Author: Graham Watts

Dance Writer/Critic. Member of the Critics' Circle, Chairman of the Dance Section and National Dance Awards Committee. Writes for leading dance magazines & websites - in UK, Europe, USA, Japan & cyberspace. Graham is based in London.

Under are the articles written for DanceTabs. Reviews on Balletco
Brandon Lawrence and Delia Matthews in Embrace.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Polarity & Proximity: Kin., Embrace, In The Upper Room – London

★★★✰✰   Williamson’s commission – the first of an ambitious Ballet Now programme for new works – was themed on issues of gender and alienation, with Brandon Lawrence being a man struggling for identity…

Kevin and Karen Clifton.© Stuart Glover. (Click image for larger version)

Kevin and Karen Clifton – Kevin and Karen Dance – London

★★★★✰   This show defied the norm: a counter-intuitive observation about a spin-off from the archetypal routine of a Saturday evening institution that millions of us watch with our feet up.

Antonia Grove in Now You See It.© Tom Copsey. (Click image for larger version)

Antonia Grove / Probe – Now You See It – London

★★★★✰   This hour-long solo was a tour de force for a charismatic performer, bearing her soul in a courageous, largely autobiographical account of an upbringing in which there were five simultaneous conversations going on at every mealtime.

"An Evening with Namron" stage backdrop.© Graham Watts. (Click image for larger version)

An Evening with Namron – From Asphalt to Maple Wood

For around 80 minutes, Namron entertained his audience, largely comprising past and present luminaries of London contemporary dance, with stories and reminiscences, often breaking into movement, before finishing with a brief question & answer session…

Akram Khan in Xenos.© Jean-Louis Fernandez. (Click image for larger version)

Akram Khan Company – Xenos – London

★★★✰✰   Xenos, which apparently means “stranger” or, more aptly for this piece, “foreigner”, is a tangled mass of many things but, above all, it seems to be an essay on loneliness.

Dreda Blow and Javier Torres in Jane Eyre.© Caroline Holden. (Click image for larger version)

Northern Ballet – Jane Eyre – London

★★★✰✰   This excellent ballet is clearly a “keeper” and a work I would like to see again and again.

National Dance Company Wales in Tundra.© Rhys Cozens. (Click image for larger version)

National Dance Company Wales – Folk, Atalay, Tundra – London

★★★★✰   NDCW comprises a rich mix of performers, collectively hailing from six countries (although, surprisingly, none appear to have any Welsh heritage). What is even more surprising is that all bar one have joined in the past nine months…

Emma Walker in TORO Beauty and the Bull.© Emma Kauldhar. (Click image for larger version)

DeNada Dance Theatre – TORO: Beauty and the Bull – London

★★★★✰   This is a work that is sinister, in mood, and vivid, in style. It works on many levels of ingenious allusion…

Alleyne Dance in A Night’s Game.© Driftnote. (Click image for larger version) dn-game-2-bend-back_1000.jpg

James Finnemore, Alleyne Dance – TERRA, A Night’s Game – London

James Finnemore: TERRA Alleyne Dance: A Night’s Game ★★★✰✰ London, The Place 24 April 2018 www.jamesfinnemore.co.uk www.alleynedance.com For some reason, the intended (or, at least, promoted) order of this double bill was reversed…

Nikki and JD in Knot.© Laurent Cahu. (Click image for larger version)

Nikki & JD – Knot – London

★★★★✰   An hour in the company of Nikki and JD is well spent.

Publicity image for English National Ballet / Akram Khan's Giselle.© Jason Bell. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Akram Khan’s Giselle – on cinema release

★★★★★   A total of 150 cinemas will show the ballet, which was filmed at the Liverpool Empire, in October 2017

Nicholas Bodych and Elly Braund in Carnaval.© Chris Nash. (Click image for larger version)

Richard Alston Dance Company – Mid Century Modern, Carnaval, Cut and Run – London

★★★★★   It must be tempting to get carried away by sentiment when it comes to celebrating both a 70th birthday and fifty years as a choreographer in a programme that also marks the departure of a special muse.

Empathy by Neon Dance.© Miles Hart. (Click image for larger version)

Neon Dance – Sadler’s Wells Wild Card bill – London

★★★✰✰   All-in-all, it was a strange and eclectic evening, fluctuating from the sublime to the excruciatingly boring. …It has encouraged me to see more of Neon Dance whenever the chance arises.

Alain Platel & Fabrizio Cassol's Requiem pour L.© Chris Van der Burght. (Click image for larger version)

Alain Platel & Fabrizio Cassol – Requiem pour L. – London

✰✰✰✰✰   I have to ask how one associates a star rating with a performance in which the largest, continuing visual image is a close-up, slow motion film of an actual death.

Tango After Dark publicity image.© German Cornejo. (Click image for larger version)

Germán Cornejo – Tango After Dark – London

★★★★★   I cannot imagine that partnered dance gets any better than this.

La Chana and Gema Moneo in Goddess of Compás.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Gala Flamenca La Chana – Goddess of Compás – London

★★★★✰   Rarely have I witnessed a prolonged standing ovation midway through a show but it happened here to acknowledge the legendary gypsy bailaora from Barcelona, known as La Chana.

Sadler's Wells publicity image for Carmen Linares, Arcángel & Marina Heredia's Tempo of Light.© Sadler's Wells. (Click image for larger version)

Carmen Linares, Arcángel & Marina Heredia – Tempo of Light – London

★★★★★   This was flamenco puro in its most fabulous form, dominated – as it should be – by the voice, led by three of the most celebrated of today’s star flamenco singers. It doesn’t get much better.

Marie Gyselbrecht in Mother (Moeder).© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Peeping Tom – Mother (Moeder) – London

★★★★✰   Mother was an absorbing 70 minutes of performance art. Mothers were never exactly to the fore and yet – in many respects – they were always apparent…

Ekaterina Petina and Matej Urban in The Taming of the Shrew.© Alice Blangero. (Click image for larger version)

Les Ballets de Monte – The Taming of the Shrew – Monte Carlo

★★★★✰   Maillot’s work is generally replete with a sense of irony and eroticism and Shakespeare gave him enormous scope for both!

Tamara Rojo and Ivan Vasiliev in Le Jeune Homme et la Mort.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Le Jeune Homme et la Mort, La Sylphide – London

★★★★✰   One great privilege of Rojo being both director and dancer must be the opportunity to choose her own partners and this year’s returning guest is Ivan Vasiliev…

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