"Elisha Willis" tag
Brandon Lawrence in Wink.© Andy Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Wink, The Moor’s Pavane, The Shakespeare Suite – Birmingham

★★★✰✰   Jessica Lang’s Wink is an attractive piece, well designed and well made with a clear structure.

Elisha Willis and Iain Mackay in John Cranko's The Taming of the Shrew.© Andy Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet: Taming of the Shrew (Birmingham) and Northern Ballet: Jane Eyre (Leicester)

★★★✰✰ for BRB’s troublesome fun packed Taming of the Shrew and ★★★★✰ Northern Ballet’s Jane Eyre with Hannah Bateman in the lead…

BRB in Jessica Lang's Wink.© Andy Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Shakespeare midscale tour: Wink, Three pas de deux, The Moor’s Pavane – Durham

★★★✰✰   “… Wink is a 4 star piece. We need to see more of Jessica Lang’s work…”

Birmingham Royal Ballet in Les Rendezvous.© Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Les Rendezvous, Kin., Elite Syncopations – Nottingham

Les Rendezvous is 21 minutes of classical movement perfection, but Alexander Whitley comes surprisingly close to besting it with his 20-minute more modern take on ballet – Kin.

Jaimie Bond and Elisha Willis with Maureya Libowitz, Angela Paul and Laura Purkiss in Carmina burana.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Serenade, Carmina burana – London

To celebrate his 20th year as artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, David Bintley has revived the first work he created in the post – Carmina burana…

Jade Heusen - Dance of the Mirlitons in The Nutcracker.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – The Nutcracker – Birmingham

…from the off we all knew it was a worthy gift (to Birmingham) and 24 years on it’s still routinely called the best by all who have seen a few.

Delia Mathews (The Suicide) and Cesar Morales (The Stranger) in Miracle in the Gorbals.© Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – La Fin du jour, Miracle in the Gorbals, Flowers of the Forest – London

Gillian Lynne has made Helpmann and Benthall’s wartime collaboration into a gutsy dramatic ballet, probably with more choreography than Helpmann attempted.

Momoko Hirata (Princess Belle Sakuma) and Joseph Caley (Salamander Prince) in The Prince of the Pagodas.© Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Prince of the Pagodas (Caley/Hirata) – London

In his programme note, Bintley claims to have foregone sexual romance in favour of ‘something more mystical and subtle’, connected with Japanese veneration of its Imperial family. It doesn’t resonate in this royal kingdom.

Artists of Birmingham Royal Ballet as Yokai in The Prince of the Pagodas.© Roy Smiljanic. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Prince of the Pagodas – Salford

Bintley has created a solidly entertaining family work that never bores but never soars to another emotional level, either…

Joseph Caley and Elisha Willis in Aladdin.© Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Aladdin – Birmingham

All up, I came out entertained and it’s a piece that will endure. And if all the company can conqueror Act 1 there will be smiling families all the way, I think – smiling at the drama and the movement.

Laetitia Lo Sardo with Artists of Birmingham Royal Ballet in Faster.© Bill Cooper

Birmingham Royal Ballet – The Grand Tour, Faster, The Dream – London

The programme included works both old and new but it was not an altogether successful mixture. The dancers looked most at home, and at their most sleek and impressive, in Faster, a work made on them this year by their Artistic Director, David Bintley, evoking the striving of competitors in the Olympics.

Maureya Lebowitz with Artists of Birmingham Royal Ballet in the March of the Trolls section of Lyric Pieces.© Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Take Five, Lyric Pieces, Grosse Fuge – London

Jessica Lang’s Lyric Pieces …is light-as-a-feather work of the utmost good taste – in fact just plain gorgeous.

Robert Parker in Take Five. © Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Three Short Works (with 2 premieres) – Birmingham

Good to see BRB presenting 2 premieres as part of International Dance Festival Birmingham… A good afternoon.

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Daphnis & Chloe, Two Pigeons – London

…the evening really belonged to Robert Parker, giving his last performance in London and challenging memories of almost any of his predecessors. Whilst being very, very charming he also has some of the toughness which I think Ashton originally intended, and the sincerity of his regret at the end was entirely convincing. He will be sadly missed.

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