Author: Jann Parry

A long-established dance writer, Jann Parry was dance critic for The Observer from 1983 to 2004 and wrote the award-winning biography of choreographer Kenneth MacMillan: 'Different Drummer', Faber and Faber, 2009. She has written for publications including The Spectator, The Listener, About the House (Royal Opera House magazine), Dance Now, Dance Magazine (USA), Stage Bill (USA) and Dancing Times. As a writer/producer she worked for the BBC World Service from 1970 to 1989, covering current affairs and the arts. As well as producing radio programmes she has contributed to television and radio documentaries about dance and dancers.

Under are the articles written for DanceTabs. Reviews on Balletco
Akram Khan in Desh.© Stephanie Berger, 2011. (Click image for larger version)

Akram Khan Company – The Silent Burn Project

This three-hour compilation of dance films, interviews and discussions celebrates Akram Khan’s burning desire to speak out to a wide audience in the occasion of his company’s 20th anniversary.

Federico Bonelli and Akane Takada in Swan lake.© Tristram Kenton ROH. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Back on Stage – London

The entire Royal Ballet were back on stage and performing for a live audience last Friday in a gala style show which was/is also streamed. Jann Parry was mightily impressed with the dancing and repertoire (★★★★★) if not so much with the live audience experience in a Covid aware Opera House (★★★✰✰)

Winner of the 2020 Emerging Dancer Award, Ivana Bueno, dancing with William Yamada in Mthuthuzeli November's Full Out.© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

2020 English National Ballet Emerging Dancer Competition – performance and results

★★★★✰   Despite Covid-19 English National Ballet still ran their unique Emerging Dancer Competition and streamed the night in full to fans. The 2020 winner is Ivana Bueno – “Very evidently a talent to watch”, says Jann Parry.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet's There Is No Standing Still, Part 1 - screen grab from video.© Alonzo King LINES Ballet. (Click image for larger version)

Outdoors Ballet – some different responses to Lockdown from around the world

As lockdown eases ballet is getting out of streaming from living rooms and into the big wide world – Jann Parry looks at six happenings/films involving dancers from Dance Theatre of Harlem, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet & The Royal Ballet

Scottish Ballet in the filmed performance of Catalyst by Nicholas Shoesmith.© Mihaela Bodlovic. (Click image for larger version)

An Evening with Scottish Ballet – part of Edinburgh International Festival 2020

★★★✰✰   Although An Evening with Scottish Ballet could have been better presented by the Edinburgh Festival, the programme showcases an enterprising company full of ideas…

Jonathan Glazer's Strasbourg 1518.© Strasbourg 1518/Academy Films/BBC . (Click image for larger version)

BBC, Artangel and Sadler’s Wells – Jonathan Glazer’s Strasbourg 1518, featuring Pina Bausch dancers

★★✰✰✰   Strasbourg 1518 has been lauded as ‘head buttingly confrontational’ and an original ‘dance for today’. It isn’t. Familiar Bausch tropes don’t really reflect 1518’s psychogenic mania, which was communal, or today’s experience of isolation, stress and tedium.

Misty Copeland, Sara Mearns and Tiler Peck on the Studio 5: Great American Ballerinas flyer. © City Center. (Click image for larger version)

Studio 5: Great American Ballerinas – the City Center virtual series of master classes

New York City Center is streaming some ballet master classes, curated and hosted by Alastair Macaulay, and involving Misty Copeland, Sara Mearns and Tiler Peck. The coaches/guests include Nina Ananiashvili, Merrill Ashley, Alessandra Ferri, Stephanie Saland and Pam Tanowitz.

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Memorias del Dorado - screen grab.© ENB School. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet School – Virtual Summer Performance 2020

★★★★★   Choreographers (Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Didy Veldman, Andrew McNicol) and performers are providing us with amazing records of what they can achieve in the strangest of times.

Alina Cojocaru and Isaac Hernandez in Cinderella.© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Cinderella – streamed archive recording of 2019 performance

★★★✰✰   Wheeldon has woven a lot of narrative threads into his ballet spectacular.

