Reviews
Robert Carter in The Dying Swan.© Emma Kauldhar. (Click image for larger version)

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (Trocks) – Les Sylphides bill – London

★★★★✰   The curtain calls for Robert Carter’s “Dying Swan” are nearly as long as the ballet itself and just as funny.

Sarah Blanc in My Feminist Boner.© Jonathon Vines. (Click image for larger version)

Sarah Blanc – My Feminist Boner – London

★★★✰✰   Blanc shares her struggles with dieting, exercise regimes and the pressure to look perfect to the point where she has an epiphany which she calls her feminist boner.

Virgil Gadson in Spaces.© Lawrence Sumulong. (Click image for larger version)

Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra & Damian Woetzel – Spaces – New York

★★★✰✰   The dance comments, illustrates and riffs on ideas and sounds in the music. Like Marsalis’s compositions, it’s neither banally literal, nor thoroughly abstract, but lies somewhere in the middle, deriving its inspiration and energy from currents in the music.

Joshua Thake.© Zoran Jelenic. (Click image for larger version)

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (Trocks) – Programme A, Swan Lake bill – London

★★★★★   The Trocks’ version of Swan Lake (or Lac, as it used to be known) restores some Soviet era removals. Benno, the hero’s best friend and supporter, is back, as are mime sequences, mostly mystifying the participants…

Ricardo Da Silva, Gemma Kay Hoddy and Dickson Mbi in Blak Whyte Gray.© Carl Fox. (Click image for larger version)

Boy Blue – Blak Whyte Gray – London

★★★★✰   Directed by Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, the return to the Barbican of Blak Whyte Gray, is again a triumph.

Natalia Osipova in in the studio preparing for Pure Dance.© Alastair Muir. (Click image for larger version)

Natalia Osipova – Pure Dance – London

★★★✰✰   No trade description problems, here. This was exactly what it said on the tin: Natalia Osipova performing pure dance, enhanced only by recorded music and lighting designs varying from the merest of subtle tints to an explosion of floodlights…

Pierre Rigal's Compagnie Dernière Minute in Scandale.© Pierre Grosbois. (Click image for larger version)

Pierre Rigal – Scandale – London

★★★✰✰   Rarely seen in London apart from performances at Breakin’ Convention, French choreographer Pierre Rigal brings something different to the hip-hop dance theatre scene with Scandale.

Lauren Post and José Sebastian in Zhongjing Fang's Seen by Two.© Rod Brayman. (Click image for larger version)

Co.Lab Dance – Seen by Two, Almost Ritual, The Bright Motion, Sketches – New York

★★★✰✰   What will Co.Lab become? I look forward to finding out. Meanwhile, it’s simply encouraging to see these dancers and emerging choreographers create something of their own.

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Shantala Shivalingappa in Play.© Koen Broos. (Click image for larger version)

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Shantala Shivalingappa – Play – London

★★✰✰✰   Cherkaoui looks older than his years, so much so that his relationship in Play with Shivalingappa risks being unsettling. As dancers, they are no longer equals, as they must have been in 2008.

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.

The Yonis at Woman SRSLY: 1st Birthday.© Alex Gent. (Click image for larger version)

Woman SRSLY – 1st Birthday – London

★★★✰✰   What I loved about it was that none of the acts fitted into neat categories but spilled out through porous art boundaries.

Irina Kolesnikova and Denis Rodkin in Swan Lake.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre – Swan Lake – London

★★✰✰✰   Although the first night audience was moved to a standing ovation, Swan Lake can and should be so much more than this stylised ritual…

Victoria Hulland, Ricardo Graziano and Ricardo Rhodes in Ashton's Monotones II.© Frank Atura. (Click image for larger version)

Sarasota Ballet – Monotones I & II, Symphony of Sorrows, There Where She Loved – New York

★★✰✰✰   After viewing Ashton on a bill with works by Ricardo Graziano and Christopher Wheeldon, I’m not worried about Ashton’s relevance nor his resonance with a future audience. …Both the Graziano and Wheeldon posed some problems from what some might consider a “female” perspective.

Liane Burns and Charles Slender-White of FACT/SF in June 2017 picture.© Robbie Sweeny. (Click image for larger version)

FACT/SF Summer Dance Festival including works by Simpson/Stulberg, Fog Beast and Joy Davis – San Francisco

★★★★✰   The evening definitely delivered a broad swath of dance performance – a very strong debut and a great addition to the SF dance festival circuit.

Mark Morris Dance Group in The Trout.© Stephanie Berger. (Click image for larger version)

Mark Morris Dance Group – Love Song Waltzes, I Don’t Want to Love, The Trout – New York

★★★✰✰   How striking Morris’ dancers are, how diversified in form and unique in expression and cohesive as a troupe — ever present and responsive to each other.

Natalia Osipova in ISADORA: A Tribute to Isadora Duncan in Two Acts.© Doug Gifford. (Click image for larger version)

Natalia Osipova – ISADORA: A Tribute to Isadora Duncan in Two Acts (world premiere) – Costa Mesa

★★★✰✰   Half-narrative and semi-abstract, ISADORA hop-skips through the dancer’s life; it’s described in the program notes as a “freely interpreted biography,” and it cherry-picks around unsavory elements…

Luna Manzanares Nardo in Carmen La Cubana.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Carmen La Cubana – London

★★★★✰   Far from being just one more interpretation of the ubiquitous Carmen, this Cuban version is a unique retelling of the popular narrative, superbly performed.

Isabella Boylston and Jeffrey Cirio in La Bayadère.© Rosalie O'Connor. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – La Bayadère – Los Angeles

★★✰✰✰   …watching La Bayadère can feel like observing an artifact stuck in another era, and indicates the need for a conversation about what a contemporary, forward-thinking repertoire should look like.

East Wall at the Tower of London - the finale choreographed by Hofesh Shechter.© Victor Frankowski. (Click image for larger version)

East London Dance, Hofesh Shechter Company & LIFT Festival – East Wall: Storm the Tower – London

East London Dance, Hofesh Shechter Company and LIFT Festival East Wall: Storm the Tower ★★★★✰ London, Tower of London eastwall.org www.hofesh.co.uk www.liftfestival.com www.eastlondondance.org Sitting outside on a balmy summer evening in London, watching…

Jean Abreu and Rita Carpinteiro in Solo for Two (at the Southbank Centre).© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Jean Abreu Dance – An Other Solo for Two – London

★★★✰✰   Abreu is a remarkable performer, with a technique developed from forms of Brazilian dance and martial arts that enables him to sink into the floor and rise with resilience.

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