Reviews
Che Malambo.© Diane Smithers. (Click image for larger version)

Gilles Brinas’ Che Malambo – London

★★★✰✰   Malambo is a dance form rooted in the traditions of the gaucho (South American cowboys), evolving from long nights by the campfire on the cattle trails of Las Pampas…

Students of the Upper School in Aurora’s Wedding.© Tristram Kenton / Royal Ballet School. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet School – Summer Performance, ROH Main Stage – London

★★★✰✰   A matinee in two halves: fine before the interval, with dire, dreary choreography in the second half. Thank goodness for the exhilarating Grand Défilé at the close.

Third year students Breanna Foad and Rentaro Nakaaki, who join English National Ballet next season.© Jesus Vallinas. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet School – Summer Performance – London

★★★✰✰   This summer’s showcase of English National Ballet School’s students was the first under its new director, Carlos Valcarcel… The Wimbledon programme consisted of two creations by him, two by students, and excerpts from The Sleeping Beauty as a conclusion.

Isabella Boylston in Whipped Cream.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Whipped Cream – New York

★★★★✰   The audience laughs, the company looks great, the orchestra… sounds full and vibrant, and you leave the theatre with a rare feeling of joy. Lightness of spirit and complexity of execution in one delightful package.

Pacific Northwest Ballet in Opus19/The Dreamer.© Angela Sterling. (Click image for larger version)

Les Etés de la Danse, Paris – Jerome Robbins Homage, Programme 2 – Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Perm Opera Ballet

★★★★✰   It’s been a very enjoyable homage to Robbins’s versatility…

Choreographer Lauren Lovette working with Ashley Bouder on Red Spotted Purple.© Gibney/Ashley Bouder - from Instagram original.

Ashley Bouder Project – Red Spotted Purple, Duet, Alas, Symbiotic Twin, In Pursuit Of – New York

★★★✰✰   Bouder’s pick-up ensemble of eight, which she refers to as an arts collaborative, reflects her ideals. It is racially diverse; the choreographers include both men and women. Not all the choreographers are white. This should be par for the course, but it’s not.

Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili in Glass Pieces.© Cheryl Mann. (Click image for larger version)

Les Etés de la Danse, Paris – Homage to Jerome Robbins, Programme 1 – New York City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet

★★★★✰   The programme, performed by two very different American ballet companies, displayed Robbins’s versatility while revealing the similarities in his approach to music.

Aidan DeYoung and Kelsey McFalls in Gabrielle Lamb's Lacunae.© David DeSilva. (Click image for larger version)

Amy Seiwert’s Imagery – SKETCH 8: Origin Stories – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   Whether walking through space, cycling through a gestural sequence or dancing a technically demanding phrase the dancers were a real joy to watch. The choreography on the other hand, was more of a mixed bag.

Nederlands Dans Theater in The Statement.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Nederlands Dans Theater – Shoot the Moon, Woke up Blind, The Statement, Stop-Motion – London

★★★★✰   World-class dancers… it’s the dancers’ polish and power that raises all they do up another level.

Devon Teuscher in Swan Lake.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Swan Lake – New York

★★★★✰   Devon Teuscher has done her time, and the results are breathtaking…

Aidan Gibson and Casey Ouzounis in Neue Suite (Berio 1-2-3).© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Semperoper Ballett – In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Neue Suite, Enemy in the Figure – London

★★★✰✰   Semperoper’s dancers distort the classical ballet line more than the Paris Opera Ballet’s (or ENB’s) and don’t bother much with fifth positions or precise épaulement for Forsythe’s endless tendus. They seem contemporary dancers rather than étoiles being outrageous.

Woyzeck: Thomas Pickles surrounded by the community ensemble.© Graeme Braidwood. (Click image for larger version)

Leo Butler, Roxana Silbert and Rosie Kay – Woyzeck – Birmingham

★★★✰✰   As Woyzeck productions go this was rather different featuring just two professional actors, supported by a community company of over 80 who supplied the other named roles but for the most part super-colourful reality and dancing. For me, it’s their show and the big reason to see the staging.

Alexandra Waierstall's And here we meet.© Katja Illner. (Click image for larger version)

Alexandra Waierstall – And here we meet – London

★★✰✰✰   Waierstall explores themes of extinction through the impact of humans on the earth’s geology and ecosystems. While thematically and visually intriguing, And here we meet lacks coherence…

Yukiko Masui and Maddy Morgan in Smack That.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Rhiannon Faith – Smack That (a conversation) – London

★★★★✰   Rhiannon Faith’s hard-hitting show coats the horrors of domestic violence in the saccharine sweetness of a girly party.

Paris Opera Ballet in The Seasons’ Canon.© Agathe Poupeney / OnP. (Click image for larger version)

Paris Opera Ballet – Thierrée /​ Shechter /​ Pérez /​ Pite – Paris

★★★★✰   Crystal Pite’s work stands out as the crowd-pleaser. With huge cheers and applause, we rise to our feet for the dancers.

Brandon Lawrence and Delia Matthews in Embrace.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Polarity & Proximity: Kin., Embrace, In The Upper Room – London

★★★✰✰   Williamson’s commission – the first of an ambitious Ballet Now programme for new works – was themed on issues of gender and alienation, with Brandon Lawrence being a man struggling for identity…

Zurich Ballet in Swan Lake.© Carlos Quezada. (Click image for larger version)

Zurich Ballet – Swan Lake – Zurich

★★★✰✰   But, at least to my eye, the production’s triumph is its final lakeside act. There, the formations of swans, as originally choreographed by Lev Ivanov, become intricate, delicate, lyrical, and intensely moving.

Francesca Hayward and Matthew Ball (The Royal Ballet) in Bach Forms, choreography by Wayne McGregor.© Ravi Deepres. (Click image for larger version)

Dance@TheGrange – Curated by Wayne McGregor & Edward Watson – Grange Festival, Hampshire

★★★★✰   McGregor’s company dancers (in Bach Forms) brought a surging energy, buoying up jewel-like moments from the Royal Ballet stars…

Momoko Hirata in Romeo and Juliet.© Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Romeo and Juliet – London

★★★★✰   It was a fine team performance from the company but particular honours go to Momoko Hirata’s Juliet who let us know what she was thinking and feeling at every moment.

Hilde Ingeborg Sandvold: Dans, for Satan/ (dance, dammit!).© Tale Hendnes. (Click image for larger version)

Splayed Festival with Florence Peake and Eve Stainton, Sheena McGrandles, Hilde Ingeborg Sandvold – London

★★★✰✰   Curated by dance artist Amy Bell, Splayed seeks to mess up stereotypical, heterosexual representations of the female body and replace them with other dynamic alternatives.

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