James Streeter, Alina Cojocaru, Jane Haworth and Jeffrey Cirio in Manon.© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Manon – streamed archive recording of 2018 performance

★★★★★   What we are fortunate to be able to witness in these constrained times is an intimate record of otherwise fleeting performances by exceptional artists.

Matthew Ball and Mayara Magri in Within the Golden Hour.© Ruairi Watson, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Opera House/Royal Ballet – Live from Covent Garden: Third Concert (27 June)

★★★★✰   The singers had the lions’ share of the concert, with just two pas de deux by Royal Ballet couples, Matthew Ball and Mayara Magri, Reece Clarke and Fumi Kaneko.

Tamara Rojo in Song of the Earth.© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Song of the Earth – streamed archive recording of 2017 performance

★★★★✰   The recording reveals how unusual the choreography is, as it was in 1965… Dancers in pointe shoes have to adapt to flexed feet, flat-footed parallel positions, torsos bent forward, elbows and wrists held at angles.

Vadim Muntagirov in rehearsal for Dance of the Blessed Spirits.© Tristram Kenton, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Opera House/Royal Ballet – Live from Covent Garden: Second Concert (20 June)

★★★★★   Though the concert was a treat, could the Royal Opera House please try raising our spirits in future streamings, and give the Royal Ballet the prominence it deserves.

Dance Theatre of Harlem in Creole Giselle.© Dance Theatre of Harlem. (Click image for larger version)

Dance Theatre of Harlem – Creole Giselle – streamed archive recording of 1987 performance

★★★✰✰   Giselle was the first full-length classical ballet that Arthur Mitchell’s company of black American dancers would perform. He thought there would be no point in their pretending to be Rhineland peasants, so decided to set the 19th century ballet in pre-Civil War Louisiana.

Vadim Muntagirov.© and courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Vadim Muntagirov on life under lockdown and dancing at the ROH again, to be seen this Saturday

The Royal Ballet’s Vadim Muntagirov talks about making the most of lockdown and getting ready to dance again for the Royal Opera House’s Live from Covent Garden transmission on Saturday night (20 June 2020), where he is dancing Ashton’s seldom-seen “Dance of the Blessed Spirits”…

Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales in Morgen.© Lara Cappelli, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Opera House/Royal Ballet – Live from Covent Garden: First Concert

★★★✰✰   The first concert was not much of a consolation for all that we have lost. So far, the Royal Ballet appears a token add-on to the opera’s contributions…

Wolfgang Stange and Amici Dance Theatre Company in the studio.© Turtle Key Arts. (Click image for larger version)

Amici Dance Theatre’s 40th Anniversary during lock-down

The six films in the 40th anniversary celebration provide tantalising glimpses of Amici’s considerable back catalogue, which includes short works as well as major productions…

Friedemann Vogel and Elisa Badenes in Mayerling.© Stuttgart Ballet. (Click image for larger version)

Stuttgart Ballet – Mayerling – streamed archive recording of Stuttgart premiere

Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling in new Jürgen Rose designs – “I am not reviewing the recording so much as commenting on the differences between Stuttgart Ballet’s 2019 production and the Royal Ballet’s version that dates back to the ballet’s premiere in 1978…”

CUNNINGHAM film flyer based on Merce Cunningham's Summerspace.Photography © Mko Malkshasyan. (Click image for larger version)

‘CUNNINGHAM’ – Alla Kovgan’s film about Legendary Dancer and Choreographer Merce Cunningham

Released on the 13 March 2020, CUNNINGHAM, the new film about Merce Cunningham, has sadly emerged into a COVID-19 locked down world – but Jann Parry makes a compelling case for seeing it sooner rather than later and CUNNINGHAM is currently available to see at home in many formats.

Richard Alston Dance Company in Voices and Light Footsteps.© Chris Nash. (Click image for larger version)

Richard Alston Dance Company – Final Edition – London

★★★★✰   8th March at Sadler’s Wells was the last time we were able to see Richard Alston’s work performed by his own company of dancers. Jann Parry with a full and perceptive review of Alston’s latest work and last company show.

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