Jerome Bel's The Show Must Go On.© Yi-Chun Wu. (Click image for larger version)

Jerome Bel – The Show Must Go On – New York

★★★★★   Jérôme Bel has been called many things, from conceptual artist to choreographer. If art is supposed to put a mirror up to humanity and at the same time challenge convention, Bel is certainly an artist, and one who has also referred to himself as a “philosopher of dance.”

American Ballet Theatre in Jessica Lang's Her Notes.© Rosalie O'Connor. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Jessica Lang’s Her Notes prmeiere + others – New York

★★★★✰   Jessica Lang’s Her Notes is a lovely and poetic work, though one with a slightly subdued effect. It is almost too tasteful.

Sonia Sabri in Salaam.© Simon Richardson. (Click image for larger version)

Sonia Sabri Company – Salaam – London

★★★✰✰   The evening as a whole had many beautiful moments with a good fusion of music and dance in a relaxed and informal setting.

Madeline Skelly and Connor Walsh of Houston Ballet in Forsythe's Artifact Suite.© Amitava Sarkar. (Click image for larger version)

Celebrate Forsythe – Pas/Parts 2016, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Artifact Suite – Los Angeles

★★★★✰   San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Houston Ballet have come together in LA to celebrate William Forsythe probably the most influential ballet choreographer of his generation. Claudia Bauer reports on a fine night…

Siv Ander in Use My Body While It's Still Young.© Ellen Lande Gossner. (Click image for larger version)

Hege Haagenrud – Use My Body While It’s Still Young – London

★★★★✰   Dance Umbrella brings to The Place an unusually thoughtful and touching work. In Use My Body While It’s Still Young, Norwegian choreographer Hege Haagenrud takes a cool and unflinching look at the unfashionable subject of ageing…

Sydney Dance Company in Wildebeest.© Pedro Greig. (Click image for larger version)

Sydney Dance Company – Untamed: Wildebeest, Anima – Sydney

★★★★✰   The latest program from Sydney Dance Company – a double bill with the title Untamed – showed once again what a high energy, physically accomplished company Sydney Dance is.

Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company in Inter_rupted.© Nirvair Singh. (Click image for larger version)

Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company – Inter_rupted – London

★★★✰✰   This ideal of taking the traditional forms of Kathak and placing the music and movement within a contemporary context gives Inter_rupted its rationale.

Daniil Simkin and Blaine Hoven in Alexei Ratmansky's Serenade after Plato’s Symposium.© Marty Sohl. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Serenade after Plato’s Symposium, Symphonic Variations, Brahms-Haydn Variations + Fall Gala – New York

★★★★✰   A second look at Alexei Ratmansky’s Serenade after Plato’s Symposium confirms the impression formed last season. It is a fascinating work that represents a new direction for the choreographer.

Jérôme Bel's Gala.© Josefina Tommasi. (Click image for larger version)

Jerome Bel – Gala – London

★★★★✰   Jérôme Bel’s Gala turns the performer/spectator dynamic and the act of performance itself, inside-out…

Zaloa Fabbrini and Alessio Passaquindici in Roland Petit's L'Arlésienne.© Dominique Jaussein. (Click image for larger version)

Ballet Nice Mediterranee – Grand Pas Classique from Raymonda, Gnawa, L’Arlesienne – Nice

★★★✰✰   The most interesting item of the programme was definitely the revival of Roland Petit’s L’Arlésienne, created in 1974 when he was director of the National Ballet of Marseille.

China National Peking Opera Company in The Legend of the White Snake.© China National Peking Opera Company. (Click image for larger version

China National Peking Opera Company – Legend of the White Snake & The General & The Prime Minister – London

★★★★★   …put together, over two very different performances – one highly comedic, the other, much more serious – all of this imagery, profound drama, great singing, hilarious comedy and so much more, is easily enough to justify my very first five star-rating of 2016.

Yijing Zhang, Céline Gittens, Matthias Dingman and Tyrone Singleton in Jessica Lang’s Wink.© Andy Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Wink, The Moor’s Pavane, The Shakespeare Suite – London

★★★★✰   Wink, best seen from above, is a valuable addition to BRB’s repertoire. So is José Limon’s The Moor’s Pavane, created in 1949.

Iain Mackay (Prospero) in David Bintley's The Tempest.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – The Tempest – London

★★★✰✰   Bintley has treated Shakespeare’s drama as a masque, full of spectacle, music and dancing, with elusive characters that are more allegorical than realistic. It doesn’t work as a narrative ballet because the sub-plots are too complicated…

Arch8 in Erik Kaiel’s Tetris.© Erik Korzo. (Click image for larger version)

Erik Kaiel / Arch 8 Dancers – No Man Is An Island, Tetris – London

★★★✰✰   Despite my reservations about joining in, this show was a lot of fun to watch; and it was clearly loads of joy for the young people – whatever their actual age – to take part in.

Yoann Bourgeois in the 'Fugue/Trampoline' section of Minuit.© Magali Bazi. (Click image for larger version)

Compagnie Yoann Bourgeois – Minuit – New York

★★★✰✰   Minuit is more of a meditation on the elegance of physical reality and how it can be manipulated in the name of artifice.

Shen Wei Dance Arts in Neither.© Stephanie Berger. (Click image for larger version)

Shen Wei Dance Arts – Neither – New York

★★✰✰✰   The effect of Shen’s “Neither,” like that of the original opera, is decidedly muted.

Harry Alexander and Benjamin Warbis in the Satie Studs, Ogive 4, section of to a simple, rock ‘n’ roll… song.© Hugo Glendinning. (Click image for larger version)

Michael Clark Company – to a simple, rock ‘n’ roll… song – London

★★★★✰   Whenever I see Michael Clark’s company I usually come away energised and uplifted. Nobody fuses ballet to a youthful modern world like Clark does or reminds you that it’s a tough technique that’s been around a long time.

Edd Mitton, Amy Thake and Ben Warbis in Kenneth MacMillan's Sea of Troubles.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Yorke Dance Project – Rewind Forward: Sea of Troubles, Self, Twilight, Lacrymosa, Untethered – London

★★★✰✰   Yorke Dance Project is unusual, among small modern dance companies, in its respect for musicality and for the demands it makes for skilled partnering.

Julie Kent and Washington Ballet.© Theo Kossenas Media 4 Artists. (Click image for larger version)

The Washington Ballet – 40th Anniversary Celebration – Washington

★★★✰✰   “Hi! I am Julie Kent, artistic director of the Washington Ballet.” Looking ravishing in her long strapless slivery-white gown, her hair immaculately styled, the new director of the Washington Ballet introduced herself to the audience of the fully-packed Eisenhower Theater…

Constance Devernay in Sophie Laplane's Sibilo.© Jane Hobson. (Click image for larger version)

Scottish Ballet – Emergence, Sibilo, Drawn to Drone – Glasgow

★★★★★   It’s perhaps a term too often used, but “It doesn’t get better than this” is what came immediately to mind at the end.

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