Author: Margaret Willis

Margaret Willis’s interest in ballet stems from a five-year stay in the former Soviet Union (1976-81) where she studied classical ballet and began writing on dance. Visiting Cuba in 1990, she first saw Carlos Acosta and has continued to follow his stellar career. She was a member of London City Ballet from 1990-3, performing principal character roles, is the author of Russian Ballet on Tour and contributed several articles for the International Dictionary of Ballet. She writes regularly for The Dancing Times, Dance Magazine and international publications. In 1986, she was the researcher for a BBC-TV documentary on the Bolshoi Ballet and in 2010 wrote "Carlos Acosta: The Reluctant Dancer" (Arcadia books).

Under are the articles written for DanceTabs. Reviews on Balletco
Aleksandra Mijalkova (Cleopatra), Vasil Chichiashvili (Cesar) and Boban Kovachevski (Mark Antony) in Cleopatra.© Macedonian Opera and Ballet. (Click image for larger version)

Macedonian Ballet – Cleopatra in rehearsal – Skopje

How do you review a world premiere that you have spent seven hours flying to, and then find that it has been postponed until you are back home after another eight hours of travel?

Laura Morera in Song of the Earth (with Edward Watson in full version).© Tristram Kenton, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Interview – Laura Morera – Principal, The Royal Ballet

“I’ve never won a prize before…” on the day Laura Morera won an Outstanding award at the National Dance Awards, Margaret Willis had a long chat with the excited, and much loved, Royal Ballet principal…

Brooklyn Mack.© Washington Ballet. (Click image for larger version)

A chat with Brooklyn Mack, Washington Ballet & English National Ballet Guest Artist

Brooklyn Mack dances with Washington Ballet but has recently been wowing British audiences with English National Ballet in their wonderful “Le Corsaire”. Margaret Willis, much impressed, caught up with him for a chat…

Shiori Kase and Cesar Corrales in The Nutcracker.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – The Nutcracker – London

English National Ballet has been dancing this ever-popular Russian classic in various guises each holiday season for the past 50 years, delighting audiences and inspiring youngsters…

Anastasia Turchina in Don Quixote.© Marina Vatanskaya, Russian State Ballet of Astrakhan. (Click image for larger version)

Russian State Ballet of Astrakhan – Don Quixote – Guildford

The company, based on the shores of the Caspian Sea, successfully toured the UK in 2013 and has returned again with 37 (from its full company of 65) dancers, offering the popular favourites including its latest “Don Quixote”, which made for a most enjoyable evening.

Celine Gittens and Tyrone Singleton in Swan Lake.© Roy Smiljanic. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Swan Lake – London

Opening night cast of Celine Gittens and Tyrone Singleton reviewed + some thoughts on Delia Mathews and Brandon Lawrence…

Carlos Acosta in Tocororo Suite.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Carlos Acosta – Cubania – London

Like the returning swallow, Acosta has again brought his own promise of summer sunshine to London with his unique brand of Caribbean culture.

Zenaida Yanowsky.© Rob Moore, ROH. (Click image for larger version)

Interview – Zenaida Yanowsky – Principal, The Royal Ballet

The Royal Ballet’s Zenaida Yanowsky talks about her long career and also about the joys of working with Carlos Acosta – part of which is appearing with him in ‘Cubania’ this summer…

Anna Kuligina and Ivan Vasiliev in La Fille mal gardée.© Nikolai Krusser. (Click image for larger version)

Mikhailovsky Ballet – La Fille mal gardee (Vasiliev / Kuligina) – St. Petersburg

Kuligina was the perfect foil for Vasiliev’s Colin (Colas) and the pair played off one another. There could be no better role for Vasiliev…

Cover of the Dance Open 2015 Gala programme.© Dance Open. (Click image for larger version)

International Ballet Festival 2015 Dance Open and Tsiskaridze at the Vaganova Academy – St Petersburg

Margaret Willis has just been in St. Petersburg, catching up with the Dance Open Festival and also visiting the Vaganova Academy where she had some words with director Nikolai Tsiskaridze…

Snowflakes, led by Alison McWhinney, in Nutcracker.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Nutcracker – London

English National Ballet Nutcracker London, Coliseum 11 December 2014 Gallery of pictures by Dave Morgan www.ballet.org.uk You know that Christmas is really on its way when you see your first Nutcracker. And for…

Alicia Alonso at the Gala.© Margaret Willis. (Click image for larger version)

24th International Ballet Festival of Havana, 2014

This time, I made 15 trips to the theatres – there were performances at 5pm and 9pm each day – and saw 82 different full-length ballets or extracts in the eight days I was in Havana.

Vicktoria Tereshkina in A Midsummer Night's Dream.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Mariinsky Ballet – Apollo, A Midsummer Night’s Dream – London

Viktoria Tereshkina has a warm personality and this enhances her dancing. She has long thin limbs and offers expansive port de bras, while her legs whip up effortlessly but with control.

Vladimir Malakhov and Beatrice Knopp in Hans van Manen’s The Old Man and Me.© Sergei Andreetsev. (Click image for larger version)

Two Russian Galas – Dance Open in St. Petersburg, Soul of Dance in Moscow

Margaret Willis has been busy: in St. Petersburg at the Dance Open Festival Gala and 2 days later in Moscow at the Soul of Dance Ballet Gala. And important awards were given at both…

Malandain Ballet Biarritz in Magifique.© Stas Levshin. (Click image for larger version)

Dutch National Ballet’s Tribute to Hans van Manen & Malandain Ballet Biarritz in Magifique – Dance Open Festival in St Petersburg

The 13th Dance Open Festival invited two European and very differently styled neo-classical-cum-modern companies – Malandain Ballet Biarritz and Dutch National Ballet – to perform as part of their celebrations in St. Petersburg.

Xander Parish in Chopiniana (Les Sylphides).© Natasha Razina. (Click image for larger version)

Mariinsky Ballet – Mikhail Fokine bill: Chopiniana, The Firebird, Scheherazade – St. Petersburg

The corps (in Chopiniana) must be congratulated for the ball-bearing precision in their soft gentle boureeing, gliding gently back to their original positions as the music ended. A real treat to see it done so beautifully.

The ballet loving Castellano triplets.© Sky Arts/Sylvie Collier.

To Dance Like A Man – Sky documentary

This is a charming documentary film about eleven year old identical triplets who love to dance. Angel, César and Marcos Castellano live in Havana, and attend the National Ballet School of Cuba…

© Tanzolymp

TanzOlymp 2014 – Berlin

For four days, over 1,000 young dancers from 35 countries competed – with smiles – in the eleventh TanzOlymp, a dance competition for students from the ages of 8 to 21.

Natalia Osipova and Carlos Acosta in Giselle.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

The Royal Ballet – Giselle, live cinema broadcast with Osipova, Acosta – London

The Royal Ballet are pushing their cinema relay performances as a way of getting ‘out there’- so what’s it like to see Osipova and Acosta out in the sticks? Margaret Willis gives her view and talks to others on the experience…

Russian State Ballet of Astrakhan in Swan Lake.© Marina Panova. (Click image for larger version)

Russian State Ballet of Astrakhan – Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet – Guildford

As its whistle-stop tour drew to its final week, the Russian State Ballet settled down for three consecutive days at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

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