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
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…

Natalia Osipova in Anastasia.© Foteini Christofilopoulou, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Anastasia – London

★★★✰✰   The last act redeems the evening. We learn more about the characters in the final 40 minutes than in the two preceding acts.

Gary Harris.© Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Interview – Gary Harris on life and setting Kenneth MacMillan’s Anastasia for the Royal Ballet

Gary Harris has had one of the most varied ballet careers you can get… dancer, teacher, ballet master, artistic director, designer and notator. Now he’s working with the Royal Ballet to bring back Kenneth MacMillan’s Anastasia – Jann Parry went for a chat.

Yijing Zhang, Céline Gittens, Matthias Dingman and Tyrone Singleton in Jessica Lang’s Wink.© Andy Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Wink, The Moor’s Pavane, The Shakespeare Suite – London

★★★★✰   Wink, best seen from above, is a valuable addition to BRB’s repertoire. So is José Limon’s The Moor’s Pavane, created in 1949.

Poster for the film Dancer staring Sergei Polunin.© West End Films. (Click image for larger version)

Film: “Dancer” – Sergei Polunin documentary

“Dancer” has been given a few screenings in London, most recently as part of the BFI London Film Festival, with Polunin and the director, Steven Cantor, in attendance for Q&A sessions…

Iain Mackay (Prospero) in David Bintley's The Tempest.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – The Tempest – London

★★★✰✰   Bintley has treated Shakespeare’s drama as a masque, full of spectacle, music and dancing, with elusive characters that are more allegorical than realistic. It doesn’t work as a narrative ballet because the sub-plots are too complicated…

Edd Mitton, Amy Thake and Ben Warbis in Kenneth MacMillan's Sea of Troubles.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Yorke Dance Project – Rewind Forward: Sea of Troubles, Self, Twilight, Lacrymosa, Untethered – London

★★★✰✰   Yorke Dance Project is unusual, among small modern dance companies, in its respect for musicality and for the demands it makes for skilled partnering.

Osbert Lancaster's front screen for Frederick Ashton's La Fille mal gardée.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – La Fille mal gardée – London

★★★★✰   Early arrivals for the opening night of the Royal Ballet’s autumn season could watch Peregrine the pony being escorted to the stage door in readiness for his role in La Fille mal gardée…

Jamar Roberts in Rennie Harris' Exodus.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Programmes A and B – London

★★★★✰   Revelations is always a joy, however often one sees it. Ailey’s choreography, influenced by his mentor, Lester Horton, and Martha Graham, is a reminder of how potent that modern dance technique could be.

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