March 2012
Begona Cao, Daria Klimentova and Anais Chalendard in Apollo. © Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Beyond Ballets Russes, Programme 2 – London

In format Suite en Blanc reminds me a little of Harald Lander’s Etudes, and it certainly fulfils the same purpose in providing the company with a spectacular programme-closer. ENB may be going through a difficult period but they don’t let it show on stage.

Vadim Muntagirov in Suite en Blanc. © Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – English National Ballet, Beyond Ballet Russes, Programme 2

Picture above is from Dave Morgan: ENB – Beyond Ballet Russes: programme 2 – 30 pictures

Stanton Welch. © Pam Francis.

Stanton Welch – Houston Ballet – Artistic Director

And I also love the fact that the city built this huge building to recognize classical ballet. Here in Texas we have the biggest monument to classical ballet in North America. That’s very cool. It was funded completely by private giving — from people who love the art, people who love classical ballet. That’s so exciting!

TeZukA artwork. © Tezuka Productions. (Click image for larger version)

Hong Kong Arts Festival – Lyon Opera Ballet, Les Ballets De Monte Carlo and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Local audiences also saw the return of the Lyon Opera Ballet. Their mixed programme consisted of two ballets by Benjamin Millepied, a ballet by Maguy Marin, and best of all, Balanchine’s masterpiece, Concerto Barocco, staged by Nanette Glushak.

The Most Incredible Thing. © Hugo Glendinning. (Click image for larger version)

Pet Shop Boys & Javier De Frutos – The Most Incredible Thing – London

The excellence of Tennant & Lowe’s score was always evident but the main impetus for this new, improved ballet is a greater integration of choreography, music, designs and video animation out of which emerges a more holistic package.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Programs A, B & C – Berkeley, CA

Another surprising choice was Taylor’s Arden Court (1981), which opened Wednesday evening’s program. The dancers were simply stunning. I hate to say, but the parallel is that Miami City Ballet does Balanchine better than New York City Ballet. Not to denigrate Taylor’s dancers at all…

English National Ballet – Beyond Ballet Russes, Programme 1 – London

Firebird: To Williamson’s credit, the action, though baffling, never palls. He knows how to deploy a diverse cast, using an interesting vocabulary of classical ballet steps and partnering. He’s obviously fired up his dancers to commit themselves to their roles, flaunting their glitzy costumes with panache. But it’s a muddled piece, overpowered by Stravinsky’s myth-making music.

Erina Takahashi in The Rite of Spring. © Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – English National Ballet, Beyond Ballet Russes, Programme 1

34 pictures by Dave Morgan of Firebird, L-après-midi d’un faune, Faun(e) and The Rite of Spring.

Washington Ballet in Push Comes to Shove. © Brianne Bland. (Click image for larger version)

Washington Ballet – Twyla Tharp: All American bill – Washington

With its new program titled Twyla Tharp: All American, the Washington Ballet paid homage to the high priestess of American dance…

Surupa Sen in Krishna's Lament. © Nan Melville/Nrityagram.

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble and Chitrasena Dance Company – New York

Every performance by the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble feels like a revelation. We are lucky that the company visits New York regularly…

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo's Le Songe (A Midsummer Night's Dream). © Marie-Laure Briane.

Les Ballets De Monte Carlo – Le Songe – Hong Kong

Anyone who went to Les Ballets de Monte Carlo’s Le Songe, artistic director Jean-Christophe Maillot’s version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream expecting a family show will have been in for a shock. Packed with graphic sexual imagery from start to finish, this is the kind of production that has small children asking “What are they doing, Mummy?”…

Eva Trapp and Robert Moore (Blanche and Stanley) in A Streetcar Named Desire. © Rich Sofranko. (Click image for larger version)

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre – A Streetcar Named Desire – Pittsburgh

While Neumeier’s choreography for Street Car lacked virtuosic technical dancing and any substantial group dance numbers, the ballet proved exquisite without them and PBT’s well-rehearsed dancers were outstanding in the Neumeier ballet classic.

Matthew Lawrence Blog – The Brand: Ballet. What Does This Invoke?

Take a test group of regular ‘Brits’ and show them a card with an apple computer emblem and, like a psychologist delving deep into their subconscious, ask them what comes to mind; Steve Jobs, iphone, ipad, creative, successful – they’d probably say. Now flash a card with ‘Ballet’ written on it.

Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company – Oyster – Philadelphia

Oyster is always what you expect Cirque du Soleil to be, but rarely is. Without apparatus, or specialty international acts, what this troupe of eight dancers and four character performers create really gives Cirque a run for their theatrical money…. a classic for all time.

Irek Mukhamedov joins the Schaufuss Ballet for London Performances

Mukhamedov will be playing the roles of Rothbart in Swan Lake, the Queen’s husband and Aurora’s and Carabosses’s father in Sleeping Beauty, Clara’s Father and Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier in The Nutcracker, in all performances of all three ballets.

Lauren Cuthbertson in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. © Johan Persson, courtesy ROH.

Royal Ballet – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – London

But if some grasp of the narrative can be assumed rather than supplied, Wheeldon still needs to make us care about his characters. He does succeed in making Alice a warm-blooded, strong-willed character, and Lauren Cuthbertson works extremely hard in the role to give us a lively, resourceful and energetic heroine. Jack is less strongly drawn. Federico Bonelli is certainly handsome enough for any teenager to fall for…

Gallery – Royal Ballet in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

32 pictures by Dave Morgan….

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Daphnis & Chloe, Two Pigeons – London

…the evening really belonged to Robert Parker, giving his last performance in London and challenging memories of almost any of his predecessors. Whilst being very, very charming he also has some of the toughness which I think Ashton originally intended, and the sincerity of his regret at the end was entirely convincing. He will be sadly missed.

Scottish Dance Theatre – Pavlova’s Dogs quad bill – London

There is a refreshing honesty and endeavour to Scottish Dance Theatre, which this programme – surely crying out to be sub-titled ‘Love & Dogs’ – showcased splendidly.

Maguy Marin's Grosse Fugue. © Michel Cavalca.

Lyon Opera Ballet – Hong Kong Arts Festival quad bill – Hong Kong

Grosse Fugue by Maguy Marin… Performed with energy by the dancers and received with rapturous applause by some of the audience, this is either genius at work or less fun than watching paint dry, depending on your point of view.

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