"Nutcracker" tag
The Dancing Under The Southern Skies book cover, featuring Leanne Benjamin, in a photo © Jason Bell.© Australian Scholarly Publishing. (Click image for larger version)

Book – Dancing Under The Southern Skies: A History of Ballet in Australia – by Valerie Lawson

Although Valerie Lawson’s context is wide-ranging, she brings individuals into focus with personal details, shining a spotlight onto their roles in Australian dance history. Lavishly illustrated with photographs from Australian archives, her book gives vivid life to long-gone personalities.

English National Ballet in Manon.© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Manon – London

★★★★✰   The entire cast is committed to the MacMillan idea of everyone having their own character and story, and the result is a richly detailed picture of the conflicts between poverty and wealth, love and lust.

Fumi Kaneko and William Bracewell in Les Patineurs.© Foteini Christofilopoulou, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Les Patineurs, Winter Dreams, The Concert – London

★★★★✰   Now that we are all one more Nutcracker nearer death, as weary critic Richard Buckle used to bemoan, the Royal Ballet has given us a wintry bonne bouche of ballets to savour.

Momoko Hirata and César Morales in The Nutcracker.© Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Autumn delights: La fille mal gardée & The Nutcracker – London & Birmingham

★★★★✰   I look forward to the changes inevitably coming to BRB, but I can’t believe any new director will turn their back on such repertoire gems as La fille mal gardee and their Peter Wright Nutcracker.

San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson's Nutcracker.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Nutcracker – San Francisco

★★★★✰   I’m a Nutcracker fan. And I’m a fan of San Francisco Ballet’s current production, choreographed in 2004 by Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson…

Company XIV in Nutcracker Rouge.© Mark Shelby Perry. (Click image for larger version)

Company XIV – Nutcracker Rouge – New York

★★★★✰   Austin McCormick’s Company XIV continues to maintain the highest bar in balletic, baroque burlesque.

Fabian Reimair in Nutcracker.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – English National Ballet in Nutcracker

With Rina Kanehara and Jeffrey Cirio in the lead roles. Gallery by Foteini Christofilopoulou…

Miami City Ballet in Serenade.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

City Center Balanchine Festival – Miami City Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet

★★★✰✰   It’s fascinating to see how Balanchinean charm and wit are interpreted by dancers for whom the Balanchine repertoire is more of a foreign language.

The 2018 ENB Emerging Dancer finalists: Precious Adams, Fernando Carratalá Coloma, Giorgio Garrett, Daniel McCormick, Francesca Velicu and Connie Vowles.© Karolina Kuras. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer 2018 Competition – 5 Questions to 6 Finalists

English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Competition is unique in British ballet in throwing the spotlight on more junior dancers or “tomorrow’s stars” as ENB put it. This year’s competition is on the 11 June and ahead of the that we talk to the finalists – Precious Adams, Fernando Carratalá Coloma, Giorgio Garrett, Daniel McCormick, Francesca Velicu and Connie Vowles…

Arancha Baselga and Brandon Lawrence in The Nutcracker.© Annabel Moeller. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – The Nutcracker – London

★★★✰✰   Peter Wright’s glorious ballet might not shine quite so magically in its Bintley/Albert Hall version but the dancers certainly do…

Erica Felsch & the men of the company in Michael Smuin's Santa Baby, from The Christmas Ballet.© Keith Sutter. (Click image for larger version)

Smuin Contemporary American Ballet – The Christmas Ballet – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   I’ve seen The Christmas Ballet five times over the years and it has always been and continues to be a lovely, celebratory afternoon or evening at the theatre. That said, I still struggle with the format.

Mark Morris Dance Group in The Hard Nut.© Frank Wing. (Click image for larger version)

Mark Morris Dance Group – The Hard Nut – San Francisco

★★★★★   The house was abuzz on Friday evening for the opening performance of Mark Morris Dance Group’s The Hard Nut. It’s been five years since Cal Performances hosted the production, and clearly fans had been anxiously awaiting its reappearance.

Shiori Kase and Joseph Caley in Nutcracker.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Nutcracker – London

★★★✰✰   One of the ballet’s biggest departures from tradition is having the same dancer play Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy. The reasoning is unclear, but Kase proves versatile enough to pull it off…

Barnaby Rook Bishop, Thomas Edwards and Simon Schilgen in The Nutcracker.© Andy Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Scottish Ballet – The Nutcracker – Edinburgh

★★★★✰   A charming, uplifting ballet that truly sets the scene for Christmas. A large part of the heart-warming effect was Darrell’s decision to populate the stage with children…

Senri Kou in Nutcracker.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – English National Ballet in Nutcracker

Gallery by Dave Morgan…

J'aime Crandall in Raymonda.© Henrik Stenberg. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Danish Ballet – Raymonda – Copenhagen

★★★✰✰   All up, I think this production demonstrated the strengths and weaknesses of “Raymonda” as a ballet. It certainly is a fabulous looking (and listening) calling card which might tour well…

Sarah Lane and Alban Lendorf in Souvenir d’un lieu cher.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Tchaikovsky Spectacular bills – New York

★★★✰✰   Ratmansky’s Souvenir d’un Lieu Cher turned out to be a mysterious little ballet, a double pas de deux that captures, …the complex history of a quartet of characters.

Maureya Lebowitz as Swanilda in Coppélia.© Roy Smiljanic. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Coppelia and Three Short Story Ballets – Bristol and Birmingham

★★★✰✰   I went to Bristol to catch Coppelia and the specific lead casting of Celine Gittens and Tyrone Singleton – who have now totally transitioned from being rising stars to fully risen Principals.

Interviewed - Isabelle Brouwers, Rina Kanehara, Madison Keesler and Guilherme Menezes - 4 of the 6 Emerging Dancer 2017 finalists.© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer 2017 Competition – 5 Questions to 4 Finalists

English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Competition is unique in British ballet in throwing the spotlight on more junior dancers or “tomorrow’s stars” as ENB put it. This year’s competition is on the 25 May and ahead of the that we talk to 4 of the 6 finalists – Isabelle Brouwers, Rina Kanehara, Madison Keesler and Guilherme Menezes…

Amelia Soh, Leanne Stojmenov and Ai-Gul Gaisina in Nutcracker – Story of Clara.© Daniel Boud. (Click image for larger version)

Australian Ballet – Nutcracker: The Story of Clara – Sydney

★★★★✰   “…the emotional impact of this uniquely Australian Nutcracker remains as powerful as ever.”

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