Reviews
María Pagés Compañía in Yo Carmen.© David Ruano. (Click image for larger version)

María Pagés Compañía – Yo Carmen – London

★★★✰✰   Yo Carmen was originally billed as a radical reimagining of Bizet’s opera and that’s not exactly the case. Don’t go along to this thinking that you will see any representation of the story with gypsies and bullfighters, or any male characters dancing.

Sadler's Wells publicity image for Carmen Linares, Arcángel & Marina Heredia's Tempo of Light.© Sadler's Wells. (Click image for larger version)

Carmen Linares, Arcángel & Marina Heredia – Tempo of Light – London

★★★★★   This was flamenco puro in its most fabulous form, dominated – as it should be – by the voice, led by three of the most celebrated of today’s star flamenco singers. It doesn’t get much better.

San Francisco Ballet in Thatcher's Ghost in the Machine.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – On a Theme of Paganini, Ibsen’s House, Ghost in the Machine – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   This mixed triple bill is made up of work created on the company by artists in the SFB family: On a Theme of Paganini by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson, Ibsen’s House by Principal Character dancer Val Caniparoli and Ghost in the Machine by Myles Thatcher, part of the corps de ballet since 2010.

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.

Dores André and Ulrik Birkkjaer in Peck's Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Serenade, The Chairman Dances, Rodeo – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   Not all, but many pas de deuxs have a romantic subtext, whether intentional or not. But in Rodeo Peck has crafted a pas de deux celebrating introductions and the process of getting to know another person.

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.

Josie G. Sadan and James Gilmer in Path of Miracles.© Andrew Weeks. (Click image for larger version)

ODC/Dance – Path of Miracles – San Francisco

★★★★✰   Except for one section, we were led from place to place to experience the piece’s lush tapestry of movement and sound.

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.

Amanda Treiber and Erez Milatin in Optimists.© Rachel Neville. (Click image for larger version)

New York Theatre Ballet – Beethoven/1999, Optimists, Dark Elegies, Double Andante – New York

★★★✰✰   All was danced with the quiet focus, lucidity, and unfussy delivery that characterize the company. No attention-grabbing fireworks…

Tiler Peck and Zachary Catazaro in Peter Walker’s Dance Odyssey.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Dance Odyssey, The Red Violin, Russian Seasons – New York

★★★✰✰   Like Walker’s first work for the company “Dance Odyssey” shows a lot of promise. It has warmth and humor, a good grasp of stage geometry and a sensitive musicality.

Arcell Cabuag in Upside Down.© Ayodele Casel. (Click image for larger version)

Evidence, A Dance Company – Come Ye, March, Den of Dreams, Upside Down, Dancing Spirit – New York

★★★★✰   Ronald K. Brown is one of those choreographers who returns to a similar mode in piece after piece, so it’s easy to take him for granted. But what a powerful mode it is.

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.

Duwane Taylor's It's Time to Speak.© Irven Lewis. (Click image for larger version)

Watts Dance, Grov Productions and Duwane Taylor – Place Resolution 2018

★★★✰✰   Duwane Taylor’s “It’s Time to Speak”… is powerful theatre that left a lump in many of our throats at the end.

Jakop Ahlbom Company in Lebensraum.© Stephan van Hesteren. (Click image for larger version)

Jakop Ahlbom Company – Lebensraum – London

★★★★✰   There are some extremely demanding physical comedy routines incorporated into Lebensraum. Even some of the throwaways are wince-inducing…

Marie Gyselbrecht in Mother (Moeder).© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Peeping Tom – Mother (Moeder) – London

★★★★✰   Mother was an absorbing 70 minutes of performance art. Mothers were never exactly to the fore and yet – in many respects – they were always apparent…

San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson's The Sleeping Beauty.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – The Sleeping Beauty – San Francisco

★★✰✰✰   The efforts of San Francisco Ballet’s artists are sadly misplaced in this largely joyless and wholly unsatisfying rendition of The Sleeping Beauty.

Adrian Danchig-Waring, Tiler Peck and Ashly Isaacs in George Balanchine’s Apollo.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – All Balanchine No. 1 & 2, 21st Century Choreographers bills – New York

★★★★✰   After much tumult over the holidays, New York City Ballet has begun its first post-Peter Martins season. If you’re just catching up, the company’s “ballet master in chief” – ie artistic director – of over thirty years retired on New Years Day, in the midst of an investigation into allegations of physical abuse and sexual harassment.

Heather Arnett, Nell Suttles, Allegra Bautista and Anna Greenberg in EAMES.© George Baker. (Click image for larger version)

Kristin Damrow & Company – EAMES – San Francisco

★★★★✰   Before heading to the premiere of Kristin Damrow & Company’s EAMES, which mines the life, work and relationship of legendary designers Ray and Charles Eames, some background research seemed a good idea…

Ekaterina Petina and Matej Urban in The Taming of the Shrew.© Alice Blangero. (Click image for larger version)

Les Ballets de Monte – The Taming of the Shrew – Monte Carlo

★★★★✰   Maillot’s work is generally replete with a sense of irony and eroticism and Shakespeare gave him enormous scope for both!

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.

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