"Vivaldi" tag
Jenna Lee.© ASH. (Click image for larger version)

5 Questions to Jenna Lee, freelance choreographer, on her creative world and working with New English Ballet Theatre…

We talk to Jenna Lee about her work – The Four Seasons – for New English Ballet Theatre’s autumn tour this September and October. That and about her wider choreographic practice…

Choreographer Lauren Lovette working with Ashley Bouder on Red Spotted Purple.© Gibney/Ashley Bouder - from Instagram original.

Ashley Bouder Project – Red Spotted Purple, Duet, Alas, Symbiotic Twin, In Pursuit Of – New York

★★★✰✰   Bouder’s pick-up ensemble of eight, which she refers to as an arts collaborative, reflects her ideals. It is racially diverse; the choreographers include both men and women. Not all the choreographers are white. This should be par for the course, but it’s not.

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.

Erica Felsch & the men of the company in Michael Smuin's Santa Baby, from The Christmas Ballet.© Keith Sutter. (Click image for larger version)

Smuin Contemporary American Ballet – The Christmas Ballet – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   I’ve seen The Christmas Ballet five times over the years and it has always been and continues to be a lovely, celebratory afternoon or evening at the theatre. That said, I still struggle with the format.

Rena Butler in Pavement.© Steven Schreiber. (Click image for larger version)

Kyle Abraham / Abraham.In.Motion – Pavement – London

★★★✰✰   Pavement, from 2012, takes as its touchstone the 1991 film Boyz n the Hood, John Singleton’s hard-hitting coming-of-age drama…

Sterling Hyltin and Joaquin de Luz in Ratmansky's Odessa.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Square Dance, Tarantella, Odessa, Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes – Washington

★★★★★   Alexei Ratmansky’s Odessa left me breathless. The dancing (I saw both casts) was phenomenal on all levels: assured, expressive, and thoroughly dramatic.

Kizzy Matiakis (Merteuil), Jon Axel Fransson (Valmont) and Andreas Kaas (Danceny) in Dangerous Liaisons.© Costin Radu. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Danish Ballet – Dangerous Liaisons (premiere) – Copenhagen

★★★★✰   …I was again struck by just how effortlessly a story can be communicated and emotions laid bare by ballet – it was a triumph.

Still from NYCB's promotional video for Justin Peck's The Decalogue.© NYCB. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – HERE/NOW Festival No. 6 & 8 including Peck’s The Decalogue (premiere) – New York

★★★✰✰   With his latest, The Decalogue, which opened on May 12, Justin Peck seems to have turned a new page…

Gandini Juggling in Smashed: Special Edition.© Kristy Meijers. (Click image for larger version)

Gandini Juggling – Smashed: Special Edition – London

★★★★✰   Bausch with added balls.

Kerala Kalamandalam in Dussasana Vadhom.© Kevin Yatarola. (Click image for larger version)

Sounds of India Festival – Mark Morris Dance Group & Kerala Kalamandalam – New York

★★★★✰   This year’s White Light Festival, at Lincoln Center, has spawned a mini-festival of its own, Sounds of India, curated by the modern-dance choreographer Mark Morris. Why Morris? Because he has been going to India since the eighties…

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.

Arianna Maldini and pianist Jonathan Higgins in Mistake Waltz.© Johan Persson. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet School – Annual Main Stage Performance 2016 – London

★★★★✰   The Royal Ballet School in particular includes something very special in their show – the closing Grand Defile, which always brings a lump to the throat and a feeling of pride.

Gary Avis and Francesca Hayward in The Invitation.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Obsidian Tear (premiere), The Invitation, Within the Golden Hour – London

★★★★✰   The range of roles shows the Royal Ballet dancers, up-and-coming soloist, established principals and character artists, at their very best.

National Youth Dance Company in Michael Keegan-Dolan's In – Nocentes.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

National Youth Dance Company –   In- Nocentes   – London

★★★★✰   They say that the best cooks take the ingredients and do the least to them to create a magnificent meal, and that’s what Michael Keegan-Dolan has done…

Jerome Tisserand and Lesley Rausch in Stravinsky Violin Concerto.© Lindsay Thomas. (Click image for larger version)

Pacific Northwest Ballet – Square Dance, Prodigal Son, Stravinsky Violin Concerto – New York

★★★★✰ Clarity of execution is a hallmark of this Seattle-based company, which has been led since 2005 by the former New York City Ballet star, Peter Boal.

Daniil Simkin in Alexander Ekman's Simkin and the Stage.© Yi-Chun Wu. (Click image for larger version)

Daniil Simkin – INTENSIO – New York

Just before intermission Simkin included two film-and-performance works by Alexander Ekman. Simkin and the City, which went viral with the Internet-savvy dance crowd a couple of years ago, always gets a good chuckle.

Cannes Dance Festival – Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse: The Beast and Beauty, Lyon Opera Ballet: Kylian bill – Cannes

For the festival Brigitte Lefèvre chose an eclectic mixture of popular and audacious programmes from twelve different companies – mainly regional French companies… some smaller independent groups and international companies from Korea, Argentina and Spain.

Filip Michalak and Beata Giza in Body Master.© K Mystkowski. (Click image for larger version)

Baltic Dance Theatre – Fun, Death and the Maiden, Body Master – Warsaw

Unlike Kylián, Weiss generally works from an overt storyline and her own libretto for Body Master is loosely based on the life of Gordon Craig, the English pioneer of modernist theatre…

Ruth Brill's Matryoshka at its Symphony Hall premiere.© BRB.

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Quatrain, Matryoshka, Beauty and the Beast pdd, Swan Lake pdq, Facade – High Wycombe

Ruth Brill’s Matryoshka showed a lot of sense and maturity I thought – she clearly thinks about entertaining the audience.

DNB Junior Company in Blink by Juanjo Arques.© Michel Schnater. (Click image for larger version)

Dutch National Ballet, Junior Company – 2015 Tour – London

The programme stretches and shows off the young graduates to good advantage in a well-chosen assortment.

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