When we entered the Burton Taylor (the tiny studio attached to the Oxford Playhouse, usually given over to student theatre) it was quite dark, apart from a thin shaft of light, and quite empty, apart from the figure of a woman lying in the middle of the floor. We ranged ourselves against the walls, standing. The feeling of anticipation and curiosity is incredible. Suddenly a torch is raised – another woman is caught by its beam in the corner, struggling with a silver coat. The torch bearing man moves round and as it catches the light again the silver glows fiercely, the woman gasps.
I was not sure what to expect from Paulette Mae’s A Suitcase for All Occasions. It was very well attended on March 17, and the atmosphere built up outside as we all waited in the foyer to be let in. The programme seemed to suggest – from Mae’s background and the information we were given – that the three dances would focus on the meaning and unnecessary nature of the material possessions we want and accumulate.
Jonathan Gray journeyed to Tbilisi in Georgia, to see the celebrations marking Nina Ananiashvili’s 30 years on stage. Here, he offers a personal tribute to a great ballerina
Not so very long ago, it was not unusual for a ballerina’s career to last well into her forties and beyond – just think of some of the great names from the past, like Anna Pavlova, Galina Ulanova, Margot Fonteyn, Maya Plisetskaya, Antoinette Sibley or Lynn Seymour.
In an extraordinary letter sent to Dancing Times, a group of ballet lovers and supporters of English National Ballet, who have asked to remain anonymous, wonder about the reasons behind the resignation of ENB’s artistic director, Wayne Eagling. Titled “Why Waste Wayne?”, the group also questions the judgement of ENB’s Board of Directors. We publish the letter here in full…
Ballet is suffering a Black Swan hangover. Darren Aronofsky’s movie has unwittingly re-fuelled debate over the prevalence of eating disorders amongst dancers. With contradictory accounts creating a maelstrom of controversy, it once again raises the question: What is the truth?
American Ballet Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Washington DC – February 3–5, 2012
Tucked away in a Saturday afternoon matinée at the centre of a weekend mini-season of Natalia Makarova’s production of La Bayadère, padded out on either side by more experienced casts, came a trio of debuts in the leading roles. This protective programming, though understandable, proved an unnecessary precaution for Vadim Muntagirov’s first outing, both with American Ballet Theatre and in this ballet. Americans might describe his guest appearance as a “try-out” but they will never need to do so again, since it was a spectacular debut in every sense, closely matched by Hee Seo’s first reading of the Temple Dancer, Nikiya. Muntagirov is already confirmed for more performances in ABT’s New York “Met” Season, early this summer; reprising the role of Solor with Seo and partnering Irina Dvorovenko in Swan Lake. Given the lack of strength in depth within ABT’s cohort of male principals (even worse than The Royal Ballet’s current predicament in the same department), it seems that English National Ballet will now be sharing their star danseur across the Atlantic (and elsewhere) on a regular basis.
This was my second visit to the wonderful new Opera House in Oslo. My first was to attend the opening of the National Ballet season in May when the company presented an all Kylián programme and I now wanted to see them perform a classical work. The Sleeping Beauty is a challenge for any ensemble and was not part of the repertoire when I directed the company in the late 1970s.