At least there are some memorable performances to recall from 2021: at the beginning of the year none of us had any idea when we might sit in a theatre and watch live dance again...
Tag - Matthew Bourne
★★★★✰ With his Nutcracker! Matthew Bourne really wants the audience to have a good time and he knows how to deliver it...
★★★★✰ "...this is not a feel-good show, celebrating the relaxation of lockdown. It’s about lonely people leading lives of quiet desperation, seeking consolation in alcohol and seedy sexual encounters."
★★★✰✰ Jonathan Church's production staring Kevin Clifton, Steps star Faye Tozer, Charlotte Gooch, Cavin Cornwall and Adam Cooper...
Jann Parry with some thoughts on the Darcey Bussell gala to raise funds for British Ballet and featuring Ballet Black, Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, New Adventures, Northern Ballet, Rambert2, Scottish Ballet and The Royal Ballet.
★★★✰✰ Episode One of Dancing Nation contains works by Matthew Bourne for New Adventures, Yasmeen Godder for Candoco Dance Company, Breakin' Convention - curated by Jonzi D, Humanhood (Júlia Robert and Rudi Cole) and Stina Quagebeur for English National Ballet.
★★★★✰ Program 3 features all-British choreographers: Peter Wright, Peter Darrell, Christopher Wheeldon, Matthew Bourne and Kenneth MacMillan. The exception is a solo by American Dominic Walsh, created for his own contemporary dance company. ...Some of the selections are probably unfamiliar to American audiences, as well as to British ballet fans of a younger vintage.
★★★★✰ 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.
★★★★✰ It doesn’t get much steamier than Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man, the third of his productions to be presented and screened on Sky Arts during lockdown.
★★★★✰ Performances across the board are stupendous, reminding us that interpretations evolve and change, and do not disappoint.
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...
★★★★★ ...this revival of The Red Shoes, coming with a number of tweaks, appears even tighter and slicker than the original.
★★★★✰ The Royal Ballet's current production of The Sleeping Beauty, dating back to 2006, is a homage to Ninette de Valois and her faith that Marius Petipa's Imperial Russian ballet should be the flagship of her British company.
★★★✰✰ Our setting is the Verona Institute in the near future. Here disturbed young people have been locked up for an opaque purpose under the eye of a sadistic jailer... A traumatised Juliet meets a troubled Romeo, and it ends as badly as you might expect.
I was at the recent Critics’ Circle lunch when Carlos Acosta won his latest award and was struck by Graham Watts citation - it seemed to splendidly sum up Carlos, both the man and his illustrious career... and why exactly we all admire him. BM, Ed.
Semperoper Ballett Dresden were another new visitor in the summer, with a programme of Forsythe works, some not seen here before. But Forsythe is a theme this year in himself.
★★★★✰ Matthew Bourne has reworked his famous "Swan Lake" and it's now touring. Graham Watts wrestles with iconic and uber definitions in a long look at a much-loved work.
★★★★✰ A good night of new work for Leeds coupling a rising star from outside with local and much-loved company talent.
★★✰✰✰ Although the first night audience was moved to a standing ovation, Swan Lake can and should be so much more than this stylised ritual...
For the first time, English National Ballet's competition for its junior members was held in the capacious London Coliseum, where the company has been performing The Sleeping Beauty...