Author: Jane Simpson

Jane Simpson has written for DanceTabs/ Balletco since its very early days in 1997. She contributed regularly to Dance Now for its last 10 years and wrote for the Yearbook of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (2000 - 2009); she writes a 'London Letter' for the Washington-based quarterly, Dance View. She is based in London and also makes several trips to Copenhagen each season.

Update: In June 2014 Jane decided to retire from writing - see more on this page.

Under are the articles written for DanceTabs. Reviews on Balletco
Sarah Lamb in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.© Dave Morgan, by kind permission of the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – London

…though I don’t believe it’s a great work of art, there’s no denying that it’s fun.

The Royal Danish Ballet in Jose Limon's The Unsung.© Costin Radu. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Danish Ballet – Dans2Go: Chroma, Unsung, Kingdom of the Shades – Copenhagen

The Royal Danish Ballet’s Dans2Go, year 3. As previously, the aim is to give newcomers a taste of different types of dance, at low prices…

Sergei Polunin and Tamara Rojo in Marguerite & Armand.© Dave Morgan, by kind permission of the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Ashton Bill including Marguerite & Armand with Rojo and Polunin – London

But it was Rojo who really surprised me, with the most emotionally open performance I’ve ever seen from her. …a swansong, indeed: what a way to go!

Gudrun Bojesen.© Henrik Stenberg. (Click image for larger version)

Gudrun Bojesen – Royal Danish Ballet – Principal

Gudrun Bojesen, the Royal Danish Ballet’s leading classical ballerina, is at an interesting stage of her career…

Royal Ballet in Raymonda Act III.Dancers, l-r (men first): Brian Maloney, Johannes Stepanek, Valeri Hristov, Alexander Campbell, Dawid Trzensimiech, Kenta Kura, Eric Underwood, Valentino Zuccheti, then ladies - Melissa Hamilton, Helen Crawford, Fumi Kaneko, Yasmine Naghdi, Yuhui Choe, Emma-Jane Maguire, Itziar Mendizabal, Hikaru Kobayashi.© Dave Morgan, by kind permission of the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – The Firebird, In the Night, Raymonda Act lll – London

It’s the Royal Ballet’s varied and unique repertoire that has kept me loyal to the company through some very thin times as well as the golden seasons, and this programme is a nice example of what a flick through its back – catalogue can produce.

A Nutcracker Snowflake (Sabina Westcombe).© Dave Morgan, by kind permission of the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – The Nutcracker – London

Most of the dancers on stage tonight were not even born when the Royal Ballet’ s current Nutcracker production was new, and many of the audience too may imagine that it’s been a feature of the Christmas season forever…

part of the Frederick Ashton's Ballets book cover.© Dance Books. (Click image for full version)

Book – Frederick Ashton’s Ballets by Geraldine Morris

What would he himself make of this book, I wonder? He’d be amazed, I should think, by the amount of detail he’d find, and possibly surprised by some of it…

The Shades in La Bayadere.© Costin Radu. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Danish Ballet – La Bayadere – Copenhagen

So far as I know, no major company has ever before attempted a time-shifted Bayadère, so Hübbe had the whole of history to pick from. He chose the later years of the British Raj…

Royal Ballet – Concerto, Las Hermanas, Requiem – London

It’s an interesting evening, showing both choreographer and company at their best and at somewhat less than that.

Thomas Lund as Tsar Dodon in The Golden Cockerel.© Per Morten Abrahamson. (Click image for larger version)

Danish Royal Ballet – The Golden Cockerel – Copenhagen

…cut down to a single act and shown as part of a properly-balanced double or triple bill it could work beautifully, rather than sending me home feeling hungry.

Marianela Nuñez & Thiago Soares in Swan Lake.© Dave Morgan, by kind permission of the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Swan Lake – London

And in the next act she (Nunez) did just that, giving us one of the best Odiles I remember seeing. She looked as if bamboozling innocently trusting princes was her favourite thing in the world, the most fun she’d ever had…

Special programme cover - Thomas Lund and Gudrun Bojesen in La Sylphide.© Huset Mydtskov. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Danish Ballet – Thomas Lund’s farewell: The Lesson/La Sylphide – Copenhagen

Several times during the evening I wondered how much anyone who happened never to have seen Lund before would have understood about him from this performance. They would have learnt about his peerless Bournonville technique, and about his ability to get under the skin of the character he’s playing…

Book Cover. © Christina Gallea Roy. (Click image for full version)

Book – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow by Christina Gallea Roy

This is a fascinating story… an important one. Gallea relates the growth, and eventual decline, of the company – known originally as International Ballet Caravan and later as Alexander Roy Ballet Theatre – with an amazing amount of detail…

Book cover.© Dance Books. (Click image for larger version)

Book – Ninette de Valois: Adventurous Traditionalist

Ninette de Valois: Adventurous Traditionalist Edited by Richard Cave & Libby Worth Dance Books, Paperback 2012, 289 pages, illus., DVD £20.00 Dance Book publishers page Conference site Jann Parry report on the conference…

Desmond Kelly at the launch of Ballet Hoo!.Courtesy of Birmingham Royal Ballet ©. (Click image for larger version)

Desmond Kelly – Artistic Director Elmhurst and Governor of the Royal Ballet Companies

My nickname in BRB used to be Bastard – and something happened with Ballet Hoo! – I don’t know whether it’s my age, or the kids we worked with, but it made me realise that you can get the best out of dancers and students by coming in on a certain level and talking to them on a certain level – not always shouting. I do shout still, I do get very angry…

Paul Taylor Dance Company – 7 works over 2 bills – Paris

The seven works I saw over two nights started with Aureole and ended with Esplanade, and even in these less than perfect circumstances it’s impossible to resist the enchantment of these two masterpieces. Aureole especially seems to me the essence of Paul Taylor…

John Percival, 1927 – 2012: A personal appreciation

It’s a fortunate dance-goer who can discover a critic whose opinions she can trust – doubly fortunate if it’s a critic who sees and reports on more performances than any of the rest. It’s more than fifty years since I first found that I was turning to John Percival’s reviews before anyone else’s…

Leticia Stock in Ballo della regina. © Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – La Sylphide & Ballo della Regina – London

Balanchine famously described a choreographer’s job as being like a chef’s, and his Ballo della Regina perfectly fulfils the role of amuse-bouche in the Royal Ballet’s latest double bill, waking us up and sharpening our appetites for the more serious fare of Bournonville’s lovely La Sylphide. It’s the fourth ballet the company has tried out in this role and I think it’s the most successful.

Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg in La Fille mal Gardee. © John Ross.

Royal Ballet – La fille mal gardee – London

Every review of La Fille mal Gardée should start with an acknowledgement that, however excellent the performance may have been, the greatest credit belongs to Frederick Ashton, who more than 50 years ago put this happy masterpiece together in a few weeks of cheerful collaboration with his dancers.

Gudrun Bojesen as Marguerite in Lady of the Camellias. © Costin Radu. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Danish Ballet – Lady of the Camellias – Copenhagen

It’s said that for financial reasons there will be no more performances of Lady of the Camellias here after this run – that would be a little tragedy of its own: these dancers deserve the chance to grow in their roles and their audience deserves the opportunity to see them do it. Let’s hope some way will be found to make it happen.

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