mon 17/06/2019

Dance reviews, news & interviews

Cinderella, English National Ballet, Royal Albert Hall review - big, bright and bankable

Jenny Gilbert

It might seem odd to laud the entrances and exits of a ballet, but when it comes to stagecraft Christopher Wheeldon is second to none. You lose count of the ingenious ways he finds to shift up to 130 dancers in and out of view at the Albert Hall.

The Firebird triple bill, Royal Ballet review - generous programme with Russian flavour

Hanna Weibye

You can’t accuse the Royal Ballet of lightweight programming: the three juicy pieces in the triple bill that opened at the Royal Opera House on Tuesday add up to a three-hour running time. That’s a lot of ballet for your buck. Whether they actually go together is another question.

San Francisco Ballet, Liang/Marston/Pita, Sadler...

Matt Wolf

Sun, snow, and some unadorned silliness danced to the music of Björk: no one can accuse San Francisco of casting an insufficiently wide tonal (...

Shostakovich Trilogy, San Francisco Ballet,...

Hanna Weibye

Alexei Ratmansky stands out among contemporary choreographers for two reasons: he still creates genuinely classical dance, and he's more conscious...

'I wrote a letter to Björk in Icelandic and...

Jenny Gilbert

Visits from major foreign ballet companies are always news, but a two-week London season by one of America’s “big three” is something to get excited...

Four Quartets, Barbican Theatre review - ultimate stage poetry

Jenny Gilbert

TS Eliot's poems staged with dance and music are a revelation

Tribe//Still I Rise, Brighton Festival 2019 review - an evening of poetic movement

Katie Colombus

Convincing choreography based on the poetry of Maya Angelou

Traptown, Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez, Brighton Festival 2019 review - obscure to the point of ridiculous

Katie Colombus

An uneasy and inaccessible evening of performance that searches for abstraction but gets lost in its own concept

Within the Golden Hour/Medusa/Flight Pattern, Royal Ballet review - the company shows its contemporary face

Jenny Gilbert

Osipova is astonishing as ever, but Medusa the ballet misses its mark

Win a Luxury Weekend for Two to Celebrate Brighton Festival!

Admin

An eclectic line-up spanning music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, comedy, literature and spoken word could be yours with boutique hotel and exquisite meals included

Mitten wir im Leben sind, De Keersmaeker, Queyras, Rosas, Sadler's Wells review - Bach-worthy genius

David Nice

Outwardly austere, inwardly vibrant life-and-death journey through the six Cello Suites

She Persisted, English National Ballet, Sadler's Wells review - a must-see triple bill

Jenny Gilbert

ENB hit another high with a storming Rite of Spring

Victoria, Northern Ballet, Sadler's Wells - A queen re-instated, once again

Jenny Gilbert

The real Empress of India leaps from page to stage

The Thread, Russell Maliphant & Vangelis, Sadler’s Wells review – an inspiring marriage of old and new

Sarah Kent

Divergent worlds made to co-exist with apparent ease

Bon Voyage, Bob, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells review - interminable ennui

Sarah Kent

At three and a half wearisome hours, this feels like a marathon

The Rite of Spring/Gianni Schicchi, Opera North review - unlikely but musically satisfying pairing

Graham Rickson

Odd-couple double bill of Stravinsky and Puccini with plenty to delight ear and eye

Brighton Festival 2019 launches with Guest Director Rokia Traoré

Thomas H Green

The south-coast's arts extravaganza reveals its 2019 line-up

Swan Lake, English National Ballet, London Coliseum review - a solid, go-to production

Jenny Gilbert

Traditional stagings don't come much more satisfying than Derek Deane's for ENB

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, Sadler's Wells - vivid, enchanting

Hanna Weibye

Refreshed classic production delights with energy, storytelling and live Tchaikovsky

The Nutcracker, Royal Ballet review - a still-magical tale of two couples

David Nice

Peter Wright's balance of story-telling and classical dance lacks only elan from the pit

The Unknown Soldier, Infra, Symphony in C, Royal Ballet, review - WWI ballet honours obscure tragedy

Jenny Gilbert

The storyline goes missing, presumed dead, in this Armistice commission

Carlos Acosta: A Celebration, Royal Albert Hall

Theartsdesk

Candid images of retired ballet legend on stage

'It’s more fun to dance in a tutu': Tory Dobrin of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Jenny Gilbert

The artistic director of the Trocks explains how he keeps his ballet parodists on their toes

theartsdesk in Riga - 43,290 Latvians sing and dance for their country

David Nice

Individual souls conjoined with a passionate belief in peace and music achieve miracles

Enter theartsdesk / h Club Young Influencer of the Year award

Theartsdesk

In association with The Hospital Club's h.Club100 Awards, we're looking for the best cultural writers, bloggers and vloggers

The Sleeping Beauty, London Coliseum review - a triumph for English National Ballet

Jenny Gilbert

Kenneth MacMillan's timeless staging brings out the best in ENB

Michael Chance on continuing opera in Hampshire: 'good people like to work with good people'

Michael Chance

The countertenor turned impresario launches a second season of The Grange Festival

Swan Lake, Royal Ballet review - beautiful, heartfelt

Hanna Weibye

Liam Scarlett and John Macfarlane's new version of the classic takes wings

Elizabeth, Barbican review - royal romance under scrutiny

Jenny Gilbert

Words and music form an equal alliance with dance to probe the love life of the Virgin Queen

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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