★★★✰✰ Wheeldon has woven a lot of narrative threads into his ballet spectacular.
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.
★★★★★ What we are fortunate to be able to witness in these constrained times is an intimate record of otherwise fleeting performances by exceptional artists.
★★★★✰ 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.
★★★★✰ 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.
★★★★★ 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.
★★★✰✰ 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.
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"...
★★★✰✰ 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...
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...
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..."
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.
★★★★✰ 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.
★★★★✰ Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov's account of Swan Lake is spellbinding... if Scarlett's revision of the 1895 scenario makes even less sense than the original.
★★★★✰ Isadora Duncan's spirit has been honoured, even if the impact of her presence remains elusive.
★★★★✰ Alina Cojocaru's choice of works for her brief season at Sadler's Wells provided an insight into her priorities as she reflected on her career: live music-making and dance-making that has something to say.
★★★✰✰ In The Cellist, Cathy Marston has taken on a challenging subject for her first commission for the Royal Opera House stage: the real-life story of a much-loved musician Jacqueline Du Pré...
★★★★✰ In this magical programme of two duets and two short films, Maliphant is investigating weightlessness - not so much defying gravity as conjuring its non-existence.
In the next two months Cathy Marston has premieres at The Royal Ballet (17 February) and San Francisco Ballet (24 March) - Jann Parry talks to Marston about the inspiration and making of two special works...
★★★★✰ The annual Icons gala provides the chance to see dancers who don't often appear in London...
★★★★✰ The ballet works as a conflicted love story centred on the heroine, Tatiana. When Natalia Osipova dances the role, she brings home how Russian the character is.