Author: Jann Parry

A long-established dance writer, Jann Parry was dance critic for The Observer from 1983 to 2004 and wrote the award-winning biography of choreographer Kenneth MacMillan: 'Different Drummer', Faber and Faber, 2009. She has written for publications including The Spectator, The Listener, About the House (Royal Opera House magazine), Dance Now, Dance Magazine (USA), Stage Bill (USA) and Dancing Times. As a writer/producer she worked for the BBC World Service from 1970 to 1989, covering current affairs and the arts. As well as producing radio programmes she has contributed to television and radio documentaries about dance and dancers.

Under are the articles written for DanceTabs. Reviews on Balletco
Matthew Bourne's Early Adventures - The Infernal Galop.© Johan Persson. (Click image for larger version)

New Adventures – Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures – London

★★★★✰   Matthew Bourne celebrates the 30th anniversary of his own company at the same time as Tate Britain has launched “Queer British Art 1861-1967” to mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality. “Early Adventures” could be a theatrical coda to the exhibition…

Beatriz Stix-Brunell and Valeri Hristov in Emeralds.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Jewels: Emeralds, Rubies, Diamonds – London

★★★★✰   The first Emeralds ballerina, Beatriz Stix-Brunell, could be a water nymph, touching the hands of her suitor, Valeri Hristov, in the opening pas de deux before drifting out of reach.

Haydn Oakley in An American in Paris.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Christopher Wheeldon – An American in Paris – London

★★★★★   The ballet is a triumph, of course. It really is… Wheeldon and his collaborators have reclaimed the Gershwins’ music and songs for a five-star production…

The Royal Ballet in Crystal Pite's Flight Pattern.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Flight Pattern (premiere), After the Rain, The Human Seasons – London

Flight Pattern: ★★★★★, After the Rain: ★★★✰✰, Human Seasons: ★★✰✰✰.   Like Gorecki, Crystal Pite has created a memorable and moving work full of meaning…

Ivan Vassiliev and Kristina Kretova in Sceherazade.© Marc Haegeman. (Click image for larger version)

Russian Ballet Icons Gala – In the steps of the Ballets Russes – London

★★★★✰   The long gala (three and a half hours with one interval) was well organised, with no speeches and no protracted curtain calls.

Julie Cunningham and Hannah Burfield in Returning.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Julie Cunningham and Company – Returning, To Be Me – London

★★★✰✰   A final poem, ‘Man Down’, calls for compassion and acceptance that we are all combinations of male and female. The message is in the words rather than in the bodies of the dancers.

Tommy Franzen and Dickson Mbi in The Wall.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Russell Maliphant Company – maliphantworks: Wall, One part II, Two, Afterlight (Part One) – London

★★★★★   The hour-long evening is a magical experience, a testament to the decades-long collaboration between Maliphant and Hulls…

Mara Galeazzi.© and courtesy the Royal Opera House.

Interview – Mara Galeazzi on Woolf Works, her wider career and dancing on…

She found that she came back to perform with the company she left five years ago with a different approach. ‘I know more about why I love to perform…’

Alexander Kuiimov in La Fille mal gardée.© Russian State Ballet of Siberia. (Click image for larger version)

Russian State Ballet of Siberia – La Fille mal gardée – Basingstoke

★★★✰✰   The Siberian company performs its Fille mal gardée with good heart and neat feet.

Jennifer Davis, Gemma Nixon, Jonathan Goddard, Edward Watson, Zenaida Yanowsky and Thomas Whitehead in Les Enfants Terribles by Javier de Frutos.© Foteini Christofilopoulou, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet / Royal Opera – Les Enfants Terribles – London

★★★✰✰   The story line becomes as labyrinthine as the ribbons of tape that criss-cross Paul’s bedroom.

Alessandra Ferri and Francesca Hayward in the I Now, I Then section of Woolf Works.© Tristam Kenton, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Woolf Works – London

★★★✰✰   The ballet’s narrative interest depends on the dancer, and both performers are magnificent – different in tone and physicality, though not markedly so.

Gandini Juggling in Smashed: Special Edition.© Kristy Meijers. (Click image for larger version)

Gandini Juggling – Smashed: Special Edition – London

★★★★✰   Bausch with added balls.

Akane Takada and James Hay in The Sleeping Beauty.© Bill Cooper, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Sleeping Beauty – London

★★★★✰   The grand pas de deux was the triumphant highlight of the fairytale festivities. Hay expressed the prince’s pride and pleasure in his variations; Takada was demure and regal in hers…

Robert Rauschenberg and Susan Weil: Untitled (ca. 1950).Monoprint: exposed blueprint paper.209.6 x 92.1 cm, Private collection.© Robert Rauschenberg. (Click image for larger version)

Exhibition – Robert Rauschenberg, Tate Modern – London

Though Rauschenberg’s designs have no apparent connection with the dances they accompany, and even compete for the audience’s attention, they have become inescapably part of the experience of each work.

Ashley Shaw in The Red Shoes.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

New Adventures – Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes – London

★★★✰✰   If you remember the 1948 film, the plot is easy to follow. If you don’t, and can’t pick up the references to ballets, a printed scenario would be helpful, as would job-descriptions of the characters…

Lauren Cuthbertson in The Nutcracker.© Tristram Kenton, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – The Nutcracker – London

★★★★★   The Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker has undergone various changes since its gala premiere in 1984, not least in the central roles of Clara and Drosselmeyer…

Seated nude folding forward. Auguste Rodin, 1910/11. Pencil with stump on paper.© Musée Rodin, Paris, France. (Click image for larger version)

Exhibition – Rodin and Dance: The Essence of Movement – London

★★✰✰✰   …of more interest to Rodin scholars than dance-lovers.

Tamara Rojo and James Streeter in Akram Khan's Giselle.© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Akram Khan’s Giselle – London

★★★✰✰   Jann Parry with an alternative view and detailed account of the Akram Khan Giselle for English National Ballet…

Matthew Ball and Marianela Nunez in Wayne McGregor's Multiverse.© Foteini Christofilopoulou, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Wayne McGregor bill: Chroma, Multiverse, Carbon Life – London

★★★✰✰   Multiverse: McGregor and his dramaturg may know what they want to convey about life and the universe(s) but despite the dancers’ efforts, the result is baffling.

Viviana Durante.© David Scheinmann, courtesy Viviana Durante. (Click image for larger version)

Interview – Viviana Durante: Ballerina, mother, teacher and coach of MacMillan’s Anastasia

One of the leading interpreters of Kenneth MacMillan’s dramatic ballets Viviana Durante’s leaving of the Royal Ballet at the height of her powers was a sad loss to London, if the gain of those who saw her perform elsewhere all around the world. Well now she’s back at the Royal Opera House, this time to coach MacMillan’s Anastasia, which is where Jann Parry caught up with her…

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