"Frederick Ashton" tag
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…

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.

Kizzy Matiakis in the lead image for The Queen of Spades.© Camilla Winther. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Danish Ballet – The Queen of Spades – Copenhagen

★★★✰✰   The good news is that Queen of Spades is a good-looking crowd pleaser and the RDB dancers look fantastic in it – I can’t emphasise that enough. Also good that it’s a step up from his last commission, Frankenstein – thank goodness, really.

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.

Calvin Richardson and Matthew Ball in Obsidian Tear. © Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Obsidian Tear, Marguerite and Armand, Elite Syncopations – London

★★★★✰   The ostensible link between the three works in this mixed bill is that they are by the Royal Ballet’s resident choreographers, past and present: Frederick Ashton. Kenneth MacMillan and Wayne McGregor. But none is typical of the choreographers’ work…

Sarah Lamb, Ryoichi Hirano in Elite Syncopations.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – Royal Ballet in Obsidian Tear, Marguerite and Armand, Elite Syncopations

A triple bill of works by Wayne McGregor, Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan. Gallery by Dave Morgan…

Ahmaud Culver, Jasmine Hearn and Anna Witenberg in live performance as part of the Nick Mauss: Transmissions exhibition.© Paula Court. (Click image for larger version)

Interconnections: Thoughts on “Nick Mauss: Transmissions” at the Whitney in New York

Whiteny PR about the exhibition: “Artist Nick Mauss (b. 1980) presents Transmissions, a multidisciplinary work exploring the relationship between modernist ballet and the avant-garde visual arts in New York from the 1930s through ’50s.”

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.

Nicholas Bodych and Elly Braund in Carnaval.© Chris Nash. (Click image for larger version)

Richard Alston Dance Company – Mid Century Modern, Carnaval, Cut and Run – London

★★★★★   It must be tempting to get carried away by sentiment when it comes to celebrating both a 70th birthday and fifty years as a choreographer in a programme that also marks the departure of a special muse.

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.

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