oduba's win is evidence that light entertainment isn't just white entertainment

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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