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Strictly Speaking: Week 9

For once, Blackpool Week just about lived up to the hype, with some fun, exciting and truly outstanding performances. However, as so often in this changeable series, erratic scoring led to another shock elimination. Michelle and Giovanni, one of this year’s most consistent and creative couples, and likely finalists, lost out in the dance-off, as […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 8

Rejoice, for our long national nightmare is over! Finally, Mike Bushell has left the Strictly dancefloor, taking his “comedy” with him. And about time – lord knows what tricks Katya was going to introduce next in sheer desperation (Katya hangs over shark-infested waters while Mike does an uncertain chasse nearby! Katya leaps over a pit […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 7

Right, hands up if you know how to perform an exorcism? For clearly the evil spirit is still in possession of this series of Strictly, keeping Ginger Neil on the bench, taking poor Will Bayley out of the competition altogether, even cursing Manly Bloke Kelvin with sickness – and yet somehow still keeping Mike Bushell […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 6

A dark curse has been placed upon this series of Strictly – by a very powerful witch, or possibly a disgruntled ex-pro. How else to explain… THE INVASION OF THE DANCE-SNATCHING DAD-DANCERS. For not only did David “Vacant” James outlast genuine contender Dev, but we are now going into Week 7 with both Chris “Goldfish” […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 5

Which was more incomprehensible on so-called Super Saturday: wherever we may or may not have landed with Brexit, or guest judge Alfonso Ribeiro’s “critiques”? For the sake of my sanity, the latter shall not be recorded here. Suffice to say that, as someone who’s never seen Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and thus doesn’t even […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 4

Madness. What were the judges thinking with those insane scores? What were the producers thinking with those insane music choices? And why, off the back of Movie Week, inflict this level of dance-obliterating am-dram intensity upon an unsuspecting public? MADNESS. All of which led to a hugely frustrating elimination. Yes, of course we value the […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 3

Sigh. A theme week. The triumph of the dressing-up box and the selling of Strictly’s soul to Disney. This Movie Week had its particularly trying moments (Pokémon, I ask you), although a few couples transcended, or even utilised, their themes to produce some box office triumphs. Did that warrant the first 10s of the series, […]

Stretch – going harder and longer with BLOCH

If there’s just one thing that demonstrates the changes that have taken place in ballet over the past two decades, it has to be the pointe shoe – the dancers of 2019 expect a lot more from their shoes. “What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now,” says Linette […]

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo’s LAC in Melbourne

It’s strange where you find yourself watching ballets. I was in Melbourne during the summer and through good fortune finally got to see Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo after years of admiring its dancers from afar. Directed by Jean-Christophe Maillot, the company exuded glamour in my mind. Alluringly feline in its movements, the company stretches the […]

Alvin Ailey and Deborah Hay in London

In 1958, the choreographer Alvin Ailey combined seven black dancers and his urge to celebrate black culture in a new company called the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Integrated with white and Asian performers in 1964, it drew its repertoire from an equally multiracial collection of choreographers, including José Limón, Donald McKayle, Anna Sokolow and […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 2

Ah, the Strictly Week 2 comedown – very much the morning after to Week 1’s revelry. It didn’t help that the show was frontloaded with… let’s say imperfect performances, meaning viewers really had to hang on in there before finally getting to ballroom boys Kelvin and Karim, plus Michelle Visage Wears, Dances, Eats, Loves, IS […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 1

And we’re off! Strictly Come Dancing Series 17 began its competition proper with a surprisingly buoyant show, overcoming both a marked lack of enthusiasm about this year’s casting and (for the most part) the usual first dance jitters. Instead, numerous exciting pairings whet the appetite for a strong year – not to mention, you know, […]

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