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
Wim Vanlessen in Boléro.© Filip Van Roe / Opera Ballet Vlaanderen. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet Flanders – Fall, Chronicle, Boléro – Antwerp

★★★★✰   For a very short while, Wim Vanlessen will enjoy the claim that he has performed for the Royal Ballet Flanders for more than half its existence. The company celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, later this year and Vanlessen joined in 1994. This performance was both a celebration of exceptional long service and a farewell…

Cirque Éloize in Hotel.© Pierre Manning. (Click image for larger version)

Cirque Éloize – Hotel – London

★★✰✰✰   Yes, these are incredibly talented artists, doing exceptional things, but their circus skills were presented within an envelope that needed a lot more theatrical clarity.

Spring by Gandini Juggling and Alexander Whitley.© Lidia Crisafulli. (Click image for larger version)

Gandini Juggling & Alexander Whitley – Spring – London

★★★✰✰   Choreographed juggling is by definition a one-trick pony although in the hands of Gandini Juggling, inspired by the imaginative choreography of Alexander Whitley, the potential of that artform appears limitless.

Marie Gyselbrecht, Leo De Beul and Yi-Chun Liu in Father (Vader).© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Peeping Tom – Father (Vader) – London

★★★★✰   The stand-out moments in this show came in dynamic bursts of extraordinary movement in which the form of propulsion seemed to be any part of the body but the feet.

Matthew Ball in Swan Lake.© Johan Persson. (Click image for larger version)

New Adventures – Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake – London

★★★★✰   Matthew Bourne has reworked his famous “Swan Lake” and it’s now touring. Graham Watts wrestles with iconic and uber definitions in a long look at a much-loved work.

Aris Papadopoulos and Martha Pasakopoulou in touching.just.© Manos Arvanitakis. (Click image for larger version)

Andrea Costanzo Martini and Aris Papadopoulos / Martha Pasakopoulou – Aerowaves 2bill – London

★★★✰✰   After all these years, here is evidence – if any were needed – that the Aerowaves experiment continues to showcase great talent.

Eddie Nixon, Artistic Director of The Place.© Hugo Glendinning. (Click image for larger version)

Eddie Nixon, new Artistic Director of The Place

Eddie Nixon has just been appointed as The Place’s Artistic Director – Graham Watts is first to interview him about his new role and plans…

Isaac Hernandez and Jurgita Dronina in rehearsals for Manon.© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Manon – Milton Keynes Theatre

★★★★✰   English National Ballet can once more reflect triumphally on another significant success.

Jasmin Vardimon's Medusa.© Simon Clark, graphic design Raanan Gabriel. (Click image for larger version)

Jasmin Vardimon Company – Medusa – London

★★★✰✰   Jasmin Vardimon’s latest work uses mythology to make a powerful point about gender issues in the present day with an overt relevance to the #MeToo movement.

Vanessa Alvarez.© Thursford Christmas Spectacular. (Click image for larger version)

5 Questions for Vanessa Alvarez – circus artiste

Graham Watts talks to Vanessa Alvarez the foot-juggling star of the @Thursford Christmas Spectacular…

Le Patin Libre in Threshold.© Romain Guilbaul. (Click image for larger version)

Le Patin Libre – Threshold – London

★★★★✰   If there is a major difference between Le Patin Libre of 2014 and now, then surely it lies in this merger of these skaters’ extreme skills with the same elite capability in their artistic collaborators.

I Infinite 2018 promotional image.© Tom Dale and Barret Hodgson. (Click image for larger version)

Tom Dale Company – I Infinite – London

★★★✰✰   Dale and his collaborators have succeeded in creating a highly unusual ambience for dance; a place of quiet reflection and arresting imagery…

Ieva Kuniskis.© Judita Kuniskyte. (Click image for larger version)

5 Questions to choreographer Ieva Kuniskis about her latest work, future plans and Brexit…

“I only got my first taste of contemporary dance at 16 when a friend took me to a class – I fell in love instantly!”

Igor and Moreno in Idiot-Syncrasy.© Alicia Clarke. (Click image for larger version)

Igor and Moreno – Idiot-Syncrasy – London

★★★✰✰   The clue is in the title. Although there is a small section of partnered dance towards the end, this is about conjoined peculiarity…

Vaibhavi and Shruti Merchant's Taj Express.© Taj Express. (Click image for larger version)

Vaibhavi and Shruti Merchant’s Taj Express – London

The Merchants of Bollywood are back, this time with “Taj Express”. Graham Watts on thin plots and a glittery parade of happiness. ★★★✰✰

Tamara Rojo and James Streeter in Dust by Akram Khan.© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Lest We Forget bill – London

★★★★★   “I cannot recall being so moved at a dance performance for a very long time, if ever.”

Natalia Osipova in in the studio preparing for Pure Dance.© Alastair Muir. (Click image for larger version)

Natalia Osipova – Pure Dance – London

★★★✰✰   No trade description problems, here. This was exactly what it said on the tin: Natalia Osipova performing pure dance, enhanced only by recorded music and lighting designs varying from the merest of subtle tints to an explosion of floodlights…

Luna Manzanares Nardo in Carmen La Cubana.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Carmen La Cubana – London

★★★★✰   Far from being just one more interpretation of the ubiquitous Carmen, this Cuban version is a unique retelling of the popular narrative, superbly performed.

Che Malambo.© Diane Smithers. (Click image for larger version)

Gilles Brinas’ Che Malambo – London

★★★✰✰   Malambo is a dance form rooted in the traditions of the gaucho (South American cowboys), evolving from long nights by the campfire on the cattle trails of Las Pampas…

Brandon Lawrence and Delia Matthews in Embrace.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Polarity & Proximity: Kin., Embrace, In The Upper Room – London

★★★✰✰   Williamson’s commission – the first of an ambitious Ballet Now programme for new works – was themed on issues of gender and alienation, with Brandon Lawrence being a man struggling for identity…

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