"Balanchine" tag
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.

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…

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.

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…

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.

New York City Ballet in Warren Carlyle’s Something to Dance About.© Erin Baiano. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – All Robbins No. 2 and Tribute to Robbins bills – New York

★★★★✰   The centenary celebration bills are more than enough to give a sense of Robbins’ breadth, theatrical savvy, stylistic curiosities, and, perhaps most unique of all, his ability to present dancers as human beings onstage.

New York City Ballet in Dybbuk.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – All Robbins No. 1 – Bernstein Collaborations bill – New York

★★★✰✰   One of Robbins’ great talents was sniffing out the style of his time, but this inevitably places a date stamp on his work.

Ask la Cour in The Four Temperaments.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Concerto Barocco, Agon, The Four Temperaments – New York

★★✰✰✰   Last week, on Thursday night, with the exception of The Four Temperaments, the company’s thoughts appeared to be elsewhere…

Sayaka Ichikawa and artists of Scottish Ballet and Ballet Black in House of Birds.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Viviana Durante Company – Kenneth MacMillan: Steps Back in Time bill – London

★★★★✰   All credit to Viviana Durante (supported by Royal Ballet, Ballet Black and Scottish Ballet dancers) for contributing to the 25th anniversary of Kenneth MacMillan’s death with recreations of his early work.

Wende and Dutch National Ballet in Last Resistance.© Hans Gerritsen. (Click image for larger version)

Dutch National Ballet – Dutch Doubles: Impermanence, Two and Only, Déjà vu, Last Resistance – Amsterdam

★★★★✰   Dutch National Ballet’s Dutch Doubles quad bill features 3 new works by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Ernst Meisner and Wubkje Kuindersma plus a classic piece, new to the company, from the legend that is Hans van Manen.

Laura Halzack and Michael Trusnovec in Mercuric Tidings.© Paul B. Goode. (Click image for larger version)

Paul Taylor American Modern Dance – David H. Koch season – New York

★★★★✰   Even in stillness, Taylor dancers hold immense power in their bodies, the energy potential within them more nuclear than solar.

San Francisco Ballet in Robbins' The Cage.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Robbins: Ballet & Broadway quad bill – San Francisco

★★★★✰   There’s nothing like watching a woman crush a man’s neck with her thighs to make you go hmm, maybe that whole #MeToo thing has legs.

Calvin Richardson and Joseph Sissons in Wayne McGregor's Yugen.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Bernstein Centenary: Yugen, The Age of Anxiety, Corybantic Games – London

★★★✰✰   Leonard Bernstein wrote (in 1949): “I have a deep suspicion that every work I write, for whatever medium, is really theatre music in some way.’ Many choreographers have taken up the challenge, though his quasi-metaphysical musings have usually eluded them: dance is more corporeal than music.

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.

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.

Ljiljana Velimirov, Tom Waddington & Sergei Polunin in Satori.© Tristram Kenton. (Click image for larger version)

Project Polunin – Satori, First Solo, Scriabiniana – London

★★✰✰✰   In truth Polunin’s latest show at the London Coliseum, although it has its moments, isn’t such a great advertisement for him as a dancer or as a creative mixer of the ballet pot.

Natalia Magnicaballi in Tzigane.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

Feature – Suzanne Farrell Ballet’s Final Performances in Washington

This season the Suzanne Farrell Ballet is bidding farewell to its audiences with final performances at the Kennedy Center Opera House, December 7-9. There will be two programs, each featuring a selection of George Balanchine’s choreographic gems…

J'aime Crandall in Raymonda.© Henrik Stenberg. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Danish Ballet – Raymonda – Copenhagen

★★★✰✰   All up, I think this production demonstrated the strengths and weaknesses of “Raymonda” as a ballet. It certainly is a fabulous looking (and listening) calling card which might tour well…

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Aladdin – London

★★★✰✰   Aladdin never fully finds its feet, but there’s a lot to like about the show, from the cheery group numbers to the striking visuals.

Marcelo Gomes and Sara Mearns in The Red Shoes.© Daniel Coston. (Click image for larger version)

New Adventures – Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes – New York

★★★★✰   It’s always exciting to discover a new side of an artist. For this, and for an immensely entertaining show, we have to thank Matthew Bourne.

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