Author: Graham Watts

Dance Writer/Critic. Member of the Critics' Circle, Chairman of the Dance Section and National Dance Awards Committee. Writes for leading dance magazines & websites - in UK, Europe, USA, Japan & cyberspace. Graham is based in London.

Under are the articles written for DanceTabs. Reviews on Balletco
Marianela Nunez in Nela.© Andrew Margetson, Marquee TV. (Click image for larger version)

Marquee TV – Summer Shorts festival in association with Screen.dance and the SF Dance Film Festival

★★★★✰   21 dance films, sourced from all over the globe and presented by Marquee TV in association with Screen.dance (Scotland’s Festival of dance on screen) and San Francisco Dance Film Festival.

Gabrielle Sprauve in Orilla.© Ballet Hispanico. (Click image for larger version)

Ballet Hispanico – Noche Unidos, a virtual fundraiser to celebrate BHs 50th anniversary

★★★★✰   One silver lining to the pandemic has been getting to see companies online that I have been largely unfamiliar with and Ballet Hispanico is a real find…

Meng-Ke Wu in She Remembers.© Nederlands Dans Theater. (Click image for larger version)

Nederlands Dans Theater – Paul Lightfoot and Sol León lockdown streamed premieres

★★★★✰ / ★★★★★   If there have been better examples of substantial dance films made during these trying times then I have yet to see them.

Altin Kaftira's Gently Quiet.© Altin Kaftira. (Click image for larger version)

Dutch National Ballet – 8 new digital works streamed to the world during lockdown

Dutch National Ballet, under director Ted Brandsen, have made a splendid response to COVID-19, streaming 8 new digital dances in the last 3 months. Graham Watts on many interesting and absorbing works, varying from ★★✰✰✰ to ★★★★★

Carlos Acosta.© Man Yee Lee. (Click image for larger version)

Carlos Acosta in Lockdown

Carlos Acosta chats to Graham Watts about how things are going after his first few months at the artistic helm of Birmingham Royal Ballet & the impact that Covid-19 has had on his plans…

Julie Gardette and Francois Rousseau in Where do the birds go?.© Julie Gardette / Francois Rousseau. (Click image for larger version)

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Francois Rousseau and Julie Gardette – Where do the birds go? – Streamed premiere

★★★✰✰   No lockdown for Annabelle Lopez Ochoa who has just choreographed “Where do the birds go?” over five Zoom sessions with Norwegian National Ballet’s Francois Rousseau and Julie Gardette in their Oslo living room…

Jonzi D in Aeroplane Man.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

SystemsLAB mixed bill, curated by Freddie Opoku-Addaie – London

★★★✰✰   Featuring works by Jonzi D, Theo Inart, Becky Namgauds and the due of Ffion Campbell-Davies and tyroneisaacstuart.

Harriet Waghorn and Carmine De Amicis in Salomé.© Mark Lamb. (Click image for larger version)

EDIFICE Dance Theatre – Salomé – London

★★★✰✰   This inventive dance theatre summarises Oscar Wilde’s one-act play, which relates the Biblical story of Salomé and her unrequited feelings for Jokanaan…

Dane Hurst and Eleanor Duval in Return to Heaven.© Mark Bruce. (Click image for larger version)

Mark Bruce Company – Return to Heaven – London

★★★✰✰   Trying to understand a holistic approach to the narrative was like compiling a jigsaw where some of the pieces are missing and others don’t fit.

Solène Weinachter for Scottish Dance Theatre in Antigone, Interrupted.© Maria Falconer. (Click image for larger version)

Scottish Dance Theatre presents Joan Clevillé – Antigone, Interrupted – London

★★★★✰   Joan Clevillé’s direction deserves much praise. A solo show for more than an hour on such an esoteric subject is a difficult framework to sustain and Clevillé’s structure is expertly paced with quick transitions and surprising interludes.

Natasha Gooden in Message in a Bottle.© Helen Maybanks. (Click image for larger version)

Kate Prince and Sting – Message in a Bottle – London

★★★✰✰   The idea of setting a story about a refugee family to the songs of Sting was inevitably an enforced marriage of his diverse lyrics with a narrative for which they were never intended.

Zeleidy Crespo and Carlos Luis Blanco in Juliano Nunes's Mundo Interpretado.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Acosta Danza – Up Close bill – London

★★★✰✰   This was indeed a case of Up Close and personal with five intimate pieces variously dosed with Cuban fire and flair…

Maia Makhateli in Frida.© Hans Gerritsen. (Click image for larger version)

Dutch National Ballet – Frida – Amsterdam

★★★★✰   This was much more than my expectation of an update to Broken Wings. Part prequel, part sequel; it now stands proudly alone as an excellent new addition to the Dutch ballet repertoire.

Galactik Ensemble in Optraken.© N Martinez. (Click image for larger version) nm-optraken-group-one-aloft_1000.jpg

Galactik Ensemble – Optraken – London

★★★✰✰   Hats in the air for these five guys from France for coming up with something new, which requires nothing but their own ability to dodge things and stay alive!

Faith Prendergast in The Little Prince.© Jane Hobson. (Click image for larger version)

Luca Silvestrini’s Protein – The Little Prince – London

★★★★✰   Silvestrini has fashioned a striking theatrical experience in perfect harmony with this timeless story, capped by a triumphal performance in the title role.

Jeffery Taylor.© 2011 Mark Kehoe, courtesy Sunday Express. (Click image for larger version)

Obituary: Jeffery Taylor, 1938 – 2019, Dancer and Critic

Jeffery Taylor, who died in the autumn, aged 81, was a professional dancer for sixteen years before going on to become a dance critic. Graham Watts on the real Billy Elliot…

Royal Academy of Dance: Celebrating 100 Years book cover.© Scala Arts/RAD. (Click image for larger version)

Book – Royal Academy of Dance: Celebrating 100 Years

The achievements of RAD over the past hundred years are brought together in an impressive new book, published this month…

Ashley Shaw and Adam Cooper in The Red Shoes.© Johan Persson. (Click image for larger version)

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

★★★★★   …this revival of The Red Shoes, coming with a number of tweaks, appears even tighter and slicker than the original.

English National Ballet in The Nutcracker.© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – The Nutcracker – London

★★★✰✰   Having premiered in 2010, it is now two years’ past the median lifespan of an ENB Nutcracker and – despite many attributes – the show has reached its sell-by date.

Chester Hayes as Billy in Kes Reimagined.© Marv Martin. (Click image for larger version)

Film: Kes Reimagined, by Jonathan Watkins

★★★★✰   In Watkins’ choreography and MacGibbon’s mastery of camera angles and close-ups the narrative is crystal clear.

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