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
Ben Duke and Solene Weinachter in Juliet and Romeo - A Guide to Long Life and Happy Marriage.© Jane Hobson. (Click image for larger version)

Lost Dog – Juliet and Romeo: A Guide to Long Life & Happy Marriage – London

★★★✰✰   Ben Duke’s speciality, in the works he devises for Lost Dog, the company he founded in 2004 with Raquel Meseguer, is conflating high art with low life – epic literature with everyday banalities.

Ryoichi Hirano and Laura Morera in The Winter’s Tale.© Tristram Kenton, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – The Winter’s Tale – London

★★★✰✰   The return of Christopher Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale in its third revival since 2014 brings newcomers to its many meaty roles. It also introduces new audience members to one of Shakespeare’s late plays, with its convoluted plot.

Breanna O'Mara in Viktor.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch – Viktor – London

★★★★✰   It’s impossible to make coherent sense of a Bausch piece, whatever the source of her inspiration.

Gandini Juggling and Alexander Whitley's Spring.© Simon Carter. (Click image for larger version)

Gandini Juggling & Alexander Whitley – Spring – Cambridge

★★★✰✰   Whitley has merged the different disciplines so successfully that there’s relatively little distinction between dancers and jugglers.

Francesca Hayward in Giselle.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet/ROH Learning and Participation – Giselle, schools’ matinee – London

★★★★✰   This was indeed a Giselle to treasure as a first encounter with ballet.

Marianela Nunez in Giselle.© Helen Maybanks, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Giselle – London

★★★★★   Peter Wright’s 1985 production for the Royal Ballet has had many interpreters, all subtly or extravagantly different. Nunez is amongst the finest, a perfectionist who seems realistically earthy as a country girl who loves dancing and ethereal as her defiant spirit.

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

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