Author: Sara Veale

Sara Veale is a London-based writer and editor who has studied both dance and literature. She is chief dance critic for Auditorium Magazine, an editor for Review 31 and her work also appears in Fjord Review, Exeunt and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter @SaraEVeale

Under are the articles written for DanceTabs.
Aishwarya Raut and Conor Kerrigan in E2 7SD by Rafael Bonachela.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Rambert2 + Rambert – Grey Matter, E2 7SD, Killer Pig, Ghost Dances – London

★★★★✰   Rambert’s latest programme is a night of hellos and goodbyes, marking the debut of the company’s new standalone junior faction, Rambert2, as well the final performance of a repertory favourite, Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances.

Matthias Sperling, Now That We Know.© Artwork - Victoria Ford. Image - Wellcome Trust Images. (Click image for larger version)

Matthias Sperling – Now That We Know – London

★★✰✰✰   Matthias Sperling’s Now That We Know explores a long-running preoccupation of dancemakers and academics alike: how performance invokes and reflects the mind-body connection.

Jennifer France and National Dance Company Wales dancers in Pascal Dusapin's Passion.© Clive Barda. (Click image for larger version)

National Dance Company Wales/Music Theatre Wales – Pascal Dusapin’s Passion – London

★★★★✰   Pascal Dusapin’s dance opera Passion is a minimalist affair. There are no ornate sets or costumes, no crowds of characters or elaborate plotlines to consume them. Instead we’re presented with a snapshot of two anonymous lovers…

New English Ballet Theatre in Remembrance by Wayne Eagling.© Deborah Jaffe. (Click image for larger version)

New English Ballet Theatre – The Four Seasons, Remembrance – London

★★★✰✰   Both pieces are demanding and elicit some impressively stylish moments, though there’s a fair amount of unevenness…

Velvet Petal in creation.© Jack Wrigley. (Click image for larger version)

Scottish Dance Theatre – Velvet Petal – London

★★★★✰   Velvet Petal is Darkin’s latest work for the company, created in 2017 after she read Just Kids, Patti Smith’s memoir about her relationship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the 1970s.

Julie Cunningham & Company in Sarah Kane’s Crave.© Chris Nash. (Click image for larger version)

Julie Cunningham & Company – Sarah Kane’s Crave – London

★★✰✰✰   The dancing feels surprisingly lifeless given the fiery potential of the subject matter. Instead of engaging with the text’s furious, pitiful laments, it gives the impression of simply occurring alongside them…

National Youth Dance Company in Sharon Eyal's Used To Be Blonde.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

National Youth Dance Company – Used To Be Blonde – London

★★★★✰   The title is oblique, but the choreography is an explicit punch of intensity, fusing vigour and angularity with a velvety slinkiness.

Jonathan Goddard in Macbeth.© Nicole Guarino. (Click image for larger version)

Mark Bruce Company – Macbeth – London

★★★✰✰   Violence lurks in every corner of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, from supernatural malevolence to visceral carnage. Mark Bruce’s new take on the production taps into classic horror tropes to animate this force…

Isaac Hernandez and Jurgita Dronina in La Sylphide.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Song of the Earth, La Sylphide – London

★★★★✰   The pairing cannily indulges our need for vivid material on these bleak mid-winter nights while also steering us down from the high of the Christmas circuit, with its sugary Nutcrackers and other family-friendly fare.

Shiori Kase and Joseph Caley in Nutcracker.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Nutcracker – London

★★★✰✰   One of the ballet’s biggest departures from tradition is having the same dancer play Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy. The reasoning is unclear, but Kase proves versatile enough to pull it off…

Solene Weinachter, Eve Ganneau and John Kendall in The North.© Nicole Guarino. (Click image for larger version)

Joan Clevillé Dance – The North – London

★★✰✰✰   The opening scene of The North, a new dance theatre work from Dundee-based troupe Joan Clevillé Dance, starts with a scene plucked straight from a Scandi noir…

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Aladdin – London

★★★✰✰   Aladdin never fully finds its feet, but there’s a lot to like about the show, from the cheery group numbers to the striking visuals.

Scottish Dance Theatre in Botis Seva’s TuTuMucky.© Brian Hartley. (Click image for larger version)

Scottish Dance Theatre – TuTuMucky, Dreamers – London

★★★✰✰   Both are bold, engaging commissions – always welcome from a regional UK dance troupe.

Darren Johnston's Zero Point.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Darren Johnston – Zero Point – London

★★✰✰✰   The show – an art installation and dance performance at once – makes heavy use of digital technology, with a range of lighting and visual illusions designed by Johnston, plus a thudding soundtrack from Canadian composer Tim Hecker.

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s m¡longa.© Tristram Kenton. (Click image for larger version)

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui – M¡longa – London

★★★✰✰   M¡longa has a lot of spirit to offer when it lets the dance take the lead.

Isaac Hernandez and Alina Cojocaru in Giselle.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Giselle – London

★★★★✰   The magic in this production isn’t simply its bewitching ambience but also its harnessing of centuries-old themes in a way that resonates today.

Corey Annand in Arthur Pita's The Little Match Girl.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Arthur Pita – The Little Match Girl – London

★★★★✰   The Little Match Girl is small-scale, but it’s pretty spectacular all the same – a sweet and witty alternative to the typical Christmas family fare.

Hetain Patel in American Man.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Hetain Patel – American Man – London

★★✰✰✰   American Man, sets racism and sexism in its sights – “somewhat contradictory” subjects for Patel, he noted in his follow-up talk…

Solene Weinachter and John Kendall in Plan B for Utopia.© Nicole Guarino. (Click image for larger version)

Joan Cleville Dance – Plan B for Utopia – London

★★★✰✰   This hour-long work …poses in its opening lines the following question: “Why is it easier to imagine the end of the world than the world changing for the better?”

Nitin Sawhney at the RAH.© Morah Geist. (Click image for larger version)

Nitin Sawhney with special guests Sebastien Ramirez and Honji Wang – Concert – London

★★★★✰   It’d be a misnomer to call the evening a dance show – I was hoping Wang Ramirez would have more stage time than they did …but it was a cohesive production in any case, with some bracing, if fleeting, choreography on offer.

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