September 2018
Carlos Acosta.© Johan Persson. (Click image for larger version)

Carlos Acosta – Dancer, Directer, Choreographer: ‘I am a man on a mission – I always have been’

“That’s what it’s always been about for me – the necessity to connect with an audience and express myself.”

Valerie Harmon and Peter Kurta in Ben Needham-Wood's Echo.© Keith Sutter. (Click image for larger version)

Smuin Contemporary Ballet – Dance Series 01 bill – Walnut Creek

★★★★✰   A winning first program, one with the range and breadth that Smuin is famous for.

New York City Ballet in Symphony in C.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Jewels & All Balanchine 4bill – New York

★★★★✰ The company seemed to be dancing with a special ferocity, as if to prove its worth and convince the world that this enterprise is, indeed, worth preserving and saving.

Antoinette Brooks-Daw and Javier Torres in Morgann Runacre-Temple's The Kingdom of Back.© Emma Kauldhar. (Click image for larger version)

Northern Ballet – The Kingdom of Back, Mamela…, The Shape of Sound – Leeds

★★★★✰   A good night of new work for Leeds coupling a rising star from outside with local and much-loved company talent.

Tamara Rojo and James Streeter in Dust by Akram Khan.© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Lest We Forget bill – London

★★★★★   “I cannot recall being so moved at a dance performance for a very long time, if ever.”

Robert Carter in The Dying Swan.© Emma Kauldhar. (Click image for larger version)

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (Trocks) – Les Sylphides bill – London

★★★★✰   The curtain calls for Robert Carter’s “Dying Swan” are nearly as long as the ballet itself and just as funny.

Seeta Patel – Not Today’s Yesterday.© Stephen Berkeley White. (Click image for larger version)

5 Questions to Seeta Patel about her latest work – Not Today’s Yesterday

Seeta Patel is about to tour the UK with her latest one-woman dance theatre work, “Not Today’s Yesterday” – it’s about the “whitewashing of history” and we wanted to know more…

Sarah Blanc in My Feminist Boner.© Jonathon Vines. (Click image for larger version)

Sarah Blanc – My Feminist Boner – London

★★★✰✰   Blanc shares her struggles with dieting, exercise regimes and the pressure to look perfect to the point where she has an epiphany which she calls her feminist boner.

Virgil Gadson in Spaces.© Lawrence Sumulong. (Click image for larger version)

Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra & Damian Woetzel – Spaces – New York

★★★✰✰   The dance comments, illustrates and riffs on ideas and sounds in the music. Like Marsalis’s compositions, it’s neither banally literal, nor thoroughly abstract, but lies somewhere in the middle, deriving its inspiration and energy from currents in the music.

Joshua Thake.© Zoran Jelenic. (Click image for larger version)

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (Trocks) – Programme A, Swan Lake bill – London

★★★★★   The Trocks’ version of Swan Lake (or Lac, as it used to be known) restores some Soviet era removals. Benno, the hero’s best friend and supporter, is back, as are mime sequences, mostly mystifying the participants…

Ricardo Da Silva, Gemma Kay Hoddy and Dickson Mbi in Blak Whyte Gray.© Carl Fox. (Click image for larger version)

Boy Blue – Blak Whyte Gray – London

★★★★✰   Directed by Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, the return to the Barbican of Blak Whyte Gray, is again a triumph.

Natalia Osipova in in the studio preparing for Pure Dance.© Alastair Muir. (Click image for larger version)

Natalia Osipova – Pure Dance – London

★★★✰✰   No trade description problems, here. This was exactly what it said on the tin: Natalia Osipova performing pure dance, enhanced only by recorded music and lighting designs varying from the merest of subtle tints to an explosion of floodlights…

Ariel Fung of the House of Krip.© Fotocad. (Click image for larger version)

Voguing at the Southbank’s Ulimited festival – “Vogue: The Unlimited House of Krip”

Part lecture and panel discussion, part documentary screening and part performance “Vogue: The Unlimited House of Krip” was a good introduction to voguing culture, presented as part of the Southbank’s Unlimited festival and built around the deaf and disabled dancers that form the House of Krip.

Pierre Rigal's Compagnie Dernière Minute in Scandale.© Pierre Grosbois. (Click image for larger version)

Pierre Rigal – Scandale – London

★★★✰✰   Rarely seen in London apart from performances at Breakin’ Convention, French choreographer Pierre Rigal brings something different to the hip-hop dance theatre scene with Scandale.

Lauren Post and José Sebastian in Zhongjing Fang's Seen by Two.© Rod Brayman. (Click image for larger version)

Co.Lab Dance – Seen by Two, Almost Ritual, The Bright Motion, Sketches – New York

★★★✰✰   What will Co.Lab become? I look forward to finding out. Meanwhile, it’s simply encouraging to see these dancers and emerging choreographers create something of their own.

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Shantala Shivalingappa in Play.© Koen Broos. (Click image for larger version)

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Shantala Shivalingappa – Play – London

★★✰✰✰   Cherkaoui looks older than his years, so much so that his relationship in Play with Shivalingappa risks being unsettling. As dancers, they are no longer equals, as they must have been in 2008.

Velvet Petal in creation.© Jack Wrigley. (Click image for larger version)

Scottish Dance Theatre – Velvet Petal – London

★★★★✰   Velvet Petal is Darkin’s latest work for the company, created in 2017 after she read Just Kids, Patti Smith’s memoir about her relationship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the 1970s.

The Yonis at Woman SRSLY: 1st Birthday.© Alex Gent. (Click image for larger version)

Woman SRSLY – 1st Birthday – London

★★★✰✰   What I loved about it was that none of the acts fitted into neat categories but spilled out through porous art boundaries.

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