Reviews
Gandini Juggling in Smashed: Special Edition.© Kristy Meijers. (Click image for larger version)

Gandini Juggling – Smashed: Special Edition – London

★★★★✰   Bausch with added balls.

Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin in La Belle.© Alice Blangero. (Click image for larger version)

Les Ballets de Monte Carlo – La Belle – Monte-Carlo

★★★★✰   Maillot has succeeded in giving perhaps the most authentic retelling of Perrault’s story in dance with his tale of love overcoming the darkest evil…

Yi-Wei Tien and Chen-Chih Liao in Tschüss!! Bunny.© Julie Lemberger. (Click image for larger version)

Japan Society – 17th Contemporary Dance Showcase: Japan + East Asia – New York

★★★✰✰   Hosted by the Japan Society on the east side of midtown Manhattan, this year’s showcase concentrated on the theme of two: the dynamics of duos. Featuring works from Japan, Korea and Taiwan…

ZooNation in The Mad Hatter's Tea Party.© Alice Pennefather, ROH. (Click image for larger version)

ZooNation – The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – London

★★★★✰   ZooNation’s “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” has come a long way as a thoughtful Royal Opera House alternative to the Royal Ballet’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.

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…

Liam De Paor in El Principito.© Alvaro Maldonado. (Click image for larger version)

Pasodos Dance Company – El Principito – Palma

★★★★✰   Although ostensibly a children’s story, El Principito is a philosophical fable, parodying the world at war during the time that Saint-Exupéry was writing (1942) and it is also to some extent autobiographical…

Alina Cojocaru and Cesar Corrales in Nutcracker.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Nutcracker – London

★★★✰✰   For all the recent innovations that Tamara Rojo has brought to the English National Ballet, including three stunning full-evening programmes of her own devising, the Nutcracker is still the heart of every season…

Dancers leaping downstage from left, Tori Jahn, Colleen Soltys and Alysia Chang in Graham Lustig's Nutcracker.© Dan Dion. (Click image for larger version)

Oakland Ballet Company – The Nutcracker – Oakland

★★★✰✰   Set in early-20th-century Vienna, this Nutcracker is welcoming and unpretentious, and it moves as briskly as a storybook.

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…

Aaron Loux and Billy Smith in The Hard Nut.© Julieta Cervantes. (Click image for larger version)

Mark Morris Dance Group – The Hard Nut – New York

★★★★✰   Few alternative takes on tradition survive this long and The Hard Nut remains as subversive as it is satisfying.

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.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Hope Boykin's r-Evolution, Dream.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Four Corners, Untitled America, r-Evolution, Dream, Revelations – New York

★★★★✰   There is no limit to how often one can see Ailey’s 1960 masterpiece Revelations. The elation is always the same.

Oleg Gabyshev and Lyubov Andreyeva in Up & Down.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Eifman Ballet – Up & Down – London

★★★✰✰   In truth, the ballet is up and down (or, more accurately, down and up) for, overall, the second act is a huge improvement on the first.

Nicholas Strafaccia, Gerald Casel and Samuel Wentz in Fluster.© Tim Russell. (Click image for larger version)

GERALDCASELDANCE – Cover Your Mouth When You Smile, Thirdperson, Fluster – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   Evaluating works in progress is a peculiar exercise. Without knowing what parts of a dance are complete or still conceptual, or where they fit within the context of a larger yet to be created piece a review is a guessing game.

Company of Elders in Home Turf.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Company of Elders – Art of Age II – London

★★✰✰✰   Sad to say, then, that I found Art of Age II rather disappointing…

Botis Seva's Women of Sun.© Chris Nash. (Click image for larger version)

Botis Seva – Women of Sun – London

★★★✰✰   It is rare to find young choreographers developing a distinctive movement language and Seva is certainly one of the most original emerging talents in UK.

Katherine Helen Fisher in Pastime.© John Sisley. (Click image for larger version)

Lucinda Childs Dance – Lucinda Childs: A Portrait – New York

★★★✰✰   The post-modernist Lucinda Childs is experiencing a bit of a comeback here in the US, after years of working abroad.

Zhang Jian and Zhu Yan in The Peony Pavilion.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

National Ballet of China – The Peony Pavilion – London

★★★✰✰   Peony Pavilion has become a signature work for the National Ballet of China and it’s easy to see why it has come back.

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…

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…

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