"Frederick Ashton" tag
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.

Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov in Nureyev.© Marc Haegeman. (Click image for larger version)

Russian Ballet Icons Gala 2018 – London

★★★✰✰   This year’s Russian Ballet gala was ostensibly in honour of the 200th anniversary of Marius Petipa’s birth. Any choreography attributed to him was mostly a long way ‘after Petipa’, but it’s always fun to see excellent Russian dancers deliver pas de deux from Don Quixote, Swan Lake and Le Corsaire.

Monica Mason and Lorraine Gregory consulting the notation.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Feature – Ashton Foundation Masterclass with Monica Mason coaching the Spanish Dance from Swan Lake and the Fairy of Joy from Sleeping Beauty

February’s masterclass, the fifth in the series, featured choreography from the start and end of Frederick Ashton’s tenure as artistic director of the Royal Ballet, 1963-1969.

Amanda Treiber and Erez Milatin in Optimists.© Rachel Neville. (Click image for larger version)

New York Theatre Ballet – Beethoven/1999, Optimists, Dark Elegies, Double Andante – New York

★★★✰✰   All was danced with the quiet focus, lucidity, and unfussy delivery that characterize the company. No attention-grabbing fireworks…

Benjamin Ella and Isabella Gasparini in Crystal Pite’s Flight Pattern.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Memorable Performances of 2017 – London

Head and shoulders above other new work this year was Crystal Pite’s Flight Pattern for the Royal Ballet…

Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov in Sylvia.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Sylvia – London

★★★★✰   Sylvia makes a welcome return to the repertoire, reacquainting dancers and audiences with Ashton’s sensibility and complex choreography. It’s a joy but not a masterpiece, as he well knew…

Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov in Sylvia.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – Royal Ballet in Sylvia

With Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov in the lead roles. Gallery by Dave Morgan…

Natalia Osipova in Arthur Pita's The Wind.© Foteini Christofilopoulou, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – The Illustrated ‘Farewell’, The Wind, Untouchable – London

★★★✰✰   Kevin O’Hare is commissioning choreographers who want to make use of what the Opera House can offer; he’s not setting out to declare where ballet ought to be heading and he’s not playing safe.

Tzu-Chao Chou in ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café.© Andy Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Arcadia, Le Baiser de la fée, ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café – London

★★✰✰✰   Bintley’s ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café saves a dispiriting evening by providing nimble demi-character dancing with a timely message, first delivered nearly 20 years ago.

Gillian Murphy in Her Notes.© Rosalie O'Connor. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Her Notes, Symphonic Variations, Other Dances, Serenade After Plato’s Symposium – New York

★★★✰✰   The program opened and closed with the most recent works: Jessica Lang’s Her Notes and Alexei Ratmansky’s Serenade after Plato’s Symposium. Both premiered at ABT in 2016, and both are works whose inspiration largely comes from their scores.

Michael Clark Company in 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

★★★★★   …the dancing is life enhancing and the audience leaves on a high of pleasure.

Constance Devernay and Sophie Martin in Le Baiser de la fee (The Fairy's Kiss).© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

MacMillan Celebrations – Le Baiser de la fee (SB), Concerto (BRB), Jeux (RB) – London

  In the first of the mixed bills celebrating Kenneth MacMillan’s ballets, 25 years after his death, “Le Baiser de la fée” intrigued me because the questions it posed about his development as a choreographer…

Anastasia Soboleva and Victor Lebedev in Cinderella.© Stas Levshin. (Click image for larger version)

Mikhailovsky Ballet – Cinderella – St. Petersburg

★★★★★   It seems appropriate that I’ve travelled to Russia to find a Cinderella interpreter of movement and spectacle to match up to the genius of Prokofiev’s music.

Gary Harris' costume sketches for The Fairy's Kiss.© Gary Harris. (Click image for larger version)

Bringing back Kenneth MacMillan’s Le Baiser de la fée – The Fairy’s Kiss

Scottish Ballet will be performing Kenneth MacMillan’s “Le Baiser de la fée” as part of the celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of his death. It will be the first revival of the ballet in 30 years – Jann Parry on the return of an important work.

Lauren Cuthbertson in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.© Johan Persson, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – London

★★★✰✰   Wheeldon and his scenarist, Nicholas Wright, have made theatrical sense of a nonsensical children’s classic. This Alice, though, is a modern pantomime, not a classic ballet.

Akane Takada in The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude.© Robbie Jack. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Opening the New bill – Hull

★★★★✰   The Royal Ballet’s away-day to Hull, this year’s UK Capital of Culture, was dramatic in its scale: 17 pieces presented over three hours…

Emma Maguire.© and courtesy The Royal Ballet. (Click image for larger version)

5 Questions to Emma Maguire, RB Soloist, about the Ann Maguire Gala and Charity

We talk to Emma Maguire about the Gala that honours the life of her mum, Ann Maguire, and this year takes place at the Leeds Grand Theatre on 3 September. The proceeds go to support the Ann Maguire Arts Education Fund – inspiring young people through the arts…

Emily Hoff in The Conservatory.© Johan Persson / RBS. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet School – Annual Main Stage Performance 2017 – London

★★★★✰   It was a well-balanced programme, featuring different kinds of discipline for future corps de ballet dancers, and honouring veteran choreographers as well as contemporary ones.

Zenaida Yanowsky and Roberto Bolle at her final Royal Opera House curtain call. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – Zenaida Yanowsky final curtain call pictures as she retires from the Royal Ballet

On the 7th June 2017 Zenaida Yanowsky gave her final performance as a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet…

Alessandra Ferri and Federico Bonelli in Marguerite and Armand.© Tristram Kenton, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – 3 casts in The Dream, Symphonic Variations, Marguerite and Armand – London

★★★★✰   In Marguerite and Armand the 3 casts reviewed are Zenaida Yanowsky and Roberto Bolle, Alessandra Ferri and Federico Bonelli, Natalia Osipova and Valdimir Shklyarov.

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