"Swan Lake" tag
Natalia Osipova in the film Force of Nature Natalia.© Justine Waddell, Asterisk Films. (Click image for larger version)

Natalia Osipova Film – A Force of Nature Natalia

★★★★★   This is a superbly made film… It draws a portrait of a supreme artist, a woman with exceptional humility, all sensitively handled with warmth and humour.

Yang Liping's Rite of Spring.© Li Yijan. (Click image for larger version)

Yang Liping – Rite of Spring – London

★★★✰✰   As with most retellings, Liping’s centres on a young woman destined to dance herself to death. However, the dancemaker has invoked Buddhist principles, including the concept of reincarnation…

Carlos Acosta CBE with Dance Section Charirman Graham Watts (left) and Mark Shenton, President of the Critics Circle.© Peter Hogan. (Click image for larger version)

Carlos Acosta splendidly summed up as he collects his Critics’ Circle Services to the Arts award

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.

Jasper Conran.(Click image for larger version)

Jasper Conran, designer, on working in ballet with David Bintley and now Christopher Wheeldon

Jasper Conran is producing new designs for Christopher Wheeldon’s “Within the Golden Hour”, to be premiered by the Royal Ballet on the 8 May 2019. Jann Parry talks to Conran about the designs and his earlier and extensive work for David Bintley at Birmingham Royal Ballet…

Wei Wang in Frankenstein.© Andrej Uspenski, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Frankenstein – London

★★✰✰✰   Could Liam Scarlett’s monstrous Frankenstein be fixed with more, better surgery? Evidently not, in this revival, three years after its creation.

The Royal Ballet School in The Cunning Little Vixen.© Tristram Kenton, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet School & Royal Ballet – The Cunning Little Vixen, The Two Pigeons – London

★★★★✰ – Royal Ballet School in Liam Scarlett’s new Cunning Little Vixen. ★★✰✰✰ – Royal Ballet’s Yasmine Naghdi debut in Two Pigeons.

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.

Thomas Bieszka in In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Memorable Performances of 2018 – London

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 Ball in Swan Lake.© Johan Persson. (Click image for larger version)

New Adventures – Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake – London

★★★★✰   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.

© Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards

2018 National Dance Awards – Announcement of Nominations

The Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle is pleased to announce the nominations for the 19th National Dance Awards…

Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball in The Unknown Soldier.© Foteini Christofilopoulou, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – The Unknown Soldier (premiere), Infra, Symphony in C – London

★★★✰✰   If The Unknown Soldier is dispiritingly low-key, Wayne McGregor’s Infra remains assertively bold…

Polina Semionova in La Bayadère.© Yan Revazov. (Click image for larger version)

Staatsballett Berlin – La Bayadère (premiere of Ratmansky reconstruction) – Berlin

★★★★✰   In the last several years, the choreographer Alexei Ratmansky has developed a sideline to his main choreographic efforts: the reviving of ballets by Marius Petipa in a way that represents the original choreography with as much fidelity as possible…

Joshua Thake.© Zoran Jelenic. (Click image for larger version)

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (Trocks) – Programme A, Swan Lake bill – London

★★★★★   The Trocks’ version of Swan Lake (or Lac, as it used to be known) restores some Soviet era removals. Benno, the hero’s best friend and supporter, is back, as are mime sequences, mostly mystifying the participants…

Irina Kolesnikova and Denis Rodkin in Swan Lake.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre – Swan Lake – London

★★✰✰✰   Although the first night audience was moved to a standing ovation, Swan Lake can and should be so much more than this stylised ritual…

Raffaele Morra.© Zoran Jelenic. (Click image for larger version)

Raffaele Morra – Ballet Master and Rehearsal Director, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Next month – September – The Trocks open their 2018 UK tour which runs through to November and covers many towns and cities across the land. A good primer on all things Trockadero as Diane Parkes speaks to Raffaele Morra, whose been with the company these last 17 years…

Devon Teuscher in Swan Lake.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Swan Lake – New York

★★★★✰   Devon Teuscher has done her time, and the results are breathtaking…

Zurich Ballet in Swan Lake.© Carlos Quezada. (Click image for larger version)

Zurich Ballet – Swan Lake – Zurich

★★★✰✰   But, at least to my eye, the production’s triumph is its final lakeside act. There, the formations of swans, as originally choreographed by Lev Ivanov, become intricate, delicate, lyrical, and intensely moving.

Kevin and Karen Clifton.© Stuart Glover. (Click image for larger version)

Kevin and Karen Clifton – Kevin and Karen Dance – London

★★★★✰   This show defied the norm: a counter-intuitive observation about a spin-off from the archetypal routine of a Saturday evening institution that millions of us watch with our feet up.

Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside in Harlequinade.© Marty Sohl. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Harlequinade (premiere) – New York

★★★★✰   Harlequinade is pure entertainment, a work of art whose entire raison d’être rests on its charm and stylishness. If you require that your art contain deeper meanings, read no further…

Vadim Muntagirov, Marianela Nunez, Bennet Gartside and artists of the company in Swan Lake.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – Swan Lake (Scarlett premiere) – London

★★★★★   Liam Scarlett has devised a visual and emotional treat for audiences, fully justifying Kevin O’Hare’s faith in him as a director and choreographer.

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