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
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.

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

Russian State Ballet of Astrakhan – The Nutcracker – Dorking

The fact that the company’s 30-piece orchestra was there accompanying the dancers helped elevate the atmosphere to something special.

Staatsballett Berlin in The Nutcracker.© Bettina Stoess. (Click image for larger version)

Staatsballett Berlin – The Nutcracker (premiere) – Berlin

Christmas is nearly here and Staatsballett Berlin are celebrating early with a brand new Nutcracker. Margaret Willis visits Berlin for us…

Alexa Gutierrez and Juan Carlos Costoya as Swanilda/Coppelia and Dr Coppelius in Coppelia.© Agustin Goncalves, @agusgon. (Click image for larger version)

National Ballet of Panama – Coppelia – Panama

The National Ballet of Panama recently put on Coppelia, staged by Vasily Medvedev over from St Petersburg. Margaret Willis was there for DanceTabs and we have lots of pictures of a colourful production:

Fernando Alonso, The Father Of Cuban Ballet book cover.© University Press of Florida. (Click image for larger version)

Book – Fernando Alonso, The Father of Cuban Ballet by Toba Singer

This book serves as a timely tribute to an incredible man whose vision and dedication to his art has established one of the world’s finest classical ballet systems.

Laszlo Seregi.© Hungarian National Ballet. (Click image for larger version)

Tribute to Laszlo Seregi, Choreographer & Hungarian National Ballet director – London

Laszlo Seregi died on 11th May 2012 at the age of 83 and, one year on, the Hungarian Cultural Centre in Covent Garden hosted a tribute to his memory.

© Dance Open

International Ballet Festival 2013 – Dance Open – St Petersburg

The 12th International Ballet Festival – Dance Open – was held over 4 days in St Petersburg. Margaret Willis (our Ms Expressivity) was there to report on much ballet and not a little award giving…

Maria Shirinkina & Vladimir Shklyarov in Giselle.© Natasha Razina. (Click image for larger version)

Mariinsky Ballet – Giselle (Shirinkina and Shklyarov) – St. Petersburg

A delightful production, on this occasion, there was the added excitement that the two principals, Maria Shirinkina and Vladimir Shklyarov, husband and wife, were performing the ballet together for the first time.

Book cover - Daria Klimentova: Agony and Ecstasy My Life in Dance.© Metro Books. (Click image for larger version)

Book – Daria Klimentova – Agony and Ecstasy: My Life in Dance

“Vadim was the first partner to make me feel like I was 16, even though I was approaching 40 when we first danced together.”

Nina Ananiashvili with her final shrug in Tampopo, from 2012 gala.© Lado Vachnadze. (Click image for larger version)

Happy Birthday Nina Ananiashvili

A tribute to Nina Ananiashvili – with personal memories – on her 50th birthday.

Peter Boal.© Angela Sterling. (Click image for larger version)

Peter Boal – Pacific Northwest Ballet – Artistic Director

So how long does he see himself staying on the far side of America? “Well, I am just about to sign another six year contract,” he grinned…

Cindy Jourdain and Arionel Varga in Love Tomorrow poster.© Minyahil K Giorgis. (Click image for larger version)

Film – Love Tomorrow – Raindance Film Festival winner

There is no attempt to make this a ‘ballet’ film with all the strange rituals and physical training normally attached to the art. There are short dance sequences: a bit of salsa in a Cuban bar…

Poster for Romeo and Juliet.© Bermuda Civic Ballet. (Click image for larger version)

Bermuda Civic Ballet and its 40th Anniversary Romeo and Juliet

There couldn’t have been a better setting for this Bermudian Romeo and Juliet. It was dramatically and effectively staged, using the different heights of the ramparts of Fort Hamilton overlooking the harbour with a natural backdrop of stars and crescent moon.

Publicity image for James Cousins, winner of the New Adventures Choreographer Award.© James Cousins. (Click image for larger version)

Sadler’s Wells Sampled – companies from Hip hop to Ballet – London

Sampled offered smorgasbord snippets of the goodies that will be gracing the stage of Sadlers Wells Theatre this coming season. This show, like cinema trailers, entices viewers to decide what to see, or what to miss. However, there was nothing shown in Sampled that should be missed!

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