Reviews
Jamar Roberts in Morani/Mungu (Black Warrior/Black God).© Christopher Duggan. (Click image for larger version)

NY Fall for Dance 2020, digital Program 1, including premieres by Jamar Roberts and Christopher Wheeldon

★★★★✰   The Fall for Dance festival is an all digital affair this year and Program 1 included striking and heartfelt premieres by Jamar Roberts and Christopher Wheeldon…

Sketch Dance Company in To Have and to Hold.© Jasmine Andrews. (Click image for larger version)

Sketch Dance Company – To Have and to Hold at Brighton Fringe Festival

★★★✰✰   This challenging 40-minute work is well worth perseverance since what at first seems a collection of random acts, builds together into a coherent enquiry into the process of being…

Ben Duke in In a Nutshell.© Rachel Bunce. (Click image for larger version)

Lost Dog / Ben Duke – In a Nutshell

★★★★✰   Lost Dog’s short film, streamed for free by The Place Online was made at the beginning of lockdown and is a eulogy to live performance before the pandemic but also a rumination on life without human contact.

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 (★★★✰✰)

Gavin Coward in But Living choreographed by Gary Clarke and produced by the Lawrence Batley Theatre.© Dave Bewick. (Click image for larger version)

Studio Wayne McGregor, Northern Ballet & Gary Clarke Company – Locked Down. Locked In. But Living

★★★★✰   As tentative steps continue to get the dance world back on its feet, the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield has asked three companies to embrace the possibilities of lockdown with a trio of filmed works.

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.

Alejandra Dominguez in Jody Sperling's Ice Cycle.© Paul Bloomfield. (Click image for larger version)

Jody Sperling/Time Lapse Dance – 20th Anniversary Virtual Season

★★★★✰   Ice Cycle is an unusually beautiful vision suggesting, at times, the effects of global warming, encompassing Sperling’s environmental concerns as well as her choreographic and design mastery.

Marianela Nunez in Nela.© Andrew Margetson, Marquee TV. (Click image for larger version)

Marquee TV – Summer Shorts festival in association with Screen.dance and the SF Dance Film Festival

★★★★✰   21 dance films, sourced from all over the globe and presented by Marquee TV in association with Screen.dance (Scotland’s Festival of dance on screen) and San Francisco Dance Film Festival.

Megan Lowe's (UN)CAGED.© Megan Lowe. (Click image for larger version)

RAWdance presents – CONCEPT series: Digital Edition and Dance Party – San Francisco

★★★★✰   Rather than succumb to a COVID-19 hiatus, RAWdance pivoted to a dance-on-camera format for the CONCEPT Series’ 28th edition, and presented seven new short films created by various artists over the past few months…

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…

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.

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