wed 25/05/2022

ENB

The unexpurgated Clement Crisp - in memoriam

To the international world of ballet, Clement Crisp was the British critic to fear for half a century. Crisp's dance reviews for the Financial Times – "the pink 'un" – from 1970 until 2020 were legendary for their passionate...

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Raymonda, English National Ballet, Coliseum review - a creaky old standard, lavishly restored to health

Neglected classics, whether books, plays or ballets, are usually neglected for a reason, and so it is with the three-act ballet Raymonda. A hit in 1898 for the Imperial ballet in St Petersburg but unperformed in this country since the 1960s, its...

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Creature, English National Ballet, Sadler's Wells review - bombastic and unreadable

If a new ballet can be doomed by the weight of expectation, then Creature didn’t stand a chance. First scheduled to appear in the spring of 2020, then again last autumn, the publicity drive over the past weeks has had the air of marketing a used car...

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Solstice, English National Ballet, RFH review - a midsummer treat

“A tonic to the nation”. That was the hoped-for effect of the Festival of Britain in 1951, and its concrete legacy was the Royal Festival Hall. Seventy years on, it’s fitting that English National Ballet should be the first through its doors, post...

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Reunion: An Evening with English National Ballet review - back on stage and fabulous

You could hardly call this back to normal at London’s premier dance house. For a start, there was too much red plush visible in the stalls, not all of it the result of COVID-safe spacing. There were prefatory onstage speeches and a filmed thank you...

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English National Ballet 70th Anniversary Gala, Coliseum review - a fine celebration

Just when you thought Christmas was well and truly over, along comes another box of delights. And there isn’t a disappointment in it. If it were nuts, there’d be nothing but cashews; if chocolates, there wouldn’t be a single disgusting lime-cream....

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Le Corsaire, London Coliseum review - hugely entertaining

It’s unlikely that Lord Byron would recognise much about Le Corsaire. Beyond the characters’ names and the Ottoman location, there is little trace of the 1814 bestselling verse-novel on whose fame the ballet hitched a ride. Its plot is very silly...

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

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....

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

She does indeed persist, that remarkable Tamara Rojo. Dismayed by the fact that, in 20 years as a dancer, she had never performed a ballet made by a woman, she mounted a triple bill called She Said, featuring only work by and about women. That 2016...

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

Diversity, and the need for more of it, is a hot potato in the theatre arts. Kudos, then, to English National Ballet and its director Tamara Rojo for the 23 nationalities represented within its ranks. And for the poster advertising the company’s...

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

When Tamara Rojo won the top job at English National Ballet in 2012, it looked like a poisoned chalice. Directors had come and gone, some of them with visionary ideas, but all were defeated by the company’s peculiar position as underdog to the...

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Voices of America, English National Ballet review - a punchy programme of contemporary ballet

A new William Forsythe ballet is quite a coup for English National Ballet; the choreographer hasn't made a piece in Britain in 20 years. Premiered last night as part of ENB's Voices of America triple bill at Sadler's Wells, Forsythe's Playlist (...

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