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
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…

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.

Irina Kolesnikova and Denis Rodkin in Swan Lake.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre – Swan Lake – London

★★✰✰✰   Although the first night audience was moved to a standing ovation, Swan Lake can and should be so much more than this stylised ritual…

Jean Abreu and Rita Carpinteiro in Solo for Two (at the Southbank Centre).© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Jean Abreu Dance – An Other Solo for Two – London

★★★✰✰   Abreu is a remarkable performer, with a technique developed from forms of Brazilian dance and martial arts that enables him to sink into the floor and rise with resilience.

Students of the Upper School in Aurora’s Wedding.© Tristram Kenton / Royal Ballet School. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet School – Summer Performance, ROH Main Stage – London

★★★✰✰   A matinee in two halves: fine before the interval, with dire, dreary choreography in the second half. Thank goodness for the exhilarating Grand Défilé at the close.

Third year students Breanna Foad and Rentaro Nakaaki, who join English National Ballet next season.© Jesus Vallinas. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet School – Summer Performance – London

★★★✰✰   This summer’s showcase of English National Ballet School’s students was the first under its new director, Carlos Valcarcel… The Wimbledon programme consisted of two creations by him, two by students, and excerpts from The Sleeping Beauty as a conclusion.

Pacific Northwest Ballet in Opus19/The Dreamer.© Angela Sterling. (Click image for larger version)

Les Etés de la Danse, Paris – Jerome Robbins Homage, Programme 2 – Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Perm Opera Ballet

★★★★✰   It’s been a very enjoyable homage to Robbins’s versatility…

Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili in Glass Pieces.© Cheryl Mann. (Click image for larger version)

Les Etés de la Danse, Paris – Homage to Jerome Robbins, Programme 1 – New York City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet

★★★★✰   The programme, performed by two very different American ballet companies, displayed Robbins’s versatility while revealing the similarities in his approach to music.

Aidan Gibson and Casey Ouzounis in Neue Suite (Berio 1-2-3).© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Semperoper Ballett – In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Neue Suite, Enemy in the Figure – London

★★★✰✰   Semperoper’s dancers distort the classical ballet line more than the Paris Opera Ballet’s (or ENB’s) and don’t bother much with fifth positions or precise épaulement for Forsythe’s endless tendus. They seem contemporary dancers rather than étoiles being outrageous.

Daniel McCormick, Emerging Dancer Competition winner, performing Le Corsaire.© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

2018 English National Ballet Emerging Dancer Competition – performance and results

For the first time, English National Ballet’s competition for its junior members was held in the capacious London Coliseum, where the company has been performing The Sleeping Beauty…

Alina Cojocaru in The Sleeping Beauty.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – The Sleeping Beauty – London

★★★★✰   It’s a better Sleeping Beauty than the Royal Ballet’s, but it benefits enormously from a stellar performance at its heart, a reminder of how civilised ballet can be.

Liam Francis in Life is a Dream.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Rambert – Life is a Dream – London

★★★✰✰   Brandstrup keeps so many options open that the narrative thread of Life is a Dream is hard to pin down, even if you have read the programme notes and mugged up the 1635 play of the same name.

Zenaida Yanowsky in Will Tuckett’s Elizabeth.© Foteini Christofilopoulou, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Will Tuckett’s Elizabeth – London

★★★★✰   Was she passionate as well as imperious? Her own letters and poems suggest so: contemporary accounts by others are not to be trusted. Her position of power in turbulent times generated a lot of fake news…

Vadim Muntagirov, Marianela Nunez, Bennet Gartside and artists of the company in Swan Lake.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Swan Lake (Scarlett premiere) – London

★★★★★   Liam Scarlett has devised a visual and emotional treat for audiences, fully justifying Kevin O’Hare’s faith in him as a director and choreographer.

Melissa Hamilton.© Andrej Uspenski. (Click image for larger version)

Interview: Melissa Hamilton, First Soloist, The Royal Ballet

“I knew that I had to seize my only chance to have a ballet career. Masha Mukhamedov agreed to teach me privately six days a week for ten months…”

Sayaka Ichikawa and artists of Scottish Ballet and Ballet Black in House of Birds.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Viviana Durante Company – Kenneth MacMillan: Steps Back in Time bill – London

★★★★✰   All credit to Viviana Durante (supported by Royal Ballet, Ballet Black and Scottish Ballet dancers) for contributing to the 25th anniversary of Kenneth MacMillan’s death with recreations of his early work.

Calvin Richardson and Matthew Ball in Obsidian Tear. © Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Obsidian Tear, Marguerite and Armand, Elite Syncopations – London

★★★★✰   The ostensible link between the three works in this mixed bill is that they are by the Royal Ballet’s resident choreographers, past and present: Frederick Ashton. Kenneth MacMillan and Wayne McGregor. But none is typical of the choreographers’ work…

English National Ballet in Forsythe's Playlist (Track 1, 2).© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Voices of America bill – works by Forsythe, Robbins & Barton – London

★★★★✰   Altogether, a cunningly judged programme that shows off the company at its most engaging…

Kevin Emerton and Mayara Magri in Piggy in the Middle.© Alice Pennefather, ROH, 2018. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet / Charlotte Edmonds – Piggy in the Middle, Sink or Swim – London

★★★✰✰   Piggy in the Middle is, in part, Edmonds’ tribute to Kenneth MacMillan, the 25th anniversary of whose death has been marked during the Royal Ballet’s 2017/2018 season.

Francesca Hayward, Christopher Saunders and Elizabeth McGorian in Manon.© Foteini Christofilopoulou, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Manon – London

★★★★✰   It’s a myth that Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon was ever regarded as a failure. Critics may initially have had reservations but audiences have enjoyed it from its first season in 1974 throughout its many revivals…

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