Reviews
Kaatsbaan Summer Festival: Courtney Lavine at the dress rehearsal.© Quinn Wharton. (Click image for larger version)

Kaatsbaan Summer Festival – Works by Larry Keigwin, Leonardo Sandoval & Calvin Royal III – New York

★★★★✰   The Kaatsbaan Summer Festival offers the respite of communication without words, of the beauty of the body moving freely through space, and of shared experience.

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.

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.

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.

Margherita Tisato in The End? section of Rooms.© Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble. (Click image for larger version)

Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble – premiere of the online version of Anna Sokolow’s Rooms

★★★★✰   Rooms2020 retains Sokolow’s intensely expressive choreography, which makes it a striking documentation of the aloneness and alienation that can pervade this time of pandemic.

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.

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 ★★★★★

Alessandra Ferri and Federico Bonelli in the Tuesday section of Woolf Works.© Tristram Kenton, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Woolf Works – streamed archive recording of 2017 performance

★★★✰✰   Wayne McGregor’s first full-length creation for the Royal Ballet, Woolf Works, inspired by Virginia Woolf, remains one of his best works to date.

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.

Erin Yarbrough-Powell and Ben Needham-Wood in Indigo.© Chris Hardy. (Click image for larger version)

Smuin Contemporary Ballet – Indigo – streamed archive recording of 2016 performance

★★★★✰   Indigo is one of those dances that doesn’t seem totally abstract, yet doesn’t follow a linear path either. It’s more about concept and emotions. Layers and extremes. Just like the colour indigo itself.

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.

Christopher Harrison & Constant Vigier in Christopher Hampson’s The Rite of Spring.© Andy Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Scottish Ballet – The Rite of Spring & The Fairy’s Kiss – streamed archive recordings of 2017 performance

With one common factor, music by Igor Stravinsky, Scottish Ballet (SB) deliver two excellent and very contrasting performances which were filmed at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh in 2017.

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.

Marianela Nuñez and Carlos Acosta in La Fille mal gardée.© Tristram Kenton, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – La Fille mal gardée – streamed archive recording of 2005 performance

★★★★★   If you want an antidote to any miserable lockdown mood, La Fille mal gardée cannot fail to lift your spirits and allow you to marvel at some really first-rate dancing.

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.

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…

Derick K. Grant and Dormeshia in And Still You Must Swing.© AK47 Division. (Click image for larger version)

Dormeshia – And Still You Must Swing – streamed recording

★★★★★   Dormeshia’s And Still You Must Swing is the first online dance that made me want to write about it. I knew it would be good…

Lauren Cuthbertson and Matthew Ball in The Cellist.© Foteini Christofilopoulou, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – The Cellist – streamed recording

★★★★✰   Cathy Marston has achieved much in bringing the life of Jacqueline du Pré to the ballet stage and perhaps one of the things that becomes even clearer with repeated viewings, is that the music and the dance are inextricably linked.

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