Reviews
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.

Kevin and Karen Clifton.© Stuart Glover. (Click image for larger version)

Kevin and Karen Clifton – Kevin and Karen Dance – London

★★★★✰   This show defied the norm: a counter-intuitive observation about a spin-off from the archetypal routine of a Saturday evening institution that millions of us watch with our feet up.

Garrett Anderson, right, with full ensemble in James Sofranko's Homing.© Alexander Reneff-Olson. (Click image for larger version)

SFDanceworks – Season Three: Snap, Homing, The Old Child, Jardí Tancat – San Francisco

★★★★✰   SFDanceworks is going places. Formed in 2014 by longtime San Francisco Ballet soloist James Sofranko, the relatively new company already finds itself in a season of expansion.

Alina Cojocaru in The Sleeping Beauty.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – The Sleeping Beauty – London

★★★★✰   It’s a better Sleeping Beauty than the Royal Ballet’s, but it benefits enormously from a stellar performance at its heart, a reminder of how civilised ballet can be.

National Ballet of Cuba in Giselle.© Carlos Quezada. (Click image for larger version)

National Ballet of Cuba – Giselle – Saratoga Springs

★★★✰✰   Ultimately, the best thing about Alonso’s Giselle is that it’s danced by Cubans, and that’s good enough for me.

Antonia Grove in Now You See It.© Tom Copsey. (Click image for larger version)

Antonia Grove / Probe – Now You See It – London

★★★★✰   This hour-long solo was a tour de force for a charismatic performer, bearing her soul in a courageous, largely autobiographical account of an upbringing in which there were five simultaneous conversations going on at every mealtime.

Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside in Harlequinade.© Marty Sohl. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Harlequinade (premiere) – New York

★★★★✰   Harlequinade is pure entertainment, a work of art whose entire raison d’être rests on its charm and stylishness. If you require that your art contain deeper meanings, read no further…

Boy Blue in A Night with Boy Blue.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Boy Blue – A Night with Boy Blue – London

★★★✰✰   The annual celebration of all things Boy Blue fielded 138 dancers this year – Kenrick Sandy and Michael Asante’s company is one that can wow you through sheer force of numbers alone.

Tiler Peck in Coppélia.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Coppélia – New York

★★★★✰   Tiler Peck, with her quick feet and sassy musicality, is perfectly suited to the role of Swanhilda. Her choreography has copious amounts of pointework, quick steps, requires adroitness in petit allegro and excellent mime technique – all of which Peck has in abundance.

Ingoma KwaZulu-Natal Dance Company.© Julieta Cervantes. (Click image for larger version)

DanceAfrica Festival 2018 – New York

★★★★✰   DanceAfrica is a welcome reminder of the uniquely universal powers of dance and music.

Akram Khan in Xenos.© Jean-Louis Fernandez. (Click image for larger version)

Akram Khan Company – Xenos – London

★★★✰✰   Xenos, which apparently means “stranger” or, more aptly for this piece, “foreigner”, is a tangled mass of many things but, above all, it seems to be an essay on loneliness.

Hee Seo in Giselle.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Giselle – New York

★★★★✰   Roberto Bolle, who played his usual striking Albrecht, responded to Seo with nuance and subtlety. The same goes for how Seo revealed Giselle’s madness…

Liam Francis in Life is a Dream.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Rambert – Life is a Dream – London

★★★✰✰   Brandstrup keeps so many options open that the narrative thread of Life is a Dream is hard to pin down, even if you have read the programme notes and mugged up the 1635 play of the same name.

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

Gallery – Jean Abreu’s Solo for Two

Gallery by Foteini Christofilopoulou…

Misty Copeland, Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo in Afterite.© Marty Sohl. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – 3 Bills: Giselle, Gala, Firebird/Afterite – New York

★★★★✰   After a week of Giselle, during which Natalia Osipova and David Hallberg had their much-awaited re-match, the company began its season in earnest on May 21, with a spring gala that included two new works and excerpts from a third…

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