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
Ballet de Lorraine in Relâche.© Laurent Philippe. (Click image for full version)

Ballet de Lorraine – Relache – St. Petersburg

★★★★★   Ballet de Lorraine have reconstructed Relâche, a fascinating work first performed by the Ballets Suédois in 1924-25. It had caused almost as great a scandal as the 1913 premiere of The Rite of Spring in the same Théâtre des Champs-Elysées…

Sergei DiaghilevThe defining image for the "In Diaghilev’s Circle: The Phenomenon of Les Saisons Russes in the Context of European Culture" conference. ©/courtesy International Festival of Arts "Diaghilev. P.S."

Dipping in to the 8th International Festival of Arts ‘Diaghilev. P.S.’ in St. Petersburg

The aim of the annual festival is to celebrate Russian influence in international culture, thanks to Diaghilev’s productions in the first two decades of the 20th century… St Petersburg also wants to boost its reputation as ‘a great forum of the arts’, introducing contemporary creations from different nations to Russian audiences.

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…

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…

Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov in Sylvia.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Sylvia – London

★★★★✰   Sylvia makes a welcome return to the repertoire, reacquainting dancers and audiences with Ashton’s sensibility and complex choreography. It’s a joy but not a masterpiece, as he well knew…

Natalia Osipova in Arthur Pita's The Wind.© Foteini Christofilopoulou, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – The Illustrated ‘Farewell’, The Wind, Untouchable – London

★★★✰✰   Kevin O’Hare is commissioning choreographers who want to make use of what the Opera House can offer; he’s not setting out to declare where ballet ought to be heading and he’s not playing safe.

Tzu-Chao Chou in ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café.© Andy Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Arcadia, Le Baiser de la fée, ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café – London

★★✰✰✰   Bintley’s ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café saves a dispiriting evening by providing nimble demi-character dancing with a timely message, first delivered nearly 20 years ago.

MacMillan Celebrations – Gloria (NB), The Judas Tree (RB), Elite Syncopations (RB+Guests) – London

★★★★✰   Elite Syncopations: Dancers from all five major British ballet companies took part, some doubling up roles in identical outfits so that identifying dancers was confusing. The stand-out solo in both the casts I saw was to the Calliope Rag, Monica Mason’s original role…

Thiago Soares and Lauren Cuthbertson in The Judas Tree.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

MacMillan Celebrations – The Judas Tree (RB), The Song of the Earth (ENB) – London

★★★★✰   The second programme commemorating the 25th anniversary of Kenneth MacMillan’s death revealed his very different responses to music, and to human nature.

Michael Clark Company in to a simple rock 'n' roll... song.© Hugo Glendinning. (Click image for larger version)

Michael Clark Company – to a simple rock ‘n’ roll… song – London

★★★★★   …the dancing is life enhancing and the audience leaves on a high of pleasure.

Constance Devernay and Sophie Martin in Le Baiser de la fee (The Fairy's Kiss).© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

MacMillan Celebrations – Le Baiser de la fee (SB), Concerto (BRB), Jeux (RB) – London

  In the first of the mixed bills celebrating Kenneth MacMillan’s ballets, 25 years after his death, “Le Baiser de la fée” intrigued me because the questions it posed about his development as a choreographer…

Shobana Jeyasingh Dance in Bayadère: The Ninth Life.© Jane Hobson. (Click image for larger version)

Shobana Jeyasingh Dance – Bayadère: The Ninth Life – London

★★✰✰✰ …an intriguing idea inflated into unwieldy modern dance-theatre.

Yasmine Naghdi and Ryoichi Hirano in The Dreamers Ever Leave You.© Foteini Christofilopoulou, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

National Ballet of Canada and The Royal Ballet – The Dreamers Ever Leave You – London

★★★✰✰   Binet’s aspiration is that audiences should see beautifully trained dancers in a spiritual light, embodying Lawren Harris’s quest for the divine in nature.

Karen Kain + Elena Lobsanva in The Dreamers Ever Leave You.© Karolina Kuras. (Click image for larger version)

‘The Dreamers Ever Leave You’ – Karen Kain on a unique Royal Ballet & National Ballet of Canada collaboration…

Karen Kain, Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada, on celebrating Canada’s 150th with a joint work that includes NBoCanada and Royal Ballet dancers in a unique London Docklands event on the 12/13 October… that and lots more

Javier Torres, Antoinette Brooks-Daw and Riku Ito in Kenneth MacMillan's Gloria.© Lauren Godfrey. (Click image for larger version)

Northern Ballet – MacMillan bill: Las Hermanas, Concerto, Gloria – Bradford

★★★★✰   Gloria was Nixon’s first choice because he felt it showed MacMillan at his moving best. It contrasts Poulenc’s choral setting of the Latin text from the mass in praise of God with the toll of human lives in the First World War.

James Pett, Fukiko Takase, Travis Clausen-Knight, Jordan James Bridge and Jessica Wright in Autobiography.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Company Wayne McGregor – Autobiography – London

★★★✰✰   Each performance of Wayne McGregor’s Autobiography will be different, since its composition is to be determined by an algorithm based on his genetic code. …whatever a reviewer describes will never be the same again.

Gary Harris' costume sketches for The Fairy's Kiss.© Gary Harris. (Click image for larger version)

Bringing back Kenneth MacMillan’s Le Baiser de la fée – The Fairy’s Kiss

Scottish Ballet will be performing Kenneth MacMillan’s “Le Baiser de la fée” as part of the celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of his death. It will be the first revival of the ballet in 30 years – Jann Parry on the return of an important work.

Lauren Cuthbertson in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.© Johan Persson, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – London

★★★✰✰   Wheeldon and his scenarist, Nicholas Wright, have made theatrical sense of a nonsensical children’s classic. This Alice, though, is a modern pantomime, not a classic ballet.

Reece Causton, Oliver Russell, Luke Bradshaw and Harriet Ellis in 5 Soldiers.© Brian Slater. (Click image for larger version)

Rosie Kay Dance Company – 5 Soldiers: the Body is the Frontline – London

★★★★✰   The physicality of 5 Soldiers during the hour-long performance brings home the breaking of bodies…

Viktoria Tereshkina and Kimin Kim in La Bayadere.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Mariinsky Ballet – La Bayadere – London

★★★★✰   From the moment Kimin Kim enters with a flourish as Solor in Act I of La Bayadère, we know we’re in for a treat.

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