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New works in London

Pictured: English National Ballet in Playlist (EP). Photograph by Laurent Liotardo. For every person who thinks ballet means fairytales, there’s another who’s hunting for narratives steeped in sex and another who prefers movement stripped of drama and decoration. Over time, the classical ballet vocabulary has evolved into a flexible language that can satisfy them all. The new […]

Old Swan Lakes reflecting new ideas

I’ve been conspicuously absent from this blog for a while. Shamefully, I don’t have a real reason. I could excuse myself by saying it was a kind of coronavirus fatigue. I looked back over this blog’s catalogue with warmth and interest, realising what a privilege it is to have this space to muse on dance. […]

London Mime Festival at the Barbican

Pictured: Shantala Shivalingappa in asH, a piece by Aurélien Bory. Part of the London Mime Festival. Photograph by Aglae Bory. Over the years, London’s annual Mime Festival has developed into a grab bag of theatrical activity meshing movement, music and speech. Its international array of artists attracts viewers of all ages, who are possibly the […]

English National Ballet’s Raymonda

Pictured: Isaac Hernández and Shiori Kase in Raymonda. Photograph by Johan Persson. Tamara Rojo has made an enormous effort to stage a full-evening production of Raymonda for English National Ballet (ENB). It is her first attempt at choreography and the first such production by a company from the UK, if you don’t count Rudolf Nureyev’s initial […]

Nutcracker in New York

Above: Indiana Woodward in New York City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. Photograph by Erin Baiano. Relaying news from New York in the January issue of Dancing Times, Leigh Witchel wrote that “New York City Ballet has done the same version of The Nutcracker since 1954,” but because “there were no major debuts during […]

Two exhibitions

Main image: Laura Knight, The Dressing Room at Drury Lane (1922). Image reproduced with permission of The Estate of Dame Laura Knight DBE. Designed by Isamu Noguchi (who was born in 1904 and died in 1988), a sunken stone garden and a giant tilted cube that balances on one corner form part of New York […]

Strictly Speaking: The final

Well, serves me right for taking such pleasure in our perfect Strictly final. I should have known that 2021 would have one final gut punch in store: poor AJ and Kai having to drop out through injury. It made the result even more of a foregone conclusion – in terms of public support, no one […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 12

Well, what a semi-final! Usually doubling the dances means halving the standard, at least, but everyone delivered here – even if the judges did get overexcited with the 10s. It’s not that many were undeserved, more than the maximum score has become so completely devalued at this point. Even Motsi realised it, wishing her 10 […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 11

Thank the Strictly gods for that! Yes, our long national nightmare is over – Dan Walker has finally exited the ballroom. It was the first properly riveting dance-off since… well, pretty much ever, with Dan a point up but AJ able to redeem herself with that final lift. Even then, the judges have made some […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 10

Can you believe it’s nearly the quarter-finals already? Dan Walker is still here, so I certainly can’t. At this rate he’ll be hoovering up a place on the judging panel the next time someone has a bye week. Watch out, Anton: your schtick is under serious threat.  So, we had a second outing from Cynthia […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 9

You can always count on Strictly’s Musicals Week for some decent drama, although most of it was off the floor on this occasion – from Craig’s COVID-19 test (poor Craig, I hope he was doing furious jazz hands while watching at home) to some excitable overmarking and a mildly controversial exit.  As for the latter, […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 8

Well that was a shambles. Are the judges trying to destroy the format of the entire show? Is Adam Peaty’s mum right to cry fix? Does Dan really think he’s the sole representative of Strictly contestants without dance experience? Adam (or his mum) would have a thing or two to say about that – as […]

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