Dance reviews, news & interviews
Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi Ballet artistic director whose sight was maimed two years ago by an acid attack organized by a disgruntled dancer, will lose his job when his contract expires next spring. Bolshoi Theatre chief Vladimir Urin announced yesterday in Moscow that he is abolishing Filin’s position and replacing it with a more management-focused director, indicating that artistic decision-making is to be taken "jointly" with the theatre directorate.The new director will be named and...
The original idea for the subtitle of this show, first made in 2000 and last seen at Sadler's Wells in 2007, was apparently "An Auto-Erotic Thriller". Yes, groan. But "erotic thriller" is a much straighter description of The Car Man than its actual, rather coy, subtitle, "Bizet's Carmen Reimagined". This is a nail-biting ride, and certainly not suitable for kids.The plot is based loosely on The Postman Always Rings Twice - wife and lover murder husband somewhat inefficiently, there is a...
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
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
Encounters of the classical kind in Tucany's loveliest garden
Superb-sounding vinyl editions which put their CD counterparts in the shade
A dramatic close to this first cycle of solo Bach
The neo-soul queen on charming form on her fifth studio album
From a biography of Rimbaud to Annie Proulx's collage-like prose, we d...
Pungent Victorian crime drama returns to network television
Sternly beautiful, Ibragimova's Bach is Baroque at its most authentic
Bristolian house don's debut has its tasty moments
A minimalist magnum opus and the grandest of French symphonies. Plus Spanis...
Ben Whishaw's ambiguous Dionysos and operatic chorus serve superb Euri...
The earnest 1979 TV series where Nigel Kneale’s professor bowed out
A meditative and artistic puzzle game
theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now
A bit of everything in theartsdesk's stage tips
Sound issues all but scupper period satire
Sergei Filin's contract will not be renewed, and his post abolished