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The American Clock

Arthur Miller’s masterpiece, Death of a Salesman, came to Broadway in 1949 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The author was 34 years old. In 1980, toward the end of a long, illustrious career, he wrote The American Clock, basing its loosely connected vignettes on his own life and those recounted in Hard Times, […]

Liam Scarlett Asphodel Meadows, Frederick Ashton The Two Pigeons, TRIO ConcertDance

When The Royal Ballet Upper School left its Barons Court home in 2003 and moved into brand-new facilities in Covent Garden, directly across the street from the stage door that every pupil hopes one day to enter, I was told that the quality and convenience of the new premises were bound to improve the quality […]

Ashton’s Les Patineurs, Nureyev’s Cinderella, Bourne’s Swan Lake

Many people consider The Nutcracker the best Christmas ballet, because it’s short, tuneful, easy to understand, and rich with roles for small children. The 1957 and 1958 television broadcasts of George Balanchine’s production for New York City Ballet launched it as a holiday favourite, but, after its first season on stage in 1954, one critic […]

Barbara Newman sees works by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Mark Morris

What do you take away when you leave a dance performance? Does the movement stay with you, or the music, or designs or overall effect? I’m asking because I’m beginning to wonder what the dance public prefers. A friend who teaches a course entitled Performance: Design and Practice at Central Saint Martins recently told me […]

Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem at English National Opera

English National Opera (ENO) has developed close ties with Benjamin Britten’s music since giving the world premiere of Peter Grimes in 1945. In the wake of that historic event, the company has presented five further stage works, including, during this year alone, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Turn of the Screw, and the operetta Paul […]

Shobana Jeyasingh’s Contagion and Scottee’s Fat Blokes

In 1918, just as World War I was drawing to an end, humanity sustained another lethal attack, this one from the influenza epidemic known as Spanish flu that infected 500 million people. Fifty to 100 million died, roughly three to five per cent of the world’s population. Life expectancy in the US fell by about […]

South of the Border

In Mexico, Anna Pavlova danced in a bullring. Serge Diaghilev arranged Ballets Russes performances in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina in 1913 and 1917. De Basil’s Original Ballet Russe appeared in Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela. Can you point to these countries on a map, or is the entire continent beneath your […]

Plain and Fancy

When George Balanchine choreographed Chaconne in 1976, he chose Suzanne Farrell and Peter Martins for the principal roles. They were the leading lights of New York City Ballet at the time, and people naturally wanted to see them in anything they might dance. The Balanchine historian Nancy Reynolds has described Chaconne as “a series of […]

Hands, Eyes, Mind, Emotion

How often do you want to see a performance repeated right away, immediately, from start to finish? That’s what I longed for at the end of Shane Shambhu’s Confessions of a Cockney Temple Dancer, a solo brimming with more subtle invention and detailed information than I could absorb in one viewing. Speaking, dancing and miming […]

Shooting Stars

Rudolf Nureyev’s passion for challenge has rarely been equalled. After his defection to the west in 1961, he repeatedly claimed he wanted to explore as many different ways of dancing as possible. Having conquered the classical repertoire and created roles at The Royal Ballet for Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan, Roland Petit, Rudi van Dantzig and […]

Organic gardening

The word “organic” isn’t often associated with musicals, but it exactly describes the history and content of Little Shop of Horrors, which runs until September 22 at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Created for a tiny off-Broadway stage in 1982, this show has roots in the science fiction tales of the 1930s and 1950s […]

The Sunny Side of the Street

Only Alan Bennett could set a play in the geriatric ward of an all-purpose community hospital and pack 900 seats with people dying to laugh about people dying. During the initial scenes of Allelujah!, his first play in six years, now installed at the Bridge Theatre, nearly every line drew immediate laughter. Two and a […]

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