December 2017
Corey Annand and Valentina Golfieri in The Little Match Girl.© Phil Conrad. (Click image for larger version)

Arthur Pita – The Little Match Girl – London

★★★★★   Of all the shows I’ve seen this year this probably had the least dance content and yet as a package it really delivers on the wonder and thoughtful difference that theatre can make to all our lives. Charmed I was…

Benjamin Ella and Isabella Gasparini in Crystal Pite’s Flight Pattern.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Memorable Performances of 2017 – London

Head and shoulders above other new work this year was Crystal Pite’s Flight Pattern for the Royal Ballet…

Le Rossignol masterclass: Anna Rose O’Sullivan and William Bracewell with Anthony Dowell.© Rachel Thomas. (Click image for larger version)

Feature – Frederick Ashton’s choreography for Le Rossignol – a masterclass with Sir Anthony Dowell

The Metropolitan Opera in New York staged “Le Rossignol” in December 1981 as part of a programme commemorating the hundredth anniversary of Stravinsky’s birth… the producer was John Dexter. He told Ashton, back in London, that he could choreograph two dancers as the Nightingale and the Fisherman on stage, while the roles would be sung by opera singers in the orchestra pit…

Mikko Lampinen, Eero Vesterinen, Oskari Nyyssola and David Scarantinos in Morphed.© Darya Popova, courtesy Tero Saarinen Company. (Click image for larger version)

Catching up with Morphed – Tero Saarinen Soul Shifting in New York

Some dance can be really thought provoking and that seems to have been the case with Tero Saarinen’s “Morphed” – at least for Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer who recently caught up with the work at the Joyce in New York.

Christopher Williams Il Giardino d’Amore.© Ian Douglas. (Click image for larger version)

Memorable Performances of 2017 – New York

Six Performances That Stayed with Me in 2017 – Marina Harss with her personal selection of New York dance memories this last year.

Ashley Shaw in Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

New Adventures – Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella – London

★★★✰✰   While the production is supremely stylish and the characters well-observed with expressive and romantic choreography, the narrative is padded out in order to fill the music, particularly where traditional elements of “Cinderella” have been excised.

Erica Felsch & the men of the company in Michael Smuin's Santa Baby, from The Christmas Ballet.© Keith Sutter. (Click image for larger version)

Smuin Contemporary American Ballet – The Christmas Ballet – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   I’ve seen The Christmas Ballet five times over the years and it has always been and continues to be a lovely, celebratory afternoon or evening at the theatre. That said, I still struggle with the format.

Suzanne Farrell Ballet, with Heather Ogden and Thomas Garrett, center, and the corps de ballet, in Chaconne, choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. (phew!)Image © Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

Suzanne Farrell Ballet – Forever Balanchine: Farewell Performances – Washington

★★★★★   As artistic director of her own troupe, Farrell was able to take her devotion to Balanchine and her aspiration to promote and preserve his legacy to a new level. For nearly 20 years, Washington audiences have enjoyed an annual mini-festival of Balanchine’s works…

Mark Morris Dance Group in The Hard Nut.© Frank Wing. (Click image for larger version)

Mark Morris Dance Group – The Hard Nut – San Francisco

★★★★★   The house was abuzz on Friday evening for the opening performance of Mark Morris Dance Group’s The Hard Nut. It’s been five years since Cal Performances hosted the production, and clearly fans had been anxiously awaiting its reappearance.

Shiori Kase and Joseph Caley in Nutcracker.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Nutcracker – London

★★★✰✰   One of the ballet’s biggest departures from tradition is having the same dancer play Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy. The reasoning is unclear, but Kase proves versatile enough to pull it off…

Ashley Shaw in Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – New Adventures in Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella

Gallery by Foteini Christofilopoulou…

Barnaby Rook Bishop, Thomas Edwards and Simon Schilgen in The Nutcracker.© Andy Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Scottish Ballet – The Nutcracker – Edinburgh

★★★★✰   A charming, uplifting ballet that truly sets the scene for Christmas. A large part of the heart-warming effect was Darrell’s decision to populate the stage with children…

Senri Kou in Nutcracker.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – English National Ballet in Nutcracker

Gallery by Dave Morgan…

Carmen de Lavallade immediately after receiving her Honors medallion.© John P. Filo/CBS. (Click image for larger version)

Carmen de Lavallade Honoured at The 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honours

Dancer, choreographer, actress, teacher, director, writer, and mentor, Carmen de Lavallade is a true artist in every sense of the word – and a true legend.

Chalvar Monteiro in Jamar Roberts' Members Don't Get Weary.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – 2 premieres: Victoria & Members Don’t Get Weary + many more – New York

★★★★✰   Roberts’ “Members Don’t Get Weary” is very much a mature work with a strong emotional charge and esthetic signature.

Company XIV in Nutcracker Rouge.© Mark Shelby Perry. (Click image for larger version)

Company XIV – Nutcracker Rouge – New York

★★★★✰   Nutcracker Rouge is a lush, flesh-fueled frenzy of sensuality and spectacle. McCormick’s gift for erotic elegance is mesmerizing. Any raunch manages to be a good dose of the subversive while also being good plain fun.

Miami City Ballet in The Nutcracker.© Lawrence K. Ho. (Click image for larger version)

Miami City Ballet – The Nutcracker – Los Angeles

★★★✰✰   The MCB dancers exude Balanchine brio and delight in performing his intricate steps, but they had to give their all to keep up with the youngsters.

Ljiljana Velimirov, Tom Waddington & Sergei Polunin in Satori.© Tristram Kenton. (Click image for larger version)

Project Polunin – Satori, First Solo, Scriabiniana – London

★★✰✰✰   In truth Polunin’s latest show at the London Coliseum, although it has its moments, isn’t such a great advertisement for him as a dancer or as a creative mixer of the ballet pot.

Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb in The Nutcracker.© Foteini Christofilopoulou, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – The Nutcracker – London

★★★★★   When Peter Wright’s production of The Nutcracker for the Royal Ballet was given its premiere on 20th December 1984, gala guests were treated to free champagne and souvenir booklets. No expense was spared…

LIVEVIBE at The Place 2017.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

LIVEVIBE at The Place – Samples & Interpolations – London

★★★✰✰   What to take away from this evening? It seemed odd to present sampling as something that needed explaining – but maybe that’s me showing my age.

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